Gilad is a reservist who is fighting in Gaza. He grew up in a family that was very far from anything related to Yiddishkeit, neither keeping kashrus nor Shabbos or holidays. At the age of 13 he did not get to celebrate his bar mitzvah nor leig tefillin. Even before the war broke out he became interested in Yiddishkeit, but when the war began, a real desire arose in him to put on tefillin.
He asked for the help of the military rabbi in his regiment and the rabbi referred him to me. I got him a pair of tefillin mehudaros. Gilad thanked us profusely, saying that he is excited to receive the tefillin to an extent he just cannot describe, since there have never been tefillin in his parents' home. Now, he said, he'd leig them for the first time on the land of the Gaza Strip, and it is especially important to him that his ten-month-old child will grow up in a house where he will see his father leig tefillin. "My son will get to put on tefillin at his Bar Mitzvah, unlike his father."