Tuvia Book
Author, educator, Tour-Guide, artist

I fought and I fought and eventually got back into the army!

Photo (c) T. Book, 2023

What can I do? This was the first thought that went through my mind when I woke up last Shabbat to an air raid siren and the terrible news just kept pouring in. In my IDF service, which I volunteered for as a Lone Soldier, I was a combat medic in the Givati brigade. I continued this role during many years of reserve duty (milluim). However, even though I was aged out of reserves, the old Israeli adage that, “no is never no” motivated me to return to active reserve duty in this moment of our nation’s need. I literally dusted off my combat boots and old uniform and went down to a huge IDF compound in the Negev where I had heard a rumor that they might be looking for Combat Medics, and after “only” three hours of going from unit to unit, I ultimately got myself back into the army. It took another six days of bureaucracy, but here I am with all my combat medical gear “somewhere near Gaza.”

The amazing thing is, even though I am the oldest, I was not the only one who fought to get back into the active reserves. We have more than 100% turn up for our unit!  I’ve met a whole slew of folks here from many different backgrounds, who are also here after having volunteered to reenlist. This is because we all understand that this is a war against total evil. Our job here is to save as many lives of our holy heroes as we can, and that is why we are here.

Those who know me, will not be surprised by my tenacious insistence to return to active IDF service. As an educator and tour guide for many years I always share inspirational stories of those amazing men and women in the Zionist pantheon who led by example. They didn’t just “talk the talk,” but also “walked the walk.” One of the heroes I teach about, who particularly inspired me, is Hannah Szenesh. She, like me, came to the land of Israel by herself after writing in her diary at the age of 17,

One needs to have something to believe in, something which gives one’s life meaning and purpose. Zionism fulfills this for me.

Once she was in the safety of the land of Israel she selflessly volunteered to parachute into Nazi-occupied Europe. She wrote a poem about her decision.  This poem was one of my inspirations  to rejoin the IDF as a combat medic at this critical time for our people and our homeland. It starts. “A voice called. I went because a voice called.”

About the Author
Dr. Tuvia Book was born in London and raised in both the UK and South Africa. After making Aliya at the age of 17 and studying in Yeshiva he volunteered for the IDF, where he served in an elite combat unit. Upon his discharge he completed his BA at Bar-Ilan University, as well as certification in graphic design. He then served as the Information Officer at the Israeli Consulate of Philadelphia, while earning a graduate degree in Jewish Studies. Upon his return to Israel, Dr. Book graduated from a course of study with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, and is a licensed tour guide. Tuvia has been working in the field of Jewish Education, both formal and informal, for many years. He has guided and taught Jewish students and educators from around the English-speaking world for some of Israel’s premier educational institutions and programs. Tuvia has been guiding groups for Birthright Israel since its inception and, in addition, has lectured throughout North America, Australia, Europe and South Africa. Tuvia served as a Shaliach (emissary) for the Jewish Agency for Israel as the Director of Israel and Zionist Education at the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York (Jewish Education Project). He was a lecturer/educational guide at the Alexander Muss Institute for Israel Education (AMIIE) in Israel for a decade. Tuvia has lectured at both Bar Ilan University and Hebrew University. He was a Senior Editor and Teaching Fellow at the Tikvah Fund. He is a research associate at the Hudson Institute. Tuvia is the author and illustrator the internationally acclaimed Israel education curriculum; "For the Sake of Zion; A Curriculum of Israel Studies" (Fifth edition, Koren 2017), and "Moral Dilemmas of the Modern Israeli Soldier" (Rama, 2011) and has a doctorate in Israel Education. His latest book, "Jewish Journeys, The Second Temple Period to the Bar Kokhba Revolt – 536 BCE-136 CE," was published by Koren this year. To order:
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