The following newspaper article about Adam Klazmer provides insight into the life of a Lone Soldier.
Philadelphia-area native Adam Klazmer was recently honored by the non-profit organization Yashar LaChayal for his fundraising efforts on behalf of soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces during Operation Pillar of Defense in November, 2012, and for his ongoing work on behalf of the organization and IDF soldiers. In addition, Klazmer was appointed to the Board of Directors of Yashar LaChayal, enabling him to continue to work on behalf of soldiers in a leadership position.
Klazmer is a graduate of the Akiba Hebrew Academy, and studied entrepreneurship and strategic management at Babson College. He enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces in November, 2010, following three months of intense preparation for life in the army. Klazmer served in the Nachal 50 unit of the IDF as a Lone Soldier, serving mainly on the border of Israel and Gaza. During his army service, Klazmer served as the Fire Team Leader and as Assistant Squad Commander for his unit.
Klazmer was one of approximately 7,000 Lone Soldiers who serve in the Israel Defense Forces at any given time. Lone Soldiers are volunteers from all over the world who choose to enlist in the IDF and maintain the security of Israel. Some Lone Soldiers are making aliyah and are expected to serve as citizens of Israel, while others serve as a commitment to Israel and the Jewish people but without an intention of remaining in Israel long term. All Lone Soldiers have one thing in common – a deep commitment to Israel and the Jewish people, resulting in them leaving behind the comforts of home to protect the Jewish homeland. As Klazmer stated, “Growing up in the States, we’re reminded all the time that Israel is our home and we need to do everything we can to help. I felt obligated to serve.”
Lone Soldiers face many challenges during their service. Unlike soldiers whose families reside in Israel, Lone Soldiers do not have homes to return to for furlough. There is no loving family waiting for them, with hugs, favorite foods in the oven, and someone to do their laundry.
Lone Soldiers generally live in apartments with other Lone Soldiers, and are responsible for all the details of their lives. Some may have extended family and friends in Israel, and so they have a support network, while others are “adopted” by Israeli families who welcome them warmly and a provide support and assistance. Others are truly on their own. As Klazmer described it, “When our friends went home for the weekends, they dropped their bags and went to sleep. When they woke up, their laundry was magically done and there was hot food waiting for them. For us Lone Soldiers, it wasn’t like that. When we got home, we didn’t have time for a nap – we had to start laundry and buy food for the weekend. Yes, we all had friends that tried to help but it’s not the same. We’re halfway around the world from our families. It got lonely at times. But we helped each other, turned to each other for support.”
Lone Soldiers like Klazmer also have organizations like Yashar LaChayal behind them, assisting them with goods and services or when they need guidance as they navigate their way in the IDF. As Klazmer stated, “The job that Yashar LaChayal does is second to none. Whether it was winter gear to keep us warm, water packs for the summer or even a special T-shirt to boost morale, with Yashar LaChayal, you know that people really care about you. For a soldier, especially a Lone Soldier, that’s an amazing feeling.”
Yashar LaChayal is truly grateful to Klazmer and other former Lone Soldiers who are committed to the organization and continue to work on behalf of the soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces. As Leon Blankrot, Executive Director of Yashar LaChayal, remarked, “It is an honor to work on behalf of the dedicated soldiers of the IDF. And it is truly heartwarming when former soldiers contact us in order to help those currently in the field. The commitment these young people have to one another is enormous, even life altering.”
Upon completion of his service in the IDF, Klazmer returned to Philadelphia, where he continues to be active in the Jewish community and in support of Israel. His efforts have included speaking about his experiences at Jewish day schools and at the Jewish Federation, as well as volunteer work with Yashar LaChayal and other organizations. Klazmer is a member of his family’s insurance and financial services business, Klazmer Financial Group, where his primary focus is planning for young professionals, in addition to estate and retirement planning for those in the latter stages of their careers.