Posts Tagged ‘IDF’

A Warrior?

Posted: February 17, 2012 in Imun, Tzanchanim
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Sikat Lochem (Warrior's Pin)

As of yesterday, I’m a Soldier, a Fighter and/or a Warrior. Or at least that’s what the pin on my uniform says. The Sikat Lochem (Lit. Warrior’s/Fighter’s/Soldier’s Pin) is given to soldiers after they complete their “Maslool” or Course. This course encompasses all of basic training, advanced training, sitting on kav (border guard duty) and for us in my unit also some more imun (training). I personally don’t feel any different, nor do I feel any more like a soldier now than I did two days ago. Maybe that’s just my own mind being accustomed to the things we do every day. It’s totally normal for me to go sleep outside for 3 days at a time, shoot a hundred bullets in 20 minutes and run up and down hills all day.

Am I what I thought I would be over a year ago? That’s a difficult question to answer. I’ve done things I never thought possible (ie. Masa Koomta, our 65 KM hike to get our Beret’s), but then I’ve also done some of the most mundane tasks ever (ie. washing dishes for 15 hours).

Am I some super soldier running around like Rambo? Definitely not, but I think it’s been a good experience over all, even if there was a lot of stressful times and just plain wasted times…

I only have a few months left, and like I just recently explained to my Mefaked Pluga (Company Commander) in a closed meeting at the beginning of the week, I really don’t have any reason to sign more time. I explained to him that I wasn’t offered any interesting courses to learn more, and I haven’t had a real tafkeed (job) in the army. I’m just a simple soldier (chapash). The Negev machine gun that I had been trained on was eventually given to someone else in my squad and I never got trained on anything else. I explained to him that I wasn’t being treated the way I had been promised and that I was growing tired of the lackadaisical attitude of both the other soldiers and of the mefakdim (commanders).

While in this meeting he kept saying how he understood where I was coming from and that he was upset to hear how I felt and how I was being treated, but meanwhile he repeatedly checked his phone during the conversation. I understand he’s a busy guy (in charge of over 100 soldiers), but if you’re going to try to tell me you care… put down your damn cell phone for 15 minutes. He wanted me to see the big picture he kept repeating, which is the problem… I do see the big picture, and I see that it’s flawed.

I say all this because I feel like I’ve been stuck in a rut and I can’t get out. I just made aliyah and all my mefaked had to say was “great, now get back to base” instead of the “Mazel Tov! Congratulations!!!” I was expecting. Side story: I met a friend at Nefesh B’Nefesh also making aliyah at the same time. I overheard her conversation with her commander in karakal (the unisex combat battalion), and her commander was ecstatic and happy and had no problem with her coming back to base the next morning instead of rushing back that night. So hopefully you can see why I’m a bit down.

Adding to this whole situation while everyone else was taking a month long course for an advanced rocket system, I was in the kitchen and doing guard duty with just 6 other people. Then this past week and next week I’ll be in the field with a different machlakah (platoon) than my own. The reason for this? They don’t have enough people and they need someone who hasn’t taken the course that everyone else did… so basically I’m just getting screwed over again. After this weekend we will be closing 21 days on base, something everyone said would never happen during imun (training). Everyone said we’d be getting out most weekends, and now we’ve been closing most… To add to that, we’ll be in the field every week of these 21 days.

Shetach, The Field. Where we Eat, Sleep, and Walk in the blistering cold.

We've finished training! Now we're allowed to light our tuna on fire to make it taste better!!!

We had one nice day last week – our Tiul Sof Maslool (End of Course trip). We traveled around the Golan Heights a bit to a bunker overlooking Syria and heard some old war tales. And then went on a really nice hike to the river El-Al (yes, like the airline), and finally ended the day with a couple hours at Hamat Gadar, a built up establishment with natural hot sulfur water. As amazingly relaxing as it was at the end of the day, all I could think about was how 202, and 890 (the other battalions) both got 3 day trips… and we got 1 day. Sorry for the pessimism.

