Making a Difference - Volunteer Opportunities in Israel

Volunteerism is the pulse of the Israeli community, the warm embrace in times of need, and the guiding light for future generations. Israel's resilience is mirrored in the diversity of its volunteer opportunities, each an echo of enduring spirit- especially in times of war, and more specifically since October 7th. From the vibrant kibbutzim to the medical hospitals, Israelis are always offering everyone a helping hand as one nation and one people.

Photo by Inbar Grosglik at Ha'achim Restaurant

In Israel, a land where history intertwines with innovation, volunteering is more than just witnessing change; it’s about being an integral part of the ongoing story of recovery and growth. The act of volunteering here reflects our nation’s enduring, nurturing spirit and forward-looking perspective. It’s not only about dedicating time and skills; volunteering in Israel is an enriching journey that deepens your connection to cultural roots and contributes significantly to the nation’s development. There are a range of opportunities that allow you to make a real impact, immerse yourself in Israeli society, and experience the satisfaction of participating in acts that extend beyond service.

Educational and Social Volunteer Options

MASA Israel

Tailored for Jewish adults aged 18 to 30, Masa’s programs range from 5 to 10 months and provide generous grants and scholarships. MASA offers a set of volunteer programs dedicated to nurturing communities, focusing on empowering at-risk youth and spreading English proficiency. These initiatives invite participants to cultivate their leadership potential while actively contributing to society. Masa’s initiatives are thoughtfully crafted, offering participants an immersive experience that blends active volunteering with a deep dive into Israeli culture while fostering a sense of social fairness and unity.

Through Masa, volunteers can explore a variety of experiential learning opportunities. These programs allow participants to select a community to volunteer in while also connecting them with a worldwide network of like-minded individuals who are committed to making a difference, regardless of their diverse viewpoints or backgrounds. Engagement with Masa Israel extends beyond volunteering; the program offers networking opportunities with leaders across different fields by enriching volunteers’ professional experiences and enhancing their future career prospects.

Masa Israel’s Diverse Educational Programs

Masa Israel offers a wide option of programs for volunteers looking to apply their time and skills to make a difference. Here are some of the educational programs that Masa offers:

  • The Masa Israel Teaching Fellows (MITF) – A 10-month journey for native English speakers aged 21-35 with at least an Associate’s degree to teach English in Israel. No prior teaching experience or Hebrew knowledge is necessary. The fellowship goes beyond the classroom, fostering personal and professional growth through travel, career development workshops, volunteering, and professional networking events.
  • The Yahel Social Change Fellowship – Designed for adults aged 22-30, the Yahel Social Change Fellowship is an immersive program that focuses on social activism. It’s a commitment to justice, placing volunteers from varied backgrounds into the heart of Israel’s challenges. The program equips participants with the expertise to create substantial, lasting change regarding activism within Israel.

ESRA - Volunteering Together for the Community

ESRA, focuses on the well-being of the English-speaking community in Israel and actively allocates its efforts and resources to meet the needs of communities, especially in Israel’s southern region. Also, ESRA is dedicated to educational projects that benefit school children, university students, and groups with special needs. Alongside this, ESRA’s welfare fund is a great resource, providing crucial financial support during times of war and crisis.

TALMA - The Israel Program for Excellence in English

A nonprofit initiative providing a dynamic platform for educators eager to explore new horizons while contributing to educational equality. TALMA offers two distinct fellowships for English language instruction: a fully funded 3.5-week summer fellowship and a salaried 10.5-month full-year fellowship designed for young professional educators.

These programs not only afford participants international co-teaching experiences but also offer extensive professional development, leadership training, and the creation of an international educational network among peers aged 21-39. The Summer Fellowship includes airfare, local transport, accommodation, health insurance, meal allowances, and a rich program of workshops and cultural activities. The full year fellowship expands upon the summer experience with a monthly stipend, Hebrew classes, and further benefits.

BBYO International Leadership Seminar Israel (ILSI) Program

BBYO warmly welcomes North American teens to explore and contribute to Israel through the BBYO Passport’s International Leadership Seminar Israel (ILSI) program. This 3 week summer program is designed for teenagers to immerse themselves in Israel’s profound history and foster a sense of family with diverse peers from North America, Israel, and Bulgaria.

