Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:



We are only three weeks into our 2019 annual campaign and our momentum from 2018 continues. I couldn’t be more pleased with our fast start for 2019.  We are up across the board and specifically:

  • Major Gifts up 23% over the same time last year
  • General Campaign up 31% over last year
  • Community Campaign up 17% over the same date one year ago

As far as our progress toward our $1 Billion campaign, let’s have a drumroll please….  Our fast start has pushed us over $540 million! Really incredible.


And this is a great segue to the next topic….



If you have not already done so, please make your annual gift as soon as possible. Let’s have 100% participation among all our national and community leaders by the end of this month.  Make your pledge today so you are counted. If you are attending the National Conference, you can make your gift in Phoenix. You can pay your pledge throughout the fiscal year. If you have already made your commitment for the 2019 annual campaign or are paying off a multi-year pledge, thank you!



I’m looking forward to seeing many of you in Phoenix next week for our national conference. This is THE event I look forward to most every year. It is empowering to be in a room with more than 1,000 pro-Israel supporters who share similar values. In advance, I want to congratulate the chairs of the conference, Toni Dusik and Marc Kelman, as well as the Phoenix host committee and the Phoenix professional staff under the leadership of Deb Rochford.  With professional leadership by Yael Septee Kane and national event manager Amy Penchansky, this annual event has become one of the largest gatherings of Jewish leadership in the United States, and I hope you will join me in congratulating this great team when we are together next weekend.

Shabbat Shalom,





Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign


This week on IsraelCast, we are honored to welcome the Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein. Listen at jnf.org/israelcast or wherever you get your podcasts!

Travel & Tours Update

The Canadian American Active Retirees in Israel (CAARI) tour is around the corner! Learn more about this rewarding volunteer experience in Israel for ages 50+, with touring and comprehensive speakers forum.

Alexander Muss High School in Israel


We were pleased to welcome the Jewish National Fund President's Society Mission to campus this week. They ate lunch with students, took a tour of campus, and met with our staff as well. Meanwhile, students from our Fall Semester session — Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, and American Hebrew Academy — completed a three-day hike from the Mediterranean Sea to the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) this week. Yam L’Yam, as it’s called, is considered a rite of passage for many Israelis. Mazal tov and yasher koach to our students who completed this achievement! Watch their video here.

Updates from Israel

Dedication at ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran

This week, World Chairman Council donors Steve and Sharry Solomon visited ALEH Negev, where they were thanked for their generous contribution toward the garden at the new hospital facility.

Wikipedia Photo Contest at Israel’s Heritage Sites

During the month of September, the 7th annual Wikipedia Loves Heritage Sites Photo Contest took place at several of Israel’s heritage sites. This year’s competition was the largest yet, with the creation of a new Children’s Category. Tour guides were specially trained to coach contestants on how to use their smartphones to take high quality photographs for submission. Jewish National Fund partner Society for Preservation of Israel Historical Sites offered many more tours than in previous years for participants looking to take the winning shot of Israel’s heritage sites. Sites such as Sarona Visitor’s Center in Tel Aviv had many opportunities to capture the perfect shot on special tours. Winners will get the chance to ride in a hot air balloon over Tel Aviv! The contest, which lasted from September 9th to October 9th, is a great way to create more online resources about Israel’s heritage sites.

Special in the IDF

This week, we shared a special dedication with Glen Golish, who traveled from Florida to attend the event with his two daughters, who both live in Israel. The new building is a gift for Special in Uniform soldiers at the Palmachim Air Force base. The Golish family was surprised by the amount of love and appreciation from the commanders and the soldiers in the base as well as the Jewish National Fund leadership who came to participate in the event.

D’Var Torah

By Yossi Kahana


Is it a coincidence that the JNF President's Society mission was happening this week? The timing couldn’t be more perfect. In this week’s portion, Lech Lecha, we are reading details of the journey of Abraham. Abraham travels from his homeland to Israel and immediately a nasty famine breaks out. Was it his fault? Not really. Was it bad PR? Definitely. New guy shows up in a country, screaming about the oneness of G‑d, and crisis strikes. Abraham leaves the famine, runs to Egypt, and Sarah, his lovely wife, is abducted. Good times.


The name of the Torah portion is the "theme" of that portion. The name of the tough-luck Torah portion which recounts this story is "Lech Lecha." In its most literal sense it means, "Go to yourself." It is a command to Abraham, the first Jew, and the rest of us as well. "Lech Lecha" entails an inner journey to discover one's essence, and to integrate that essence into our life and environment. It is a message of inner discovery that leads to movement in a positive direction.


The journey of life moves forward, but never stays on level ground. The title of the Torah portion (the supposed theme of the entire portion) is one of forward mobility toward spiritual achievement and G‑dly revelation, while the content of the portion seems decidedly negative and uninspiring. How do we reconcile the contradiction?


The journey of life is like a car that moves forward but never stays on level ground. We ride up mountains and into deep valleys. Life is similar. The objective is to see the opportunity for growth at every twist in the road, and keep on trucking.


On rare days, we coast along at the top of our game. We cruise the peaks of personal and spiritual fulfillment. Our role and place in the universe is apparent and we feel satisfied.


On the bad days, we careen out of control and into a valley of personal problems and issues. Our desire to "keep on keeping on" falters.


On most days, we sit in traffic and question if we are moving at all.


The lesson of Lech Lecha offers hope and support to those traveling through the ups and downs of life. We must recognize that the goal is forward movement. Hence, even a self-imposed pitiful state of being is a step forward in the journey. Just as Abraham needed to go to Egypt (in order to leave with great wealth), so, too, G‑d needs us to be where we are.


Although we should seek to correct the root cause of a particular downward spiral, we must also view the resulting situation as a Divine opportunity. We should not lose hope but rather pick up the pieces and continue forward.


Shabbat Shalom,