View on the way to the river at the bottom

went swimming in that water for about 30 seconds... WOW IT WAS COLD!

I hate to sound like such a depressed “shavooz” person, but that’s where I’m at right now. I’m just trying to get what I have to do done, and carry on. I’ve started drinking more coffee during the day from my nice new Pakal Cafe (coffee kit) I got from NBN which helps quite a bit ūüôā

Seriously... Thank you Nefesh B'Nefesh - this gets me through my day.

As I think about the beer I’m going to drink later tonight I smile and hope that the coming very difficult weeks will pass quickly and without too many stress wrinkles forming on my forehead… A toast from my fraternity in Buffalo which seems fitting for the people around me and the situation I’m in:

Here’s to you, Here’s to me, Friends forever we shall be, But if we ever, Cease to be, F&CK YOU, Here’s to me!!!

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It’s been another 2 weeks on base and the last week felt especially long, although technically being shorter, which clearly needs some explaining. I was stuck in a field with 4-5 hours to sleep each night and nothing to eat but manot krav (combat rations). The food IMHO really isn’t all that bad, you get several cans of tuna, a can of tuna salad, corn, beans, canned fruit, some random orange stuff which I still don’t know what it is, ketchup, mustard, jelly, chocolate spread and bread. The problem for me was the amount of time given to eat… First off you have 12 or so ravenous guys trying to grab anything they can get their grimy hands on, secondly you have to open half the cans (the other half have pull tabs, why they all don’t have this is beyond me!), thirdly we had to have 4 guys guarding while we were¬† eating so you need to switch on an off eating, and finally, fourthly if you’re me and everyone in my Kita (squad), you get less time than everyone else to eat. Most other Kitot (squads) got 15-20 minutes to eat. We would only get between 10-15 minutes because my mefaked is psychotic and thinks we’re in a special forces unit, but more on that in a later specialized blog post called “My Commander is Batshit Crazy”.

Field week was interesting to say the very least. I have barely any skin left on the heels of my feet because I was wearing boots for 4 1/2 days straight. I took them off once to change my socks half way though. It’s an weird¬† feeling not changing your socks… slowly but surely your sweat builds up into a sort of natural slimy lubricant for your feet. As disgusting as this sounds, it probably is some form of human evolution to sweat a lot from your feet when walking long distances – but I digress. We would walk/march/jog for half an hour or so and then “rest” during our lessons that we had. The lessons (at least the parts I understood) were about different formations and bunkers you can build in the wilderness. The formations part was pretty cool, and was easy for me to pick up considering it had nothing to do with Hebrew proficiency. Having been in the marching band in high school (no, it was nothing like Drumline), I felt like my good ole snare drum had been replaced by a M16A1 and I was in the army! oh shit almost forgot about that last part…

The first night we got to sleep in a tent! How exciting, a nice, cozy tent…with holes everywhere. It was a bit chilly at night considering we didn’t have sleeping bags and were just sleeping in our uniforms with our combat vests as pillows… oh what’s that? a nice soft magazine full of bullets for a head rest? oh joy! We did get one scratchy wool blanket to share between two people so that was nice spooning with my partner Tal for the night. I’d say we slept about 30 minutes before getting woken up by gunshots (blanks) and screaming everywhere. We had to get up, put on our vests and have a simulated gunfight outside. Then it was time to sleep another 2 hours or so before I had to guard for 20 minutes. Another 2 hours later and I was up for the day. A whole day of drills and marching, and crawling later we arrived at our second location for sleeping.

hiking... (we have some girl that takes pictures sometimes now, which is great for me!)

