Purim in Israel is a festive time, but thousands of young Israelis must spend the holiday far from home and family as they defend the national festivities as part of their army service. While their parents, grandparents and siblings celebrate with a joyful meal, costumes and maybe some alcoholic beverages, soldiers throughout the country must remain vigilant and alert to the many security threats facing Israel.
Thousands of these soldiers will receive delicious reminders of the holiday, thanks to Yashar LaChayal. Yashar LaChayal (Hebrew for “straight to the soldier”) is a non-profit organization that provides humanitarian support for Israel’s soldiers. Besides running projects for soldiers from needy families, those injured in battle and the family members of those who were killed defending the country, Yashar LaChayal also helps soldiers celebrate holidays such as Rosh Hashana, Passover, Hanukkah and Purim.
Every Purim, Yashar LaChayal distributes thousands of mishloach manot to soldiers throughout the country. For a soldier serving as far north as the Golan Heights or as far south as the borders of Gaza and Egypt, these mishloach manot may be the only Purim treat which reminds them of home and family, and it means a lot to them.
In addition, last Purim Yashar LaChayal hosted dozens of soldiers at Purim seudot in the organization’s Warm Corner rest stations throughout the country. The organization’s fourteen Warm Corners were built and are maintained so that soldiers on break from patrol will have a comfortable, secure place to rest. Each Warm Corner is stocked with food and beverages, which are free for visiting soldiers. This year, the tradition of hosting soldiers at Purim feasts in Yashar LaChayal’s rest stations will continue!
For more information about Yashar LaChayal, visit: www.yasharlachayal.org.
By Amichai Bacharach