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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My Reservations and My First Garin Tzabar Seminar

I know I have had 3 posts within almost as many days but seeing as I have only just decided to write this blog, I am trying to bring you all up to speed with the last few months of my life without sending you to sleep. I have already mentioned that I am still not certain about my decision to join the army. Over the weekend I was thinking that it would probably make sense to let you know my reservations so … here goes:

1.      Ok im 22, yes, whilst in the scheme of life that’s not old, when talking army terms and everyone else is 18, it is kind of a hard pill to swallow (although I just saw an article, thanks to my mum, about the oldest Paratrooper finishing his beret march at the age of 29).
2.      Having already tasted the working world and being driven by money, it is hard to think of giving that all up to become the same as everyone else at the age of 18 and put off my career for a further 2-3 years.
3.      Having lived in Israel for the past 6 months now, I have realised how hard it is to make a good living out here and when I recently went back home to England, I definitely had a new appreciation for how much easier life in England can be, although it does have its numerous downsides (that’s part of the reason I am here after all).
4.     I perceive all the above to be weaknesses when it comes to making my decision to join the army and unlike other things in life, the army is a 100% commitment. It is not a job I can do for 6 months, decide I hate it and move on. If I commit to this, I am in it for the long run, through good times and bad times, of which of course there will be many. Given the nature of this choice, I don’t want have even a 1% doubt in my mind as I believe over time that small percentage can grow hugely during tough times which will make my army experience an extremely difficult one.

Taking all these into consideration I am constantly thinking and evaluating my position and what I really want out of life. I can say at the moment I am swaying towards staying here and joining the army and just ‘taking the plunge’.  I need to remind myself that the army will be an incredible experience, one which will see me grow, test me, and give me attributes that are inconceivable from ones average day job. The traits and skills the army will give me will be transferable into every instance of my life whether I choose to reside in Israel or not, and thus, taking it all into account whatever happens, I would gain from the experience in a huge way.
If I decide to do the army, it will be through an organisation called Garin Tzabar, which facilitates lone soldiers (soldiers who do not have direct family living in Israel), both with the Aliyah process and throughout their IDF service.

Two weeks ago I attended my first Garin Tzabar seminar I can safely say that if I were to make Aliyah and do Garin Tzabar I will have an incredible group around me as I already feel extremely close to all the people I met. This seminar was the first of four preparatory seminars, starting early on Friday and running until Saturday night. I arrived at Savidor station to catch the bus and was nervous to see who would be there, what type of people, their ages and so on and so forth. Once we got to the Kibbutz, no time was wasted by splitting us into our Garins. The first seminar largely revolved around building the Garin, partaking in a number of icebreakers and team building activities. Like always there was a sufficient amount of initial awkwardness but shortly this died down and are Garin became extremely close very quickly – good to know considering I will be living with these guys and girls! My Garin has guys and girls from 18-23 who have all come from different places (America, Australia, France, Canada etc.), who all have different backgrounds. It is strange to think if I go ahead with the army, these people I met so casually will be the people who will support me throughout the toughest years of my life and will essentially become my family and truth is, I can already see how the group will support each other – it’s really amazing to see how people of different ages and different backgrounds are bought together through one binding common theme – Israel.  
My Group Already! 

Since the seminar I have been hanging out with a bunch of the people from my Garin which has helped hugely in making me feel more at home here and providing me with closer friends than I had before. I received the email with information for the next seminar which will be at the end of this month and that’s when I will write my next blog post. For now … good luck with your lives and I will be in touch soon with hopefully some more exciting information!!

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