I volunteered at Be-Atzmi, an important Israeli NGO working with unemployed and underprivileged Israelis to integrate them into stable and appropriate workplaces. Israel, like many countries, suffers from significant “invisible” unemployment whereby tens of thousands of men and women who have given up after years of job searching are no longer counted in official unemployment statistics. Be-Atzmi (“on my own,” in Hebrew) provides the guidance, coaching and practical training needed to reintegrate into the workforce.
As a marketing professor, we decided that the best use of my time at Be-Atzmi would be to prepare a mini-marketing plan as well as a marketing toolkit to be used for potential donors. I spent three fascinating weeks getting to know the organization and its different departments and working on the marketing plan. On the last day of my placement, I presented the plan to senior Be-Atzmi executives in the hopes of providing them a roadmap not only for fundraising, but for all their marketing activities.
It was very important for me to volunteer during my month in Israel this summer. As an overseas Israeli, I did not need a lot of “technical assistance” from Skilled Volunteers for Israel, but they were very supportive and willing to provide any information and help I might need. Even a first-time visitor to the country will feel well taken-care of. I also was given an exceedingly warm welcome by the Be-Atzmi staff who went out of their way to make me feel at home.
This was a unique time to be in Israel due to the fighting in Gaza and periodic rocket attacks and sirens. Tel Aviv was much quieter than the south of Israel, of course, but there were changes to daily life, sirens from time to time and increased alertness. I was not surprised to find that life went on virtually as normal in the city, the restaurants and bars were full, people were enjoying the beach and the sunshine and continuing to display the Israeli tenacity and resoluteness I admire and identify with.
Thank you to Be-Atzmi and to Skilled Volunteers for Israel for this exceptional opportunity. I will be back.
Prof. Yehuda Weinstock
Miami Beach, FL