Between midnight and 3 a.m. for two and a half years – Fridays and holidays excluded – Libby Reichman prepared homemade goodies for soldiers manning the roadblock near her home in Efrat. This angel-of-mercy mission ended only when the roadblock was removed in 2005.
“It was totally obsessive,” she related. “In all that time, I only missed one night. If I went to a wedding, I’d take leftover food from the wedding to give them later.”Some nights, the fare was simply tea, coffee, cake and popcorn. Other times, she’d bring fresh pancakes, French toast or other substantial dishes. A bakery in Jerusalem donated unsold items if she picked them up just before midnight.
“I promised the guys that the worse the weather, the better the food,” she said. “I would always thank them for being there to watch over us. And every time a unit rotated out, I would get a gift inscribed to ‘Ima shelanu
’ [our mother], and boys would tell me how they had fought to get the night shift. Those two and a half years meant so much to me; it was a routine that was sort of like tucking my kids into bed.”
Reichman said American Jews might not understand how difficult it is to
maintain a country based on Jewish democratic values. “It’s a constant
challenge, and very complicated,” she said. “Instead of criticizing
what’s wrong, I try to make it better. I believe that the purpose of
Jewish living in Israel is to create a society based on kindness and
justice. The more people there are who are striving to do that, the
closer we’ll come to our dream of what Israel is supposed to be about.”