6 months ago


Dear friends of the

Dear friends of the IDFWO, Tami Shelach (IDFWO) It began when a military car pulled up to my house. When a representative of the IDF got out of the car and approached me, I already knew. My husband was gone. My late husband, Lt. Col. Ehud Shelach, was flying over Suez when Egyptian forces shot his plane down during the Yom Kippur War. Suddenly, I was alone with two children and my life was forever changed. Eventually, I was able to dig deep within and find inner strength and I decided I wanted to help others going through grief. I volunteered in the IDFWO Widow Adopts a Widow programme, which pairs “veteran” widows with other widows who recently lost a spouse. The programme aims to help widows be sources of comfort for each other and believes that even the smallest gestures count; showing up, offering empathy, and talking to someone who understands what one is going through, can really help ease another’s pain. Each week I visited three widows. Over a cup of coffee, we would talk about everything and nothing. I would take them away from their lonely homes and they would take me away from my desolate thoughts, and the comfort in this routine convinced me that no widow should ever walk the journey of grief alone. As for myself, the journey was not an easy one. However, with time, and lots of support, I remarried a wonderful man with four children, and become the proud mother of six, who each served in the IDF. Today, as the Chairwoman of the IDFWO, I’ve made it my mission to comfort and stand by widows and orphans left behind by fallen soldiers. At the IDFWO, we strive to make the journey a little less arduous, a little less lonely, and a little less hard to navigate. IDFWO employees and volunteers help those who lost a spouse or parent in the security forces through life’s most profound challenge: processing and coming to terms with grief. Through excellent partnerships with the Ministry of Defense, Friends of the IDF, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, and generous donors we are able to bring a little light into the darkness. We believe in supporting the families of the fallen, and in this magazine you will be able to read about the array of programmes we offer to ensure that the sacrifices of the men and women dedicated to keeping Israel safe were not in vain. As we celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday, we believe it is important to reflect on the sacrifices made to get here. So while we commemorate this somber occasion on National Remembrance Day, and mourn the losses, it is important to recognise that grief is not limited to 24 hours. Grief is felt around the clock and needs year-round support, so these widows and orphans can learn to live full lives despite the tragedy that befell them. It brings tears to my eyes when I think of the moments of joy the IDFWO gives to the children and the vital support given to mothers who have become single parents overnight. I am 100% committed to this cause, and after reading about our work in this magazine, we hope you will be too. Thank you for your continued support. It is something the entire team at the IDFWO and IDF widows and orphans, will always treasure. Sincerely, Tami Shelach IDFWO, Chairwoman 4 IDFWO MARCH 2018

Dear friends, President Reuven Rivlin (Wikimedia) From Jerusalem, I send greetings to all those who support and participate in the wonderful efforts of the Israel Defense Forces Widows and Orphans Organization. The extra support, help and caring the IDFWO brings to those many thousands whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of their country, the State of Israel, the homeland of all the Jewish People, is a wonderful example of the sense of mutual commitment and responsibility shared by all the members of our nation. Your help, that enables them to navigate more easily significant events in their lives, such as Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations, weddings, transitions to new educational environments, has immense value. Although nothing can remove the pain of their loss or return them to the time before that moment when everything changed for them – the way they live, their plans for the future, their dreams, their aspirations – the help and support they receive from the IDFWO can help make their lives a little easier. Perhaps even more importantly, it brings them the extra comfort of knowing that their fellow Jews overseas are thinking of them and in some way sharing their pain. On behalf of the State of Israel, I thank you all for your efforts, your commitment and your generosity that is such a wonderful fulfilment of our partnership. Sincerely, Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin President of Israel IDFWO MARCH 2018 5