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The student news site of de Toledo High School

The Prowler

The student news site of de Toledo High School

The Prowler

Benny Weiss: Pastry chef, aspiring IDF soldier

Emily Botwinick
Seventeen-year-old Benny Weiss visits de Toledo through an exchange program (Feb. 15, 2024).

Buying a car at 14, working as a full-time pastry chef and having an older sibling in the army are not for the weak.

Benny Weiss has lived in Israel since he was born. At 14, he began working in a bakery as a dishwasher. Then he became a waiter, then a host and finally got promoted to a pastry chef. As a self-taught chef, Benny bakes croissants, cakes and other sweet treats every day. His goal of buying his own car fueled him to work every day and earn enough money to achieve his goal. 

“I tried to pick up as many shifts as possible to work a lot,” Benny said. “I got enough shifts to buy a car at 14. I was so proud and excited.”

Besides working in the kitchen, Benny enjoys seeing his friends and family. He has two siblings: a 22-year-old sister and a 13-year-old brother. 

Benny’s sister is currently in the Israeli Armed Forces (IDF). She works in the Air Force, but her specific job is top secret. 

“I don’t really get to talk to her anymore because she is so busy, but when she has a chance to talk, she calls me,” Benny said. “It is different without her here, so when I am home, I try to keep myself busy and see my friends.”

Despite all the stress of worrying about his sister, Benny is still excited to join the IDF when he turns 18, as most Israeli citizens do. In Israel, it is required to join the IDF if you are 18 years or older (with a few exemptions). 

“I started looking forward to the IDF last year,” Benny said. “I want to work with specialized bombs and be in a special unit.” 

Benny said he loves Israel so much he is willing to risk his life for his country – just like his sister is doing right now. Yet, since Oct. 7, when Hamas began its attack on Israel, Benny said that everything in his life suddenly changed. 

“I think my life has changed for the worse and the better,” Benny said. “It got worse because I lost so many people that I know, but it also got better because, in a way, it made me realize that I need to tell people I love them and be a better person.” 

Benny said that he has learned to appreciate the little things he didn’t know to enjoy before. He said he wished that people in America would stop criticizing Israel. 

“I think that if you do not live in Gaza or Israel, you cannot know what is actually going on,” Benny said. “I do not hate all the people in Gaza; I actually feel bad for them. I feel bad because they are under Hamas and cannot do anything about it. I just wish people would research and not just go with the trends.” 

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About the Contributor
Ella Schwartz
Ella Schwartz, Managing Editor
Ella Schwartz is a junior at de Toledo and it is her first year writing for The Prowler. She likes hanging out with her friends, writing and traveling.

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