I had a client in New York for a quite a few years (until they were bought out). The company was Jewish owned and many of the employees were also Jewish. They actually looked to work with an Israeli graphic design company and found me on Google. We spoke on the phone several times, and I did some small work them (data sheets). So far so good, they had some larger projects in the pipeline and for this they wanted to meet me. There was a professional conference coming up where the owners would be attending here in Israel, so this would work out easy enough.
Of course I also had milluyim during their conference. It really wasn’t much of a concern as I knew I could easily take the hours anyd meet my clients in Tel Aviv where their conference was. I might be a bit dirty and not dressed properly, but given that they were Jewish Americans who were also Zionists, I figure this would make the meeting that much easier.
A few days before they arrived we spoke on the phone, and as we arranged the time, I explained that I will becoming from the reserves and might be a bit dirty. The owner asked me a few more questions about my service, I assumed that it was just simple curiosity and being polite I was surprised when he told me he would rather meet me outside of my base, but I agreed.
The time of the meeting came and I met them at a restaurant at the gas station a few kilometers outside of that big base in the Negev. I started to explain more about my work as a designer, my experiences, my knowledge, my clients, but the owner was more interested in my service both in the regular army and in the reserves. First I put it down to the simple fascination of an American Jew who had had no connection to the army at all (he was close to my age, so I understood that very well). His questions were getting however a bit more specific, like hours we sleep, the food, etc. I asked him what’s going on. He told me that his son will soon be coming to Israel as a “lone soldier” and he was worried. I couldn’t help but smile it reminded me of that ridiculous decision of mine to do the same so many years ago, except I didn’t tell my parents of my plan.
So we spoke, I told him of my own service (ok I left out a few things, like my lack of Hebrew and how much trouble I got into because of it.). I told him of the people in the army, the Druze, the Bedouin, the Christians,, how it feels to take an active part in the defense of Israel. I mentioned that every time I do the reserves I take a financial “hit” but its more than worth it. I told him of the resourcefulness of the the soldiers and their motivation (and skipped over some of the realities like having ones batteries go dead on some equipment on a mission with the backups being almost dead.) I just told him what it meant to me…
In fact we barely spoke about my design work but I knew the job was mine.
and I also promised to look after his son, which I did.