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Painfully Secret Weapon

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Click, click, click – I pull the trigger, if only to vent my frustration. “Work already, damn it!” I yell at the Israeli-designed weapon in my grasp. The Tavor jams every time I load a bullet into the chamber because I can’t hold the weapon steady. What remains of my left bicep is hanging limply…

The Uphill Battle Is Like…

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Fighting the uphill battle –at least metaphorically – has become a major theme in my life. Long ago, I acclimated to that void beneath the sheets where my left arm once slept. I’m well versed in the difficulties such a “disarming” reality brings to the proverbial table. But right now my table of metaphor is…

A Heart That Beats For Twenty

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I met Ido’s parents on a night messy with color and pain. Mostly, I remember a soft shade of yellow, and her smile, and how the phantom flaring from my amputated arm hurt worse than usual. Men wearing white coats had upped my meds, painkillers that, to begin with, were powerful enough to tranq a…

Where Is My Wife and Family?

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I’m thirteen years old, orthodox, and studying at a Chabad Yeshiva at the edge of the Tucson Mountains. Despite the heat, I wear a black hat and suit; surrounding me are mean-spirited cacti, majestic mares, and little else. I already know how everything turns out: Family. Life. The afterlife. I’ll be married shortly after my eighteenth birthday….

Arm Wrestling With God

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January 12, 2010, 2:30 AM (ten minutes to oath) My heart hammers as we wrestle. He and I clasp arms. My blood pulses against the stitching of a two-day-old amputation, like a line of charging bayonets, venom through vein. This bodily pain barely fazes me – not while my mind blazes this way. My God….

Same Time Next Year

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Clack, clack goes the ancient M16 against my hip as we hump it down the airstrip. My colossal green pack tries to grind me into the asphalt like a boot on a cigarette butt. I readjust the straps – one shoulder, now the other – with two deep shrugs and a wince. Hundreds of other…

A Call To Abs!

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One moment I’m procrastinating – scrolling through my Facebook feed when I should be working, munching on a killer glazed donut – the next, I’m frantically searching the web for a reasonably priced gym. It all started with an unassuming red blot that lit up my inbox. The note came from my close friend, Yaniv,…

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