As told to Carol Ungar
When we first heard about the massacre, my roommates and I went to the Lone Soldier Center (established in memory of Michael Levine) in downtown Jerusalem, responding to a message they had sent out asking for supplies. We brought over shampoo bottles, granola bars and containers of instant soup. It seemed like they already had a lot of these items. “Is there anything else you need?” we asked.
“We don’t know what you have access to,” they said, “but our men are asking for tzitzit.”
We started fundraising.
We connected with Lt. Colonel Rabbi Yedidya Atlas of the IDF Central Command who manufactures specially prepared tzitzit for the IDF; soldiers going into combat need to wear olive-green undershirt tzitzit to match their uniform camouflage in the field. We raise the money, and Rabbi Atlas sends the tzitzit to soldiers on the front line.
Every day, we get messages from soldiers who thank us. The tzitzit, they say, gives them a lot of chizuk.One soldier told us that his tzitzit reminds him that Hashem is in all four corners of the world protecting him. The soldiers see their tzitziyot as their shields and as a tangible demonstration of their trust in Hashem.
What is especially moving is that some of the requests we have been getting are from men with tattoos up their arms, men who don’t wear a kippah or put on tefillin—but they want tzitzit.
This project has taken over our lives. When we got this off the ground, we were sleeping four hours a night. We’ve allocated all of our free time to this. It’s what needs to be done right now.
Carol Ungar is a frequent contributor to Jewish Action. She leads memoir workshops and is the author of several biographies for Jewish children.
Haddie (Hadassah) Davidov is a twenty-eight-year-old former Torontonian. A kindergarten teacher, she lives in an apartment in Jerusalem with three roommates. Together they are the force behind The Tzitzit Fund, a grassroots organization that supplies tzitzit to IDF soldiers.