I’m Tzvi Darling, previously know as Jeremy Darling. I made Aliyah from the United States in August 2009 with Nefesh B’Nefesh. I grew up in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. When I was fourteen I decided to leave my family and attend high school at the New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI). I enjoyed my time at NMMI and moved throughout the ranks. I was very close to joining the US Army after, but I finally decided to attend college at the University of Colorado in Boulder (CU). I started out studying International Relations but switched to Theater and Jewish Studies. I made the decision to make Aliyah after my third year at CU. I had been to Israel four times before (Birthright, JNF, Chabad) and had finally made the decision to do Aliyah and join the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
I started my life in Israel on Kibbutz Ramat Yochanan to learn Hebrew in Ulpan and get ready for my life in the IDF. I was known as a Chyal Boded (Lone Soldier), which gives me many benefits in the Army because I have no family in Israel. Kibbutz Shefayim adopted me as a lone soldier and I have lived there for the past two years. I have a very nice room with everything I need. My adopted family is that of my Israeli friend, Idan, from Summer Camp.
I did not grow up Jewish and did not know I was really Jewish until I fifteen in High School. I first became involved in Jewish Activities (Shabbat Dinner, Jewish Fraternity SAM, Hillel, Chabad) my first year of college. I really loved the community I was introduced into. My Jewish/Israel education started from my friends, Chabad Rabbi (Yisroel), Hillel Rabbi (Adam) and My Fraternity (Sigma Alpha Mu). I am so very grateful to Chabad Rabbi Yisroel Wilhelm and his family. He was the first person that gave me the opportunity to go to Israel on Mayanot Taglit-Birthright. I knew the first night I was in Israel that I wanted to make Israel my home and now this has come true. I also attended my first Jewish Summer camp, Camp Poyntelle Lewis Village, in 2007 and met many Israelis that are now my best friends. They also had a large influence on my Aliyah. To read all about my Aliyah experience take a look at my first blog Tzvi’s Aliyah Experience
Joining the IDF to me was very important in becoming Israeli. I wanted to defend the Jewish People and make sure that there is no chance that any large atrocities will ever happen to the Jewish people again. No one should ever be scared to be Jewish, even to the extent of three generations not knowing they were Jewish.
I have completed my mandatory service, but I will serve as a reservist until I’m 40/45 years old. After my service, I worked in Israel all summer supervising 15 Birthright-Israel busses. In August 2012, I returned to CU to finish my degree in Jewish Studies, Theater, and Hebrew. Which I did this past August. I then spent a year serving the low-income families in DC as part of AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps. It was a very moving experience that gave me a new perspective on life. Upon finishing in July 2014, I moved back to Boulder, CO for a bit to work with Rabbi Wilhelm at Chabad @ CU.
In the fall of 2014, I moved back in Israel to earn my Masters degree in Israel Studies at the University of Haifa. Towards the end of this degree I started working with The Israel Experience, as a madrich for Americans living in Israel. I did a summer with the program Onward in Haifa, then staffed the Nativ: College Leadership Program for 9 months. This brings me to my current position as a field coordinator with Onward Israel.
I’m currently planning my future. I hope to stay in Tel Aviv and move up the ladder of educational tourism in Israel for English speakers. There is also a chance I’ll go back to school to earn a teaching certificate… the future is open 😉
*Note: I am currently going through old posts to edit them. While I was writing most post, esp in the Army, I didn’t give much attention to spelling and grammar. The small things in life…