Celebrating 70 Years of heroes and hope: Israel’s Lone Soldiers and FIDF

November 5, 2018

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Hannah Yarow.

The brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) put their lives on the line each day to protect the hopes and dreams inspired by the Jewish state.

Since 1981, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) has supported the defenders of Israel with
educational and wellbeing programs and facilities. The organization plays an important role in ensuring that IDF soldiers are cared for while carrying out their crucial tasks, supporting Israel’s soldiers as they protect the Jewish homeland.

FIDF cares for Israel’s soldiers through its six pillars of support: education, financial relief, construction projects, fallen and wounded soldiers, Adopt a Brigade, and Lone Soldiers—those who
leave their native countries to join the IDF and serve with no immediate family in Israel.

Ilana Peck.

Since Israel’s inception in 1948, the relationship between the United States and Israel has continued
to grow and evolve. FIDF, through its support for Lone Soldiers, is at the core of that connection.
The growing Lone Soldier phenomenon is a treasured link between Jewish communities in the
United States and those in Israel. Each Lone Soldier has their own personal reason for joining the IDF, but a strong love of Israel and a sense of duty tend to be universal reasons for the soldiers, as well as for the families they leave behind.

Tidewater is home to families with sons and daughters who have served or are currently serving
in the IDF as Lone Soldiers, including the Mostofsky and Yarow families.

Marcy and Michael Mostofsky’s daughter, Ilana, serves in a search and rescue unit, and Debra and
Rick Yarow’s daughter, Hannah, serves as a liaison with foreign militaries.

“Ilana was instilled with a love of Israel from home. It is in our blood, but she was the first one from our family to act on it,” Marcy Mostofsky says.

“During her year and a half in seminary, she developed a special connection with Israel. She didn’t want to just read about Jewish history, she wanted to be a part of it,” adds Michael Mostofsky.

“My daughter gave up a very easy life for a very difficult life,” says Rick Yarow. “She went to college,
was a part of a sorority, but felt that something was missing from her life. She gave up her support
system to be a part of something bigger than herself.” FIDF’s support for Lone Soldiers includes housing, mentoring, a 24-hour call center, financial grants, flights to visit their families abroad, fun
days, Shabbat meals, holiday gift packages, and social gatherings. In 2017, FIDF provided guidance
and support to more than 3,062 Lone Soldiers from around the world. While Lone Soldiers may be far
from the warmth of home, FIDF ensures no soldier ever feels alone.

“As a parent, it feels good to know that FIDF is looking out for my daughter and making things easier,” says Yarow. “To her, it is magic. And I know it’s not magic, that there is a lot of work and money to be raised in order to give them the support they need.”

Offering advice to other parents of Lone Soldiers, Michael Mostofsky says, “it was really hard at first
for the both us, especially when we dropped her off at the airport and it really hit us. But it has been a
dream of mine to make aliyah, a dream of our people for the past 2,000 years, so I focus on my pride for my daughter because she is living that dream.”

It’s not only the soldiers who appreciate the assistance and programs provided by FIDF. The parents of Lone Soldiers, who feel a combination of pride and concern regarding their child’s joining the IDF, benefit from FIDF support, too.

“I can tell when she speaks to us that she is happy, but that doesn’t make her any less homesick,” says Marcy Mostofsky. “But when she goes to FIDF Lone Soldier events, everyone is going through a similar experience, so it makes her feel like she has a bit of home. Having support like that helps me worry a little less.”

FDIF Virginia Gala

Thursday, November 29 | Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront
In honor of Israel’s 70th year of independence, FIDF is hosting its first-ever Virginia Gala.

It will be a celebration of heroes and hope and will give members of the community the opportunity to interact with and hear stories from IDF soldiers.

For information, contact Alex Pomerantz, director of VA, MidAtlantic Region, at Alex.Pomerantz@fidf.org or 757-472-9054.

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