Keith Brooks
International Business Executive Living and Working in Israel

I Volunteered for the IDF, Part 1

Sunday I got inducted and will go on semi radio silence until my term is completed. This matters to my kids, wife, friends, family, MassChallenge Mentees and clients. Okay, I may have phone service but no wifi, mobile hotspot it is for me.

I know what you are thinking, at my age do they really need me?After the last week or so, the answer is HELL YES they need me, and you.

While friends of mine have served, and now children of friends of mine serve, I got here too late to do my time and when the opportunity from Nefesh B’Nefesh and Sar El came up in my email, I wanted to do it as soon as I got the email. Easy for me, I work at home, while I may lose some billing time, I gain much more from the time I will be spending at the base.

Hard to send your kids to the army if you never experienced it. No this is nothing like what they will do, but at least it is a little peek behind the curtain.

Yes, I will be very proud of my kids when they serve in whatever form it will be, but like any parent you worry about them and the unknown of where they will be doing their service or what they may be doing.

While I may live vicariously through army stories from friends, it is not the same thing as doing it for yourself. In truth, I will not be doing basic training, nor issued a weapon or expected to do 20 mile runs so just what will we be doing?

I don’t know.

They tell us we may be packing food or supplies, maybe. We may be in a quiet back woods base, maybe. Maybe we will be repairing tanks, jeeps or planes. A guy can wish right?

What they passed along to me in my discussion emails was the need, hopefully not in our lifetime, in the case of a long term battle that civilians be able to help when and where possible. It would be every able bodied person’s job to do something somewhere so the battle can be fought and won. Note I would be the next to last line of people to be called for anything since I have no formal army experience or knowledge.

If this means we somehow end up on a list of nonmilitary reservists, so be it. I am level 3 support for some clients why not be backup, backup support for our army?

After my stint, we get out before Shavuot, I will write up my thoughts and experiences so others can join next time and provide feedback to the program. I was told this is the first time NbN is running this program for Olim that moved to Israel in the last few years.

We have guidelines, we have packing lists, it is like sending your kid away to sleep away camp. Bring a blanket, sheets, pillow, towels and needless to say, boots. Oh and phone cables.

Everyone does their part in a country where 6 degrees of separation feels more like 2, so this is one way I can do it.

One can learn a lot in 5 days, also become friends with people you never knew beforehand and then have that friendship wherever you go. I have been, and will be, at over a half dozen conferences this year and while I get to see some friends I don’t get to really meet all the attendees. This is a different experience and I hope to draw from it ways to help when I attend my next conference, which by the way is the week after my army time.

Our first time is mostly getting to the base and settled and issued madim or uniforms.  There are 7 of us in this group and some have done this before, others, like myself this is our first time.

What a great day, Neta wins Eurovision, It is Yom Yerushalayim and my day to serve, what else can a recent oleh want in life?


About the Author
Keith Brooks made Aliyah in 2014 with his wife, 3 kids, and their dog. Keith writes about his Aliyah, Israel and Jewish life in general. Keith advises B2B companies on how to approach their potential clients regarding pricing, marketing and sales pitches. Keith is a MassChallenge Israel mentor, an HCL Master and an IBM Champion.
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