Jan 29, 2020  By Matt Franzblau  Category: Education,

At 36, I already know I want my legacy to involve Israel and JNF

The author, Matt Franzblau, in Israel.


As I stood across from the public notary who was about to stamp my document, I couldn’t help but get a little choked up. 
That's because this document was my last will and testament, and even though I am only 36 years old and in fairly good health, I felt it was important to make the declaration that when I leave this Earth, I will leave something for JNF.

I consider myself fortunate to be able to make this small yet significant gesture. After all, more than 70 years ago our brothers and sisters who perished in the Holocaust weren't able to do the same thing, nor did they have a state of Israel to leave anything for.

I would have never thought to do such a thing had it not been for a simple yet impactful presentation during a JNF board meeting. As young professionals, or Futures as we are called in the world of JNF, we often think about the future and what it will look like five to 10 years down the line, but rarely do we think farther than that, and most certainly not in regards to our own mortality.
The author speaking at a Jewish National Fund event.
That's why after Robin Dermer, Florida director of planned giving, spoke about the importance of this, I decided to sign a letter of declaration stating my intentions, and then make good on them less than a year later. 
Doing this made so much sense to me because not only is it a great way to secure the future needs of Israel, but it also helps us think about our own future needs. As we add invaluable components to our lives, such as spouses, children and grandchildren, our priorities change. But one priority that will never change is the one we put on creating a viable and sustainable homeland for future generations to enjoy. Creating this document enables us to do that while laying the framework and foundation of a work in progress that can be adjusted as we enter different stages of our lives. 
When one signs this letter of intent they automatically become a member of JNF's Gould Legacy Society, and while I wear that maroon ribbon proudly, it pales in comparison with the pride I have knowing one of my final acts on this Earth will be ensuring that the people of Israel will benefit from my decision to pay it forward, like previous generations have done before, l'dor v'dor. 
For more information on how to leave a legacy for other generations to benefit from through the Jewish National Fund, contact [email protected].
Matt Franzblau is chair of the JNFuture Broward Chapter and vice chair of communications for the JNFuture National Board.