Participants will engage in an array of community service projects across Israel, with the added incentives of scholarship opportunities and the possibility of earning school credit. Those interested in embracing this adventure can find more information and specific details through BBYO Passport’s resources.

The Daniel Centers - Tikkun Olam in Tel Aviv-Jaffa

English-speaking college graduates from around the globe are offered a unique opportunity to live, volunteer, and work in Tel Aviv or Jaffa, engaging in social action or coexistence projects. The programs, available for periods of either 5 or 10 months, provide a rich experience of cultural immersion and community service.

English B’Yachad (Together) - Skilled Volunteers for Israel

English B’Yachad offers experienced professionals the chance to apply their skills to meaningful volunteering roles within Israel. It creates a bridge between the expertise of North American Jewish professionals and the needs of Israel’s nonprofit sector, facilitating short-term assignments. Past volunteers have made significant contributions in various capacities, including as English teachers, accountants, grant writers, and medical staff at refugee clinics, meeting vital community needs.

Entwine - One Jewish World, Interconnected

For those looking for meaningful summer experiences, JDC Entwine introduces 11 diverse global volunteer programs as part of the Multi-Week Jewish Service Corp. These initiatives involve assisting at-risk youth, creating educational programs, managing Jewish summer camps, and building connections with different communities.

The Multi-Week Jewish Service Corp by JDC Entwine provides a valuable chance for young Jewish adults to connect with international communities through immersive volunteer experiences lasting from 3 to 8 weeks. Multi-Week Fellows work alongside local partners and experts in various fields to implement programs that address global issues.

The Ma'ase Olam Program - Teach English to At-Risk Youth

The Ma’ase Olam program focuses on assisting at-risk youth in Israeli villages by teaching English and tackling the significant socio-economic challenges related to limited English proficiency, particularly in Israel’s peripheral areas. The Israel Teaching Fellows-Youth Villages initiative spans over 10 months and is designed for English-speaking young adults. Run by Ma’ase Olam-Masa Israel Teaching Fellows, the program aims to reduce the achievement gap in Israel by recruiting college graduates from English-speaking countries. Participants are involved in one-on-one and small group tutoring, supporting English educators, and leading English-themed activities in Israeli schools and youth centers.

Volunteer Opportunities in Agriculture

Hashomer HaChadash - Helpin Farmers

In the wake of the devastating October 7 attacks in Gaza Belt communities, many farmers have found themselves without farmhands and are urgently seeking replacements. Hashomer HaChadash has been involved in protecting agriculture for years but has especially stepped forward to address the challenge of the current war. Founded in 2007 with a strong commitment to safeguarding the lands and farms in the Negev and Galilee, Hashomer HaChadash operates with a deep-rooted dedication to the foundational principles of Israel.

Their dedicated volunteers oversee 47 farmland posts, protecting more than 145,000 acres from unauthorized land seizures, theft, arson, and vandalism. Presently, their primary focus is helping rehabilitate the agricultural workforce on farms.

HaYovel- Harvesting and Tree Planting

Embark on an autumn adventure in Israel and join the grape harvest at the peak of the agricultural season. HaYovel invites participants to become part of this unique experience, where they dedicate 4-6 hours each day to assist local farmers in their vineyards.

After a day’s work, participants can look forward to extraordinary off-the-beaten-path tours that provide opportunities to connect with the local community and engage with inspiring speakers. Beyond the fulfilling volunteer work, this journey offers a chance to immerse oneself in the beauty and culture of Israel, creating lasting memories and meaningful connections.

WWOOF Israel - Volunteer in Israeli Agriculture

WWOOF connects volunteers seeking immersive experiences on organic farms with those eager to share their lifestyles, learn new skills, and welcome volunteer assistance. These opportunities span diverse regions, including Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania.

Hosts within the WWOOF network generously offer food and lodging, fostering an environment where volunteers can fully engage in the world of organic and biological cultivation and farming. In return, WWOOF Volunteers provide hands-on support and share a genuine interest in gaining knowledge about organic agriculture and sustainable living practices.

WWOOF operates as a network made up of various national organizations, each with localized expertise and up-to-date information about WWOOF volunteering opportunities in their respective countries.

