October 18, 2010 / 10 Cheshvan 5771
“Participating in a Partnership 2000 delegation to Israel changed my life. It was critical to my decisions to go to high school in Israel, make aliyah and serve with pride as a lone soldier in the Israeli army. “
Barely crossing the threshold of adulthood, Alma Sifrim, 20, has already made transformative life decisions. She is the daughter of Zionistic parents, a psychologist and a college engineering professor, who immigrated to Canada from Argentina when Alma was seven.
While in 9th grade at a Jewish high school in Winnepeg, Alma was part of a Jewish Agency Partnership 2000 delegation to Israel. The young Canadians were hosted by peers from their “twin” school in Kiryat Shmonah. “For ten days I followed my Israeli friend everywhere. I was so impressed with everything. At the end of this trip, I knew that Israel was for me,” says Alma.
Upon returning to Canada, Alma couldn’t stop thinking about Israel. The next year, with her parents’ support, Alma returned to Israel to begin the Elite Academy/Naale High School program. She has not looked back. “Our class was made up of people from all over the world and we just had an amazing time going through high school together in Israel with Israelis,” remembers Alma.
Like all of her Israeli friends, Alma’s next step upon graduating high school was to enlist in the Israel Defense Forces. She joined the Jewish Agency’s Garin Tzabar program, run in conjunction with the Scouts movement, where she lived on a Kibbutz andprepared for her army service with other lone soldiers. “The Kibbutz is like a second home to me,” says Alma, who officially made aliyah in August 2009.
Today, Alma is an instructor in the Armored Brigade, training soldiers to shoot mortars. She is still part of the Garin Tzabar program and feels completely immersed in Israeli society. Toward the end of her service Alma will participate in the Jewish Agency’s Nativ and Wings programs, where she will strengthen her Jewish-Zionist identity and receive assistance to transition to civilian life. “I love Israel - the people and the language. We are all Jewish and all connected in one way or another,” says Alma with passion. “The energy that people have here is very special, and I feel so fortunate to be part of this country.”