IDF Soldiers Celebrate Chanukah at Army Bases Thanks to U.S. Non-Profit FIDF
Thanks to an initiative from the Tri-State Region branch of the US non-profit Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), hundreds of Israeli soldiers in the Givati Brigade will be able to celebrate Chanukah on their bases. The Givati Brigade is an elite unit within the IDF that is very demanding of its soldiers.
“During Chanukah, sometimes they don’t get to go home and are instead in the field and on base,” Anat Chavkin, Director of the FIDF Connecticut/Westchester chapter, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “In order to bring Chanukah to them, we try to arrange these activities to lift their morale.”
An added dose of motivation for the soldiers over Chanukah will primarily come in the form of a Chanukah party.
“Usually, we sponsor a whole Chanukah party for the brigade where there will be dancing,” Chavkin said. “During the party, their commander will comment not only on the holiday but will share some words about the soldiers themselves to help motivate them.”
The Tri-State branch of FIDF is helping the soldiers in particular from the Givati Brigade celebrate Chanukah, because it has “adopted” them through an FIDF program known as “Adopt-A-Brigade.” Under the program, FIDF branches throughout the US “adopt” specific brigades in the IDF in which the branches sponsor activities and gifts for the soldiers of their respective brigades.
“By adopting the Givati Brigade, we became involved in the brigade’s many activities throughout the year,” explained Chavkin. “Our activities for the brigade during the holidays is part of our spiritual program, which really helps to enrich the lives of the soldiers during holidays.”
In addition to sponsoring activities and parties, the FIDF is making sure they have the necessary means to conduct ceremonial rituals over the holiday. “Over Chanukah, we are not only providing the soldiers with candles to light the Menorah, but we are also making sure that each base in the Givati Brigade has a Menorah to light,” noted Chavkin.
“We are also giving the soldiers in the brigade a lot of Sufganiyot doughnuts as well,” added Chavkin.
Chavkin told TPS that according to the feedback she has received from soldiers in the brigade, the support provided by FIDF over holidays like Chanukah means much more to the soldiers than the actual gifts themselves.
“What really means a lot to them is that people from all around the world and in particular the United States think about them, share the same values with them and will always stand by them.”