Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99 for 4 weeks.


Israel Defense Forces
Americans find meaning in Israeli military service
Americans find meaning in Israeli military service

When she was in 10th grade, Risa Kelemer made up her mind: She wanted to serve in the army. The Israeli army. A member of Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Greenspring and a student at Yeshivat Rambam in Park Heights, the Baltimore native visited the Jewish state regularly throughout her childhood. She left her family to spend 10th grade at a school in Haifa. On returning home, she took up running to build strength and endurance, and began contacting authorities to ask about enlisting in the Israel Defense Forces. "I felt this need to give back," said Kelemer, 21, from Jerusalem last week. Having fallen in love with the culture, she said, "I wanted to be a part of this....