#tbt – Israel 1995

I’m not an avid participant of #TBT (Throwback Thursday) on Instagram and Facebook. But every once in awhile, I feel compelled to post something a I see my newsfeed fill up with nostalgia.

Israel has been on my mind the last couple of weeks, and as I drove home, I thought what better way to take part in #TBT than to post pictures of the best summer of my life.

In 1995, I headed to Israel with a youth group consisting of about 40 friends. We had spent every Saturday and one night a week for the past school year training to become leaders/counselors, learning about Israel and bonding. This trip was the ultimate bonding experience. We spent 6 amazing weeks traveling the country, sleeping in the desert, repelling, clubbing and drinking, spending a night in a shelter, and simply making incredible memories.


The most memorable week for me, although also the one I least enjoyed, was the week we spent in the “army.” I use the word army loosely because even though it felt rough to me, it’s only 1/8th of what the real army is probably like. We woke up at 5 am and had to make our bed, get dressed and be out of our tent in like 5 minutes. We prepped for breakfast and then cleaned all the pots and pans afterwards. We hiked or ran in the desert at night alternating carrying a stretcher and full jerry can on our backs. We learned to shoot M16s. There was nothing relaxing or fun about it to me.

In the Army Now
In the Army Now

I think back to that week, or maybe it was only a few days, and try and picture what it is like for every Israeli at the age of 17 or 18 to enter a real training camp. I think about them now as they get ready for a possible ground invasion of Gaza. And as I think about all of that, I know that that week I spent was a piece of cake. There was no danger whatsoever. Nothing was going to happen to me if I didn’t run fast enough or if I missed the target completely when shooting the M16. No one was shooting back at me and there was no threat of a rocket falling out of the sky.

I am lucky to have been able to spend those 6 weeks in Israel and make the memories that will be with me for a lifetime. I can’t wait for the day that I can send my children to have that same experience. This is why I am thankful for Israel itself and for all those that defend it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *