The dedication ceremony for a new lone soldier house in the city of Lod took place last Wednesday, under the auspices of Osey Chail, a non-profit organization that serves the needs of Israeli lone soldiers who come from haredi families.
The lone soldiers in question are not necessarily from abroad; many are Israeli-born and raised, but their families cut them off once they decided to join the IDF.
"When an ultra-Orthodox young person decides to enlist," Osey Chail explains on its website, "in many cases the parents condemn him and alienate him, disconnect him from the circles of support he had, and sever any connection with him."
The new house was built in partnership with the non-profit Lodaim, which aims to advance "education, welfare, Torah study and reinforcing the Jewish presence in the city of Lod," per the organization's website, as well as the family of fallen soldier Maj. Bar Falah, for whom the house is named - "Bar's House."
The dedication was attended by the Falah family as well as the head of the Lod Municipality, Aaron Atias.
"We have finished many weeks of preparing the house for the lone soldiers in Lod and we are immediately moving on to the next task," read a statement from Osey Chail, "another house for lone soldiers in Mazkeret Batya. Here, too, we are talking about soldiers who come from an ultra-Orthodox home and are cut off from their families."
Maj. Bar Falah and the Falah family
Maj. Falah was a combat soldier, a senior commander in the IDF's Oketz canine special forces unit, and a deputy commander in the Nahal Brigade. He was killed on September 14, 2022, in an exchange of fire with two Palestinian gunmen near the village of Jalama, north of Jenin at the age of 30.
"On the last day of Sukkot, we took [Osey Chail] 40 soldiers...for vacation in the city of Netanya," said Osey Chail CEO Aharon Kurtz explaining how the Falah family came to be involved with his organization.
"Before and during the trip, at least 100 [people] contacted me and sent me an announcement from the Falah family that they are asking lone soldiers and soldiers, in general, to come to their sukkah built in memory of their son, the late Maj. Bar Falah. ... We heard at short notice about the ... story of Bar and the sukkah that the amazing Falah family prepared; we changed from our original plans and arrived at the Falah family home with 40 lone soldiers.
"We arrived at the sukkah, immediately we were greeted with warmth and love by Dalia Falah, Bar's mother. What a light I saw in her eyes when 40 lone soldiers entered her sukkah. We sat around her in a large circle and she together with Bar's sister Galit, told us about [Bar]. ...The nation of Israel has lost one of its best sons. We came to strengthen and left strengthened."