Arriving in Israel on the Caravan Mission

By Alexandria Wiggins on January 2, 2013
Caravan for Democracy | January 1, 2013

I have been fascinated with the country of Israel since about the 8th grade. From having a best friend who was Jewish, participating in a leadership program for African-American and Jewish high school students, and doing an extensive project on the Arab-Israeli conflict in 11th grade, I have literally dreamed about visiting this place. Everyone I know who has visited – no matter what race, religion, or ethnicity – has felt a connection to the country and the wonders it has to offer. So when I woke up December 31st, I was beyond excited to experience all the excitement... Read more.

The Beginning of Alternative Winter Break, Bus 3

By Elaine Lampert on January 2, 2013
Alternative Winter Break | January 1, 2013

I signed up for JNF AWB because I was looking for something fun and meaningful to do this winter break.  This trip is turning out to be just that.

We arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport Sunday evening.  Most of us slept for some of the flight.  I enjoyed getting to know the people sitting near me before and after I slept.  We went through customs, claimed luggage, and were greeted by Michal, our Israeli guide, and Gabe, who works for Shorashim and is supervising our trip.  We then went to the buses, got our cell phones and exchanged for shekel,... Read more.

Go. Go Now.

By Miriam Maer and Lee Taylor on March 12, 2012
JNF L'Dor V'Dor Mission | February 2012

There are no words.  Suffice it to say that thanks to JNF, Stacy Wasserman, and the Foundation of Jesse Simon, we experienced the tour of a lifetime.

Israel is truly a land of tragedy and inspiration.  The history of the Jews is on display from Abraham to Ben Gurion to the brave and creative youth of today.  So much is ancient and yet so much depends on the current generation.

We can imagine the pioneer spirit of the Old West in the US, only to be dwarfed by the same spirit in Israel today as if on... Read more.

A Day at Yad Sarah and Leket

By Paige Erlich on January 23, 2012
Alternative Break 2012 | January 2012

Today was a long day! We started off at Yad Sarah in Jerusalem, a medical resource center for the elderly. My group spent the morning sorting bed parts so they could easily be turned into needed beds. We then drove to a nice picnic area in the park for lunch and then headed to a field near Kfar

Paige and her friends pick clementines with Leket

Schiller to pick clementines for an organization called Leket, which helps provide food for poor families. I actually did the... Read more.

Morgan Pressel's Mission Trip to Israel

By Morgan Pressel on December 15, 2011
| December 2011

This off season, American professional golfer Morgan Pressel visited Israel on a trip that included a visit to JNF's 9/11 Living Memorial, planting a tree at the Harvey Hertz Ceremonial Tree Planting Center at Neot Kedumim, as well as a tour of Independence Hall. Here is an excerpt from Pressel's own blog, as well as some photos from her trip:

Pressel plants a tree at Neot Kedumim.
Click to enlarge

"Then we drove to the 9/11 Living Memorial, which was quite moving. While the Holocaust was a catastrophic... Read more.

Inspiring, to say the Least

By Helene Blumenfeld on November 21, 2011
Israel Express Mission | October 2011

This was just one day of our 10 fabulous days with JNF. This bridge is in the new Be'er Sheva River Park. Fifteen years ago, [my huband] Alan brought me the architectural plans and I thought it was just a huge dream; some dreams are meant to become a reality. This park, upon completion, will revitalize the entire city of Be'er Sheva, bring much needed employment to the area, and will open up the Negev as a destination for 250,000 families to come and live. This bridge is a walking bridge and connects the park with the city. [You... Read more.

The Trip that Took Me

By Sarah Cahners Hindman on August 11, 2011
Alternative Winter Break | January 2008

Growing up, the most difficult part of being Jewish was not the fact that I was the only Jew in my group of friends, or that I had to tell my soccer coach I would not be making our last game because it was on Yom Kippur. Instead, the most challenging part of my Jewish childhood was staying completely silent in my room until 1:00pm on Sundays so that my mother would lose track of the time and forget that I should be in Hebrew School.

For me, Hebrew School doused the flickering flames of my Jewish fervor. I felt more... Read more.

What is JLIM, you ask?

By Alex Schuman on August 10, 2011
JNFuture Leadership Institute Mission | July 2011

 JLIM stands for JNFuture Leadership Institute Mission, and just last week, I returned from JNF’s first ever JLIM trip. As the youngest member of this mission, I was a little star struck traveling side-by-side with JNF CEO Russell Robinson and JNF Pillar & Mentor Bruce Gould. Each day on our journey was jam-packed with stops and visits to Israel’s most innovative and promising companies. From meeting with the Mayor of Be’er Sheva and seeing vegetables grow in miles of sand, to shooting hoops at the Sderot Indoor... Read more.

