“Thank you for defending our people and our homeland.”

With these words, Mrs. Helen Spirn, head of school of the Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls, welcomed eight IDF veterans of Tzuk Eitan (Operation Protective Edge) to the school last week. The soldiers and officers of Tzahal were brought to New York by Panim el Panim of Jerusalem, an organization that works to bridge the gap between secular and religious in Israeli society, and spoke to the entire student body.

It was an honor and an inspiration to listen to the young men speak of their experiences this past summer during the war in Gaza. IDF Col. (Res.) Geva Rapp, who founded Panim el Panim and has served in the IDF for 30 years, spoke of the sacrifices the soldiers had made for their country. He discussed the role of women in the IDF and stressed the importance of combating the negative media coverage toward Israel. As the girls divided by grade, each soldier was given the opportunity to tell his personal story in a smaller group setting.

Thanks go to Ms. Raizi Chechik, principal for grades 9—10, for coordinating this incredible event.


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