Jerusalem, Israel - Sept. 24, 2020 - In Jerusalem, Israel near the Machane Yehudah Market, The Michael Levin Base was looking for ways to make this Rosh Hashanah special for lone soldiers and lone b'not sheirut. It is hard to imagine during these uncertain times of COVID-19, the additional hardships for the young men and women serving in the IDF and volunteering in Israeli schools and organizations, alone without families nearby to support them.
The Base distributed over 240 meals on Erev Rosh Hashanah. Each holiday package included chicken, meat, and fish, wine, challah, fruits and vegetables, eggs, desserts and simanim along with apples and honey.
On Rosh Hashanah The Base initated the first synagogue created for lone soldiers and lone b'not sheirut, by lone soldiers and lone b'not sheirut. The Base realized that there was a void that needed to be filled. Many lone soldiers and lone b'not sheirut want to have a location where they can daven on Shabbat and the Chagim, a space where they feel comfortable. A place where they know they are understood and made to feel at home.
Plans were made.
However, getting closer to Rosh Hashanah, more and more restrictions were being put into place because of the increasing coronavirus regulations. The Base almost decided against opening up on Rosh Hashanah, but the mitzvah outweighed the pandemic difficulties.
A Sefer Torah arrived to The Base. BJL was told, "We were honored and privileged to use a Sefer Torah that was dedicated in memory of fallen lone soldier Max Steinberg z"l. With Max's parent's blessing, The MIchael Levin Base had the opportunity to use this special Torah. What can be more befitting than using a Sefer Torah in memory of a fallen lone soldier by lone soldiers?"
Unfortunately, due to the corona restrictions, the services had to start small. Very small, with exactly 10 men and 6 women. But the size was not important. All those present felt and understood how truly special was the orignal Rosh Hashanah minyan.
The Base plans on having services for Yom Kippur and Succot, depending on and according to the changing government regulations and restricitions. After the Chagim, The Base plans to continue with weekly Friday night services.
"Hopefully, after Corona, we will be able to expand and welcome more and more lone soldiers and lone b'not sheirut to pray at The Base. We certainly know the need is there and we at The Base will be honored to help them all."
History was made this Rosh Hashanah at The MIchael Levin Base.
The Base held its first events on Purim, with a full house for megilah reading. However, as the coronavirus pandemic spread large events became impossible. Over the spring and summer volunteers and The Base staff endeavored to help with providing Shabbat meals, as host homes were not available and large gatherings prohibited.