“The Magdala volunteer program is a wonderful experience in the Holy Land that offers the opportunity to live a first century experience in a twenty-first century atmosphere. Volunteers offer their service in the city of Magdala, hometown of Mary Magdalene, helping to engage people and transform lives.”
Volunteering at Magdala is an experience in spiritual and community service, as well as an introduction to new friends from around the world and immersion into Middle Eastern culture. During a volunteer’s tenure, s/he is exposed to many of the historical, cultural, spiritual, and natural sites that the Holy Land has to offer. It is an experience that expands individual understanding and deepens personal faith.
This experience also creates wonderful human, cultural, and spiritual encounters in an atmosphere of respect, camaraderie, enthusiasm, service, and generosity.
Volunteer activities include: attending to pilgrims, upkeep of Magdala’s buildings and grounds, visits to biblical sites, cultural trips, and participation in lectures.
We welcome volunteers year-round to help take care of Magdala. Write to email@example.com for more information and to request the application form. Applications can be submitted according to the following deadlines:
|Participation starting in:||Application Due Date:||Acceptance notified during the first week of:|
|January – April 2018
||As soon as possible, depending on cancellations.|
|May – August 2018||February 15, 2018||March 2018|
|September – December 2018||June 15, 2018||July 2018|
|January – April 2019||October 15, 2018||November 2018|
We are looking for people who are:
- Desiring to serve others
- Friendly and helpful
- Customer service oriented
- Adaptable and flexible
- Graceful and calm under pressure
- Eager to learn and share with others
Other desired qualities and talents:
- Experience in guiding tours
- Experience with technology
- Experience with sales
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can participate, and what are the requirements?
Participation is open to any individual who, above all, has the desire to serve others. Volunteers also must:
- Be eager, willing, and physically able to participate in all activities at and outside of Magdala.
- Have a passport valid for one year after the date of entry to Israel.
- Be age 18 or older.
- Have a valid medical insurance policy (preferably provided by an Israeli insurance company).
- Be physically and mentally healthy.
- Be willing to live and share in fellowship with others.
The Magdala Volunteer Program is open to people of all religions and walks of life who are interested in serving, having a spiritual experience, living, and sharing in a predominantly Catholic environment.
How long do volunteers participate?
Volunteers can participate anywhere from one week to one year. We recommend staying for at least a month in order to have a rich experience of service at Magdala. The type of activities volunteers can be involved in depends on the length of their stay.
What activities do volunteers do at Magdala?
Volunteers are integral in running the daily activities at Magdala and attending to each visitor that enters the site. The activities available for volunteers depend on the length of stay, seasonal projects, general necessities at Magdala, and the skills and experience of each volunteer.
All volunteers participate in the following activities:
- Cleaning (shops, Duc In Altum (worship center), and bathrooms)
- Greetings visitors
- Helping around the Volunteer House
What would I do if I came for 1 -4 weeks?
Activities for short-term volunteers (1 -4 weeks’ participation):
Volunteers staying for 1 -4 weeks support Magdala in seasonal/routine project that require minimum procedures training. Their legacy and service touch countless lives!
- Gift Shop Projects (ex: bottling Synagogue Sand, water from the Sea of Galilee, inventory support)
- Seasonal projects (ex: harvesting dates, harvesting olives, bottling olive oil)
- Special projects at Magdala or the Volunteer House (varies depending on Magdala’s needs)
What would I do if I came for 1 – 6 months?
Activities available for mid-length volunteer participation (1 – 6 months’ participation):
Volunteers are trained for and can participate in 1-2 of these areas, depending on their skills, interests, and Magdala’s needs. During the application process, you will apply for 1-2 of the following positions:
- Attending the shops (Entrances, Gift Shop, Coffee Shop)
- Accompanying/giving tours to visitors around the archaeological excavations and Duc In Altum (worship center)
What would I do if I came for 7 – 11 months?
