I made aliyah in 1989 after living on and off in Israel during the 1980’s.  In 2000 my family moved to the States for what was supposed to be a year or two.  But life sometimes happens, as we say.  So things changed for what I had expected in my life.  But what didn’t change was my love for Israel.

Living in the galut presents emotional challenges.  Among them was this feeling of helplessness and yes, even guilt when something went wrong in Israel.  The second Intifada, the 2006 Lebanon war and now, the search for the three kidnapped teenage boys.

But a few weeks ago, a good friend invited me to a presentation here in Florida about something I had not heard about before, the Emergency Volunteers Project, or EVP.  Listening to the passionate and dedicated CEO Adi Zahavi describe the need for EVP was eye-opening and exciting.  At last I felt that as a Jew and an Israeli living in the galut, I could help Israel in times of crisis in an organized, meaningful way.

So, what is EVP?  For the uninitiated, you can visit www.evp.org.il.  But, in short, this is part of the stated mission that can be found on the website:

The Emergency Volunteers Project (EVP) was established to support and protect the people and the land of Israel. Our mission is to recruit and train dedicated individuals and communities representatives who will serve as a backup force of emergency first responders in Israel.

After training, volunteers partner with Israel’s emergency services (fire fighters, ambulance and community services), providing essential, life-saving aid to Israel’s citizens during times of conflict, national crisis or emergency.

So in other words, in times of (G-d-forbid) war or other emergency situations like earthquakes, trained and organized volunteers can deploy to Israel to provide help in many different ways.  From things as simple as water distribution and child-care to individuals who can actually help with emergency services, for those that want to be involved, there now is a way.

As there are age limitations (minimum 20 years to approximately 55 years old – depending upon physical capability), interested younger volunteers can help with recruitment and other jobs until they are ready for actual training and older or infirm volunteers can also help outside of Israel including sponsoring a volunteer and enabling them to deploy when needed. (Not everyone might be able to cover the stateside training cost of $140 or the flight to Israel. FYI, once in Israel, volunteer lodging, food and transportation are covered)

As an incredibly important and necessary entity, EVP counts the Israeli government and the Ministry of Home Front Defense as its partners.  And now I am proud to say that I am an EVP volunteer and partner as well.

So, what does EVP need and what can you do?  We are assembling a team of civilians from South Florida to train, prepare to deploy in a time of crisis to Israel, and provide aid and lifesaving support. The training is scheduled to take place on October 26-27 (with options for different training times to accommodate work schedules).

To register: http://www.evp.org.il/2013-Training-Registration.html

If you are reading this and do not live in South Florida, do not worry. In the future, other training locations will be announced. But for now, spread the word and if you can, sponsor other volunteers. You don’t need to be Jewish or speak Hebrew.  You just need a passion to help Israel.

For the sake of Israel – JOIN US TODAY!

For more information or to sponsor a volunteer visit: http://www.evp.org.il

In the United States call: 305-949-4947 or email: EVPFlorida@gmail.com

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