Parents of IDF soldiers finding comfort in video messages from prominent figures

Words of support have come from musicians, writers and rabbis


Over 100 videos have so far been sent and distributed to parents of IDF soldiers, with more being added daily

Hundreds of parents of IDF soldiers are finding comfort in messages of support sent by a wide array of prominent politicians, editors, singers, actors, comedians, businesspeople, community and religious leaders.

Over 100 messages of support via videos have so far been submitted and distributed between parents, coming from a variety of figures such as American senator Joe Lieberman, Rabbi David Wolpe, Alan Dershowitz, Eylon Levy, Avi Mayer, and musical artists Matisyahu, Shlomo Katz and Nissim Black.

UK Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis, whose own son was called to serve in the IDF following October 7, said in his video message that he and his wife have felt a “combination of deep pride and lots of anxiety.

“I admire all of you so enormously and I empathise with what you and your families are going through,” he said.

The initiative began via a WhatsApp support group for IDF parents, started by Derek Saker. He told the JC that the reception from all the figures he reached out to was “immediate and warm”, with new videos being added daily.

He said: “The natural relationship of parents is to take care and protect one’s children. In war, it is our children protecting “us parents.” Something easy to understand, but very hard at times to reconcile.”

Other people who have submitted videos include Gil Hoffman, from Honest Reporting, Rabbi Steven Weill, CEO of Friends of IDF, Gila Sacks, daughter of the late Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Jake Wallis Simons, editor of The Jewish Chronicle, MK Dov Lipman, and Rabbi Leo Dee.

One parent, Naomi, originally from London, is mother to a reserve paratrooper who was called to serve the day after the October 7 massacre. Throughout December she was unable to contact her son, whose phone was kept safely within Israel as he went into Gaza with his unit.
She told the JC that her worry was “lightly alleviated by the warm support of the group, and the messages of “chizuk” (strength) sent in by key figures in the Jewish community. Some messages really hit the spot.”

Another mother, Rachel, based in Manchester, said it was “especially difficult” being so far away from her son and two sons-in-law serving in the IDF, and living “in a community where few parents share the same reality of stresses and anxieties.”

She said the video messages have “very much” offered her comfort. “The messages have been very uplifting, and some have been very surprising in terms of from whom they have come from. I am sure for many parents like myself, though we keep it to ourselves, we ask at times “why is it just our sons?”, but the videos have for me provided a sense of comfort in the communal-wide concern for all our soldiers,” she said.

Emma, mother to a former student at Hasmonean and now IDF soldier, said it has been a “surreal and disturbing experience to have a son in combat for so long. We are incredibly proud of him and his [unit], but we hardly slept a night through.”

She said the WhatsApp group has provided “a good place to exchange information and learn from others’ experiences, and the [video messages] of encouragement were sometimes exactly what one needed.”

The videos can be watched here:

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