Saturday, November 21, 2009

A new beggining

So in another 9 hours 51 minutes and 25 seconds I will be inducted into the Israeli Defense Forces, to the 1st Golani Brigade. This means first of all my blog posts will be lest frequent as I will only be getting out of the army every 2-3 weeks on average. Second it means I will not be able to talk about all my experiences, and may have to change details. I will tell you if I have to change details, worry not. For your easy listening here is Goalni's song.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


The door opens, my head is back, feet tucked below the plane, and then off we go. From staring at the planes ceiling I am now looking at a rapidly approaching Israeli beach, and a deep blue Mediterranean sea. As we fall I open my arms and you can feel the air rushing past you, faster and faster. If only you could have seen the smile on my face … there is no feeling in the world quite like free falling 8000 feet. As you are falling you can see the Israeli country side stretching out for miles, and miles, and miles. In the other direction the Mediterranean seems to go on in straight into the sun. As you fall time seems to stretch on into an eternity, and seconds seem to crawl, yet you do not want it to end. But all good things must come to an end, and with out warning out pops the chute, and up we hop. When the chute opens it literally pulls you up a good 100 feet or so into the air. With an open chute our decent is much slower, and we can really see the view now. After about a minute of chute time, the jump counselor hands me the chutes reigns and we begin to circle over the coast taking in the view. As we approach the ground he takes them back my legs come up, and we come for a nice soft bump with dear earth.

I must say I hope I get a chance to do something like this in the army. It is quite an experience.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A crack in the wall

So this past sunday I found my self in Jerusalem, and so of course I went to the Kotel (wailing wall) to daven. There while I was waiting for a minyan to catch up to me I watched as group after group of people came into the plaza and approach the wall. I noticed two habbits with people here. One is in pictures people had this obsession with touching the wall. It almost seemed to me they felt they had to touch it for the whole experience to feel real. Maybe by touching they felt they could come a bit closer to touching god. For what ever their reasons people really seemed to like touching the wall especially in pictures.

The second thing I noticed was notes. People be they Jewish or not love to place notes in the wall. As I thought about this strange habit I came to realize through out all of Jewish history we would pour out our prayers and hopes to god, and at the wall it is no different. In the past we would have times of trouble and persecution, cracks in our history if you will, and into those cracks went all our prayers. When the rest of the world came for us we would always go for god. Today we do not just have a spiritual crack in which to throw our prayers and hopes, today we also have a wall, a wall with a connection to god, which we continue to pour into and fill with our aspirations, hopes and dreams. They say god keeps a cup of tears which is filled every time we cry over the bitterness of our exile and when the cup is filled the redemption will come. I cant say if the story is true, but maybe when we will fill the wall with enough of our prayers, hopes, and aspirations go will send us our redemption as well.

They say history repeats its self, but each repetition can be a bit different. Today we have a crack in the wall, hopefully tomorrow we will have the whole temple too.

Days till the Army: 4

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Driving and Diving.

The program has wound down its official schedule leaving us free time, and time to get ready for the army. For me I spent most of this time getting my Israeli drivers licences. Now to do this I had to go through a lot of steps.

1. Several weeks ago I had to go to an optometrist, but not just any optometrist there is only one company which can do it. There you have your photo taken and then you get a green paper, and they also check your eyesight. This costs 50 shekels.

2. You must have a doctor sign off on your form saying you are healthy and fit to drive, this cost me 65 Shekel.

3. Then I had to go to one of two offices in Israel set up to permit you to switch your American licenses over to an Israeli one. They too sign off on your form, and its ... FREE!!

4. Then you need to take two lessons minimum, I took 3 so I would be more than ready for the test, it cost a total of 315 Shekel.

5. Then came the test which is its self 350 Shekel, and then you have to pay to use the driving schools car, which the law obligates you to use, and that was 67 Shekel.

6. Then came the test, which I PASSED!! But I had to wait till 1600 to find out the results since, once some one was failed and decided to beat his tester, so they changed the law and the results are not published till 1600 of the same day. So I got my temporary licences, and to get my permanent licence I need to mail the form in to the Israeli Motor Vehicle People, and pay 197 Shekel.

So all in all getting my licence cost: 1097 shekel, and about 9-10 Hours.

Skydiving cost 1000 shekel and is a lot ore fun, maybe I will do that next week. What can be a better way to end of my short stint of civilian life then jumping out of a perfectly good airplane?

Days till the Army: 8

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tiyul Giyus

This past week our whole Garin went on a tiyul (hike) before we all start to draft to our own palces in the army. We hikes adn toured the whole Golan heights, but that was not the part which struck me. Sure its beautiful, and sure it my old stomping ground, but it was the lst day which really attracted me.

On Thursday we went to Kineret Cemetery. This cemetery served the west bank of the Kinneret in the early 20th century, mostly for those who were the real true pioneers of the Jewish state. Here the history and stories are endless. You can walk from grave to grave and with each one there is a story, and an experience to share. From soldiers who fell in the War for Independence to the founders of the first Kibbutz, the Hashomer, and more. Ben Gurion's right hand man, and teen agers who were sworn off by there parents for moving to then Palestine. I felt this location was appropriate for our group as well, since one could find many similarities. We as a group moved from our homelands to Israel, we came with a strong feeling of Jewish deffence, after all we are all going to the army, and many of us bring valuable skills and degrees to the country as well.

There was one small event there which I found ironic as well. As our tour guide was speaking I picked up one of those propeller like seeds you see around a lot and tried to crack it open, and I tried, and I tried, and I tried some more. It would not open, it would not crack. To me this was a metaphor for the people who had lived there, an were now buried in the cemetery. No matter how hard, or bad things got they drove on and just kept trying. Just as the nut could not be cracked, these people could not be broken.

Today is exactly three weeks from when I draft to Golani baby!! I also have an interview with Intelligence tomorrow. We shall see how that works out.