Oct 27, 2023 By David Pollack Category: Blueprint Negev,
Doing My Small Part
Today is the last day of my trip to Israel as a civilian volunteer. I was not able to return to farm in Ein Kerem that I had volunteered at for the past two days because Noam, the farmer/caretaker of the olive grove, had an unanticipated return to the IDF. HaShomer HaChadash, the organization that placed me with the farm in Ein Kerem, was unable to place me with another farmer on such short notice for the day I had remaining in Israel. I reached out to the Yael Levontin, JNF-USA PR and Communications Manager in Israel, seeking other possible volunteer opportunities. Once again JNF-USA came to the rescue, as Yael provided me with a number of different options.
I elected to work with a local Jerusalem based organization which was founded on October 8 for the express purpose of assisting families, whom were displaced from the South or from the North, in finding them lodging in the Jerusalem area and providing them with all of their basic needs. This volunteer organization, COG (City of Gold), quickly put me to work sorting hundreds of articles of clothing donated by Jerusalem residents for use by families whom were forced to relocate from their homes, many of which were either destroyed during the October 7 attacks or thereafter from Hamas rockets, as well as those in the North who were evacuated because of the rocket fire coming from Hezbollah. I separated clothing into piles for these men, women, children and infants, all of whom came to Jerusalem literally with not much more than the clothes on their back.
Many apartment owners in Jerusalem, whom also live in other countries, have graciously agreed to make their empty apartments available for the evacuees. In addition, there are unfurnished apartments which are about to undergo renovations that are also being made available to evacuees.
As I was finishing the sorting process of the hundreds of articles of clothing donated, a call came in with a request to help remove couches, carpets and tables from an apartment on the second floor (in a building with no elevator) that were being donated by a local resident who is currently abroad. Furniture is desperately needed for the unfurnished apartments that are being made available and we were able to bring all of this furniture to a waiting truck to be delivered to a needy family.
There are so many volunteer opportunities all over the country from working in the fields, sorting clothes, making tzizit, moving furniture, delivering meals, cooking and baking for families and soldiers. The list is endless.
The commitment and drive to help one another in this country is nothing short of miraculous. I've been privileged to see it up close and personal. Thank you JNF–USA for helping me do my small part for the people of Israel. Am Yisrael Chai!
Thank you to David Pollack, a civilian volunteer from New York, for sharing his experiences in Israel this past week.