Less than a week before her daughter, Leor, was scheduled to return home for a well-deserved break from her service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Jenny embarked on a mission to ensure her homecoming would be nothing short of extraordinary. Seeking to infuse warmth and appreciation into Leor’s return, Jenny reached out to the community, igniting a wave of support that would make her daughter’s homecoming truly unforgettable.

In her quest to orchestrate a heartfelt welcome, Jenny collaborated with Andrea Cohen and the Shalom Phoenix program of the Center for Jewish Philanthropy, tapping into the vibrant network of the Greater Phoenix Jewish community. A call to action reverberated throughout the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus, rallying partners and organizations to join forces in expressing gratitude to Leor for her service. The response was overwhelming, with contributions pouring in from various institutions, including the Bureau of Jewish Education, the East Valley Jewish Community Center’s Lone Soldier Project, Gesher Disability Resources, the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Jewish News, Pardes Jewish Day School, the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center, and the Center for Jewish Philanthropy. From heartfelt letters to thoughtful gifts, each offering was a testament to the community’s collective appreciation and admiration for Leor’s dedication.

The outpouring of support culminated in a joyous gathering at Sky Harbor International Airport on Monday evening at 10:30PM, where over 30 members of the community eagerly awaited Leor’s arrival. As she emerged through the gates, she was enveloped in a sea of love, appreciation, and enthusiasm. Israeli flags waved proudly, while friends brandished posters adorned with heartfelt messages. The atmosphere was electric, with Erez Kessler serenading Leor on guitar, adding an extra layer of emotion to the heartfelt welcome.

Reflecting on the momentous occasion, Shalom Phoenix Director Andrea Cohen remarked, “It was an honor to help the community welcome this young hero back home for a much-deserved and much-needed rest. We have such a wonderful community; it was so nice to be able to rally together to do something nice for someone doing so much to protect us all.” The event served as a poignant reminder of the power of unity and the strength of community bonds in times of celebration and appreciation.

For those interested in getting involved with Shalom Phoenix and participating in similar initiatives, inquiries can be directed to shalomphoenix@phoenixcjp.org. Let us continue to uplift and support our local heroes, ensuring that their sacrifices are met with the gratitude and recognition they truly deserve.

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