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Colorado Family Travels en Masse to Dedicate Reservoir in Israel

Enjoys the Simcha of Celebrating Israel as One

Contact: Jodi Bodner • JNF Director of Communications • 212-879-9305 ext. 221•

Pr gordon missionMay 3, 2006 -- For months before real estate developer Sam Gordon passed away 10 years ago, the extended Gordon family had been trying to put together a trip to Israel. One decade and a million dollar reservoir later, they finally succeeded.

From March 24-31, 19 Gordon family members from Colorado and California, led by matriarch Anita Gordon, a Boulder, CO resident, traversed the country as a unit, took in the sites, experienced the legacy Sam left them, but most importantly, dedicated a reservoir in Sam’s memory. A whirlwind trip, it “united them like no other simcha can,” said Debbie Stovall, a Colorado Springs resident and one of five Gordon offspring. “This was a different kind of family reunion. This was the simcha of celebrating Israel. To share that experience as a family unit was profound.”

The reservoir at Kibbutz Nitzanim near Ashkelon is a Jewish National Fund project funded by the Gordons. To date, JNF has built 180 recycled water reservoirs with a total storage capacity of 34 billion gallons—increasing Israel’s national water capacity by almost eight percent and providing for the water supply of 1.2 million people. JNF has committed to building another 50 reservoirs and water treatment plants over the next five years. The Gordon family trip was a personalized JNF mission and they were escorted by Sherri Morr, JNF Western States Zone Director.

The Gordon reservoir has a capacity of 158 million gallons and covers an area of 27 acres. The water is used to irrigate crops at Kibbutz Nitzanim -- 175 acres of citrus groves and 1,000 acres of field crops.

“We got to hear from some kibbutz members at the dedication,” said Stovall. “They spoke about how connected they are to the kibbutz and how water is their blood. Seeing and hearing firsthand about how this reservoir benefits them on a daily basis, really gave our efforts life. My kids got to see how what we do today can positively affect the generations. It really put meaning into the world beyond our own backyard.”

Born in Lithuania, Sam Gordon immigrated to Palestine at the age of four. His family moved to the States when he was in high school but not before his Zionistic roots were cemented and he was committed to developing the land of Israel. He enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II and while stationed in Germany met his future wife. The two raised a family of five and a growing brood of grandchildren.

“It was always my father’s dream that his children and grandchildren feel about Israel the way he did,” said Stovall. “It was his wish that we continue to donate large monies to Israel through JNF. When this opportunity presented itself we thought it was a wonderful way to honor him and help the country. It just fit in so well with his vision.”

The Gordon family has been a long-time supporter of JNF. This was their largest contribution to date.

“The dedication of the reservoir,” said 16-year-old Juliana Stovall, “connected me to Israel through previous generations of my family. I now know it is my job to continue these contributions. It taught me that I personally play a role in shaping Israel and I hope to support her through JNF in the future.”

“This trip and this dedication afforded us a glimpse of life here both historically and presently,” said Mickey Gordon, Anita’s son and a Colorado resident. “It has been and continues to be a struggle for Israel to survive and grow. But the people here are unique, passionate, and obviously love their home. Seeing how a project like this helps them was extremely meaningful and makes them real.”

JNF reservoirs hold large quantities of recycled wastewater and collect flood and runoff water as well as purifying treated sewage to a higher degree than that of municipal and regional treatment plants.This water is suitable for irrigation and agriculture—providing the water essential to sustaining Israel’s agriculture, and saving fresh water for human consumption. JNF research on the uses of recycled water, as well as the continued building of reservoirs all over the country, are an immediate solution to alleviating Israel’s water predicament and are an integral part of its plans for supplying water over the long term.

Caption: Anita Gordon (far left) and 18 of her offspring at the dedication of the Gordon Family Reservoir at Kibbutz Nitzanim near Ashkelon, during their JNF family mission to Israel, March 24 -31.

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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


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