Of the hundreds of e-mails we receive every day at Chabad.org, many are from adventuresome, idealistic young men and women seeking to work at a Chabad house in an exotic location.

We imagine the writers to be young men or women hoping for a They must need volunteers, no? reply that will provide them with an airfare and meaningful work. After all, Chabad has thousands of branches all over the world. Surely, one of them can use a baker, assistant teacher or at least a babysitter. They must need volunteers, no? It seems simple enough.

Unfortunately, our answer is almost always in the negative. Every Chabad center is responsible for its own activities, including recruiting its own staff. If the Chabad emissary in Thailand needs a chef, he will probably search for one from among his own network of associates. It’s very likely that he will not turn to headquarters to help find a candidate (although some emissaries do). The best way to find work in a Chabad House is to apply directly to the emissary there.

Ladies and gentlemen, we can’t offer you any work. But we won’t send you away empty-handed.

Many of you write, “This is holy work.” You’re willing to share the burden of ensuring the future of the Jewish people. You’re concerned about the assimilation statistics and the very real difficulties facing the Jewish people in the 21st century. You see Chabad emissaries going to far-flung places to help every Jew, no matter where he is, and you’re so impressed that you want to join them.

Here is some encouraging news:

You don’t have to put on a black hat or a wig to join Chabad’s activities. You don’t even have to declare yourself to be a Lubavitcher chassid. All you need is a good Jewish heart.

Before running off to foreign lands, sit down and think:

Are there Jews in my area who would be interested in learning about Judaism, about the weekly Torah portion, or about Jewish mysticism?

Is there a family in the neighborhood that would appreciate a Friday night meal invitation?

Are there children in my neighborhood who would be able to join in some organized Jewish activities every Shabbat?

If you can answer one of these questions in the affirmative, then there’s ample room in your city for Chabad activities. The thirst is there, the need is great—and you need to get moving.

Whether you’re married or single, a young parent or a grandparent, you can find a way to help other Jews in your city. Don’t be embarrassed to invite a family you don’t know to your Shabbat table, and don’t hesitate to start a weekly Torah class, even if you’re not a rabbi or a rebbetzin.

You can find a way to help Jews in your city

Thank G‑d, the Internet can supply plenty of material. Our site can provide you with information on how to conduct a Shabbat meal (including the text of Kiddush), articles about the weekly Torah portion, stories and more. But you have to take the initiative. Decide on a project that feels right and get going!

We wish you much success, and of course we’re always happy to help.

If you would like to help your nearest Chabad emissaries, you can locate them here.