Volunteer Jerusalem Launches Innovative Program

Volunteer Jerusalem Launches Innovative Program
Social Activism and Culture for Young Adults This Summer

Volunteer Jerusalem is a new grassroots initiative offering young Jewish adults an exciting opportunity to volunteer in Jerusalem-based social service projects. Chaired by Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Naomi Tsur, the new social start-up is the brainchild of American born Israeli Lisa Barkan and Jewish Peoplehood consultant, Dr. Elan Ezrachi. It will include renovating children’s homes and centers and building community gardens in select neighborhoods. The program is a perfect opportunity for young adults who happen to be in Israel and are looking for meaningful ways to spend their time, such as graduates of Taglit birthright programs who stay on in Israel on extensions.

“Young Jews come to Israel and want to contribute,” said founder Lisa Barkan. “ Volunteer Jerusalem allows them to do just that, while getting to know Jerusalem beyond the tourist bubble. By working with real communities serving real causes such as social and environmental issues, they are exposed to Jerusalem’s complex urban makeup, including multiple challenges and major social, political and ethnic gaps and have the opportunity to work beside Israelis and meet Israeli peers.”

The new five-day program is geared to 21-28 year old visitors who can enroll for a session at the end of June or at the end of July. In addition to volunteer work, the participants will tour Jerusalem, meet scholars and community leaders, learn about social issues and Tikun Olam, enjoy Jerusalem summer culture and interact with Israeli peers. Thanks to a generous grant from the Central New Jersey Jewish Federation, the fees will be heavily subsidized.

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Tsur highlighted the link between Volunteer Jerusalem and the growing international trend in volunteer tourism. “Through this program we can provide young adults with opportunities to fulfill their aspirations,” she said. “Jerusalem is the first city in Israel to welcome young adult tourists and cater to their need to make a contribution to the city while enjoying the culture that Jerusalem has to offer. We hope that the interaction and networking found in our vibrant young adult community will be of benefit to all.”

For more information visit volunteerJerusalem.com.