Ken, Virgin Islands

December 17, 2012

I am an american citizen, born and raised in Arkansas, now living, 16 years, on the island, St. John, in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea. I am an activist for, and volunteer for Israel and the IDF. I love Israel. That being said, I work in an Irish pub part-time, and I am a professional sailor, (sailboats!), working with a crew delivering sailing vessels to and from the Caribbean from the eastern seaboard of The United States. I return to Israel in december for an extended stay, and I plan to volunteer for the IDF through Sar-El. My plan is to do two full years with Sar El, giving at least two years of my life dedicated to serving Israel.
Do you know of Sar El, and if you have heard of Sar El, Volunteers for Israel, do you think a total stranger, a Jew many generations removed, is crazy to volunteer for the IDF when it isn’t mandatory in my life??
If you answered YES to my first question, would you consider having prayers with me at The Kotel, and later sit down for a Kosher scotch, on ice, with an awesome crazy person who would gladly give my life for Israel?
Do you pray for our enemies?

Ken

Thanks for your questions. Wow! I have honestly never spoken to someone from the Virgin Islands. How did you get from Arkansas to there? So do you sail on the boats yourself?
I can understand your love for the IDF, it was the main reason I can to Israel and volunteered three years in the army.
Honestly, I have never heard of Sar El but after your email I looked it up. It looks like a great program! I wouldn’t mind even volunteering for it now, haha. I’m sure volunteering with that organization will be a unique and fulfilling experience that not many people get in their lifetime. One thing I’ve realized now that I am out of the army is to enjoy every minute that you are there, because the time goes by too fast and you are left with great memories.
Do you plan on doing Aliyah?
Personally I think that it is beautiful that you are taking something you love and are passionate about and following your dreams. Not enough people in the world actually pursue their passions and its admirable that you are doing so, even though you may not have a close/direct connection with Judaism or Israel. I don’t think that it should matter that you are many generations removed, but that as long as in your heart you feel Jewish and/or love for Israel, that is all that really matters.
Israel is a land for Jews around the world to come and feel at home. One of the things that I have noticed being in the army and living here is that Israel and the world all have the same enemy – terrorists. The average Palestinian or Arab in or around Israel is just a regular person like you and I but are caught up in the effects of radicals. Unfortunately, when the radicals attack, many innocent bystanders on both sides are the ones who are hurt.
If I pray for our enemies it would be for them to learn to feel at peace with themselves and those around them, but the ones I really pray for are the innocents being attacked on both sides and the Palestinians forced to live in poverty due to political games that they have no control over.
I hope you have a great time in Sar El and that you enjoy all of the amazing experiences you will have.
Keep in touch and let me know how it goes.

– Karen

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