FIDF Western Region Sends 21 Children and Siblings of Fallen Israeli Soldiers to Camp Moshava
As part of the Friends of the Israel Defense Force (FIDF) LEGACY Program, 21 children and siblings of fallen Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers visited the United States last week to attend an 11-day recreation camp at Moshava California, an overnight camp in Running Springs.
The bar and bat mitzvah-aged Israeli teens – all of whom have lost a family member who was serving in Israel’s military – experienced an unforgettable American sleep-away camp experience in which they were able to participate in common American camp activities like swimming, archery, rock climbing, horse-back riding, and arts and crafts, and share in more traditional experiences such as Israeli dancing. Six counselors, all of whom have experienced similar tragedies, and two active-duty commanders from the IDF Casualty and Wounded Department accompanied the children to help provide them with comfort and guidance.
The LEGACY participants were welcomed to Los Angeles with open arms and hearts as FIDF Western Region supporters joined for a welcome breakfast at Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills. For his own bar-mitzvah project, Cody Gallagher put together welcome bags for each participant, with camp necessities like towels and sunscreen, and some of his own favorite games, which were immediately put to use upon the group’s arrival at Camp Moshava.
“As an American Jew becoming a bar mitzvah, I feel that is it my obligation to seize any opportunity that would allow me to bond with other Jews and support Israel. FIDF and the LEGACY Program have given me the opportunity to connect with Israeli kids my age and show them that they are not alone,” said Gallagher.
A week after the Israeli participants arrived in Los Angeles, FIDF brought them to Disneyland for a day of fun and adventure. After a full day at the “magical kingdom,” California’s most popular tourist destination, the kids’ smiles captured the notion that Disneyland really is “the happiest place on Earth.”
“FIDF’s LEGACY Program is here to show these precious children how much we appreciate and honor the sacrifices their families have made for the defense of Israel. By bringing them to Los Angeles and giving them everlasting memories, we have been able to bring smiles to their faces, which truly is a priceless gift,” said FIDF Western Region Executive Director Miri Nash.
This unforgettable experience offered these bereaved children the rare opportunity to escape their woes, and quite simply, have fun. Through this experience, the LEGACY participants were able to connect with both Israeli and American peers, thus forming lifelong friendships and unbreakable bonds. The LEGACY Bar/Bat Mitzvah program ensured that these children know that they are never alone and that their beloved family members are always remembered.
The FIDF LEGACY Program supports thousands of widows, orphans, siblings, and other family members of fallen IDF soldiers through a variety of recreational activities, financial support, and life-cycle celebrations.