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Being There — One Volunteer’s Experience Assisting in Israel

Alan Vosko
The Detroit Jewish News, Dec. 29, 2023

“Remarkably, I saw a news program a few days later that showed some of the medical supplies we prepared being given to Shifa Hospital in Gaza as part of Israel’s humanitarian aid.”

The sheer horror of Oct. 7, its scope, unimaginable barbarity and emotional devastation wrought grief and anger. It was so much more than personal. It was a riveting awakening from a long, self-imposed fiction that we Jews were accepted in this world as part of it.

Immediately following, donating money, participating in rallies, petitioning, sharing grief and mourning, even praying didn’t seem enough. Immersing myself in news only heightened my sense of futility. Faith and hope were markedly waning while frustration, rage and darker thoughts grew. I had to be there. Not that it would make a difference in the grand scheme of things, but I needed to look Israelis in the eyes, breath the same air and stand together in that place of our mutual destiny.

The words of Abraham seemed prophetic as he answered God, “Here I am.”

Volunteers for Israel, and their partner, Sar-El in Israel, was my connection to apply and become a civilian volunteer to perform whatever functions were needed in Israel. At 78, I was fortunate to be in good enough health and was approved after a background check and doctor recommendation.

 … [To read the full article, click here]

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