PALMACH-TZUBA, ISRAEL - For David Skvirsky of Mexico City, the path to Judaism led him to Israel, service in an elite IDF infantry unit, and then, intensive study with the Nativ conversion program – another success story for The Jewish Agency.
“Here, they're teaching us everything connected to the Jewish religion,” Skvirsky says of the three-month study framework, added on to the end of his army service.
Describing himself as a “troublemaker,” as a youth, David, 24, and his older brother were raised by a gentile mother and Jewish father, who immigrated to Mexico from Lithuania after WWII.
After his father passed away, David and his brother decided to explore their Jewish roots, and, first came to Israel in 2008.
“I decided to learn a new language, enlist, and hang around good people,” he says, reflecting on his complex journey, and adds that “It was hard to leave family and friends in Mexico City."
David first joined an Agency-run five-month Hebrew-language ulpan at Kibbutz Palmach-Tzuba, while his brother signed up with the army's Golani Mountain Brigade.
After the ulpan, and working at a few hotel jobs in Eilat, David volunteered for a two year stint in a paratroop unit, and afterward, began learning at Nativ.
“It's an interesting course. 90 percent of the things I learned here I never knew before,” David, says, adding that he plans to continue his Jewish studies after completing Nativ.
While he admits that “My life's not easy,” he adds that “life here is great.”