Today’s post is going to be very Zionist because today, I had a uniquely Zionist experience – I took my son to the בקו"ם (the army induction center) and ‘handed’ him over to the Israeli army. Yes, today my son was drafted in to ZAHAL.
Last night, when my son and I were discussing this rite of passage, I told him that though it was difficult for me, as it is for probably all mothers, I felt a sense of pride and that he and his friends - those 18 and 19 year old sons and daughters – were our community’s representatives and that they were serving for all of us. It would be easy to see this as simply one more step in an individual’s life, but I choose to see each season's גיוס (army recruitment) as a community process, as a community decision, for better and for worse, for the future of Israel.
Judaism and subsequently Israel survives because of community. Our daily customs, our holidays, Shabbat, Synagogue are all community experiences. Our ideal learning is together with others – in hevruta. The day school, Jewish camp and the Israel experience – it’s all about community. The strength of our individuals, our intelligence, our courage, our endurance lies in our interdependence. Community sustains our memories and builds our future.