Some 200 Lone Soldiers and new Olim from North America gathered last night at the Beit Hachayal in Tel Aviv for a special Thanksgiving dinner catered by chef Idan Ianovici, a former Lone Soldier from New York and owner of Vici Deli in Raanana.
The Thanksgiving dinner, was hosted by Nefesh B’Nefesh, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, and the Jewish National Fund, aimed to allow young immigrants without family in Israel to celebrate the traditional holiday – with some Israeli twists.
“Thanksgiving is a very family-oriented holiday,” said Marc Rosenberg, Director of pre-Aliyah at Nefesh B’Nefesh. “We wanted to give new Olim who arrived alone, including Lone Soldiers, the opportunity to celebrate this American holiday with other Anglo Olim here in Tel Aviv.”
Guests enjoyed roast turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and other traditional Thanksgiving fare, as well as Israeli desserts.
“When I was a Lone Soldier, I celebrated Thanksgiving with only a few friends,” said Ianovici, who served in the IDF’s Armored Corps and has worked at restaurants in New York and Israel since he was 16. “I’m so happy to be able to help give these young Olim the opportunity to experience a proper Thanksgiving in Israel.”
Photo courtesy of Yonit Schiller