Monthly News from JNF’s Advocacy & Education Department
The holidays are over and the school year is in full swing. At Jewish National Fund, we are busy training educators, recruiting for our Roots Israel trips and AMHSI sessions in Israel, and working with our lay leaders and you to bring fabulous Israel resources to your schools and communities. Tu BiShvat will be here before we know it and our materials are almost ready to go. How else can we help you? Drop us a line at [email protected] or give us a call and let us know what we can do. Our JNF Zionist Advocacy & Education department is here for YOU!
From the Field
Goodness Grows: Learning About Sukkot and Water
By Melissa Gettinger Weiner, Director of Education, Temple B’nai Abraham, Livingston, NJ
During Sukkot, families at Temple B'nai Abraham in Livingston, New Jersey gathered to explore the importance of water in Judaism. Grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, moms and dads, and lots of kids took part in science, craft, ritual, and cooking activities designed to explore the need for water in Israel and around the world.
Students learned how clouds make rain by guessing that when clouds are so full they will release the water, and why that is rare in Israel. They learned about the Amidah and the prayer for rain. They learned that ancient people might have considered the lulav a rain stick, and then made a lulav from a rain stick.
Additionally, students filtered dirty water to understand how Israel leads the world in waste-water filtering. Topping off the evening with edible sukkot and lulav shakes, fun art activities, and time with new Rabbi, David Vaisberg, made for a fun and informative Sukkot celebration! The evening was led by Melissa Weiner, Director of Jewish Learning and Arleen Lichtenstein, Special Project Coordinator, both participants of the JNF-USA’s Summer Educators Mission to the JNF-KKL World Educator's Conference in July 2019.
Florida Shlichim Meetup and Training
Thirty shlichim (emissaries) from throughout Florida joined us for an evening of training and camaraderie in late September. The evening provided an opportunity for shlichim to meet each other and learn about JNF and our work in Israel. We were thrilled to have participants from Hillel Israel Fellows, WZO Morim Shlichim, Bnot Sherut Le’umi, B’nai Akiva Shinshinim, Israel Scouts, Young Judaea, Garin Zabar, and IAC Mishelanu. In addition, representatives from Israeli House and special guest Silvio Joskowicz, Head of WZO’s Education department, attended. The meeting was opened by Dr. Roni Raab, Executive Director of JNF Southern Florida, and led by Zohar Vloski, KKL-JNF Israel Emissary. After dinner and some learning, our guest speaker, Kasa Bainesay Harbor, Israel Deputy Consul General in Florida, shared the story of her emigration to Israel from Ethiopia. Born in Ethiopia, Harbor and her family immigrated to Israel when she was ten years old. She assumed the role of Deputy Consul General in August 2019. Previously, she served as the Deputy Head of Mission at the Israeli Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand. We thank all the shlichim who joined us for the evening, and wish them much success in their work this year! Hine Ma Tov Uma Nayim, Shevet Achim Gam Yachad.
Here’s What We’re Watching This Month:
Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn't the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. She explains her theory of "grit" as a predictor of success in her Ted Talk.
What do you think about Angela’s ideas? Do you agree that ‘grit’ could be a predictor of success? Let us know your thoughts about this video or others you’re watching. Email [email protected].
Roots Israel: Service Learning Adventure
Do you know teens that are looking for a meaningful community service trip to Israel next summer? Roots Israel is designed for conscientious teens who are
excited by inspirational and hands-on work. They will earn community service hours, make new friends, and help to repair the world.
Meet Our Education Team
Jennifer Sosnow, Israel Programs Admissions Director, Desert States
Jennifer Sosnow joined JNF in May 2019 and currently serves as the Israel Programs Admissions Director for Arizona and Nevada. Before joining JNF Jennifer worked in global recruiting and human resources. She was a Momentum trip participant in 2017 which rekindled her love for the land of Israel. She also serves on the executive board for Gesher Disability Resources and is on her synagogue’s youth and education committee. Jennifer resides in Scottsdale with her husband and their 4 kids, 2 dogs and 1 cat. She can be reached at [email protected].
For more information on how you can get involved with Jewish National Fund, send us an email to [email protected] or give us a call at 212.879.9305, ext. 245.
Dvar Torah: Giving Thanks
By Doni Kandel, Israel Studies Educator, Alexander Muss High School in Israel
At the City of David, as I lead my students down a dark underground passageway through the streets of ancient Jerusalem, we often stop to marvel at the fact that the lessons of our forefathers are as relevant today as ever. One of the most important messages that can be taken away from this visit, one that is undoubtedly on all our minds as November rolls around, is the importance of giving thanks.
The climax of the visit to the City of David is undoubtedly the walk through King Hezekiah’s water tunnel. A few years after the conquering the Kingdom of Israel in the north in 722 BCE, the Assyrians, turned their eyes to Jerusalem to the south. They lied siege to the holy city and prepared for another resounding victory. Hezekiah, King of Judah, knew that Jerusalem would be vulnerable to infiltration through the city’s water tunnel system, which is exactly how King David had conquered it from the Jebusites hundreds of years prior. Thus, with no time to spare, he ordered the construction of a tunnel, that would bring the water system completely within the walls of the city, simultaneously securing Jerusalem’s water supply in addition to blocking access to infiltration.
While there is debate as to how the Assyrians failed to conquer Jerusalem, everyone agrees that they did in fact fail, and that Hezekiah’s water tunnel played a major part in saving the Jewish people.
When Jews want to show gratitude to G-d, they sing. When they successfully crossed the Red Sea after leaving Egypt, Moses and Miriam led them in song. When Deborah and Barak helped save the Jewish people from the Canaanites, the prophetess composed a beautiful song to G-d. When King David had defeated all of his surrounding enemies, he sang a song to Almighty.
Therefore, as I ready my students to walk through the tunnel that helped save the Jewish people, I tell them that they have a Jewish obligation to sing and dance their way through, in an epic (and really fun) burst of thanksgiving.
May we all have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and every other day of the year.
Know a great candidate for AMHSI-JNF? Interested in hosting an Information Session? Contact Rabbi Greg Litcofsky, National Director of Recruitment.
Generous AMHSI-JNF Grants Available!
For more information on how you can get involved with Jewish National Fund, send us an email at [email protected] or give us a call 212.879.9305 x245.