Joining the IDF from a New York Yeshiva

Hesder yeshiva visits New York high school yeshiva where students hear from a soldier about the fighting in Gaza.

Ari Yashar,

Bentzi Gross with students
Bentzi Gross with students

Meir Harel Yeshiva in Modi'in, a hesder track yeshiva that combines Torah study with IDF service, has worked for years to encourage IDF enlistment among yeshiva students abroad.

The Yeshiva accompanies lone soldiers from foreign yeshivas serving without any family in Israel, and as part of the program, Meir Harel Yeshiva dean Rabbi Eliezer Shenvald and director Tzvi Zeltzer recently visited several yeshivas in North America.

A key stop was the Rambam Mesivta High School in Lawrence, New York, which is led by dean Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman and principal Rabbi Yotav Eliach.

At the yeshiva, which has a high IDF enlistment rate, First Lieutenant Bentzi Gross of the Meir Harel Yeshiva who served in Operation Protective Edge spoke with the students.

Gross fought as a unit commander in the Golani Brigade in Gaza's Shejaiya neighborhood, where the IDF suffered heavy casualties. He is the son of a family that made aliyah (immigration) and speaks English as a native language.

The soldier spoke of his experiences to the students, detailing his road to becoming a unit commander and his work preparing the troops for combat. Gross described the fighting in Gaza and the mentality of being in war.

He also shared tales of wounds suffered in the unit after the building they captured was hit by rockets and soldiers had to be rescued from the burning home, and of the shift he experienced after the war when he returned to his studies in the yeshiva.

Bentzi Gross with Rabbi Friedman, Rabbi Eliach, Rabbi Shenvald Courtesy

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