A lone soldier snaps a selfie with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who made a stop during “Yom Siddurim,” or “personal errands day,” on Jan. 24, 2018. Photo by Shahar Azran.

Nefesh B’Nefesh and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) hosted its sixth annual “Yom Siddurim,” or “personal errands day,” for lone soldiers last week.

The day, organized with the Israel Defense Forces’ Human Resources Department, acts as a one-stop shop for them to complete a wide range of errands so they can spend their days off from the army rejuvenating, rather than attempting to navigate the often challenging Israeli bureaucracy to get chores done on a short time frame.

photo credit Shahar Azran

From driving tests administered on-site to tax consultation, passport and ID assistance, and even an employment workshop, lone soldiers also had the opportunity to receive one-on-one personal consultation from Nefesh B’Nefesh and FIDF on acclimating into post-army life in Israel.

“Military service is hard and complicated for every soldier, and even more so for lone soldiers,” said Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir, FIDF national director and CEO. “Their decision to come to Israel and enlist in the IDF is a brave and noble act — one that is rooted in a deep sense of mission, determination and love of the country.”

He assured that “FIDF supporters will continue to stand by their side and support all lone soldiers with a range of services during and after their military service, out of gratitude and profound appreciation for their contribution and to ensure that not one of them ever feels alone.”

photo credit Shahar Azran

As part of an ongoing relationship between the New York Yankees and Nefesh B’Nefesh, the baseball team sent over a special delivery of hats, shirts and bandanas, all branded with the slogan “We Love Lone Soldiers” especially for the event. Mindy Levine, wife of New York Yankees President Randy Levine, flew in to deliver the merchandise and speak with the soldiers.

Taking care of errands wasn’t the only highlight of the day. As part of an ongoing relationship between New York Yankees President Randy Levine, his wife Mindy, and Nefesh B’Nefesh, a special delivery shipment was sent from New York to Israel of hats, shirts and bandanas – all branded with the slogan “We Love Lone Soldiers”.

These inspirational items were distributed by Mindy Levine, wife of NY Yankees President Randy Levine, who flew to Israel to deliver the merchandise and speak many Lone Soldiers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended “Yom Siddurim” on Jan. 24, in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, Ministry of Interior, the Jewish Agency, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, the Jewish National Fund-USA and Yahad.

Other notable dignitaries there included Knesset members Yoav Galant (Likud) and Pnina Tamano-Shata (Yesh Atid); Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked (New Right); and Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri (Shas).

More than 3,500 lone soldiers from around the world, including more than 1,000 from North America, are currently serving in the IDF. About 1,600 lone soldiers from 70 different countries benefited from Nefesh B’Nefesh and FIDF’s personal errands day. In 2018 alone, 393 lone soldiers made aliyah through Nefesh B’Nefesh.

“The fact that our youth come here and make the sacrifice to join the IDF—and protect us and protect Israel—is a spectacular thing. There is nothing more beautiful about the whole aliyah process than the lone soldiers who leave their families, leave what they knew back where they were born, to come to Israel to serve the Jewish people,” said Nefesh B’Nefesh benefactor and businessman Sylvan Adams, who himself made aliyah in 2015.