More than 350 Israel Defense Forces supporters from Livingston came out late last month to celebrate and learn from a group of IDF soldiers and dignitaries. It was part of a Shabbaton hosted by Livingston’s Suburban Torah Center on behalf of the Friends of the IDF. Hayley, a lone soldier from New Jersey, was among the honorees. (The FIDF does not release lone soldiers’ last names.)
The weekend’s theme was “The IDF: Shaping the Future of Israel.” Guests honored three IDF soldiers. They also heard first-hand accounts of the importance of community support in shaping soldiers’ lives and bettering the State of Israel through an array of life-changing programs and initiatives the FIDF offers.
“It was an honor and pleasure to host the FIDF and raise awareness for the incredible work they do on behalf of Israel’s soldiers,” the shul’s Rabbi James Proops said. “It was an inspiring, educational and an incredible opportunity for our community to come together in support of an important and meaningful cause.”
Lt. Hayley described her experience with antisemitism on her college campus, which prompted her to serve in the IDF. She spoke about her involvement in Operation Guardian of the Walls, during which she dodged a nearby missile that shattered her home. She also talked about the abundant support she and other lone soldiers received from FIDF throughout their service.
Other guests of honor included the FIDF’s CEO, Rabbi Steven Weil, and Major General (Res.) Nadav Padan, its national director.
“The love and support that the Livingston community has given to these young men and women, who put themselves in harm’s way to defend Israel and the Jewish world, has been overwhelming,” Rabbi Weil said. “We appreciate the emotional, financial and moral support we have received towards the education and welfare of the IDF soldiers.”