Jun 22, 2017  By Rabbi Dr. Analia Bortz  Category: Travel,

Gratitude for lone soldier daughter's 'mom away from mom' in Israel

Adina, with her parents and NBN co-founder Tony Gelbart (second from left). 

It was on August 17, 2015 that Adina, our youngest daughter, wearing a T-shirt that read Olim L'Tzahal (moving to Israel to join the army), boarded an El Al plane. Our hearts burst with pride as parents who raised her in a deeply Zionist environment. 

The words of Arik Einstein’s song "Uf Gozal Chatoch et Hashamayim" sounded like a bombastic awakening: 

“Fly away my little bird, cut the sky
Fly where ever you want
Just don’t forget there is an eagle in the sky
Be aware, fly away.”

And then it dawned on me. 
Who would wait for her when she came home exhausted, from base? 
Who would hug her after a long and difficult week? 
Who would console her tears and share her laughter? 
And, of course, who would prepare her favorite Shabbat meal? 

I learned quickly that JNF partner Nefesh B’Nefesh, an extraordinary organization that guides olims' aliyah steps, has been there for her, and for us, all the way. Like a "mom away from mom," many Jewish organizations I have been supporting for many years -- JNF, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), Jewish Agency-Sochnut, have taken the role of "Jewish mother" for our little bird, flying away from her house in Atlanta, Georgia, to go HOME, to Eretz Israel. 

More on aliyah
Book preview: 'Becoming Israeli,' 40 personal tales of making aliyahPlane ride to a new life: Emotions soar aboard aliyah flight to Israel 

These organizations have cooked for her, hugged her, and shared her fears, frustrations, tears, and disappointments as well as her laughter, confidence, achievements, and pride. 
Today, Adina serves in Sayarim-Combat Intelligence Unit, deep in the Negev, just a few miles of Southern Gaza and North of the Egyptian border. 

She is part of Ben Gurion’s dream, she sees the Negev blooming. Her green uniform camouflages with the miraculous greenery of the desert-arid area. 

It’s hard to be far away. The nights are deprived of sleep. Every "breaking news" alert in the Israeli newspapers that pops up on my smartphone screen triggers palpitations. There are many "eagles" in the sky and many "predators" on the ground, but the love for the land, people and State of Israel transcends fears. 

Ben Gurion said, "In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles." As a woman of strong faith, I do believe miracles are done by human beings who help God in recreating with partnership. 

L’Chayim to JNF, Nefesh B’Nefesh, and FIDF for making these miracles happen.