Residents give to Israeli soldiers


Long Island women arrived in Israel on July 21 with their regular luggage and something extra — several heavy duffle bags of supplies for Israeli soldiers.

The women were part of a “birthright for moms” trip to Israel organized by the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP).

Esti Stahler, president of the Long Island mission for JInspire (which works in conjunction with JWRP) explained that women on these trips are usually asked to bring some supplies for soldiers — but this year the haul was enormous.

“There were six duffle bags and each weighed 70 pounds, so you can do the math,” Stahler said.

For the record, the math comes to 420 pounds.

Donations even came from women who had signed up for the trip but decided not to go. Alyce Goodstein, a volunteer at Temple B’Nai Sholom-Beth David in Rockville Centre, was one of those women.

But to show her support, Goodstein sent an email to her temple asking them to contribute supplies. The email asked congregants to donate items like sunscreen, chapstick, socks, T-shirts, energy bars and insect repellent went out on July 16 — five days before the women left for Israel. Goodstein said that congregants gave so much that it took two trips to bring everything to Stahler’s home.

“[I am] really, really touched that people helped so quickly,” said Goodstein.

While in Israel, the women packed the supplies they brought into bags for soldiers.

“We made a mass production line,” said Amy Strauss of Oceanside.

“There were clothes, food and assorted items from many Long Island temples — reform to conservative to Orthodox,” Stahler wrote in an email. “It did not matter. Our women united together to provide encouragement comfort and supplies to the young soldiers in Israel who are bravely defending Israel. There was more ‘mother[ly] love’ than calories packed into each snack bar. Costco must be wondering why we were buying 300 pairs of socks!”

Despite the current danger in Israel, the women on the trip said they never felt they were in harm’s way.

“It was a wonderful time, I felt very safe. I did not feel I was at all in any kind of danger,” said Strauss. Jackie Beck of Rockville Centre said, “We were very well protected.”