Monthly Archives: May 2014


Before I made Aliyah, I had decided I would not join the Israeli Defense Forces.  I am adamantly for peace and a free, independent Palestine.  With the ongoing conflict, I couldn’t see myself being a part of things.  I do support the IDF, but I did not want to be placed in a situation where I might have to go do things I couldn’t morally support (any missions in the occupied territories).  Being that I am 26, I don’t HAVE to serve like younger Israelis.  So that was the plan.

But as I have learned, the military is a central thing in most Israeli’s lives.  Your service is included on resumes, can help with loan interest rates, rental contracts, social circles and more.  I remember my rabbi from the ‘States saying to me, “that is fine (that I don’t want to serve), but don’t be completely set in that thinking.  A lot can change when you get there.”  She was right.  For many reasons, I have decided to try to serve for a year.  I am still open to many different options and will continue to get information, but I am leaning towards working in communications.  The poem below is the first thing that got me to consider the possibility of service:


The Silver Platter | Nathan Alterman

The Earth grows still.
The lurid sky slowly pales
Over smoking borders.
Heartsick, but still living, a people stand by
To greet the uniqueness
Of the miracle.
Readied, they wait beneath the moon.
Wrapped in awesome joy, before the light.
–Then, soon,
A girl and boy step forward,
And slowly walk before the waiting nation.

In work garb and heavy-shod
They climb
In stillness.
Wearing yet the dress of battle, the grime
Of aching day and fire-filled night

Unwashed, weary unto death, not knowing
But wearing youth like dewdrops in their hair.
–Silently the two approach and stand.
Are they of the quick or of the dead?

Through wondering tears, the people stare.
“Who are you, the silent two?”
And they reply: “We are the silver platter
Upon which the Jewish State was served to you.”

And speaking, fall in shadow at the nation’s
Let the rest in Israel’s chronicles be told.



So that is where I am at right now.  I will be going on a mini boot camp the first week of July with the rest of the ulpan students.  It should be an interesting 7 days.  Then, August 1-20, I will be going on a program that gives olim hadashim a crash course on all things IDF and helps with placement, details, logistics, etc.  I am pretty excited for both.



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I heard this back in the ‘States and wanted to write it down somewhere

Leaving Egypt

The night is so dark
and I am afraid.
I see nothing, smell nothing,
the only reality—
I am holding my mother’s hand.

And as we walk
I hear the sounds
of a multitude in motion—
in front, behind,
all around,
a multitude in motion.

I have no thought of tomorrow,
now, in the darkness,
there is only motion
and my mother’s hand.

By:  Merle Feld

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“I will grant the rain for your land in season, the early rain and the late. You shall gather in your new grain and wine and oil.” (Deut 11:14)

The late rain is falling tonight at kibbutz mishmar hasharon.

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Quick little update

I love studying on this kibbutz. I am literally walking with history all around me. Last week we toured a secret underground weapons hideout here on the kibbutz. It was used when the Jewish fighters were preparing for the war of independence and had to hide the weapons from the British. My classroom and dorm are a part of the old children’s house complex. Today we have another tour of more kibbutz history.

The people here are living historians too. Our director is the child of a Holocaust survivor (her mother) and a WWII Jewish veteran of the British Army (her father, who only joined the British in hopes of finding his lost love and future wife). I serve a Holocaust survivor every day I work in the communal dinning hall and just downloaded her book about her history in Europe and Israel.

My roommate’s grandmother survived Auschwitz and his great grandfather was a Schindler’s Jew. One classmate had a grandmother in the Holocaust and another’s father is a survivor too.

There is something new to learn here every day. It is incredible.

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I started writting this but never finished and probably won’t

Wow, what an incredible three days. We are on Pesach vacation so Steve and I made a trip down to kibbutz Lotan. There are so many things I want to talk about that I don’t even know where to start.

First, Lotan is one of only 2 kibbutzim in all of Israel associated with the Reform/Progressive movement of Judaism. When I was studying there in 2011, we would give tours to reform youth groups. We were told that the most important thing that the people take from the tour wasn’t the ecology (although that was pretty important) but that this was their home in Israel. Lotan was there home. Lotan is our home, my home.

It was such a great release of pressure too. For the past two months, every venture off kibbutz mishmar hasharon was full of thinking how to ask for what I wanted or needed in the limited עברית I knew. A simple order for lunch would be five minutes of thinking first. But on Lotan, I only had to think about who I had to go see. The hebrew would come naturally.

Also, there was an AMAZING moment during the passover seder. We were sitting with my host family, Rachel and Hadass. They had Rachel’s sister, parents, and three of the four kids at the table. As we (the whole kibbutz, in the community dining room) started to sing the first prayer, their fourth son, Matan, came in. He has been in the US for the last six months and wasn’t supposed to be back for the seder. It was amazing and so heart warming to see his homecoming from the family table.

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Another night

Another student from the ulpan decided to drink too much and throw up. Is it strange that I don’t even mind that much being on clean up duty/care taker?

Maybe it is the universe having me go back and take care of others for all my nights as the drunk in my past.

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Quick post

So I have a draft post about Passover and I also want to write about a tour we took yesterday here on the kibbutz. But it is late and I’m tired. So I’ll just leave this post with this:

As of tonight, I have taken care of 10% of the students in the ulpan after they have drank too much. Meaning after I’ve gone to bed for the night, someone comes to get me to handle the situation. I guess it comes with the Resident Old Man position. Lol

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