Paola Weitzner was spending the period of the Chagim with her family back in Mexico City when a powerful earthquake struck last week. Paola, 21, is  a lone soldier (chayelet bodedet) and is serving as a rescue instructor in the Home Front Command.

She only managed to spend one of the Yom Tov meals with her community when she received a call from her commander asking if she would like to join the special team being sent over from Israel. She immediately agreed.

She is quoted as saying:

“I owe it to these two countries, to my two countries… It’s hard for me to see it [the destruction]. The place where I  was born and grew up is destroyed, but it is also a source of great pride for me to be a part of this Israeli mission as a soldier and to help my country. People here are saying they love us a lot, thank us for our help all the time and I am translating those messages to the team.”

פאולה ויצנר, חיילת בודדה מפיקוד העורף, היתה בחופשה אצל משפחתה במקסיקו כשהאדמה רעדה. היא עלתה על מדים והצטרפה למחלצים הישראלים. כל הכבוד!צילום: דובר צה"ל

Posted by ‎ידיעות אחרונות Yedioth Ahronoth‎ on Saturday, September 23, 2017

The team, who were given special dispensation by the IDF Chief Rabbi to fly on Rosh Hashanah, spent the 3-day Chag in Mexico. One of the leaders of the mission, Lt. Col. Yaniv Edri described how the group didn’t hesitate to abandon their plans for the Chag and fly to the stricken country but that “only on the plane, after an 8 hour flight, we took a moment – we said the berachot (blessings), ate apple and honey, pomegranate – and blew the shofar on the ground in Mexico.”

Los rescatistas israelíes celebran Rosh Hashaná lejos de casa 🇮🇱 tocando el Shofar en la CDMX Ciudad de México#EnlaceJudío #Rescatistas #Shofar #RoshHashaná

Posted by Enlace Judío on Thursday, September 21, 2017

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