web analytics
December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Lone Soldiers: Atlanta-Born Aircraft Technician Says Living in Israel ‘Settled his Soul’

Brad had to convince his commanders that his Hebrew was good enough to study for his dream job: working on fighter aircraft.

Brad had to convince his commanders that his Hebrew was good enough to study for his dream job: working on fighter aircraft.
Photo Credit: IAF Spokesperson

Brad, 24, grew up in Atlanta, GA, where he attended a Conservative Jewish day school.

“We always studied about Israel,” he says. “One period every day was either about the Holocaust or about Israel.”

In the eighth grade, his entire class was supposed to go to Israel for three-weeks, but “It was just after the start of the second Intifada, so they took us to New York instead, which wasn’t as much fun…”

Brad says he was left with a yearning to go visit Israel some day. He continued through a public high school, then took Accounting in college.

“About four months into the course, I was sitting in class one day, and I said to myself, This isn’t right for me. I’m eighteen, I’m young, I want to go see the world.”

He contacted the Birthright organization and joined their Taglit program. “They took us for two weeks, paid for the plane ticket there and back, they paid for food, hotels, everything.”

He went without any of his friends. “I always like to travel alone,” he says. “I meet new people and I can do whatever I want to.”

Besides showing the young Americans the sites, the Taglit staff tried to familiarize them with life in Israel. Brad liked what he saw. When he came back to America he missed it. “Immediately, I started looking for ways to get back to Israel,” he says.

His family was very supportive. “My parents grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. My dad was part of the Beitar youth organization there. When he was 18 he wanted to go serve in the IDF, but his father became sick and my dad had to stay and take over the family business.”

Brad did some research and decided to attend a five-month program at a kibbutz ulpan. “We were a group of 36 people, living on the kibbutz and learning Hebrew. I was working in their sprinkler factory.”

Instead of living an insular life in the ulpan, his five months were a time of discovery. Every weekend, Brad and five of his friends from the kibbutz program would travel to different spots, exploring the country. It also helped him with his Hebrew.

“Every day that went by, I felt more at home,” he says. “I felt that my soul was settled.”

In 2008, after the ulpan, Brad and two friends rented an apartment in Tel Aviv, and continued their exploration of Israel.

Eventually he returned to America and stayed with his parents, working as a car mechanic. But he couldn’t stop missing the country he had begun to think of as his home.

Finally he called Nefesh B’Nefesh and decided to make Aliyah. He told his parents, then went through the process. An adopted child of Christian birth parents, Brad was converted by a Beit Din in Houston, TX, but says he had to advocate for his right to be accepted as a Jew. “I told them I didn’t believe any person could sit and judge me and say, We don’t think you’re Jewish enough, only God can judge me.” he says.

A month later he received a letter apologizing for the mishap, he was welcome to make Aliyah as a Jew. Now he had to tell his parents.

“My mom turned white, but my dad had the biggest grin I’d ever seen on his face,” Brad describes.

“When we landed in Israel,” on the Nefesh B’Nefesh flight, “they took us to the old terminal and there was a massive celebration, with soldiers, flags, about 500 people, crying, Thank you for coming to Israel… And I said to myself, this was a right decision.”

Brad says he walked off and cried for half an hour. “It was utter joy, utter happiness.”

He stayed with friends in Hertzelia, found a job after less than a week, and met a young woman he fell for head over heels. A few months had gone by, and he received his first notice from the Army, inviting him to come in and register for his compulsory service.

When his enlistment order had come in, he took his girlfriend and flew to see his parents in America. His mother begged him not to go into a combat unit, and he promised to pick a different direction – even though he had been admitted into the paratroopers unit. His recruiting officer understood, and together they figured a new tract.

“I’ve always had a dream to work on combat planes,” he says.

He went into infantry basic training with “regular” Israelis, rather than an ulpan-oriented course. He was concerned about his everyday Hebrew skills – but ended up at the end of the course more fluent in Hebrew than he would have been with fellow English speakers in the ulpan.

He was recruited by the IAF and took a course for fighter aircraft technicians. Before being accepted, though, he had to convince committees and individual officers that his Hebrew was good enough. They even asked him to become an English tutor instead. But he insisted, and the Army gave in.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

23 Responses to “Lone Soldiers: Atlanta-Born Aircraft Technician Says Living in Israel ‘Settled his Soul’”

  1. What a terrific story for all involved….. You must be so proud! What a great kid!

  2. Yori Yanover says:

    I was very touched by both interviews. Both kids are so deep, and able to speak plainly and clearly about their feelings and their lives. Truly impressive.

  3. Adam Helper says:

    Incredible!!!!!!!

  4. Donna Smith Aranson says:

    So proud of Brad!!!

  5. Hazel Hunt says:

    Brad is an extraordinary young man. His story is truly inspiring and I can see why you are so proud of him!

