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March 1, 2007 / 11 Adar 5767

“The Israeli army is so much more than a fighting force. It is the place where people come together from completely different walks of life. I am proud to have volunteered in the army, and to have been part of the Jewish Agency Nativ program that is helping the army to shape society.”

Frayda Kresch (20) grew up in a traditional family in Detroit, Michigan. From a young age, her parents instilled in her a love and understanding of Israel. When she was in seventh grade, her family spent an unforgettable year in Israel.

As a student in the first graduating class of the Jewish Academy in Detroit, Frayda loved the blend of religious and secular education. Upon graduation, she deferred her acceptance to the University of Michigan, and boarded a plane for Israel.

Frayda learned at Midreshet Lindenbaum in Jerusalem, where she lived and studied with Israeli women. She felt very comfortable in Israel, and decided to volunteer to do something meaningful for society. She chose to join the MAHAL Program – Volunteers from Abroad who serve in the army.

“I knew I wanted to serve in the Education Corps. I thought it was really special that the Israeli army had such a Corps, and I wanted to touch people and society during my service,” says Frayda.

Frayda served as a non-commissioned officer in the Nativ Jewish Zionist Identity Program for Immigrant Soldiers. She  participated in a three-month training course, and was responsible for twenty  soldiers from the former Soviet Union, while teaching them Zionism.

“Nativ opened my eyes to how important education is in breaking down barriers and stereotypes.  I know that my soldiers learned so much during the program about Judaism and Israel. At the same time, I grew so much from knowing them.”

Frayda returned to Michigan, and is now studying at the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering.

Click here for high resolution (print quality) photos.

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