Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:



$571 Million and counting toward our $1 Billion goal. End of year donations were robust and have kept our 2019 annual campaign moving at a strong clip. We have already closed 100 more major gifts compared to the same time last year. Let’s keep up the great work. Now that we have completed our first fiscal quarter, it’s a good time for your local leadership team to do a progress assessment toward your local goal. Because Q1 is our strongest quarter, you should actually be at about 35% to be on track to reach your annual goal by September 30, the close of our campaign year. 



Now that our second fiscal quarter has begun, we will soon start our campaign focused on $1,000 and over donors, a critical segment of our donor base. Our long-term goal is to grow our donor base from 4,000 giving $1,000 or more to 10,000 annual gifts at this level. That is a recipe for an annual sustainable campaign of $100 Million! Our national General Campaign Chairs, the two “Bobs,” Bob Cohan from Boston and Bob Weiss from Brooklyn, NY, are leading this national effort.  Let’s get our local leadership teams organized to support the effort to identify new prospects and review lists of donors giving lower levels who should be approached for a first time gift of $1,000 or more.  If you have not already done so, please identify a local chair who will represent your community on national progress calls and who will lead the charge in your community.



REMINDER!!! Next week is our Lay Leader Training Seminar. Join us on Wednesday, January 16 at 12 Noon eastern with the topic: JNF Organizational Overview and Financial Structure. JNF CFO Mitch Rosenzweig and Treasurer Andy Klein will take us through everything from our sources of revenue and expenses to our distributions in Israel for JNF’s visionary projects and programs in Israel. To register and receive the link for the Zoom meeting, please Register Now



LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER for our annual Winter Connection brunch in sunny Florida next Friday, January 18. We will have more than 1,200 people attend. Attendance has grown so much we have moved to a new facility at the Boca Raton Resort and Club.  Click here for more information and for online registration. The focus of Winter Connection is to get our snowbirds to fill tables with their friends from their home community in the north. I’d love to see more tables this year from Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Baltimore/DC, as well as many tables from the New York and New Jersey area. For major donors, there will also be a special dinner Thursday evening, January 17.  More information is on the online invitation.



Please join us in Las Vegas for our annual Major Donor Weekend April 5 – 8 at the Four Seasons Hotel. Many fun and interesting programs are planned, including a wonderful Shabbat Dinner with JNFuture leaders from around the country, VIP tickets to the Cirque du Soleil show Mystere, a visit to the MOB Museum and a book signing with former mobster Myron Sugarman, author of The Chronicles of the Last Jewish Gangster. You are also invited to attend an open meeting of JNF’s National Board of Directors on Monday morning, April 8th.  To register for the weekend, go to jnf.org/majordonorweekend


Shabbat Shalom!





Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign

IsraelCast Update


This week on IsraelCast, we welcome Rabbi Ari Lamm, one of the great, young thought-leaders of our time. Don’t miss this dynamic conversation with host Steven Shalowitz! Listen here.

Speakers Bureau Update


The latest edition of the Speakers Bureau newsletter is now available! Read here for updates on upcoming partner visits, featured speakers, and Makor assignments.

Alexander Muss High School in Israel


Our December Mini-mester students headed south this week, spending time in Halutza and Sderot and visiting Jewish National Fund partners and projects. In addition to learning about and seeing firsthand modern Israel and the challenges that come with life on the border, they picked onions at Halutza’s organic farm and played with the youngsters at Sderot’s Indoor playground.

Travel & Tours Update


See firsthand the impact your commitment has on Israel on this exclusive travel opportunity for Jewish National Fund leaders on the next President’s Mission, May 19 to 23, 2019. Learn more.

