Shaving Israel donates $10,000 for IDF soldiers


When Rachel Miller traveled to Israel in November, she had one stop off of the radar screen of most travelers. Miller went to Israel’s Ministry of Defense of Tel Aviv to deliver a special gift: a $10,000 check from the St. Louis organization Shaving Israel, to help the soldiers of the Israel Defense Force.

Shaving Israel, a local non-profit organization started by Miller and several friends, partners with the Libi Fund, an Israel-based group that provides assistance for the personal needs of IDF soldiers. Miller gave the $10,000 check to the Libi Fund which provides medical, educational and financial assistance to IDF soldiers.

The check marks a total of $35,000 that Shaving Israel has donated to the Libi Fund in the nearly two-and-a-half years since the group was founded.

Miller said the idea for Shaving Israel arose when she was on a Jewish Federation mission to Israel. On the trip, she heard from a friend, Carol Hellman, who was volunteering on an IDF army base, that she found that Israeli soldiers often lacked basic personal necessities: toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, razors or other basic toiletries, and transportation vouchers for soldiers on leave to go home.

“Everything is allocated to a minimum,” Miller said. “I couldn’t believe that soldiers were lacking in these basic essentials, so I knew I had to do something to help.”

So, Miller gathered several of her friends to start Shaving Israel, a 501c3 non-profit organization that is truly a grassroots effort.

“We have no overhead, and no salaried employees,” she said. “Every cent donated goes directly to the soldiers.”

Miller also brought 240 tubes of toothpaste along with the check.

When she has traveled with huge quantities of personal-care products, she has raised a few eyebrows among airport security — until they realize what she is doing.

At Heathrow Airport in London, Miller was stopped by El Al security who did not know what to think of her luggage full of toothpaste. “Once I told them that I was bringing it to donate to the IDF soldiers, they just started thanking me and blessing me,” she said.

“Many of them said they had been in the army, and knew about how personal items were often scarce,” Miller said. “They told me to keep doing what I was doing, because there is always such a need,” she said.

Myron Jaffe, board member and publicity chairperson for Shaving Israel, said when he heard about the idea from Miller, he knew it was a cause that he immediately wanted to help with.

“There are a lot of soldiers that need help. They are fighting for the State of Israel, so I knew I had to try and give them all of the help that I could,” he said.

Miller, who has personally helped to underwrite many of the expenses involved with the group, said Southwest Bank, and in particular, bank manager Linda Gies, has been a key ally in helping the group with their fundraisers.

Gies has given Shaving Israel the space at Southwest Bank to hold fundraisers, including the latest one they held in October at the branch located at 10911 Olive Blvd.

However, Miller and Jaffe emphasized that they are seeking donations year-round to continue helping IDF soldiers.

“It feels great to help,” Miller said. “But I always feel like we haven’t done enough yet. Our aim is to continue to help the soldiers as much as we can.”

Miller said the group invites people to donate year-round. “It’s the end of the year, and what better way to bring in the new year than by helping soldiers in need?” Miller said.

Donations can be made by check to Shaving Israel and mailed to the group at: P.O. Box 6991, Chesterfield, MO, 63006-6991.

For more information, visit Shaving Israel’s Web site at, or email [email protected].