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Volunteering in the Jewish Community

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Chapter Summary

Jewish voluntary work is hardly a recent phenomenon. It goes back a long way, albeit under different terminology. The nature of voluntary work has changed over the years and decades. Where the welfare state has moved in to provide for basic physical needs, the charitable field has developed into providing psychological support and giving individual attention. Volunteering and professional charity work go hand in hand. The original charity is set up and financed by volunteers to answer a specific need, financial, educational or health-related, for those not in a position to help themselves. This chapter shows how volunteering is tied to charity, and charity tied to an ever-changing social environment. Nothing is done in isolation; everything has a context. It is a question of knowing what that context is at any given time. It is an activity that is widespread, infectious and adaptable, a sort of beneficial virus or parasite.

Keywords: Jewish voluntary work; professional charity; psychological support; social environment



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