Philip Stein’s son knew that he wanted to make aliyah from the time he was 4 years old, Mr. Stein said, although it took a few years until he told the rest of the family. He had been deeply affected by his first family trip to Israel.
His son, one of three, lived with his family in Teaneck; he went to MTA for high school, where he was responsible for convincing the school’s administration to offer a Hebrew-language immersion course to seniors. “The rabbi said that you need to find 10 boys before we can give the class,” Mr. Stein reported. “He only found nine, but the rabbi still made the class ““ and it’s still offered today.”
Mr. Stein’s son, who is now 24 years old, made aliyah right after high school. He went to an American yeshiva for the first year, and then transferred to an Israeli hesder yeshiva, which offers young Orthodox men the chance to continue to learn as they join the IDF. He completed his IDF service, worked for the American yeshiva for two years, got married, had a baby, got a “corporate job,” and was in the middle of buying a car and replacing his newly dead computer when he got called up. He is in the reserves.
“He is coping with the pressure,” his father said. “He’s an Israeli.”
He’s also a good kid, he added. “He got called up on Friday, and before he left he called his grandparents to wish them a good Shabbes.” He knew they would worry, and he wanted to allay their fears as much as he could.
He has been able to talk to his parents, and he told them that the soldiers had been “able to muster a minyan for Shacharis” ““ morning prayers – “every day.” That shows the kind of people they are, his father said. “It’s such a nice thing,” he said with pride.