Nefesh b’Nefesh Passover Family Journey with JNF
Adam H. Brill 212-879-9305 x222 firstname.lastname@example.org
Nefesh B’Nefesh Passover Family Journey with JNF
Israel’s Most Recent Residents Get Glimpse of the
By: Rivkah Lambert Adler
During the recent Passover holiday, 300 English-speaking recent immigrants, or olim, who live in places like Beit Shemesh, Jerusalem and Modi’in, had a chance to experience life in Israeli cities they wouldn’t normally visit. The goal of the day, which was organized jointly by Jewish National Fund (JNF) and Nefesh B’Nefesh, was to offer a fun family trip while giving olim the chance to be exposed to both the resilience of Sderot and the beauty of the Negev.
Among their shared goals, Jewish National Fund’s strategic partnership with Nefesh b’Nefesh encourages olim to consider moving from the center of the country to the Negev or the Galil. In these relatively underpopulated regions of Israel, there are many untapped opportunities for building strong communities.
Two hundred olim started the day at JNF’s Indoor Recreation Center in Sderot. Through the lens of this JNF project, families learned more about the heartbeat of the city and what goes on in Sderot besides the rockets from Gaza.
With their seven children, ranging in age from four to 18, Daniella and Josh Rudoff of Beit Shemesh were among the group who visited the Rec Center. Daniella, who works as a marriage architect helping singles find their future spouses, was incredibly impressed with the facility JNF built in Sderot.
“The center was really amazing,” she said. “Our kids loved it and didn’t want to leave! There was rock climbing, basketball, air hockey, foosball and a completely stocked media/computer room. For the parents’ sake, there were baby swings in the cafeteria. It was a beautiful trip and we even got a free family portrait. One thing that impressed me was the flooring, which was soft enough to be safe for the kids to run around and play, but firm enough to provide safe footing if the sirens go off and kids have to run to the shelter.”
Another hundred olim started the day visiting the bullet factory at the Ayalon Institute in Rehovot. “The planning team worked hard to pick sites with Zionist meaning, that would entertain but also inspire the participating families,” related Meirav Atias who coordinated the logistics of the day on behalf of Nefesh b’Nefesh.
At the ammunitions factory, participants learned the incredible story of 45 kibbutz residents who worked for two years in total secrecy, eight feet underground, to manufacture 2.25 million bullets for use in Israel’s War of Independence.
Dovid and Tanya Stein of Ramat Beit Shemesh chose to visit the bullet factory with their three children, ages five, seven and nine. Dovid reflected that, “The visit made us feel a lot of pride to be part of the land of Israel and the Jewish people. We’re very glad we went.”
During the second half of the day, eight buses filled with all 300 olim, each sporting a specially designed hat provided by JNF, met at the Children’s Festival at the Be’er Sheva River Park, a 1,300 acre central park built by JNF. “People I talked with on the trip know Jerusalem, but never knew this existed just 1 ½ hours away,” said Alon Badihi, executive director, Israel Operations, JNF USA.
The trip positively impacted not only the North American participants, but participating staff as well. Said Badihi, “It was incredibly moving to see the families celebrating Passover in Sderot and the Be’er Sheva River Park. Providing them with this day was for me, as an Israeli citizen a way to say thank you to our brothers from North America who left a world behind them, choosing Israel as their new home.”
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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.
JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.
JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.
For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit www.jnf.org.