We learned how to make our service in the IDF meaningful
“At Derech Eretz, we learned how to make our service in the IDF meaningful. Today, I am proud to serve as a combat soldier in the rescue brigade… Derech Eretz was no doubt an integral part of my basic training and preparation.”
“If I had to sum up my Derech Eretz experience in one sentence, I might just have to say “you won’t get it”.
I arrived at the “open day” Derech Eretz Nitzana campus after hearing about it at school from some of the program graduates. I convinced three friends to come with me, telling them to see it as a mini (overnight) vacation… and the rest is history.
I will never forget that feeling I came home with from the “open day”. Feeling that despite my worries and concerns, something deep inside just felt right and real – enough to convince all four of us to sign up for the program.
Since we were four friends entering the program together, Shachar and Orli were assigned to the Nitzana campus, and Simcha and I went to Kmein. As much as I fell in love with Nitzana at the open day, and as much as I had hoped to end up there, in retrospect, Kmein was the absolute best place I could have asked for.
Experiencing the program was like entering a room filled with mirrors that reflect exactly who you are – the good and the bad – in a constructive way, a way that encourages and enables growth and personal development. In Kmein, I discovered how much motivation one group can instill – together. We left behind our high school days and began learning in a different way – through discussion, debate, and lectures – studying for the sake of knowledge and not just for the grades.
An inseparable part of the part of the program was the outdoors and a deep love of Israel. Some of the participants already loved spending time outdoors, in Israel’s great landscapes, and the rest of us developed this love as time went on. By the end of the program, each and every one of us were mesmerized.
The bonds I made at Derech Eretz are for life. We underwent intense experiences together. We cried, we were hapy, we got angry. We went to sleep and woke up. We learned, fought, made up. We sang and played musical instruments. We adapted ourselves, we travelled, we experienced excitement. And we did all of this together.
At Derech Eretz, we spoke a lot about how to make our service in the IDF meaningful. Today, I am proud to serve as a combat soldier in the rescue brigade.
Many of the combat soldiers here with me knew in advance that they wanted to pursue a service in a combat unit. But me – even a month before my recruitment, I was still uncertain. My dedication to this challenging role despite my fears were a change I underwent.
The way I see it, Derech Eretz was no doubt an integral part of my basic training and preparation. We spoke about knowing that you are part of something larger than any individual. That many great people have done this before us, and now it’s our turn. I knew to identify my hesitation and see it as a challenge – a place to grow, and not the other way around.
My first two weeks in the IDF were the most difficult for me. The distance, the constant hurrying, the rigid discipline were all difficult. But then they took us for two days outdoors and it made me feel safe, secure, familiar, and at home – like I was right back at Derech Eretz.
I will sum up and say that Derech Eretz Kmein was incredible. And all these words do not begin to describe even a fraction of the actual experience.
We are lucky to have journeyed so far in such a short amount of time.”
Yaffit Asiyaen, 19, Ramle
Derech Eretz, Kmein Campus, 2016-17
Serving as a combat soldier in the IDF’s rescue brigade
Photo below: Yaffit with fellow Derech Eretz graduates.