Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Volunteering is alive and well in Israel

"Abba, when you come tonight, make sure you wear your MDA uniform."

My oldest son called me up last night on my way home from work, "ordering" me to wear my Magen David Adom uniform to our community's "Volunteer Appreciation Evening", where the local town council thanked all the volunteers of our community.

I told my son that adults didn't have to come in uniform, and I wasn't showing up in an MDA volunteer capacity anyway -- but it was a nice idea for teenagers to come in uniform.

Volunteering in Israel is crucial for the success of our society. Volunteers fill in the huge cracks that are missing in government services. Perhaps when Israel is a richer country, people will get paid to do these jobs. Till then, the spirit of volunteering is what keeps Israel running on a daily basis.

Hundreds of volunteers packed our local high school; teenagers in their gray Fire Department uniforms, blue and white MDA uniforms, Bnei Akiva "tilboshot" shirts. Adults from the welfare department, Mishmar Ezrachi civilian police volunteers, Hatzala and Magen David Adom first responders, the fire department, our local police, our Hevra Kadisha burial society, ZAKA, Kitot Konenut (IDF First Response Counter Terror Units) and others.

Certificates were given out to some. Everyone got a nice key chain. Someone asked me, "Why didn't you get a certificate?" I told him I don't need one, or want one.

Thinking about it some more, the best possible "certificate" I could get -- was that my 2 oldest teenagers were also present last night. They also volunteer for Magen David Adom and our local Fire Department and spent much of their summer vacation riding ambulances, administering first aid to people in need, learning advanced first aid courses, and dealing with fires/extricating people from car crashes.

To see them in their uniforms last night with their friends, was more valuable than any certificate I could possibly receive. Knowing that we've managed to convey the importance of volunteering, is an immense source of pride.

A certificate goes on the wall and fades with time.

Children carrying on our legacy transcends everything.

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Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


Anonymous said...

Great post. Although I would add that volunteering has a social value even when the State is wealthy enough to provide all these services.

Yellow Boy

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

YB: True -- though it would be good if we didn't have to volunteer as much.

Many social services should be provided by the State. There are so many soup kitchens in Israel, it's embarrassing that the government doesn't handle it.

ProfK said...

The real personal mesorah that we leave for our children is not how much money they'll get when we die but what they will have learned from us, seen us do, when we are living. To volunteer, to do things because they are the right thing to do, a good thing to do, without the incentive of money to nudge us, is a powerful one for our children to see. Looks like your kids have learned that "right" lesson. Keep up the good parenting work.

A few days early but a shana tova u'mesukah to you and yours.

Mrs. S. said...

Kol hakavod to your children, and kol hakavod to you!

May you have a שנה טובה ומתוקה and a כתיבה וחתימה טובה.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

ProfK and Mrs. S: Thanks!

Ketiva vaChatima tova - a Shana Tova to your, your families, and all of Am Yisrael.

Ilana said...

Kol Hakavod, that's indeed the best certificate you could hope for.

Jonathan Feldstein said...

How about a pitch for donating blood, something everyone can volunteer to do. please see the info below for thre opportunities especially for tourists in israel.

American Friends of Magen David Adom

is proud to sponsor THREE upcoming


In Tel Aviv
Tuesday, September 22, 10:00-12:00 PM, David Intercontinental Hotel, first floor.

in Jerusalem
Thursday, September 24, 12:00-10:00 PM, Yeshivat Hakotel, Old City, Jerusalem
Thursday, October 8, 9:00 AM-2:00 PM, King David Hotel, Jerusalem



We are grateful to our partners in these upcoming blood drives: Aish Hatorah, AMIT, David Intercontinental Hotel, Destiny Ministries, Emunah, Israel Phones, The Jerusalem Hotel Association, the King David Hotel, Nefesh B’Nefesh, Orayta, the Worldwide Young Israel Movement, and Yeshivat Hakotel.

Please take an hour to donate blood to Magen David Adom. There's no more meaningful way to do something hands-on to help all Israelis.

All donors must have a valid ID (passport, driver's license, teudat zehut)

For information on who is eligible to donate, or more information regarding American Friends of Magen David Adom, please contact Jonathan Feldstein at 972-57-761-4220 or IsraelOffice@afmda.org.

Please note that the times may change depending on the actual participation.

Lovely said...

Inspiring post, I wish there was some volunteering cause I could connect with while living in New York for now...
Volunteering in Israel is extremely rewarding and important.


Unknown said...

Kids internalizing attributes of their parents.

Rach said...

I am always so proud to put on my MDA uniform (for whatever reason). And I'm sure you are too.

Kol HaKavod.

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