Sar-El Canada has resumed sending Canadians, who wish to volunteer on Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) maintenance bases, to their programs in Israel, despite the recent efforts of some activist groups. Two articles in this Hamilton Jewish News feature Canadians who recently returned from Israel, one a first-time volunteer and the other a veteran of Sar-El programs, where they describe their experiences with the organization.
The program was closed during the pandemic and, as someone who has volunteered with Sar-El twenty times, it was frustrating to wait until it re-opened. Now that the program has resumed, it is all systems go. Having just returned from Israel in early June, I can confidently state that the program is in good hands on the Israeli side. The personnel at the bases fully appreciate the volunteers' efforts to complete the work that we are asked to do. If not for the volunteers, this work would be done by Miluim (reservists), taking them away from the important work of defending Israel.
During my recent program, I was lucky to be part of a group of international volunteers; men and women from the US, Canada, Italy, Romania, Germany and Monaco, who ranged in age from their 20's to their 70's, Jews and non-Jews. The group got along well and, since we are not permitted to discuss politics, I don't know, nor do I care to know, the other volunteers' positions on current issues in Israel. Our evening activities were fun and enjoyed by all.
Sar-El has one, two and three week programs, which start throughout the year.
Please check the Sar-El website at sarelcanada.org for more information, or you can reach me, Gord Garshowitz, Hamilton area Sar-El contact, at 905-906-6900.