When Sergeant Avi Gluck (’10) finds himself on a long training march carrying heavy equipment, he sometimes wonders how he got there. “I’ll have moments where I’m like, ‘What am I doing here?’ But the moment usually passes quickly.”
But the truth, says Avi, is that much of his life–including his years at ICJA, and prior to that at Hillel Torah–led to his decision in 2011 to make aliyah and join the IDF’s counter guerrilla forces for the northern command.
“Growing up in the religious Zionist environment embeds national pride and belief in the State of Israel as the Jewish homeland,” says Avi. “The whole being of the Academy and Hillel Torah, the atmosphere in class and special programming is centered around Zionism. Awareness of Israel and the importance of its existence was an essential part of my education.”
Another huge impetus in Avi’s decision to enter the army was his sister, Yael (‘XX), who paved the way for Avi by making aliyah and serving in the army three years earlier.
“Yael got me thinking that this was a possibility. When I was graduating, I knew I wanted to do it but didn’t know if it was something I wanted more than college.”
Avi spent his gap year post high school at Mechinat HaGolan a program for Americans that combined learning, army preparation and travel. By mid-year, Avi decided to make aliyah and join the army.
Two years into his army service, Avi’s commitment hasn’t wavered. “The fact that the Jewish people have our own country for the first time in 2000 years and that I have the opportunity to be a part of that and to defend the country is an honor, really. “
Throughout his service, Avi says there are a number of skills and lessons he gained in high school that made a lasting impact. The most applicable lesson for the army has been one he gained in his extracurricular activities. In wrestling, cross country and yearbook, Avi learned to set his sights on a goal and work hard to achieve it. “It’s the same in army. You have to put eyes on something and do it. Being goal oriented and giving it everything I’ve got–that was developed at the Academy.”