The second night we slept on the side of a hill. Quite literally we carried our packs up a hill, stopped in a random spot and our commander said go to sleep. I had the first guarding shift of the night and was straining to keep my heavy eyelids open. Finally I got to lay down and sleep. Waking up to the sun in my eyes and ants crawling on me I realized I was officially in field week. The days were all the same: march here, crawl there, listen to this, eat this really fast. Let’s just say the only times we stopped moving was when we got new orders or had a lesson to learn. This particular day we got to build an “emdah esh” (roughly translated as a “firing bunker”). It’s basically a bunker you dig out that’s used as a firing position. It’s dug down deep enough so that you can’t be hit by incoming fire, and has large rocks surrounding the outside where in a few spots you can aim your gun out and fire if needed. My “chulia” (literally “link”, but really translates as squad “sub-division”) of 6 guys built one big enough for all of us to be in. It took over an hour of digging, carrying rocks and uprooting plants to be used as camouflage. It was the most fun I had all day!

The third night we slept in our bunkers that we had made during the day and also had to guard throughout the night. I had a half hour shift on the radio which was actually quite fun because we got our commanders night vision goggles which I played with for almost the entire half hour. I really want a pair. I also had to “guard” for an hour in the bunker – that was a joke, as soon as I started guarding I passed out. Luckily I had set an alarm for the next person. After talking to everyone else the next day, apparently everyone slept during our guard sessions, it was impossible not to. The following morning we did a lot of the same again, but in the afternoon there was a crazy heat wave and they wouldn’t let us do anything for nearly an hour and a half. That was a GREAT nap time. P.S. just to show how hot it was these days, a couple kids got sick and one kid went into shock from being so dehydrated. Late in the afternoon we built something of a “surveillance point” – I don’t remember the name in Hebrew. Lots of bushes for camouflage, not as deep as the firing pit, and covered by a mesh screen so you can see out but people have a difficult time seeing in. Again, pretty cool stuff – that is until we abandoned our point because a snake was in it.

The fourth night was our “Layla Lavan” or “White Night”. It’s basically a sleepless night of marching and testing. We marched all over the wilderness stopping at different points and being tested on all the things we learned the last several days. We had things like a simulated ambush across a road, information gathering, lost personnel, firing formations, first aid testing, crawling, and basically just tons of walking up and down hills all night. The last thing we did was have a 1KM race against all the other squads back to base. The catch is that we were carrying a stretcher with one of our guys on it. A few minute later and gasping for air we arrived back on base for the first time in 4 1/2 days.

We were told that we had an hour of free time to shower and whatever we need to do. About 20 minutes later though (and after some people had showered already) they were screaming for everyone to be back and ready in uniform with vest on. We went for a short walk/jog of around 1-1.5 KM and then did pushups, situps and sprints for around half an hour. After this we were told to polish our shoes and be outside in formation. An extremely long speech from our brigade’s commander later of which I paid zero attention to because I was putting all my effort into not falling over from exhaustion we were handed our first bit of army pride for our dog tags:

holder for my dog tags ūüôā

In my free time I’ve been sleeping, eating, drinking beer, getting annoyed with my “adopted parents” here in Israel, being with my girlfriend and sleeping more. I’ve also been looking for a new iPhone so I can be a bit more connected while I’m on base and possibly start trading some stocks again? Not sure if that’s a terrible idea or not, but I figure I have time to make a trade a day and could maybe make a little cash on the side of the measly pocket money the army is giving me. Also I’m uploading new music to one of my old ventures again over at Seen At The Scene, so check that out if you like new music (mostly club/dubstep/electro stuff). Tonight I’m going to Supersal (a big supermarket here) to spend my 120 shekels (40 bucks or so) that the army gives me every month to buy whatever the hell I want. I’m also gonna go see “Thor” in theatres. Just trying to be a normal person here! Peace out from the Middle East.

