Added Pages

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Chesed Mission 2014/5774: Day 4

Walking in the Machane Yehuda Shuk in Israel on Friday is always an experience. You know it's Erev-Shabbat when there are Jews everywhere while trying to bargain with store owners. Pre-Shabbos Ruach at the house of Pamela and Aba Claman was amazing. The view from the roof was just indescribable with breathtaking views of the old city. We heard an inspiring speech from Mimi who works for Thank Israel Soldiers. Friday night dinner was extra special with a touching message from Avi the Soldier, and ex army commander who shared with us his personal stories in the army. During Shabbat day many alumni who are studying in Israel for the year came to visit. They joined us for some singing during lunch.

After an amazing and restful Shabbat with multiple bar-mitvahs we finally got to spend time with our brothers and sisters that defend Israel. While pulling into the army base and walking the hill to enter the mess hall we saw many Israeli soldiers filling the room. The base commander gave an emotional speech and told us that our support keeps him and his men going. Rabbi Besser then recited a meaningful tefillah for the soldiers. The dancing then began. The smiles that we put on the soldiers faces as we explained why we are in Israel were priceless. We told them that we were in Israel to support and praise the work that they do. As teenagers ourselves we always try to think what we are doing next but in reality we are only one year younger than these soldiers! By meeting and speaking to the soldiers it really helped us understand what they do and how much they sacrifice for us. After giving out packages of warm clothing for the chayalim and chayalot we mingled and shared personal stories. One soldier told me a story about how he was on border patrol and was faced with a split second decision only at the young age of 18. Tonight really showed me how much these young men and woman sacrifice for Israel and for the Jewish people! ~Ben Fried