web analytics
September 18, 2014 / 23 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



US Jewish Youths Choosing Elite IDF Units over Elite Colleges


Akiva Goldstein of Lower Merion, PA (Center). Goldstein began his stint with the IDF Paratroopers Brigade last Thursday.

Akiva Goldstein of Lower Merion, PA (Center). Goldstein began his stint with the IDF Paratroopers Brigade last Thursday.

A small Philadelphia suburban community is a significant contributor to the increasing number of young American Jews moving to Israel and enlisting in the Israel Defense Forces.

Lower Merion has long been one of the most prosperous neighborhoods in North America, dotted with private schools and awash with backyard swimming pools and expensive cars.  Over the course of the past 15 years or so, the Jewish population there has been expanding rapidly, and what many years ago had been a largely wealthy Anglo-Saxon Protestant community now boasts nearly a dozen synagogues, four Conservative,  five Orthodox, and two Reform.

And in this community Jewish parents no longer only ask their children to which Ivy League schools will they apply, now an increasing number are asking them in which elite IDF units they want to serve.

According to the IDF spokesperson’s office, the summer of 2012 has set a record of 350 Jewish American teenagers enlisting in the Israeli military.

Deputy Head of the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization Erez Halfon recently said about the big boost in Americans seeking a place in the IDF: “this is the best answer to Iran’s and Hezbollah’s terror activity: Jewish teens from North America that leave behind the easy life for the Zionistic ideal.”

Between the ages of 18 and 22, 120 of these teens will fly to Israel 
together in a Nefesh B’Nefesh flight in the coming weeks. The Nefesh 
B’Nefesh organization along with the Friends of the IDF (FIDF) and the 
Israeli Scouts’ Garin Tzabar program accompany the volunteers throughout 
their integration in Israeli society and enlistment to the IDF. Upon moving 
to Israel, the soon-to-be soldiers will also be supported by Ministry of 
Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

One of those 120 teens is Jake Marcus, of Lower Merion, Pennsylvania.  His Aliyah flight is August 20th.

Although Marcus had traveled to Israel with his family, it was the two-week trip he took with his middle school, Abrams Hebrew Academy in Yardley, Pennsylvania, that he credits with really turning him on to the Jewish State.

Rather than just the usual Israel highlights that most American tourists visit, the Abrams trip was especially focused on making connections with IDF soldiers and visiting sites that typically are considered off-limits for security reasons.

Marcus went back to Israel for extended periods of time throughout his high school years.  But what clinched it for him was being in Israel for Israel’s Memorial Day and Israeli Independence Day.  As he described what that experience was like, this rock-solid boy-man with a beard and a “six-pack” stomach had to brush away the tears that ran down his cheeks.

“Everyone comes together, everyone has a sense of what it means, there is a connection to the land and to each other,” Marcus said. “I knew I wanted to be a part of that and I wanted to give it my best. I chose to make Aliyah so that I can do my best by serving in an elite unit.”

He remembers being told by a man in his community that all Jewish youth who are dedicated to Israel are “God’s soldiers.”  Marcus quickly explained that it wasn’t meant literally, and that everyone is a soldier in different ways, “but this is my way, this is what I am meant to be.”

Nineteen year old Akiva Goldstein went to elementary school with Jake Marcus.  Last Thursday Goldstein entered the Israeli paratroopers.

Pearl Graub Goldstein, Akiva’s mother, explained that there were several reasons why her son decided to make Aliyah and join the IDF.

For one thing, Goldstein encountered several instances of anti-Semitism from opposing teams while playing on the athletic teams of his Jewish middle School and his Quaker high school.  For another, because he was the token knowledgeable Jew in high school, it intensified his identity.  Goldstein thought that if he, an identified, caring, spiritual Jew doesn’t do his part to protect the Jewish homeland, who will?

July 15, 2010 is the day Goldstein told his parents that he planned to make Aliyah and join the IDF.  Graub Goldstein remembers the date so clearly because she was sitting shiva for her father.  She told her son, “I just lost my father, please, I need a few days to process this.”

