So, we now have six boys. Didn’t know I was pregnant again, huh? Well, this time it was actually much easier. We have a sixth boy because we’ve become adoptive temporary parents of sorts for a chayal boded. A chayal boded translates as a “lonely soldier” and there are many of them in Israel. These are kids who have done an amazing thing. They’ve made aliyah by themselves at an age when they are required to serve in the army. The thing is, that they have nowhere to be when they aren’t serving. There’s no mom to do their laundry quickly when they come back on Friday afternoon, there’s no one to cook them a hot meal for Shabbat, and there’s no one watching out for them who is close by. So, we are serving as a surrogate family for our newest addition – Jeff.
Jeff officially moved in last week and the kids are very excited about their newest brother. He’s from Cleveland and he turns 20 next week. He just got accepted to a very elite unit and he became a paratrooper on Thursday. On Thursday morning when he went in for the first time, I felt like his mom must feel. I had butterflies in my stomach all day and I was hoping that things would go smoothly. He came “home” Friday and it was so cute to see him beaming in his crisp, new uniform. He explained to us proudly what each piece of the uniform meant, and how we’d easily be able to identify him as a part of the paratrooper’s unit (if we had any idea of anything!). We will be learning a lot about the military here from Jeff, so hopefully we’ll have some idea of the system by the time Matan goes in!
I’ve got to hand it to this kid. When he left us Wednesday night to go get ready to join his unit, he looked at me and said, somewhat jokingly, “What have I done?” I was thinking the same thing at the time. I was thinking that he must be so scared – but at the same time so proud of himself. While moving to Israel at the age of 33, married with two and a half kids, wasn’t the easiest thing in the world, neither is coming as a young kid. Sure, he didn’t leave a house, jobs and a settled life. Rather, he left the chance to be a carefree teenager, to think the most important thing in the world is his Comm 101 test, and to think about this weekend’s party.
What have you done, Jeff? You’ve given yourself over to the Israeli army – something that our great grandparents would not have dreamed would actually be possible; you’ve committing yourself to the Jewish people and to the Jewish nation in the most powerful way possible – with your body.
What have you done Jeff? Something breathtaking and truly amazing.