Wire

Video messages provide support to parents of IDF soldiers

They reflect the diversity of individual life situations and Jewish perspectives—from those with children on the front lines to those without.

A sampling of those involved in sending personal messages of support to soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces. Credit: Courtesy.
A sampling of those involved in sending personal messages of support to soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces. Credit: Courtesy.

This is a war like no other for many reasons.

One aspect is the very new and challenging environment for parents of IDF combat soldiers.

On the one hand, parents are inundated with war news on a macro-level, which at the same time often fuels only more concern and worry. On the other hand, on the micro level, parents are most often in the dark for weeks on end with little to no contact or news of their own son or daughter on the front lines.

For this reason and others, as parents ourselves of a son in the Israel Defense Forces, we created a WhatsApp Support Group for Parents with Soldiers on the front lines. This screened and closed group, provides a safe haven for parents to share their emotions, and worries and gain strength from each other, through peer-to-peer support.

The group comprises parents who live in Israel, as well as parents of IDF soldiers who live in the United States, the United Kingdom, South Africa and other places around the world.

Fortunately, given my career background and knowing many key individuals in the Jewish world, I decided to reach out to some and invite them to send a personal video message of support to the parent support group.

The diverse response has been overwhelming, and in itself, an inspiration of the collective unity and love of Am Yisrael.

Through the many gracious messages sent to our WhatsApp Parent Support Group, it became clear early on in the war that Am Yisrael have all become “parents” to our brave chayalim and chayalot.

Already, more than 60 personal video messages have been posted in the group from Rabbi Aharon Kotler of Lakewood Yeshiva to Rabbi Shlomo Katz of Shirat David. From Tamar Yonah to Rebbetzin Slovie Jungreis-Wolff. From international singers and artists such as Matisyahu and Elon Gold to Yaakov Shwekey and Avraham Fried. From academic and political figures such as Alan Dershowitz and former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman to sought-after international speakers such as Rabbi Paysach Krohn, Rabbi YY Rubinstein and Rabbi YY Jacobson. Each individual said he or she not only welcomed the opportunity but felt honored to have been asked.

The video messages reflect the diversity of individual life situations and Jewish perspectives. From those with children on the front lines to those without, the messages are empathetic and heartfelt.

Yes, those on the physical front lines bear the singular physical brunt for the Jewish nation of physical life danger, protecting the physical life of Jews in Israel and the wider Jewish world. And no one but a fellow parent with an IDF child can truly understand what each such parent is going through.

At the same time, we all have critical and diverse parts to play in this physical and metaphysical war, wherever we find ourselves geographically and spiritually, at this seminal time in Jewish history.

This battle can only be won by the collective efforts of Klal Yisrael.

The video messages are a testimony to the achdus and inspiring leaders we are blessed to have at this crucial time in Jewish history. Their words bring not only an enormity of comfort and strength to so many parents of IDF soldiers but also to the Jewish world at large.

May our brave chayalim and chayalot remain protected and after successful missions, return home safe and sound in mind and body.

Am Yisrael Chai!

— Derek Saker

Videos posted in the WhatsApp Parent Support Group for IDF Parents are now posted for all to see at: www.parentsbeyachad.org.

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We as parents of soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces are all B’Yachad (“together”). Through the many gracious messages sent to our WhatsApp Parent Support Group, it became clear that Am Yisrael have all become “parents” to our brave chayalim and chayalot.
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