PYW Allowed Me to Make the Best Memories of my Life

By Brittany Kahn on June 13, 2011
Plant Your Way/Alexander Muss High School in Israel |

I recently returned from an incredible trip to Israel where I lived and attended school for two months.  The program is called the Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI), an intensive program for US high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors.   Students spend many hours a day studying for CORE, a difficult but rewarding class in which 4000 years of Jewish and Israeli history is taught.  Students are tutored for their American classes, such as math, science, and foreign language, in order to stay up to date with their US based studies.  On the day that I found out about this program, I was... Read more.

Ever heard of JNF?

By Melinda Boyd, MPH, RD on May 20, 2011
| May 2011

Ever heard of JNF?  This stands for Jewish National Fund and they are a large organization raising money and funding projects to help the Israelis have a better life.  A major part of their efforts, other than planting trees in Israel, would be helping develop the Negev so people can live there comfortably.  They said something like 70% of Israel's land in dessert, mostly in the Negev, and only 9% of the population live there.
I will get to why JNF gave... Read more.

Thank You, Ben Guttman

By Lauren Mescon on April 5, 2011
Makor Mission | February 2011

Nofei Prat is a beautiful neighborhood situated outside of Jerusalem, in what we would consider a suburb.

It is a neighborhood of about 700 with 70% children sitting on a hill between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. It is the place where Jeremiah walked 2700 years ago. It is a place Jews have long called home.  To the west is the Judean desert, 20 kilometers away the Dead Sea and 5 kilometers away you can see Jerusalem. It is a place located in an area in the West Bank that its residents believe will remain a part of Israel.

This is a unique community that was started by... Read more.

You're Going WHERE?!

By Naomi Stanway on March 30, 2011
Alternative Spring Break | March 2011

“You’re going where for spring break?” asked the cashier, as he was ringing up my new suitcase. ‘I’m going to Israel, with a non-profit organization to do different work projects’ was my standard answer. ‘Is that safe?’ was the typical response.  Yes, I would answer, it’s safe. Sure, there are parts of Israel I’m going to avoid, but let’s be honest; there are parts of New Jersey I stay away from too.

This was the dialogue I engaged in before my trip on JNF’s Alternate Spring Break. Professors, coworkers, and strangers all responded with the same question: why would you spend your... Read more.

The Kibbutz Atop the Mountain

By Lauren Mescon on March 15, 2011
Makor Mission | February 2011

The burn is on both sides  of us as we drive through the forest on the paved roads.  A beautiful makeshift memorial to those that lost their lives is on the curve where the bus was caught by the fires, where they crossed the road on foot trying to escape the fires.  The path the fire chose leaves green forest and trees in a puzzle pattern among the destruction and there is a stark beauty in the anemones as they bloom out of the ash.

Kibbutz Beit Oren began in 1935.  As the only kibbutz in the area, the kibbutz suffered from... Read more.

In the Aftermath of the Fire

By Dr. Melinda Wolf on February 28, 2011
| January 2011

In the aftermath of the largest fire in Israel's history, I wanted to experience firsthand, the ravages to the Carmel Forest, and understand what must happen in order to renew and rebuild it. In January, I spent an unforgettable day with two special men who are both intimately connected to the land, in their work and their souls. Their names are Philip Yosef Zenou and Salman Abu Rukun. Philip is an organic farmer in the village of Klil, and is dedicated to restoring the trees and plants indigenous to the... Read more.

A Day on Yossi's Farm

By Ariel Poser on February 8, 2011
JNF- UMD/Binghamton Alternative Winter Break 2011 | January 2011

Wednesday January 12th: Day 3

Once again we got up, had breakfast and got on the bus. Our first service area of the day was Kerem Behar Hanegev, also referred to as Yossi’s farm.  When we got to the farm we sat in the guest area and waited for Yossi to arrive. Yossi is the owner of the farm, as soon as he arrived he told us his story about how he after he served in the army for many years we came to the Negev to pursue his dream of owning and... Read more.

Elevating Ourselves as Jews

By Sarah Coleman on February 1, 2011
JNF-Ramah Alternative Winter Break | January 2011

 A few sentences are not enough to summarize my experience on the Ramah/JNF trip, nor is one trip to Israel a complete picture of this beautiful country. This trip was truly eye opening and helped me to see Israel in a new light. My past few trips have been more touristy; I merely touched the surface and experienced the “Kodak moments.”  This time, I saw Israel as an intricate, multi-faceted country with an expansive network and community. Israel is one of the most culturally diverse, technologically advanced, spiritual and politically controversial countries in the world. It is also founded upon... Read more.

Welcome to the Travel to Israel Blog!

By Russell F. Robinson on January 28, 2011
Chief Executive Officer | Jewish National Fund

Dear Fellow JNF Supporters,

Welcome to our brand new Travel to Israel Blog! Each year, JNF sends over 400 students to Israel to do community service through our Alternative Winter and Spring Break trips, as well as thousands of travelers of all ages on dozens of missions and tours. This blog will be a place for you to learn first hand about each one of their travels; it will be written entirely by the trip participants themselves, a true first-person account of the excitement and emotion that come with traveling to Israel. We hope that you will continue to... Read more.

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