Entry 1: Early Interest

Ever since I can remember I have loved Israel.  I consider myself a conservative Jew, and not a very religious one at that, but my love for Israel is more than a religious connection.  To walk through the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and Haifa, and see soldiers who are there to defend the Jewish nation, promised to us by God in his Covenant with Abraham, to get into a taxi and notice a magen david on the neck of your driver, to look around the nightclub and realize that nearly everyone there is Jewish, to light Hanukah candles in a bar and have everyone stand up and sing as you light, to sing shalom alechem while dancing in a circle in the middle of a restaurant at 3 am…is an indescribable feeling.  I have long dreamed of moving to Israel and joining the IDF. I have been to Israel 4 times since my first trip when I was 16. While it is natural for a 16 year old boy to have a fascination with soldiers in the streets armed with M-16’s, I am now 21 and my fascination has not subsided. Because for me, it goes beyond fascination. It’s an admiration, but even more than that, a sense of longing to fight alongside my brothers to defend the state of Israel.

I can pinpoint to the exact moment in time when I first realized that my dream of joining the IDF might actually become a reality. It was the summer of 2007, and I was in Israel with Hasbara Fellowships, a program that teaches American and Canadian Jews how to advocate for Israel on American college campuses.

(this was the best organized advocacy trip I have ever taken and I highly recommend it to those interested in Israel advocacy – http://www.israelactivism.com/)

Shelly, a girl on our trip, had a brother who had graduated Indiana university and moved to Israel to join the army. We were spending our second Shabbat in Israel in the old city of Jerusalem, and Danny came to speak to us and have dinner. After he spoke and we had eaten, a few of us were sitting around talking to him about the army. He discussed his experiences in orev tsanchanim and what it meant to be an American in the IDF. At some point, someone asked to try on his beret. The hat went around the circle, each person trying it on for a few seconds and passing it on, but when the hat was handed to me I passed it to the next person without trying it on.  Danny looked at me, and with a half grin on his face, asked me why I hadn’t tried on the hat. I was bit hesitant in my response, as I myself was unsure, and the only answer i could give was that it didn’t feel right. In a voice full of the confidence one might expect from a combat soldier, Danny said “I know why you didn’t try it on. You want to earn it.” As my eyes met his, something clicked in my head as I realized that he had understood what I did not yet understand. Since that moment, I have never been the same.

4 Responses to “Entry 1: Early Interest”

  1. Aunt J my ass Says:

    Phenomenal – just like you!

  2. Carolyn Says:

    kol ha-kavod, you are a very impressive young man-i am a friend of sharon danzigers and would love to keep following your blog and progress in the IDF.

  3. ozzyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy Says:

    how much do you get paid

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