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Friday, November 08, 2013

Thoughts of a soldier during a very long shmira (guard duty)...

[a guest post by Ariella]

Well I guess I should start at the beginning.

My name is Ariella Bogner. I was born in the US, and in 2003 when I was 9 years old, I moved with my family to an Israeli town called Efrat. I went to a high school in Jerusalem called Pelech, and after i graduated I did a year at a Pre-military Academy in the Jordan Valley called HaEmek. On july 18th I enlisted in the IDF. Five days later I celebrated a decade of living in this country.

As I mentioned, I have lived in Efrat (located south of Jerusalem in Gush Etzion) for the past ten years. Over that time I learned a lot about the history of the place. The battles fought and the lives lost trying to protect my home.

Where I live it is not unusual to see civilians with a weapon or a Palestinians walking nearby... and honestly, I think nothing of either. Another detail in the everyday view is the presence of soldiers. Whether its at the Machsom (check point), trempiadot (bus stop/hitch hiking place), or entrances to the yishuvim, they have always been there.

These are soldiers that came from all over the country to protect the place I love and call home.

And it is because of that, that we love these soldiers like family. There is no such thing as a soldier who is left without a place to eat on Shabbat, or doesn't get a snack or hot drink in the cold or even a cookie (shout out to the 'Cookies for the soldiers foundation') before Shabbat.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that as a kid, growing up here I always admired the soldiers. It's because of these soldiers that where I come from everyone enlists and is proud to do so. We aim for as high as we can go.

So I reported for duty on the 18th of July with a feeling of pride.

I am now four months into my service, a month away from finishing my sergeants course. One of the obligations of my course is that we do haganat yishuvim (protecting of settlements). It basically means that my unit splits up for a week between 15-20 yishuvim and guards them for a week. I ended up in a settlement in an area south of our home in the south Hebron hills.

I can't help thinking that I am here, in uniform, protecting the place I love and for the past ten years have called home. I can't think of a better way to thank all those soldiers who protected my family, friends and home. I can't possible thank you enough. But I'll try.

As my shift came to an end I walked by a school bus and the driver shouted "kol hacavod lachayelet shelanu!" (well done to our soldier) OUR soldier... a feeling of pride ran through me as a lump formed in my throat.

But then again, that's how we always felt about the soldiers stationed near our town. OUR soldiers... our kids, brothers, sisters, parents... whatever! That have always been ours.

And this time it was me.

Shabbat shalom!



Posted by David Bogner on November 8, 2013 | Permalink


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Ariella, you are the kind of daughter who would make any Mom and Dad proud. And, having met your wonderful parents, I can only say I am not surprised that they have such a thoughful, brave, and well-spoken young woman for a daughter! Kol ha-kavod!

Posted by: Elisson | Nov 8, 2013 4:51:39 PM

Beautiful! Okay, so obviously there's something to this whole "genetics" thing... :)

Posted by: efrex | Nov 8, 2013 5:05:45 PM

What a great story. I moved from Montreal to Israel when I was 18. I am the son of an Auschwitz survivor, and encountered frequent anti-semitism in Montreal. I remember serving in Northern Israel and seeing the lights of the Kibbutzim and Moshavim behind me. I knew exactly why I was there. My generation, and that of Ariella will never walk quietly onto cattle cars again.

She is the real Jew, not the scum of Jewish Voice for Islamic Jihad, Phil Weiss and the rest of them.

Posted by: Naftali | Nov 8, 2013 7:57:35 PM

Yesterday I thought of you, David, and wondered how things were with Ariella. I appreciate this post very much. Thank you.

Posted by: antares | Nov 9, 2013 6:44:57 AM

Okay, that got me a little choked up. And I very much agree with that bus driver.

Posted by: Alissa | Nov 9, 2013 6:33:53 PM

What Alissa said. כל הכבוד לך, and thank you. xoxo

Posted by: Alisha | Nov 9, 2013 7:16:22 PM

Kol HaKavod. Ariella's a credit to her parents, herself, and her people. A wonderful post.

Posted by: Ellis | Nov 10, 2013 6:22:58 AM

Thanks, Ariella, for sharing your "lump in the throat." It feels pretty good in mine right now. Thank you for your service to our country, our soldier.

Posted by: rutimizrachi | Nov 10, 2013 6:25:38 AM

Thank you, Ariella, for your service and for this post.

(David, you need a tissue-box icon for some of the posts on this blog. I'm just sayin'.)

Posted by: Rahel | Nov 10, 2013 8:23:32 AM

David & Zahava, Ariella is most definitely your daughter. This is so beautiful.
Ariella, Kol Hakavod! You are amazing.

Posted by: SaraK | Nov 10, 2013 9:24:32 AM

A great kid with her head screwed on straight. I wish there were more Orthodox Jews like her. Shep them nachos!

Posted by: Psychotoddler | Nov 10, 2013 3:31:18 PM

Beautiful. Well said.

Posted by: Larry | Nov 10, 2013 3:56:39 PM


Posted by: Esther S | Nov 10, 2013 6:59:19 PM

Ariella, you are the pride of your parents, your siblings, and the entire Jewish people. Stand proud. We are all safer because you're on watch.

Posted by: Marsha in Englewood | Nov 10, 2013 8:04:39 PM

Loved this article! Thank you Ariella for helping us 'oldies' to see life once again through the eyes of a 'youngie'.

On our recent trip to Israel I would try to say something positive or thank the soldiers who were on guard duty at the various check points we passed on our travels. My kids laughed in the back seat at my broken Hebrew; constantly mixing up masculine and feminine or singular and plural. But I told them each time that it's so important that our soldiers know we appreciate what they do for us and that they keep all of us (even those of us who live in chutz la'aretz) safe.

Well done Ariella. All the power to you and your compatriots!

Posted by: Lauren | Nov 11, 2013 12:39:10 AM

any more info about the "cookies for soldiers" foundation? it sounds like the perfect place for my kindergarten class tzedaka collection to go this month!
thanks to ariella and all of the other brave chayalim and chayalot who serve their country with pride.

Posted by: debbie | Nov 11, 2013 2:38:41 AM

I, too, was all over the internet, trying to find the "cookies for the soldiers foundation," and the only hit I got was Ariella's blog entry. Yes, please, post more info on this program. and Ariella -- kol hak'vod.

Posted by: Lynne | Nov 11, 2013 3:21:34 PM

I spoke with Ari briefly earlier today.

She has promised to post details about the cookies for soldiers thing for those who want to contribute/participate.

Posted by: David Bogner | Nov 11, 2013 8:38:06 PM

Ari's access to the Internet is sporadic, and her phone isn't letting her post a comment.  Here's what she just texted me:

I want to thank everyone who left comments. I really appreciate them. It means a lot to me!

As for the cookies for the soldiers, it's a small but growing orginization that a friend of mine started with his army buddies. The idea was that coming back to the army after a Shabbat at home is always tough so a taste of home always helps. Also knowing that families all over the country care about the soldiers does a lot as well. So every week people make cookies and every Friday they ate destributed to soldiers who don't get to go home for Shabbat an on Sunday to those who are returning to their bases. 

As I said. It is a small but growing organization and they can always use help. 

They can be found on facebook under העוגייה למען החייל. (the name is in Hebrew but they post both in Hebrew and English) and aryeh (one of the founders) can be reached by email:

[email protected]

Again thank you for all the wonderful comments! 


Posted by: David Bogner | Nov 12, 2013 8:55:24 AM

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