The Lone Soldier Who Isn’t Alone

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When Chaim, a new immigrant from England, showed up at the IDF conscription center, he was not alone. Accompanying Chaim at 7 AM were Shlomit Grayevski, CEO of ALEH Jerusalem, Rachel, ALEH Jerusalem’s special education school principal, teachers, assistants and past and present National Service volunteers.

Back to the beginning . . .

Three years ago, when studying in a yeshiva in Israel, Chaim and friends participated in a Sukkot party at ALEH Jerusalem. Chaim was captivated.

Chaim began volunteering at ALEH Jerusalem, establishing a particularly close relationship with Refael. Volunteering at every possible moment, ALEH Jerusalem gradually became Chaim’s home-away-from-home, playing a significant role in Chaim’s life in Israel.

When his friends returned to England, Chaim stayed on – in Israel and at ALEH. After three years of volunteering, Chaim took the plunge, made Aliyah and enlisted in the IDF. During the interim period before soldiering up, Chaim morphed from volunteer to all-out employee, spending his remaining days as a civilian at ALEH Jerusalem.

A few days before enlistment, ALEH Jerusalem staff, volunteers and National Service girls surprised Chaim with a traditional pre-enlistment party with music, cake and exceptional food. Chaim received an extra-special surprise when his parents joined the party live from London, sending their son off with emotional blessings.

On conscription day, Chaim was accompanied by the supportive family born of his own altruism and caring. “You’re not alone, Chaim,” said Rachel, ALEH Jerusalem’s special education school principal. “You’re still a part of our family, our brother, and we’ll be missing you and waiting for your visits.”

Take care, Chaim. Refael is already waiting for you.