Guest post by: Tova Knecht
Tova recently moved to Israel and using every day to experience life in Israel to its fullest potential.
Follow on twitter @TovaInIsrael.
As I was sitting at the bus stop waiting for the bus to take me to do my errands I began to think about what Shabbat and life in Israel means. In our lives we each have the opportunity to do incredible things, to move away from the mundane and ordinary, and instead use life’s days to the maximum potential.
I feel blessed to have been able to move with my family to Israel, to experience life on a completely different level.
Living here is different to anywhere else in the world. As safe as we feel, life can also be edgy and scary. Understandably.
When you see Chayalim standing by bus stops, you know it isn’t because they’re waiting to take the bus, when you see Chayalim at the mall, you know it isn’t because they’re buying new socks and when you see Chayalim watching everyone pass by on the street, it isn’t because they’re out relaxing and enjoying the weather.
Chayalim (IDF soldiers) are protecting.
Chayalim are patrolling.
Chayalim are monitoring.
Chayalim are keeping us safe.
So when I received an email to host Chayalim for Shabbat, I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity.
My immediate answer was, Yes! Of course! Sign us up! But here’s where it gets even more interesting, these Chayalim that are coming to us Shabbat, are Chayalim that have lived in Israel all their lives, but they’re not Jewish.
These soldiers have decided to become part of the Jewish nation and are in the process of converting.
They are taking on the responsibility of becoming Jewish, adopting a lifestyle with rules they haven’t needed to follow before. After living a life in Israel amongst the Jewish people and having so many Jewish friends, that is the life they are deciding to adopt.
We signed up to be their “family”, to be there to help them figure things out, to answer any questions they might have and to host them for Shabbat whenever they need a place to go. This is such an extraordinary opportunity to say Thank You to these Chayalim that are out protecting, patrolling, monitoring, and keeping us safe. How could I not?!
Part 2 will be coming soon… (4 hours from now)