Hodu l’adonai ki Tov!
Yes, the word hodu in Hebrew means both Turkey and “give thanks.” And even in Israel, wherever one found Americans last night, one also found festive meals involving Turkey. One meal in particular made even me thankful…
Last night in Tel Aviv, the Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for 214 lone soldiers from the Golani and Givati infantry brigades who were given a special and well appreciated leave from the IDF to attend the meal. Lone soldiers are generally IDF volunteers who come to Israel without their families.
There are all kinds of organizations that try to cater to soldiers’ needs but only the Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin is run and operated by former lone soldiers, many of whom knew and were inspired by Michael Levin, a lone soldier who fell fighting in 2006 in the Second Lebanon War.
This is from their press release:
â€œWe want to give the soldiers a feeling of family and community. It’s our job to help them feel welcome and connected here,â€ said Joshua Flaster, a former lone soldier and today director of the Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin, the organizers of the Thanksgiving event. â€œIt can be tough at times being a lone soldier- beyond your service in the army, there are social and emotional aspects that are often overlooked.â€ Flaster recalled, â€œWhen I was serving, I always had a hard time knowing I was missing out on holidays and family occasions back home.” The Center arranges social events on holidays and Shabbat, when soldiers often get leave, and brings dozens, or in this case hundreds of lone soldiers together to form a community environment for them. The Center hosts regular meals in Jerusalem, and provides counseling and other support services.
Awesome. Turkey, good friends and a Lions-Patriots game on a giant screen? Sounds good to me! OK except that in Israel “Black Friday” means you’ve been invited to Meah Shearim for Shabbat Dinner. Oy.