Women who come to Israel to volunteer in national service now have a support program


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A new program will help support the more than 150 women who come from abroad to perform national service in Israel.

There are currently over 14,000 National Service or Sherut Leumi volunteers in Israel. Many religious Jewish Israeli women choose National Service as an alternative to mandatory military service in Israel. They are called Bnot Sherut.

The  will now have the Ori support program, launched on Sunday by Nefesh B’Nefesh in partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and the Jewish National Fund-USA.

Ori, which is the Hebrew word for light, will provide the lone Bnot Sherut with guidance, support, social programming, advocacy, a help-desk and crisis support, Nefesh B’Nefesh said in a statement. The first thing that Ori will help the young women with is finalizing their volunteer placements, which could be in a school, local hospital, local organizations and government.

Ori also is involved in advocating to the Sherut Leumi Authority and the Israeli government to maximize the benefits provided to Lone Bnot Sherut, along with national recognition of these young women and their contribution to Israeli society.

“It is truly remarkable that these young women are voluntarily choosing to dedicate the first part of their adult lives in service to the State of Israel,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, co-founder and executive director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “We are pleased to offer such a dedicated, holistic program which will assist the Lone Bnot Sherut every step of the way.”

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