United for Good: American Volunteers Positively Impact Israel and Themselves

Hundreds of Americans are signing up for volunteer missions to Israel with Jewish National Fund-USA as the organization continues its support for the communities devastated by the October 7 terrorist attacks.

NEW YORK, Dec. 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Earlier this month, Jewish National Fund-USA launched Volunteer Missions to Israel. The week-long trips support critical relief efforts aimed at shoring up Israel’s food security, assisting with community rehabilitation efforts, and supporting civilian logistical needs on army bases.

The trips leave every other week through May 2024, and due to high demand, January’s missions are already sold out.

Volunteer mission highlights include:

  • Spending time with evacuees and the people providing lifesaving efforts to support them.
  • Taking part in community service initiatives that help with everything from cooking to assisting in daycares, or cleaning homes and public spaces.
  • Working with outdoor youth organizations on farms, picking vegetables and other crops to prevent food shortages and ensuring no farmer is left behind.
  • Volunteering at an army base and supporting civilian logistical roles necessary to fill the void of the over 350,000 Israelis serving in the Israel Defense Forces and reserves.

For Chicago-based philanthropist Deb Lust Zaluda, taking part in Jewish National Fund-USA’s inaugural volunteer mission in mid-December impacted her in unexpected ways.

“I wanted to have an impact, make a difference, do something, and feel useful; however, what I didn’t expect was how the mission would impact me,” said Lust Zaluda, who is also the organization’s Assistant VP of Missions.

“Yes, we pulled weeds so that the fields of green onions didn’t suffocate and could be harvested when it was time. We picked citrus, which would have gone rotten on the trees if not for us. But more importantly, we listened. We listened to the story of the lone soldier from Texas, Noah, who went back into the army after being released so he could join his unit in Gaza. We heard from Erez, a citrus farmer in the south of Israel whose family was evicted from Tunisia in the early 1950s with just the clothes on their backs. Erez’s family knew nothing of farming when they arrived in Israel, but they helped make the desert bloom in the Negev through their grit and determination.”

She added, “Erez, after looking at our group of volunteers, was truly shocked by how much we did – as his level of trust in the future had been shattered. Now, he was given cause for hope.”

The volunteer missions include accommodation, airport transfers, armed security, daily transportation to sites, 4-6 hours of daily volunteering, and all meals. Trips will run every other week and are currently scheduled through May 2024.

Weekly volunteer day trips are also available, departing every Wednesday from the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem.

For more information on mission prices and eligibility criteria, visit jnf.org/travel or call 877.563.8687. To support Jewish National Fund-USA’s Israel Resilience Campaign, visit jnf.org/supportisrael.

About Jewish National Fund-USA
Jewish National Fund-USA builds a strong, vibrant future for the land and people of Israel through bold initiatives and Zionist education. As a leading philanthropic movement, the organization supports critical environmental and nation-building activities in Israel’s north and south as it develops new communities in the Negev and Galilee, connects the next generation to Israel, and creates infrastructure and programs that support ecology, people with disabilities, and heritage site preservation, all while running a fully accredited study abroad experience through its Alexander Muss High School in Israel. Learn more at jnf.org.

Stefan Oberman
212-879-9305 x222


SOURCE Jewish National Fund-USA