The history of Zionism is full of many different philosophies. Political, Social, and Labor.
Labor's idea was that the working of the land in agriculture was critical to Jewish self-sufficiency. When I lived in Israel for 4 months as an 18 year old, I spent 2 months working on a Moshav and much of that time was in the fields, doing all kinds of work.
It was tiring and hot, but it connects you to the land in a unique way.
Now, many years later, we volunteered to spend about an hour working for an organization called Leket Israel. [Check them out and donate!]
It was started when Joseph Gitler attended a wedding in Israel and noticed how much food was going to waste after the event was over.
He resolved to connect the leftover food with those who were needy.
From that simple act, it has grown to a nationwide organization that not only takes food that would otherwise be wasted to the poor, but also takes crops from specified fields or where the value is too low and donates it to people in need.
After only 1 hour in the sun, I couldn't help but think about the people who do this type of work all day every day, whether Arabs in Israel or Mexicans in California and I found a new sense of appreciation for their efforts.
I was also reconnected with the land of Israel, which has a special meaning for me.
But the most powerful moment of the day was when we were done and our host for the day told us, "you just picked enough peppers to feed 300 families."
That made us feel like our work had meaning.
If you go to Israel, please take some time to donate your labor. It will inspire you in ways that writing a check alone (though you should do that as well) never could.