BE STRONG & COURAGEOUS | חזק ואמץ
“Be strong and courageous! Neither fear, nor be dismayed of them, for the Lord, your God He is the One Who goes with you.”
"חִזְק֣וּ וְאִמְצ֔וּ אַל־תִּֽירְא֥וּ וְאַל־תַּֽעַרְצ֖וּ מִפְּנֵיהֶ֑ם כִּ֣י | יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֗יךָ ה֚וּא הַֽהֹלֵ֣ךְ עִמָּ֔ךְ לֹ֥א יַרְפְּךָ֖"
This project is about courage. Though it grapples with overtly political and conflict fueled topics, it still is primarily about courage. The title of this project is drawn from the biblical quote above. It appears in the monologue Moses gives at age 120 to the Jewish people on his last day on earth since G-D has barred him from entering the land of Israel. While the journey may be over for Moses, he reassures the Jewish people that G-D will be with them as long as they are strong and courageous. It symbolizes the recurring theme in Judaism that one's faith towards G-D will protect them.
I encountered one of the highest forms of strength and courage in a unique group of people. This book explores the identities of five groups of foreign born volunteer soldiers in the Israeli Defence Force. These soldiers are referred to in Israel as Lone Soldiers even though Israel has created a support system for these individuals who are willing to sacrifice their lives to protect and defend the Jewish state in order to ensure they are never alone. Despite having families overseas, they have chosen to make Israel their home.
From living on Kibbutzim (communal living environments) with a host family to apartments in bustling cities, these images capture the unique balance of the private and professional lives of these young men and women. These soldiers are defending the land they go home to on their weekends off of base and they are ensuring that it will be there tomorrow.