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Gabriel Michael ('12) davening in uniform
Gabriel Michael (’12) davening in uniform this week

Written this past week by Gabe Michael (’12), prior to joining the IDF

It feels like yesterday I was in the car on the way to my Ida Crown graduation or in the car on my way to my first day at Yeshivat Hakotel. Today, I drive in my car on my way to the first day of my Golani Infantry Brigade Training, this is the pinnacle of all of my previous experiences.

It all began six years ago, as I stepped out of the car at Ida Crown on that “yesterday” that I remember so fondly. My yeshiva experience had a huge impact on my desire to join the Israeli Army, but it all stemmed from my incredible experience at Ida Crown. When I first interviewed at the Academy with Rabbi Matanky, he explained that Ida Crown is not simply a four year experience, it includes a fifth year of high school which is to be spent in Israel. The fifth year allows you to live the experience learned in school through Yom Haatzmaut celebrations, inspiring Israeli teachers, classes relating to the importance of the State of Israel, and a strong basis of what it means to be a Religious Zionist.

Not only were these concepts taught to us, but it was transmitted in a way that made it easy to put into practice. I remember all the Israeli-themed assemblies we had and watching films about life in Israel. I also remember the Israeli speakers, the posters and the inspiring Israeli culture that filled the halls of Ida Crown. But an even greater testament to the impact that Ida Crown has on its students is seen in the number of alumni who have made Aliyah from my graduating class, some of whom are also joining the army. Two of my fellow classmates, Eitan Redlich and Zach Cohn are embarking on this journey alongside me. We don’t know what to expect in the upcoming months, but I think I can speak on behalf of all of us when I say, we are confident that we have made the right decision and are excited to be taking this next huge step in our lives and in defending Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael.

Thank you Ida Crown, chazak ve’ematz!

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