In the heart of JLIC Tel Aviv’s tight-knit community lies a hero, a member of the esteemed 669 Search and Rescue Unit, who graciously allowed us to share an evening with him. We had the privilege of hosting a barbecue in appreciation of their relentless efforts in and out of Aza, where they navigate danger to evacuate the injured. Here’s a glimpse into the incredible night and the heartfelt message of gratitude that followed.

A Night with a Hero:

Our community member welcomed us into the intense and demanding world they navigate daily. The dedication of these individuals was palpable, with reports that just hours before our arrival, they had bravely evacuated 11 injured soldiers from a hostile environment.

Expressing Gratitude:

In the wake of such selfless service, a message of thanks was conveyed to our JLIC community. The gratitude was not just for the delicious barbecue that was shared but for the consistent support that has been extended. This marks the second time the JLIC community has journeyed south to stand in solidarity with this unit’s unsung heroes.  (Editorial note – This marked the 13th evening of grilling for soldiers.)

A Humbling Experience:

The heartfelt thank-you message reflects the deep impact our small yet determined community has on those who tirelessly serve our nation. The chaver expressed a profound sense of humility.

Quote of Thanks:

“Hey everyone, I wanted to just send a quick thank you before Shabbat. To the entire JLIC community for now the second time coming down to us, to bring us food and now this barbecue, we feel so humbled by everything you guys are doing for us. You know, if there’s 16 million Jews in the world and out of that 7 million in Israel and out of that, let’s say 300,000 are now serving in the IDF and out of that maybe 10, 000 working down south, it’s like .001% of our nation, we just feel, so humbled by everything that you’re doing for us.”

The JLIC Tel Aviv's community purchased meat at a butcher in the south to supply their night of grilling for soldiers near the Gaza border.

Supporting Local Businesses: A Culinary Journey with Eli the Butcher

This event held a distinctive charm as we opted to source our meat from a butcher in Sderot, bypassing the usual Tel Aviv market at Osher Ad. This choice was more than a culinary preference; it served as vital support for Eli, the local butcher, who, like many, has seen a decline in customers due to the current situation. Once employing a team of seven, Eli now operates with just one part-time worker. Beyond the delectable quality of the meat, Eli expressed genuine delight in contributing to the welfare of soldiers. This initiative exemplifies how a singular decision can yield benefits for multiple stakeholders. Eli has now become our trusted butcher for all future southern barbecues.

Discovering Eli the Butcher: A Serendipitous Encounter

Our introduction to Eli unfolded through a serendipitous encounter with Zeev, a friendly taxi driver enlisted for our day of farm volunteering. In conversation, Zeev revealed his own involvement in preparing barbecues for soldiers in the south, exclusively sourcing from the region to show support. According to him, Eli, our newfound butcher, boasts the finest meat at the lowest prices, with an added touch of care when catering for soldiers. Zeev generously shared Eli’s contact details, leading us to place an order of 60kg of exceptional meats. Eli, in addition to providing quality products, shared words of Torah and extended a warm invitation for all of us to join him for Shabbat in Sderot.

The night of grilling, laughter, and camaraderie exemplified the strength that comes from unity and the unwavering support that can be found within a community. May the spirit of gratitude continue to inspire acts of kindness, solidarity, and support for local businesses within our midst.

This is another example of the many programs the JLIC Israel team has done to help those impacted by the Gaza war. Learn more about JLIC or support our Good for the World initiatives.