But her son’s mind was made up and Pearl and David Goldstein are incredibly proud of that decision.  Akiva Goldstein plans to go to college when he finishes in the military, and perhaps he will go on to medical school.  For now, however, their son has made it into an elite IDF unit and they could not be more proud.  “He’s fulfilling his dream, he’s doing something with his life that’s really worthwhile,” his mother said,  “not only for himself, but for Israel.”

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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.

2 Responses to “US Jewish Youths Choosing Elite IDF Units over Elite Colleges”

  1. Alexis Worlock says:

    Good for them! [And a smart move for their futures, too.]

  2. "According to the IDF spokesperson’s office, the summer of 2012 has set a record of 350 Jewish American teenagers enlisting in the Israeli military."

    "…this is the best answer to Iran’s and Hezbollah’s terror activity: Jewish teens from North America that leave behind the easy life for the Zionistic ideal.”.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Photo from campaign of Robert Rensdell for US senator from Kentucky.
US Senate Campaign Used to Spread Hatred of Jews (and Masks Hatred of Blacks)
Latest News Stories
Dual US-Israeli citizen Steven Sotloff was the second American journalist to be beheaded earlier this summer before ISIS turned its attention to victims from other Western nations.

A massive sting operation hauled in 15 suspects and foiled a plot by ISIS to hold a public beheading in Australia.

A 3-hour strike at Ben Gurion International Airport at check-in counters has delayed thousands.

Photo from campaign of Robert Rensdell for US senator from Kentucky.

Man running for US senate with campaign slogan, ‘With Jews We Lose.’

A home was damaged in a Qassam rocket barrage from Gaza on Friday, August 8, 2014. Miraculously, no one was in the house at the time.

A Code Red incoming rocket alert was sounded for Gaza Belt and Ashkelon Coastal communities.

Have you seen Menachem Bodner’s twin brother Jeno, or Jolli Gottesman? He’s out there.

Iran scorns as “ridiculous” a US-led anti-ISIS coalition without boots on the ground.

A prison inmate on death row in Connecticut is demanding kosher food, though he’s not really Jewish.

Hamas claimed one of the bank’s clients owed them taxes…

Reports from Lebanon say that Israeli Air Force planes flew over the Marjayoun area in Lebanon, launching flares.

Despite previous claims, Hamas now denies they arrested any rocket crews. So, who do we believe?

Western Wall’s employees, remove thousands of handwritten notes placed between the ancient stones of the Kotel, the Western Wall, Judaism’s second holiest site, in the Old City of Jerusalem. The operation is carried out twice each year: before the Passover festival in the spring and at the Jewish New Year in the fall. The prayer […]

A memorial event with a special photo exhibition honoring the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon took place on Monday.

The location of the gas chambers at the notorious Sobibor death camp has been revealed, Yad Vashem announced Wednesday.

Gidon Saar shocked and changed Israel’s political landscape today with his unexpected resignation from politics.

British sports store fired security guard who barred Jewish kids from entering the store.

Looming large over any efforts to rebuild Gaza is the ongoing split between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party, which controls the West Bank, and Hamas, which continues to control the Gaza Strip.

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
Photo from campaign of Robert Rensdell for US senator from Kentucky.

Man running for US senate with campaign slogan, ‘With Jews We Lose.’

The security guard tried to bar Jews from the store, but instead the security guard was barred.

British sports store fired security guard who barred Jewish kids from entering the store.

Arameans are now recognized as a distinct nationality in Israel.

Naftali Frenkel’s mother’s message for Rosh HaShana is for the Jewish people to remain united, as one family.

ISIS released a slick trailer warning Obama that the “Flames of War” are “coming soon.”

There were reports that ISIS shot down a Syrian regime’s war plane over its “capital,” Raqqa.

The Met’s upcoming opera trivializes the murder of Jews, pretends Jews have no connection to Israel, and portrays terrorists as victims.

Since March, there have been repeated acts of anti-Semitic vandalism against Philly’s Jewish sites and institutions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/us-jewish-youths-choosing-elite-idf-units-over-elite-colleges/2012/08/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: