A Letter to My Son, the Lone IDF Soldier by Jamie Rubin

A Letter to My Son, the Lone IDF Soldier by Jamie Rubin

A year and a half ago, 19-year-old Natanel Rubin of London volunteered for the IDF as a lone soldier with the Kfir infantry brigade. Here is a letter his mother, Jamie, sent Natanel when he returned to the army after a month-long vacation. [Since this letter was written, Natanel completed his IDF service, and is back home, safe and sound b”H, with his family who are spending this year in Israel.]

Dear Natanel, My Precious Young Son, My Brave Warrior,

30 days of bliss, and you’re off again! Vacation is ending, and you are returning to the army.

A month of fun, parties, friends, family time, healing, love, joy…….cherished and gone so quickly.

The same emotions flood me that did on the hot and sun-filled day that you, our brave son, drafted into the IDF.

The pride, the fear…

As you waved farewell today, your sister and I tried so hard, unsuccessfully, to hold back our tears, and so did you.

I remember stepping away from the hundreds of new recruits, Israeli parents, friends and family members saying their goodbyes. The fathers’ blessings, the mothers’ prayers so heartfelt, so potent, I felt I could almost touch them in the air. But there was one big difference between you and the other boys there that day: the vast majority of them had to do this, but you didn’t. You chose this!

Your Dad and I looked at each other in a daze, an unspoken acknowledgment that this is real…….’Natanel is really doing this?!’

I vividly remember the backdrop of wind-swept blue and white flags, as bus after bus full of boys drove off. You and your platoon were last. On that day you turned from an individual into a soldier. ONE choosing to merge with WE, represented by a sea of young men proudly wearing their freshly-pressed green uniforms.

As you return to the army, all I want to do is bless you and thank you & all the young brave women and men who keep our beloved Israel safe!

Thank you for protecting israel.

Thank you for the many nights you do not sleep.

Thank you for standing tall in the face of those who want to kill, standing guard in places surrounded by those who hate.

Thank you for the many mornings you get up before the Sun to defend Israel’s citizens.

Thank you for the nights you don’t sleep while searching for weapons and making arrests. Or sitting in the fields, just waiting. In the hot sun and the freezing cold.

Thank you for enduring the rain all night, and for coping with mud up to your knees.

Thank you for picking yourself up, washing off those red boots and starting again in the morning.

Thank you for enduring the loneliness without family in the country to care for you and hug you when you get released.

Thank you for being positive and strong far from your childhood home, while coping in a foreign language and unfamiliar surroundings.

Thank you for being brave in the hard times.

Thank you for continuing to shine your inner light on all those you come in contact with even when you feel dark inside.

Thank you for being a positive role model for your siblings and the rest of the world.

Thank you for your worry and your concern for us, that we are missing you.

Thank you for sacrificing these years of your life for a greater cause.

Thank you for staying firm in your beliefs despite the frightening challenges.

Thank you for your kindness to the young the old, to the sick and to the weak.

As I thank you, my tears start to flow unwelcome, those tears are the tears that only a soldier’s mother understands.

Why do I cry? Because of my pride? Fear? Love? Pain?

Perhaps because we live in a world, and you are protecting a country, where so very much is uncertain.

Are you happy? Is it all you had hoped it to be?…..

I don’t know.

But what I do know is that you believed you should do this and you are doing it. Your desire to do this took you to this place and you are doing it so well.

I know that you do all this because you want to be part of something that is greater than yourself, something that will help your brothers and your sisters so they don’t have to be afraid!

May God keep you safe and may you and your fellow soldiers live long lives and continue being a blessing to Am Yisrael!

Thank you my brave boy!

I love you ❤


  1. Tiferes carroll

    What a beautiful letter!!!


    I have 2 sons in the IDF as lone soldiers. They are so incredible!!!

    I am so proud of both of them!!! This letter expressed how I feel so well.

    I am deeply moved and touched by this letter.

    I wish it was mandatory reading for every Jew!!! Really

    I wish that every Jew could understand how this mother, myself and all of the parents of every IDF soldier feel.

    We are all so proud and yet we all sacrifice so much for Klal Yisroel.

    Thank you for sharing this letter with us!!

    I will never forget this letter!!

    Sincerely and Fondly,

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