Volunteer on a Kibbutz

The Kibbutz Movement - Volunteer on a Kibbutz

Participate in voluntary work across a range of sectors within Kibbutzim that are in need of a helping hand. These include community kitchens, tourism, dairy operations, and landscaping. Kibutzim extend a warm welcome to volunteers who are in good health and typically fall within the average age range of 18 to 25. Volunteers are encouraged to join for periods spanning 3 to 6 months, with a main demographic of single participants who should be physically capable of performing various tasks as needed. In return for their dedicated service, volunteers receive accommodation, a full board (consisting of 3 daily meals at the kibbutz dining facility), and a stipend.

Kibbutz Ulpan

Kibbutz Ulpan‘s 5 month program is an immersive Hebrew language experience combined with work and volunteer opportunities. Tailored to individual interests, the program offers traditional, academic, and religious-focused learning across various kibbutzim. The program fosters a vibrant, shared learning environment for Masa participants and new immigrants.

Volunteer Opportunities in Elderly Care

Melabev - The Kesher Telephone Program

Melabev offers a free service dedicated to the elderly who often find themselves living in isolation. These volunteers specialize in making caring and empathetic phone calls, checking in on the well-being of their subscribers, and addressing any specific needs they may have. The primary goal is to combat the deep-seated loneliness that many seniors experience across the nation. Melabev volunteers become the sole source of contact for many, offering a reassuring and friendly voice that brightens their week.

Yad LaKashish - Fostering A Warm Community Environment

Yad LaKashish is dedicated to creating meaningful employment opportunities and a warm, welcoming community for hundreds of underprivileged individuals. Volunteers at Yad LaKashish enjoy a wide range of social and financial benefits, including perks like a monthly bus pass, daily communal meals, and dental care subsidies. For the elderly individuals served by Yad LaKashish, many of whom are distant from their families, this community offers a profound sense of belonging.

Volunteering in the Medical Field

MADA Overseas Volunteers Program

Magen David Adom is proud to have a force of over 26,000 volunteers, including 14,000 teenagers aged 15 to 18 and 12,000 adults from 18 to 75. These dedicated volunteers actively provide crucial medical care, whether in ambulances, MDA stations, or during blood drives. Annually, they contribute over one million hours of volunteer service, making up one-third of the organization’s societal impact. MADA’s paramedics played an important role in saving lives during Israel’s October 7th attack.

Hadassah - Volunteer in Israeli Hospitals

Hadassah-Israel, a volunteer-driven women’s organization, has chapters and groups across Israel. Their mission is to improve the quality of life in Israel, focusing on healthcare, education, immigrant integration, women’s issues, and at-risk children. They organize annual conferences, health studies events, and national meetings that facilitate meaningful discussions and social connections among members from across the country.

Yad Sarah - The Heart of Israel

Yad Sarah, a long-established organization, provides medical equipment to those in need. Their volunteers come from diverse backgrounds, ages, and socio-economic statuses. Whether you can volunteer for 2 hours a week or commit daily, their wide range of services ensures that everyone can make a meaningful contribution. Yad Sarah offers training, guidance, and a strong sense of community. Their volunteers also enjoy special social and cultural activities.

Volunteer With Animals

The JSPCA - Israel’s ‘Humane Society’

Volunteer roles in the JSPCA involve assisting with animal care, contributing to various on-site tasks, and actively participating in fundraising activities. While prior experience can be helpful, JSPCA offers training when necessary. The organization welcomes individuals who demonstrate friendliness, enthusiasm, compassion, a collaborative nature, and a willingness to engage in hands-on tasks, including animal care, charity shops, fundraising and events, maintenance and gardening, and helping neutering and spaying the cats of Jerusalem.

The Israel Guide Dog Center - Guide Dog Training

The Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind is committed to enhancing the lives of the visually impaired in Israel. Their mission is to offer increased mobility, independence, self-assurance, and companionship through the dedicated support of guide dogs meticulously trained in Hebrew to navigate Israel’s unique and demanding environment. Established in 1991, the Israel Guide Dog Center extends its services to benefit the 24,000 blind and visually impaired citizens of Israel. It proudly holds the distinction of being the sole internationally accredited guide dog program in the country. Please note that this volunteering opportunity is exclusively available to individuals who are permanent residents of Israel.

