Attention Snowbirds: Volunteering In Israel Is The Way To Go For Your Winter Plans
Hannah Schwartz • National Missions and Tours Coordinator • JNF Travel & Tours • 215-568-6655 ext. 230 • firstname.lastname@example.org / •Susan Horwitz • JNF Israel Representative • 972-54-783-6391 • email@example.com
October 20, 2008 -- New York, NY -- Since 1983, over 1,500 retirees from the U.S. and Canada have skipped the classic ritual of heading to Florida for the winter, choosing instead to spend the season in Israel on Jewish National Fund's Canadian/American Active Retirees in Israel (CAARI)
JNF is currently seeking people 50 and older with a love for the land of Israel to be part of the 26th annual CAARI trip. A unique work, study, and touring program, CAARI lets participants experience Israel while giving back to their homeland, immersing themselves in local culture, and connecting with Israel’s vibrant people.
“The program is designed to feel, touch, hear, and see Israel from the mountains to the desert, from sea to sea, and from ancient to modern,” said CAARI coordinator Susan Horwitz.
The trip ranges from two to seven weeks between January 13 and March 3, 2009, depending on how long participants choose to stay in Israel. Flexible dates allow participants to customize their experience to include volunteer work, educational touring or both.
CAARI begins in Tel Aviv with a four-week community service program. Participants will spend three to four mornings per week teaching English to elementary school children, visiting patients at a local medical center, assisting community organizations, and maintaining JNF forests. Afternoons will be spent touring archaeological and historical sites, museums, and JNF projects. Highlights include meeting with the Yemenite community in Rosh Ha’Ayin, visiting the Bialik Museum, home of Israel’s national poet, touring Meggido with the site’s archaeologist, and celebrating Tel Aviv’s centennial.
For many CAARI regulars, a favorite part of the trip is seeing the children they tutor grow up through the years.
“In addition to our love for Israel, and our desire to visit relatives and friends, the magnet that draws us to the program each year is our volunteer work helping 4th, 5th and 6th grade students at The Baal Shem Tov School in a disadvantaged neighborhood,” said Seymour Karpas of New York, who has gone on CAARI for the past eight years with his wife Gloria. “It is so rewarding to return each year and see how well the students are progressing. They anxiously look forward to our arrival and shower us with warmth when they see us. Once CAARI participants work at the Baal Shem Tov School they insist on being reassigned there on subsequent trips.”
After the community service portion of the trip in Tel Aviv, CAARI heads south where the group will visit nature reserves and hike the foothills of Eilat, tour Timna Park, one of Israel’s geological wonders, and learn about life in the Arava Desert. They will stop at the Dead Sea, Masada, and Ein Gedi before going to Jerusalem.
Throughout the program, participants will meet with foresters, artists, journalists, scientists, military personnel, and people who benefit from JNF’s work. A speaker’s forum with community leaders, government officials, local media, and professors will focus on the issues and challenges facing Israel. Special events will include Oneg Shabbat celebrations, Israeli folk dancing and singing, and a Tu B'Shevat Seder.
“We have participated in CAARI for 14 years,” said Anice Stark, a program regular from Toronto along with her husband Arnold. “We stay for the entire trip—the sooner we can escape the winter weather, the better! Lots of people come back year after year, and we have created a CAARI family that keeps in touch when we are not together. That is one of the most wonderful parts of participating in CAARI. Israel is such a small country, but every year we see something new, or we get a new perspective on a site that we have visited before. It is amazing.”
“As the program director for CAARI for the past 11 years, I’ve found that what makes it so exceptional are the people,” said Horwitz. “I am in awe of the participants’ enthusiasm and their commitment to Israel. I admire their love for the land, their dedication to helping others, and their desire to learn more about Israel. It is also special for me to hear Israelis rave about the program and so graciously thank CAARI participants for coming to Israel. Even during the intifada and the Gulf Wars, CAARI was there -- they never missed a year!”
For more information or to register for CAARI 2009, call 877-563-8687, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.caarivolunteers.com/ for itineraries, testimonials, photos, and more. Early bird specials end October 31.
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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.
JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.
JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.
For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit www.jnf.org.