Adrienne Skolnik

My Grandfather Served In World War II, Now It Is My Time To Serve!

Alexander Schwartz – a great name indeed! I met this remarkable man shortly after the October 7th massacre. Alexander is a Sergeant in the Israeli military (IDF) and served in a tanker unit. When the massacre occurred, he was in the United States attending university.

Sadly, his tanker unit was ambushed on the Gaza border and several of his brothers were brutally executed by Hamas and others were taken hostage. In their honor, he launched Project Iron Support, a 501c3, whose purpose is to send critical supplies directly to IDF ground combat units. For Israel had mobilized nearly ½ million troops overnight, and although the IDF was doing its very best, critical needs and equipment were going unfulfilled.

A few weeks after the massacre, Alexander was invited to speak at a Republican Committee meeting I normally attend, to promote Project Iron Support. He spoke with dignity, grace and humility in presenting the history of Israel, the Palestinian/Hamas conflict, and showed graphic pictures of the barbaric massacre.

Although there were one-hundred people attending, there was complete silence and tears. We were all deeply impacted by these horrific images. I believe for anyone seeing pictures of the barbarity committed by Hamas, it is a life-changing experience. However, it is necessary that the world see this diabolical truth. (Scroll down to my previous article, Let Then Tell Their Story, where I describe these images.)

After his presentation, I introduced myself to let him know how much I appreciated what he is doing for his brothers, Israel, and for me also, for there are only a few Jews who attend the Republican Committee meeting. Not surprising!

Another woman introduced herself and told Alexander that she has a son in college, he is a brilliant kid, but she is afraid he is becoming pro-Palestinian, and she doesn’t know what to do. I told her I wrote articles published in the Times of Israel that addressed this problem, identified and countered the lies about Israel and the Jews that are being perpetrated by radical antisemitic groups protesting worldwide, and I would send these to her.

I stayed in touch with Alexander and he later explained what inspired him to serve in the IDF, for he was born in Los Angeles, California. His family attended a reformed temple and he was sent to Jewish Day School where he studied Israeli history, wars and lifestyle. This education, plus parents who were Zionists, created a value system and a meaningful path to the future.

Growing up, he loved to read books about World War II, for his grandfather served in this war. At a young age he knew he wanted to be in the army, so there was a natural progression and it was obvious he would serve. After he graduated high school, he decided to relocate to Israel, made Aliyah, became a citizen, attended Yeshiva for two years and became an Orthodox Jew.

He received orders from the IDF when he completed Yeshiva and trained for eight months in desert terrain. He wanted to do difficult, hard work and requested to be in the tanker unit. To his surprise, he received this assignment in one day and was thrilled, for not only was it hard work, but dirty and lots of manual labor. He saw this not just as “a miracle, but as an opportunity.”

At the end of eight months, he received his beret and pin. A very proud day indeed!

In 2018, he was deployed to the Syrian border and participated in cross-border combat operations. When the Assad Regime was bombing Syrian villages, he helped rescue wounded civilians under the cover of darkness. The civilians would run to the Israeli border for they knew they would receive humanitarian care from the IDF soldiers. Alexander gave them food for adults and children, diapers, etc. What other army does this? I wish Israel had better public relations and shared this with the opposition media to counter the lies being reported.

His second assignment was a rotation to the Egyptian border where he helped uncover drug smuggling, and third rotation was guarding the Gaza border. These missions completed his two-year service.

Alexander then started college in Israel studying Computer Science. When COVID hit, schools were closed and students sent home, so he returned to the United States to complete his studies and was awarded a Bachelor’s Degree in Business, concentrating in Computer Science, and an MBA, Masters in Business Administration. He also started a unique cookie business with a gourmet pastry chef, Cookie Chips, incorporating high quality ingredients from all over the world. Quite impressive accomplishments!

Then on October 7th, his world changed again. Because of his loyalty to the IDF and his tanker brothers, Project Iron Support has raised $60,000 for items like Butterfly IQ+ Handheld Ultrasound Scanners, and NVR Security Imaging Cameras 12mm Varifocal Lens for Human Detection.

I am so impressed with his dedication to ensure that his brothers and sisters (there are women Israeli tank units now) are safe. He also expressed his feelings about them in a way that only an Israeli would say, “I love them. They are sweet.” I know this, for I have an adopted Ethiopian/Israeli son who also served in the IDF and expresses himself in the same way.

I asked Alexander what his main concerns are now: “1) the increasing support for Hamas, 2) the international community’s lack of care about October 7th and the rise of worldwide antisemitism, 3) the lack of worldly education and fallacies being spread by the younger generation. He calls it, ‘Distracting Energy,’ 4) the lack of awareness and education of American youth, 5) and what is causing so many school shootings?” All critical issues crippling today’s younger generation.

Regarding his future: Because Alexander speaks English and Hebrew, he would like the opportunity to work with technology companies who have offices in both the United States and Israel. He may also have political ambitions for through his MBA Washington Campus Coalition, he recently traveled to Washington, DC where he met with Congressional staff, lobbyists, Federal appointees, and trade associations.

He did share, with a bit of humor, “Lobbyists were much less interesting.” I asked him what he would aspire to in politics?  His answer was just what I expected, “Possibly, Congressman.” For truly, he is a natural leader.

Alexander just informed me that he has been redrafted by the IDF and will be returning to Israel next week to fight in Gaza with his tanker unit. He said to me, “My grandfather served in World War II, now it’s my time to serve.”

I am inspired by Alexander and know he will achieve great success in his lifetime. He is a man on a mission and represents the symbol of hope for the Jewish nation, resilience, strength and optimism! He will be in my prayers along with all the brave IDF soldiers. I hope yours too. Am Yisrael Chai!

About the Author
Adrienne Skolnik worked professionally as a commercial real estate broker. She served on the National Advisory Committee of the Conference of Jewish Affairs with her friend and mentor, the late Rabbi Aryeh Spero, and was creator of The New Jewish Exodus Project zoom presentation: Jews Fleeing Woke Synagogues! – Americans for Peace and Tolerance
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