Ok, Ok, I know it’s been a while since I’ve given an update. If you hadn’t heard I got into the 101st Pluga (company), not the 202nd like I thought I would be going. The only thing I’m a little disappointed about is that now I won’t have the possibility of going to sniper school (apparently only 202 is getting snipers this draft). I still have the possibility of being a Kala (sharpshooter) and I’ve been doing pretty well in target practice so we’ll see what happens…
We’ve learned a lot these past couple weeks and I’m really starting to get into the groove of basic training. I’m sure it’s only going to get harder and more intensive but here’s a bit of a run down of what we’ve been up to lately (keep in mind all of these include lots of classroom lessons before hand):
  • first aid including tourniquet’s, bandages, rescue breathing etc. We all did a basic course for field first aid, basically if someone’s shot or injured how to care for them before a medic shows up.
  • We had a barour. A barour is a basic physical test. nothing special, running, situps, pushups.
  • gas tent full of tear gas. Below is an image of me wearing a gas mask, the thing about this exercise is that they make you run around and do pushups before you run into the tent so you’re breathing heavily. It’s harder to breath in the gas mask and when you’re inside the tent you only run and do more pushups, eventually they tell you to take off your gas masks. Your body forces you to take a gigantic breath as soon as you take off your mask and you instantly realize how terrible of an idea that was… The burning in your lungs is sensational and soon after you realize that your eyes are on fire and tearing at the same time. 15-20 seconds later they tell you to run out of the tent into the open air. Slowly the burning and tingling fades away over the course of 5-10 minutes, but I definitely know now how that stuff disperses a whole crowd of people so quickly… a weird part of me wants to try it again!
  • dont mess with me.

    the tent full of tear gas

  • Target shooting with iron sights and reflex scope. We’ve certainly been putting in the hours at the shooting ranges. Haven’t been shooting a ton of bullets yet, but we’ve calibrated our guns and began doing some training (speed shooting and night shooting so far). Iron sights are ok to shoot with but the reflex scope that we have is awesome. The scopes are made by an Israeli company and the dot stays on target no matter where you move your head! Very cool stuff, it has a radioactive element in it so it works day and night without batteries!

    one of the shooting ranges

  • We threw a grenade. Honestly wasn’t as cool as I thought it would be… it was pretty much just like throwing a baseball and then hearing loud boom. You can’t watch it blow up because you have to duck down behind a protective barrier before hand. I know it’s all about safety, but everyone wants to see the boom, not just the consequences!

    Saw a blackhawk fly overhead while we were in the field!

    That’s pretty much what we’ve been up to, we also had a bunch of running, 2 Masaot (hike/journey), and as of this week guard duty and kitchen duty (fun!). I’d like to throw out a quick thank you to anyone who donates money to the IDF, Friends of the IDF, and/or any other programs. The Lone Soldiers on base got some cool and helpful gifts these past two weeks! Keep up to date with the news, some interesting things have been happening lately with the Iron Dome project functionally working. If you’ve emailed me lately, I apologize for not getting back to you, haven’t had much time lately… I will get back to you though! For the most frequent updates get at me on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheLoneSoldier

    Kitchen Fun!

This is gonna be quick and to the point. I felt like I needed some sort of update since I’m gonna be on base for 2 weeks. We have guard duty over the weekend so we need to stay there the whole two weeks!

If you want to see a lot of what’s been going on the past week or two check out Flickr. I’ve teamed up with another guy on base who’s been allowed to shoot pictures with a real camera… The pictures are fantastic! Thanks Benny!

This past week and coming week I’ve been designated as the Mefikedet’s helper/ personal bitch. It’s supposed to be an honor, but I really think it’s a punishment. All I’m doing all day is keeping track of everything for the commander. It basically just makes her job easier… ugh.

I feel like I’m taking a shit after showering, I’ve had a great, refreshing four days off and now I’m just dirtying myself up again. The shame! Apparently we might be doing a trip to Jerusalem to see Yad Vashem and some other things so that should be really interesting with the army. I’m not totally sure if that’s know or the week after though. I haven’t known our schedule since the first week…

I’m gonna miss a lot of things these two weeks, namely sleep, home cooked foods and a particular Israeli girl I’ve been seeing – those are in no particular order… I know I’m gonna come back drained and ready to do a lot of nothing in two weeks.

I’ll try to post some pics and updates on the Facebook page while I’m out – definitely gonna have some from guard duty which could be cool!

see ya on the flip side.

The Then.

