I’m in the Army Now…Too! by Rinatya Rosenberg

I’m in the Army Now…Too! by Rinatya Rosenberg
[A few days ago my daughter told me that her dear friend Rinatya, a 26-year-old social worker with a soldier-husband in the North, was in basic training! This was a story I had to hear…and share:]
Daniel and I got married about a year and a half ago. We had a calm first year, and spent a month-long honeymoon in India.
We returned just a week before the war. We spent that Simchat Torah with Daniel’s family in Jerusalem, and when we heard the sirens Daniel immediately realized something very, very extreme was happening. A few hours later, Daniel’s entire brigade was transported to the North. We later found out that their quick deployment helped prevent the outbreak of a 2-front war on October 7th.
And that’s how I found myself spending Simchat Torah at my in-laws with tears streaming down my face, trying to figure out what was going on.
Daniel spent two-and-a-half months on the Lebanese border in a very dangerous area during his first round of reserve duty.
And I moved back in with my parents for 3 weeks, to Elazar in Gush Etzion. I had a job working as a community social worker there, and with the start of the war I was given a whole new set of responsibilities, suddenly dealing with serious war-related emergencies and tragedies.
It was surreal, I was in the community where I grew up, surrounded by family and people I knew. While Daniel was on the Lebanon border, in serious danger. I was terrified for Daniel, scared sick.
In December, Daniel finally came home. Until Pesach, when he started Round 2 of reserve duty. Again I was spending evenings with friends, Shabbat on my own. Dealing with a lot of loneliness and fear.
That was when I heard about a new initiative enabling religious women with certain professions, who’d previously received a religious exemption from military service, to join the IDF now to assist with the war effort.
The IDF was initially reluctant to accept women who’d never served before in the IDF. But thanks to 2 very persistent religious women, who understood the significant contribution women like them could make, the IDF finally agreed.
The first group consisted of 45 highly- motivated women. And our contingent has 61 women.
The age-range is 25-50. Some women are single, some are married, some are old enough to have adult children who have already gone through the army themselves. All have professions that can be helpful to the IDF: engineering, technology, social work, psychology, nursing, medics etc.
We are now at a base for 10 days of basic training, which includes learning how to shoot, military first aid, an introduction to the military hierarchy, military concepts, and the spirit of the IDF. At the end of basic training, all of us will have positions in different corps of the army. I will be joining the Medical Corps, specializing in mental health.
Basic training has been a bit challenging. We’ve had to stand for 4 hours in the hot Israeli sun, get used to military discipline and I found out at the shooting range that rifles are surprisingly heavy!
But I will say that there is something about being here that is truly inspiring, to see that each woman here freely chose to leave everything in her life behind, in order to come and contribute to Israel and the IDF.
One of the commanders here told us that when she heard about our group, she suddenly felt that soldiers like her are not alone in this war. All of Am Yisrael, whether or not they are wearing a uniform, stands with her.
I’m also learning to understand Daniel more, to understand, in a microscopic way, what he experiences as a soldier.
What motivated me to take this step and volunteer for the IDF?
In recent years, since he left active service, Daniel has regularly taken time off from his university studies in order to volunteer for reserve duty because Israel and its security are of supreme importance to him. He wants to be a partner in defending Israel, and October 7th sharpened that desire exponentially, for both of us.
In the end there is a lot of need for people in different positions. The more people serve, the less burden there is on each person serving. On a practical level, soldiers will be able to spend time at home more frequently to recharge and there will be less burnout among soldiers.
When people in the army hear about us religious women volunteering, about our desire to take time off from our civilian lives to contribute to our shared destiny, it empowers them and lifts their spirits immensely. And that has never been more important than it is today. It’s an honor and a privilege for me, and all the women with me here, to be able to play our own small part.
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One comment

  1. Wow, yasher koach!

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