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Yediot Achronot Article on Special Bar/Bat Mitzvah Celebration

Tuesday, 30 December, 2014 - 2:26 pm

Yediot Achronot - Israel's primery Newspaper published an artilce on a special day of Chesed of a Bar and Bat Mitzvah girl from Miami who came who came to show solidarity with the wounded soldiers from "Operation Protective Edge" and with the soldiers who are still fighting on the front lines at the Gaza Border. 

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A Celebration from Their Hearts 

Julie Fiske and Robert Mort from Miami, Jewish cousins, decided to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah and her Bat Mitzvah in Israel. 

But this was no ordinary celebration. 

During the Gaza War in Israel this past summer, a relative of both of them, Steve Fiske, went to Israel with friends to show solidarity and bring hope and support to soldiers on the front lines and families living in the south who were directly in the crosshairs of the rockets. 

When he came back to Miami, he shared his experiences in Israel with the entire family. 

Julie and Robert, who had been in the midst of planning their B’nai Mitzvah celebrations in Miami, were deeply moved by what they heard. So instead of the big parties their families were arranging, they both told their parents they wanted a change in plans. 

“We want to celebrate with the people in the South of Israel and the soldiers who fought in the war,” they said, and their families readily agreed to this new idea. 

The families contacted us at Chabad's Terror Victims Project (CTVP) and together we set up a new celebration.  In December, Julie and Robert, accompanied by 20 relatives, flew to Israel, and escorted by CTVP, started their mission. 

They began their day at the Sheba Medical Center where they visited soldiers who were wounded in the war and who are still in the hospital due to the severity of their injuries.  They gave each soldier a gift card worth hundreds of shekels to purchase something meaningful to them. The soldiers were very touched by the generosity and caring of these two youngsters. 

From there they proceeded to Sderot, a city very close to Gaza, and often the target of rocket fire. They went to a local toy store and, with the money that had been intended for their celebrations in the United States, Julie and Robert bought thousands of dollars of toys to distribute to the children of Sderot. They even included any child who happened to be in the store at the same time they were there. 

Then Julie and Robert went near the border with the Gaza Strip and held a barbeque for the soldiers who were serving there.  In addition to the delicious dinner, they gave them long underwear to keep them warm during the long nights on the front when it can be very cold. 

Julie and Robert are extraordinary young people who care deeply about Israel, Jewish children, and the soldiers who so courageously defend and protect Israel for all of us. At an age when many young people are still somewhat self-absorbed, Julie and Robert instead gave from their hearts to bring courage, support, and compassion to Israel and her people. 

What they received in return was the everlasting gratitude of the soldiers in Sheba Medical Center and on the front lines, and the children of Sderot. These are gifts they will carry in their hearts for their entire lives. 

Mazel Tov Julie and Robert!  Yasher Koach (Well-Done!)!

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