A Salute to Graduates

This article as first published as “Jewish high school grads who take the road less traveled” in JWeekly.

Havneh Feder-Haugabook

Havneh Feder-Haugabook

It’s the end of the academic year, and for graduates of Bay Area Jewish high schools, it is time to move on to exciting new adventures. For some, that means moving to Israel. For others, it means taking a meaningful volunteer position before heading off to college.

He’s in the army now

Havneh Feder-Haugabook, whose first name means “ebony tree” in Hebrew, will be planting roots in the Jewish state. The 18-year-old graduating senior at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay in San Francisco leaves for Israel on June 18 to join Garin Tzabar. The program run by the Friends of Israel Scouts–Tzofim supports diaspora Jews who choose to move to Israel and serve in the Israel Defense Forces.

Havneh will become an Israeli citizen, study Hebrew and do some preparatory training for several months before being formally inducted into the army in November. Two of his JCHS classmates will be joining him and going through the same process.

“Although I’ve experienced a lot in high school, I still didn’t feel I was ready to become independent and live alone at college,” Havneh said. “The IDF will give me some grounding and some structure.”

This unusual young man doesn’t think his choice is all that unusual. “I’m patriotic for Israel, and I believe every Jew is responsible to contribute to the state in some way. Mine is to serve in the army,” he said.

Click here to read more.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

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