UCSC's Own Joins the IDF
One of UCSC's own Jewish slugs is about to become a soldier of the State of Israel. Shiranne Radzinski, who has thus far completed her sophomore year at Santa Cruz, has decided to take a few years off to complete her term in the Israeli Defense Forces. She submitted the following to the JewniProj on the eve of her conscription:
I left UCSC at the end of last year and moved to Israel to join the Israeli army, and the time is finally here. Tomorrow morning I will begin my two year service in the IDF. I expected to be a little more nervous, but at this point there's nothing I would rather be doing, so nervousness is out of the question.You should have great success in your defense of the Jewish People. You'll be in our prayers.
Leaving Santa Cruz was hard, but not as hard as it would have been for most other UCSC students, I guess. I'm Israeli, I lived in Israel, my parents were in the army and my older brother paved the way for me when he left UCSB to join the army three years ago. For as long as I can remember, I knew that I would eventually join the army myself.
And this is the real deal I'm talking about. It's not a few months of playing army or volunteering with a group of Americans. I came with a program called Garin Tzabar, but the service is individual. Garin Tzabar is geared towards Israelis like myself who want some help with the army-joining process, but is also welcoming of any person who wants to commit to a full service in the IDF. I am part of the West Coast group, with lots of Californians, a couple Coloradans, a girl from Arizona, a kid from Washington, and even a few Canadians. Most of the group lived in Israel at one point or another. Many people grew up in Hebrew speaking households. Some didn't speak a word of Hebrew before they landed in the country. We all live together on a kibbutz, spend a few months working and then start our army with a home to come back to on the weekends. The key advantage of the program is the home on the kibbutz and the garin family. My garin is a family of high school graduates, college students and college graduates all with the same goal: to serve Israel.
I had no doubt that I wanted to join the army, and some doubts as to whether or not I should join with Garin Tzabar or try to go through the process on my own, but this was a minor issue. The only real dilemma I had was when to leave. Should I go as soon as I turn 18? Should I wait until I finish college and get a degree? My parents and many of my UCSC friends tried to convince me that it would make more sense to wait. Eventually I decided that I would feel more comfortable going in at age 18/19 rather than at 20/21 if I wanted to feel like I was no different from other Israelis. Going back to college after the army shouldn't be so difficult.
Now that I'm in Israel I have no doubt that I made the right choice. Rather than spending too much money on another two years of confusion, uncertainty, and lots of distractions, I've committed myself to doing something that I believe in, maybe even giving myself a little more time to digest the world before trying to throw myself into it. I'm 19, I have time.
Living in Ein Harod Ihud (my kibbutz) with Garin Alon (my garin) has been an amazing and new experience for me. I can't help but feel that I am incredibly lucky to be here. I'm also lucky enough that my parents decided to move back to Israel a little after I did, so I don't have to miss my family as much as everyone else.
My bags are pretty much packed, my uniform is folded and ready, and I'm totally excited. I think it's time for bed.
Your good ol' UCSC pal,
Bringing Santa Cruz to Tzahal,