Anyone who is connected to social media networks knows that today is the first day of school in Israel. Over 2,000,000 children started school today in this country. Parents are thrilled by the new school year’s commencement. August is not the easiest of times to entertain children. Many children end up going to work with their parents, and add a special twist to the term “work.”
Yesterday began my family’s procession towards school. My recent High School grad began her first day at a midrasha (women’s seminary) called Midreshet Lindenbaum. The premise of this midrasha is that the girls learn for a year, and then they choose a particular area of the army in which they will attend with other girls from the midrasha. Together, they will give each other strength religiously, as they give their national service time to the IDF.
My daughter proudly took me throughout the school, on a tour of the Beit Midrash , the library, and the dorms. It felt like a mini-college of sorts. I had sudden flashbacks to my first days of seminary, and college. And, then it hit me, I realized that my first born is actually on her own this year…beginning a new journey of learning new texts, meeting new people, and living away from home.
As I kissed her, and hugged her before I left, I began to cry. “I am so proud of you honey, I am so, so proud of you!” I said, as the tears flowed. And, I truly am…my daughter chose this path for herself. She could have gone to many other National Service options, but she chose this wonderful bastion of learning so she could strengthen herself before she gives back to the country via the IDF.
I slowly walked myself to the car, and cried a bit, and then I had a flashback. When we were first married, we subscribed to the Jerusalem Report magazine. It is a publication from the Jerusalem Post that has various newsworthy articles about Israel, and its environs. Reading the magazine helped us keep tabs on the pulse of Israel, and it was very helpful to keep our Zionist spark alive.
One day, when we received the magazine, I noticed an ad, it was an ad for donations to a seminary that prepares women for the army. I looked at the pictures of random young female soldiers, smiling out at the readers, and I thought “Wow! This is incredible!” As I scrolled down the page, I realized it was Midreshet Lindenbaum, a product of Ohr Torah Stone (Rabbi Riskin’s yeshiva in Efrat). I remember, wondering to myself…will our children ever be able to do that? I showed the picture to my husband, and we contemplated the possibility, which seemed so far away….
And, now, our first-born daughter, Carmi is fulfilling the dream of so long ago. Now, she is attending that very seminary from the ad I saw so long ago. Our lives have come full-circle. She is essentially living the dream we barely imagined possible. Right before our very eyes, she is making the ultimate sacrifice…to Torah, and to Israel. I pray that she has a meaningful year, and that she is prepared for whatever the IDF has in store for her.
Carmi Blacher and a friend at the Midreshet Lindenbaum Bet Midrash.