In 2009, we were shocked to discover the state in which many of the IDF’s lone soldiers were living at the time. Lone soldiers are those who have no family to return to over weekends; most such soldiers stay in “soldier homes” provided by the IDF. We immediately took action to aid the soldiers by presenting the matter to the Knesset Security and Foreign Affairs Committee and by providing direct assistance to lone soldiers.
Every Friday night, lone soldiers across Jerusalem are driven to a hotel where they receive a hot meal that would otherwise be unavailable to them. For Jewish high holidays and Israeli national celebrations, we hold festive meals at local restaurants, open to all lone soldiers.
Several times a year, we take the soldiers, most of whom come from underprivileged families, on day trips across the country, essentially providing them with the social support and cultural experiences that most people would receive from their families.
Most of the lone soldiers in Jerusalem come from ultra-orthodox families. The price they pay for choosing a different expression of faith from their communities is typically a complete disconnect from their families. Our work with these lone soliders includes assisting with practical needs; we provide help negotiating contracts, furnishing apartments, and purchasing clothing and serve as a place for lone soldiers to turn to with their everyday struggles.