Shema

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

Although my lifestyle does not representative of religious Judaism, the traditions and values are deeply engrained into my mindset. Toward the end of my senior year in high school, I challenged myself to explore my Jewish identity. I always believed that the best way to learn about something is to actually do it, so rather than continue my education after high school, I chose to move to Israel and join the Israel Defense Forces. Shortly before moving, I began working with Dotan, an Israeli immigrant who taught technology at a small private school. Dotan served in one of Israel’s most elite units. Unfortunately, during one of his missions, he was shot in the shoulder, broke his jaw, and lives with PTSD. Dotan shared his experience with me as a window into the lifestyle that I was preparing to begin. His experience and decisions shed light onto the challenges that I would soon live. On my last day of work Dotan, handed me a handwritten shema, the most important Jewish prayer. Dotan was comforted by carrying it with him throughout his service. He passed it onto me and told me he hopes that the universe protects me as much as it protected him. No one in my family served in the army, and Dotan never had children, so we developed a unique relationship. I am grateful for his mentorship, honesty, and love. Now, I carry the shema with me everywhere I go. For me, the prayer not only carries the traditional significance, but also represents my relationship with Dotan. 

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant