This war is unprecedented and devastating — and its impact reverberates across the Middle East. And the world.
As the situation continues to develop, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia will mobilize in solidarity and community. Here, you’ll find information on events, access to emotional support, and a list of resources that can meet the needs of our community.
If you have any programs or resources that you would like us to share, please email email@example.com. In addition, please submit your events to the community calendar by clicking here.
Please check back often. We continue to monitor the situation and will update this page as new information becomes available in the days and weeks ahead.
It’s time advocate for the people of Israel and the Jewish people at home and worldwide. See actionable steps for Israel and to combat antisemitism by clicking here.
Philly Stands With Israel Fund
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is mobilizing a Philly Stands With Israel Fund, an emergency response campaign to provide immediate relief to the People and State of Israel in response to the attacks launched by Hamas early morning on Saturday, October 7. You can make a gift to this fund by clicking here.
Want to do a B’nai Mitzvah project, special fundraising project or honor someone in support of Israel during this crisis? Visit jewishphilly.org/special-projects.
Wear a blue ribbon to remember the hostages taken by Hamas terrorists in Israel, as a symbol of hope for their safe return and to support their families. To learn more, click here.
Show your support for Israel by sending a message below. Your message of love, hope and care will be sent out to the families living and soldiers stationed in the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s partnership communities of Sdot Negev and Netivot, which border Gaza and are subjected to an onslaught of terror. Send a message by clicking here.
Additionally, as a separate contribution, if you know someone who has been impacted by the crisis and would like to share their story via a short video message (1-3 minutes), please email PhillyStandsWithIsrael@jewishphilly.org.
Updated: November 10, 2023
The people of Israel are currently experiencing a terrible reality, filled with unbearable tragedy and uncertainty. We know that the hearts of our friends in North America are filled with hurt and worry, and we know you are eager to step up and assist, because that is what we do at Jewish Federations.
In Israel, ordinary citizens have rolled up their sleeves and are volunteering in their local communities. There are simply too many activities to list, but they run the gamut from initiatives to support bereaved families, injured citizens, soldiers, and first-responders, evacuated families, families with one or more parent in the reserves, and other populations that need special support. People are packing up supplies, delivering goods across the country, contributing shekels, and more.
Most of these activities are being coordinated by ordinary citizens and advertised via Israelis’ favorite form of
quick mass communication – WhatsApp.
We know that Israeli resilience is powered in large measure during times like this by volunteers who step in to fill critical gaps. This is why supporting volunteer efforts is one of the areas we will support through our collective campaign.
Volunteers From Overseas
In an exceptional move reflecting the important role volunteers are playing in the current crisis, Israel’s National Insurance Institute (the equivalent of America’s Social Security Administration) has announced that it will provide insurance for Israeli ex pat volunteers who wish to volunteer.
At present, there are only limited opportunities open to foreign volunteers. These opportunities include:
- Birthright Israel has opened a volunteering program where people from outside of Israel can come to Tel Aviv and take part in food rescue operations to prevent shortages in the Israeli market, including work to sort, pack and distribute goods for civil and military personnel.
- Leket Israel and HaShomer HaChadash are recruiting volunteers to help in farms and warehouses facing labor shortages.
- Sar-El, The National Project for Volunteers for Israel, runs programs for volunteers on Israel Defense Force bases, focusing on logistical support.
We have received many questions from medical professionals seeking to volunteer. As of now, Israel is not experiencing a shortage of medical professionals due to the conflict. In the event of further strains on the health system, Nefesh B’Nefesh, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, will activate to bring people to Israel. They are actively collecting names of doctors who would be willing to volunteer should the need arise.
We will update as more information about opportunities for foreign volunteers becomes available.
Listed below are volunteer opportunities in Israel we have been made aware of. These volunteer opportunities are being provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement of any of the opportunities or recommendations by Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia endorsing participation. It is the responsibility of the individual interested in volunteering to perform their due diligence by carefully reviewing the volunteer activity or activities of the listed organizations as well the various risks and requirements associated with each volunteer activity.
Foreign volunteers, with access to a vehicle, deliver Shabbat meals to isolated seniors on Friday mornings. Many of the recipients are Holocaust survivors in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. To register click here.
Citrus & Salt in Tel Aviv paused its usual cooking workshops and launched Citizen’s Kitchen to provide 500 daily fresh meals for Israeli soldiers and displaced families. To learn more and register, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.
Pantry Packers of Jerusalem
Pantry Packers of Jerusalem ordinarily provides Meals on Wheels to 37,000 families every month, and also runs soup kitchens. Now, with thousands of refugee families from the south sheltering in Jerusalem, the city asked Pantry Packers to commit to providing 6,000 meals, three times a day. To register, click here.
Birthright Israel – Onward Volunteer Program
Birthright alumni can spend two weeks volunteering in food rescue operations as well as sorting, packing and distributing goods for civil and military personnel. Birthright is offering free airport transfers as well as health insurance and accommodations in Tel Aviv with safe rooms. This opportunity is for ages 18-40 for a duration of two weeks. There is a non-refundable $50 registration fee and $250 security deposit. To learn more and register, click here.
JNF Volunteer Missions
Participants will be housed in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and spend 4-6 hours per day working in agriculture or with displaced families or assisting with logistical duties at an IDF base. This 5 day opportunity is for ages 18 and older. The cost is $2,000 per person. To learn more and register, click here.
JNFuture Volunteer to Israel Mission
Participants will be housed in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and spend 4-6 hours per day working in agriculture or with displaced families, or assisting with logistical duties at an IDF base. This opportunity is for ages 22-40. The cost is $1,500 per person. To learn more and register, click here.
Masa Israel Journey Volunteer Program
A new six-week volunteer program, designed in response to the ongoing conflict. Participants may choose food packaging, tutoring, agricultural work, assisting displaced families or contributing to rehabilitation efforts in southern and northern Israel. This 6 week opportunity is for ages 18-40. To learn more and register, click here.
Volunteers will provide a range of services to victims of terror, from cooking and baking to visiting injured people in the hospital and more, as well as administrative support services such as social media, photography and answering phones. To learn more and register, click here.
Emergency Volunteers Project (EVP)
(EVP) is staffing two projects in addition to its professional firefighters initiative: The EVP Mass-Feeding Unit, working with Israel’s Home Front Command, trains volunteers to prepare fresh, healthy meals for IDF units and needy populations using a fleet of mobile kitchens. The EVP Make A Soldier Smile project has volunteers cooking meals at popup field kitchens on army bases. To learn more and register, click here.
Mission Hinenu (for License medical personnel)
Helping understaffed hospitals by processing paperwork for licensed medical personnel (physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, therapists, psychologists, pharmacists). To learn more and register, click here.
Nefesh B’Nefesh Nurse & Paramedic volunteers
This initiative aims to ease the strain on hospitals and clinics during this time of war, specifically calling on nurses & paramedics from North America, the UK, South Africa, Australia, and the EU. To learn more and register, click here.
Nefesh B’Nefesh Physician Volunteers
This initiative aims to ease the strain on hospitals and clinics during this time of war, specifically calling on doctors with valid licenses from North America, the UK, South Africa, Australia, and the EU. To learn more and register, click here.
NATAN Mobile Dental Clinics
NATAN is expanding the activities of our mobile dental clinics in Israel. We provide basic treatments such as fillings, extractions, treatment of gum problems and preventative dentistry. We do not perform complex procedures or dental implants. This activity will take place throughout Israel (currently active in Haifa and Be’er Sheva). To learn more and register, click here.
NATAN Field Operations
NATAN Worldwide Disaster Relief is an all-volunteer, non-governmental organization. NATAN is based in Israel and operates around the globe. For the past 18 years, NATAN volunteers have been providing medical and psycho-social aid to the survivors of natural disasters, as well as human-made disasters – notably refugees. NATAN prides itself on the professionalism and skill of its volunteers. To learn more and register, click here.
Israel Food Rescue Mission
This joint effort is a response to the war-related manpower crisis on Israeli farms. Volunteers may sign up to volunteer. To learn more and register, click here.
In addition to its usual volunteer opportunities at its Logistics Center in Gan Haim (near Kfar Saba) and fields in Rishon Lezion, is matching volunteers with farmers in need of assistance in harvesting their produce. To learn more and register, click here.
SunDo is a platform that connects farmers and volunteers for significant help and experiences Using the SunDo application, anyone can find the right activity, at the right time, and in the right place for them Download the SunDo app and connect to the Israeli agricultural industry’s social community. To learn more and register, click here.
