OU Israel's Purim Party for 3,000 IDF Soldiers
Purim is known to be the time of year when everything gets mixed up. This year it was the weather. When three buses left the OU Israel Center in Yerushalayim the day before Ta’anit Esther (March 12), it was cold and raining.
Two hours later when they arrived at the IDF Infantry Training Base near Yeruham, the sun was shining. There was even a rainbow.
The group of about 140 people included volunteers from OU Israel as well as about 100 yeshiva students, mostly one year post high school students who are learning this year at Torat Shraga or Ashreinu in Yerushalayim.
The purpose of their trip to the south was to bring Purim joy – and fun—to the soldiers at the Bislach IDF Infantry Training School near Yeruham. Osem Foods in conjunction with OU Israel provided mishlochei manot for the 3,000 soldiers on the base.
But the OU Israel visitors got as much as they gave.
In his welcoming remarks, Lt. Col. Yoav explained that the soldiers in Bislach are there to learn how to operate all the military hardware that the IDF Infantry needs.
The visitors then got to see their equipment up close. Soldiers were on hand to explain how different military hardware works. This included a variety of weapons, night vision goggles and other optical equipment, mortars, tanks and other vehicles. In addition to climbing on tanks and sitting in IDF Hummers, everyone had a chance to try the shooting simulator which enabled them to use computerized machine guns to fire at targets projected on a wall.
Once they completed their army experience, they joined the soldiers for a Purim party.
Mishlochei manot were distributed in specially prepared bags saying To IDF Soldiers with Love from OU Israel. The bags were filled with treats donated by Osem Foods. They included Chocolate Cheerios, Bamba and Bisli. The treats helped the soldiers get into the spirit of Purim.
The visitors from OU Israel were very moved by the experience. They did more than spread Purim spirit. They showed IDF soldiers they really appreciate the fact that the soldiers protect the Jewish people. The soldiers were very moved by the effort that was made on their behalf.
The smiles on everyone’s faces made it clear how glad they were to have participated in this very different Purim experience.