The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews Provides an Emotional Reunion for 19 of Israel’s Soldiers and Their Families
September 29, 2022
JERUSALEM — For 19 lone soldiers currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces, the lead up to the Jewish High Holy Days – which begin at sundown on September 25 with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year – just got a whole lot sweeter.
The soldiers, all immigrants from Ukraine living in Israel without their families, were brought to Moldova for an emotional reunion with relatives seeking refuge from the ongoing war in Ukraine. The soldiers were provided with flights from Israel, accommodations, meals, and activities by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship).
In response to the crisis in Ukraine, this year The Fellowship has assisted 80,000 displaced Ukrainians and refugees, delivered more than 100 tons of food and essentials to distressed Ukrainian families, and helped over 4,100 people find shelter in Israel. Utilizing their support network on the ground in Ukraine, which has been providing humanitarian aid to those who stayed behind, The Fellowship provided transportation and accommodations for the family members to reunite in Moldova.
While most of the lone soldiers’ parents and families remain behind in Ukraine citing personal reasons and responsibilities, others say they continue to feel a sense of patriotism and a sincere optimism that the war will end in the near future.
For one mother, the worry for her sons is doubled – one son serves in the IDF, and another as a reservist officer in the Ukrainian army. “I’m anxious all the time,” she said. “Every morning begins with waiting for a text message to know that they are both ok. I have one son defending my homeland and the other defending the Holy Land. These two wonderful days spent together is the perfect gift for Rosh Hashanah, thanks to The Fellowship. We hope to be able to all celebrate together next year in Jerusalem.”
“We are proud to be able to provide for our soldiers year-round with both practical and emotional support, and to show them how much we appreciate their commitment to their service of our country,” said Yael Eckstein, President and CEO of The Fellowship. “Rosh Hashanah represents new beginnings and hope for a better and brighter future, despite the shadow of war and danger. Bringing these families together, even for just a few days, was an incredible, emotional scene, and a wonderful way to start the new year. And it was all made possible by The Fellowship’s supporters, who love Israel and give so generously to support her people in need.”