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This Spring Break Focus is on Green, Not Tan

Contact: Ariel Vered • JNF Communications Manager • 212-879-9305 ext. 227 •

Hundreds Participate on Jewish National Fund’s Service Trip

February 28, 2011 – New York, NY – For more than 300 college students and young professionals across the United States, ages 18-30, spring break won’t be about working on their tans; they’ve opted instead to volunteer for a week in Israel on Jewish National Fund’s (JNF) Alternative Spring Break (ASB). This year that will start with pitching in with reforestation efforts in the Carmel region devastated by December’s fire.

ASB has proven to be an extremely successful avenue for strengthening bonds between the State of Israel and the next generation of America’s Jewish leaders. As a natural follow-up to the Birthright Israel experience, the week-long community service trip has brought more than 1,000 participants to Israel over the past five years.

An incredible opportunity to do what they would not do on an ordinary trip, participants volunteer in myriad ways: from painting low-income housing projects to gleaning surplus harvests for needy families and creating urban community gardens for Ethiopian immigrants. ASB participants do it all. To appreciate the value of ASB’s contribution, consider this: a trip bus of 45 people can accomplish in one day what it would take a local farmer a month to do.

The trip nurtures an infectious enthusiasm amongst the trip participants. Participants from December's Alternative Winter Break trip returned home raving about what a rewarding experience they had in Israel.

“Through our hands-on work, I had the chance to explore and better understand the issues facing the deserts,” said Queens College Hillel Israel Programming Coordinator Rachel Barnehama. “I was made aware of environmental issues, met Ethiopian immigrants, and learned about the care Israel takes of the severely disabled. But the most fulfilling part was giving back to the land the same way the early pioneers did. Putting my hard work and sweat into the development of the land, I felt as if the land was truly my own.”

Eligibility includes raising a minimum of $975 using an easy online program to communicate by email with family and friends. Money raised goes towards JNF’s Blueprint Negev campaign to sustainably develop the Negev Desert and make it home to Israel’s next generation of pioneers. Once the fundraising minimum is met, the program is free, paid for by JNF donors and supported by the Repair the World Foundation.

Said Rutgers University student Aliza Tammam: “What an experience it was! In just one week I was able to give something back to the land of Israel that has given me so much. I would recommend the program to anyone and everyone who wants to have a life-changing experience in Israel.”

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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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