Raising Your Child For Something For Which You’re Entirely Unprepared

Townhall | 8/11/2019 | Staff
shankay (Posted by) Level 3
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My family and I recently had the privilege of celebrating two significant and interrelated milestones. We celebrated the 15th anniversary of our arrival in Israel, taking on citizenship and planting our roots firmly in our historic homeland. And we celebrated (yes, celebrated) the induction into the IDF of our oldest son.

When our youngest son was born in Jerusalem, we knew that he would serve in the army, an obligation and privilege as an Israeli Jew, pretty much as genetic as his actual DNA. But when our oldest son was born in N.J., we didn’t know this would be his destiny.

Moment - Plane - Army - Father - Son

But from the moment we stepped off the plane, we knew that he’d go into the army. As his father, I find that I have raised my son for something for which I am entirely unprepared. But not for the reason you think.

Several months after we arrived in Israel, the oldest brother of my son’s new friend was killed in a parachute accident. This was part of our induction into becoming Israeli, more than the simple ID card that we received with a nine-digit number the week we arrived. It shook us and our community and made a profound impact.

Son - Day - Ima - Abba - Army

Our son was 6 and knew more or less what happened. As if to comfort us, I’ll never forget the day he said, “Don’t worry Ima and Abba, when I’m in the army I won’t jump out of planes.”

Ironically, this week he became a paratrooper.

Decade - Induction - Notice - Conversation - Shabbat

A decade later, after he received his initial induction notice, we had a profound conversation over Shabbat dinner. Discussing his service, I said he should go into the famed intelligence unit 8200. I had the temerity to say that he’s analytical (like my father for whom he’s named), and it would be good for his future. Almost in...
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