ISRAELI PARATROOPERS VISIT CHICAGO AREA SURROUNDING ISRAEL’S INDEPENDENCE DAY
CHICAGO, May 18 – Eight paratroopers from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) visited the Chicago area last week aspart of a delegation organized by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) surrounding “Yom Hazikaron” and“Yom Ha’atzmaut,” Israel’s Memorial Day and Israel’s Independence Day.The Israeli soldiers visited Chicago and North Shore schools, including Highland Park High School, Bernard ZellAnshe Emet Day School, Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Skokie, Chicago Jewish Day School, Rochelle Zell JewishHigh School in Deerfield, Solomon Schechter Day School in Northbrook, Deerfield High School, and localsynagogues to meet members of the community.
The paratroopers, all of whom now serve as commissioned officers in the IDF, spoke about their experiencesleaving high school and joining the IDF to serve and protect the State of Israel, where military service is mandatoryfor men and women.
The soldiers commemorated “Yom Hazikaron,” Israel’s Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror, atBeth Hillel in Wilmette along with Consul General of Israel to the Midwest Roey Gilad and students from theMaccabim School.
On Israel’s 68th Independence Day, the paratroopers visited the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, where they met Holocaust survivors Ida Paluch Kersz and Dov and Shulamit Boros.“ I have tremendous respect for the IDF – it does an excellent job of protecting Israel and Jews around the world,” said Mr. Boros. “The fate of international Jewry is in your hands.”
“I feel like all of you are my grandchildren,” Mrs. Boros added, thanking the soldiers for their service. FIDF brought these soldiers from the IDF’s Paratroopers Brigade, which the FIDF Midwest Region adopted as part of the FIDF Adopt-A-Brigade Program, to the Chicago area to meet some 2,000 local supporters and members of the community. The FIDF Adopt-A-Brigade Program allows supporters to go beyond their donation to get more involved, providing financial aid for IDF soldiers in-need and their families, supporting Lone Soldiers, and fund in ggeneral well-being activities and weeks of rest and recuperation for soldiers of the adopted brigade.
“For Israel’s Memorial Day and Independence Day, we wanted to do something special for our supporters – and for the soldiers of our adopted brigade,” said FIDF Midwest Executive Director Tamir Oppenheim. “What betterway to remember Israel’s fallen heroes and to celebrate Israel’s Independence than with some of the brave paratroopers who fight to defend the Jewish homeland?”
Attached please find some photos from last week’s visit to Chicago and the North Shore.
Photo #1: Israeli soldiers salute as students from the Maccabim School perform “Hatikvah,” Israel’s nationalanthem, in honor of Israel’s fallen heroes, at Beth Hillel in Wilmette on Tuesday. (Photo Credit: Duron StudioPhotography.)
Photo #2: Solomon Schechter Day School students with the visiting soldiers from the IDF’s Paratroopers Brigadelast Friday. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of FIDF.)
Photo #3: Consul General of Israel to the Midwest Roey Gilad with IDF paratroopers at Chicago Jewish Day Schoollast Thursday. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of FIDF.)
Photo #4: Visiting IDF paratroopers with Highland Park High School students last Tuesday. (Photo Credit: Courtesyof FIDF.)
Photo #5: The eight visiting IDF paratroopers in front of “Cloud Gate” at Chicago’s Millennium Park. (Photo Credit:Courtesy of FIDF.)