MTV News to Film JNF’s Alternative Spring Break Show to Air on March 24, 2007
Contact: Jodi Bodner • JNF Director of Communications • 212-879-9305 ext. 221 • email@example.com
February 23, 2007 -- New York, NY -- When the 205 participants signed up with Jewish National Fund to spend their spring breaks this year helping rebuild Israel’s northern forests instead of on a beach in Cancun, they did so because they wanted to give back and make a difference. Little did they know they were going to be movie stars. Well, almost.
On March 24 (check for local listing time) MTV News will air its second annual “The Amazing Break,” a 30-minute special highlighting college students who spend their vacation time volunteering for local or international causes. Divided into four segments, one part of the program will showcase JNF’s Alternative Spring Break. An MTV crew is traveling to Israel to film the first group (there are two) as they prune forests, paint bomb shelters, build parks, meet with the residents and foresters who endured last summer’s war, and have a great time.
"When MTV News learned about JNF's Alternative Spring Break in the north," said Andrew Millard, MTV News producer, "we immediately felt that it would be something our audience would want to see. Not only is it newsworthy but we thought it that it offered an interesting perspective on a very complicated part of the world."
JNF’s Alternative Spring Break aims to make the north home again and imprint the participants with a lasting connection to the Jewish State. Participants were responsible for fundraising a minimum of $800 forging a connection of a different sort. To date they have raised more than $200,000. All funds are going towards JNF's Operation Northern Renewal, a 10-year, $400 million campaign that is rebuilding and restoring the ecosystem and communities destroyed by rocket attacks.
Instead of sandy beaches -- the standard spring break fare -- participants will sift through burnt soil. Tans will be acquired but not by lolling in the sun; they'll be earned the hard way, through hours of work. Still, they will experience the time of their lives and create memories and a commitment to last a lifetime by getting their hands dirty rebuilding their homeland.
As a result of this effort, guest houses across the region -- now suffering terrible economic losses from the war -- will be full, forests cleared and replanted, environmental clean-up provided, bomb shelters refurbished, attention paid to the needy population, and parks and recreation sites used by northern residents rebuilt.
This trip will be JNF’s second annual Alternative Spring Break connecting college students to the land and the people of Israel by working in projects benefiting communities. During the inaugural trip last year, students spent time in the Negev and experienced what the early pioneers of Israel experienced: building the land of Israel.
Now, more than 200 students will have the opportunity to perpetuate the legacy of their ancestors. “Our great-grandparents planted these forests,” said Ben Sack, who participated in last year’s Alternative Spring Break and is a senior at the University of Central Florida. “Then what took two generations to mature, was destroyed in a matter of weeks. Now it’s up to my generation to rebuild it. We are the fourth generation of Israel’s builders and our participation is as important today as it was 60-70 years ago.
“As a past participant in JNF’s Alternative Spring Break, I saw first-hand the absolute necessity of developing Israel,” he said. “Now, with this current crisis, that need has grown exponentially. JNF’s Spring Break in the north will help Israel achieve its needs for safety, security and prosperity.”
“The Amazing Break” proves that vacation can be fulfilling and so much fun at the same time. Tune in on March 24.
For more information, visit the website at http://support.jnf.org/ or call Rebecca Kahn at 212-879-9305 ext. 248.
Caption: On last year's Alternative Spring Break, students worked the land and helped build infrastructure in Negev communities.
# # #
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.