So I haven’t updated for 2 weeks again… and it’s due to two factors, one I won’t discuss because I’m not jinxing shit at this point – the other is Jersey Shore. I’m watching it right now while I’m writing, and if there is one way to feel at home and hate home at the same time – it’s watching Jersey Shore. There’s no better way to spend a weekend than to culture bash Guido’s.

Last weekend I watched about 10 episodes of Jersey Shore with Adam and Steph, fittingly this week in the Army was full of Adam making stupid references to the Shoooore. I’ve now acquired Mike from the show’s nickname… “The Situation“. What can I say, I’m sorry I don’t have the body of a 12 year old like you Adam. If this entry has a lot of cursing and terrible grammar, don’t blame me, blame the Shore.

I try to take notes throughout the week to¬† remember what to write about, but most of that usually get’s mixed up with my other Hebrew notes. In the¬† end I get a mixture of important Hebrew words I should know and dumb anecdote’s about things that most people just won’t understand. Being in the army is a combination of an N.R.A. sleep away camp, a fraternity and a club for masochists. We’ve got guns, make stupid immature jokes, and enjoy the pain of wind sprints and push ups.

Most of us have come to the realization that while in “Course Evrit” (Hebrew class’) we get to do one fun thing a week. Last week it was Krav Maga, and this week it was watching some guy drive around in an Armored Personnel Carrier. While seeing the A.P.C. in action was cool, Krav Maga totally kicked it’s balls. We learned a couple moves, and practiced on our makeshift punching bags made out of our army bag filled with our sleeping bag. Fun times,¬† I hope we’ll have another class this week – probably not though, they tend to keep the fun down and the learning up.

Armored Personal Carrier... I forgot the name in Hebrew...

The past two weeks tons of fighter jets and helicopters have been flying over head, pretty crazy stuff. I always ask my Hebrew teacher “Efshar, Ani tzareech lelechet leshuruteem” (If possible, I need to go to the bathroom), which for me actually means “Can I go outside and giddily watch the jets flying over head?”¬† I couldn’t get a picture of the helicopters, but here’s a decent shot of one of the jets:

F-16 flying overhead... This photo does it no justice...

How I wish I was born with perfect eyes and could fly a jet. Speaking of which, this week I had the pleasure of having some disgusting infection in my “eyein” – seriously, that’s how you say eye in Hebrew. Basically I had “zombie eye sickness” for half the week and had to wear my glasses. I probably got it from constantly dutch ovening my self at night. What can I say, the food doesn’t agree with me and I sleep in a sleeping bag. I refuse to provide a link for “dutch oven”, you can google at your own risk. After a combination of conventional medicine (the kind that works) and my adopted mother’s crazy herbal remedies (the kind that maybe work), I now have perfectly normal, functioning “eyeineem” again…Normal in that I’m still blind without glasses or contacts.

The Now.

Time has been flying by and instead of counting our days till our weekends off we’ve been counting meals. Our schedule is very predictable and very much the same every day (once in a while we’ll have something different – rare and very appreciated). Wake up at 5. Waste time cleaning and making Chet’s (a simple formation) until breakfast at 7:30ish. Learn Hebrew till lunch time at 12:30. Learn more Hebrew and/or some random stuff about Israel until Dinner at 6:30ish. Learn some more, run, and do push ups because we messed something up. Have an hour to an hour and a half of Shetash (break). Go to sleep around 10-11. Rinse, Reuse and Repeat.

One thing I look forward to every Friday is the Mefakedetohts (women commanders) in Aleph (dress) uniform. When the only women you see all week long are wearing gross, baggy Bet (secondary) uniforms, it sure is nice to see a tight uniform at the end of the week. My standards in women have dropped significantly since I’ve gotten into the army, but thankfully I don’t need to worry about that right now. As I mentioned in the beginning of this blog, I’m not mentioning that because I’m not jinxing shit at this point. Maybe next week/entry I’ll mention it. That’s supposed to be confusing, so just say “huh?” and continue reading.

