The Lone Soldier Book Drive
by Jamie Geller
I was just a teenager touring Israel; but, my half-American, half-Israeli group witnessed the start of the Second Lebanon War in Northern Israel on July 12, 2006. It was this war that claimed the life of Michael Levin, a Jewish-American serving in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) as a courageous lone soldier. On leave in America as war in Israel broke out, Michael immediately left home to join his unit and protect the land of Israel.
Lone soldiers like Michael give every Jew a safe place to call home. Upon learning about Michael’s story, I began to realize the courage, bravery, independence, and strength of lone soldiers serving in the IDF. Many leave their familiar lives behind, and join a cause to which they feel morally aligned.
Immersing themselves in a culture and language that may seem foreign, several soldiers join the IDF without any knowledge of the Hebrew language. While a mandatory ulpan class helps them communicate within the army, there is an entirely different set of stressors imposed upon the English speaking lone soldier.
Our lone soldiers need time to unwind. Whether it is by blasting the latest Jay-Z jam, facing their friends in an epic game of Egyptian Rat Screw, indulging in a gluttonous American-style burger, or just the simple pleasure of getting lost in a novel, The Lone Soldier Project of The Israel Forever Foundation (LSP) seeks to assist these soldiers by making these relaxing pleasures readily available. In an effort to do this, we are pleased to announce our Lone Soldier Book Drive, a donation campaign to collect English reading materials for the lone soldiers scattered throughout the Israeli landscape.
Beginning with a Books & Brews happy hour on December 12th in Washington, D.C., this campaign will span across the world in an effort to not only collect books and magazines in any language, but increase awareness about the simple pleasures lone soldiers leave behind -- so many of which we take for granted. Shipping costs area nuisance, but the effort is worth it.
Lone soldiers, like Michael, willingly leave behind the known, the pleasures, and the simplicities of their lives to protect the Jewish homeland. This campaign isn’t just an effort launched to send them reading materials to lone soldiers; It is an effort to ensure the lone soldier understands that around the world, there are people who understand their sacrifices, support them and wish to help them with the little things that remind them of home while serving our nation of Israel.