August 10, 2006
It may have started in Rosh Pina – a northern Galilee town frequently targeted in Hezbollah Katyusha attacks – but the idea of distributing fresh-baked goods to Israel Defense Force soldiers all along the Lebanese border has picked up steam with the participation of scores of women in Tel Aviv.

According to Sharon Niderman, a television news report showcasing the unusual contribution made by some Chabad-Lubavitch families – which have remained in the war-torn north and taken to baking each morning for the thousands of soldiers called up for duty – inspired her to organize a similar drive from Israel’s largest city. Just a few days later, Niderman, who describes herself as "secular," had enlisted the support of more than 70 other 30- and 40-something women in the Tel Aviv area to bake fresh cakes for the soldiers.

"I didn’t just want to give money. I wanted to give them a taste of home; I wanted to give them something from my heart."

"I told my friends, who told their friends, who told their friends, and before we knew it, we had a big group of women who wanted to participate," she said. "I thought baking was such a nice and personal idea. I didn’t just want to give money. I wanted to give the soldiers something that I created; I wanted to give them a taste of home; I wanted to give them something from my heart."

Niderman explained that she naturally turned to Chabad to distribute the tasty treats.

"Those Chabadniks are going everywhere in the north – to bomb shelters and to soldiers’ posts. I really appreciate what they are doing," she said. "I am certainly not the only one in Tel Aviv who has noticed how amazing Chabad has been during this war. After seeing Chabad on the news, blessing the soldiers, and trying so hard to bring happiness to the people of the north, I decided that I wanted to work through them as well."

Two Trucks Daily

One baker said several of the women received phone calls from soldiers, thanking them for their cakes.

The first shipment of just under 100 goodies – each with its own personalized note – went out last Tuesday. One baker, who went only by the name Amit, said several of the women received phone calls from soldiers, thanking them for their cakes.

Along with the baked goods – which are overseen by a rabbi in Ramat Aviv to conform to kosher standards – Chabad has also been at the forefront in distributing toys and books to families holed up in the northern region’s bomb shelters. Two full trucks now depart daily from the Chabad-Lubavitch Youth Organization headquarters in Kfar Chabad, a 20-minute drive from Tel Aviv, for deliveries to places such as Acco, Nahariya, Haifa, Ma’alot and Kiryat Shmona.

Nissim Nahmias, a volunteer in Kfar Chabad, praised the initiative of Niderman and her friends.

"These women are amazing," he said. "They want so much to help, and working with them, I feel like I am dealing with my own sisters."

Excitement in the Ranks

"It almost makes me cry to realize that we are all brothers. We are all Jews and we are all soldiers. All of us are in this war."

According to Nahmias, who has personally made several deliveries, the impact of the gifts on those who receive them is immeasurable.

"When they see our trucks, they get very excited" and start to sing, he said. "It almost makes me cry to realize that we are all brothers. We are all Jews and we are all soldiers. All of us are in this war."

Niderman echoed a similar sentiment.

"We hope the war will end soon," she said. "But as long as it will continue, so will we continue to do what we can to make it easier for the people on the front lines."