Dec 20, 2010

Aloha Means Shalom!

I am generally interested and amazed at seeing different people do things, each for his own reason.

One of those things is making aliya. Each person making aliya comes from a different and unique background, and comes with his or her own unique set of expectations and goals, and challenges, and each is propelled forward by a unique set of motivations.

One of the more unique places to make aliya from is Hawaii. I was never there, but it seems like such a unique place, living in the sand and on the beaches, the luaus, surf and the tropics. Perhaps that is not the reality in Hawaii and my perception is skewed from watching too much television and movies as a child, but it seems to me strange and unusual to find someone making aliya from Hawaii.

One of those unique people is making aliya, from Hawaii, next week. Being a child of former Israelis, I am not sure he qualifies as the typical Hawaiian, but Barak Argov has chosen on his own to leave paradise to volunteer for the army and fulfill his national duties.
Barak Argov, 19, the son of an Israeli father and an American mother has decided to leave the paradise in which he is leaving – Hawaii - and immigrate to Israel in order to join the Israel Defense Forces.

On December 21, Argov will make aliya sponsored by the Nefesh B'Nefesh organization which promotes immigration to Israel from North America and the UK. In Hawaii, Argov spends his days surfing, swimming and canoeing as a professional canoe sailor. His school's sailing team is a long time Hawaii champion in the field.

"Granted I live in paradise, and I thank God for it but it's time to take responsibility for my life and do something I've always dreamed of – to make aliya and join the army," Argov said.

"Since I'm Jewish and the son of an ex-Israeli citizen I feel obligated to serve in the IDF. And in any case, the Israeli girls are the most beautiful girls in the world."

Barak will travel alone to Israel. His first wish was to enlist in an elite unit, however medical problems prevent him from doing so, and he now has his eyes set on being a Krav Maga instructor or a training officer.

Erez Halfon, Vice Chairman of Nefesh B'Nefesh said: "The fact that Israel attracts young people who live in pastoral locations such as Hawaii is heartwarming and gives us a lot of hope for the future."

Hawaii is home to some 7,000 Jews, however the past five years have only seen seven make aliya (including Argov).
Kol Hakavod to Barak and Aloha!


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