Activities available for long-term volunteer participation (6 months – 1 year’s participation):
Long-term volunteers have the opportunity to specialize in 1-2 areas and have more responsibilities within those areas. Therefore, we carefully consider skills, interests, and experiences in order to match volunteers with activities that benefit both Magdala and volunteers’ personal growth and satisfaction. During the application process, you will apply for 1-2 of the following positions:
- Sacristan’s Assistant (cleaning and preparing for liturgical celebrations)
- Attending* the Shops (Entrances, Gift Shop, Coffee Shop)
*Long-term volunteers may oversee administrative tasks as well as become specialized in the operation of the shops, inventories, product ordering, etc.
I am interested in coming for 1 year. What else could I do?
Other Volunteer Opportunities:
To inquire about the specifics and availability of any of the following positions, please write directly to the Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. All of the following positions are open to people who are willing to offer a minimum of 6 months’ volunteer participation.
- Housekeeping in the Priests’ house
- Residence Assistant at the Volunteer House
- Volunteer Coordinator
- Assistant to the Visitor’s Center Coordinator (Booking tours)
- Shops Supervisor
What is the cost?
The cost of participating is comprised of:
- Round trip airplane ticket
- Volunteers are responsible for the cost of their airfare.
- Participation fee *
- For a stay of 0-3 months, the participation fee is based on a daily rate:
- First month: Daily rate of $28 USD per day
- Second and third months: Daily rate of $18 USD per day
- For a stay of 4 or more months, the participation fee is a fixed rate of $840 USD.
- Health insurance
- Health insurance is required; we recommend purchasing an Israeli health insurance policy that costs $2.60 USD per day.
- Personal expenses
- We recommend budgeting about $150 USD per month to cover the costs of:
- National Park and Holy Site entrance fees
- Travel outside of the trips scheduled within the Volunteer Program
- We recommend budgeting about $150 USD per month to cover the costs of:
* The Participation Fee includes:
- A shared room with its own bathroom (2-6 people per room) in the volunteer house. Rooms are not co-ed. Sheets, pillowcase, a blanket, and a towel are provided.
- 3-4 meals per day.
- Transportation to and from Magdala (daily).
- Transportation for 1 – 2 weekly trips to Holy Sites and/or sites of historical/cultural importance.
- Laundry facility (washers and dryers, available for use once a week) and detergent.
Where do volunteers stay?
The volunteers live in a historic compound for pilgrims belonging to the Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Tiberias, just a block away from the Sea of Galilee. The house has a chapel, laundry area, Wi-Fi, air conditioned/heated rooms, and a dining area. Its central location allows for easy walking access to local shops, restaurants, supermarkets, shopping centers, banks, ATMs, pharmacies, and the Sea of Galilee.
What does a typical week at Magdala look like?
|Weekly Trip||1st Shift
@ Magdala, House Cleaning
|Evening||“Family” meeting||Cultural Presentation||Holy Hour (Eucharistic Adoration)||Sports /
What does a typical day look like?
Daily Schedule (Thursday-Tuesday):
|1st Shift||2nd Shift|
|+/- 6:40 am||Breakfast||6:40-10:45 am||Free Time & Breakfast|
|7:00 am||Leave for Magdala||11:00 am||Leave for Magdala|
|7:15-7:40 am||Morning Prayer||11:15-11:45 am||Morning Prayer|
|8:00 am||Magdala opens||11:45 am||Mass (at Magdala)|
|1:20-2:00 pm||Shift change||1:20-2:00 pm||Shift Change|
|2:30 pm||Return to Volunteer House||6:00 pm||Magdala Closes|
|Afternoon||Free Time||6:00-6:30 pm||Closing Procedures|
|6:30/7:00 pm||Mass at local parish||6:30 pm||Return to Volunteer House|
|8:00/8:15||Evening Activity / Free Time|
|11:00 pm-6 am||Quiet Hours|
|1:00 am||Everyone Home|
Will I be able to travel around Israel?
