Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Yom Hiyul

Yesterday was Yom Hiyul, which is a very important day in terms of my army service. Officially, it is the first day of the army service, meaning that from 13th October 2009, there is only 2 and a half years to go! However, since I am in a special programme, we don't actually go into our specific units until November.

Yom Hiyul was at the 'Bakkum' in Tel Aviv, we did a number of processes that all soldiers do on their first day.... After lunch and a lot of waiting, we started queing up at these different stations. First there was the picture for the 'hoger', which is the army identity card, I look like an 10 year old Russian immigrant in the picture! Then, we had our teeth pictured, fingerprints taken and skull x-rayed. I asked why they need a x-ray of my skull and the soldier just replied with "kaha", which basically means "because" - you don't ask questions in the army. We also passed the hairdresser, which happened to be closed, to the relief of my good friend; whose long curly hair will be able to stay until November. After that our DNA was taken and we were given two injections. I have no idea what they were, we just sat down and were injected! We gave in our bank details and will start receiving our salary once we get drafted into our units, as 'hayalim boddedim' (lone soldiers) we will get double pay. The final station was where they gave us our 'hoger', already printed, and, in a little folder ...wait for it... DOGTAGS!!! Yes, as of now, since I am an official soldier, I have dogtags, which I will start wearing once I have uniform. So, as you can imagine, all the boys started showing off their dogtags...

My current status is that of a soldier without pay. This is because Yom Hiyul for us was not on the same day as Yom Gious (draft day) i.e. for a regular Israeli, going to the Bakkum, where we went yesterday, is the day that he says goodbye to his parents and goes straight from Tel Aviv (after doing all the things we did) to his base; whether that be a combat basic training base in the south or a intelligence base somewhere else. So, for me, I am now a soldier in the IDF but am still waiting to see if I can go to the tzanchanim gibush in early November, which, if I pass, will get me into the paratroopers unit. However, I still don't know where I will be going as I may not be able to go to the gibush and, even if I do, may not be able to pass. Yesterday was our first step in becoming fully-flegded soldiers and the time until when I properly go into the army is getting nearer at lightning pace. I find it crazy that I am actually less than 6 weeks away from getting into that uniform and defending my country. Mind-blowing.

Last week I was mainly in Tel Aviv as my parents, along with my nana, papa, aunt and uncle, came on holiday to visit me. After the initial floods of tears from my mum, everything just felt like normal, like we I had never left them and that we are on one of our normal holidays to Tel Aviv for Pesach. It was a fantastic week, relaxed and chilled, but filled with me telling stories from my last two months here. I know how important it was for me parents to see me because, being an only child, their lives were pretty much surrounded around me and since making aliyah, my absence has been significant for them, to say the least. Although moving to Israel was my decision to make (one in which they supported), I still appreciate the effect it has on them. Anyway, hopefully when I see them next I will be in uniform with an M16 hanging by my side!!! It feels good to know that since leaving, I have now seen my parents, all three grandparents and others here, before I go into the army.

Yom Kippur on the kibbutz was a really chilled but also meaningful day. A yeshiva from Jerusalem come every year to Ortal to set up a shul and take the service. So, I went to 'shul' (the converted meeting room) and took part in my first Israeli Kol Nidre service. Yom Kippur definitely has different atmosphere in Israel, even in the secular Ortal. It seems as though people are happier, maybe because here in Israel "we" (since I am now one of them) appreciate everything in life, as life in Israel is a gift, every day the army and its civilians are threatened by people who want our destruction. I felt like Yom Kippur was a way of celebrating our existence in the promised, and that of a flourishing existence. Fasting was easy, much easier in the mountains of the Golan than in the grey streets of North London.

It has been a stuttering couple of weeks for the Garin with people leaving to see family and some having tests for specific units in the army. During this time we have been rehearsing for a show that we will be presenting to the kibbutz as a way of declaring ourselves as a Garin. Next week we have a five day trip to Jeruslaem, the dead sea and some other places, which should be really fun but also useful in bringing the group back together after these past couple of weeks. Sam out.

This is the garin before our Rosh Hashannah meal.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Sam - just read your fab scribe - it actually brought 'tears to my ears'. It so much reminds me of my term in the army, and my time of battling with basic training. Now, its over to you - its your chance to savour? I notice from emails that your folks are returned, and will no doubt obtain an update on Wednesday.
    Have a great trip to Yam Hamelach and enjoy the mud bathing. Stax love Hymie and Erina xxxx