The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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Alumni in the IDF

Just ten minutes before Eitan Tavor (‘21) prepared to leave his base, sirens and explosions rang through the air. Stationed in the South, where rockets were aimed, Tavor remained in the bomb shelter for around an hour and a half on Oct. 7.

Based 40 minutes south of Be’er Sheva, Tavor is in unit 8200, a classified unit in the IDF that focuses on cyber and communication intelligence. Tavor’s group sits at an air force base and works with a flying squadron that works on intelligence.

On a personal level, Tavor feels that his experience has been different from others because he has not lost anyone directly connected to him during the war. Furthermore, Tavor feels that his responsibilities have made it so that he hasn’t been able to process the situation emotionally.

“We have a lot of work to do. We don’t really have time to be sad about what happened,” Tavor said. “We’re always busy and we have a TV that’s always on with the news. So, we see what’s going on, but it’s kind of separated from the outside world.”

Tavor is one of a few CESJDS alumni currently serving in the IDF. Unlike Tavor, who is still in his active duty, Justin Galitzer (‘19) is volunteering his service.

Galitzer was a volunteer in the army and when the war broke out, he was not in the reserves system. For the first three weeks of the war, Galitzer helped volunteer by bringing deliveries to bases in the North, South and the West Bank and was on guard duty on kibbutzim around Sderot. However, Galitzer wanted to join a brigade and worked to make this a possibility.

“During the time I would be working all day during the day [and] during the night time, I’d be calling up every company commander and every brigade seeing if I could join them,” Galitzer said. “And eventually, I found this team over here, and I was able to join them as a combat soldier here.”

Galitzer is currently stationed in Hebron, a city in the Southern West Bank, as a part of an operations team. The team’s job mainly consists of patrolling Jewish villages in the area, detecting people working with Hamas and maintaining army presence in the area.

Having grown up in a home that valued Zionism and attending JDS, which fostered that same ideal, Galitzer felt that it was his responsibility to serve in the IDF.

“I thought it was so important not only for Israelis to give to Israel in defending our Jewish home and our only country, but it also falls on Jewish people all over the world,” Galitzer said. “Some people decide to give money, some people decide to go to yeshiva and some people will decide to volunteer, but I thought the best route for me was to give my body to the country.”

Like Galitzer, Lily Daroff (‘19) felt that her JDS education contributed to her desire to join the army. Daroff always knew that she wanted to volunteer in some way before college and ultimately decided that the IDF was the right path for her.

Daroff was in the army from 2019 to 2021 as a part of the spokesperson unit. They are the “voice for the army for international purposes,” Daroff said. Her department specifically was focused on running social media.

While Daroff is not currently serving in the army, she feels that serving has significantly influenced the ways in which she has been impacted by the war.

“It’s hard to think about how I would be feeling if I hadn’t lived in Israel or joined the army,” Daroff said. “For me, it’s just much more personal. I remember in high school, obviously I cared about Israel so much and politics, but it was less personal…This whole issue just hits really close to home in ways that I know it doesn’t for most people, or even people that haven’t lived there.”

All three alumni feel strongly that education on the war are crucial, specifically due to the amount of misinformation being spread on the topic.

“A lot of people speak about the actual combat over here, but it’s not only the combat war, it’s really the media war also, which is devastating for Israel, because so much misinformation and disinformation is spread, and deliberately spread,” Galitzer said. “So it’s really important to just educate everyone around us to know as much truth as possible.”

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About the Contributor
Sophie Schwartz, Opinion Editor
Sophie is excited to continue her work on the Lion’s Tale this year as an opinion editor. She is looking forward to helping the new staff and designing creative spreads. Outside of Lion’s Tale, Sophie plays on the JDS Girls Tennis team, is a team leader for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and participates in the STARS program and the AJC teen initiative. In addition, she loves playing with her dog, cooking, going to the beach, and hanging out with her family and friends. She can’t wait to work with her co-editor to produce an amazing opinion section.  

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