Give of yourself while summering in an authentic kibbutz community
Volunteering & Social Entrepreneurship
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Join our team of volunteers making an impact on Israeli society. Israel Corps is based in the Galilee at Kibbutz Harduf and serves nearby Jewish and Arab communities. Volunteer projects are according to your own interests and include opportunities for organic agriculture, sustainable living, and special needs inclusion.
More than a volunteer project, Israel Corps is your opportunity to contribute to the important cause of co-existence and understanding with nearby Arab and Jewish villages in the Galilee. Through it all, you’ll become part of the community, gaining unique insights into Israel’s multi-ethnic society.
Israel Corps Summer is specially subsidized in partnership with “Project TEN: Global Tikkun Olam” initiative, a service learning initiative supporting communities throughout the world and in Israel.
WHERE WE’RE BASED
Kibbutz Harduf is founded on a unique ideology of co-existence, inspiration, education and community. This beautiful, ecologically sustainable kibbutz in the Galilee serves as an ideal backdrop for meaningful volunteer work on Israel Corps.
NOTE: Limited need-based scholarships may be available for this program. Contact us for additional details. A $150/person credit is available for anyone you refer to this program!
GENEROUSLY SUBSIDIZED BY
On Israel Corps you have the opportunity to participate in a broad array of volunteer projects according to your interests. In addition to fulfilling the Jewish value of tikkun olam (repairing the world), you’ll gain hands-on experience while developing enduring skills and connections along the way. Typical projects include:
- Work with adults with special needs in Beit Elisha, a rehabilitative community in Harduf, in stables, ceramics, vegetable garden, bakery or cafe that they run
- Work in the organic farms of Kibbutz Harduf, one of the primary producers of organic food in Israel
- Work in the forest village – bio dynamic garden, ecological buildings (dormitories etc, group activity rooms, ecological bathrooms)
As an Israel Corps volunteer you’re also encouraged to identify a need and pursue new projects or social ventures of your own design.
Co-Existence and Understanding
An underlying goal of your time at Kibbutz Harduf is to increase cross-cultural understanding and deepen the bonds of co-existence. These initiatives are organized by Sha’ar La’Adam (“Gate for Humanity” in English or “Bab Lil’Insan” in Arabic), a center striving to provide answers to the complex reality between the Jewish and the Arab communities in the Galilee. Led by Jewish and Arab co-directors, through the center you’ll study Arabic and Hebrew, you’ll receive training in cross-cultural communications, you’ll learn about the diverse communities of the region, and you’ll gain insight into how your volunteer work relates to Jewish values.
You have questions? We’ve got answers! Our most frequently asked questions are answered below. If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, contact us to learn more.
WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO VOLUNTEER
Israel Corps is funded by Project TEN and other private donors. 80% of the actual costs to operate the volunteer centers are covered by the generosity of our sponsors. The remaining living costs, which are also heavily subsidized, are to be paid by the participants.
HOW DO MEALS WORK?
The food supplied by the center is strictly vegetarian, locally purchased to ensure freshness. We maintain a kosher-style kitchen, and supervised food products may be easily purchased in the local grocery store. All meals are prepared by the center volunteers so it’s really in your hands.
DO I NEED TO SPEAK HEBREW?
All of your work on Israel Corps will be conducted in English. More importantly, our program partners are looking for English speakers! You bring your skill set and they work with you from there. We do offer Hebrew and Arabic classes as part of the educational experience.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
To be eligible for the subsidized terms of the program, you must:
- Identify as Jewish
- Have graduated from high school
CAN I JOIN IN THE MIDDLE OR LEAVE EARLY?
The program is holistic in nature, so unfortunately, there is no option to join a program in the middle or leave before the end except for exceptional situations.
WHAT’S THE APPLICATION PROCESS?
The full process is described here.
WHEN IS THE DEADLINE TO APPLY?
Admission for Israel Corps is on a rolling basis. We are currently accepting applications from exceptional candidates. Don’t delay!
IS THE PROGRAM SUITABLE FOR RELIGIOUS PARTICIPANTS?
The program welcomes religious and non-religious participants. All the activities organized on Shabbat or Jewish festivals are suitable for those who observe religious practices, however each participant is free to observe Shabbat in their own way. Each week we arrange Kabbalat Shabbat activities and share a festive meal. The food supplied by the centers is strictly vegetarian, locally purchased to ensure freshness. While we maintain a kosher-style kitchen, there is no local kashrut authority and therefore products are not supervised.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING HOLIDAYS?
