Joel Chas­noff has been blog­ging for the JBC on his NET­WORK tour all month.

After my read­ing at the Dal­las JCC last night, I was approached by a teenag­er who told me that he, too, plans to join the Israeli Army.

Are you out of your mind?” I said, only half joking.

He smiled. Were you?” he asked.

It’s not the first time this kind of thing hap­pened. My book, The 188th Cry­ba­by Brigade, is a bru­tal­ly hon­est descrip­tion of life in the IDF. There aren’t many oth­er books like it, so it seems to be the book of choice among teenagers (and even some in their ear­ly twen­ties) who are seri­ous­ly con­sid­er­ing join­ing up.

In fact, ever since my book came out last spring, I’ve got­ten quite a slew of emails from young Jews, both men and women, who want advice. They ask about induc­tion pro­ce­dures, the bat­tery of entrance tests, and what kind of paper­work they need to file. But their num­ber one ques­tion is: Do you think I should do it?”

It’s a heavy ques­tion. Bur­den­some. A ques­tion with many impli­ca­tions and one I’m not nec­es­sar­i­ly qual­i­fied to answer.

So I always tell him or her the same thing: that I don’t want to be respon­si­ble for some­one dying on the bat­tle­field (or in train­ing, as the case may be); but, if they feel like they’ll regret it for the rest of their lives if they don’t serve, then they should do it.

But be sure to check out my book first,” I warn them. You might change your mind after you read it.”

Check by lat­er this month for most posts from Joel on his NET­WORK tour.