I came to Israel this summer unsure, and to be honest, nervous, about what to expect of volunteering in Israel. How would I navigate to my placement, communicate with people and find a way to hopefully help?
I was immediately impressed with Skilled Volunteers for Israel’s (SVFI) proposed match placing me at Enosh, an organization focused on mental health services and advocacy in Israel. Enosh runs an English Speakers Social Club in Jerusalem. Studying at the Conservative Yeshiva in the morning and some afternoons, I was able to volunteer two afternoons a week at this very unique program.
At Enosh, I found the staff and the clients (club members) to be warm and welcoming. I genuinely looked forward to Mondays and Wednesdays when I would go there! I was pleased with the assistance that SVFI showed me on how to get to the Club meeting space and immediately felt accomplished that I could navigate independently myself so quickly.
This agency was a terrific match for me as someone with social work training. And while I do not presently work as a traditional social worker in New York, it felt so good to interact with people where I could use these skills! Being a part of the English speaking group was especially rewarding, I felt useful and it was fun! I was surprised and happy that I felt so comfortable so quickly!
Even in this short time I developed a nice rapport with the members and the staff. Each member even came to express goodbye to me, which I know is not always easy for people. Enosh made such an impression on me that I intend to maintain a connection with them through my religious school. And I hope that I will be able to volunteer there again in the future.
Lisa Stein is a Jewish Educator at Midway Jewish Center in Long Island New York. And because it’s such a small small Jewish world, she and SVFI Director Marla Gamoran have a close friend in common.
taking a selfie with SVFI Director Marla Gamoran