High School Students Bring Purim Cheer to IDF Soldiers Through LIBI

This Purim, LIBI USA is continuing its tradition of spreading holiday cheer by delivering thousands of festive baskets to Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers, with the help of some very motivated high school seniors.

LIBI, the official fund of the IDF, in conjunction with Aharai! (Follow me!), a high school social educational organization that develops young leadership and promotes social involvement with youth from lower socio-economic homes, development towns, absorption centers, boarding schools and shelters, have mobilized their participants to collect the Purim treats from the general public and personally deliver them to the soldiers.

“Purim is a very festive holiday,” explained Dr. John A.I. Grossman, Chairman of LIBI USA. “It is apropos that our dedicated soldiers receive some Purim cheer, especially in light of the daily terror attacks that Israel is dealing with.”

The Aharai! program, which LIBI funds, is encouraging about 6,000 of its participants to collect donations of non-perishables from the general public to donate to IDF soldiers.LIBI Purim HS program1 The students then arrange the gifts in festive Purim baskets. They will assemble and personally deliver 40,000 packages to soldiers on army bases and outposts.
The program is coordinated with Israeli security as well as army bases, as it is considered important for the youth to experience their good deeds in action. Additionally, exposing the students to direct interactions with soldiers helps to alleviate some of the common fears these troubled youth have towards the IDF.

“Without this program, many of these students would not succeed in the Israeli army,” said Grossman. “Aharai! counselors are actually soldiers who have completed their Israeli army service in combat units. They now volunteer their time to guide these youth on a more positive path.”

The Purim project is one of its many successes. Sixty buses will transport students to over one hundred army bases across Israel to deliver the Purim treats.

“IDF soldiers are truly appreciative when they receive an outpouring of love and support,” noted Grossman. “As our soldiers spend the Purim holiday protecting us from our present-day enemies, we pray that God will overturn their evil decrees as in days of old. At least we can do our part to bring some festive Purim cheer to soldiers who must serve during the holiday.”

LIBI USA Welcomes New Board Member Karen D. Hurvitz

LIBI, established in 1980 to assist the Israel Defense Force (IDF) with meeting the educational, religious, medical and recreational needs of Israeli soldiers, has added a new member to its USA Board of Directors.

Though notably a busy woman, Karen D. Hurvitz is honored to help serve the IDF through joining the Board of Directors. “My commitment to the IDF and LIBI comes from my support of Israel and its soldiers, who pledge to protect not only Israelis but also Jews in danger all over the world,” she said.

Hurvitz resides in Massachusetts. She runs a law firm which concentrates on criminal defense, mediation, and general trial practice in the state and federal courts, and also teaches trial skills to attorneys and law students.

Her awareness of the importance of supporting Israeli soldiers started through her sons’ day school. “Their school had a partnership program with the Leo Baeck School in Haifa,” she explained. “In eighth grade, they spent two weeks in Haifa with Israelis their own age and we welcomed Israelis into our home in the United States.”

Through these relationships, the family became aware that all of their Israeli friends would soon be serving in the IDF. This realization had a considerable impact on the Hurvitz family.

Following several visits to the Holy Land, Hurvitz developed friendships with women who had served in the army and whose children were now serving. This resulted in a new appreciation for life in America, as well as concern for the situation in Israel. “The ease of life in America can unwittingly obscure the reality that faces Israelis every day,” she noted. “Israel is at a constant risk of destruction unless it remains vigilant and strong.”

Her two sons recently returned from a Birthright trip where they traveled with Israeli soldiers for 3 days – definitely the highlight of their trip – which brought home yet again the differBooks on shelves in the Law Library of the Old Mississippi State Capitol building (1839) at 100 S State Street in Jackson, Mississippi on January 14, 2014. This photograph consists of three exposures blended together to create a high dynamic range (HDR) image.ence between the life of young Americans and their Israeli counterparts.

Hurvitz is looking forward to helping LIBI USA by volunteering her time to the non-profit. “There is something uniquely special about this organization,” she said. “Over 95 percent of donations go directly to help improve the quality of life for IDF soldiers. That is something to be proud of.”

Although LIBI supports a wide range of programs, from sports clubs, Jewish awareness, bereavement groups, providing winter-wear and more, their lone soldier program is particularly close to Hurvitz’s heart. “I have a friend who immigrated from France to Israel when he was 23 and joined the IDF,” she explained. “Although he was proud to be an Israeli soldier, he missed his family and the emotional support they could provide. The lone soldier program really helped him get through his immigration successfully.”

Hurvitz ended by expressing her gratitude to Israel and its defenders. “Helping to support Israeli soldiers keeps Israel safe and strong and allows Israel to remain the unconditional home to the Jewish people.”