Friday, March 25, 2011
Ha Miflaht House - Support for Lone Soldier
…is a place of refuge, a sanctuary, a safe haven. It is a house, but more than a house, it is a home. It is a home that has been set up for the lonely soldiers "hyalim bodedim", and also new immigrants "olim hadashim", that have come to make Israel their new home.
- Ha Miflaht
It is no easy task to pick up and move from one place to another. It is even more difficult when you leave all you know and love in one country and move to another. Not only are you adjusting to a new land, but also language, culture, climate, time, thought process, food, the list goes on, and on. And now, think of doing it alone, all by yourself.
The door has been opened for us to be able to help these young men and women make the transition to Israel a little easier. They come from Russia, USA, Canada, Brazil, Lithuania, Argentina, literally the four corners of the world.
In 2006, we started by opening our home on Erv Shabbat and inviting those we knew, who had no place to go, over for a meal. Since that time Ha Miflaht has steadily grown to serving over 3,000 meals a year; being a home we also have many who stay with us for a day, or several, depending on their schedule. We offer a place they can relax, share with others like themselves, get advice, or just eat and sleep.
These young men and women have become like our children, most are younger than our natural children, and many say we are like parents to them. Like any family, you experience trials, and triumphs, and this is when we really get to know one another. It is especially heartwarming to see them connect, helping each other through the hard places, and helping us too.
There is a real need for this kind of work. Ours is one of a handful of houses in Israel that is focused on lone soldiers. There are over 5000 lonely soldiers in Israel.
Scott and Theresa Johnson lived in Seymour Tennessee, nestled in the hills of the Smokey Mountains. In 2000 the Johnsons arrived in Israel to do volunteer work for the ICEJ. Scott was head of the logistics department for almost four years. This position allowed him a lot of contact with the Israeli public, vendors, contractors, even some military personnel. He did everything, from maintenance, moving personnel, to building the sets used for the ICEJ Feast of Tabernacle celebration. From there he went on to volunteer for JSC, for four years, where his duties involved working with even more Israeli’s, especially Lone Soldiers and New Immigrants. As for Theresa, she did five years of volunteer service with the ICEJ where she headed up the costume department; making 1000’s of garments for the Feast of Tabernacles celebration the ICEJ sponsors each year during Succoth. During these very important years they were making relationships with the Israeli people becoming acclimated into Israeli culture. The Johnsons were gaining a real love for the people in the land, The Lord's Festivals "Leviticus 23: 1,2" and their Holidays. It started slowly, with the implementing of Shabbat into their lives; preparing themselves, their home, cooking something special, and enjoying the festive meals with friends and those who had nowhere to go.
As time moved onward this became an essential part of the Johnson's lifestyle and as the years progressed they had greater opportunities to welcome more people into their home who had no place to spend Shabbat. So, with the love that had grown in them for the people and the culture of Israel, it was a natural progression moving from being someone’s’ volunteer to opening their home regularly for people to come and join them for a Shabbat experience. It has now progressed into being their life’s work. What started as an occasional visitor sharing a meal has turned into like a full time job feeding and shelter the lonely. In 2006, they started by opening their home on Erv Shabbat inviting the lonely whom had no place to go for the Festive meals. Since that time their home “Ha Miflaht” has steadily grown to serving over 3,000 meals a year to the Lonely Soldiers and New Immigrants. And as places the whole world over seem to be experiencing hardship they have every reason to believe that 2011 will see even more Lonely Soldiers and New Immigrants come through their doors.
Letters about Soldiers
Letters from Soldiers
Ha Miflaht \ Contact
From Russia to Israel: Vladimir Milner's Lone Soldier Story