Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:

We have raced past the half billion mark and are already at $510 million.  We really are showing strong momentum and, in particular, have seen significant increases at the $10,000 Presidents Society and $25,000 Negev Society divisions. Let’s keep up the great work and set an aggressive goal to raise an additional $30 million by the end of the campaign year!

I often hear from lay leaders about their discomfort to solicit family, friends, and business associates.  It is a challenge for sure, and I sometimes feel the same way. But over the years I have learned that one of my greatest assets as a lay leader is my own network of individuals with whom I am able to share my passion for Jewish National Fund and Israel.  Whether we host a parlor meeting with a JNF partner, fill a table at a JNF Breakfast or go out for coffee with someone to ask them to participate in the annual JNF fundraising campaign, as lay leaders we play a crucial role in raising the dollars necessary to achieve our vision for a strong Israel where all can enjoy the best possible quality of life.  Here is an old, but still relevant article from the Chronicle of Philanthropy with advice on how to approach friends to give.  It’s worth a few minutes of your time to read.



Shabbat Shalom from Israel!





Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign

D’Var Torah

By Yossi Kahana

This week’s parshat Emor charts a deceptively simple list of festivals and holy days.

Time plays an enormous role in Judaism. The first thing G-d declared holy was a day: Shabbat, at the conclusion of creation.

The first mitzvah given to the Jewish people as a whole, prior to the Exodus, was the command to sanctify time, by determining and applying the Jewish calendar. The prophets were the first to see G-d in history, seeing time itself as the arena of the Divine-human encounter. Virtually every other religion and civilization before and since has identified G-d, reality and truth with timelessness.

So time in Judaism is an essential medium of the spiritual life. But there is one feature of the Jewish approach to time that has received less attention than it should: the duality that runs through its entire temporal structure.

Take, for instance, the calendar as a whole. Christianity uses a solar calendar, Islam a lunar one. Judaism uses both. We count time both by the monthly cycle of the moon and the seasonal cycle of the sun.

Then consider the day. Days normally have one identifiable beginning, whether this is at nightfall or daybreak or—as in the West—somewhere between.

Why do Jewish holidays begin at nightfall?

This is based on the story of creation in Genesis, where at the end of each day it says, "And it was evening, and it was morning; day one," "And it was evening, and it was morning; the second day," etc... By mentioning evening before morning, the Torah defines a day as beginning with the evening, followed by the morning.

This definition of the passage of time is not only relevant to how we set up the calendar. It has profound implications as to our attitude to life itself. Everyone agrees that life is full of ups and downs. We go through periods where the sun is shining upon us and we feel on top of the world, only to turn a corner and be faced with difficulties and obstacles that drag us down. But it isn't long before something pleasant comes our way to pick us up again. The question is: which one wins the day, the ups or the downs? In other words, is life a series of disappointments dotted by the occasional glimmer of hope, only to be crushed by another surge of gloominess? Or are we on a journey upwards, with challenges along the way to make us even stronger in our quest for enlightenment?

Does darkness extinguish light, or does light conquer darkness? Does night follow day or day follow night?

The Jewish view is clear. "And it was evening, and it was morning." First the night, then the day. Darkness is a pathway to the sunrise hiding behind it. A challenge comes our way only to help us tap in to and reveal our inner powers that have until now remained unfathomed.

At Jewish National Fund, we have found one of the best ways to shine light on the real Israel is to bring people there to experience it firsthand. From the JNF Travel & Tours team and the wonderful trips they put together to the JNF partnership with Media Watch International to bring non-Jewish college students and professors to Israel, every single one of the thousands of people that JNF brings to Israel sheds a little more light on this dark world.

That's Jewish time—the comfort in knowing that no matter how dark it may seem, it is light that will have the last word.

Shabbat Shalom,


Jewish National Fund’s Alexander Muss High School in Israel

Alexander Muss High School in Israel staff spent the weekend at Global Education Benchmark Group’s annual conference in Cleveland, Ohio. We are thrilled to partner with this important association for private schools and secure our place as a premier college preparatory study abroad vendor for top caliber high school students. Dean of General Studies Rachelle Sevitt flew out from Israel to attend, along with National Director of Recruitment, Rabbi Greg Litcofsky. Our team reconnected with past partner schools and developed many new relationships with representatives from schools with whom we are exploring new opportunities. We are excited to continue to expand our reach beyond the Jewish community to find Jewish students who can benefit from our programs.

National Conference

Join Me In Phoenix at National Conference this October!


October 26 - 28, 2018


The Arizona Biltmore


You don't want to miss this powerful three-day event filled with inspiring moments, enlightening educational sessions, and motivating keynote speakers. Prices go up June 30! Register and view this year’s program (to date) at jnf.org/nc


$1 Billion Roadmap Zoom Call Recording

Please click here for a recording of yesterday’s Zoom Call update with Jewish National Fund President Dr. Sol Lizerbram.

Updates from Israel

Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Last week, the Arava Task Force visited Jewish National Fund partner Red Mountain Therapeutic Riding Center, where they participated in a mock special needs riding lesson. Each team member was blindfolded and guided through the riding arena. It was an inspiring and powerful way to enable them to understand the riding therapy experience.

Community of Entrepreneurs

Jewish National Fund is dedicated to building communities of entrepreneurs through NetGev Centers in Arad, Dimona, and Hura. Courses, workshops, and networking events for local entrepreneurs are held to teach new skills and create collaborations. Last week, NetGev Dimona hosted a workshop on Time Management for Entrepreneurs. Participants gained tools and tips for making every day as productive as possible.

Heritage Week in Israel

“Heritage Week” in Israel has arrived! Jewish National Fund partner Society for Preservation of Israeli Heritage Sites, the Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage, and the Israel Antiquities Authority are proud to host this special event at heritage sites around the country. From the Old City of Be’er Sheva, to Jerusalem, to Tel Aviv, all the way to the Galilee, heritage sites around the country will be offering special activities highlighting the importance of preservation and conservation, as we continue to build a stronger Israel. Pictured above, the Negev Museum of art in the Old City of Beersheba, one of the participating museums. It is located in a charming historic building that was the home of the Turkish governor during Ottoman rule.

Connecting to the Land

This week, elite forces connected to the land. Fifty commando fighters from the IAF Special Forces unit Shaldag stormed the lemon orchard of Farmer Omer Schwartz in Moshav Segula, near Kiryat Gat. Omer couldn’t find enough man power or working hands to pick the fruit, and they were rotting on the trees. He called on Jewish National Fund partner HaShomer HaChadash for help and he was answered by the commando unit, who picked 15 tons of lemons in just a few hours, saving Omer financially. Shlomo Lampert, Manager of the Agriculture Volunteering program at HaShomer HaChadash and former Shaldag commanding officer, led the group in discussion about the importance of agriculture in Israel, and made even these elite soldiers think about their connection to the land and what they are fighting for.