Sukkot With IDF's New Recruits

by B. Olidort - ISRAEL

October 16, 2003

It’s Sukkot—a time of joy and spiritual celebrations, and in Israel, where a large percent of the country’s young men are typically away from home serving in the army, Chabad-Lubavitch makes a point of bringing the spirit of the holidays to the soldiers.

Chabad-Lubavitch rabbinical student Mendy Ofen has a personal rapport with many of the army’s seargants, and when he received a call from one at a recruiting base requesting that he come to celebrate with new recruits, Mendy was there within hours.

Arriving with fellow rabbinical students, a mobile Sukkah and enough drink and cake to go around, Mendy was greeted by several hundred soldiers. After a brief synopsis of the rituals and significance of Sukkot, the soldiers observed the mitzvot of lulav and etrog, taking their turns in the Sukkah and raising their cups to say “L’chaim!” Then the dancing began to live music and high spirits.

“It was really uplifting for the new recruits, and gave them a good sendoff as they begin their service in the army,” said Mendy.

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