I'm overwhelmed by the density of events over a short period of time. Tom's pre-IDF course ending celebration, Tom's enrollment in the IDF, his swearing-in ceremony, end of basic training, starting of professional course. All this coincided with our moving with the 120 boxes, all the things that went wrong, the dragging of apartment arrangements and proximity to Passover, when I'm already hosting family for the Seder (traditional Passover dinner). Work, gym, choir and vacation planning in the background.
In a previous post, I was trying to advice Tom whether to take the pre-IDF course and so far so good. He loved it, made new friends and will enjoy a paved path in the IDF. One tiny caveat though: he is sharing this path with youngsters just like him and misses the opportunity to meet 'kids' from different backgrounds. He is in a social bubble, just like myself, to an extent.
The IDF enrollment is an icon of Israeli life experience, parents and family accompany the youngsters to the recruting center and wave them goodby while they are being taken away by bus to start their 3-year journey in the IDF. This is the time for deep thoughts and mixed feelings. But how was I supposed to do this with giant Disney-like puppets dancing around on Purim songs from the loudspeakers? How was he supposed to have all the right thoughts and feelings with Disney figures in the soldierization (I made this word up) process, including vaccine shots? It was definitely weird being enrolled during Purim.
The swearing in ceremony is another IDF icon. Tom's ceremony was held in Sde Boker, next to Paula and David Ben Gurion's tomb. On the way to Sde Boker, which is 3 driving hours away from my house, I was asking myself how would parents living in the North (even further away) manage to come to the ceremony. The ceremony itself was moving but not very impressive. The highest ranking officer spoke about a little kid asking his father on Passover during WWII wether they will survive the war. The father replied he didn't know specifically about themselves, but there will always be a Jewish kid somewhere in the world to ask questions on Passover and a father to answer. The officer concluded that this is one of the main reasons for the IDF existence and activity. After the ceremony, one of Tom's comrades asked us if we have some food as he was hungry. (Bringing food to the ceremony and eating together with the soldiers is customary at such occasions.) We gave him a sandwich and offered sweets. I knew if Tom would have been hungry, any of the families present there would have done the same. I asked where his parents were, why didn't they come. "We live in a moshav (agricultural settlement) north of Nahariya, which so so up north that is already in south Lebanon", he replied joyfully.