Mission Hinenu (for non-medical personnel)
Helping understaffed hospitals by processing paperwork for non-medical personnel (patient transport, feeding and other tasks) able to come to Israel to volunteer. To learn more and register, click here.
Startup Reserves for Israel
Tech workers to give support, guidance and staffing to companies in Israel’s high-tech sector. To learn more and register, click here.
All of our program options offer prospective volunteers an opportunity to live and work besides Israeli soldiers and gain an insider view of Israel. You will work alongside soldiers, base employees, and other volunteers on an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) base, performing non-combat civilian support duties such as packing medical supplies, repairing machinery and equipment; packing and checking all kinds of equipment as well as cleaning, painting, and maintaining the base. SAR-EL offers the IDF logistical support throughout Israel through the efforts of our volunteers. This opportunity is for ages 17 and older. There is a 450 Shekel registration fee. To learn more and register, click here.
Volunteers for Israel (Adults)
An insider’s view of Israel. You will work alongside soldiers, base employees, and other volunteers on an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) base, performing non-combat civilian support duties such as packing medical supplies; repairing machinery and equipment; building fortifications; and painting and maintaining the base. This opportunity is for ages 29 and older. To learn more and register, click here.
Volunteers for Israel (Young Adults)
An insider’s view of Israel. You will work alongside soldiers, base employees, and other volunteers on an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) base, performing non-combat civilian support duties such as packing medical supplies; repairing machinery and equipment; building fortifications; and painting and maintaining the base. This opportunity is for ages 18-28. There is a $100 registration fee. To learn more and register, click here.
Hayovel – Volunteer in Israel
Experience Israel’s biblical heartland through faith-based volunteering. Our programs are centered around volunteering for small Jewish farmers in Judea & Samaria. There are five program options, Heartland Experience, Grape Harvest, Tree Planting, Pruning, and Special Ops. This 2-3 week opportunity ranges from $1,200-$2,750 per person. To learn more and register, click here.
Tap into this national volunteering drive – for the people of Israel, in the land of Israel while the need is greatest. Together we will volunteer 4-6 hours per day in areas of need such as: communities in need (packaging food/clothing and providing support for displaced communities), troops (volunteering on IDF bases – away from conflict – in support of soldiers), and agriculture (harvesting crops for food banks that would otherwise be wasted). This opportunity is for ages 40 and older. The cost is $1,950 for a shared room and $2,450 for a single room. To learn more and register, click here.
Gil Travel Trips to Israel
Two specially curated trips to Israel which will have both regular touring and volunteer components. The cost is $2,585 for a double room and $3,339 for a single room. To learn more and register, click here.
Every Sunday to Thursday
11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI): Daily webinars sponsored by Jewish Federations and the Jewish Agency are offered. A rotating team of analysts of Israeli military affairs, the US-Israel relationship, Israel’s political system, and the country’s diverse society will speak. No registration is required. Join here.
Sunday, December 10 | 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Congregation Rodeph Shalom
The Jewish Federation is proud to sponsor the Israeli American Council’s Solidarity Rally Against Antisemitism. Coinciding with the fourth night of Chanukah, all faith groups are invited to join together to light up the darkness by standing against hate and standing with Israel and for humanity. This is a demonstration of shared values and strength to show that the power of unity and peace will always triumph against antisemitism, hatred, and terror. The event will be secured by the Philadelphia Police Force and Federal security agencies, acknowledging the sensitive nature of the occasion. Click here to see the Facebook event.
The amount of information against Israel can feel overwhelming. However, it has been proven that much of the most inflammatory content on the Internet is not human-generated and does not necessarily represent public opinion. Right now, disinformation about Israel and Hamas is spreading on social media. These are tactics of the war against Israel’s legitimacy, are methods of dehumanizing the Jewish people, and are part of broader efforts to sow divisions in our society.
As the situation progresses and our emotions run high, it can be tempting to immediately comment on and/or share what we see online. But now, more than ever, it’s important for us to take the time to carefully assess what we’re reading and respond thoughtfully.
Click here to see guidelines and talking points.
The Jewish Federation is a partner on the #StandUptoJewishHate national campaign to raise awareness of the rise in antisemitism and to bring community members together in voicing their solidarity with the Jewish people.
Hold a Solidarity Gathering/Vigil in your community. For a guidebook, please see this document from the Jewish Federations of North America.
Please click here for a document from Perelman Jewish Day School for educators and families to discuss the events in Israel with children.
