Lone Soldiers From USA Celebrate Thanksgiving In Tel Aviv
At least 200 lone soldiers including immigrants from the United States, will be partaking in a Thanksgiving dinner at the Beit Hachayal in Tel Aviv. A Beit Hachayal (translated as a “soldier house”) refers to the number of hostels in various locations around Israel which host lone soldiers from abroad.
“Thanksgiving is a very family-oriented holiday,” said Marc Rosenberg, Director of Pre Aliyah at Nefesh B’Nefesh. Nefesh B’Nefesh is an organization that helps Anglo immigrants move to Israel and was one of the organizations that sponsored and organized the dinner.
“We wanted to give new Olim who arrived alone, including Lone Soldiers, the opportunity to celebrate this American holiday with other Anglo Olim here in Tel Aviv,” added Rosenberg.
Interestingly, the actual caterer of the dinner is a former lone soldier himself.
“The organizers were looking for a kosher caterer who was aware of the typical American menu for Thanksgiving and they asked me to do it because I was a lone soldier myself,” said the caterer Idan Ianovici to Tazpit Press Service (TPS).
Ianovici was a lone soldier in 2001 at the height of the Second Intifada. He now owns the Vici Deli restaurant in Raanana, a city located north of Tel Aviv where many Anglos are concentrated.
“It’s a real honor to help out and be part of such an initiative,” Ianovici told TPS. “When I was a lone soldier, there was nothing like this back in 2001, and I’m glad that 200 lone soldiers are coming together and celebrating together.”
“It’s also great that there were so many people working behind the scenes to help provide lone soldiers with the opportunity to sit together around the dinner table and have a really good dinner with one another,” Ianovici added.
Before having been asked to cater the Thanksgiving dinner, Ianovici was already extending his services to lone soldiers. “Since I opened my restaurant aside from giving out a good word I have also provided a discount to lone soldiers,” he said to TPS. “Every time a lone soldier comes into our restaurant, we help them out with anything he or she needs.”
While helping lone soldiers is nothing new for Ianovici, he holds his role as a caterer in high regard. “This is the first time I’m taking part in such a big event so this is an opportunity to make what I do for lone soldiers even more scalable,” Ianovici explained to TPS.
Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, and the Jewish National Fund also sponsored the Thanksgiving dinner.