These Lone Soldiers were able to chat with their families in Kiev through
video conferencing, thanks to the Jewish Agency.
February 4, 2010 / 20 Shvat 5770
Four lone IDF soldiers originally from the FSU had a chance to say hello to their families back in Kiev "face-to-face" – thanks to video conferencing set up by the Jewish Agency.
The soldiers, all serving in different units across the country, gathered in the Jewish Agency's Jerusalem office on February 3, 2010, while their families congregated in the Jewish Agency's Kiev office, the main headquarters in the Ukraine. Also present in Kiev was the Nachshon mission, an all-male delegation from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.
"I'm so excited to see my grandmother! I haven't seen anyone in my family for over two years," said Michael Krasovski, 19, who came to Israel on the Na'aleh program a Hebrew acronym for "youth making Aliyah before their parents - a joint government-Jewish Agency program that brings young Jews to Israel to study.
"It was really hard in the beginning," said Krasovski, who was in the 10th grade when he came to Israel, and is currently serving as a combat soldier in an anti-aircraft unit. "It is hard in the army, too, when you go home on leave and you miss having your family to talk to, but after a while, you get used to it."
Blowing his grandmother a kiss and receiving a "kiss" back, he updated his grandmother on his life. Nodding in response to his army updates, she had another, more academic question: "Have you passed the bagrut?" she scolded, referring to the comprehensive exams given upon completion of high school, which elicited a laugh from the room.
Video conferencing – an ongoing service provided by the Jewish Agency - makes a big difference for soldiers like Krasovski who can chat with their loved ones in real time. "Because of technological advancement, we are able to provide these informal connections that are so important for both sides – the young men and women serving in the armed forces and their parents and grandparents far away," said Idan Peysahovich, the Jewish Agency's emissary in Kiev.
There are currently 2,500 lone soldiers in Israel – around 80% from the former Soviet Union.
The following day, the Nachshon group from Chicago left Kiev and flew to Israel and met with these same lone soldiers in the Jewish Agency's Absorption Center in Raanana – this time face-to-face in the literal sense of the word.