Please follow the links below for resources from Jewish Learning Venture, jkidphilly and PJ Library about speaking to children about Israel.
Updated: October 12, 2023
The IDF has indicated that they are not experiencing shortages, even though some materials have not yet reached the intended troops.
- The IDF requests that all donations be channeled through accredited organizations, including the FIDF and the Association for Israel’s Soldiers.
- Large donations of personal protective equipment can be given by contacting
- Trumot_migun@mod.gov.il or phone: +972-73-3538888
- While Israeli soldiers may not need supplies, hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians have suffered. Consider a contribution to meet urgent needs through the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s emergency campaign.
Since Israel was attacked on the morning of October 7, social media has been flooded with requests for donations and crowd-sourcing campaigns for equipment for IDF reserve soldiers. These have ranged from basic items like socks, to advanced items such as Kevlar protective vests.
Is there a shortage of equipment?
Despite numerous anecdotal reports of shortages, the IDF Spokesperson said that “There is no shortage of equipment. There is no shortage of food. It will all arrive, even if some items will take a little longer. Restraint is required.”
The IDF released the following statement
Since the beginning of the war, large-scale efforts by the IDF’s Technological and Logistical Directorate have led to the recruitment of over 360,000 reserve soldiers who are deployed in all different sectors around Israel. This is the largest draft in decades, which is leading to temporary delays in supply shipments, which are being dealt with presently.
All of the necessary equipment is available. We are familiar with the rising demands of all of our forces and are addressing them. The equipment provided for the recruited forces is in addition to the pre-existing stocks in the units.
The equipment is being delivered to units according to a previous determined priority chain in accordance with the various missions and their requirements.
The support that was both offered and delivered to the IDF has been overwhelmingly appreciated. The IDF, however, possesses all the necessary equipment for the operation.
As of this morning, the Technology and Logistics Directorate has been operating a call center attending to issues regarding food, equipment and logistics and is available 24/7 for members of the IDF via WhatsApp to the following number: +972-52-6156256
- Documentation on the subject
- Photos on the subject
- Data on the subject [Hebrew link]
- Information on the Technology and Logistics Department’s hotline [Hebrew link]
The IDF has announced that it has already successfully:
- Provided hundreds of heavy weaponry units to IDF units.
- Supplied 24,000 tons of infrastructure materials (asphalt, gravel, and earthworks).
- Employed over 60 construction companies to assist the IDF.
- Established 5 factories for the production of protective equipment.
- Rented hundreds of generators.
- Prepared approximately 1,500 buses for transporting IDF soldiers, focused mainly on reserve forces.
- Delivered over 1,000 carriers, semi-trailers, trucks, and around 1,200 rental vehicles to combat forces.
- Distributed a wide variety of equipment including baby food to the residents of the city of Sderot.
So why are there so many complaints?
The IDF has called up 360,000 reservists (not all of whom are combat soldiers). It takes time to deliver equipment to such large numbers of people. Additionally, given the high motivation of Israelis to serve at this critical moment, more are showing up than have even been called back to duty. In some cases, this patriotic response is inadvertently exacerbating the temporary shortages.
Could we even provide the supposedly missing items?
The IDF is reported to have prohibited Israeli manufacturers from selling military items most in demand such as Kevlar vests without approval. These are not currently available in large numbers in the general marketplace and some of the crowdfunding campaigns are now struggling to purchase the equipment they had sought. Nobody can guarantee that these online campaigns are vetted or that equipment being purchased meets military standards.
What can people do for soldiers?
Israeli civilians have always brought food to soldiers waiting to be deployed before major operations. This is not because the army does not provide food, but rather a home-cooked meal, chocolates or other snacks, will always be more desirable. At least at this stage, the reports are that there are long lines of Israelis bringing food to the reservists.
The IDF requests that all donations be channeled through accredited organizations like the FIDF or the Association for Israel’s Soldiers which provide for the long-term welfare of soldiers, particularly those from vulnerable populations, including lone soldiers.
In addition, the Ministry of Defense, the IDF and the Association for the Soldier are opening a hotline for parties seeking to donate personal protective equipment in large quantities in order to respond effectively to the vast outpouring of support and desire to help pouring in from around the world.
Call center details:
In Israel donations to support IDF soldiers can be channeled via the Association for the Soldier in Israel at *3399.
How else can we help?
