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  • Writer's pictureRabbi David Paskin

Father of a Lone Soldier

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From Rabbi David

Earlier this week, Cantor Norman caught me off guard when he said that I'm the father of a lone soldier.

For those who don't know, when someone makes aliyah (moves to Israel) to join the army with no immediate family living in Israel, they are called a lone soldier. My daughter made aliyah earlier this year and starts her army service just after Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel's Independence Day) coming up next week.

Now, to be clear, Cantor Norman didn't tell me anything I didn't already know - I had just never heard it said out loud. I immediately realized that my identity had changed again - that now I would always be the father of a lone soldier.

I remember feeling the same way when I was diagnosed with cancer a number of years ago (don't freak out - I'm completely fine now.) When the doctor called my first thought was that I would forever more be David, cancer survivor. Now I'm David, cancer survivor and father of a lone soldier (among other things.)

Does this scare me? Sure - we all worry for our children's safety. Am I proud? You bet I am. She's following her heart and that's all I can ever hope for her.

This year as we mark Israel's 75 birthday I pray that all of our children have the courage to follow their hearts and that a love for Israel is always a part of their hearts.

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