IDF honors US immigrant from Chabad community as top combat soldier

Staff-Sgt. Yossi Bluming made aliyah from Maryland three years ago.

By JNS

Every year ahead of Rosh Hashanah, the IDF recognizes its best.

On Monday, Staff-Sgt. Yossi Bluming and a handful of his comrades were recognized as Outstanding Soldiers who continuously excel in the Israel Defense Forces’ 6,000-strong Paratroopers Brigade.

The award honors soldiers who not only apply maximum effort to their duties but also build positive relationships throughout the IDF and the communities they serve.

Bluming, who made aliyah from the U.S. three years ago, commands a unit of 18 combat soldiers. His unit has been assigned challenging tasks along the northern border and throughout Judea and Samaria.

The award ceremony, led by Lt. Col. Ami Biton, commander of the Paratroopers Brigade, included a 50-year commemoration and retrospective of the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Biton spoke about the brigade’s heroic efforts in the past and about how this year’s recipients regularly go above and beyond expectations.

Bluming said he was humbled to receive the honor. Reflecting on his service as a Haredi [ultra-Orthodox] soldier, he noted, “In the IDF, I have not had to sacrifice any part of my religious identity for my professional identity. My colleagues respect that.”

A member of the Chabad movement, he said that “the Rebbe encouraged us to shine the light of Judaism through the life we live, wherever we live.”

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He added a note of encouragement to other ultra-Orthodox teens who are considering service in the IDF, “It is my honor to serve and protect the people of Israel and it has certainly been worth the investment for me. I believe other Haredi young men who choose this path can have a similar experience.”

Bluming is the son of Rabbi Menachem Mendel and Sarah Bluming, leaders of the Chabad Congregation of Potomac in Maryland. Yossi met his wife, Batya, in Israel and they reside in a small community near Modi’in.