The Israel Dog Unit (IDU)

The Israel Dog Unit (IDU) offers a unique opportunity for volunteers to become part of an essential search and rescue effort. Volunteers at IDU are provided with the training required to work with search and rescue dogs, enabling them to contribute to the crucial mission of locating missing persons in collaboration with the police. This volunteering experience not only equips participants with valuable skills but also allows them to make a significant impact in their community by helping to save lives. By dedicating their time and efforts to this noble cause, volunteers at the Israel Dog Unit play a vital role in ensuring the safety and well-being of their fellow citizens. Volunteers at the Israel Dog Unit play a vital role in ensuring the safety and well-being of their fellow citizens, including victims of the October 7th attack.

Volunteer With the Disabled

Beit Issie Shapiro- Changing the Lives of People with Disabilities

As Israel’s leader in providing world-class therapies and services, the Beit Issie Shapiro organization greatly impacts the lives of children and adults with a broad range of disabilities, touching over half a million lives each year.

This organization is not just a service provider but a catalyst for societal change. Their holistic approach combines ground-breaking services with efforts to shift public attitudes, influence policy reform, and share their wealth of expertise. They achieve their global reach through active research, expert consulting, and extensive training programs, positioning themselves as a leader of knowledge and progress in Israel and worldwide.

Israel ELWYN- Celebrating Diversity

Through a wide range of volunteer opportunities, ELWYN provides support to individuals with disabilities, empowering them to lead fulfilling lives and actively participate in their communities. Volunteer activities include assisting with vocational training, recreational activities, and providing essential companionship. Israel ELWYN offers a welcoming environment for volunteers to make a meaningful impact while fostering understanding and acceptance.

Aleh- Creating Hope

Dedicated to improving the lives of people with severe disabilities, Aleh Volunteering provides a wide range of opportunities for volunteers to make a positive impact. Whether you’re interested in engaging in creative activities, assisting with therapies, or simply sharing meaningful moments with these exceptional people, Aleh Volunteering offers a warm and welcoming environment to contribute your time and compassion.

ADI- Negev-Nahalat Eran

ADI- Negev-Nahalat Eran is a cutting-edge rehabilitation village for individuals with severe disabilities, and volunteering here offers a chance to be part of a transformative journey. From assisting with therapies, organizing events, or simply sharing your time and compassion with residents, ADI-Negev-Nahalat Eran welcomes volunteers with open arms. Joining this community means playing a vital role in enhancing the lives of those with disabilities while forming lasting connections and creating cherished memories along the way.

AKIM- Leading the Way to Inclusion

AKIM is an organization dedicated to fostering a more inclusive society for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Volunteering with AKIM offers a unique opportunity to be part of a movement that advocates for equal rights, opportunities, and acceptance. This includes assisting with educational programs, promoting awareness campaigns, or engaging in exciting activities to empower individuals with disabilities; AKIM Israel welcomes your involvement.

Archaeological Volunteer Options

Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority

The Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority offers volunteer options for those interested in participating in archaeological excavations in the Middle East. This hands-on experience allows volunteers to engage with history directly. Volunteers come from diverse cultural backgrounds and possess various skills, coming together to invest their time in preserving the legacy of intriguing archaeological finds. Beyond the rewarding work, participants build lasting friendships and broaden their understanding of the world.

Help Heal the Hungry

The American Friends of Meir Panim

The American Friends of Meir Panim (AFMP) is a non-profit organization established to champion and promote initiatives aimed at providing immediate and ongoing support to the less fortunate, including people of all age groups. Their comprehensive range of food and social service programs is crafted to offer assistance to those facing hardship while upholding their dignity and self-worth. Among these efforts, Meir Panim plays a big role by preparing and distributing thousands of meals daily to combat hunger in Israel without discrimination based on age.

Pantry Packers in Jerusalem

Make a difference in the battle against hunger by volunteering at Pantry Packers in Jerusalem for a day. Each month, Pantry Packers focuses on providing food and household essentials to Israel’s most disadvantaged families and elderly citizens. From their packing facility in Jerusalem, the organization welcomes visitors and tourists to unite in this admirable mission by helping pack essential food items destined for those who require assistance. Volunteer slots are available for families and larger groups, ensuring a meaningful experience for all.

Leket Israel - The National Food Bank

Leket Israel, the National Food Bank, leads the way in food rescue initiatives in Israel. What distinguishes it from other organizations committed to assisting the less fortunate in Israel and worldwide is its unique focus on donating nutritious food. This rescued food is subsequently distributed to those in need through collaborative partnerships with nonprofit organizations.