The Fellowship helps thousands of needy Israelis, many of them elderly or new olim (immigrants). But the aid and care we provide would not be possible without our thousands of volunteers. The Jerusalem Post's Rachel Cohen takes a look at some of these wonderful people and the love they bring to Israel's neediest:
Beyond the hundreds of Israelis in need served by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (the “Fellowship”), the group has thousands of volunteers who provide those people with much-needed time and care. That is “the extra neshama [soul] of all that we do,” Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the Fellowship, told The Jerusalem Post in a recent interview.
Two of its flagship programs, among the many the Fellowship offers, are aimed at Israel’s elderly population and new immigrants.
“Our volunteers are there to alleviate the profound loneliness experienced by the elderly,” said Eckstein. “Loneliness is an illness among the elderly, and the fact is that some of these people go days – even weeks – without seeing another human, which hurts them emotionally and cognitively.”
This is where the Fellowship’s volunteers work their magic. The simple act of visiting a homebound elderly person for an hour or two helps maintain their dignity and save them from the crippling effects of loneliness. Such companionship can transform their twilight years into something positive and meaningful.
One of these volunteers is Yevgeny.
He lives in Nazareth Illit and has been volunteering with The Fellowship for the past two years.
He goes once a week to meet with an elderly man to keep him company and help him with odds and ends if he needs. Over time they became close friends.
For Yevgeny, it’s all about giving back to this often-forgotten segment of the population. “I believe that you need to help older people. I feel that volunteering is good for the people you help and to the volunteers as well,” he said.
“This has been a meaningful experience that empowers me as a person to help another person who is in need...”