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JNF’s Family Fun Fair Celebrates Tu B’Shevat

Proceeds to Help Build Yahel Park in Negev Desert

Contact: Alesa Silver • JNF Campaign Executive • 248-324-3080 •

December 28, 2006 -- Detroit, MI -- When can celebrating trees in Detroit help build a park in Israel’s Negev Desert? When Jewish National Fund (JNF) hosts a local Tu B’Shevat event and the proceeds go to help build Yahel Park in the Negev’s Arava Valley.

On Sunday, February 11, from 2-5 p.m.,JNF will host a Family Fun Fair to celebrate Tu B’Shevat. Open to the public, this community-wide event will feature a concert by world-renowned singer Craig Taubman, a sampling of Israeli food, and interactive,and educational activities and games designed for kids to learn about Tu B’Shevat, Israel,and JNF.

Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year for Trees, falls on the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month of Shevat and marks the time when trees begin to drink in the rainfall of the new year. It is a celebration of spring’s rebirth and renewal, and an appreciation of the interconnectedness of man and nature. 

The Reform movement of Southeast Michigan underook the Yahel Park project together with JNF but just like the park will be enjoyed by all, everyone is encouraged to participate in the Family Fun Fair. Yahel was the first Reform kibbutz established by the movement 30 years ago. Located approximately 65 kilometers north of Eilat, Yahel is a community of nearly 200 residents in the center of the harsh Arava Desert Valley. Its agricultural achievements are impressive, including the largest date plantation in the region, a high yielding pomello orchard, and a successful dairy herd. The bed-and-breakfast tourism enterprise is another important source of income.

Kibbutz Yahel, in partnership with JNF, has developed plans to create a recreational/educational park to serve travelers driving to and from Eilat and the Sinai all year round. The Yahel Park will be a boon to the existing tourist business, attract new residents and provide opportunities for employment that have been severely lacking at Yahel.

The park will demonstrate one of the central themes of JNF’s work in the desert -- water conservation and development. The anchor of the park will be a reservoir surrounded by date palms to provide shade and the feeling of a desert oasis.

Visitors to the park will find walking paths, a lookout tower providing a view of the Arava Valley, playground facilities, gardens, a farmers market, restaurant/coffee bar and a motion-based ride where the participant will experience the wonder, exhilaration and dangers of desert flash floods, while learning about the secret of survival in the desert. Finally, a motorized tour will provide an insight into the amazing successes in agriculture in this harsh and forbidding environment.

The Family Fun Fair will be held at Temple Israel, 5725 Walnut Lake Rd. in West Bloomfield. Entrance fee is $5 per person; free admittance for children under 5. RSVP by February 4 for a chance to win a $1,000 Hiller’s Markets shopping spree. RSVP to 248-324-3080 or

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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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