If there’s one thing everyone in Israel can agree on, it’s that July and August are hot. And when it gets hot, Standing Together helps the IDF soldiers beat the heat with ice cream special deliveries.
On Monday, July 26, 2010, Standing Together founder David Landau and four volunteers headed up north to Katzrin, where the IDF was sponsoring a day of rest and relaxation for over 600 IDF soldiers. Country Club in Katzrin hosted the event, where soldiers gathered to play sports, socialize, or just sit by the pool and relax.
“The soldiers were so grateful to us, which was funny to hear. We come for one day, and they give three years to help protect Israel, and they’re grateful to us?” said Chaya Centner, formerly of Johannesburg, South Africa. Chaya made aliyah this past February. As one of the guest hosts, she spent two hours handing out ice cream and ices to the soldiers. “David made sure the ice cream was pareve because the soldiers had eaten a meat lunch.”
Ora Bartkunsky is also an olah from Johannesburg. She had missed a previous Standing Together event, but was determined to come this time. “When the soldiers heard out accents, they thought we were tourists. I’ve been here for almost two years, and it really meant a lot to them that we had come. Soldiers kept coming back over to us, thanking us for coming. All I could think about was that they get one day off and the rest of the time what they do is so dangerous.”
Jordana Kagen, made aliyah from Scarsdale, New York. She joined Standing Together’s trip on the suggestion of her friend, who had been with Standing Together on a couple of trips. “I work with a few volunteer organizations. Standing Together is a wonderful organization that really provides the soldiers with the morale they need to do their jobs every day. It really shows we’re supporting them when the media is so against them so much of the time.”
Michael Blaustein found out about Standing Together on Facebook. When the call for volunteers went out, he signed up right away. “The soldiers were having a great time playing basketball, football – what we call soccer, or just hanging out. But when we stared handing out ice cream, it was like a summer camp full of kids. With guns,” he added, smiling.
“Normally we hitch up the hospitality trailer, fill the cooler with ice cream, and head out to the soldiers,” David explained. “But to make the trip all the way up north with all that wouldn’t have been cost effective, so we made other arrangements. The Country Club in Katzrin arranged to get the ice cream and ices for us, making every dollar our supporters donated go that much farther. The management and staff at Country Club were helpful in every way, making everyone’s experience incredible.”
The round trip took about six hours from Jerusalem to Katzrin. “We were having so much fun, we lost track of time,” laughed Chaya. “It was important for us to come from Jerusalem, even if it was only for a few hours,” explained Michael. “These events are very important to the soldiers, to show the real support they have from people from all over Israel, especially when the media is very anti Army, which is very bad for the morale of the soldiers. That people came all the way from Jerusalem to show support was a huge boost, and counters the effects of the media that show that people really do care about them.”
Standing Together visits soldiers on duty to provide complimentary food, drinks, amenities and most especially the appreciation and support of thousands of supporters worldwide. Join us on Facebook and Twitter.