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From Quaker High School to the IDF: Profile of a Lone Soldier

Camp Rama, Michael Levine and attending a Quaker high school were among the factors that led Akiva Goldstein to become a Paratrooper in the IDF.
Newly inducted IDF paratrooper Akiva Goldstein and his parents in Akiva's apartment in Jerusalem, September 7, 2012.

Newly inducted IDF paratrooper Akiva Goldstein and his parents in Akiva's apartment in Jerusalem, September 7, 2012.
Photo Credit: Daniel Tauber

That was about one year ago. Since then Goldstein completed a year at the Keshet mechina, a pre-military orthodox yeshiva in the Golan Heights. In July he was accepted as a paratrooper and has already completed several weeks of basic training.

On Thursday, September 6th, Goldstein marched onto the kotel plaza with the rest of his unit, swore to defend the State of Israel, and received his gun and Tanakh in a formal induction ceremony.

“A sense of self-pride doesn’t even begin to describe it,” he said. “Everything that I have worked for in the past year, all my life’s motivation, connection to Israel, had finally come true.”

About the Author: Daniel Tauber is a frequent contributor to various prominent publications, including the Jewish Press, Arutz Sheva, Americanthinker.com, the Jerusalem Post and Ha’aretz. Daniel is also an attorney admitted to practice law in Israel and New York and received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law. You can follow him on facebook and twitter.


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11 Responses to “From Quaker High School to the IDF: Profile of a Lone Soldier”

  1. Bill Fedullo says:

    "So with an obviously Jewish name, a Star of David necklace, and his greater knowledge of Judaism, “I was the token Jew, even though I wasn’t orthodox,” he said."

    As a graduate of Friends' Central School I find this absurd and offensive. FCS is 40-50% Jewish; while, as the article states, not all Jews there are practicing, this article's attempts to portray Mr. Goldstein as some sort of religious outcast is laughably dishonest. Also the idea that Zionist feeling is somehow rare at FCS is likewise laughably dishonest.

  2. Zach Nichols says:

    DEATH TO ZIONIST INVADER

  3. It also mentions that he is the "sole identifiable Jew" and the "only one with a connection to israel.". Its utterly ludicrous–what allows him to say that he has a greater connection to Israel than any other student? I'm tired of this "holier than thou" stuff.

  4. Ben Fogel says:

    Bill, you know there is more than just a hint of truth in what they are getting at. While it's not that polarized, few Friends' Central Jews are practicing Jews or even identify as Jewish outside of "my parents are Jewish and Israel's a cool place; I vacationed there once."

    Jordan, his greater connection to Israel is that he actually decided to move there, make Aliyah, leave all he knew behind and fight for the nation's sovereignty and people. That's a pretty strong connection.

  5. Bill Fedullo says:

    Ben, he was not a *token* Jew. He was not the "sole identifiable Jew." Look, I actually agree that people like me (i.e. mischling) kind of herald the dissolution of the Jewish people as a separate culture. But you should be *personally* offended by this article. Your identity as a practicing Jew and a Zionist is being denied in the pursuit of framing a victim complex.

  6. Ben Fogel says:

    Obviously he was not the "token Jew," but if you've ever sat down and had a conversation, be it in the cafeteria or anywhere else, you know that even the Jewish students "poke" fun or make sarcastic remarks about a Chai Necklace, the the Matzah someone's eating or something they're wearing. I'm not saying people are anti-Semitic or ignorant, I'm merely saying that when someone wears a necklace, eats Matzah or sometimes even wears an Israeli t-shirt, everyone seems to have their own two-cents to add or their own little comments and quips, which in turn can make someone feel like the "token Jew" or the "sole identifiable Jew."

  7. Allison Feld says:

    Plenty of Jews at FCS have strong connections to Israel, including myself, and express them in different ways. But you cannot deny the fact that Akiva is acting on, and physically fighting for his beliefs, and for peace in Israel. The paratrooper unit (HaTzanchanim) he is in is arguably the most elite and requires him to participate in the riskiest situations possible while fighting in the military. There's a major difference between saying "there's a whole lot of craziness going on in the Middle East and in Israel" and critiquing the decisions being made by its leaders, and actually getting involved, and putting your life on the line to try and achieve some level of peace.

  8. This is the reason why I stopped practicing Judaism–just because you mindlessly practice rituals daily, or decide to risk your life towards a cause does NOT imply that you're connection to your religion is any less strong or valid than anyone else's. I highly resent anybody saying that akiva is somehow a "better" Jew or one with a "stronger connection towards Israel" than any other Jewish person out there simply because he joined the IDF and we didn't.

  9. Allison Feld says:

    you're right, you don't have to do every mitzvah or ritual to be a Jew with strong connections to your faith and people, but one BIG part of Judaism is having a homeland, and that homeland is Israel. It needs to be protected, because its existence and safety is under a lot of risk right now. Not everyone is going to join the army and physically protect the country and not everyone has to ( Heck, I'm obviously not, I'm in college right now), but it is important to support the people who are. It's not a matter of being better than one another, or who has a better connection. There's a saying "kol yisrael areivim ze la zeh" – the nation of Israel is responsible for one another, so it is important to support Akiva, and his endeavors.

  10. Grant Schiller says:

    "…sole identifiable Jew and one of the only students with a connection to Israel…" What? Is the publication talking about the same school?

  11. Adamandeve Waswhite says:

    You Jews don't actually believe yourselves that King Solomon was a jew do ya?

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