This coming week I get off on Wednesday! what what!! I can’t wait to have more than a day and a half off! I need to go to the bank to see if the lazy army has paid me yet and take care of some other errands so I’m really looking forwards to Yom Siddureem (our extra day off). I’m officially off the US Dollar and I sure hope I have some Schmeckels in my Israeli piggy bank to spend on some Goldstar for the weekend.

Today I went for a random trip with my adopted family up to the Golan Heights. We stopped at Kibbutz Naot Mordechai, home of my adopted mom’s brother’s family (my uncle?) and the Naot factory. It was weird winding up there since I had been there 2 1/2 years ago with Birthright/Taglit… not much has changed, they still make shoes. After that we continued up, and up, and up into the mountains and stopped at a couple places along the way. As I feel like I’ve done every week, It’s time to cut this blog awkwardly short. I gotta finish up watching Jersey Shore now so I’m¬† just gonna leave you with some pretty pictures… remember you can always see more pictures on my Flickr Page.

P.S. I do feel bad about cutting this blog short, I’ll make it up. Pinky swear! hopefully next weekend I’ll have some shenanigans to write about…

So after a little over a week of being in the army and having two weekends off (since we started on a Wednesday) I’ve finally begun to get into the groove of how everything works. Bakum ended up being EXACTLY like what everyone told me it would be like. Four shots of who know’s what immunizations that made my arm sore for two days, lots of pictures, X-rays and fingerprints. All the imaging was for in case we get some random part of our body blown off – which is pretty much the exact words they used when I asked what it was for… very comforting. We received ID card’s and dog tags, but obviously only after a bajillion more questions that I’ve already answered numerous times before. Bakum was just a long day of BLAAHHHHH. Beyond all the tedious tasks, I did meet some cool people that day that I still see around and talk to at the base, so the time there wasn’t a complete waste. The next week, starting on Sunday morning, was when everything really started up.

My Hebrew obviously isn’t anywhere near sufficient to be a soldier but it’s growing by leaps and bounds everyday.¬†Knowing that the little area in my brain called the¬†left temporal lobe is terrible at¬†comprehending¬†language I’ve been surprised by how quickly I’m picking up words and sayings. From a young age I’ve always been terrible with language; I couldn’t tell the difference between a “b” and “d” – true story. The schools also told my parents to stop teaching me Swedish because I couldn’t tell the difference between Swedish and English – true story. Knowing this, I still jumped off the high dive into the Israeli Army instead of the US Army. I’m what you’d call a “mefager” in hebrew – a damned retard.

I'm too sexy... I'm too sexy... I'm too sexy for my beret?

Speaking of the US Army – I realize now that I would completely dominate it. Other than my lack of Hebrew skill I’m excelling beyond nearly everyone else at every other aspect of the Army. Our first physical test I maxed out the push ups and sit-ups. I came in 4th in the 2 km run. 76 push ups, 88 sit-ups and about a 9 minute run later I felt like I could do it all over again. Taking apart our M-16 A1 I had no problem taking it apart and¬†reassembling it in under a minute and a half. Clearly I realize I’m tooting my own horn a bit, but for those of you who know me – that’s not something new. The Army has humbled me quiet a bit however, mostly due to my lack of language skills. I need to listen more than speak and I rely more on my skill of understanding than my skill of smack talk. Smack talk is reserved for Adam – my friend, army pal and blog nemesis. Adam if you’re reading this, your blog sucks – come to the dark side.

The M-16 I took apart is an old piece of crap from the Vietnam War that the US basically handed to Israel during the Yom Kippur War. Apparently the US sold them for a buck a piece. Hell I would have bought a couple hundred myself for that price. We’ve had to lug the old thing around the whole past week – you forget it somewhere and you’re screwed. I like my M-16 though, her names ShaNayNay – she’s big and she’s black (meh, I thought it was clever when we were all naming our “neshakeem” aka weapons). Apparently the “onesh” or punishment for forgetting it is automatic shabbat – basically meaning you don’t get the weekend off. Considering next weekend is New Years – I’m holding onto that thing like a fat kid to his cake this week.

man I wish this was an M-16!

