Old friends reunite in IDF

After graduating same high school, going to same college, two Potomac, Maryland natives meet again in IDF cafeteria.

Clifford Goldkind and Ariel Cohen_311 (photo credit: IDF)
Clifford Goldkind and Ariel Cohen_311
(photo credit: IDF)
When Ariel Cohen and Clifford Goldkind were growing up in Potomac, Maryland, the last thing they thought they would do together is serve in the IDF.
After they graduated from the same high school and went to the same college, they parted ways, not thinking they would one day meet again in a foreign country and under completely different circumstances.
Cohen, 27, was the first to move Israel. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2006, and traveled to Israel for a family visit. After a few weeks here, he decided to make aliya and to complete a graduate degree at the IDC in Herzliya. In 2009, he enlisted in the IDF’s Nahal Infantry Brigade.
After a completing his initial training, he was offered the opportunity to become an officer.
“I finished officers’ training in July and came to receive my platoon of new recruits and all of a sudden I see Clifford,” Cohen recalls.
Goldkind, 24, had decided a few months earlier to serve in the IDF under Machal, an 18- month volunteer program for Jews from around the world.
“I was waiting in line in the cafeteria and was surprised,” he said, “and out of instinct spoke to him in English in front of everyone and then realized that he is my commanding officer and that I should probably wrap up the conversation.”
Goldkind said that while it is tough serving under someone with whom he had “a completely different relationship before,” it is nice to be with someone he can trust.
Cohen immediately took Goldkind aside and explained their new relationship.
“In officers’ course they prepare you for this type of situation and it is not unheard of for something like this to happen,” he said. “As soon as I saw him and realized he was going to be my soldier, I said we have a good history and an informal relationship, but I am now your officer and if anything I am going to have to count on you even more and might hold you to a higher standard.”
Goldkind, he said, has not let him down.