WEEKLY UPDATES 1.25.19 – JEWISH NATIONAL FUND
Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:
I hope you all enjoyed Tu BiShvat! I was following, on Facebook, all the great Jewish National Fund activity taking place across the country and in Israel. As much as we all know JNF is more than trees, we need Tu BiShvat to remind us of the miracle we created by turning Israel from brown and gray, as it was a century ago, into a land of blue and green --even as far south as Be’er Sheva, where, as you read this, water is flowing into the Be’er Sheva lake!
After three weeks tracking our progress toward our ambitious goal of closing 2,019 gifts of $1,000 or more during our second fiscal quarter, collectively we have closed 474 gifts at that level for more than $5.6 million. It is a really great start. Of course the heavy hitters like Tri-State (greater New York area) and Los Angeles are putting up big numbers. But also take a look at the number of gifts closed in places like Arizona, Mid-Atlantic, Mountain States, New England, Northern Florida, Southeast, and South Florida…all of whom have closed more than 20 gifts of $1,000 or more in the last three weeks. Keep up the great work! Click here to see the full report and how your area is doing thus far.
MAJOR DONOR WEEKEND
Please join us in Las Vegas for our annual Major Donor Weekend April 5-8 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas. 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, the 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 major donor weekend, visit jnf.org/majordonorweekend
CAMPAIGN PLANNING SUMMIT AND NATIONAL CONFERENCE
Because this year’s National Conference is taking place so early on the calendar, September 13-15, we have decided to schedule the annual Campaign Planning Summit for the Monday immediately after the conference on September 16. The Summit will be a one day meeting from 8:30 am - 3:00 pm and is open to any lay leader serving on a JNF board, committee or task force.
Registration for the Campaign Planning Summit is included on the National Conference registration page. Please be sure to register for the National Conference, where on the drop down menu you will find a place to indicate you will attend the Campaign Summit. Visit jnf.org/nc to register for National Conference.
LAY LEADER TRAINING SEMINAR
The next training session will take place March 27 and will focus on solicitation training.
If you missed last week’s training session, or any of our previous video conference training sessions, you can click below to watch the video.
Leadership Training Seminar #1 (9/13/18) – History of Zionism and Jewish National Fund
Leadership Training Seminar #2 (11/14/18) – The Power of the JNF Brand and Brand Management
JNF Organizational Overview and Financial Structure #3 (1/16/19)
Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign
Alexander Muss High School in Israel
Travel & Tours Update
Immerse yourself in Israel’s dynamic fashion and arts scene, meet emerging designers, and gain a new perspective of the country on the Arts & Fashion Tour, this November. Learn more.
Updates from Israel
Winter Festival in the North
Please take a moment to watch this video from Jewish National Fund partner Western Galilee Now, which highlights the very successful Winter Festival held this past December. With over
30 fully booked events, 16,000 online entries, and an amazing concert held at the JNF Tourist Information Center in Akko, this event hosted over 120 people and turned away 50 more on a waiting list.
Special in the IDF
Jewish National Fund’s Special in Uniform soldiers celebrated Tu BiShvat – a great opportunity for them to express their love for the land they protect!
At Work in Be’er Sheva
"I found an amazing new job - teaching English in an experiential way to students in Kiryat Gat. I've made so many connections and met so many people as a result of your work! Thank you!"
- Tamar, Be'er Sheva
The Lauder Center is thrilled to collaborate with Be'er Sheva's Young Adults Network, which aids young people in finding their dream jobs. We operate WhatsApp groups organized by field for hundreds of job-seekers, post over 250 jobs each month, and hold seminars for updating resumes, mock interviews, and other essential skills for young graduates.
Tu BiShvat at Minkov Citrus Orchard Site
Last weekend, over 400 people gathered at Minkov Citrus Orchard Site for a fun-filled day of celebrating Tu BiShvat. Families rode the Citrus Train through the historic grove to see all the trees full of different fruits, from mandarin oranges to lemons and grapefruits. Children had several arts and crafts opportunities, from making their own fruit trees out of colorful paper to building sculptures with citrus fruits freshly picked from the trees. This was a great way for children and their families to celebrate the holiday of the trees and make memories together, all while learning about Israel’s historic citrus industry.
The Halutza Communities
The Halutza communities celebrated Tu BiShvat in the community of Bnei Netzarim with a tree planting ceremony at the new entrance way to the communities.
David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel said, “It is in the Negev that the creativity and pioneer vigor of Israel shall be tested.” Jewish National Fund's major initiative to revitalize Southern Israel is Blueprint Negev, an interdisciplinary, internationally recognized campaign that aims to improve quality of life for all residents of the region and encourage a population shift away from crowded, expensive central Israel. Today, Be’er Sheva and the surrounding communities are blooming in a once barren desert.
JNF’s Blueprint Negev calls for the population of the south to double in size. These cities are setting the pace to make that dream a reality. But it’s not that simple…after all, it’s a desert, and in the desert there are no office buildings or factories. So, if you lived in the desert, chances are you wouldn't have a job. There'd be no boss bossing you, and no underlings under you.
When the Jews get to the desert there aren't even any department stores or groceries. They eat manna from heaven and wear the same pair of shoes for 40 years.
That is why, say our sages, G‑d gave us the Torah in the desert.
Had He given it to us on Wall Street, He would have had to decide whom to appoint to the board and who should retain a controlling interest. Had He given it to us in the Holy Land, He'd have had to decide if He wants it in religious Jerusalem, mystical Safed or hi-tech Tel Aviv. Or perhaps He'd have preferred a Marxist kibbutz or even a neo-Zionist settlement?
G‑d wanted no shareholders in his Torah, no corporate structure, no social or political context. In fact, no context whatsoever. Just us and the Torah.
Wouldn't it have been great to stay in the desert?
But as soon as G‑d was sure that we'd gotten the message—that we understood that the Torah is not the product of any particular age, environment or cultural milieu, and that it belongs, absolutely and unequivocally, to each and every one of us—he sent us to the cities and the towns of His world, to its farms and marketplaces, to its universities and office buildings. He told us that now that He's done His part, it's up to us to make His Torah relevant in all these places and in all these contexts.
Still, it’s nice to come back to the desert once in a while. At least for a visit with JNF.