We couldn’t do what we do without the help of our incredible volunteers. We have been recognizing them periodically in our volunteer spotlight! This month we are highlighting Harold Israel. Harold became involved with JUF by serving on the Young Leadership Division board and now serves on TOV's Good Deeds Day committee.
We asked Harold a couple questions about what has shaped his volunteer experience and life in general.
1) How did you first get involved with TOV/JUF?
Tracy More asked me to join TOV shortly after I completed my term on the YLD Board (more years ago then either of us care to admit).
2) Why do you enjoy volunteering and why is it important to you to volunteer with JUF?
I volunteer to give back to the community and as a way to spend time with a family, especially installing in my children the importance of helping those less fortunate then themselves. Volunteering through JUF allows me and others to assist people literally cradle (Shalom Baby) to grave (Grief support groups) and everywhere in between through the umbrella of agencies that JUF supports.
3) Any fun facts about yourself that we might not know?
I have a grandmother who just turned 100! Also, I have been to 46 of the 50 states.
4) Tell me a story about why giving back is important to you? OR tell me a story about a volunteer experience that really inspired you.
For 18 years I led a group of families that delivered food to elderly, primarily Russian immigrants, through Maot Chitim. We often hear that volunteering means as much to the volunteer as the recipient of the volunteer services. When the children in our group become B’nai Mitzvah, it was particularly inspiring to hear how many of them mentioned in their D’var Torahs how much their Maot Chitim volunteer experience meant to them and the lessons they learned from that experience.
5) Which TOV project are you most involved with? Why?
My current TOV project is serving on the Good Deeds Day committee, which brought back memories of when we first created Mitzvah Mania. Why am involved? Once again, because Tracy asked! More seriously, because I thought it was an amazing opportunity to bring to Chicago a worldwide movement (started in Israel) that sets aside a day for volunteerism. In 2016, 1.5 million participants from 75 countries took part in 14,000 Good Deeds Day projects, including just under 1,500 people in Chicagoland taking part in 37 projects. April 2, 2017 is Good Deeds Day and we will have over 40 Good Deeds Day projects throughout Chicagoland for people of all ages. Please join us on a day to help others and help Good Deeds Day exceed 2.0 million participants.
We want to thank Harold for his hard work and dedication to JUF and TOV.
We are lucky to have a volunteer as passionate and warm-hearted as Harold. We look forward to working with you this April on Good Deeds Day. More ways to get involved with Good Deeds Day and TOV in general are listed on our website- www.juf.org/tov.