lone soldier 370.
(photo credit: IDF Spokesman)
Born in 1993 to a Jewish family in South Africa, Dean Goodson went to Jewish day
school and was brought up with a “very Zionist education.”
morning, walking through my school’s gates, I saw the Israeli flag proudly
standing there,” he recalled. “That started it all for me.”
and a half ago, after graduating from high school and coming to Israel for the
very first time as part of a school trip, Goodson made aliya and joined the IDF
where he is now going through basic training with the goal of serving in a
“When I was 13, my older brother also left to go to the
army,” he told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. “It was an important stage in my
life, it was a shifting point where I knew for sure. I was definitely coming to
Israel and joining the IDF.”
Goodson’s brother still resides in Israel.
“It’s very comforting to have him here,” Goodson said. “I get a lot of advice
from him and I look up to him in many ways. He is one of those good big
For Lara Kovalsky, who made aliya from Argentina back in
January, immigrating to Israel was not something she had planned for herself
from the beginning.
“I don’t know why but I always wanted to live in
Australia, until two-and-a-half years ago my parents told me, why are you not
trying Israel?” Kovalsky’s parents had made one trip to Israel after their
wedding and although they enjoyed the experience, they never visited again. Many
members of her extended family, however, have made the move and live in the
Following her arrival, Kovalsky has undergone studies at the
ulpan in Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael where she met her adoptive family.
enlisted into the IDF last month and is currently training for a position in the
Home Front Command.
“I arrived at 19 years old and I wasn’t forced by law
to go to the army, but as a new immigrant, the country gives you a lot of
benefits, so I thought why not do something so important for this country and
something that will be very interesting for me,” she said. “I came here knowing
I wanted to serve.”
Like some 17,484 new olim, Goodson and Lara will be
celebrating Rosh Hashana in Israel for the first time on Wednesday night. Both
will be having the holiday dinner on base.
“Of course I miss being with
family,” Goodson told the Post. “There is nothing like being with them during
the holiday, but this year I’m spending the hag [holiday] on base, with my new
“The fact that millions of Israelis will be comfortably
seating at home, celebrating and eating Rosh Hashana meals and that I’m wearing
an olive green uniform helping them stay safe makes me very proud,” he
Although she had the opportunity to fly home for the holiday,
Kovalsky decided to stay in Israel and celebrate Rosh Hashana on base with her
“I saw all my friends here basically crying when we were
told we would have to be on base for the holiday, and I thought to myself, it’s
not fair to them if I leave,” she explained. “I will have many more holidays to
celebrate with my family.”
“I’m sure it will be a great experience doing
Rosh Hashana on base, with the commanders. It will be nice,” she said. “It’s
something I will remember my whole life.”
As for their wishes for the new
year, both Goodson and Kovalsky said they hope for the safety of Israel and for
a smooth army service.