A LIBI Hanukkah in Hebron

On December 21, 2014 and on behalf of LIBI, Rabbi Tuly Weisz of Israel365 and his family spent time visiting with the brave IDF soldiers in Hebron over Hanukkah.

Thanks to the funds generously donated by LIBI donors, the IDF soldiers were able to receive delicious traditional Hanukkah donuts (Sufganiyot) and new winter gear to keep them warm while they are on duty. It was such a great experience to be able to brighten the day for these brave men and women standing guard over one of the oldest and holiest sites in Israel!!

Watch as Gedaliah Blum and Rabbi Weisz deliver winter gear to border guards in Hebron and view pictures below.


Love for IDF Soldiers

IDF Soldiers in Hebron Stunned at Outpouring of Love & Support

By: Ariella Rothschild

Over Hanukkah, LIBI USA teamed up with the 4 the IDF organization to say thanks to soldiers stationed in Hebron in a special way.

With winter in full swing in Israel and nights that can reach frigid temperatures, over 200 soldiers were given sets of much needed winter gear including warm socks, thermals, pants, shirts, gloves, hats and neck warmers, all in army green.

In addition, the soldiers feasted on sufganiyot, traditional Hanukkah doughnuts, in a surprise holiday party thrown in their honor.

This is not the first time LIBI USA and 4 the IDF have worked together. Over the summer, while IDF soldiers were battling in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, the two organizations raised NIS 1 million for soldiers in a grassroots initiative.

Spearheaded by 4 the IDF’s founder Gedalia Bloom, nearly 5,000 pizza pies were ordered by supporters of Israel’s defenders from around the world and sent to the front lines as a small token of thanks for defending the Jewish state.

LIBI USA spokesperson Rabbi Tuly Weisz, who helped hand out the winter gear and doughnuts, expressed his thanks and that of those around the world to the soldiers.

“On Hanukkah, we celebrate the bravery of the Maccabees who stood up to Israel’s enemy. You, soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, are our modern day Maccabees who give so much strength and inspiration to Jews and non-Jews alike,” he told the soldiers.

“When you are on guard duty, cold, hungry and feeling lonely, you should know that you are not alone,” Weisz continued. “There are thousands, if not millions of people who care for you and are thinking of you and praying for your safety.”

Speaking to Breaking Israel News, Weisz explained that “the least we could do is spread Hanukkah joy and provide them with warm clothes and make them a little bit more comfortable.”

After the Hanukkah party, Weisz and Bloom made their way to the Cave of the Patriarchs where they also thanked the soldiers stationed there, guarding the holy site.

The soldiers there were truly shocked at the outpouring of love and support. Commander Wisam Abo Zad, stationed in Hebron and a father of two from Rama Hazzafon, thanked LIBI USA in a Facebook post.

“Thank you for all that you have given to the soldiers that do their job day and night. In order to guard our land, the soldiers go without sleep and risk their lives, even in the toughest conditions,” he wrote.

“They do this with the goal of keeping the people that come to pray at the Cave of the Patriarchs, in the land of our fathers! Thank you for all the warm equipment you brought us. Knowing that people movie box download iPhone care for us will keep not only our bodies warm, but our hearts as well.”

“We really thank you, from all the commanders and IDF soldiers guarding the Cave of the Patriarchs.”


Sufganiyot for Soldier

On the festival of Hanukkah, it is customary to eat foods that are cooked with oil to commemorate the miracle of the menorah, which stayed alight for eight days and nights from one small jug of oil back in the Jewish Temple. This Hanukkah, LIBI USA is partnering with the Yashar LaChayal and 4 the Soldiers organizations to distribute not only sufganiyot, but more importantly, winter gear. Although sufganiyot certainly spread festive joy to soldiers, according to LIBI USA Chairman Dr. John Grossman, winter gear is what the soldiers need most at this time of year.

Over the 1,944 years since the last Temple stood in Jerusalem, the idea of giving gifts to a friend, loved one or neighbor has taken root as part of the traditions of the holiday as well.

When it comes to Israel and the IDF, these two customs have become juxtaposed with an atmosphere of giving back and saying thank you in a very sweet way. Myriads of sufganiyot are handed out to soldiers all across the country by your average Joe as sign of recognition for Israel’s modern day Maccabees.

Sufganiyot are traditional fried doughnuts eaten on Hanukkah. Your most basic sufganiya is filled with strawberry jam and sprinkled with a dusting of confectioners sugar. Chefs around the world have spruced up the simple fried confection with twists such as strawberry jalapeno and pistachio espresso.

A play on the Hebrew word “lispog,” meaning to soak up, the term sufganiyot is a modern day label for these delicious doughnuts. The first Hebrew reference to what we know today as the sufganiya actually appears in 2 Samuel as a “leviva,” the modern Hebrew term for fried potato latkes (pancakes).

Reflecting back on his time in the army during the holiday of Hanukkah, a First Staff Sergeant (res.) who wished to remain anonymous told Breaking Israel News that his base would overflow with sufganiyot during the holiday from all the citizens who came to spread some Hanukkah joy.

“While on duty a few years back, I recall that we received three trays of doughnuts in one shift. The next shift following, we received six more trays from local citizens on top of what the army gave us,” he recalled. “We didn’t have enough soldiers on base to eat all of these doughnut so we began to give them out to cars that passed through our checkpoint! One per person in every car.”

He also bragged about his appetite that day. “People kept coming and dropping off more doughnuts, more food. People came to the door of the base, to the soldiers on duty at checkpoints, even to soldiers in the field, and just gave us food. We had so many doughnuts that we ended up having a doughnut eating contest to see how many we could wolf down over a single 8 hour shift. I won with 17, and I didn’t even get sick, although I did go on a long hike the next day.”

When asked how the Israeli army celebrates the festival of lights, the First Staff Sergeant said, “The IDF takes celebrating the holidays very seriously. We have candle lighting ceremonies on each base, and soldiers whether on duty or off shift are given the opportunity to pray and light the candles, whenever security concerns allow for it. Most units throw parties, and even the higher ranking officers come down to celebrate with the regular soldiers on duty whenever they can.”

The holiday of Hanukkah is one of joy to celebrate the ancient victory of a small army of the Maccabees who defeated the large Assyrian Greek army. While the Maccabean victory happened long ago, Israel is still fighting for its survival each day against those who wish to annihilate the Jewish nation.

This year the IDF hopes for a quiet and joyous festival for all its soldiers as well as the citizens of Israel.