IDF’s Lone Soldiers Honored in Jerusalem

IDFâs Lone Soldiers Honored in Jerusalem

Photos: Mendy Hechtman

Lone Soldiers of the IDF light the menorah in the iconic outdoor Mamilla Mall.

by Staff Writer - Jerusalem, Israel

December 25, 2014

Chanukah is over, but the inspiration shared at many of the Chanukah events reverberates yet. At least a thousand people came out to celebrate at a menorah lighting saluting some 100 IDF Lone Soldiers. The event, hosted by Chabad of Talbiya and Chayal el Chayal at Jerusalem’s famous Mamilla Mall, packed a powerful message of caring and sharing this Chanukah.

Lone soldiers, as they are known, driven by a love for Israel and a commitment to the Jewish people, come from abroad to serve in the IDF, leaving their families behind. Holidays, when many soldiers are relieved and get to go home to their families, can be difficult for the lone soldier.

At the menorah lighting, the soldiers, on the top tier of the mall, were cheered by the crowd from below. “Tonight, we were not ‘lone’, we felt appreciated and celebrated by so many fellow sisters and brothers who came to show their support,” one soldier said of the event. “We felt like soldiers of one huge, united family.”

The event was sponsored by the Glowinsky family of Toronto, Canada, and was part of the Light Up Mamilla project, led by Rabbi Eli and Chana Canterman, Chabad representatives to Talbiya, in Jerusalem.

“Every Jew, no matter where they stand, has a history, destination and truth, as ordained by G-d,” said Rabbi Rabbi Eli Canterman. “We need to shine that light into the world with strength and radiance, so all the nations of the world, including our enemies, will see that light.”

And shine the light they did. On the first night of Chanukah, the families of Operation Protective Edge, who lost family members during this past summer’s battle, lit the menorah. The event was organized together with Chabad Terror Victims Program.

On the second night children with special needs and volunteers from Talbiya’s branch of and Friendship Circle were honored.

“We wouldn't miss a Friendship Circle party for the world,” said Oren, father of 5 year old Joey, who watched as a choir of teens with special needs sang Chanukah songs and lit the menorah. “Here, there are no mistakes made. Whatever Joey does here, is acceptable, as it’s all about acceptance and friendship.”

On the third night new immigrants to Israel were honored. With the last night, an overflowing crowd of 1500 attended, to celebrate the bright future of Jewish children.

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