Great in Uniform
by Nurith Cohen
Two and a half weeks ago on a Shabbat morning Deanna approached me asking whether I would like to speak at the Ladies Tikkun.
That Shabbat Woodside Park Synagogue hosted the Plaskows, Rev. Michael and Phyllis Plaskow.
At the amazing seudah which included more than a hundred members of our shul Michael Plaskow spoke with great passion about the State of Israel and its many achievements.
I remembered seeing recently a short presentation about a unique project in Israel called "Great in Uniform", which was set up 10 years ago. It made a big impression on me. The purpose of the project is to integrate young people with various degrees of disabilities into the Israeli Defence Force or IDF for short, first as volunteers and then as soldiers in every aspect, including the simple soldier's ID and uniform as part of their preparation for an independent life and their integration into Israeli society.
The young people volunteer for a period of 4 years. Coming out of special education gives the young people very few options in life. They feel a failure.
This project is so worthy. It is benefiting the youth in terms of national security, educationally and socially. The project is a stepping stone for an adult independent life.
Being of service they become part of the regular army, eating and working with the other soldiers.
This project helps the regular soldiers as much as the disabled ones, in forming friendships and understanding each other. It is a dream come true.
It makes their families so proud and emotional when they receive their beret and wear it with pride. At the end of this short presentation I could not help myself I had tears in my eyes. I thought is there another army in the world that has adopted a similar project of chessed?
What a Country!!!
On Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel's Independence Day celebration organised by the Z.F. The Zionist Federation, one of the participants who came on stage was Claire Lomas, a 34 year old former event rider and Mono Skier, who after a riding accident was left paralysed from the waist down.
Claire's life has changed for ever. She has been confined to a wheelchair since being injured in a fall, colliding with a tree at Osberton Horse Trials in 2007. She never thought that she will be able to walk again. Claire heard that Israel has invented the ReWalk, a Robotic Suit, which helps paraplegics to stand up and walk.
She insisted on acquiring this amazing equipment, which enabled her to complete the 32nd Virgin London Marathon in 17 days raising £143.000 for her charity.
Telling her story there was no dry eye in the audience.
Israel's inventions help to rebuild shattered lives.
What a country!!!
Since writing this talk I saw an Israeli T.V. documentary showing an Israeli army field hospital on the Israeli Syrian border, on the Golan Heights. The hospital is equipped with an A & E ward, intensive care unit, an operating theatre and an X ray machine. It treats exclusively Syrian casualties from the civil war.
Asking the patients do you trust the Israelis? Their reply is Assad does not care about us, but the Israel does.
Watching the end of the programme I thought what an army, what a people, what a country!!!
How great is it to wear the army uniform?