Jay and Elena Lefkowitz

In the summer of 2011, our very American HaZamirnik enlisted in the IDF as a Lone Soldier. Ever since a cross-cultural backpacking trip in Israel in eighth grade, she had been determined to put her body where her Zionist heart dwelled. HaZamir, and the Israeli friends she made there, only reinforced her determination. After three months of basic training, Tali became an officer in an elite paratrooper unit, Orev Tzanchanim. The only woman in a unit of 85 soldiers, she served as the assistant to the commander, as a den mother to her soldiers, and as a participant in nightly operations. Stationed in Hebron, Netanya, the Golan, Eilat, and on the Gaza border, Tali got to know the land and the people of Israel in a visceral and complex way.

As a Zamir Chorale singer, Elena was intimately familiar with the music of David Burger and understood the power of his music to create Zionist anthems. It seemed like the ideal time to honor our daughter’s service and that of so many courageous Israeli soldiers, and set the Prayer for the IDF to David’s unique and moving compositional style.

Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that “T’filah L’Tzahal” would capture the hearts and imaginations of our HaZamir community in the way that it has. The connection between America and Israel is never more vivid to us than when we hear HaZamirniks raising their voices and praying that God “preserve and rescue our soldiers…and crown them with victory.”