In 1989 Author Dorit Sasson and I were both at SUNY Albany. I was in my senior year, she was a sophomore. I don’t remember her, I assume we never met. Dorit opted to do something “that was either very brave or very stupid” she withdrew from SUNYA and served over 2 years in the Israeli Army.
In 2016 she published Accidental Soldier: a memoir of service and sacrifice in the Israel Defense Forces. Perhaps this book would have been better titled Insecure Soldier because Dorit very intentionally joined the military in order to escape her overly cautious controlling mother. Apparently Albany was not far enough away from Manhattan for Dorit to feel free from her mom.
This memoir brings the reader into Dorit’s head. We learn her insecurities and fears of not fitting in socially. We learn that she is more worried about being accepted by her peers than of enemy armies or terrorism. Her self -reflections and pride in her accomplishments made Accidental Soldier a book I could completely relate to even though I’ve never been in similar situations.
She writes about living on a kibbutz as a volunteer awaiting book camp, “I’m learning how to survive and thrive on my own–developing my own emotional independence so I don’t have to live the rest of my life trapped in fear.” This American must deal with people from all over the world who are also new immigrants to Israel. She comes to understand how the Israeli mentality of the group is different than the American mentality of the individual. I found the whole book fascinating and highly recommend it.