Friends of the IDF held a Chanukah candle-lighting with IDF combat soldiers serving in the Givati Brigade

Among the participants was Sgt. Matan Bouganim, a Lone Soldier from Agoura Hills, CA

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) combat soldiers from the Givati Brigade gathered on December 1, 2013, together with representatives of Friends of the IDF (FIDF), to light the fifth candle of Chanukah and enjoy some traditional Chanukah donuts. Among the participants was Sergeant Matan Bouganim, a Lone Soldier from Agoura Hills, CA, who moved to Israel to join the IDF and become a combat soldier.

The FIDF Lone Soldiers Program assists soldiers who have left their countries of origin to make Aliyah (move to Israel), join the IDF, and serve the State of Israel. FIDF supports Lone Soldiers financially, socially, and emotionally during their challenging military service.

Over 650 soldiers serving in Givati’s elite units were given a special Chanukah surprise; fleece jackets, hats, and thermal underwear, donated to them by FIDF.

“Chanukah is a holiday that is very special to me. It reminds me of my family back home in LA. This is my third year celebrating Chanukah in the army without my family. As hard as it is not being with my family, I feel at home on this holiday because I have my friends on my team and the kind people of FIDF,” said Sergeant Matan Bouganim.

“When there are people who think of us, especially when they are across the ocean, we feel that our military service is even more meaningful,” said Lieutenant Colonel Gino Eli, battalion commander in the Givati Brigade. “Their gratitude and the letters we received, written by children from various schools in the U.S., raise our morale and reenergize us.”

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