LIVINGSTON, NJ - While the typical American teen enrolls in college immediately following high school, in Israel young people, both men and women, follow a different path. Unlike their American peers, all 18 year olds in Israel are expected to enlist in the army or complete other forms of national service.

Community members will get a taste of what that experience is like at an upcoming screening of the documentary Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front, to be held on Sunday, Feb. 22, at 7:00 p.m. at Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy in Livingston. The program is cosponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ’s Community Relations Committee and Legow Family Israel Program Center and The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life. The screening is free and open to the public. To register, click HERE.

The film, an inspirational coming-of-age story featuring five young Israeli soldiers enlisting in the Israel Defense Forces, was produced by Jerusalem U, a non-profit organization created to transform Jewish and Israel education. In Beneath the Helmet, we meet female drill sergeant Coral Amarani, who had considered evading her army service before changing her mind at the end of high school; Private Mekonen Abeba, who immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia at age 12 and is in basic training with the 101st Paratrooper Battalion; Oren Giladi, a lone soldier from Switzerland who enlists in the 101st Brigade; Elon Cohan, a fellow 101st Brigade member and the first in his family to serve in Israel’s army; and commander Eden Adler, the son of an American mother and Yemenite father who is responsible for overseeing 36 recruits and four sergeants in the 101st Brigade.

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Following the screening, Adler himself will speak and be available to answer questions.

“This acclaimed film is an excellent piece for adults and American students,” said Community Relations Committee Chair Gordon Haas. “This movie humanizes the soldiers and grapples with what it is like to be a soldier and responsible for protecting Israel during situations such as Operation Protective Edge in Gaza and other ongoing conflicts on the Jewish state’s borders. “With the upcoming Israeli elections and Israel regularly in our news media, this is a very timely piece,” Haas added.