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Gap Year Opportunities

About Shnat Sherut

Every year, the Tzofim movement in Israel sends about 450 high school alumni to participate in a year of community service. There are numerous tracks that accommodate different participants' needs, and each track has its own set of visions and goals. Every track embarks on educational missions relevant to the community the participants serve. Participants live and volunteer in an Israeli environment that requires Hebrew fluency.

Shnat Sherut Goals

  • The participants will strengthen their Jewish-Israeli identity by living in Israel and performing meaningful volunteer work. 

  • The participants will strengthen and build their own perspective of world values. 

  • The participants will build their social skills by living an Israeli communal lifestyle. 


Tzofim Shnat Sherut is a year-long volunteer program where participants live in communes of five to eight people made up of Tzofim from Israel and abroad, and work in a town on the social periphery or bordering school. Together with Israeli Tzofim alumni, the participants enjoy an amazing experience where they live in Israel, volunteer in the Israeli society, expand their leadership qualities, and strengthen their connection to Israel. 

Shnat Sherut

The Volunteering Work

  • Working in a local community center 

  • Working in a local Tzofim chapter

  • After-school activities 

  • Building a close connection with the local youth 

  • Integrating with the local staff and volunteering as social counselors

  • Working in a schools as Assistant Teachers or Student Aides


North American Tzofim who are interested in Shnat Sherut will need to attend two seminars in the United States. The first seminar screens participants, to make sure they are suitable candidates for Shnat Sherut. The main goal of the second seminar is to provide preparatory information, meet fellow program participants, and discuss and become acclimated with Israeli society.

Application Process & Dates

1. Interview: After applying, applicants will be contacted for a video interview.


2. Seminar 1: Will determine if participants are qualified, that they are fluent in Hebrew, are suitable for Shnat Sherut, and will have a positive experience. The seminar are conducted during the weekend, Friday to Sunday. 


3. Seminar 2: Provide more detailed information about the program, prepare participants for their year of service in the community.


3. Job Assignment: Next, each participant will be assigned their positions and locations for their year in Israel.


4. Orientation in Israel: Finally, all 450 participants meet together again for the opening seminar in Israel!

Seminar Dates



Admission Requirements 

About Mechinot

The word mechina means “preparation.”  When young Israelis want to take a gap year after high school, to learn more about their culture, society, and their Jewish identity, they can participate in one of 40 mechina programs.  And just as Israelis use their mechina experience to launch them into elite units and leadership positions in the IDF, you can use your mechina experience to enhance your resume and improve your standing in university admissions.


Today, there are mechina programs in all parts of Israel, representing all different parts of Israeli society.  There are mechinot in the bustle and excitement of Tel Aviv, in the natural beauty of the Golan Heights, or in the serene calm of the Negev desert.  There are religious Zionist mechinot, mechinot that bring religious and secular Jews together, mechinot that promote volunteering in Arab-Jewish coexistence projects and more.

Tzofim Yachad Masa

A Special Experience for High School Graduates from Abroad at the Pre-

Army Leadership Academies - Mechinot


The Joint Council of Mechinot offers a unique  gap year program for high school graduates from Jewish communities throughout the world within the framework of MASA (an initiative of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Government of Israel which offers half-year and full year programs for high school graduates students and young adults.)


Tzofim Yachad Gap Year gives you the opportunity to have the ultimate immersion experience in Israel, by living, studying and volunteering in Israeli mechina programs with Israelis your age.  The word Yachad means “together,” and as a participant, your Israel experience will be more up-close and personal than any other – because you’ll be doing it together with your Israeli peers.


Tzofim Yachad represents several of these mechinot, whose goal is to forge strong connections between Jews in the Diaspora with Israel and their Israeli peers, while building a sense of Jewish peoplehood in the next generation of Jewish leaders.


All mechinot are approved by the Israeli ministries of Education and Defense, and are held to rigorous standards for program quality.  Tzofim Yachad is a joint project of the UJA Federation of New York and the Joint Mechinot Council.


For further information please contact 



Mechinot Kol Ami

Kol Ami is a life changing six month leadership program run by the Jewish Agency for both Israelis and Jews from around the world. 

We strive to forge a deep, meaningful, and lasting connection amongst the next generation of Jews, who embrace their differences. 

Our participants come from all different backgrounds including Israelis, tourists, olim, religious, secular, and everything in between. 

During the program, participants learn about each other, while exploring Israel, volunteering, taking a wide variety of classes, and living together as a community. A majority of the classes are focused on the concept of Jewish Peoplehood, a topic that involves a lot of discussions and personal thinking. 

We embrace our diversity and challenge one other to rethink what exactly it means to be a Jew.

The uniqueness of Kol Ami lies in the positive environment that is created by the desire of the participants to better themselves and become the next generation of Jewish leaders and educators around the world.

After six months at Kol Ami, participants leave as mature, open, and well educated ambassadors who truly understand what it means to be a part of the Jewish people.

For information, application and rates, please contact:

  • High School Graduate

  • Fluent Hebrew--able to hold all conversations in Hebrew

  • Hadracha Experience (working with children and youth)

  • Prior visits to or residence in Israel

  • Commitment and ability to complete the year-long program

  • Tzofim alumni

For questions please contact us at:

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