Your family, school, shul or community group wants to provide supplies to an IDF unit serving on the front lines in Israel’s war with Hamas.
It’s an admirable goal. But along with the challenges of fundraising, there are a few practical puzzles—the logistics of getting the funds or gear to the right person(s) in Israel, quickly, and determining what precisely the IDF unit you want to support really needs.
Fortunately, a new group in Israel can relieve groups outside Israel of these two practical puzzles.
Tzachi Israel was formed in mid-October by two 20-year-olds who are attending Reichman University in Herzliya, while also working, and live in a community centered around a Mizrachi JLIC (Jewish Life on Campus). Chanan Burstein, originally from Wesley Hills, New York, made aliyah after completing high school and is now 24 years old, working in cyber security. Sammy Zemel, originally from Teaneck, moved to Chashmonaim with his family when he was 9 years old. He is now 26 and works as a sales development representative.
Burstein and Zemel had both served as combat soldiers in the IDF and realized they had a good sense of the specific needs of IDF soldiers in a war setting and the best places in Israel to get those goods. They also had excellent personal networks, enabling them to contact people in different units across the country, fine-tune their understanding of what each unit needs, and determine the quickest way to get the supplies to the soldiers.
They established Tzachi Israel, which is an acronym for Tzivati Chiroam YeShuvi—Residential Emergency Teams—reflecting their goal to support these units all over Israel, to ensure all towns and communities are well protected. And they recruited a few friends to help—Zach Brown, originally from Toronto, who had learned at Yeshivat Lev HaTorah; Yossi Sheldon, originally from England, who had learned at Yeshivat Lev HaTorah and made aliyah in 2018; Jacob Churchbourne, a graduate from North Carolina State University who coaches youth lacrosse in Ashkelon; and Avi Hornstein, who made aliyah from Allentown, Pennsylvania with his family in 2008 and owns his own business (Hornstein advises on legal and certain business aspects of Tzachi Israel). Burstein and Zemel oversee imports and connections with manufacturers.
Tzachi Israel is a nonprofit, which works with groups inside and outside Israel to support IDF units and provide for their needs in five areas—tactical gear, comfortable garments, hygienic products, first aid, and other army essentials. Tzachi Israel charges no fees to the fundraising groups or IDF units they work with.
Tzachi has direct connections with military manufacturers in the United States, which enables them to secure a variety of supplies that are of the highest quality and might not be available (or available for bulk orders) in Israel.
According to their website, thus far Tzachi Israel has:
- raised over $200,000.
- assisted 80 IDF army bases.
- driven 9,000 miles to deliver supplies.
- dodged 15 rockets along the way.
Tzachi Israel is affiliated with the Zichron Tzvi Elimelech fund, which makes all contributions to the organization tax-deductible. As Burstein stated: “We have no overhead, our nonprofit is 100% volunteer, and there’s no one getting a paycheck. So all the donations we get go directly to the soldiers and the equipment we purchase for them.” They deliver supplies to IDF units personally and consult with them on future needs.
Harry Glazer is the Middlesex County Editor of The Jewish Link. He can be reached at [email protected]