Secrets of Success as a VFI Volunteer by Ruth Mastron - Volunteers for Israel

Secrets of Success as a VFI Volunteer by Ruth Mastron

1. Be exactly where they tell you to be, exactly when they tell you to be there (even if nobody else is).

2. Do exactly what they tell you to do, exactly how they tell/show you to do it (even if it’s not 100% clear what or why that is).

3. Until they tell you to stop doing it.

4. Smile all the time (this one is easy as you’ll be waking up in Israel every morning)!

5. Talk to people: soldiers, civilian employees, the retirees who volunteer on the base, anyone. Find a common language, trot out your shaky Hebrew, sing together, become Marcel Marceau if you have to. Ask questions. Answer questions.

6. Never let anyone else’s crappy mood affect your terrific one.

7. Remember the story (which may be apocryphal) of the janitor at NASA, who was asked what his job was. His response: “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.” No matter what you’re doing on your IDF base, remember you are helping to defend the state of Israel!

8. Make it work! Never whine, never complain, never turn around and walk away from a problem. Figure it out, improvise and MAKE IT WORK. Volunteers SOLVE problems, they don’t CAUSE them.

9. The unofficial official phrase of Israel is “Yiyeh b’seder” – “It’ll be OK.” Lather, rinse, repeat.

10. Learn to love a balagan. When things go wrong, just remember that—assuming you live through it—it will make a great story to tell the folks back home.

11. Take lots of pictures, enjoy every insane, inspiring, confusing, life-changing, frustrating, breathtaking minute and remember you are going home with the BEST vacation stories of anyone you know!

About the author

A passionate Zionist, Ruth is a Hadassah Life Member, President of the House of Israel in San Diego’s Balboa Park, and a regular volunteer on IDF bases through the Sar-el program. Ruth works with teams, families and individuals to inspire Israel and increase awareness and activism. Ruth lives in Oceanside, California, with a French husband and a bilingual cat.

A passionate Zionist, Ruth is a Hadassah Life Member, President of the House of Israel in San Diego’s Balboa Park, and a regular volunteer on IDF bases through the Sar-el program. Ruth works with teams, families and individuals to inspire Israel and increase awareness and activism. Ruth lives in Oceanside, California, with a French husband and a bilingual cat.