JNF's Alternative Service Program Wins National Award
Contact: Rebecca Kahn • JNF Campus Programs Manager • 212-879-9305 ext. 248 • firstname.lastname@example.org
May 26, 2009 -- New York, NY -- The Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) announced on Thursday that Jewish National Fund’s (JNF) Alternative Winter Break program (AWB): "Greeks Build Israel" won the ICC’s Outstanding Collaborative Project award.
This award is given to an ICC member organization for a project that required collaboration to significantly impact Israel's standing on campus.
Created in 2002, the ICC has 34 member organizations; the award winners are chosen by its members.
“We do this,” said Raina Goldberg, ICC associate director, “to recognize and encourage further collaboration, and broaden awareness of the breadth of Israel education and advocacy initiatives that exist on campuses today.”
An outgrowth of JNF’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB), which has taken more than 737 college students and young professionals to Israel for a week of community service projects, AWB was launched this past winter. In addition to partnering with Chabad on Campus and National Ramah Commission, JNF partnered with the ICC and fraternities and sororities ZBT, AEPi, AEPhi, and SAM to recruit 40 Jewish students to participate in a one week community service trip to Israel. These organizations worked closely together to promote, recruit and prepare the participants for the program. The collaboration also included the follow-up with the participants, to encourage them to share their experiences with others. As a result, participants have brought the message back to campus by writing articles for campus and local papers, hosting events, and becoming active Israel advocates in their fraternities, sororities, and on their campuses at large.
“Instead of rush week or frat parties, our trip focused on repainting, landscaping, and renovations,” wrote Aviva Bortniker of Cornell University and a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi in her published essay on her AWB experience. “Instead of bathing suits or tourist attractions, our daily routines required work gloves, sturdy shoes, and paint-spattered work clothes. JNF’s AWB trip was truly a mission that served Israel and its people, while enabling young American Jews to demonstrate their strong support of Israel with tangible actions. I believe that the JNF programs manifest the Zionist ideals of Israel’s founders, and make them relevant in the present day.”
To facilitate the trip, JNF coordinated the website, marketing materials and Israel logistics while the other organizations focused on recruitment and pre-trip communication with the participants. Students had to raise a minimum of $950 for JNF’s Indoor Recreational Center in Sderot, a 21,000 square-foot state-of-the-art secure indoor recreation center for the children of Sderot. Participants raised a total of $42,048. JNF donors sponsored the trip costs.
Once back on campus, in addition to writing and speaking to groups about their experiences, students have organized pro-Israel rallies and parties, coordinated Jewish holiday and commemorative day programs and events, begun conversations on environmental work in Israel, lobbied members of Congress in support of Israel, raised more money for the Sderot recreation center through contests, and participated in bigger numbers than before in Jewish campus programs.
A mere four years after its inception, the ASB and AWB numbers look very promising.
1. To date, JNF has sent 737 people to work the land in Israel on ASB and AWB trips, and
“This award is especially meaningful,” said Rebecca Kahn, JNF’s campus programs manager, “because it is bestowed by peers and acknowledges that they see this program is really making a difference.”
Last year’s recipient of the Outstanding Collaborative Project award was given to AEP and Masa for their 2008 Israel@60 celebrations.
For more information on ASB and AWB trips, go to www.jnf.org/asb. If you are interested in helping JNF continue to bring this program to young adults, contact Rebecca Kahn at email@example.com or 212-879-9305 ext. 248.
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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.