Grapevine: Lone soldier no more

Some 'lone soldiers' may be orphans, or grew up in haredi families and broke away, or have parents who abandoned them in infancy for one reason or another.

Aryeh Deri and Ariel Atias (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Aryeh Deri and Ariel Atias
NOT ALL lone soldiers are people who have come from abroad to join the IDF. Many are Israelis who may be orphans, or who grew up in haredi families and broke away, or whose parents abandoned them in infancy for one reason or another.
Paratrooper Haim Lev-Tov is a lone soldier in the latter category.
Seriously wounded in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, he was hospitalized four weeks ago at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Mount Scopus. His story was broadcast on Radio Yerushalayim, after which he received a flood of visitors who came bearing gifts. But the highlight was last Friday, when some 150 people showed up, wheeled him out to the garden, plied him with food and other gifts, and created lots of music and laughter as they celebrated Kabbalat Shabbat with him.
The mass visit was organized by Radio Yerushalayim’s Elad Amedi, who promised Lev-Tov this was not just a one-time embrace, but that the group would adopt him because he had fought for all of them.
UNITED HATZALAH, the rapid-response organization which deals with every kind of medical emergency beyond clinics and hospitals, has expanded its outreach to Holocaust survivors, many of whom are shut-ins living under rocket fire in southern communities. As part of its Ten Kavod (Give Respect) program, the organization is sending trained volunteers on weekly house calls to monitor this sector of the population, to provide any needed medical attention and allay any fears.
For many of these survivors, the recent sirens and explosions bring back old fears and flashbacks to their experiences during the Holocaust, reigniting traumas they experienced more than 70 years ago, says United Hatzalah founder and president Eli Beer. “Our visits are designed to identify and monitor deteriorating medical conditions, to ensure that prompt and effective treatment can be implemented before irreversible or fatal damage occurs.”
The expanded program has been facilitated by a recent grant from the Claims Conference. Ultimately, United Hatzalah plans to reach out to all elderly people suffering under the threat of Hamas, not only to Holocaust survivors.
SHAS WAS well-represented Sunday at the funeral of attorney and former MK David Glass, who died on Saturday after a prolonged illness. Following a service at the Sanhedria Funeral Parlor, Glass was buried on the Mount of Olives.
Glass, who began his political career with the National Religious Party, rising to the position of chairman of its Jerusalem branch as well as becoming a member of the party’s central committee, was elected to the Knesset in 1977 and served for only one term. When the NRP adopted a more right-wing policy, Glass in 1984 switched his allegiance to Labor, but did not feel comfortable in a nonreligious political environment. He subsequently joined Shas, where he became an influential figure and the confidant of Shas spiritual mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Glass was instrumental as a Shas coalition negotiator, and remained a respected member of the party until his dying day.
WHILE INCOMING tourism suffered a severe setback due to the Gazan conflict, Christian pilgrims have flooded hospices in Jerusalem’s Old City and will continue to do so until the end of August. The reason: August 15, according to the Gregorian calendar, was the Feast of the Assumption; according to the Julian calendar, observed by Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Feast of the Assumption will take place on August 28. It will be preceded by a predawn ceremony on August 25, when spiritual leaders bearing the icon of the Virgin Mary will head a procession from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to Mary’s Tomb, where two days later a burial ceremony will be held, after which the icon will be returned to the church.
Masses of Christian women, many of them barefooted, attend the Assumption ceremonies, with pilgrims coming from many countries. In recent years, there have been ever-increasing pilgrims from Russia and other countries previously under the Communist yoke.