Guest writer: Yuval Orr It is hard to escape the suffocating sense of violence and despair that chokes the air these days, even as it nonchalantly masquerades as a sense of normalcy around Tel Aviv. […]
The student-led initiative Open Hillel was launched to question Hillel International’s “Israel Guidelines,” and has taken root on campuses like Swarthmore, Vassar and, most recently, Wesleyan, and is making additional waves on campuses around the country like Berkeley and […]
Forward: This is the first piece of mine to have been published in a major American magazine. It seems fitting that this milestone was marked in the pages of Sojourners, a magazine with a robust […]
Phone rings (the iPhone blues-riff, for those curious, ie., dun nah nuh nuh nuhh (bum bum, bum bum).
Unknown number, which usually either means a hate-call (a la last week’s “I hope the Nazis do to you what they did to my family”) or the IDF.
“Come into the Draft Offices on Thursday, you have a meeting with the [Insert Military Acronym that Young Rothman Could Not Understand*].”
“Uh, OK? Is this like a committee or not like a committee?”
“I don’t know. Sure. I guess you can say it’s like a committee.”
I arrive. Before arriving, I do a lot of meditating and some praying and generally try to get myself in a place in which I am calm and filled with love even for those who don’t love me.
I go upstairs. I am calm. I am called into the room. Across from me sits the Samla”g* (a high-up in the draft office). The conversation goes something like this:
“We see that you were born in Israel, and then lived here when you were seventeen. And that you made ‘Aliyah’ last September. Is that right?”
“Well… immigrated, yeah.” (Probably best not to argue semantics here, I decide. One struggle at a time).
“And why don’t you want to serve in the army?”
“Because I am opposed to violence.”
”So are we. The IDF is not an organization that supports violence. We are defending our country’s borders.”
Breathe, Rothman. Breathe.
Dear friends, On October 21st, 2012, I am expected to become a soldier in the IDF. I was born in Israel, am Jewish, am male and am under 26 years old and thus received a […]