Benjamin Rybnik with his friends
Benjamin Rybnik with his friends Avnei Hefetz youth

Youths from Avnei Hefetz community in Samaria threw a surprise birthday for Benjamin Ribnick, a lone soldier from Minnesota now serving in the IDF's elite Golani Brigade.

Ribnick celebrated his 22nd birthday thousands of miles from his friends and family. Prior to the big day, Rybnik's mother contacted Yigal Dilmoni, head of the Yesha Council and a resident of the community, and asked him to throw a surprise party for the young soldier.

Dilmoni had youths from his hometown as well as Bnei Akiva instructors come up with a plan for the occasion, and alongside other members of the community, the group decorated the local soccer field, hanging balloons and other decorations, and made a special cake in honor of the big day.

Dilmoni coordinated with Ribnick's army commander, who took him along on a drill that had the soldiers passing through the soccer field.

When the group arrived at their destination, the young soldier was surprised to see his friends singing birthday songs and toasting their companion. Ribnick was moved to tears, sharing the story of his personal journey, and how after making Aliyah to Israel and studying at for a business degree, he volunteered to enlist in the IDF.

The party concluded when Ribnick's friends presented him with a touching letter from his mother, congratulating him on his birthday and wishing him success in his new journey.