A Hotspur fan joins the Paratroopers Brigade

"I'm just overwhelmed. I'm just so thrilled and proud."

By MELANIE LIDMAN
January 20, 2010 11:49
3 minute read.
sam sank 248.88

sam sank 248.88. (photo credit: )

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

"I'm just overwhelmed. I'm just so thrilled and proud."

Jacalyn Sank could be the mother of any of the paratroopers at Thursday's Western Wall swearing-in ceremony - the plaza filled with beaming parents, shrieking friends, grandparents smiling with tears of joy and pride.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Sam Sank's family had all that, but his parents and grandparents came to the ceremony from London, arriving at the Kotel in a special van from Yad Sarah, a non-profit organization serving the handicapped.

Sank's father has dealt with multiple sclerosis for years, and today is almost totally paralyzed. Sank, as an only child and with strong support for his family, made a hard decision for any 18-year-old: to leave his home and his family, to move to Israel and volunteer as a combat soldier.

"I didn't have a difficult life, but I did some things that no 10-year-old should have to do," Sank said. "I helped care for dad with mum - at the moment he is completely paralyzed from the neck down. It's hard, but it's made me a strong person, and it makes moments like these even more special."

Sank says his parents didn't hesitate to sign the letter to allow him to be a combat soldier, an army requirement for only children. "This is his dream, and we would never want to stop him from following his dream," Jacalyn added.

"My Zionism is through the roof right now," Sank said before the ceremony, barely able to contain his excitement. "My whole life I've dreamed of this, and this ceremony will be part of that dream... I'm over the moon. I'm so happy I can't explain it!"

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Sank made aliya last summer, and lives with a group of Garin Tzabar soldiers on Kibbutz Ortal, on the central Golan Heights. After three months of ulpan, hikes, and paperwork, he considers Ortal his home and insists that he doesn't mind traversing the entire country every time he comes home for the weekend.

Sank shares his story of being a lone soldier (one with no close relatives in Israel) in the Paratroopers Brigade on his blog - http://samsank.blogspot.com/ - which is quickly gaining a following of foreigners who are considering enlisting and want to hear about day-to-day life in the IDF. The weekly blog posts are poignant and honest, as Sank explores his reasons for aliya, loneliness, language struggles, Israeli bureaucracy, and a dislike for tuna fish after only one day of eating "combat meals."

Comments are starting to come from people in America and South Africa following his progress and offering words of encouragement. The blog helps Sank keep in touch with family and friends, allowing him to share his thoughts about the army and aliya. "I probably get asked [why I made aliya] every day," he said. "It's hard for Israelis to understand because they were born here and grew up here, don't know anything different than living with other Jews. When you live outside, you see why its so important."

And according to Sank, there's only one other thing that could rank as important as Zionism, aliya and the army: Tottenham Hotspur. Luckily, he's able to follow his favorite English soccer team online, although he won't be able to attend the games with his grandfather Papa like he used to.

At the Kotel, just before the ceremony, Jacalyn Sank looked out over the crowd. "I feel like an Israeli mother now, even though I live in London," she said. And then she said something that probably echoed hundreds of other parents in the plaza, "It was so incredible to see him in his uniform. He's definitely grown in the army. He's taller, but he's still got his baby face."

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Netanyahu walks with Harper
September 10, 2012
test with pnina

By JPOST.COM STAFF