From The Jewish Press: The call from the Department of the Army came to me on a random day in the summer of 2012, an unexpected offer to serve our country as an Army civilian. The opportunity presented to me that afternoon had all the perks that any young professional would dream of: on the job training, continuing education, mentorship and apprenticeship in addition to job stability and security with lifelong benefits and opportunity for job growth with the federal government. The catch, however, would be a commitment of two years of public service to our military – anywhere in the world.
The offer came from the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, known within the Army as OCPA. Headquartered in Washington D.C., OCPA is the United States Army command responsible for explaining and justifying the intricacies of the army to the public. OCPA fulfills the army’s obligation to keep the American people and the army informed. The job is not an easy one. One must explain and balance the intricacies of the United States Army while protecting national security interests. Upon learning more about the position and its responsibilities, I began to realize what an honor and privilege it would be to join a group of unique individuals who undertake such a complex mandate with integrity and pride. Who was I to turn down such an offer?
The average young professional fresh out of graduate school with limited job experience, especially in today’s economy, would more than likely not think twice of accepting this job offer. I however, as an Orthodox Jew, had to think twice about it. Once I realized I would be fulfilling my lifelong dream of public service to my country, which has given so much to me, my family and community, I graciously accepted the Army’s offer, a decision I will never regret.
At the time of the offer, I was living on New Yorks’ Upper West Side; a bastion of Modern Orthodoxy and the place to live if you are young, single, and Jewish. At the time I was working for a Jewish not-for-profit where I gained valuable work skills, but yearned for higher job growth. I was told by OCPA officials told me I would have to leave New York as the initial assignment by would be in Philadelphia with later assignments in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Upon completion of my training I would be assigned to a yet to be determined location based on the needs of the U.S. Army. Not originally being from New York, I welcomed the opportunity to move back home to Philadelphia, where I was born and raised. While many would probably hesitate to move multiple times over two years, I saw it as a unique chance to live in and explore other cities while serving the needs of our country.