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Courtesy of SPCA
Courtesy of SPCA

The Most Enriching Volunteer Experiences in Israel

Picture of Noam Baruch
Updated: 9 February 2017
There are opportunities to make great contributions in Israel by volunteering: animal foster care and shelter, helping at-risk families, educating children, sustaining underprivileged communities, promoting peace between Palestinians and Israelis – the list is endless. But here are a few things you could try if you want to experience Israel in an enriching way.

Volunteering abroad has become a very popular way to travel and find authentic and culturally immersive experiences all over the world. Because of the high demand, the field has allowed many commercial, mostly Western, companies that serve as middlemen to charge thousands of dollars to those who want to volunteer overseas, only a small fraction of which goes to the local communities.

GivingWay is a new organization that believes that anyone who wants to volunteer in the world should do so without paying agent fees. All funds will go straight to the local communities. Orit Strauss, founder of GivingWay, strives to connect volunteers directly to organizations in need.

Here’s a comprehensive list of other organizations that offer experiences.

Courtesy of Reinventing Roots

Courtesy of Reinventing Roots

Reinventing Roots

Summer Anderson moved to Israel with the goal of bringing about social empowerment and the development of economic sustainability for underprivileged indigenous communities. Reinventing Roots promotes these communities through sustainable education and renewing land that supports the indigenous lifestyle. Learn about Bedouin culture, permaculture, and the nomadic lifestyle and live with local Bedouin, making spices, medicine, and soaps from the local plants, getting a hands-on experience in natural building, and participating in ecological and economical development for these communities.

reinventingroots@gmail.com/+972 058 419 7761

 

Courtesy of Jaffa Institute

Courtesy of Jaffa Institute

Jaffa Institute

Founded in 1982, The Jaffa Institute was created as a non-profit social agency to support children at risk, families, and communities in Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv. Its vision is to develop a community of educated, nourished, and socially enriched children from underprivileged homes in order to integrate and contribute to society in Israel. You can help by educating and empowering at-risk youth, join one of the food security programs, combat the discrimination of women in Jaffa and South Tel Aviv, and more in order to break the cycle of inter-generational poverty and strengthen the mental well-being of communities in need.

infoheb@jaffainst.co.il/+972 03 683 2626

 

Courtesy of SPCA

Courtesy of SPCA

SPCA Israel Ramat Gan & Vicinity

The SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals) is an organization for cat and dog adoption. Every day, students, children accompanied by their parents, seniors, and professionals come to help out; everyone who wants to volunteer is encouraged to do so. There is no need to coordinate your arrival; you can simply come during open hours and get a tour of the shelter and an explanation of what you can do to help. You can assist in the marketing and fundraising department, give tours of the facility, be a foster mommy or daddy, hang out with the animals, or work on other special projects.

info@spca.co.il +972 50 7795477 / 507795277

 

© zoepaskett

© zoepaskett

Magen David Adom

In operation since 2006, Magen David Adom is an organization that is recognized by the Red Cross as the national aid society of Israel. It functions as the state of Israel’s national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance, and blood bank service. With no prior medical knowledge, you can be trained as a medic or an ambulance first responder (EMS) anywhere you’d like in Israel. You will have this amazing opportunity to meet and work with Israelis, volunteer for five weeks on ambulances, and learn about emergency medicine in Israel.

mitnadvim@mda.org.il/+972 03 6301428

 

© Shachar Vahab

© Shachar Vahab

Kibbutz Program Center

What do Jerry Seinfeld, Bernie Sanders, and Noam Chomsky all have in common? Well, besides being Jewish, they all volunteered on a Kibbutz in their early years. People come from all over the world to live and work on Kibbutzim in Israel. It is an incredible opportunity to meet like-minded folks, get your hands dirty, and study Hebrew. The Kibbutz Program Center will help you get connected with the best Kibbutz suited to your needs and wants. From milking cows and harvesting chickens to cooking up the community’s dinner, you will learn how to contribute to this kind of economy, meet amazing people, and experience the peaceful and natural side of Israel.

mail@KibbutzProgramCenter.org/+1 212 462 2764

 

© arieldavid

© arieldavid

Mesila

Mesila is an organization founded by the Tel Aviv municipality in 1999 that supports, cares, and works with ‘pirate’ day cares and kindergartens for tens of thousands of undocumented labor migrants and asylum seekers in the Tel Aviv area. These types of day cares are in serious need of volunteers, mentors, and teacher’s helpers. Currently the teacher-to-child ratio is around 1 to 15, and it is an on-going struggle to cater to all the children’s needs. Tragically, several children have died over the past few years due to lack of attention and care. These kind of programs are for serious inquiries only; you have to be able to commit to the kids for a period of time. The volunteering mentor comes every week and helps maintain a low caregiver-to-child ratio, takes the kids out of their cribs to sing songs or play games and give attention. Please read more about Mesila’s statement here.

+972 03 687 9727

 

© Courtesy of Fidel

© Courtesy of Fidel

Fidel

Fidel, which means ‘Alphabet’ in Amharic, is the Association of Education and Social Integration of Ethiopian Jews in Israel. It was established in 1997 by Ethiopian and native Israelis in order to create a sustainable solution to the integration and educational challenges Ethiopians in Israel have faced. Today there are over 120,000 Ethiopian Israelis who face cultural and social differences in the unaccustomed systems of education, occupation, and welfare. You can volunteer as an education and social mediator, where you will work in schools and mediate between students, parents, and the school system; or be apart of the youth centers, where you provide enriching programs for at-risk youth and help them achieve their scholastic and social potential; along with many other programs to help integration of the Ethiopian community.

fidel1@012.net.il/+972 072 2507400