A blue bag, army boots and an olive green uniform...

Tuesday, January 26, 2016 |  Anat Schneider

Till today I remember my mom taking a blue bag, army boots, and olive green uniform from the top of a closet. This ceremony immediately informed me that my father was leaving us for a few weeks to do his reserve duty as an Israeli soldier.

Each night during my father's absence I would wait until my brother was asleep and the lights were out, and then I'd start crying - crying and praying. I was afraid that my father wouldn't come back, and I'd pray for his safe return.

Time passed and I got married and became a mother, yet the feelings and fears I had as a child returned when my husband, Aviel, was called upon again and again to do his stints of duty as a reserve soldier. Now it was I who reached to the top of the closet and brought down the blue bag, the army boots and the olive green uniform.

During my husband's reserve duty, it was up to me to survive, to maintain a fully functioning household and to take care of the kids on my own. It occured to me that I might not have been as sensitive of my children's feelings as I should have. I wonder if they, like me, waited each night for the lights to go out so they could cry and pray.

This is our sacrifice and the sacrifice of generations to come. IDF reserve duty, and the confrontations with our neighbors that make it necessary, is part of our lives. It has been this way since before Israel's declaration of independence, and unfortunately it continues till today.

With your kind assistance we have a chance to thank those who leave everything behind and defend our nation - summer or winter! By doing so we also let the concerned wives and children of these brave soldiers know that they are not alone in praying for the safe return of their husbands and fathers.

Thank you, our readers, for the love and support that you give to our loved ones.

Be a blessing to an Israeli soldier this winter!


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