Steven Zvi Gleiberman

Voluntary Drafting at age 32 – Answering My Call

(Image courtesy of author)

In life, I tend to think that there is a big difference between belief systems and value systems. I define beliefs as a set of ideas that don’t necessarily have to be put into action. Beliefs for me, translate into virtue signaling. Beliefs are essentially talking a big game, but only talking about it. Values on the other hand, are a core set up beliefs that action is indeed taken upon. These values, once taken into action enough times, become part of one’s identity forever, which is why having a strong value system is the best way to journey through life.

For the longest time, I had a belief that I should be living in Israel. I learned here in Yeshiva, staffed birthright trips here and made visiting Israel a vacation destination. My Aliyah in November of 2020 turned that belief into a value, and this decision has changed me and my future generations for the better (yes, I should have made Aliyah earlier, but hindsight is 20/20).

For the longest time as well, I had a belief that serving in the Israeli army is a bedrock foundation of our society and of our religion. I have been doing a lot of signaling of support for the army, such as by being a support for my friends who are soldiers, attending soldiers’ graduation ceremonies or voluntarily driving supplies to army bases. Now it’s time to take things to the next level and turn my belief into a value. I had my orientation on Wednesday at the Lishkat Giyus Tel Hashomer drafting office and this upcoming Sunday, I will be deployed to an Air Force base in the Haifa area for an intensive 2-week general training, followed by hands-on training for my specific role in the army.

The unit I will be joining is called Shlav Bet (level 2). It is an ultra-orthodox-intended unit for those over 25 years old with an army exemption, who, nevertheless, insist on serving their country. It is a non-combat unit, so I won’t be entering Gaza heroically rescuing hostages or paratrooping out of airplanes. Rather, it is a segregated ultra-orthodox unit with Mehadrin meals, daily minyanim, Shiurim, all with the ability to not compromise on any religious values. Those who complete the training will be serving in various vital roles for the country, such as the Pikud Haoref Home Front Command, Emergency Medical Systems, among others. For example, my friend who just completed this program last week is now working for the Chevra Kedisha unit of the Rabbinate identifying bodies, a unit which unfortunately, is far too active these days.

Whenever I need to make a life-altering decision, I try to ask my future self if I would I be proud of the decision that I am making right now, and this is how I made the decision to join the army. When I’ll be old and wrinkly sitting in my rocking chair next to my wonderful wife, do I want to look back at this time in 2023 and see that I was given the opportunity of a lifetime and passed on it, with excuses such as my 7 months pregnant wife, my age surpassing the typical draftee by 15 years or the fact that I just moved into a new community? I always thought that my army contribution would be getting emotional at my children’s army graduation ceremony. But that was a belief, not an internal value. I am immensely proud of my decision to enlist in the Israeli army, though not as proud as my wife, who not only supports me wholeheartedly, but is my greatest motivation and inspiration.

I hope to continue making you proud forever.

Shabbat Shalom!

About the Author
StevenZvi grew up in Brooklyn and in his professional life worked in the healthcare industry in New York City. Wishing to create additional meaning and purpose in his life, he moved to Jerusalem in November 2020, where he lives with his wife, works in the Medical Technology space and volunteers for Hatzalah. He uses his writing capabilities as a healthy outlet not to receive money, recognition or fame. It’s his hope that his articles will have some positive impact on the Jewish nation and humanity worldwide. He may not live forever, but his contributions to society might.
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