Max Kresch talks with Aviva Zacks about what motivated him to make aliyah and provides a message to Detroiters about Israel.
Max Kresch, 25, an Oak Park native, is both an Akiva Hebrew Day School (Farber) and a Frankel Jewish Academy alumnus who was active in Bnei Akiva and NCSY in Michigan and now lives in Jerusalem.
Q: What motivated you to make aliyah?
MK: At Farber and FJA, it is the status quo to go to Israel for your gap year after high school, and many Farber and FJA graduates make aliyah after that year and some after college.
I came to yeshivah as a gap-year student right after the three boys were kidnapped in the summer of 2014, and I also volunteered for Magen David Adom (MDA). During the year, I decided I wanted to draft to the army. I didn’t know if I wanted to make aliyah yet, but I knew I wanted to do my part serving the country, specifically as a medic.
Initially, I wanted to be part of the combat search and rescue unit. To do that, I had to make aliyah and go through their tryouts. I made aliyah as a Lone Soldier, and although I did not end up getting accepted to that unit, I was accepted to a combat unit called Egoz, where I served as a medic.
Q: What have you been doing since you finished your army service?
Since being released two and a half years ago, I have worked as an au pair, as a paralegal for a law firm and as a real estate agent for RE/MAX.
About two months ago, I was called up for reserves duty. Because I was a medic in the army, they asked me to help administer COVID-19 vaccines. It has been a huge honor and privilege to be part of the initiative of getting the country vaccinated, and I feel I have done something incredibly meaningful.
Q: Do you have any interesting stories from when you were giving vaccines?
I really enjoyed giving people who were terrified of needles the shot. I liked to just calm them down and get them to relax. Also, during Pesach, a Chabad rabbi sat down at my station and he took out a handmade shmurah matzah for me as a gift.
Q: What do you love about living in Israel?
It is not perfect, but I love that I have the ability and the opportunity to do what I can to make it a better place. It is a fairly young country, and we see improvements happening every day. It is fun to be part of it.
Q: What’s next for you?
I am going to Hebrew University in the fall to study biology.
Q: What do you miss most about Detroit?
I miss the nostalgia of being in the place where I grew up and being so familiar with it. And, of course, I miss my parents.
Q: What message do you want to send to Detroiters about Israel?
Israel is not perfect, by far, but it is definitely a work in progress, and we should not give up. We should be fighting for something better.
Aviva Zacks writes about Detroiters who made aliyah from her home in Israel.