Nativ | The Jewish Agency - U.S.Nativ


Connecting Immigrant Soldiers with their Jewish Roots


Nativ is The Jewish Agency's Jewish identity-building program for soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) who are immigrants, feel disconnected from their heritage, or simply want to learn more about Judaism or Zionism.

Each year in the Nativ program, The Jewish Agency, together with our incredible partners, Friends of Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) and the Genesis Philanthropy Group, works with close to 1,400 immigrant soldiers, many of whom are from the former Soviet Union and looking to reconnect with their Jewish roots. Over the course of six weeks, participants gather to learn. and explore Jewish texts, history and philosophy; travel through Israel; and share in the observance of both Shabbat and Jewish holidays.


The Nativ experience is cross-denominational, and designed to help support these soldiers in the quest to become more familiar with Jewish culture. These soldiers, who devote years to serving Israel, deserve to be brought into our Jewish story. They deserve the chance to better understand their place in the history and tradition of the Jewish people. And by understanding just what they are fighting for and why, their army service is more meaningful. After completing the program, many participants choose to pursue an optional extended conversion course.



“Until the age of five, I wore a crucifix around my neck. I had little knowledge of my Jewish heritage.” – Milena Gershkowitz, 19 years old, Rishon L’zion