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Scientology Volunteers of Tel Aviv: On the Pulse of the Community’s Needs Through the Long and Debilitating Pandemic

As the calendar inches toward the first anniversary of COVID-19, an event no one will celebrate, and Israel continues to grapple with its third wave, Volunteers from the Scientology Center of Tel Aviv continue their attentive and cheerful response no matter the need.

There is a Jewish proverb: “A little bit of light pushes away a lot of darkness.” The past 11 months since the pandemic began has brought home the truth of this saying to the many volunteers of the Scientology Center in Tel Aviv.

When the pandemic began, the Center reached out to welfare agencies, private charities and WhatsApp groups to find out and deliver what was needed and wanted. The work is not heroic, it’s simply help, they say. Here is an overview of one recent week’s activities.

When a call came in from the Tel Aviv Welfare Department, one of the volunteers responded by distributing food to three families in the south of the city. Other volunteers delivered food to five families for the sabath on behalf of a Jaffa-based ultra-Orthodox association.

That same week, Bat-Yam Municipality arranged for two computers for at-risk youth to be able to study from home. They needed another one for a prison reform service. Could the volunteers help? Volunteers delivered the first two computers to the youth group and an executive of the Scientology Center arranged for the donation of a third one which they brought the following day, along with blankets, to the Tel Aviv office of the national Prison Reform Authority. Throughout the pandemic the volunteers have been working with that office to see to the welfare of prisoners’ families, many of them low-income single mothers and at-risk children.

The following day, three teams of Scientology volunteers distributed food to some 20 families. Others answered the request of the Israeli Solidarity Association and bought and delivered groceries to elderly residents. 

And the week continued with teams taking food to 12 families for the Tel-Aviv Municipality Welfare Department. Volunters picked up fruit baskets from the Bat Yam Young Volunteers Club and brought them to families in isolation. 

And, as they have throughout the pandemic, four teams of volunteers provided food to 40 families while another team picked up food for 20 families from two restaurants and delivered it to a local charity.

None of the work is dramatic or romantic. All of it is needed. And the volunteers are famous for carrying out these tasks with respect and a cheerful attitude.

The volunteers are headquartered at the Center of Scientology Israel, dedicated in 2012 by Mr. David Miscavige, ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion. 

They are trained in the technology of the Volunteer Ministers program, a religious social service created in the mid-1970s by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard

A Volunteer Minister’s mandate is to be “a person who helps his fellow man on a volunteer basis by restoring purpose, truth and spiritual values to the lives of others.” Their creed: “A Volunteer Minister does not shut his eyes to the pain, evil and injustice of existence. Rather, he is trained to handle these things and help others achieve relief from them and new personal strength as well.”

The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.

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