Rosh Hashanah, one of the four Jewish new year celebrations, marks the start of the High Holidays: a triduum of holidays that is followed by the fasting holiday of Yom Kippur and ends with the festival of Sukkot. Like any cycle of Jewish life, it begins with reflection and ends with joyous celebration.
For many of us who will spend Rosh Hashanah at home with our families, we will wear our newest and best clothes, and adorn our tables with the finest linens. We shall put apples and honey on the table for our loved ones to share, and will partake in a sumptuous meal symbolic of our aspirations for the year ahead.
But for more than 160,000 members of the Israel Defense Forces, the High Holidays shall be spent in the company of their comrades, most of them on duty to keep us safe as we celebrate the holidays. They spend a significant time on the field, whether keeping our borders safe or our streets secure from those who mean us harm.
Perhaps part of our Elul reflections is trying to find a meaningful way to wish our protectors the best of the coming year. With the recent killing of Major Bar Falah in a terrorist encounter, we have been almost compelled, out of love, to honor the sacrifices of our beloved soldiers beyond Yom HaZikaron, and to make the honoring of their memories a daily thing for the people of Israel.
PizzaIDF and a history of serving our troops
Over the years, PizzaIDF has been making Rosh Hashanah extra special for our troops. Since the early 2000s, PizzaIDF has been sending out pizzas, falafels, doughnuts, and, in some cases, non-food items to IDF soldiers. PizzaIDF has sent out more than 10,000 pizzas and thousands more food items to soldiers all across Israel since 2002.
Founded by Australian-Israeli photographer and entrepreneur Menachem Kuchar in 2002, PizzaIDF has been at the frontlines with IDF soldiers since Operation: Defensive Shield in 2002. It began as a local effort supporting troops serving in his area with food and drinks; he encouraged his neighbors to gather food and supplies for soldiers deployed in their area.
But Menachem’s advocacy for the IDF began in the early ’90s. He began one of the first organized Mishloach Manot outreach for IDF soldiers, ensuring that their Purim away from their families remains meaningful and special.
Elisha Kuchar and his wife, South African-Israeli lawyer Tanya Kuchar, have taken over the reins of the initiative since 2012, and the organization’s outreach, both to donors and beneficiaries, has dramatically increased. For Rosh Hashanah last year, PizzaIDF sent over 400 packages to the IDF, way more than the average 70-100 packages they send in prior years.
What’s inside an IDF care package?
For Rosh Hashanah, PizzaIDF sends out High Holiday Care Packages to soldiers, which contain sweets, candy, and honey-flavored cakes to wish our soldiers a sweet new year. It has been a time-honored tradition at PizzaIDF to share the hope and renewal that Rosh Hashanah brings to military personnel.
What’s in store this year?
This year, PizzaIDF shall mark its 20th anniversary with its largest High Holiday delivery ever: to send 1,000 High Holiday Care Packs to IDF soldiers between Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot and widen the scope of delivery to as many troops as possible. This drive is open to everyone who believes, in and supports, the noble work of the Israel Defense Forces. Starting at $25.00 per soldier (₪ 86.00 per soldier), supporters can send High Holiday Care Packages and wish the IDF a sweet new year.
Bid our beloved soldiers a sweet new year this Rosh Hashanah by getting a small section of IDF soldiers’ High Holiday Care Packages. You can order here or visit our website at https://pizzaidf.org/shop. Experience the joy of giving and sending love to our troops.