|Tomer and Deganit Ronen’s dining room table was quickly covered with care packages for Israel.|
Rabbi Tomer Ronen, rosh yeshiva of Ben Porat Yosef in Paramus, and his wife, Deganit, are the proud parents of a son in the IDF.
Their son, a 20-year-old who went all the way through SAR in Riverdale and then went to Israel, where he studied at a yeshiva for a year and then joined the IDF exactly a year ago, is in a parachute unit. “For the last three weeks, they were training and training and training,” Rabbi Ronen said. Last Thursday, “he called and said, ‘Abba, Ima, we are out. We are giving away our cell phones.’ So we knew that it was happening that night.”
So now the Ronens are both proud and worried parents; worried enough, in fact, to decide that they could no longer sit at home in Teaneck and worry. “To be the parents of a lone soldier is hard,” Rabbi Ronen said. “To be the parent of a lone soldier and know that he is going in – that is even harder.”
So the couple decided that they would fly to Israel; if it were at all possible they would see their son, and if it were not at least they’d be closer to him. Rabbi Ronen got in touch with an IDF officer who acts as liaison between the troops and their parents, and asked him what the soldiers need. “They really need underwear, socks, and undershirts,” he was told. Then he sent out an email, saying, “‘Okay, this is the situation,'” he reported. “‘We are going to go. If anyone wants to participate, send us some t-shirts, underwear, and socks. If you can’t, just send us money.’
“I said to myself okay, if I get one bag out of this I’ll be happy,” he continued.
That email went out at 4 on Monday morning. “I also posted it on my Facebook and on the school Facebook,” he said. “At 8 Monday evening I was standing at home by my dining room table – we have a fairly large dining room table – and it was covered with stuff. Already, on Tuesday, we have gotten to a point where we have filled six duffel bags. There is a huge, huge box in my office now, and I have even more at my house. We probably have 500 to 600 pounds of stuff.
“And we got $10,000 in one day.”
“We are so overwhelmed by the community, and so happy. I cannot describe in words what this feels like, as the parents of a chayyal” – the parents of a soldier. “It was amazing. Amazing amazing amazing.
“And first I was just going to visit my son, and now I feel that in the last two days I have done something. Now I’m not just worrying, not crying, not watching the news – now I am doing something that will make an impact.”