June 2, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
June 2, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Volunteer Opportunities in Israel

It was only after I recently visited Israel that I finally understood the phrase “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Israel suffered a trauma which affected everyone and from which many will unfortunately never heal. At the same time though, the country is unified and determined, with an esprit de corps and shared sense of mission across society that one has never experienced before. Not only the chayalim, but millions of others are doing their part to help the war effort and the country. Anyone from the U.S. can also come to join in and will feel like they too are part of the effort, part of history, and making a difference.

One great way to go is to join an organized mission where everything is arranged for you. But if that is not in the cards, you can easily create your own personal mission. The Facebook group “Swords of Iron — Israel Volunteer Opportunities” was originated by Yocheved Kim Ruttenberg after coming to Israel early in the war to support her chayal brother. The group has now been joined by 5,000 others who are posting and finding opportunities each day. We invite you to join in too. Scroll through or search the postings, or the associated Google doc file that lists the recurring opportunities. Here is an overview of what you will find.

Agriculture. One of the most popular and needed areas for volunteering are Israel farms, which are suffering from both the draft and the flight of foreign workers. If you ever wanted to feel more connected to your food, this is your chance. There are farms that you can join for a day or where you can work and stay for a week. There is planting and there is picking. There are greenhouses and there are fields. There are easier jobs and harder ones. There are farms that can let kids work and those that can’t (insurance, you know). There are those you can reach by car, and those that have free buses each day that you can join from the major cities. If you can stay longer term, there are farms at which you can stay (search “lodging”). There is also a Hebrew Facebook group focused solely on agriculture if you can translate and know some geography: צו 8 לחקלאות

Animal Husbandry You may nor be a 6’5” cowboy from Montana (though I tried to fake it), but you don’t need to be in order to feed goats in the Galil or to collect eggs from chickens near Beit Shemesh.

Hotels for Displaced Families. More than 200,000 people were moved out of Israel’s north and south and have been staying in hotels in cities around the central part of the country. They had little or no opportunity to take anything with them and are not at their regular schools or jobs. So if staying in the city is more your speed, you can find listings of the hotels that need volunteers for a wide range of tasks.

Distribution Centers. If you have experience packing kids off for school, you could be sorting, packing and despatching non-military supplies to soldiers and evacuee families. Search for Eran’s Angels at the Expo Tel Aviv.

Food Prep. An army travels on its stomach. With 360,000 reservists mobilized and over 150,000 regulars, that is a lot of stomachs. There are sandwich-making spaces, cooking centers, beef jerky productions, and barbecuing on bases — which all run on volunteers. You will find them listed for Jerusalem (Chabad of Kata, Beit Shemesh (Aroma), and Tel Aviv (J17 and Citrus & Salt). The Aroma sandwich center in Beit Shemesh quickly became my favorite place in the world. He marveled at how each day different random volunteers of all ages and backgrounds appeared and somehow worked together to metamorphosize into a super efficient assembly line.

Tzizit Making. While all armies need food, most armies do not need tzizit. In Israel though, tens of thousands of chayalim who never wore tzizit before have now decided it should be part of their war uniform. You will find a listing for this in Jerusalem.

Physical Therapy, Yoga and Other Therapy. Chayal’s Angels brings physical therapists, massage therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors and other healers to IDF bases across the north of Israel. If you are qualified, there are aching backs and bodies that could use you.

Hostages Square. The center for the hostage families in Tel Aviv usually needs help manning the reception desk and selling pins, pennants, shirts, discs and bracelets.

You can find listings for all of the above in the Facebook group, with information about either where to show up or whom to contact or just-show-up. Whatever you do it will be appreciated by the people of Israel, and you will appreciate having had the chance to help.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles