Jan 29, 2021  By Deb Rochford  Category: Travel,

Why I dedicated my life to Israel even before I visited it

Everyone has a road. A road to Jewish National Fund. My road was the sale of my business and too much time off.

During my tenure, I built a 6-foot garden and grew tomatoes, onions, peppers, strawberries, onions, and herbs. I became an exercise fanatic and did back-to-back yoga and spin classes. I needed to blast out my energy every day and I did it by digging in the soil, ruining my nails, multiple downward dogs, and spinning at a cadence so fast I blew out my knee and then threw out my back. I was physically damaged. I needed a mission I could sink my teeth into and not my knees or my back. I needed passion.

Fast forward to the Phoenix Symphony luncheon. I put on a dress, high boots, and fabulous jewelry. I was sitting with prominent philanthropists, sipping champagne and chatting with society women. Of course the Q & A began and the question arose, "What are you doing now?” I smiled, perked up and replied, "I am ready to jump back in. If you have any ideas I am ready." I exhaled slowly and was relieved. I was indeed ready!

I walked out of the luncheon and searched the parking garage for 30 minutes for my car in my 4-inch-heels. During my journey, my cell phone rang. It was one of the fancy philanthropists. “I have a job for you. Call this gentleman and use my name.”

And then my Jewish National Story began. My supply of physical energy would be transferred from a yoga mat and stationary bicycle to Israel. It's pretty incredible that I began fundraising for Israel even before I had visited. But I just knew it would feel like home even before I arrived. And here I am, right at home at JNF, and in Israel. And my back and knees are so grateful I found a new passion.