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Frequently Asked Questions

Volunteer at Magdala

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 willing to serve, live, share, and have a spiritual experience 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 all 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:

  • Providing a wonderful experience for visitors
    • Greeting visitors
    • Upkeep and cleaning of: bathrooms, shops, worship center
  • Helping around the Volunteer House


What would I do if I came for 1-4 weeks?

Activities available for short-term volunteers (1-4 weeks’ participation):
Volunteers staying for 1-4 weeks support Magdala in seasonal/routine projects that require minimum procedures training. Their legacy and service touch countless lives!

  • Duc In Altum Support Team (cleaning the worship center & prayer)
  • Greeting visitors
  • When available:
    • Gift Shop Projects (ex: preparing merchandise for sale)
    • Small maintenance projects
    • Seasonal projects (ex: harvesting dates, harvesting olives, bottling olive oil)
    • Special projects at Magdala or the Volunteer House (vary 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)
  • Duc In Altum Support Team (cleaning the worship center & prayer)


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.

  • Accompanying/giving tours to visitors around the archaeological excavations and Duc In Altum (worship center)


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 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
  • Cook
  • Sacristan
  • Volunteer Coordinator


What is the cost?

The cost of participating is comprised of:

  1. Round trip airplane ticket
    • Volunteers are responsible for the cost of their airfare.
  2. 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

Approximated Total for:     1 month: $840 USD       2 months: $1,380 USD       3 months: $1,920 USD

  • For a stay of 4 or more months, the participation fee is a fixed rate of $840 USD.
  1. Health insurance
    • Health insurance is required; we recommend purchasing an Israeli health insurance policy. The cost (per day) depends on your age:
Age: Cost per day:
18-59 years old $2.80 USD
60-65 years old $3.00 USD
66-75 years old $5.90 USD


  1. Personal expenses
    • We recommend budgeting about $150 USD per month to cover the costs of:
      • National Park and Holy Site entrance fees
      • Toiletries
      • Souvenirs
      • Travel outside of the trips scheduled within the Volunteer Program

* 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 meals and a snack per day.
  • Transportation to and from Magdala (daily).
  • Transportation for 1-2 weekly trips to Holy Sites and/or sites of historical/cultural importance.
  • Wi-Fi.
  • 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 look like?

Weekly Magdala Schedule:  * Attendance Required

  Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

Shift 1*

7am-2:30 pm

Prayer Time Mass/Prayer Prayer Time Mass/Prayer Prayer Time Prayer Time Prayer Time
Shift 1 at Magdala Shift 1 at Magdala Shift 1 at Magdala / Short Trip Weekly (Long) Trip


“Guard” Shift at Magdala

Shift 1 at Magdala Shift 1 at Magdala Shift 1 at Magdala / House Cleaning*

Shift 2*

Mass Mass Mass Mass Mass
Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
Shift 2 at Magdala Shift 2 at Magdala Shift 2 at Magdala / Short Trip Shift 2 at Magdala Shift 2 at Magdala Shift 2 at Magdala / House Cleaning*
Evening Mass Free Time Free Time Mass (when applicable) Holy Hour (Eucharistic Adoration) Sports /
Group Activity
Free Time
Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner Dinner
Community Meeting* Cultural Presentation* Free Time Free Time Free Time Free Time Free Time

Volunteers typically rotate shifts: morning shift one week, afternoon shift the next week.
When volunteers are not on shift, they have free time.


What does a typical day look like?

Daily Schedule (Thursday-Tuesday):

1st Shift   2nd Shift
Before 6:50 am Breakfast Until 10:00 am Breakfast
7:00 am Leave for Magdala Morning Free Time
7:15-7:40 am Morning Prayer 11:45 am Leave for Magdala
8:00 am Magdala opens to the public 12:00 pm Mass (at Magdala) & Personal Prayer
Mid-Morning Snack (optional) 1:00 pm Lunch
1:45-2:00 pm Shift Change (closing procedures) 1:30 -1:45 pm Shift starts (opening procedures)
2:00-2:30 pm Lunch Mid-Afternoon Snack (optional)
2:30 pm Return to Volunteer House 6:00 pm Magdala Closes to the public
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
7:30 pm Dinner
8:15-9:00 (aprox.) 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.

Guard Shifts
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).
  • Meditations on Holy Sites that we visit (given by one of the priests, consecrated women, or volunteers at each Holy Site).
  • One half-day retreat per month.

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).
  • Personal or small-group Spiritual Retreats (volunteers staying 1+ months are encouraged to seek out and participate in an individual or small group retreat).
  • 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 chauffeur 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:


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 offering their time.

Step 2: Video-Call 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: Video call for last questions and preparation for your arrival


Have more questions?

Please write to to ask any other questions you may have!

Contact Information

Operating Hours
All year: Monday - Sunday 08:00 – 18:00

Magdala (near present day Migdal) is located on the western coastline of the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) and at the eastern foothills of Mount Arbel. Read More

Migdal Junction, P.O. Box 366, 1495000 Migdal, Israel

+972 4 620 9900

Volunteer guided tours: or call 053-226-1469

Mass or Prayer service reservations: or call 053-444-6406

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