Saturday, October 17, 2009

This is the army Mr. Jones ...

Tuesday morning we all rolled out of bed at 0530. Shower, cloths, and prayers followed. We then ate a hurried breakfast and then sat down to wait for the bus. It was late, quite late, what a welcome to the army. We finally boarded and off to Tiveria (Tiberius) we went. There all of our army files were loaded on to the bus after a long wait. Then back on the bus and off to Tel Aviv, and Tel Hashomer, a large IDF base where all new recruits are inducted.

After a 2 our bus ride we arrive and are off leaded into the responsibility of a Mefakedet (female commander) who puts us in two lines and then we march off to turn in our bags and get a hot lunch. As we went from the bus to lunch I realized some kids are gona have a real hard time in basic, some people just can not shut up. From lunch the real stuff began, we formed two lines again and off to the induction center we went. First is photo's. Some people brought white shirts, and tie's for his I did not. Its not my wedding picture, its my army picture. From there they begin to take all sorts information to identify you.They take photo's of your teeth, they fingerprint you, and palm print you, they x-ray your teeth, take DNA, and then give you a few vaccines. From there we went to puck up our dog tags and brand new army ID's.

From there most people would continue on to get uniforms and gear, but we did not. Since not every one knows the location of where they will draft there is no point in issuing gear you might just have to turn right back in. In the end the whole thing seemed a bit anti climatic to me. After all my induction into the US Army was a wild ride compared to this. But worry not November 22nd I will be in the front leaning rest again, Go Golani, Nov '09 KAVOD!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Simchat Torah and a Jewish Nation

In the states Simchat Torah and Shmeni Atzeret are two seperate and distict days, but here they are one and it is a bit weird. So on the first (and ONLY) night of chag we take out the Torah's and begin to dance all 7 hakafot. It was a really nice experience in the kibbutz, and the younger people especially get real into the dancing and singing. Every time the Gabi tries to get up and start a new Hakafah, the youth would pick up a new song and keep on going, with out fail each time. The night of the dancing did not go on too lang and we eat by a reasonable hour.

The next morning we started services a bit early, and we were done with all the teffilot (prayers) by 1030 Everyone then went back to their houses and had kiddush there. People eat a light brunch as well, and then by 1130 people come back to the shul and the hakofot begin. These hakafor are even more lively than the night before. The Kibbutz puts out a table of "schnapps" and people really get into the dancing. But there was one song i had never heard before which really struck me.

"עם מנצח לא לפחד מי דרך ארוקה"

A victorious nation is not afraid of the long path.

This really struck me because I had never heard this song before, and even more I realized this is a song unique to the Israeli experience. In America Jews have no conception of what it means to be a nation, a Jewish nation. they may know what it means to be a minority group, even a power player in the states decisions, but they have never and never will know what it means to be the nation as a whole, to be not just an actor in the decision, but also the one making decisions.

But even further this song embodies even more of the Israeli spirit which many American Jews lack. Many American Jews enjoy their lives, they might know or say Israel is great and their homeland but it is too much of a bother for them to do the right thing. Its easy to sit in their large house, in a quite suburb, and send a yearly check to the JNF. So they do because they don't want to have to get a smaller house, in a city where every cafe has a security guard, where their children will have to go to the army, and they are part of all the decisions of the nation. But its sad because these people can not see past their own selves, they cannot see the long path. It may be a harder path, a long path but it is also the one which will ensure your grand kids are Jewish; it is the one which ensures the rest of your nation a safe haven for ever. So yes this song is it its entirety Israeli and yes every Jew in America is missing out on it.

Judaism does not believe in taking the easier path in life. Torah is meant to be worked for and is meant to be a lifelong toil, not an easy fruit to be pulled of a tree. It is sad the American Jew has let this idea fade away and be lost. While this may not apply to all Jews it applies to many, and if it does not apply to you maybe it will jar you enough to move someone else to action as well.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Sukkot on the kibbutz is an interesting place. First of all, besides for every one building a succah we also built a communal succah which the garin aided in completing. While we were helping to build the succah one of the kibbutznikim gave us a demonstration of whittling a mezuzah cover.

Within the kibbutz we have some very interesting succot as well. One family builds an interesting succah every year. This year the walls are built from hay bales with wooden farm accessories in the widows and on the walls. The door way is built from a trunk of a date tree cut in half. The scach is from the leaves of the date trees. In fact all the succot is the kibbutz makes use of the branches of the date trees for schach. `

The garin will also be putting on a play and dance to “introduce” ourselves to the kibbutz. This is not my idea at all, but its tradition (this place is starting to sound like West Point a bit) so we have to. While I may not enjoy this stuff I will at least try and pretend I care at all.

But once the painful part ends we have a group hike on Mount Gilboa on Wednesday which should be interesting. The mountain commands an imposing view upon the entire Beit Shean valley and beyond into Jordan. Thursday will be a bike day. My original plan was to go from the kibbutz, around the entire Kinneret and back, but I was asked not to out of safety reasons. So instead me and several other people from the garin will join in a group from the area to bike a 25k loop. Not quite as interesting but still promises to be fun.