In Tzvi Silver’s November 29 article, “I’m Not a Soldier,” Mr. Silver details reasons he “is not a soldier” as he is “just Tzvi Chaim Silver, born in New Jersey, USA, now of Giv’at Shmuel, Israel; graduate of RYNJ, TABC, Lev HaTorah and Machon Lev; electrical engineer par excellence.”
In his article, Tzvi claimed not to be in the shape of a soldier nor have their strength and courage.
Nevertheless, at the conclusion of his basic-training service, Tzvi received special recognition as the top soldier in his unit (Chayal Metstayen Plugati BeMofet), an award bestowed upon him by his company commanders. His company comprised approximately 100 other fellow soldiers. Tzvi was told the vote was unanimous, even though he was one of only two lone soldiers in his company; all the rest were Israeli. He received a special commendation during his swearing-in ceremony, and a certificate. I heard from Tzvi that he believes he got the award not because he was the best soldier, but because he acted as a mensch and friend to his fellow chayalim, and as one of only several Orthodox members of his company, answered their questions readily and willingly, even answering questions about Jewish observances, his American Modern Orthodoxy and tefillin. He assisted several individuals in commemorating yahrzeits for family members, and helped multiple fellow soldiers put on tefillin for the first time, three of whom are continuing to do so daily. “I guess nice guys don’t finish last,” Tzvi told me.
Tzvi, not only are you a “real” soldier—but your dedication, drive, enthusiasm and positive attitude have enabled you to become a truly top company soldier. Congratulations.