People raising kids generally do a lot of fretting about the coming generation.
Perhaps you’ve heard — or even said yourself — some of these lines:
“If you don’t start applying yourself, you’ll never get anywhere in life!”
“When I was a kid, we used to walk five miles to and from school in the snow. And it was uphill in both directions!”
I’d like to share a few stories, and then I’ll tell you why I think they are remarkable.
When the war broke out, my younger son was immediately called to duty. My older son, Avi, tried to join the IDF to help the war effort. Avi had served in Chail Avir — the Israel Air Force — over 10 years ago. And although he went through basic training and carried a rifle, his main job was serving as an English teacher in the Air Force. So when he tried to rejoin, he was politely informed that English teachers were not in high demand in Gaza.
So he tried to join the police.
“Thanks, but no thanks.”
He tried to join the border patrol.
“Thanks, but no thanks.”
He followed Facebook groups where different options for military service were publicized, and he finally found a position in the Military Police which matched his qualifications.
He applied, and was promptly accepted.
He showed up in uniform, and is serving just 2 km from his little brother at the Gaza border.
Then there’s Yoni, the son of dear friends of ours from Baltimore.
Yoni last carried a rifle as a Chayal Boded 18 years ago. His army service was a very unpleasant one, and ended with a significant injury. But when the war broke out, Yoni immediately called from Baltimore to the IDF: “I’d like to rejoin.”
“Thanks for calling, but we really don’t need you.”
Yoni was undeterred. He began getting himself into shape, hiking mountains with 40 kilo on his back. Going to the rifle range. He prepared and he waited. And then he called again.
“I would like to cancel my Army exemption and rejoin the IDF.”
The answer came quickly: “We can use you, guarding in the Shomron, in order to free up local soldiers to go to Gaza or up North. How soon can you be here?”
The next day, Yoni was at his post, proudly wearing his madim, his M-16 at the ready.
Finally, there’s another Avi. Avi Goldberg is one of my son Avi’s closest friends for close to 20 years. Avi G. runs a large apartment management firm in Jerusalem. When the war broke out, and surviving families from the South fled with only the clothes on their backs, Avi went into action, dedicating his office and his staff to the resettlement effort. He convinced 50 of his apartment owners abroad to open their doors and their hearts to families who had nowhere to go.
Together with my Avi at his side, his group bought food, bedding, clothing, medical equipment, and anything and everything needed for these shell-shocked families to begin reassembling the traumatized shreds of their lives. To begin breathing and living normally again.
Once he felt that he had done everything he could, he contacted the IDF, and joined a group guarding a yishuv in the Shomron. Ironically, it is the same Yishuv where Yoni is serving.
These stories are remarkable because they are so unremarkable.
Hundreds of thousands of people, not just from Israel but from around the world, immediately answered the call and showed up to protect our beloved land. As I look around my friends and neighbors, I see people who are serving, who have served, whose children are serving, or whose grandchildren are serving. I see young men and women with rifles flung behind their backs going about every manner of business imaginable, and guarding us all at the very same time.
To all of you who have raised children and worried about our future, I say to you:
Look at this incredible generation.
Look at the future of Am Yisrael.
Our future is truly, and undoubtedly, in unremarkably remarkable hands!