April 15, 2024
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April 15, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Operation Hug: Thank You!

Reunion with Hillel, a reservist in the IDF, after almost two months.

Some of you might recognize my son Hillel as the soldier in the video that went viral, returning to Israel to join the 300,000 soldiers that banded together overnight to defend the people of Israel from further harm. They had no time for grief or to stop and think to try and understand what had happened — they all just jumped up and said — I’m in.

“We will do.

And then we will understand.

And then we will delve.

But first — we will act.”

Sometimes life necessitates action first and discussion later.

A couple of weeks into their missions, I had an overwhelming feeling of needing to give Hillel a hug. Those of you who know me well, might think, “Vicky, you’re a friendly and warm person. You hug everyone. What’s this overwhelming need you have?”

This was different. Hillel has been in Israel for several years now. Sure, I always want to see him and hug him. There was something pulling at my heart and demanding me to find a way to go. Just do it. Stop overthinking and needing to understand everything.

As it turns out — I am not alone. I am every parent. Hillel is every soldier. We knew at the onset of this war we were all in this together. One heart, one nation.

Yes. Literally, yes.

Nefesh B’Nefesh, together with JNF-USA and Friends of the IDF (FIDF), is acting on behalf of every heart of both every parent and every soldier. They created a mission called Operation Hug. If your child is in a combat unit, they are actually sponsoring one parent to do what my heart had been demanding of me to act on — hug my child!

They acted — and they also understood.

They understood the impact of just traveling so far for just a few moments in time mustn’t always follow strict logic. They understood that sometimes, the heart speaks volumes of truth that elude proper expression through words.

This isn’t a “Just Do It” moment, like in the Nike commercials. This is an organization which transformed a nuanced understanding of a parent and a soldier, and of a nation’s overwhelming needs, into purposeful action.

Thank you, Nefesh B’Nefesh for this very special time and putting into action the sentiments and feelings of thousands, bringing our nation even closer together.

In spirit, in mind and now, physically, through Operation Hug.


Vicky Krief is the mother of three children and lives in Edison.

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