Yes! The longer you stay, the more you will get to see.
The Volunteer Program organizes one full day trip per week. All volunteers help to plan the trip calendar every month. We visit a variety of sites, focusing on the most important Holy Sites as well as places of historical and cultural importance.
Volunteers are also encouraged to suggest and help plan, in conjunction with the Residence Assistant, one short trip per week. This second, short trip depends on the interest and organization among the volunteers. It takes place during volunteers’ free time (either the morning or afternoon, depending on which shift they are working).
All volunteers choose a few trips they will miss in order to cover shifts at Magdala. All volunteers are expected to take “Guard Shifts.” The volunteers collaborate to make the Guard Shift calendar each month.
It is also possible to request a free day in order to explore more of Israel independently.
Do volunteers have any free days?
There are no routinely scheduled full free days for volunteers. Volunteers’ free time is spread out over a few hours a day, six days per week. The exception to this general rule is for volunteers who took a “Guard Shift” and missed a weekly trip: Each time a volunteer takes a “Guard Shift,” s/he gets one full day off. (The day varies depending on other scheduling needs.)
Depending on the length of stay, volunteers may request personal days for rest or independent travel (within or outside of Israel). Personal days must be requested and approved by the Volunteer Coordinator with anticipation so that a substitute can be arranged for each volunteer’s job during his/her absence.
What language(s) do I need to speak?
The main language for communication with pilgrims is English.
The main languages for communication among volunteers are Spanish and English (in that order).
What meals are provided and what are they like?
Breakfast, snack, lunch, and dinner are provided daily. Fresh fruit and water are available at every meal.
Breakfast: Cereal, milk, yogurt, tea and/or coffee.
Snack: Sandwich fixings, tea and/or coffee.
Lunch: A hot lunch with a form of meat or chicken, a carbohydrate, and a vegetable or salad.
Dinner: A hot, light dinner. The cuisine varies, but normally includes a soup, meat/chicken and a carbohydrate.
What is a volunteer’s prayer/spiritual life like?
Magdala’s Volunteer motto is “Ora Et Labora,” or “Pray and Work.” A Magdala Volunteer’s most powerful form of prayer is the service s/he provides to those around him/her.
Magdala is a place where volunteers have the opportunity to experience deep and powerful moments of prayer as well as spiritual renewal. The extent of each volunteer’s prayer or spiritual life depends on the individual. There are countless opportunities to receive sacraments, delve into personal or community prayer, or to look for and notice God in the natural surroundings and people that visit Magdala.
We have the following prayer and devotional times built into the schedule:
- Morning Prayer on work days: reflections/guided meditations/Scripture readings/praise & worship…
- Daily Mass (7 days a week).
- Eucharistic Hour on Thursdays (1st Thursday of the month in Nazareth, the rest of the Thursdays at Magdala).
- Magdala Prayer Family (Fridays, 3-4 pm): Community gathering for intercessory prayer for the intentions of Magdala’s visitors and friends.
- Meditations on Holy Sites that we visit (given by one of the priests, consecrated women, or volunteers at each Holy Site).
The following sacraments or prayer times are available as often as the volunteer seeks them:
- Personal Prayer (each volunteer is able to find the time that works best in between work and leisure for daily personal prayer).
- Confession (available nearly daily with the priests at Magdala, and often on trips or at the Eucharistic hour in Nazareth).
- Spiritual Retreats: Personal Retreats (depending on the length of their stay, each volunteer is encouraged to participate in an individual or small group retreat) and Community Retreats (offered 2-4 times/ year, often in preparation for important liturgical moments).
- Personal Dialogue/Spiritual Guidance (available with the priests and consecrated women at Magdala).
What should I bring?
- A Bible. (Old and New Testaments).
- (The Volunteer Coordinator sends more specifics according to the season(s) occurring as a part of the application process.)
- Comfortable work clothes (pants or knee-length shorts).
