Nine years ago, during Operation Protective Edge, we enabled our customers to donate olive drab Dryfit tzitzit to IDF soldiers. On Monday (24 Tishrei), it occurred to us that we should try that again.
Within the space of two days, we got a flurry of requests to help provide them.
We know of three suppliers that import them. We've contacted all three. One of them ran out a few weeks before the war. We called a second supplier, and were told that someone came in on Sunday and bought up their entire inventory on the spot. At this point, I'd be very surprised if the third supplier has any and I cannot imagine any supplier producing more, getting it shipped and getting the tzitzit tied within less than a month or two. Therefore at this point, I don't see any means for us to provide tzitzit.
However, I called up a contact at the IDF, and learned that he has avenues to provide them.
Lt. Col. Rabbi Yedidya Atlas has been supplying olive drab Dryfit tzitzit to IDF soldiers for over a decade; in fact, he invented them! Since then, he's been distributing approximately 50,000 per year, funded through donations. He told me that six months ago he filled up an army warehouse with 30,000 for emergency use. He had a hunch the day would come when we would need them, but like most people, he never imagined a call-up of 360,000 reserve soldiers.
Rabbi Atlas told me that the IDF Rabbinate warehouse was almost entirely depleted of these tzitzit within 72 hours, and even with an additional 10,000 delivered to the IDF Rabbinate, and their distributing over 40,000 tzitzit the first week, it barely made a dent in the demand coming from our combat soldiers – both religious and non-religious alike.
An additional 30,000 tzitzit shirts are currently having the tzitzit tied by on by volunteers at over two dozen locations across Israel -- alongside a staff of paid professionals who regularly work on the tzitzit tying. There's a pending order for 50,000 more being manufactured in India. Funds donated will be used to expedite the production, the tzitzit tying here in Israel and shipping.
If you're able to make a donation to help pay for 1 or 10 or 50 (or 500 or 5,000), please get in touch with Rabbi Atlas at email@example.com. He's in the field much of the day, so you might not receive a reply immediately.
Another option is to make a donation via this link, or sending a check to the American Friends of the IDF Rabbinate.
American Friends of the IDF Rabbinate
c/o David Schwartz, CPA
5 Sutton Road
Monsey, NY 10952
We can vouch for the organization. Feel free to contact us if you would like information regarding it's 501(c)(3) status.
For those who cannot afford to make a donation, if you are in Israel and happen to have experience tying tzitzit and have speedy hands, you can contact Rabbi Atlas to see if he needs volunteers at one of the seven tzitzit tying teams he set up in various locations.
Years ago, Rabbi Atlas told me that in times like these, soldiers who don't normally wear tzitzit and even some non-religious soldiers often reach out to request them.
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