Former lone soldier cooks Thanksgiving feast for fellow olim

The holidays are typically a time when most lone soldiers in Israel truly feel alone. Moving to a foreign country with a small or nonexistent support base can truly be isolating, and missing typical customs makes things just a bit harder. But several organizations in Israel are making an effort to bridge the gap and make the new olim feel at home by throwing a Thanksgiving feast for over 200 of them on Thursday night.

According to Nefesh B’Nefesh, the 200 soldiers will be hosted at Beit Hachayal in Tel Aviv for a special Thanksgiving dinner catered by chef Idan Ianovici, a former lone soldier himself. Ianovici, who made aliyah from New York, served in the IDF’s Armored Corps, and is now the owner of an American-style deli in Raanana.

66594520100066490489no (1)

Ianovici told Yetnews that he was asked to cook the dinner by the organization, and immediately agreed as he felt he was the perfect fit. “Anything I can do to help, Nefesh B’Nefesh is a great organization that helps new olim acclimate in Israel, which sadly wasn’t around when I made I aliyah.”

Ianovici only had a handful of friends to celebrate Thanksgiving with when he first made aliyah.

“I’m so happy to be able to help give these young Olim the opportunity to experience a proper Thanksgiving in Israel,” he said.

“The most important thing is that they feel that they are with family, and not alone, there are a bunch of people to help them out,” Ianovici added.

“Thanksgiving is a very family-oriented holiday,” said Marc Rosenberg, Director of Pre Aliyah at Nefesh B’Nefesh. “We wanted to give new olim who arrived alone, including lone soldiers, the opportunity to celebrate this American holiday with other Anglo olim here in Tel Aviv.”

According to the organization, the Thanksgiving dinner will be hosted by Nefesh B’Nefesh, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel and KKL-JNF.

The dinner “aims to allow young immigrants without family in Israel to celebrate the traditional holiday – with some Israeli twists,” Nefesh B’Nefesh said.

Guests will enjoy roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and other traditional Thanksgiving fare, as well as Israeli desserts.