Baltimore native Natalie Grossman took part in Nefesh B’Nefesh and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Yom Siddurim (“Personal Errands Day”) at Beit HaChayal (“The Soldier’s House”) in Tel Aviv on Dec. 1. The event, done in full cooperation with the IDF, was the eighth annual Yom Siddurim for all active lone soldiers.
It culminated the IDF’s dedicated “Lone Soldier Appreciation Week” that featured a variety of initiatives, programming and festivities with the aim of showing appreciation for these dedicated young soldiers and their contributions to the security of the country.
Grossman, who went to Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School in Pikesville and made aliyah last year, now serves as a corporal in the Israeli Navy’s international affairs branch. She said she enlisted in the IDF because she felt it was “really important to give back to Israeli society.”
“Going to Jewish day school taught me the importance of upholding Jewish values and protecting Israel,” noted Grossman. “Giving back to my new home while I’m here is the least I could do.”
Yom Siddurim is an event that is coordinated by the FIDF-Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldiers Program, together with the IDF Human Resources Department and in cooperation with Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers.
Beit HaChayal was transformed into a one-stop-shop to bring together more than 40 different government ministries and organizations under one roof to provide lone soldiers with the services that they may need during their time in the IDF. These services included issuing biometric passports; issuing IDs; converting foreign driver’s licenses and confirming foreign degrees; legal advice; individual housing assistance; and more.
“We applaud the brave young men and women who made aliyah on their own and are subsequently serving in the IDF, and we will continue to support them in every way possible,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, co-founder and executive director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “This day is our way of showing our sincerest appreciation to the soldiers as they continue to defend our cherished homeland.”
“Military service is difficult and complicated for every soldier, and even more so for lone soldiers. Their decision to enlist in the IDF, many from overseas, is a courageous and noble act — one that is rooted in a deep sense of mission, selflessness and Zionism,” stated FIDF CEO Steven Weil. “FIDF supports all lone soldiers with a range of services during and after their military service out of profound gratitude and to ensure that they never feel alone.”
‘Our privilege to be there for them’
“The Association for Israel’s Soldiers is happy to participate in this special week to show our appreciation and love for the lone soldiers,” added Yaron Beeri, CEO of the Association for Israel’s Soldiers. “It is our privilege to be there for them in our many activities throughout their military service. We help them by arranging housing solutions like ‘Warm Home’ apartments and ‘Soldier’s houses’; purchasing plane tickets to visit their families abroad; gifts and all they need during the holidays, and on other occasions. We will continue to carry out these activities at a larger scale in the coming year.”
The agencies who participated in Yom Siddurim included Israel’s Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, Student Licensing Office, Ministry of Housing, Automobile License Authority, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers, Bituach Leumi, Discharged Soldiers Guidance Department, Electric Company of Israel, foreign embassies, Bank of Israel and more.