I write as a member of the first synagogue named for Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and his legacy.

Our schule is in Efrat.

The name of that synagogue is Shirat Shlomo, in Efrat.

I do not only dovon there for the songs. I dovon there because of the legacy of Shlomo. .

One of my many experiences with Shlomo concerned the challenge of missionaries who would approach unsuspecting and uninformed Jews. Shlomo’s approach, appropriate to his persona, was not to use a sledgehammer, but rather to offer a warm alternative.

A case in point. When I worked at Hillel in Jerusalem in the early seventies, I worked with Shlomo on a program to cope with missionaries in Jerusalem. In his passionate style, Reb Shlomo warded off missionaries by helping to set up  tables for newcomers in Jerusalem to know where they could go for a warm Jewish home.

There was Shlomo strumming his guitar, singing out his heart at Zion Square, summer 1972, not far from the hub of missionary activity in the capital.  Shlomo would capture the eyes of searching young people, and worked and direct them as to where they would be welcome in Jerusalem.

Today, a generation later, 4,500 young Jews have come to Israel from the four corners of the earth to serve and fight in the Israel Defense Forces. They are referred to as “Lone Soldiers”.  The IDF provides “lone soldiers”  with every possible gratuity – special hostels, special trips around the country, and at times, the IDF will even sponsor visits to see their folks abroad.

Yet the IDF does not seek out host families for “lone soldiers”  even though the IDF can and will pay families to rent a room in their home for a “loan soldier” .

So we must must seek out families to host lone soldiers in Israel in our homes. Young people who come to Israel, even in the army, need a family to call “theirs”.

On the negative side, 18 missionary groups now operate in Israel who target “lone soldiers” for hospitality – with the offer of bed, breakfast and Jesus. With Pesach fast approaching, missionaries have taken to the internet to host “lone Soldiers” for the Seder.

The time has come to seek out “lone soldiers”, without families in Israel, and to welcome them into our homes.

The long term goal would be to establish an “Israel hospitality service for lone soldiers” and hire social work professionals to  interview families willing to welcome lone soldiers to their homes, to make connections with these lone soldiers, and follow up to make these connections work.

With 4,500 lone soldiers now in Israel, there is much to be done.



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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.