Q: What is Sherut Leumi?
A: Sherut Leumi is a national service option for religious women between the ages of 17-24 who choose not to serve in the IDF. Through the diverse options offered by Sherut Leumi, young women are afforded the opportunity to work intensively in a professional environment in Israel and, as a result, learn about themselves, their capabilities, and explore fields of interest that may become long-term career options.
Q: The websites of the different Sherut agencies are difficult to navigate. Is there someone who can help me?
A: Yes, you can ask your Sherut Leumi Mekasheret (liaison) to help you or ask a Hebrew-speaking friend to go through it with you. Around a month before Chanukah, Mikashrot from the three Sherut agencies will come to your school to help you find Sherut options. You tell them what interests you and they help you identify relevant openings.
Q: How important is it to know Hebrew?
A: You need a basic understanding of Hebrew for almost any Sherut position. After all, you are volunteering in Israel where Hebrew is the spoken language and it may be necessary for safety purposes. The level of Hebrew you’ll need varies based on the organization and your role. For example, if you choose to do Sherut in an orphanage with teens, knowing Hebrew is a huge factor since you need to be able to communicate. If you choose to do Sherut with babies, fluent Hebrew isn’t as essential
Q: Do I have to make Aliyah to do Sherut Leumi?
A: No. You can do Sherut Leumi as an Olah, or as a volunteer on an A/1 or B/4 visa. Contact us at [email protected] regarding the documentation needed for the visas.
Q: Does it make a difference which agency I use?
A: No. If the agency offers a program that is right for you, then go with them. For more information, please see our article on Sherut Leumi: National Service.
Q: What is Yom Sayarot?
A: Yom Sayarot is a day to check out different Sherut Leumi opportunities. Generally speaking, you go for an interview, tour the facilities, learn more about the organization, and meet with staff.
Q: What time of year do the Sayarot start?
A: Most Sayarot start around February, but there are a few such as Misrad HaBitachon and Chul (Sherut Leumi outside of Israel, which is usually only available for 2nd-year volunteers) that start earlier in the year.
Q: Am I still able to do Sherut if I decide to do so after the Yom Sayarot?
A: Most likely. Call the Sherut Leumi Rakezet (Coordinator) for the organization that interests you, and explain why you wish to register. They are likely to consider you. However, keep in mind that you would be signing up after everyone else has already started the placement process and some of the positions may already be filled.
Q: What happens if I don’t like any of the places that I looked into during the first round?
A: Let your Rakezet know that you are still looking for a placement. Sign up for the second round of Yom Sayerot and give it another shot.
Q: How many years am I obligated to do Sherut?
A: Technically speaking, once you are exempt from the army you are NOT required to serve in the military nor required to do Sherut Leumi. However, many religious women choose to do Sherut since they feel that they would like to serve their country. Most organizations only require a one-year commitment. Some only allow one year, while others require a two-year commitment.
Q: Should I consider a job placement just because it pays me a higher living stipend?
A: We do not recommend taking a job just because of the stipend. That is not what Sherut Leumi is about! It’s an opportunity to gain invaluable experience while contributing to the needs of Eretz Israel.
Q: Do I need Protexcia (personal connections) to get a good placement?
A: Protexcia always helps because the people who are hiring don’t know much about you. If they receive a recommendation from someone they trust it is valuable to them. However, what is most important is to demonstrate that you are a hard worker and a good fit for the job.
Q: How do I decide between army service or doing Sherut Leumi?
A: This is a personal choice that every Orthodox woman needs to make. One option is not better than the other. Rather, it is a function of the kind of national service that is suitable for you. For more information on army service, please email us at [email protected].
Q: Are males entitled to serve in Sherut Leumi?
A: Yes. Males can serve in Sherut Leumi with a Ptor (exemption) from the army. There are many interesting opportunities for young men looking to serve within Sherut Leumi. Please refer to our contacts in the Sherut Leumi: Organizations article.
Important Note: If you want to do Sherut Leumi, you must submit your Ptor (exemption) from the Rabbinate to your local drafting office at least 90 days prior to your potential draft date. If you don’t submit your exemption in time, the army will void your exemption and you will be drafted by the army. Please click on the following link for more information on getting an IDF Ptor (Exemption) for Religious Reasons.
* Last updated on February 14, 2023 *