Too often lone soldiers are on their own on Shabbat and Jewish holidays – In small apartments, they sit down on broken couches to eat cold shnitzel and frozen pita for their weekend meals, a far cry from the warm and comforting family environment they had and were used to before. Lone soldiers come from warm families and vibrant communities around the world. The Lone Soldier Center strives to provide both warm meals and a real community for lone soldiers to eat, celebrate, and integrate into Israel with. We work to assure that no lone soldier is lonely or hungry on weekends off! The Center offers Shabbat & Holiday meals for 100-300 lone soldiers in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv sponsored by communities and families abroad and within Israel.
In order to help create a strong, warm community, the Center hosts numerous events each month. These events range from Friday night dinners, social events, and workshops for lone soldiers.
Advisers and mentors are available for various types of questions and help. Our activities also enable soldiers to expand their social networks, helping them with their army service and also enriching their personal lives.
The Lone Soldier Center runs a number of home for lone soldiers, strategically located in warm-communities and in areas of the country where lone soldiers want to live. The Center’s first home was opened thanks to the backing and hard work of the Beit Shemesh community, with additional homes opening each year in Jerusalem and in the suburbs of Tel Aviv.
While many soldiers can turn to family or friends for guidance, Lone Soldiers do not have that same support system. The Center has become a leading source for Lone Soldiers in navigating the often confusing military and governmental systems. The Center does this by providing vital verbal and written information to Lone Soldiers, in order to ensure all soldiers are aware of their rights and privileges.
Whether drafting, currently serving, or recently released, the Center is always there to help – providing information on what IDF service entails and guiding lone soldiers through difficult situations that can arise during their service.
A soldier in the IDF has many milestones and exciting events, such as their draft date and several ceremonies while in service. We help lone soldiers understand what each event means and entails, while also ensuring our lone soldiers are not alone during these important times! Whenever a lone soldier has a ceremony to signify the completion of certain parts of their service, whether it’s basic training or officers’ course, we work to send out people to celebrate with them, just as their family would.
Throughout the year and during special operations, our volunteers visit lone soldiers on base or in their homes to deliver basic needs and appliances.
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Our volunteers and staff work tirelessly to make sure wounded lone soldiers have support, and come to aid when a soldier needs to fly home in times of crisis. Fortunately we are also able to help during positive life-changing events, such as financial help for weddings, since released lone soldiers cannot cover the costs alone.
There are hundreds of Israeli lone soldiers. Some are at-risk youth who come from broken homes, and others come from Ultra-Orthodox backgrounds and are no longer able to receive support of communicate with their families. The Lone Soldier Center created a program geared towards helping these soldiers.