If you’re an Israeli soldier with limited exposure to Jewish history, to Torah, and to religious Jews, it may sometimes be difficult to understand what you’re fighting for and who you represent. Which is why OU Israel’s Mashiv HaRuach program brought a group of 250 soldiers to spend the day in Gush Etzion.
On Purim night, OU Israel’s Lev Yehudi program hosted an evening of grogger making, megillah reading and entertainment. Children came in costume and made noisemakers to drown out the name “Haman” as they listened to the scroll being read. Batman, Superman, Princesses, Butterflies, Minnie Mouse, Cats, Soldiers and more (and their parents) were in attendance.
During Operation Cast Lead many soldiers saw, or found, God in the many miracles they witnessed, and sought protection from a force greater than themselves. Requests for tefillin poured in to the IDF Rabbinate. The OU, through their Mashiv HaRuach program helped fill the need. On January 18, 2009 200 pair of tefillin were delivered to soldiers serving in Israel’s Operation Cast Lead.
Knowing only the differences that divide them, religious and secular school students gather, and talk, to learn about the similarities that unite them.
Therapists worked with the teens of Sderot throughout the year. At the last session before summer break, the girls were still scared, but they felt stronger and better prepared to deal with fears, emotions and trauma of living with daily rocket fire.