INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY EFFORT FOR IDF SOLDIERS IS UNDERWAY Project SOS Aims To Strengthen Israeli Troops As the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) battle Hamas in an attempt to put an end to Hamas’ terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, an international effort to show solidarity with the Israeli soldiers has begun. Project SOS (Strengthen Our Soldiers) encourages individuals, families, synagogues, and schools throughout the world to send an e-mail message to soldiers of the IDF in order to give them chizuk (strength) during the current military operation in Gaza. Through Project SOS, which is being spearheaded by the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) in New York City, concerned individuals can write messages of hope and inspiration to IDF soldiers and provide them with much-needed strength during this difficult time. Project SOS has been developed in conjunction with IDF Colonel (Reserves) Geva Rapp, who is presently on the front lines in Gaza with thousands of IDF troops under his direct command. Colonel Rapp is also the founder of an Israel-based organization called Panim El Panim (Face to Face), which works to bring together Israelis of varying religious backgrounds, spread the message of unity and spiritual growth, and enhance and strengthen the spirit of Judaism within the army. According to Colonel Rapp, the Israeli soldiers would greatly appreciate messages of chizuk as they encounter difficult and hostile conditions, and a dangerous enemy hoping to defeat them. “Kol Yisrael Areivim Ze Lazeh – every Jew is responsible for one another,” said NCYI Executive Vice President Rabbi Pesach Lerner. “As Jews, we have an obligation to help our fellow Jews whenever possible, especially during their time of need. As the soldiers put their lives on the line to protect our homeland and our nation, the soldiers in the IDF need to hear from us how much we appreciate what they are doing and we need to let them know that we are praying for their safe return. The simple act of sending a soldier an e-mail expressing your thoughts and prayers can give them the strength they need to continue their critical mission.” To participate in Project SOS, e-mail your message of chizuk and strength to [email protected]. In their letters, people are encouraged to let the soldiers know who they are and where they are writing from; articulate their thoughts; and express their gratitude for all that the soldiers are doing to protect the Jewish people. Every letter that is sent to [email protected] will be printed out and distributed to numerous IDF soldiers with the assistance of Colonel Rapp. In addition to Project SOS, the National Council of Young Israel is also working with Rabbi Simcha HaCohen Kook, the Chief Rabbi of Rehovot, Israel, and the Bostoner Rebbe (Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Horowitz) of Har Nof, Israel to lead Operation Tefillah, Torah & Troops, which is a worldwide effort aimed at providing the IDF troops with spiritual support. Each person who takes part in Operation Tefillah, Torah & Troops is paired with an Israeli soldier, and is responsible to say tefillot (prayers), learn Torah, and do special acts of chesed (kindness) on behalf of that solider. To participate in Operation Tefillah, Torah & Troops and receive the name of an Israeli soldier who needs your prayers, send an e-mail to the National Council of Young Israel office at [email protected]. To request the name of a soldier by phone or fax, call the National Council of Young Israel at 212-929-1525 x100, or send a fax to 212-727-9526. For more information about Project SOS or Operation Tefillah, Torah & Troops, call 212-929-1525 x100, or visit www.youngisrael.org.