You are the sum of all your experiences. At least, that’s what my mom tells me. To some of you who are reading my blog I am probably a friend or a son of a friend, or maybe to you I’m just a 17 year old kid who’s got a story to tell. Well, I’ve decided to tell a story. The story about how I got to this point. It’s not like I just showed up one day as a 17 year old, I had some sort of a childhood.
Those of you who are great at math probably figured out I was born in 1995. For those who didn’t know, consider yourself informed. I was born in Montreal, Canada and I stayed there for quite a while. To be honest, I didn’t have such an interesting childhood, but it had its moments. At the age of 3 I started attending Yeshiva X in Montreal, and I was there until 9th grade. I had an interesting time there, to say the least; it was a very right wing school. They never called it Israel; it was always “Eretz Yisrael”. I was raised by my mother to be a Zionist, and Zionist I was, Zionist I am, and Zionist I will be. Therefore, every Yom Haazmaut I wore kachol velavan (blue and white, the state colors of Israel) and I suppose my peers thought that a bit strange. But then again, I don’t think I was Mr. Popular in elementary school.
I was ten years old when my parents told my siblings and I that they were separating and were going to get a divorce. Thankfully, my parents always have worked together in their children’s best interests. But being that I was a child I didn’t see it that way all the time, and there are some things that I still either don’t know about or don’t understand.
In 6th grade, when I was preparing to graduate elementary school as a valedictorian (the school system is different in Montreal, elementary ends in sixth grade, and high school ends in eleventh) I wanted to switch schools. I was getting tired of the feeling of being brainwashed all day, and I wanted to switch somewhere a bit more modern and relaxed, where they might better suit my academic needs. But for whatever reason, this request was denied and I was stuck in that place for 3 more years. After seventh grade I pretty much just gave up on the school. I had been “learning gemara” for about three years by then, but truth is I never really learnt how to learn. I never liked learning – it’s just something I did to make them happy. But I pretty much gave up on that afterwards. I struggled to keep my calm for the next two years, when my mom married my stepdad and my brothers and I moved to Monsey, New York.
Monsey was great for me. I had a new beginning, new school, new friends, new house – same old problems. I loved my new school, Yeshiva Y of Monsey. Well, most of the time. My first year there was tenth grade and I started to learn again and I enjoyed it once in a while. Being that it was a small school, almost every decision made by the hanhala (leadership) affected us students directly. Midway through my second year, the schools changed direction of sorts, with which I was not so comfortable, so I looked elsewhere for academic opportunity.
This brings us to the present. This year I am getting my high school diploma and preparing to move to Israel (I’m sure you knew the Israel part by now). I suppose if this was Hollywood they would call it “an adventure 17 years in the making”. But that’s true. Everything in my life so far has just been preparation for my big adventure. Leaving home. Being independent. Joining the army. Honestly, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. But I’m not going to say that. Because I’m plenty scared – but I am doing this anyhow. Why? You may ask. I’ll answer right now: because I believe it’s the right thing for me to do.