The process of finding a suitable Sherut Leumi placement may seem overwhelming, however with the proper preparation and research you will be able to find a suitable and rewarding place to serve.
This page explains the process of signing up for Sherut Leumi, allowing you to clearly see the order of the steps.
Receive an exemption from the Rabbanut
All Israelis citizens are required to serve in the IDF. In order to do Sherut Leumi you must request, and receive, a religious exemption (Ptur) from completing your compulsory army service.
If you have not received your initial call-up to the army (Tzav Rishon) yet, but would like to get the Ptur earlier than your draft date, the first step is to go to the IDF Induction Center (Lishkat Hagiyus) to open up a file. This process may take some time so please take that into consideration. If you have already received your Tzav Rishon, you will not need to do this.
In order to get a Ptur from the army for religious reasons, you must:
- Go to the Rabbanut. For a listing of Rabbanut offices throughout the country, see: http://www.rbc.gov.il/RabbinicalCourts/Pages/default.aspx. Bring 2 passport pictures and your Tzav. There is a 45 NIS processing fee. While the Rabbanut offices open at 8:30am, you may not be seen until after 9.
- State to the Rabbanut that you don’t want to go to the army for religious reasons. Some girls are asked to meet with a Rabbi who might pose questions to see “if they are religious”; others are able to obtain the letter of exemption without further questioning.
- Once you have the Ptur you have to take it to the Lishkat Hagiyus and hand it in. If you don’t have the Ptur before your Tzav Rishon, you must go to Lishkat Giyus on the assigned day anyway. Once you receive the Ptur, YOU are responsible for making sure that the army receives it.
- Your Ptur should arrive in the mail about a month after your meeting with the Rabbanut; make sure you hold on to it since you will not be able to do Sherut Leumi without it. (If you lose it you can call up Lishkat Hagiyus and they will send you another one.)
You must obtain your Ptur at least 90 days before your enlistment date. If you do not receive your Ptur in time, the army may decide to enlist you.
- Create a list of your top 3 fields of interest (for example, working with kids/ in an office/ old age home etc.).
- Consider whether you’d like to stay close to home or are willing to live farther away.
- Sign up for the 3 main Sherut Leumi agencies: Aminadav, Bat Ami, and Aguda Lahitnadvut. These are organizations that help you find the most suitable placement. A fourth organization, Shlomit, makes Sherut Leumi placements for individuals from other sectors of society. It does not make a difference which agency you use; if the agency offers a program that is right for you then go with them. Ultimately, the only difference between Sherut organizations is which travel bag you receive!
- Browse the agencies’ websites and look for jobs that are in your fields of interest. Make a list of your options, with their basic information, to give to the coordinator (Rakezet) and to make it easier to sign up for the Yom Sayerot (open house day) when it is time to do so.
- Talk to alumni from school and other people around you who have done Sherut Leumi, about their experiences in Sherut so you can get a better idea of the different Sherut options
Meet with your Mikasheret
- Around a month before Chanukah, liasons (Mikashrot), from the 3 Sherut agencies come to your school to help you find Sherut options. You tell them what interests you and they help you identify relevant openings.
- After the meetings you should have a list of 3-7 places that you are interested in.
Fill out the She’alon Hechven
The She’alon Hechven is a very long questionnaire that a prospective Bat Sherut is required to fill out in Hebrew. It includes a lot of basic questions, like where you live, what schools you went to, etc., and more in-depth questions about your strengths and weaknesses. It takes about two and a half hours to fill out, and it’s helpful to find a Hebrew speaker to assist with the writing.
Sign up for Yom Sayerot
Yom Sayerot is sign-up day for Sherut Leumi placements. Generally speaking, when you go for an interview, you also tour the facilities, learn more about the organization, and meet with the staff.
Around January the dates for Sayerot are published. You have about a week to sign up. We recommend you sign up as quickly as possible because there is limited space for every Sayeret.
Sign up for 3-6 different Sayerot. You want to have choices but, at the same time, too many options can be confusing and overwhelming.
Most Sayerot start around February, but there are a few, such as Misrad HaBitachon (Ministry of Defense office) and Chul (Sherut Leumi outside of Israel), which start earlier on in the year.
How to sign up for a Yom Sayerot:
You sign up by going on to the website of the agency that offers the particular Sayeret that you want to attend. Search for the dates of the Sayeret (there is usually more than one) and hit the sign up button. You’ll receive an email confirming that you have been signed up.
For Beit Hayeled (orphanage) the process is a bit different and it involves additional steps – please check with the Sherut Leumi organizations for specific details.
Attend Yom Sayerot
Prepare for your interview:
Before you go for an interview, talk to someone who worked for that organization previously. Find out what to expect in the interview: Will there be a test? Will you need to write an essay? Will there be a formal interview? Each place is different, and knowing what to expect will help calm your nerves. You might also want to think about possible interview questions and practice answering them, so that you will be able to answer confidently. Keep in mind that organizations like to see that you are enthusiastic about the prospect of working there, and that you will put your heart into the work.