Two Years, Two Volunteer Experiences

Posted on August 10, 2016

For my 2016 Skilled Volunteers for Israel (SVFI) volunteer gig, I deliberately chose a different type activity than my 2015 SVFI experience at Melabev. While my 2015 volunteer position was very much hands-on, I wanted utilize a different set of skills and to focus more on policy matters in 2016.

Though the 2015 and 2016 SVFI volunteering started out differently, they were both very satisfying. In 2016, I had the opportunity to work with and write for Hiddush and Rabbi Uri Regev on matters of state and religion in Israel. It took me a while to get started, in part, because I needed to bring myself up to speed on those issues and, in part, because Rabbi Regev was away for the first 10 days. At Melabev in 2015, I was able to get involved from almost my first day there.

Working with Rabbi Uri Regev

Working with Rabbi Uri Regev of Hiddush

At Hiddush, I was very fortunate to be able to work with Rabbi Regev and his staff. Rabbi Regev is very passionate, committed and knowledgeable on the subject of state and religion in Israel and its many ramifications. I learned much from them and it has allowed me to become more knowledgeable and to think more critically on those issues. I hope that as a result, I produced some well-written pieces for them.

Even a year later, I have not forgotten Melabev and the great and important work that they do there. My wife Karen and I just visited the English-speaking center in Talpiot and were shown around by the Executive Director. My wife is planning a big birthday party for me next month and has requested that guests make donations to Melabev in lieu of gifts.

I’m looking forward to volunteering with Skilled Volunteers for Israel again next year.

Joseph Rafalowicz, New York, July 2016