A Personal Account of an IDF Reservist

Since October 7, in Israel, the resounding call "Beyachad Nenatzeach" — together we will win — is plastered across billboards, cars, packages, and even common household items.

It's more than a slogan; it embodies profound unity within the Jewish people. Allow me to illustrate this unity through two short stories: The initial weeks of the war were shrouded in uncertainty. Dispatched immediately to the Northern border with my reserves unit, we faced challenges, notably in terms of inadequate food, gear, and equipment.

However, within hours, a heartening sight unfolded — an almost unimaginable number of citizens, endangering their own lives by entering a war zone, warmly greeted us with cars full of food, toiletries, and even medical gear. Amidst the explosions and gunfire, every arriving citizen echoed the same two-word message: "Beyachad Nenatzeach." As the weeks progressed, duffel bags, bearing familiar brands from the United States, arrived, usually accompanied by heartfelt letters written by schoolchildren. Some drew pictures, some included prayers, but their message was always the same: "Dear Soldier, thank you. Am Yisrael Chai. ”

My unit, stationed on the northern border, even received a donation of waterproof shoes, an initiative taken by students from Bi- Cultural Hebrew Academy. This act, spearheaded by middle schoolers, not only provided essential support as we head into the wet and muddy winter but also underscored the unwavering solidarity from the Stamford Jewish community. One of the communities hit the hardest on October 7 was Kibbutz Nir Oz, which faced an unprecedented loss with a quarter of its residents either perishing or being abducted by Hamas. The devastation was profound, leaving the community in ruins, and its people trapped in an ongoing nightmare.

The company I work at, an Israeli startup that specializes in furnishing apartments, took upon itself the initiative to provide a new home for the kibbutz, resulting in the kibbutz moving to 140 brand new apartments in the city of Kiryat Gat. In an incredible collaborative effort, hundreds of volunteers, spanning both religious and secular backgrounds, left wing and right wing, joined forces to furnish all 140 apartments, transforming an empty building into complete homes. The level of care extended to filling refrigerators with fresh food, stocking children's cabinets with toys, and filling balconies with potted fruit trees, aiming to restore a sense of the kibbutz home for those who had suffered immeasurable loss. Every detail, from the couch in the living room to the milk in the fridge, was donated. In the resilient journey of Kibbutz Nir Oz, their story of the move to Kiryat Gat not only signifies a new beginning but stands as a living embodiment of "Beyachad Nenatzeach." While whispers of pre-war divisions still linger in corners of Israel, a different story is being written—one that threads together the hopes and sacrifices of a united generation—my generation.

We stand shoulder-to-shoulder, our differences fading against the vibrant hues of shared purpose. It will be we who understand that after the war comes to an end and the State of Israel declares “Nitzachnu” - we won, that it was the first word in the slogan, "beyachad” - together, that brought about our victory.

Nathan Haron grew up in Stamford and currently serves in the Israel Defense Forces as a reservist in an infantry brigade. He was inspired to join the IDF after his Bi-Cultural class trip to Israel. This article appears in the February/March issue of The New Jewish Voice newspaper. To receive The New Jewish Voice delivered free to your home, sign-up today at www.ujf.org.