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Momentum Carries IDF Soldiers into Successful Civilian Lives

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Momentum banner proudly displayed at IDF event

By: Rabbi Ralph Tawil

Awards for families of kids currently serving in IDF

“Abba, I don’t know what to do now that I am out of the army,” my son told me a few months ago. He had just finished his tour of duty as a front-line infantry soldier in Kfir and he was just “hangin’ around” the house for about a month. “In the army, I knew what I had to do all the time. My busy time was all planned out for me; my goals were clear. My time off was for learning and resting. Now I have to decide on my own, and I am stuck. I just don’t know what to do.”

A few days ago, my son attended a 2-day seminar offered by Momentum. “They gave me direction and tools. I now know how to think about my future and I am confident that I will find my path. I also became aware that many soldiers have this same feeling.”

This is precisely why Momentum was founded 10 years ago. The experience of fighting in a combat unit, entering hostile villages, carrying out secret operations on Thursday, being discharged from the IDF on Sunday, and then waking up Monday morning thinking, “now what?”

Many Israeli soldiers have this same feeling.

David Ben-Dayan currently serving in paratroopers the IDF happened to be home on vacation and came to receive his award

Many soldiers delay the decision by traveling to the far east, or other exotic places. Some go back to Yeshiva, some travel the country. Yet, all of them are in a holding pattern— delaying life’s crucial decisions by months or even years AFTER they have just given years to serve their country. “Floating” because they do not know what or even how to decide.

A few days ago, Susie and Alberto Sutton opened their home to host a parlor meeting for this important organization, Momentum. The beauty of the morning was matched only by the exquisiteness of the surroundings and the delectable delicacies served.

The idea for the event came from the dynamic and inspired Lilly Sutton, who mc’ed the event. Susan Franco, was on top of everything down to the last detail, making sure that the event ran smoothly, and that we were all focused on the goal—raising money for this much-needed organization.

Harry Adjmi was the point man for that. Combining flair, values, and not insignificant salesmanship, Harry was the catalyst for the day’s exceeding everyone’s expectation financially as well. The fact that all funds raised were to be matched by the Friends of the IDF was a “money multiplier” brought Momentum’s ambitious fundraising goal of $1 million well within reach.

Rabbi Ralph Tawil reciting the prayer for safety of our soldiers.

Momentum is currently providing direction, training and career counseling to over 9,000 soldiers this year. This number is projected to grow to 12,000 next year. 50,000 soldiers have already benefited from Momentum’s direction in transitioning from soldiering into a successful civilian life.

The high point of the day was the honoring of over twenty young men and women from our community for their current service in the IDF. Each family received a handsome, personalized, olive-wood framed, medallion (my son’s is proudly perched on my desk as I type). A brief slide presentation helped us to understand what our SY kids were doing in the IDF. These young people left the comfort of their homes in America to fulfill a deeply felt obligation to serve the Israeli people in the first Jewish army in 2000 years. They responded to Moshe Rabbenu’s excoriating question, “Will your brothers go to war and you recline here,” with a resounding answer. “We will never allow them to fight and for us to sit comfortably. We will join our brothers and sisters in arms.” (See Bemidbar 32).

Aba Claman of Thank Israeli Soldiers, Ben Milman, spokesperson for Momentum, Sam Shamie

This beautiful event was a fitting tribute to Suzie’s father (Lilly’s grandfather) Joe Aboudi, of blessed memory, who served in the Naval unit of Israel’s pre-state Army, the Palmach. The Palyam wing of the Palmach Museum is named after Joe. Joe’s bravery and dedication to Israel are an inspiration to many of the current soldiers in the IDF.

My younger son will be discharged from the IDF in one month, be’ezrat Hashem. (He is planning on riding a camel from Eilat to Qiryat Shemona when he finishes!) I am glad that there is an organization like Momentum to help him with the transition to civilian life.

IF YOU MISSED THE EVENT AND WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS YOUR GRATITUDE TO ISRAELI SOLDIERS BY HELPING THEM WITH THE DIFFICULT TRANSITION TO CIVILIAN LIFE YOU YOU CAN STILL DONATE BY CONTACTING MOMENTUM.

Thank you for your munificent support of Israeli soldiers through Momentum.

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