At Yahel we envision a world where individuals and communities have the skills and the power to take initiative and effect change in their environment.
We strive to create a nuanced conversation and engagement with Israel that is informed by the work of social change makers and the life experiences of the people they serve.
Yahel trains, supports and inspires individuals and organizations to take part in responsible and sustainable volunteering in Israel alongside local community members.
We equip young people with the tools and skills to take initiative and become life-long leaders of social change.
We believe that stepping up and taking initiative is the driving force of social change. We want to see our participants, alumni and partners empowered to take initiative, think outside the box, take responsibility for their reality and bring about change.
“Fight for the things you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” – Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Community is an essential component of effective and responsible social change. Individuals can initiate and lead change, but community and teamwork are crucial to creating lasting and sustainable change that will meet real needs on the ground. We value deep collaboration in our host communities and we strive to cultivate a sense of community within our cohorts and among our partners and alumni.
“Neither the individual nor the state is where we discover who we are and why… Beyond the most basic rules necessary for the maintenance of the most rudimentary social order, morality lives in communities and the traditions which sustain them.” – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Generosity in its broadest sense means giving of yourself to others. The value of generosity from a Yahel perspective includes the giving of time, skills, resources and perhaps most importantly -- assuming the best about others.
We approach our work with the recognition that local community members hold the knowledge about local needs. Their assistance in understanding the lay of the land is crucial to our work. Volunteering should go hand in hand with deep respect for the communities served and for the individuals working to create change from within. Humility gives us the space within ourselves for personal development. It does not mean passivity or being unworthy; rather, it calls for striking a balance.
We strive to be intentional when we design our programs, when we work with our partners, when we communicate with participants before, during and after programs and in many other situations. We take time to pause and check that our work is aligned with our values, that we are serving our communities respectfully and responsibly, that our work is sustainable and that we are hearing a multitude of voices and perspectives.
“Prayer without kavanah (intention), is like a body without a soul.” – Bahya Ibn Pakudah (11th century philosopher)
Diversity is integral to the work that we do, both in terms of the composition of our cohorts and the host communities with whom we choose to work. We intentionally recruit participants from countries around the world, multiple faiths, belief systems and cultures. Not only do our participants grow tremendously from the exposure and collaboration with one another, they are also able to provide far richer service and reach stronger outcomes while working together, each bringing their cultural background, belief systems, ways of life and abilities to the table.
“Ben Azzai taught: Do not disdain any person. Do not underrate the importance of anything for there is no person who does not have their hour, and there is nothing without its place in the sun.” – Pirkei Avot, 4:3
PLANTING SEEDS לזרוע זרעים
In social change, results are rarely immediate. Patience and respect for the process are crucial to reaching sustainable long-term outcomes. We encourage our participants and partners to appreciate that while their contribution may seem small in light of the many challenges our world faces, in the long run these incremental changes can change the course of people’s lives.
“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson