Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Such is the Army

Today is Yom Sayerot, the first step in trying out for the top elite units in the IDF. I had been told to go just ensure you get a 97 profile (the top profile) and you are good to go. So I got my 97 with a sayif (asterisk) for my glasses which s far as I knew only excluded me from pilots course. So I have been getting ready to go to Yom Sayerot and getting my mind ready for passing the hardest gibushim (physical test of will and strength) in the IDF. But last week I was told since I have glasses I can not come to Yom Sayerot.

Most people here would explode, and start to yell and scream. Me I was calm, because nothing will change this decision and therefore I will not worry about it. There is no point wasting your life away worrying about what you can not change. When i spoke with the head of the Mechina (Army prep school) I went to he said the big three units (Matkal, Sayeret, Shaldag) do not take people with glasses, so I could not fight to go. Since I could not change this I did not worry about it so instead I will train even harder for the Golani Gibush and try to get into either Egoz (an irregular warfare unit) or Palsar Golani (the brigades reconnaissance unit) which is like the very tip of the spear which is Golani.

So never forget the Army will always try and screw you. You cant change this so don't worry about it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Arba Minim

As Sukkot nears we had to order our sets of Arba Minim (The four species for more information see When we got the sign up sheet there was a moment of sticker shock. In America a set can cost between 40 and 80 dollars easily, for us the best of the best cost 41 Shekel or about $10.65.

This cost reduction really comes from our kibbutz producing all the four parts. We grow lulavim here. They grow them by placing a constraint on the palm branch every so often so they grow straight and together. In a day a lulav will grow 3.5 cm so they can be cut many times a year. In total 70-80 thousand lulavim are cut and sold by the kibbutz a year. As for etrogim these too are grown are trees here on our kibbutz. When we saw them for the first time I was surprised to see there are thorns are the etrog tree's baranchs. There were some amazing and beautiful ones growing on trees here. The aravot tree is litteraly next to the storage unit for the lulavim. so its a short walk from getting one to the other. The haddasim I did not see today but we apparently grow these too.

Its interesting to see all these plants which we are commanded to use and how they are all natural to our land Eretz Yisrael / Israel. They are not natural to America, or Europe, or Russia. Only to Israel, maybe its god giving us a hint?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Please Remove Your Self From the Jean Pool

I saw this article the other day and it really pissed me off. For one they are skiing out on their service to their country. They can speak out like this because others are defending their way of life, and their lives. But these girls can only think of themselves and are so selfish they are putting their convictions before the lives of their family of friends. If you do not agree with a war, or an a section of the army you do not have to serve there. There are plenty of army jobs which do not require you to leave Tel Aviv and you work a desk all day, and you even can go home each day. But instead these girls placed their own convictions before their family, friends, and my safety.

But this is not the only part which bothers me, it is one thing to conduct a campaign in Israel to change your own nations policy but to go on a speaking tour of another country is unconscionable. This tour serves no purpose other than to make Israel look bad, and to give ammunition to our enemies. This tour will change nothing, and will only serve to enflame college campuses which are already full anti-Israel hate and lies. Israel would be wise to refuse these girls right to return to the states.

But this does not end here; this speaking tour is also being joined and sponsored by Code Pink. This organization is disgusting they support the killing of america soldiers, and proudly so. If they were going to go abroad and sling mud at Israel they at least could have not joined with people who support the killing of their own nations young men. So in conclusion I ask these morons to remove themselves from our jean pool to prevent their idiocy from being communicated onto the next generations.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wedding In Chevron

When I was in mechina in Ramat Hagolan (the Golan Heights) I had a family on the moshav who adopted me, but since I returned to Israel I had not recontacted them. However this past Tuesday I got a message from them, their daughter is getting married in Chevron in the Marat Ha'Machpelah (the cave where the patriarchs are buried) and they wanted me to try and come. Now normally making a wedding is not too hard, but when the wedding is on the same day you get the message it is a bit trickier. So I immediately called them and began to work out how I would be able to make the wedding.

The wedding began at 1830 and i got the message at 1330. They told me there was a bus coming from the Golan, and someone from a nearbya Kibbutz was meeting the bus. I got the families number and arranged to ride with them to meet the bus. So I Tremped (Israeli hitch-hiking) to the families kibbutz and met them, we arrived at the meeting point with the bus the minute they arrived too, and we were on our way. We arrived in Chevron at 1745, plenty of time to spare.

The wedding itself was beautiful. Both the bride and groom were from Avne Etan, so there was a large number of people I recognized from the Moshav. The brides receptions was set up in a fashion I had never seen before. She was in a low white chair, with a high white back, and before her lay a carpet stretching out from her as it swept away from her. on either side of her sat her friends who being below her gave the impression of her as a queen sitting upon her throne. Her friends playing instruments in the background only added to the effect.

When it came time for the Chuppah, the fathers escorted the groom and the mothers the bride to the Chuppah. The happiness radiating off the two of them was so infectious I am pretty sure if your pet cat was run over you right in front of them you would still be smiling.

When the bride and groom returned from the Yichud room, the dancing and joy which followed was absolutely lovely. The most interesting part was when everyone started to do a Yemenite dance. In all honesty I could not figure out how to do it, its back forward, leg up, step right, or some mixture of the above.

Since the wedding was at the Ma'arat Ha'machpelah I also had the pleasure of davening (praying) there twice.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tsav Rishon and Pain

This past Thursday began my induction into the IDF. I had to wake up early in the morning, grab an early bus to Tiveria (Tiberius) and then report to the Lishkat Giyus (Enlistment office). There you begin your induction into the IDF. It starts with your background information, your family details, and your history. They than administer a Hebrew test to see your level of understanding and mastery. This test is a ridiculous one, it involves reading and translating several sentences in Hebrew, except half the words are words even Israeli's have never heard of before. But I think I passed the Hebrew test as the next step was a 2 hour personal interview. This is not done for all people, and they would not chooses someone who could not communicate his answers so I answered the weirdest questions in Hebrew for two hours. We spent a solid half hour on being late to class, where, when, and why.

After my interview I had a medical examination, and an eye examination whish is used to give you your medical profile, which dictates where you can go in the army. I received a 97 which is the highest profile there is. This means I can go where ever I want in the army. Following this I was set up as a Chayal Boded (Lonely Soldier) and then had to take an intelligence test. The intelligence test was not too hard it’s a lot of pattern recognition and shape comparisons.

After this we returned to the kibbutz and then the real fun began. At 2200 we began Liylah Halavan (Literally: The white night). This is in essence an all night smoker. It starts off easy, a few pushups, a bit of crawling, and bit standing and not moving. then it intensifies. We begin a short march out of the kibbutz into the fields. Once in the fields we spend hours running back and forth, crawling, and way too long in Matzav Shtayim (The upright push up position). I really learned to hate crawling, the ground has littered with thorns, rocks, and generally painful stuff, my forearms are now just covered in red welts from all the crawling we did. This all went till 0430 (we knew because we heard the Muslim call to prayer in the distance) and then we got to load up our stretcher with 230 pounds of sandbags and water and then we set off. Every 20 seconds a pair switches in from the back, and the pair on the back of the stretcher switches the pair on the front of the stretcher, and so we went till 0630 when we got back to our building. There we all got under the stretcher and when our "commanders" screamed Ali'ah we screamed Krav, which means something along the lines of "rise to the fight" but also is a kind of motto for those who choose to go to combat units here. We then stripped of our incredibly muddy cloths, showered, and slept for hours.