JIJ Embraces Lone Soldiers
Over 5'000 chayalim bodedim (lone soldiers) currently serve in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Many have left homes abroad while others have parted from ultra-Orthodox families opposed to military service in order to contribute to the welfare and security of the nation of Israel. In more severe cases, some soldiers have been alienated and disowned by families due to their decision to serve their nation. As a result, they have no family or home in which to return.
Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) has endeavored to meet the needs of this population by surrounding them with compassion and providing them with a sense of community while apart from families or estranged from loved ones. Some of the soldiers that have been personally impacted by JIJ’s efforts have come from severe backgrounds including families associated with the Neturei Karta, a radical anti-Zionist Orthodox Jewish sect, and the Chen cult, a Jewish Haredi group which advocates for the torture and abuse of children as a means of “purification.” The soldiers shared that JIJ has helped to restore their faith in humanity and their belief in G-d.
In collaboration with the Jerusalem Municipality and Avis car shuttles, JIJ’s Lone Soldier Project hosts weekly Erev-Shabbat meals for lone soldiers at a hotel in Jerusalem in addition to facilitating special daytrips and periodic food and clothing distributions. Having been recently invited to join JIJ’s lone soldier program, one 18-year old soldier from a Haredi family never had the chance to benefit from this project. JIJ was grieved to learn that this young man took his life after being notified that his family disowned him for serving in the IDF. JIJ endeavors to reach these soldiers by nurturing them and providing them with a loving family network before it is too late.
The project’s latest ventures consisted of a special Erev-Shabbat meal hosted by a gourmet French restaurant in Jerusalem and a full-day excursion to the Herzliya marina. Utility knives, blankets, fleece coats and other winter accessories were also distributed at the meal. The excursion to Herzliya included a yacht trip on the Mediterranean, which enabled soldiers to enjoy a day of relaxation and leisure. According to those in attendance, the soldiers were overwhelmed with the love and care they received.
The Lone Soldier Program is an on-going project of Jerusalem Institute of Justice and is conducted year-round. We want to thank you for partnering with us in administering social justice and offering love and support to these vulnerable populations.
Lone soldiers attend weekly Erev-Shabbat meals sponsored and organized by JIJ
JIJ's Lone Soldier Project most recently hosted a special Erev-Shabbat meal at a gourmet French restaurant
The soldiers were overwhelmed by the warmth and love they received
One of the project's latest ventures was a full-day excursion to the Herzliya marina