VFI - Volunteers for Israel and Sar-El - Service to Israel, are both the same
organization. VFI is simply how the program is accessed by people in the
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Imformation and Applications
Volunteering to work on a Israeli Defense Forces
During the month of my stay, I worked on two different bases, one was a brand new general supply base in the north, and another, a small medical supply base not far from Tel Aviv. I was fortunate enough to be on my Sar El tour during Israeli Independence day, and time was taken at the base to commemorate the event with a traditional toast to the fallen soldiers of Israel. In addition, we had an eternal flame at the base for a couple of days that was "guarded" (more like honored) around the clock. Us volunteers were allowed to participate in the guarding of the flame along with the regular soldiers. I considered guarding the flame to be a special honor for sure, and one that I will not soon forget. The work was exactly as advertised, menial, but while menial, there was a good variety of different tasks to accomplish, and, because there were many helping hands, we accomplished a lot. Because we felt that our work was valuable, we felt good about what we were doing.
The regular soldiers made us feel welcome, and they seemed at times to be somewhat amazed that folks from all over the world would come to help them; they oftentimes showed their appreciation. Each evening, we had a lecture by our Madrichot or sometimes, by a special guest speaker. The lectures or demonstrations were usually interesting, and most often fun. I went on 3 Sar El field trips. We had a special guide that went with us as we toured different places in Israel such as, Jerusalem, Safad, and Zikhron Yaaqov. One weekend, I went on one of the special tours arranged by Pam, the Sar El coordinator. I had such a wonderful time on this extra tour meeting people from other Sar El bases, and seeing several places in Israel that I had never been to before. The extra tour was definitely worth the additional money.