Updates from Israel

Volunteering and Connecting with the Land

This week, former Jewish National Fund professional and donor Arielle Levy volunteered for a week with partner HaShomer HaChadash. She wrote, “With extreme gratitude to HaShomer HaChadash, I had the time of my life volunteering at a farm in southern Israel along the border of Egypt pruning pomegranate trees. I reached out to them looking for a farm to volunteer on as I wanted a "pioneer" experience and I can't even express how much my week of manual labor far exceeded my expectations in the best possible way. Do know it'll be a somewhat rugged time living on a farm (of course dependent on what you're used to), but it's worth every single moment. They have relationships with farms all over Israel, so share with them what you are looking for and they will not disappoint in the connection they make between you and a farm/farmer. I was only able to stay around 5 days this time, but can't wait to return again for a longer stay in the future. Not only did I work the land, but I learned many life lessons and how to cook for 10+ people, met incredible individuals from all over the world and gained new appreciation for the desert, which I didn't even think was possible. HaShomer HaChadash was attentive to my wants and needs and were excellent to work with. They have a superstar team! Come volunteer in Israel and trust HaShomer HaChadash to make it happen.”

A Milestone Year at the Atlit Information Center

2018 is over and the numbers are in: Atlit Information Center ended the year with 124,020 names in Information Center’s Database of Ma’apilim (Clandestine Immigrants) who risked everything to leave Europe and the horrors of the Shoah to come to Eretz Israel. After adding 13,028 names in 2018, the Information Center only needs 6,000 more to names to the database for all 130,000 Ma'apilim. While this is an important milestone for the Information Center, there is still much more work to be done to documents the stories of these immigrants. This year, the Information Center also completed over 150 video testimonials this year in its mission to document the stories of the Ma’apilim before it’s too late. Like many Ma’apilim who made the journey when they were children, one woman named Shira Levine was too young to remember this important part of her experience. This year, with help from the Atlit Information Center, she was able to discover the story of her own journey to Israel and piece together the missing parts of her history.

The Desert is Blooming

This week, good rain fell in the Halutza communities, and anemones and other flowers started to bloom. This was a welcome sight, as residents had been concerned that the flowers had been destroyed by this summer’s fires. In honor of this milestone, artists from the bomb shelter painting project painted flowers on some of the shelters. From every challenge, we come out stronger!

Special in the IDF


Jewish National Fund partner Special in Uniform had a great year of opportunities, inclusion, training, achievements and much more  but most importantly, a year filled with countless smiles and pride.  

D’Var Torah

This week, in Parashat Bo, Pharaoh still remains stubborn, so G‑d will bring one final plague upon him and his people. But before that, G‑d gives the Jews some important things to do. In fact, the Jews now get their very first mitzvah—a special commandment from G‑d. Eventually, the Jews receive many mitzvot, but this first one establishes that special connection. In this mitzvah, the Jews are commanded to set up a calendar based on the cycle of the moon. And this is the same Jewish calendar that we use today, over 3,000 years later! Next the Jews must each bring a sacrifice of a goat or a lamb and brush the blood on to their doorposts. This way, when the final plague comes, G‑d will know which houses to pass over. (All these miracles are celebrated on Passover—because G‑d passed over the Jewish homes.) The Jews must then eat the roasted meat with Matzah and bitter herbs.


Now, for the 10th and final plague: On the 14th of the month of Nissan, at exactly midnight, every Egyptian firstborn dies.  Pharaoh is terrified, for he himself is a firstborn; he jumps out of bed and rushes to find Moses and Aaron. When he does, he simply shouts frantically, "Go! Go! Leave this land, you and all the Jews. Take your sheep and your cattle and whatever you want. JUST GO!" And with that, after 210 years of slavery, Pharaoh practically chases the Jews out of Egypt. So they leave quickly, so quickly, in fact, that their dough does not have time to rise and becomes matzah—the very same flat bread that we eat on Passover. But they do have time to ask the Egyptians for their gold and silver, emptying Egypt of all its wealth.


Now that the Jews are free, G‑d tells Moses about the holiday that they will be celebrating each year to remember the occasion, Passover, by eating Matza and telling the story to their children.


Our job is to remember and to connect between generations--and there are many ways that we can do that as a family and as a community: tell stories, pass on recipes, share photos, and just spend time together.


Jewish National Fund understands the value of l'dor v'dor, which is the Hebrew for "from generation to generation” and with the Israel Advocacy and Education Department we engage, educate and energize the Jewish community of the United States to a deeper commitment to the land and people of Israel. We achieve our mission by providing exciting and innovative programs and materials for students ranging from elementary school through college, synagogues and its leaders and participants in JNF programs.


Shabbat Shalom.