I had the good fortune to see a special instance of unity among the Jewish people. A Bat Mitzvah girl by the name of Juliana Gershbaum from Woodmere, New York wanted to do something special for the soldiers of Israel, not just any soldiers, but the women of the IDF. She noticed that most of the gifts to the IDF addressed the men and she wanted to connect with the women and do something special for them. With her family firmly behind her, they set out and put together over 50 packages of cosmetic items to "spoil" the girls. Each package contained a note written by a friend of Juliana and was given to individual women soldiers. Juliana's family also decided not to forget the boys and also decided to supply some of them with much needed shlukers – water hydration packs. So off we went.
The unit which was chosen for this special gift was a company of women that preside over the cameras on the border of Gaza. These girls are the “eyes” of the IDF - they are the ones who spot the terrorists before they even get close. So many lives have been saved by these special women, it was fitting that we could show them appreciation. Next came the guys - the "arms" of the IDF. These are the men who go out to meet our enemies and do whatever needs be done in the quest to protect our people.
The day was also special in that our first stop was the embattled city of Sderot in order to get a grasp as to the devastation from constant rocket attacks over the past 8 years as well as the situation today. After a stop for humus and falafel, were off to the base to connect the "heart" to the "eyes" and "arms" of our people. We were met by some of the women who were so touched by young Juliana’s dedication and motivation towards them. They each expressed to me how perfect this gift was – what young woman doesn’t want to feel pampered – even in the army. The fact that this came from a young Jewish woman living in America made it all the more meaningful to them.
Next came the men but as fate would have it, the women overseeing the cameras detected a need for which the men were needed so they could not meet us personally to receive the shlukers. Their sergeant came out and told us how much they appreciated this piece of equipment and insisted on making a special plaque for Juliana whose heart made all this possible.
Seeing the unity of our people in this special way, bringing us all together from all over the world, both physical and spiritual, is truly a sign of our strength. For me, it is one of the perks of what I do.
Director, Security Projects
One Israel Fund