While Israeli soldiers may not need supplies, there are hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians who are in real need, who have suffered due to the conflict, including the many victims and their families. Consider a contribution to the Jewish Federation’s emergency campaign to help those in real need.
Updated: October 16, 2023
This resource provides critical information for family members and friends in Israel who may be in need of assistance. Please note many of these numbers and apps can only be accessed from within Israel.
Hotlines for Families of Victims or Missing Persons
- Hotline for receiving information regarding hostages: 1229
- Hotline for missing persons (Home Front Command and Israel Police) 105
- Hostages and Missing Families Forum: 03.547.7777
- National psychological care center for families of hostages and missing persons: *6754 or 076.817.7860
- Hotline for missing soldiers: 1111 (extension 5 and then 4)
- IDF Casualties Office: 03.675.5000
- ATAL Equipment Center (Technology and Logistics Division) to report shortages in equipment and food: 052.615.6256 (WhatsApp only)
- National Insurance Institute emergency hotline line for immediate assistance to injured and bereaved families: 02-6269999 (operates Sun-Thu 8 am – 8 pm, Fri 8 am – 2 pm)
National Emergency Services in Israel
- Israel Police: 100
- Israel Police (non-emergency): 110
- National Fire and Rescue Authority: 101
- Ambulance – Magen David Adom: 102
- United Hatzalah – 1221
- Israel Electric Company: 103
- Home Front Command (Pikud Ha’Oref): 104
- Home Front Command app and website
- Local authority (municipal or regional council): 106
- Documentation on the subject
- Maccabi: *3028 (open 8am – 8pm)
- Leumit: 054.929.2273/2 (open 8am – 8pm)
- Meuhedet: *3833 (open 8am – 7pm)
- Terem Medical Centers for after-hours medical assistance
Mental Health Assistance
- Natal trauma hotline: 1.800.363.363
- Eran emotional first aid: *1201 Hebrew, Arabic (extension 2), English (extension 10), Russian (extension 3), Soldiers and their families (extension 5), Holocaust survivors (extension 4).
- Eran, together with the Ministry of Aliya, opened an anonyms hotline for olim: *2994
- Israel Ministry of Education’s emotional help line: *6552 (ext. 5)
- Havinenu psychological assistance and support hotline for religious and ultra-Orthodox: *3251
- English-speaking hotline for parents of Lone Soldiers: 1.201.605.7440
- Hotline for senior citizens: *8840
- Yad Sarah medical lending services: *6444
- Yedidim for emergency roadside assistance connected with the current war: 077.600.1240 (1230 for non-war-related issues)
- Haverim L’erfuah – essential medicines and Medical equipment
- Betipulnet (Hebrew only) portal for psychological services with information and links to professionals
- BetterHelp mental health platform providing online mental health services directly to clients, up to 6 months of therapy at no cost for individuals who have been impacted by the war in Israel.
- Jordan River Village, a respite village for children with life-limiting conditions, is extending a hand to evacuees. Families are invited to fill out their details in this form: https://forms.gle/JAuTUyTUF435D4ew8 and will be contacted to coordinate arrival.
- Ministry of Aliyah and Integration’s information call center: *2994 or 03-973.3333
- Hotline for inquiries from parties wishing to donate personal protective equipment 073.353.8888 Trumot_migun@mod.gov.il
The war in Israel is unprecedented and devastating — and its impact is reverberating across the Middle East, and the world. See an Emergency Briefing with Colonel (Res.) Grisha Yakubovich on Operation Swords of Iron, Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas and the current situation on the ground. To see the full recording, click here.
The Jewish Federations of North America polled 3,777 Americans between October 29-November 1, both Jewish and from the general public to understand the sentiment and needs of American Adults, Jewish and the general public, so that Federations and partners can better serve their local communities. To see the results, click here.
- 92% of people who have donated indicate they will donate again in the next few months
- 58% those who have not donated say they will in the next few months
- Americans view Hamas, Iran, and other terrorist organizations responsible for the current war.
- Nearly 90% of Jewish respondents report the war affecting them emotionally
- 60% of the Jewish community is personally connected to someone who has been hurt, killed or displaced
On November 14, 2023, over 290,000 people joined in our nation’s capital, along with 250,000 livestream viewers – making the March for Israel the largest Jewish gathering in history.
This march was organized by Jewish Federations and the Conference of Presidents.