Brad Jacobson – Anna’s Secret

HAVAL AL HAZMAN”  =  waste of time, or something unbelievable

“PAZAAM” =  experience


Vitaly is “Pazaam.” He said the “Sherutim Team” (bathroom team) is the “Best of the Best.” Our team paints the girls’ sherutim better than even Mr. Clean and the White Tornado. We work hard but also have time to tease each other. Roxy calls Pam “Wide Zone.” I look up and laugh. Later Roxy’s explanation is that both of Pam’s side pockets have two water bottles each. Vitaly puts his hand down the drain without gloves to clean it. He is like “Robot Man”—never stops working. Pam loves this job –when Pam sees the girl soldiers they remind  her of her own daughter who passed away  last year. A soldier walks in and says, “Why do people come from so far to do this—it is “Unbelievable.” 

CHAVAL AL HAZMAN: to the Sherutim Team

Anna tells us to come into the shade. She has a funny story to tell. We are the first volunteers on our base. There are 16 of us from Ukraine, Brazil, Holland, South Africa, and the USA. Our base is in the Golan Heights near the Syrian border. In the War of ’67, 11 tanks from this base halted the advance of 500 Syrian tanks. I raised the flag with a soldier today. I looked in the eyes of a baby faced soldier. I wondered what it must have been like to be there in ’67.

CHAVAL AL HAZMAN : to the soldiers

Anna sways back and forth. She smiles and laughs. Anna tells us that she always looks down at her chair before she sits. But just this one time she forgot. Last week she sat in a big mess of red beets. Roxy washed off the back of her army pants with a lot of water. Anna smiles and laughs. Later Anna tells us that she has a secret: “Anna’s Secret”. We find out what the secret is in the afternoon: the temperature is over 100 degrees and Anna takes us to the officers’ pool! Vitaly says Anna is “The Best of the Best.” Our madricha who drinks choco every morning was decorated with the  Outstanding Soldier of the Year Award by Israeli President Shimon Perez. 

CHAVAL AL HAZMAN; to our wonderful madricha

Neil and Ray are my roommates again. In a funny way Neil and Ray remind me of the Scarecrow and Lion in “The Wizard of Oz”. When Dorothy lands home from Oz, the Scarecrow and Lion (but in the face of her Kansas friends) give Dorothy a kind and really happy you are here smile. Instead of following the Yellow Brick Road to Oz, the three of us land at a different army base every summer. Even though I snore, Neil and Ray put up with me. Neil yells at me for leaving a coke can on the floor. The coke draws 1000 aunts. Oy vey, not again.

CHAVAL AL HAZMAN: to my roommates

Tzvika tells the volunteers that we are part of the base family. So much so, he says, that he will check up on us at each of our homes abroad. He is the disciplinary officer at the base and barks out the commands- Yemina (right), Smalla (left), Yemina, Smalla. The volunteers march. It is my first experience to march. I see a group of soldiers clapping. A volunteer salutes Tzvika. She intends to say, “Ken Mefaked,” (yes officer) but unintentionally blurts out, “Ken Mcfagair” (yes moron). Tzvika turns and says, “She called me a moron.” Everybody laughs.

CHAVAL AL HAZMAN: to the wonderful volunteers

The lieutenant comes into my room right before we are to leave for the weekend. He has a shirt for me. This is no easy task because most of the shirts fit me like short sleeves. The lieutenant is transferring to another base on Sunday. I appreciate his extra effort. Each week we leave the base, an officer comes on the bus to thank us. This morning I went to the sherutim (bathroom) early. I wave to the guard. He nods back. Coming back, I think I see Stephanie from the distance and say “Hi.” I am wrong. It is a soldier. She asks me if we are all leaving today. I tell her some of us are going to stay for another week. She says, “Awesome!” 


We always played a song. To me it sounded like the Muppet song. Jeff and Roxy played it for all the soldiers at lunch on stage! The good wishes of the Muppet song to Stephanie, Ed, Jeff, Diane, Roxy, Vanya, Vitaly, David, Pam, Ray, Sue, Neal, Candace, Dan, Israel, Brad, & Anna.

Vitaly says we are the “Best of the Best.”

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