ShaNayNay is heavy and a royal pain in the arse to run with but she/it’s also the coolest thing we’ve gotten our gritty hands on so I guess it’s worth it. This coming week we’ll be doing target practice with lasers??? Whatever, I guess I came to the army just to go to a high tech LazerTron. Apparently we’ll be doing live shooting in two weeks though – I’m really looking forwards to that, mostly because I know I’m gonna be awesome at it and it’ll make up for the fact that everyone else in my unit knows more Hebrew than I do.

ma baby girl

Tzevet Tesha – or Unit 9 is my unit. A bunch of freaks, but I love em. Tzevet Tesha is made up of: a couple of Ruski’s that speak barely any English, a Ukrainian kid Demetri who’s speaks English and quite a bit of Hebrew, a chill Venezualan named Josh who speaks English, Spanish and Hebrew, a Brasillian, and a few Americans. I get along with everyone pretty well even though some of them can be complete idiot’s sometimes. I just don’t think they’ve realized they’re in the Army yet. I’ll update on my unit more as I get to know them better. I’m trying to keep an open mind… key word is trying.

“Trying” is the name of the game during training in the IDF, as I’m sure is the same in most other civilized armies in the world as well. They don’t really care if you’re number 1 or not – they’d rather see that you’re motivated and putting your effort into the game. I call it a game because that’s really all that “tironut” or training is. Tironut is glorified pledging all over again.

I pledged a fraternity in college (won’t name which one, but you can probably guess) which didn’t have an “I’m gonna beat the shit out of you” hazing process – but it also wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine either. Eating gross stuff, push ups, sit-ups, wall sits, running, getting yelled at – that sort of harmless stuff. And I say harmless because although I recognize that it technically is hazing I really don’t think it affected me adversely in any way. What I do believe is that it made me a stronger person mentally and physically. It also prepared me for how I’d be treated during the Army.

All day long we get barked at by 20-25 year old women who clearly have some inanimate object stuck far up their asses. EVERYTIME we move somewhere we have to count down from 10 in Hebrew the last 10 seconds of the time we were allotted. Otherwise it’s pushups and running. Or maybe it’s just running for the sake of running. Or maybe it’s pushups because they purposely didn’t give us enough time to get to where we were supposed to be going. I think you can understand where I’m going with this. If you don’t get it, it’s probably because you haven’t pledged or haven’t served in the Army. I won’t say you’re better off, because I know pledging was interesting and the Army sure as hell seems entertaining enough.

More entertaining is what happened this weekend. This weekend I went to another kibbutz with one the soldiers from my kibbutz called Maagen Michael which is supposed to be the nicest in the country. The stories are true. This place was amazing. It’s made all of it’s money off of some plastic factory that makes toilet parts – random. Whatever they do, they do it right. They’re a 10 minute walk from the beach, there are crazy exotic plants growing everywhere and the food is FANTASTIC. Best thing is, if you live there – you don’t pay for didily squat, it’s a kibbutz. Long story short Elan (my friend) and I passed out cold before we went to the party were were supposed to go to there. We slept around 14 hours – I really needed it. Shit happens, oh well. I met some more cool people though and Josh from my Tzevet lives there so I got to meet up with him. I met a Jewish, Swedish girl who just made aliyah and speaks Hebrew… WTF? For friends of mine, you know It was like seeing myself but in hot girl form. All in all, a relaxing interesting weekend even though I missed out on a party – there’s always next weekend that’s already in the planning…

Maagen Michael

I have to wake up in about 5 hours to get back to the Army tomorrow so I’m gonna cut this entry a little short. I have some other things written down that I had wanted to write about but I guess they’ll either just have to go on Facebook or wait till next weekend. I created a Flickr page for my phone pictures so check that out in the meanwhile (there’s only a few for now). Sorry guys I know how much you want to read about my awesome 19 hour pledge fests, but I have another one to prepare for tomorrow so it’ll have to wait.

L’hetraot” (See you later)