The Benji House

By Sivan Levy

I chose the Benji House as my Bat Mitzvah Project because it was such an important place for my sister when she served in the Israeli Army. It was able to help benefit my sister. I was able to understand how much it impacted her, and her time in the army. The Benji house makes sure that all of their soldier’s needs and comforts are covered, and that they will be able to enjoy their time off duty while being in the army. It was her home away from home.


They put all their donations towards things that will not only benefit the current lone soldiers but also help with expanding their space so then more lone soldiers have a place to stay. They provide meals 3 times a day, local families volunteer who do the laundry, a private room to stay in, a rec room, etc. I see how much they were able to impact my sister, and the people living at the Benji house made my sister enjoy her time there a lot more, and now she has lifelong friends from there. She was able to feel like that place was her home. I think that donating will help many people that require it. I also know that all of what I donate will be put towards good use, and I can trust them to use the money for necessary needs.​

Hello everyone, and welcome to Sivans’ (virtual) bat mitzvah. My name is Ariela and I’m Sivan’s sister. I would like to share my experience with you all of my time living at the Benji House while I was a lone soldier in the IDF for almost 3 years. I served in a co-ed combat unit, “Sky Riders”, that specialized in field drone operation. The training was a year long and active duty another year and 8 months, so the weekends where we could go home to decompress, recharge my batteries, eat, sleep, and do laundry were cherished and much needed. For lone soldiers - the IDF’s designated status for soldiers who do not have parents in Israel - going home on weekends looks much different for us than for our comrades with families. I lived on a kibbutz on the border of Gaza for 2 years until I moved into the Benji House. 


Moving into The Benji House halfway through my service was the best personal decision I made during the army. The house is not just a little house, it is an apartment complex that gives 87 combat-serving lone-soldiers their own bedroom in 2-3 room apartments, along with all of the basic living needs and more. Having my own space in Ra’anana - just a 20-minute bus ride to Tel Aviv - allowed me to have a vibrant social life in a safe home on the weekends when I would leave base. Being in a specialized combat unit, I was often on a demanding schedule which is what’s called “17-4”. This is 17 days on base, 4 days at home. The Benji house linked me with a “laundry family”, a volunteer from Ra’anana that would pick up my laundry and return it before I headed back to base. One of the best things at the House were the shabbat dinners. The dining room would seat the soldiers whom were home for the weekend, and volunteers cooked and served us delicious chicken, salmon, beef, and salads, for each shabbat. After dinner we would change into pajamas and hang out with each other in our apartments, the front lobby, or the basement that had a moadon with a pool table, couches, and video games. Living here was a dream. While all of this might sound fancy, almost every single thing was donated to the house, and the services (like cleaning and cooking) were done by volunteers. 

The house usually has a long waiting list to move in since it is the best place for soldiers to be. The compared options are usually on a kibbutz that is usually very far from everything and often have poor living conditions, or a dorm-like government funded building with bunk beds and many people per room, and no services like meals provided. 


The Benji house doesn't stop helping there. When a soldier is done with their service, they are allowed to keep living there for about 6 weeks to give them time to adjust into the real world and find a new place to live. They have an amazing guidance center to help with each soldier on their transition to civilian life in Israel. Whether you go to school after the army or work, or travel, the guidance center will help you every step of the way. This is very beneficial since Hebrew is often a second language for lone soldiers, and because Israel has a long list of government programs and entitlements that can be hard to navigate through. The guidance center unscrambles all the confusion. 


For me, and for the hundreds before me, and thousands after me, the Benji House is as much of a family as it is a lifeline. So long as they continue to get financial support The House will continue helping soldiers in need of a home. The house supports soldiers in need from all around the world. They also house many Israeli orphans that had very rough home lives before moving in including disowned ex-Haredis and Ethiopian refugees whose parents died on the journey to Israel. The house gets little to no government funding or FIDF help, so they solely survive on small to large annual donations. *Donations are tax deductible. All funds donated help keep the lights and A/C on, maintenance, and upkeep of the property, nothing goes to waste. The House is a unique and wonderful place fueled mostly by neighborhood volunteers, with just a handful of employees that keep the momentum and operations in full force. The Benji House is an outstanding organization that constantly seeks to help others, and they would be very humbled if we could help them do that just a little bit along the way. Currently they are fundraising $8M to build additional housing for 93 lone soldiers and have reached 75% of their goal. They still rely on donations to keep the house up and running on top of the $8M goal for just the construction of the second house. 


Thank you for reading,

Ariela Look

Please select “Benji Hillman Donation” in the description. Our friends at Jerusalem Fellowship collect money for us by credit card in the USA and will provide you with a tax-deductible receipt and us with your full donation. If you prefer to donate by bank transfer of check please contact Ben at or at +972 58-4261177.


Thank you very much to everyone.

Please select “Benji Hillman Donation” in the description. Our friends at Jerusalem Fellowship collect money for us by credit card in the USA and will provide you with a tax-deductible receipt and us with your full donation. If you prefer to donate by bank transfer of check please contact Ben at or at +972 58-4261177.