Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Volunteers

Recently, a family member approached me, asking if I knew of any kibbutzim or programs that are looking for volunteers. Sadly, I didn't, but that got me thinking about some of the problems in Israel that I have been hearing about since I started writing Supporting Our Israel in March.

In the North, Ranchers are in the fields almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, protecting their land, herds, livelihood and families. I am not exaggerating either. It is more than a full time job. With the wildlife in the area, including Israeli-Arabs, the European cattle are often stolen, mutilated or slaughtered, left in the fields to rot and to be found by their rightful owners. Besides for the need for a more self-sufficient cattle (if you would like to help support this project, please follow this link: The Israel Longhorn Project), the need for an extra set of hands on the ranch could afford the ranchers an opportunity to rest, build fences and other security measures.

In Judea/Samaria, Yesha, a force of volunteers could help with the building of houses, fences and agriculture. Since the Shomron has many smaller towns that are dependent on agriculture, the building of a new barn, vineyard, orchard or even a chicken coop, would boost the monetary value of their yields, as well as provide the families with food, if need be.

Organizations, such as the Shomrim HaChadash, I'm sure, could use a few extra hands. One Israel Fund could also probably use a few extra hands, helping to install the new security systems, including fences and camera placement.

For as long as I can remember, I have heard of people volunteering their time in Israel. It always made me wonder why people would give up their time, and many times, their money, to fly to Israel, work very physical labor and then just...leave. Then, during my year in Israel, I heard someone speak about the mitzvah, or commandment, of tzedakah, or charity. It was explained that putting money in the pushka is nice, and should be done often, but to really give, your physical presence is required. It shows you connect with someone on the most personal of levels. It shows that you share in their pain, as well as their pleasure.

Working next to someone who lives Israel, not just lives in Israel, is life-altering. To try and understand, let alone explain, why someone lives in Israel, especially over the silly "Green Line," is impossible. Until you experience the beauty of the rolling hills of the Shomron, the hospitality of the "settlers," the locally grown food and drink, you cannot and will not understand.

This is why volunteers are needed. It is not just for the helping hands. It is to bring all of the Congregation of Israel into their world. To support them when the volunteers go back home, university or wherever their travels may take them. It produces soldiers in the hasbara army. They are armed with emotional connections to the Land of Milk and Honey. They are armed with information. They are armed with the images and faces of the people who risk their lives, in many cases, to live in their ancestral homeland. Its makes it personal when an Anti-Israel propagandist spews their lies and hatred about Israel and its citizens.

Over the next several weeks, unless someone beats me to the punch, I will be adding a column and website to SupportingOurIsrael.com. It will be of a new project I have decided to start. In many Jewish communities, there are systems where the high school seminary girls go out into the community, helping mothers cook for Shabbos/Shabbat/Sabbath, babysit for free or just generally help families that may need an extra set of hands every once in a while. This is the idea for my new project. The website will be a gathering place of information to help find and place volunteers and volunteer opportunities, as well as opportunities to help fund projects, flights, food and lodging.

This was not the reason I started Supporting Our Israel, but life does take funny turns. One family member looking to give his time to Israel and now this.

How are you helping Israel?

2 comments:

  1. Our Organization is a pioneer pro-Israel Awareness and Educating Initiative in Lagos Nigeria and we in need of Volunteer who will come and help in boosting our initiative as well as joining us in reaching hundreds of thousands christians with the message of standing and identifying with Israel in Nigeria.
    If you are interested please contact me; israeltodaynig@gmail.com
    Rex Ajenifuja

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  2. Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and Lagos (Cheap Flights to Lagos), eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria's mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.

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