GARIN TZABAR FAQs
Q: What is Tzofim Garin Tzabar?
A: Tzofim Garin Tzabar (Garin Tzabar) is a program that help young American Jews / Sons of Israelis go to Israel and have a significant service in the Israeli IDF.
Q: What are the requirements for eligibility?
A: Program Admission Requirements
Females: ages 17–22 (18th birthday must be in November next year or beforehand)
Males: ages 17-23 (18th birthday must be in November next year or beforehand)
Certificate of Good Conduct (proof of no prior criminal record)
High-school graduate (or in the process of completing high school in 2007)
Commitment to participate in the program as defined in the admissions packet.
Basic comprehension of Hebrew
Prior visits to Israel, or life in Israel for an accumulated time of two months or more.
Q: Sounds good! How much time will I have to serve?
A: Well, girls serve minimum of 2 years, 3 years if they want to do combat missions.
Boys - if you're 18-21, you'll serve 3 years, if you're 21-22 you'll serve 2.5 years, and above that you will serve 2 years.
Q: Well my Hebrew is really poor. I don't speak a word of Hebrew. Can I still join?
A: Until 2011, if that was the case, you couldn't do the program. Now you CAN, but it means that you will have to leave for Israel a month (or so) before the program starts
in order to participate in a special Hebrew learning program (Ulpan).
Q: What to I do to start this process with you?
A: You start by filling the application.
Q: For this year, when would the religious program start?
A: The summer program starts around November of every year, and ends in May. Winter program, which is shorter, starts at October and ends in December.
During these month we have 4-5 seminars around the U.S and Canada.
Q: Where are the participants mostly from?
A: All across the U.S. and Canada. There is no specific region.
Q: Does the program require me to have an Israeli citizenship?
A: You have to make aliyah as part of the process. It doesn't mean that you'll have to stay after the army though.
Q: I'm not sure if this is for me. When can I change my mind?
A: We invite you to come to our seminars, hear about the program, meet the people, ask your questions and then decide. This is what the seminars are for. Only after the last seminar you will have to give us an answer about whether or not you want to be a part of our program. But - this is not a voluntarily program. Once you get to Israel and start the process with the army, you have to join the army.
Q: Does this impact my American citizenship?
A: Not at all. You will have dual citizenship, and keep all the rights.
Q: Is the program mixed men and women?
A: Yes. The religious group keeps more separation than the secular groups, and in both there is separation in accommodations.
Q: What about the army program itself?
A: Technically it depends on where would you go in the army, but yes, the army has mixed activities and trainings. Living is separate of course.
Q: I'm religious. Can I be assigned to a hesder or nachal haredi unit?
A: No, it's a special program to Israelis, our participants can't join those units.
Q: Do girls see combat?
A: If they choose to go to a combat unit or to serve in specific areas, then yes.
Q: Can I choose my interest area, for example a medic, or is it assigned?
A: Yes you can, it's required. But we can't guarantee that you will get it for sure. It mainly depends on the army needs.
Q: What is the tenure of the program for girls?
A: 2 years from the day the participant joins the army (+3 month in a kibbutz before). If they choose to go to combat unit, it's 3 years.
Q: If it does not work out for me, can I resign?
A: You can resign until the moment you start the process with the army (mid August for the summer program, Mid December in the winter program)
Q: Do I receive a salary?
A: Yes. It depends on your position in the army though. Plus, you don’t have to pay for an apartment/food/laundry etc., that's all being taken care of by the kibbutz.
Q: What kibbutz am I going to?
A: We will know only in the last stages of the program (it depends on the size of the group). A religious group will go to a religious kibbutz.
Q: Do we live with a family or in a dorm?
A: Dorm style accommodation, but you will have an adopting family for Friday dinners etc.
Q: Would the dorm be mixed or girls only?
A: Girls / Boys only.
Q: How often do I have off for Shabbos and Yomim Tovim?
A: It depends on the army and position, it's hard to tell.
Q: What is the dress code? Are pants required? Do most of the religious girls wear pants or skirts?
A: In our seminars there is no dress code. Religious people dress as they dress back home, in Israel they will live in an Orthodox kibbutz and will have to dress properly.
Q: For the religious Garin, is there Torah learning or classes I can attend as part of the program?
A: There would probably be lessons like that at the kibbutz.
Q: What are the education and other benefits from this program?
A: For benefits list, please contact your local Shaliach Aliyah of the Jewish agency.
Q: I want to study in Israel after the army, can you tell me more about my options?
A: you can find all the information you need here - http://www.moia.gov.il/English/Subjects/AcademicStudies/Pages/default.aspx
Q: I have many more questions. Who do I call?
A: Call our office at 212-390-8130 EXT.305 and we will be glad to answer any other questions!