Where to Volunteer When You Come to Israel

May 21st 2015

Israel is a service-oriented country, with socialized medicine and national or military service required of all citizens. When you visit Israel, after seeing the sights and sampling the delights, you may want to make your own contribution to Israeli society – and get to know the Holy Land from the inside.

The Range of Opportunities

What you do will depend on your interests and the time you have to devote. Your possibilities include:

Volunteering with the army
Helping sift an archeological dig
Working in a hospital
Ecological volunteering
Community building
Any good-doing that you can think of

Back to Basics: Food for the Hungry

Thankfully, Israel is a developed country that provides for its residents, but unfortunately, there are still too many who go without. Many volunteer-friendly organizations have been created to help the needy. Here are just a few of them, in alphabetical order.

leket israel

Leket Israel – Founded in 2003, Leket is a food bank and food rescue network. Each year, the organization recovers tons of food that is otherwise needlessly destroyed. Leket Israel distributes the food to the poor. Volunteer opportunities include gathering produce from fields and orchards; rescuing surplus meals from restaurants and caterers and redelivering them; hands-on assistance at a Leket Israel warehouse; and special projects, like assembling meals for IDF soldiers.

meirpanimMeir Panim – Meir Panim is dedicated to helping the needy while maintaining their dignity and respect. The organization provides immediate and long-term sustenance and social services to the impoverished, regardless of age. Meir Panim volunteers are welcome at 30 sites around the country, usually to help, prepare and serve food.

pantry packersPantry Packers – The food distribution initiative of the Colel Chabad organization, Pantry Packers delivers food and household supplies to the poor and to homebound senior citizens. Recipients are selected without consideration for gender, ethnicity, or religious observance, following assessments by local social services. Volunteers are invited to the plant in Jerusalem, where they pack food staples into crates for distribution.

yad eliezerYad Eliezer – One of the preeminent food charities in Israel, Yad Eliezer functions on the strength of its corps of volunteers. Internationally, volunteers collect clothing and shoes, as well as valuable donations, in Israel, volunteers pack food boxes for distribution, and professionals donate their services.

Make the most of your time in Israel. Which volunteer opportunity seems like the best match for your interests?