Children of bereaved families celebrate transition to adulthood

FIDF co-organizes 'Legacy' bar and bat mitzvah trips to the US for children of bereaved families. 'The purpose is to make them smile again.'

Tomi Shtokman, IDF website,

Legacy trip
Legacy trip
FIDF

At the age of 12, Staff Sergeant Uri Shai Hadad, who currently serves as a combat soldier in the Paratroopers Brigade, set out for the “Legacy” delegation of the Friends of the IDF in the United States and Panama (FIDF), in participation with the IDF's Casualties Department of the Manpower Branch.

"As a child, I lost my brother, the late Ben Tzion Hadad, who was killed in a car accident while serving in the Commando Brigade. I arrived at the delegation as part of the program for bereaved siblings and IDF orphans, which gives them a bar or bat mitzvah trip with other children in a similar situation."

"It was the first time I really met someone who had a similar situation to mine," he recalls. "It was very different and new to me, and certainly was engraved in my memory, it was a particularly meaningful experience for me."

The unforgettable trip led Hadad to set out on another trip almost 10 years later - this time as a counselor for a delegation to San Francisco. "When I was a participant in the trip, the counselor’s had not come from bereaved families,” he remembered. “I thought that now I can provide the children I would lead a place of identification, release. I was thinking that now, I can provide the children a place of identification and release," he recalls. “I will be a person who can listen and understand. "

In recent years, FIDF has significantly expanded its support for bereaved families through the "Legacy" program, helping thousands of widows, orphans, siblings and all the bereaved families who lost their loved ones during service in the IDF, and stands by them as they rebuild their family's future.

As part of this program, the organization, in cooperation with the IDF's Casualties Department, has been carrying out unique summer camps in various cities in the United States for groups of children from bereaved families. The trip to the US grants an exciting and unique experience, and is guided by soldiers in active service from bereaved families, and senior officers in the Casualties Department.

"These children have lost what is most dear to them and the reality of their lives has changed in the moment," says Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir, FIDF National Director and CEO. The purpose of the trip is to make them smile again, to get out of their daily routine in Israel, to strengthen and be strengthened in the company of those in a similar situation - others of their age who also experience the bereavement and pain."

"We and our supporters are filled with happiness when we see them smile and enjoy themselves. For our supporters, this is an exciting and empowering experience that clarifies the complex reality of life in Israel, and the price we are required to pay in order to continue to exist as a free people in a hostile and complex environment."


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