I made Aliyah in the summer of 2003 from New York with my husband and three small children. I have since been blessed with three more children. We live in Maaleh Adumim which provides, for the most part, a quiet and peaceful existence.
I never expected this, when we first moved here at the height of the second Intifada. Before our move, I was fully aware of the dangers that are an inherent part of living in Israel. My oldest child, Sadok, was nine when we made Aliyah. Many people asked incredulously if I was afraid of him having to serve in the army one day. I was. I am. But I don’t only value the importance of our land – I feel strong ties to this country, bound by love and by a sense of duty to this eternal gift God has given us.
The first couple of years were loaded with change and adjustment. Making Aliyah, having a baby and then moving two times, was a handful. I was torn in many directions and did not give Sadok the attention he deserved. He seemed to be doing well and since I had been overloaded with activity I simply thanked God and kept moving forward.
It wasn't until he was about 15 that I started to sense something was not sitting well with him. Ever since he was a small child, Sadok has always been very sensitive and considerate of my feelings. It turned out that he did indeed struggle with our decision to make Aliyah, but never expressed them to me because I never asked, and since he knew this was so important to me he did not want to let me down. He was deeply affected by moving so far from his grandparents, extended family and friends and feared army service. He complained periodically about being forced to go into the army which left me worried about his future.
One day, when he was in twelfth grade, he declared he would enter the army right after high school so that he may be done with it as fast as possible. He thought I'd protest heavily, insisting he go to a Mechina or Hesder Yeshiva first, since Torah is of prime importance to me, but I didn't. I simply said, “Sadok, you are about to turn 18, you are a responsible man now, I trust and respect that you will decide what is good and right for you.” A few months later, on his own initiative, he changed his mind and decided to attend Keshet, an amazing Mechina (army preparatory yeshiva) in the Golan. Within that year, he matured greatly and somehow decided to devote himself fully to a combat unit. He felt if he was going to serve his country he'd do it in a way he found meaningful. The switch from inner struggle and resistance to full acceptance seemed to me a miracle. Before I knew it, he was serving in the IDF as a tank gunner.
I have an overwhelming sense of pride in the man Sadok has become these past two years. He has been serving for a full year now. He was called to the Gaza border a month ago. He sat at the border for weeks before being called in. He told me that he wanted to go in and do what needed to be done rather than sit at the border. This attitude is typical of Sadok: if he was already in the army, he might as well do the job that needed to be done. His bravery continues to amaze me. Although I am worried sick, I am overwhelmed with gratitude to God for showering me with the most meaningful gifts. He gave me a son and a country I couldn't love more. It fills me with pride and honor that my son is fighting for the safety and security of our people and our land. I pray God grants success to all of these incredible soldiers and keep them safe now and forever.