With reference to “Locals meet to support their ‘lone soldiers,’” Sept. 4, my Israeli granddaughter, Eden Rubin, has just completed her first year of national service, having worked at the Ministry of Absorption in a center where lone soldiers, in addition to new immigrants, come for all sorts of help. During Operation Protective Edge, Israel lost 64 soldiers, three of whom were lone soldiers, young men who had gone to Israel from abroad for the purpose of serving in the IDF. Though they were in the country without family, thousands of Israelis attended their funerals.
Eden told me of an organization in Jerusalem called The Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin, which provides activities and socialization for lone soldiers. It is part of the Lone Soldier Center movement mentioned in the recent NJJN article. She said her experience was an inspiration and that “it is an honor meeting these young men” and a great satisfaction knowing that the organization she worked for can be of help to them. Israel not only welcomes these young men and women who arrive in the country for the purpose of serving in the army but also cares for them as individuals who may seem adrift at times and provides services to allay their “loneness” and to assure them that they are part of a bigger family.