- Modest attire for trips and visits to holy sites.
- Comfortable work shoes (sneakers or closed-toed shoes) and walking shoes.
- Workout clothes, pajamas, and bathing suit (even in the winter!).
- Debit card and extra cash.
- Withdrawing money (Shekels, Dollars, Euros) from ATMs guarantees the best exchange rates.
- Technological device(s): laptop, tablet/iPad, smartphone, camera.
- Medications: enough prescription medication for the entire length of your stay (plus 1-2 extra weeks). Most over-the-counter medications can be purchased in Israel, but it is wise to bring any medications that you take on a regular basis with you.
Do I need a Visa?
The Volunteer Coordinator works with each individual volunteer during the application process, helping them obtain the appropriate visa for their stay as a volunteer.
What access will I have to technology and Internet?
The Volunteer House and Magdala are equipped with WiFi.
Volunteers must bring their own device(s): computer, tablet or iPad, smartphone. The Volunteer House does not have shared technological devices available for use.
Volunteers have access to a scanner and printer at Magdala.
Is transportation provided?
Volunteers are responsible for getting themselves from Ben Gurion International Airport (in Tel Aviv) to the Volunteer House (in Tiberias) upon arrival. The Volunteer Coordinator sends a map with the exact location of the house as well as the route via public transportation to all volunteers before their trip. Volunteers also have the option of arranging a taxi or chauffer service at their own expense.
Once the volunteer reaches the house, transportation is provided from the house to Magdala every day, as well as on the trips scheduled by the Volunteer Program.
Volunteers are free to use the extensive and safe public transportation to explore Israel on their free days.
Do I need a cell phone in Israel?
Most volunteers use WiFi to stay connected with family and friends at home.
There are affordable prepaid cell phone plans available locally. If you are interested in purchasing a plan, make sure your phone is unlocked and will accept an international SIM card. Volunteers are responsible for finding a provider and purchasing their own plan.
Volunteers can be reached by phone through the Volunteer Coordinator or any other Magdala staff member. A phone is available at Magdala to make international calls (in emergency circumstances only).
What are the benefits of volunteering at Magdala?
All of the benefits of volunteering at Magdala are impossible to list! The following are some highlights, from the volunteers themselves:
- Experiencing the land, culture, geography, and important places by going on excursions throughout the Holy Land.
- Making lasting friendships with Magdala volunteers and staff from all over the world.
- Being able to share about our faith every day.
- Doing something positive that changes lives, and seeing the fruits of our labor in the smiles on visitors’ faces as they leave Magdala.
- Learning about the roots of our faith.
- Being in the land where Jesus lived, walked, taught, healed…
- Living with others – from different cultures, ages, and walks of life – in a family-like community.
- Growing in spirit, mind, maturity, and love; learning something different from everyone around us.
- Experiencing the satisfaction that comes from the opportunity to serve God by serving others.
- Getting less attached to home and material things, and learning to value what is truly important instead.
- Living in an environment where everyone’s main objective is to serve God and serve others.
- Realizing every day how blessed we are to be in this beautiful, holy site on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Interested in hearing more about volunteers’ experiences at Magdala? Check out the testimonies on our website: http://www.magdala.org/about/testimonials/
How does the application process work?
Step 1: Request and fill out an application.
- For those interested in participating for 1+ months, there is a supplement to the application with questions related specifically to the area they are interested in working in.
Step 2: Skype / FaceTime Interview
Step 3: You will be notified if you were accepted or not.
Step 4: Reserve Your Spot – Send in paperwork:
- Participation Agreement
- Health Insurance Forms*
* If Applicable
Step 5: Confirm your Participation – in the following order:
Visa* → Plane Ticket → Payment (Participation Fee & Health Insurance*)
* If Applicable
Step 6: Skype /FaceTime call for last questions and preparation for your arrival
Have more questions?
Please write to email@example.com to ask any other questions you may have!