While Americans across Israel chowed down on turkey latkes and cranberry sufganiyot Thursday night, lone soldiers originally from the land of the free also got to join in the festivities at a number of parties organized in their honor.
The American Jewish Committee, Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin all held traditional meals to celebrate the once-in-a-lifetime convergence of the two holidays.
Fifty lone soldiers and over 200 professionals attended the Nefesh B’Nefesh event at Tel Aviv’s Goren Synagogue, held in conjunction with White City Shabbat, a community development group that hosts Shabbat meals. The group was joined by Tel Aviv deputy mayor Asaf Zamir.
“We are excited to have teamed up with White City Shabbat on this exceptional holiday event. This was a great opportunity for young professionals and lone soldiers to enjoy a traditional festive meal and express their thanks together with fellow immigrants from around the country,” said Benji Davis, events and programs coordinator for Nefesh B’Nefesh, which facilitates immigration to Israel from North America.
In Jerusalem, lone soldiers were joined by American-born Knesset Member Dov Lipman and paralympic rower Moran Samuel, for a feast of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and, of course, latkes at the AJC’s office.
“To be able to celebrate Thanksgiving and Chanukah as an American and as an Israeli with AJC is a true pleasure. Although I miss my family back in America, it’s been amazing to create a new family here in Israel. I sincerely look forward to celebrating with AJC again in the future,” Ezra Friedman, a combat medic in the Armored Corps, said in a press release.
The Lone Soldier Center in Tel Aviv also held a celebration, in conjunction with the Israel Forever foundation.
The center is named for Michael Levin, a lone soldier originally from Philadelphia who was killed in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.