St. Louis Volunteers in Israel

St. Louis Volunteers in Israel
Express solidarity and engage in impactful volunteer work
September 8-16, 2024 or September 8-13, 2024

 

THE EXPERIENCE
Travel to Israel for a roll-up-your-sleeves volunteer experience – with the opportunity to bear witness and stand with the People of Israel along the way.

VOLUNTEERING
Volunteer projects daily in areas of need (excluding Shabbat)

COMMUNITIES
Package items to support displaced communities

AGRICULTURE
Pick and sort harvested crops for foodbanks

DEFENDERS
Prepare special meals for active-duty IDF soldiers

SOLIDARITY
Bear witness to the loss at the border communities Stand in solidarity with the families of the hostages View moving post-October 7th street art in Tel Aviv Meet a geo-political expert strategizing the future Celebrate a Shabbat of resilience in Jerusalem (7-day option)

This experience is sponsored by Jewish Federation of St. Louis in partnership with Authentic Israel.

TRIP COST – LAND ONLY

7-day experience
$1,995 per person double occupancy. Single supplement add $560

4-day experience
$1,545 per person double occupancy. Single supplement add $280

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Centrally located 4-star hotels
  • Breakfast each morning and at least one lunch or dinner daily
  • A licensed guide (armed) escorts the group
  • All volunteering, programming and speakers
  • Guide and driver gratuities
  • One airport transfer on arrival & departure days – time TBD
  • Applicable taxes
  • An additional VAT (tax) applies for Israeli citizens at group hotels

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • Airfare
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Personal expenses

REGISTRATION DETAILS

For additional questions contact: Karen Rader – Krader@JFedSTL.org or 314-442-3756.

Register Here

  • A $250/person deposit is due with your registration and is non-refundable as of July 9, 2024.
  • The balance is due by August 9, 2024, after which payments are non- refundable.
  • Unique exceptions are considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Cancellations must be made in writing.
  • Payments may be made by check or credit/debit card, however, a 3%
    processing fee applies for credit/debit card payments (does not apply to
    initial $250 deposit). Note: credit card fees are not refundable.
  • Participation is subject to a minimum of 15 participants fully registered as
    of July 10, 2024 and will not exceed 25 participants. A waitlist will be
    created once our maximum is met.
  • If the minimum participation is not achieved, all payments will be refunded.
  • Travelers are encouraged not to book flights until the minimum is
    achieved.
  • Authentic Israel reserves the right to cancel the trip in extraordinary
    circumstances.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

When will a detailed itinerary be available?
A detailed itinerary will be available by July 1. Each day will include volunteering as well as non-volunteer experiences (e.g., pertinent site visits, community encounters, travel experiences, expert meetings). Breakfast will be at the hotel. Most lunches will be packed/catered, and dinners will be either at the hotel or at restaurants. The program begins in Israel with dinner on September 10 and ends in the evening on September 12 (4-day option) or September 15 (7-day option).

How physically strenuous is the volunteering?
Plan to volunteer several hours each day, apart from Shabbat (for 7-day travelers). Much of our volunteering will involve light manual work, and you should plan to participate in this program if you feel physically capable.

Will there still be a need for volunteer support this fall?
Sadly, yes, the nature of the volunteering needs may evolve over time, but the need for support in Israel is significant now and will remain significant for some time.

What hotel is being used?
We will stay in centrally located 4-star hotels. In Tel Aviv, Herods and Jerusalem (7-day travelers only) Bat Sheva or similar.

Does Authentic Israel (the land operator) have experience with volunteer trips? Authentic Israel has organized similar volunteer initiatives on behalf of leading national organizations such as Momentum, JCC Association, Birthright Israel, and other custom community volunteer trips. We have also organized solidarity missions on behalf of Jewish communal leaders since the early days following the October 7th attack.

Will we visit the communities near the Gaza border?
We intend to include this experience as part of the program. Visits to the communities in proximity to the Gaza border are subject to conditions at the time, with safe travel being our guiding consideration.

How should I arrange my travel to/from Israel?
You can book a flight on your own or with a travel agent. Jewish Federation is working with El Al to secure seats on a flight from Newark to Tel Aviv and back. We will pass that information on as soon as it’s available.

Will there be airport transfers to the hotel?
One greeting and transfer to the hotel from Ben Gurion Airport will be provided on the designated arrival day (Monday) and departure days (Thursday or Sunday). Time TBD. Guaranteed hotel check-in is available starting at 3:00pm (luggage can be stowed earlier).

Is travel insurance available for Israel now?
Yes, you may purchase traditional travel insurance, and we recommend Travel Insured International. Consider also purchasing a low-cost local medical insurance policy at least three weeks before your scheduled arrival.

Can I arrive early or extend my stay in Israel?
Yes, you may arrive early or stay longer in Israel, and we can extend your stay at the Tel Aviv hotel (pre-trip for all or post-trip for 4-day travelers) or Jerusalem hotel (post-trip for 7-day travelers). Contact Authentic Israel for more details.

Is it safe to visit while Israel is engaged in military conflict?
While it is true that Israel is engaged in an active military conflict along parts of its southern and northern borders, travel will be focused in the center of the country – in the vicinities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem where rocket alerts have become very uncommon. We only use hotels with a safe room.

What is the contingency plan if the security situation changes?
In the event the security situation in Israel worsens while you are in Israel, we will make adjustments to our approach, including relocation of the group, if warranted. We appreciate our responsibility for your well-being, and our decision-making will be guided by this understanding.

What happens if I experience a rocket siren while in Israel?
Travelers will be briefed ahead of arrival on the standard security protocols we follow. Although very rare at this point, travelers should be aware that there is a possibility they will be present for a rocket alert siren during our travels.

Does the program welcome travelers keeping kosher/Shabbat?
Yes, all food served is certified kosher, and we will not use a bus over Shabbat for group programming.

Do I need to be Jewish to participate?
No. The program is designed with Jewish travelers in mind (e.g. all kosher food, Shabbat experiences), but all volunteers are welcome!

I am traveling solo, will you help me find a roommate?
Many of our volunteers are traveling solo and are seeking a roommate. In such cases, we will make a good-faith effort to find you a roommate, but we cannot guarantee it. If we are unable to find you a roommate, the single supplement will be your financial responsibility.