A special speaker came to RKYHS,
his name was Yaakov Guttman.
He had a great story, he had an inspirational one.
It started long ago:
Yaakov’s dear dad died.
Yaakov was but a lad of 10.
His spirit went
into a state of despair and he shut down
down down from the world.
With no book read, he made his way
to the program that saves: Sinai. It was like Bnei Yisroel
coming to a beautiful mountain in the desert.
With no book read he came,
and a teacher now well known
as Sinai’s director, spent time
one-on-one teaching Yaakov how to read.
Once he mastered the book he felt
Fifth through ninth he kept climbing that mountain.
In time, he joined
the school basketball team and became
its star, filled with new self-esteem.
After ninth grade Yaakov changed
his path for MTA.
When High School ended, his journey did not.
He took his gap year to a place far away, but truly
close to us all: Eretz Yisroel.
His grandfather, a fighter just like him
fought too for his cause, for freedom
of the land of the Jewish people.
There Yaakov’s climb continued, right up
to the IDF. He began again
at rock bottom, not knowing
the language, with no Hebrew book read. He found himself
in trouble with his commanders for words
he could not understand.
In time, he learned the basics; from the bottom
of his squad he scaled up to sniper, with perfect vision.
It did not come easy, visions hardly ever do.
Back in the States Israel kept calling to him.
He had to return. He did.
Yaakov worked hard
to reach his goal and become a firefighter
in a fire company in Yerushalayim.
That too was uphill; most other firefighters had family
connections. Still he kept trying, rejection after rejection,
denied his passion for so long.
He did not surrender.
In time—after five years,
though many told him to give up—
he made it, as he made it through all
the struggles throughout his life.
He made it into the fire
and rescue department.
“When you have a dream,
if you really believe
in it, you have to go forward
and get it.”
Israel brought Guttman to
love—his wife for life
and their baby boy, in Raanana.
Yaakov’s words showed me
that if he could realize his goal against all
odds, I too, a Sinai student, can reach mine
whatever obstacles and mountains are in my way.
By Reuvy Keane, SINAI freshman