Most of Israel goes on vacation during national holidays and major Jewish holidays, so you can take the chance to explore Israel on your own or visit other friends and family.
CAN I EXTEND MY STAY AT HARDUF?
We do not allow staying after the program is over. However, we offer one-year internship tracks for those who are qualified to be project coordinators.
HOW MUCH SPENDING MONEY WILL I NEED?
We recommend bringing $350-$500 a month for your personal expenses such as eating out, cell phone costs and other general living expenses.
IS FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE?
We realize that participation will cost the volunteers money, such as for flights and participation fees. As a volunteering program, we cannot cover these costs, and we believe that a Tikkun Olam program should help those in desperate need in our target countries, and not the volunteers who are coming to help them. However, we want to ensure that no eligible participant will be turned away on account of being unable to pay the participation fee. As such, a “Pay it Forward Fund” was created to provide some assistance to those volunteers who find it hard to pay for all of their expenses. Each and every candidate will be required to participate in his or her own costs to some extent, and the scholarships will fund only up to 50% of the entire costs.
HOW MANY PEOPLE TYPICALLY PARTICIPATE?
We plan to have 12-14 participants from North America. Other young adults join from around the world, including from Israel.
DO I NEED A VISA TO PARTICIPATE?
Yes, you will need to apply for an A-2 visa to participate. Learn more at Getting Ready.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO PREPARE?
We posted some general guidance on how to get ready for the program ahead, and more specific pre-trip preparation information will follow once you have signed up.
WHAT OTHER RULES SHOULD I BE AWARE OF?
Inappropriate behavior, drug use, violence, danger to other participants or oneself, criminal offense, and any out of ordinary discipline problem will lead to immediate removal from the program. If you do not complete the program you may be asked to absorb some of the cost of the scholarship granted or your deposit may be non-refundable.
WHAT’S THE SECURITY DEPOSIT POLICY?
A refundable $250 security deposit is due at least two week in advance of the program start date and can be paid now as part of your program payment. The deposit will be returned in full at the conclusion of the program to participants in good standing. Participants who are removed from the program, choose to leave early for any reason, do not attend scheduled activities or cause damage to the apartments, or other infractions as determined by staff, will not receive a refund of their deposit.
STEP #1: Complete the application
Enrollment begins by completing the NEXT online application. To be considered complete you’ll need to pay a $50 fully refundable deposit. The deposit is meant to indicate you are seriously considering Israel Corps, and we can’t begin the volunteer placement process without it. Rest assured the deposit is fully refundable at any time should you decide not to formally accept a spot on the program.
STEP #2: Kick-off your volunteer placement
Once your application is complete, we’ll invite you to speak with our volunteer placement coordinator to discuss your background and interests. You’ll be able to hear more about placement possibilities, the day-to-day at Harduf, ask specific questions, and make sure you understand the program expectations.
STEP #3: Confirm your participation
Stay tuned for an official program acceptance notice via email. This email will guide you through what it takes to officially accept your spot on the program. Expect to complete a basic medical background form, sign a supplemental waiver form, upload a copy of your passport, submit a criminal background check report (required for volunteering with children), and pay an additional $300. Generally speaking, you have a two week window to accept your spot on the program and pay the additional $300.
NOTE: Once submitted, your payment of $350 (which includes the initial application fee), is refundable up to 90 days prior to the program start date.
STEP #4: Pay the balance
The balance of what you owe for the program is due 60 days prior to the program start date. If you choose to withdraw within 30-60 days of the program start date, a 50% refund is available. Within 30 days of the program start date, no refunds are available.
STEP #5: Submit the security deposit
A refundable $250 security deposit is due at least two week in advance of the program start date (and can be paid as part of your main program payment). The deposit is returned in full at the conclusion of the program to participants in good standing. Participants who are removed from the program, choose to leave early for any reason, do not attend scheduled activities or cause damage to the apartments, or other infractions as determined by staff, will not receive a refund of their security deposit.
KEEP IN MIND!
- You’re responsible for your flight and will need to send us your plans by a set date.
- Detailed pre-trip preparation material will be provided in the lead up to the summer. In the meantime, review these general tips for getting ready.
- Your acceptance and participation in this program is conditional and may be revoked should you not comply with the enrollment requirements/deadlines or according to the discretion of the program staff.