Barack Mandela
Barack Mandela
American Soldier/Israeli Soldier

As Israel Turns: IDF Soldier & The Rabbi’s Daughter

This is the second episode of “As Israel Turns” which is a new Jewish soap opera exploring the State of Israel and Jewish Diaspora relations being published in “The Blogs” of “The Times of Israel.”

“As Israel Turns” was created by Barack Mandela who served in both the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the United States Army. Barack is a dual American-Israeli citizen.

Prepare yourself to laugh and cry. Prepare yourself for an emotional thrill ride with intensely personal Jewish stories. Get your popcorn and Coca Cola or Pepsi ready. It’s time for “As Israel Turns”.

This episode introduces the fictional religious IDF soldier, Chaim Spielberg and his friendship with Rachel Streisand, who is daughter of the fictional Rabbi Elazar Streisand of Jerusalem.

Scene One (Leaving the “Kirya” IDF Headquarters in Tel Aviv)

“I look forward to spending this Shabbat at the home of my mentor, Rabbi Elazar Streisand,” IDF officer Chaim Spielberg says to his best friend, Nathan Portman, who is also an officer.

“Rabbi Elazar Streisand is one of the most famous religious Zionist rabbis in Jerusalem. He teaches at the Rabbi Kook yeshiva in the ‘Kiryat Moshe’ neighborhood,” Nathan replies.

“It is an honor to be the rabbi’s Shabbat guest,” Chaim Spielberg explains as he drives his Mercedes towards Jerusalem. “I was one of the rabbi’s students at the yeshiva.”

“Are you going to tell the rabbi your good news?” Nathan asks after he recites ‘Tefillat Ha-Derekh’ (Prayer for a safe journey).

“Yes, I will tell Rabbi Steisand that I have decided to become a career IDF officer. Maybe one day I will be ‘RamatKal’ (Chief of Staff),” Chaim says with a smile.

“You are super-ambitious,” Nathan says jokingly.

“My only true ambitions are to protect the security of the State of Israel and strengthen the Jewish people,” Chaim Spielberg explains. “By serving in the IDF, I am serving the Jewish People.”

“I am a Torah-observant Jewish soldier, and it’s time for me to get married soon,” Chaim continues with deep seriousness.

“Is there someone specifically whom you want to marry?” Nathan Portman asks.

“Yes, I want to marry a religious Jewish woman named Rachel Streisand,” Chaim Spielberg reveals.

“Isn’t she Rabbi Elazar Streisand’s daughter?” Nathan asks.

“Yes, Rachel and I have decided to get married. We plan to reveal our plans after Shabbat,” Chaim explains confidently.

“Mazal tov,” Nathan exclaims, “this is great news.”

Scene Two: (At the Rabbi’s House in the ‘Kiryat Moshe’ neighborhood of Jerusalem towards the end of Shabbat)

Rachel Streisand, who is a student at the Rabbi Kook Seminary for Women in Jerusalem, sits in the living room as her father, Rabbi Elazar Streisand, finishes his eloquent Dvar Torah (Torah lesson).

“That was an excellent Dvar Torah,” Chaim Spielberg says to Rabbi Streisand.

Baruch HaShem, I learned this Torah lesson directly from the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, may his sacred memory be blessed,” the rabbi explains.

“May his holy memory be blessed,” Rachel Streisand adds.

“It’s great to hear you have decided to pursue a long-term career in the Israeli military,” Rabbi Streisand exclaims to Chaim.

Be’ezrat HaShem (with God’s help), I plan remain in the IDF for the foreseeable future. In fact, next week I will be promoted to Seren (Captain),” Chaim says with a smile.

“When you were my top student in the yeshiva, I always knew you would do great things for the Jewish People. Being an officer in the IDF is a segula (spiritual blessing),” Rabbi Streisand elucidates.

“Thank you, Rabbi,” Chaim Spielberg responds.

“Rabbi Streisand, your daughter Rachel and I have some good news to share,” Chaim says in a calm yet strong voice.

“What is your good news?” Rabbi Streisand asks.

“Your daughter Rachel and I have decided to get married. Of course, it will be a Frum religious wedding,” Chaim explains.

Baruch HaShem,” exclaims the rabbi. “This is wonderful news. It will be an honor to welcome you to our family,” Rabbi Elazar Streisand lightly embraces Chaim.

“Father. Chaim and I are glad you support our decision to get married,” Rachel Streisand adds.

“May the God of Israel bless your holy union with Shalom Bayt (a peaceful household)!” Rabbi Streisand blesses.

“May the Source of Blessing bless all the families of Israel,” the rabbi concludes.

This is the story of how IDF officer Chaim Spielberg and Rachel Streisand became engaged and prepare for their wedding under the hupa (wedding canopy).

The End

The next episodes of “As Israel Turns” will appear in “The Blogs” of The Times of Israel. This soap opera will explore Judaism, Israel, Torah study, religious relationships, and the Jewish Diaspora. Prepare yourself for comedy, adventure, and drama in “As Israel Turns”.

About the Author
Licensed Attorney. I earned a Doctor of Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law (1997). I earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Riverside (1994). I was an international student at the University of Costa Rica Faculty of Law (1991-1992) and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law (Summer 1996). I am a military veteran of both the United States Army and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). I am a laureate of the National Defense Service Medal from the Pentagon (2006). I am a financial donor to following: Harvard Law, Yale Law, Stanford Law, Berkeley Law, UC Hastings College of the Law, UC Davis Law, Columbine High School, Choate Rosemary Hall, Phillips Exeter Academy, Sidwell Friends School, Viewpoint School, Beverly Hills High School, Eton College in the United Kingdom, Special Olympics, Children's Defense Fund, Obama Foundation, Clinton Foundation, Barbra Streisand Foundation, and the British Red Cross. I am former special assistant and staff attorney to Governor Pete Wilson of California. I was public affairs assistant to US Senator Barbara Boxer and Mayor Ehud Olmert of Jerusalem and Jerusalem spokesperson Haggai Elias.
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