  6. Lesley Katz says:

    Wow, what a guy, who would have thought! Enjoy all his amazing achievements,

  7. Oy such nachus! We are so proud of you Brad!

  8. Ruth Rabie says:

    I can just picture you guys as I read the article. Rodney's big grin!You have a lot to be proud of.

  9. Lovely article!!!!!!

  10. You guys just have to be very proud of this amazing young man. What did you do that is so very right?

  11. June Pool says:

    Wow, wow, wow! Mazaltov Cherise and Rodney. You must be so proud XXX.

  12. Beverley Blumberg Katz says:

    whow from his bris in Houston, Barmi in Atlanta and now this!!! y'all must be SOOOOO proud!! well done

  13. Mazeltov! Such nachas xx

  14. Rose Upiter says:

    WHAT CAN THE BOBBA AND ZAIDA SAY ABOUT THEIR GRANDSON AND HIS PARENTS??? We are SO proud of all of you and especially to Cher and Rod for all the love hard work that went into making this very very special young man!!!!!!! We love you all !!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Tekuma MKs Uri Ariel, Orit Strook and Zevulun Kalfa at a meeting Saturday night.
Jewish Home Unity Overcomes the ’Yesha Faction’
Latest News Stories
Lehava head led away in handcuffs

Four arrested in crackdown on anti-assimilation group Lehava.

Tekuma MKs Uri Ariel, Orit Strook and Zevulun Kalfa at a meeting Saturday night.

The decision of Uri Aril’s Tekuma faction to remain in the party and re-start a “Yesha faction” is a blessing.

Netanyahu lighting Menorah at Kotel

PM Netanyahu lit the 5th Chanukah candle at the Kotel. We understand that he then sung a beautiful rendition of Maoz Tzur, but we unfortunately don’t have that on video.

It doesn’t pay to be a foreign volunteer soldier in the ISIS army.

This is the first flask of ritually pure olive oil made in 2000 years.

First Lebanon’s Hezbollah started the Second Lebanon War, now the UN wants Israel to pay Lebanon for damages.

Stern expressed dismay at Tzipi Livni’s merger with the Labor party.

The Islamic terrorist entered the police station and began stabbing policemen while yelling “Allah hu Akbar”.

Two girls in Kibbutz Nir Yitzchak were taking a selfie video when the rocket siren went off on Friday morning.

M. was sitting at a red light when he saw the terrorist run past him…

The small Arab parties are talking about merging, and this could result in 14 seats for the Arab sector.

Hamas called Israel’s response to the Gazan attack a “serious escalation”.

Prosecutor in Ferguson case said ‘some witnesses lied under oath’ to support officer’s version of events.

PA Arabs are continuing near-daily clashes with IDF soldiers; on Friday, fierce fighting broke out after sermons at mosques.

Rocket fire was directed by Gaza terrorists at southern Israel’s Eshkol district on Friday for the third time since the summer.

More Articles from Yori Yanover
rain ATM

A Jerusalem woman is trying to hold on to her umbrella while withdrawing some cash at a Meah Shearim ATM, Sunday, March 9, 2014. The rain appeared out of the blue (which is how rain should), after a warm week that started to feel like summer. Well, it don’t feel like summer no more. Last […]

Rabbi Meir Mazuz (seen visiting a synagogue in Crown Heights, Brooklyn) declared in a public Internet psak that it is legal for a Jew to go up to temple Mount.

Needless to say, Shas, the Haredi Sefardi party, is not happy.

“The only difference between this world and the time of Meshiach is our bondage to the gentile kingdoms.”

Here’s the Israeli Navy boat INS Hanit arriving in Eilat on Saturday, March 8, 2014, after capturing the Klos C, which was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied weapons made in Syria and intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip. Here’s Israeli Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ram Rotberg speaking with the INS Hanit soldiers in […]

Pat Condell has a new video out, so, sit back, have fun. By the way, Message to Offended Muslims should not be confused with Message to Off Handed Muslims. Also, I’d love to hear what he has to say about Haredim.

The description that came with this picture says: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with American actor Bette Midler during an event at the house of Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan in Hollywood on March 6, 2014. But Bette Midler is not really an actor, she’s a singer who made movies for the LGBT community and […]

We will shut them up in the campuses, we will shut them up in the high schools, we will shut them up at the 92nd St. Y.

An Israeli female soldier (because they’re better at removing babies from their homes) evacuates a baby from a settlement in Judea and Samaria some time in the recent past. I’m thinking, if the baby was angry enough, couldn’t he evacuate in return, right there in her arms? Imagine the same picture, except with a settler […]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/idf/lone-soldiers-atlanta-born-aircraft-technician-says-living-in-israel-settled-his-soul/2012/04/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: