Capt. Neil F., is an active-duty, Navy officer who recently participatedin the FIDF Witness in Uniform Program. 

At a recent parlor meeting, graciously hosted by Alysa and Stephen Kaplan, Capt. Neil shared his experience serving in the Israeli Navy during Operation Protective Edge, and his trip to Poland, visiting the concentration camps as part of the Witness in Uniform Program. 

An impromptu invitation was extended to one of the guests, FIDF supporter and Holocaust survivor, Lou Dunst, who shared his experience surviving four different concentration camps. Lou's moving account was a sobering reminder of this horrific time in Jewish history that made a strong impression on us all. 

Lou ended his moving address by reaffirming "had there been an IDF and secure borders in Israel, the Holocaust would never have happened." He further added that it is everyone's responsibility and it's our job to take care of the soldiers that protect the State of Israel.More about the Witness in Uniform program: "Witness in Uniform" is a unique delegation of Israel Defense Force (IDF) soldiers who visit concentration camps in Europe as part of their training. 

These delegations consist of IDF officers from various units, including reservists. The delegations visit the concentration and death camps, the ghettos and the old communities of the destroyed European Jewry. 

These trips are preceded by extensive studying and preparation that the delegation members undergo, including a tour of Yad Vashem. The soldiers also study Jewish history in general and specifically as it relates to the Holocaust. Each delegation is accompanied by a Holocaust survivor who adds their personal story and contributes their perspective on the Holocaust. 

Commanders on the trip explore issues such as how to incorporate the ethical lessons gleaned from the journey into their leadership as commanders, how to convey the history of the Holocaust to the soldiers under their command and how the Holocaust influences their identities as IDF soldiers.
Also, as part of his 4 day visit to San Diego, Capt. Neil visited and shared his experience in the Navy with several local schools. He visited Soille Hebrew Day, Congregation Beth El, Congregation Beth Israel and the Haverim Club at Bonita Vista High School.

Capt. Neil commented that visiting with the children "is one of his favorite things to do." 

Hebrew Teacher, Alana Michaels said "Capt. Neal captured the interest of my students by describing his position in the Israeli Navy. He engaged the students with his compelling stories, and his embracing approach was genuine and very educational. The curious students were very inspired. Thank you Capt. Neil."

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