During the months of December and January, we, at the Partnership2Gether Northern Galil-Great Britain, are hosting a group of volunteers, graduates of LJY and RSY Youth Movements of the Netzer Reform Movement.
The 12 volunteers, mainly from Britain, ages 18 and up, enthusiastic and motivated, have decided to take a year's break, before entering the universities, and spend this year getting to know Israel and volunteering in the north.
During the year, the volunteers learn Hebrew, strengthen their Jewish identity, get to know Israel and connect with the community in Karmiel that has been hosting such volunteers for many years.
During these months, the volunteers share a flat in Karmiel, and learn how to lead an independent life, to take responsibility and to respect their peers. Every day, the members volunteer in various locations in Karmiel.
These include, amongst others, the Amit religious school; the Agricultural Farm which is run by the municipality of Karmiel, where primary school pupils visit each week, to learn about and experience agriculture up close - sowing seeds, tilling the soil, preparing flowerpots and so on; a day care centre for children with special needs; and after-school care facilities.
In the afternoon hours, the volunteers participate in activities with the Karmiel youth, in the Community Centres in the town, for example the 'English Caf?' where over a cup of coffee, at the Rayman's Youth Centre, they chat, in English, with local youth, providing a relaxed atmosphere where the Israeli youth have a chance to brush up on their spoken English.
In between all these activities, the volunteers learn about the Galil region, both strengths and challenges. An important part is dedicated to becoming acquainted with the involvement and contribution of the UJIA to the development of the region. Visiting Kishorit, Kibbutz Eshbal, Tel-Hai College and more helps to better understand the vision of the UJIA, and the Partnership 2G programmes in the Galil.
In addition, each volunteer gets to know the Israeli home, with the help of host families, who spend time with the volunteers and host them for meals, and through cultural activities within the community. The Kehilat Yedid Nefesh community hosts the volunteers for Kabalat Shabbat ceremonies that are held each Friday evening.