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IDF Soldiers share their stories at special programs

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Two IDF soldiers spent several days in Richmond recently as part of a Jewish Agency Shlichim in Uniform initiative for Israel’s 76th Memorial Day and Independence Day programs.

An IDF soldier talks about her military service and some of the training that takes place.

The two were among 88 other IDF soldiers who visited more than 40 cities in the U.S. and around the world during this period.

In an announcement, the Jewish Agency noted, “In a special initiative as part of its mission to deepen the increasingly crucial partnership between Israel and world Jewry, The Jewish Agency for Israel organized a group of 90 IDF soldiers who have fought on the southern and northern fronts to participate in Israeli Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron) and Independence Day (Yom Haatzmaut) ceremonies across the globe.”

It continued, “Amid the Iron Swords War and the ongoing aftermath of the October 7 Hamas massacre, the Shlichim in Uniform project reflects Jewish Agency Chairman Maj. Gen. (res.) Doron Almog’s vision to bring the heroic stories of IDF soldiers directly to communities around the world.”

Sapir, 21, and Yuval, 23, both combat officers, spoke to many groups, including serving as guest speakers before about 100 people at the L’dor V’dor Woman of Valor event.

They also spoke to  a group of about 25 Avery Point residents and others at the Federation’s office, before the Woman’s Philanthropy Board, met with RTA students and several other places. They spoke to groups about their current service in the IDF and shared in many special occasions during their time.

(ABOVE/BELOW)The IDF soldiers talk at other gatherings while in Richmond.

Both were very outgoing and informative about serving in the IDF and their history of growing up in Israel, their family and early life activities. Due to security and confidentially, they were not able to discuss many details of their service during the current war with Gaza but each commanded combat soldiers in their roles.

Sapir is from Jerusalem and is a graduate of Hanton Pre-Military Preparatory School. Currently, she holds the rank of commander in the Border Infantry Corps. She commanded both female and male soldiers.

Sapir noted that she had no plans to become a combat soldier when she joined the IDF but as time went on in the service, she decided this was what she wanted to do. Her mother was not happy, she noted. She answered a number of questions during her  visit about leading and commanding male soldiers.

During the Yom HaZikaron program on May 13 at the JCC, she read a “Soldier’s Letter” from a 20-year old combat soldier who fell in a battle in Gaza.

Yuval grew up in the settlement of Tel Mond and now lives in Tel Aviv. She has strong roots in the Israeli Scouts.. Five years ago, she joined the IDF, serving in a combat unit within the Intelligence Corps. Yuval transitioned into reserve service, where she serves as the deputy commander of a training unit.

She noted, “One of the greatest things I did was to become a combat soldier. It made me the person I am today.”

During the Yom HaZikaron program on May 13 at the JCC, she took part in the Yizkor prayer and candle lighting ceremony.

The Richmond Jewish Community was thrilled to welcome and spend a week with our Soldiers in Uniform visitors as we celebrated Israel with our Yom HaAtzmaut festivities and much more around the community.

Thank you to our partners at the Weinstein JCC and RTA – Richmond Hebrew Day School – for making them feel so welcome. The Jewish Agency for Israel.

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