Volunteering In Israel

If PPh resident Pat Cervone could travel back to any point of his past…

 

If I could travel to any point of my past, I would go back to the three weeks I spent as a volunteer in Israel in 1991. I heard about a program that allowed for civilians to volunteer at army bases and hospitals along side reservists from the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Two female teachers from Florida wrote a newspaper article about their experiences doing something similar, and my interest was piqued. Two other trips would eventually follow this first one.

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Pat (third from right) and some fellow volunteers on the shore of the Dead Sea.

Once I decided that this program was something that I wanted to pursue, I filled out an application through the Israeli local volunteer office and eventually had an interview with one of their field officers. My application was approved, and I signed up for three weeks of volunteering. I was sent to an army base where I worked alongside the IDF reservists, Israeli government employees and other volunteers to organize and ship military and medical materials to military bases through out Israel. It was truly rewarding to work alongside people from so many different backgrounds. The exposure to different cultures, religions and languages was quite memorable.

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Pat (third from left) and his fellow volunteers on base.

A highlight of this particular trip was being able to explore Israel on the weekends. Sunday was a work day, but we were free to leave the base from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning. Israel has a great public transportation system, so I was able to visit different sites through the country during my time away from base. The ultimate highlight, however, was being able to visit places the places that are mentioned in the bible such as Jerusalem, the walled city site of the temple, the Wailing Wall and temple mount. Some of the other volunteers and I also traveled south to Masada and the Dead Sea on another day trip. Jesus lived in Nazareth, and I was able to visit Nazareth. I also visited Galilee and walked where Jesus walked. There are no words to describe such an experience.

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