July 17, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 17, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Bergen Community Supports IDF Troops

Teaneck—Rabbi Tomer Ronen, Rosh Ye­shiva of Ben Porat Yosef Yeshiva Day School in Paramus, flew to Israel recently with his wife, Deganit, carrying 12 extra suitcases full of do­nations for Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers. Their mission is a very personal one. Their son, David, is serving in the elite Tzanchanim (Par­atroopers) division. Stationed in Gaza, David has been out of communication with his fami­ly since July 17th.

Rather than sit still and contemplate the possible implications of David’s silence dur­ing Operation Protective Edge, the Ronens de­cided to do something, both to find out about their son’s well-being and to support other sol­diers during this challenging period of con­flict. “As the father of a soldier, this is one of the hardest times,” Ronen said. “Since last Thursday there has been no contact. It’s very difficult to have no clue what’s happening, so it helps our family to be busy and take action.”

After speaking with his son’s unit com­mander and inquiring about what he and his wife could bring David’s fellow troops, Ronen emailed and posted details to the BPY school community as well as to the Bergen communi­ty-at-large, describing his family’s poignant sit­uation and listing necessities the soldiers could use: underwear, undershirts, and socks. The email/Facebook post reads in part:

“For the last few weeks we have been glued to our televisions, phones, and newspapers fol­lowing the news out of Israel…Last week Da­vid’s unit entered Gaza and we are praying for their safe return home. We have decided that we can no longer sit in our home in Teaneck waiting with bated breath for word…We are leaving for Israel in hopes that we will land and peace will have already come. If not, at least we may be blessed with the opportunity to see David, hug him tight and share some very spe­cial time together.”

Response to the post was instantaneous and beyond anything the Ronens could have anticipated. In under 48 hours they received donations of enough brand new T-shirts, socks, and underwear to fill 12 suitcases, as well as $13,000 for the unit. “I thought we’d get a bag or two,” Ronen said. “The outpouring of gener­osity was unbelievable, from people we don’t even know. Contributions poured in from across the Bergen County community as well as Riverdale, and from families at BPY and SAR Academy (where Rabbi Ronen worked previ­ously). I had to send out an e-mail asking peo­ple to please stop as we couldn’t carry any more!”

“We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness and generosity from our incredi­ble community and the amazing people we are surrounded by.” Ronen consulted with El-Al Israel Airlines about the extra luggage he was bringing, and they promptly agreed to fly the cargo without charge. In fact, donations from the county have been so substantial that the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey has received notice from EL AL requesting that all collections be stopped because the over­whelming response has outpaced the ability to handle the good will.

Grown-ups weren’t the only local resi­dents to rush to help the IDF soldiers who risk their lives daily to protect Israel. “Monday af­ternoon, a student in the nurs­ery at Ben Porat came over to me and told me she had made a lemonade stand to raise mon­ey for the soldiers,” said Ronen. “She handed me an envelope. It contained $625.”

Said Ronen, “‘Thank you’ is not even enough to express the emotions we are feeling from these acts of chesed. We are confident that we have more than sufficient amounts of these items for the chayalim. Our contact in the IDF has assured us that there is still plenty more to be purchased for the troops. May Hashem to continue to watch over all our brave chayalim and safeguard Eretz Israel from harm.”

It seems his community in Bergen County couldn’t agree with him more.

By Lisa Matkowsky

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles