By Adi Penzoh, 11th Grade
The Israel Action Committee of the Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls was proud to welcome IDF soldier Izzy Ezagui on Tuesday, December 17. Izzy Ezagui was born and raised in the U.S. and made the difficult decision, after going on a Birthright trip, to leave his comfortable life in the States and join the Israeli army. During Operation Cast Lead, Izzy was almost directly hit by a 120-mm mortar shell, losing his left, dominant arm from just above the elbow. After a year of difficult rehabilitation, with the organization OneFamily by his side, he demanded to be put back into action with a rifle in his remaining hand. The details of his story are incredible.
After his inspiring speech to the entire SKA student body, the Israel Action Committee leadership team had the opportunity to speak with Izzy privately. During this meeting, Izzy said, “I don’t like the army. I do what I do because I feel a responsibility for my country.” Izzy truly embodies the passion and love for Israel that we should all strive for.
Izzy’s visit would not have been possible if it weren’t for Ms. Raizi Chechik, SKA’s terrific new principal, grades 9-10. Ms. Chechik, who is in charge of the Israel Action Committee, had heard Izzy speak at a parlor meeting for the OneFamily Fund in Riverdale and arranged for him to speak at SKA. “The lessons that he embodies—love for Israel, dedication to the Jewish people, and living for an ideal higher than oneself—are ones that I knew would resonate deeply with the SKA students,” Ms. Chechik says. “It was gratifying to observe the students’ call to action after Izzy’s lecture to the entire student body and leadership meeting with the student coordinators of the IAC—teams are working on fundraisers, a tefillah initiative, and a marathon run as follow up responses to Izzy’s visit.”
On behalf of the entire student body, the Israel Action Committee would also like to thank the OneFamily Fund, which does amazing work on behalf of those impacted by terror in Israel, for helping facilitate this event. v