I am a 23 year old Jewish female, born and raised in the U.S. Until this point in my life, I thought I had a fair amount of responsibility—I went off to college hundreds of miles away from home and moved into an equally far away home of my own after graduating to begin a career. Yet, in contrast to my fellow female Israeli counterparts in their 20s, the responsibility on my shoulders pales in comparison.
In Israel, army service is obligatory for women, beginning at age 18. As the Israeli-Hezbollah war continues, young women, my age and younger, are serving in the war. This week, I read firsthand about the role of Israeli young women in this war.
Female soldiers who comprise 80 percent of the personnel in a Navy post were profiled in an article by Ynet news. It began by describing the role of 20 year old Cpl. Moran Kdushim who has served as a shift leader directing Naval operations for over a year. She and her crew, including young women Sgt. Sivan Cohen and Cpl. Nitzan Yogev work 24 hours a day to prevent rocket attacks.
The responsibility on their shoulders is great, much more than for me as a young Jewish American female. As I go to sleep at night, my worries are trivial compared to theirs—will I save enough for graduate school, will I get to work on the project I proposed at work, and will they have the shoe I want in the size I need?
Yet, I am connected to these young women by Jewishness and age. Despite their youth, they are given responsibility, work together to accomplish goals, and give back to their country. Drawing from my Jewishness and age, I wonder in what ways will I be able to give back to my country?