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Israeli WSSW Student Turned Soldier Returns From War With Thanks

A Wurzweiler student who is close to completing the requirements for his MSW degree was called to duty in Israel shortly after the completion of the Block program in July. With the student's (now colleague) permission, we are posting this recent  letter that he wrote to Dean Carmen Ortiz Hendricks. His name is withheld, as per his request, due to security issues.

We have so much to be proud of this Israeli social worker turned soldier.

"Dear Dr. Hendricks,

I just returned from two weeks of war and wanted to give you a brief update of what is happening. Currently, I am on standby waiting for further instructions depending on the ceasefire talks taking place in Cairo. Directly after our graduation exercises, I received a phone call from the Army, asking me to get back home as soon as possible, to gather my soldiers and get on the helicopters to Gaza. The energy and excitement generated at the beautiful graduation ceremonies were quickly replaced with intense operational preparations. I felt privileged to serve my country and protect my family and friends.

Nevertheless, the experience of war is unpleasant. It is indeed the kingdom of uncertainty, a range of feelings and experiences which is very challenging to describe in words. Maybe above all, is the awareness that death is always around the corner. When I had some time to think alone, I acknowledged the fact that in all the wars I have participated in to date, this is the first one that I am not just a soldier, but also a social worker. As such, I felt that alongside my operational responsibilities to target the terrorists, I had also human and social responsibilities to every innocent human being trying to avoid harming them and minimize their suffering.

On Saturday, I returned to Israel after not seeing my home for over two and a half month, I called Meir (Charash), and let him know that I was all right. It is hard for to express how much your unequivocal and unhesitant (sic) support means to me. Suffice to say, I was very touched by your concern and empathy and the degree of trust that you placed in me to complete all my assignments in a timely fashion once the war is over...

Dean Hendricks: Thank you so much for everything.  Kol Tuv."