By Meena Colbdorf, NFTY in Israel Participant, Bus 6
Last week in the Chavaya, Gadna, I spent 4 days learning what it meant to be part of the IDF.
Every Israeli teenager has to join the IDF when they turn 18, and as a 16 year old I was given a small taste of their reality.
My commanders did not care what my age was, the moment I stepped into the base I was soldier. I took on the responsibilities of any IDF soldier, whether it was toranut (the task of serving and clearing food, and/or setting and clearing plates) or bathroom duties. I spent a lot of time in lessons learning about the IDF in general and how the IDF has responded to situations in the past.
I also had lessons on gun safety and I was told to think about what these weapons can do. When I was given the opportunity to shoot a gun, I was very excited, but also contemplating what I was doing. I felt very comfortable holding the weapon, but I would never abuse my power with it. Shooting a weapon was only a small part of the Gadna experience.
During some of the other lessons I learned how to be stealthy and blend in with my surroundings. Being part of the IDF is not just about being physically strong but also mentally strong. I was put to the test by having to army crawl up a hill covered in rocks. I could have given up at any moment, but I pushed myself and climbed up the whole hill.
Gadna has showed me a new side of the IDF and US Army.
It was such a fun experience that I will never forget.