Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:

First, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, and second, how do you like this new format for the Weekly Campaign Update?

Several months ago, we sent a survey to get user feedback on the weekly campaign e-mail, and thanks to your input, we have updated the look and, hopefully, have made it more viewer friendly.  We will still provide important campaign information and updates on JNF projects and partners in Israel, however we are now packaging the update with JNF’s branding and in a more user friendly way.  You can scroll down to get a quick look at information and then click on the areas you want to spend more time reading.  E-mail me back and let me know what you think?

I am pleased to report to you that two months into our 2018 fiscal year and our campaign has continued the strong momentum with which we closed 2017 back in September.  We are already up 82 major gift units over the same time last year, 76 General Campaign gift units ($1,000 - $4,999) over last year, and we are up 53 Community Campaign gift units from $500 - $999.  In all, we are up $1.4 million over the same period last year.

We continue to march forward toward our $1 Billion ten-year goal, and as of today, we are at more than $466 million.  It has been a great team effort.

As you know, this past Tuesday was Giving Tuesday and thanks to a match from Bob Lembke and the Gene and Marlene Epstein Humanitarian Fund, Jewish National Fund is able to match all gifts, dollar for dollar, up to $750,000. If you want to make a special additional gift to JNF, please click on this link today: JNFGivingTuesday. We will be able to secure the match for gifts made through this weekend. You can also feel free to forward this link to family and friends.

Thank you for your leadership and thank you for your support of the Jewish National Fund annual campaign.


Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign

D’Var Torah

By Yossi Kahana

In this week's reading, Vayishlach, Jacob is finally back in the Holy Land after running away from Esau, who was angry at him for taking the firstborn blessings from their father Isaac. Jacob wants to make sure Esau is no longer angry, so he sends messengers to him with a message of peace, but they come back saying that Esau is coming towards Jacob with an army of four hundred men. This obviously worries Jacob. So, in preparation for his meeting with Esau, Jacob does three things: he prepares for war, he prays to G- d, and he sends Esau hundreds of cattle and sheep as a gift.
That night Jacob’s family crosses the Yabbok River. After the last child and animal has crossed, Jacob stays behind. He then meets a man who our Sages teach is an angel that represents Esau. Jacob and the angel fight all night long, until dawn. The angel is able to hurt Jacob’s hip but Jacob wins the battle, and the angel blesses him and gives him a new name, Israel, which means “he who wins over the divine” (meaning the angel).
It seems that Jacob developed a pattern of escaping. He ran from Be’er Sheva when Esau threatened to kill him. He ran from Laban in Charan. And now he was preparing to run from Esau yet again.

Apparently, G-d wanted Jacob to learn that a philosophy of escaping is not the Jewish way. So the angel dislocated his hip, preventing him from running and Jacob had no choice but to fight. In the end, he defeated the angel and was blessed with the name “Israel,” for he fought with man and the divine and overcame.

This is a lesson to us all.

Each of us must become a child of Israel. The quality of fearlessness and courage, of strength and sacrifice, are the hallmarks of Israel. When we stop running away from our problems and face them head on and with fortitude, we enter that higher state of consciousness. We from the Jacob, who is still struggling, to Israel, where we finally emerge triumphant. When we are prepared to take up the challenge and go for the fight rather than flight, we move from being wrestlers to becoming winners, from humble Jacob to dominant Israel.

Of course it's never easy. Escaping is usually the path of least resistance and I am not suggesting that we go looking for a fight. But the fact is that there will be times when we know that confrontation is the only way. We need to square away a particular problem or an issue with an individual in order to deal with our situation effectively. We shouldn't be confrontational people, but rather we should be able to recognize in our heart of hearts that if we don't engage a problem honestly it will continue to plague us.
I see this in Jewish National Fund’s commitment to the land and people of Israel. When JNF sees a problem it faces it head on and finds a solution. For many years Israel had issues with water, there just wasn’t enough of it and people had to ration their usage. JNF recognized this problem and worked on solutions to help fix it—water reservoirs, rainwater harvesting, and agricultural R&D, to name a few. JNF’s efforts helped mitigate the water crisis in Israel and gave the country the time it needed to develop its desalinization processes. Today, Israel is a model country for water solutions. 
If we can move from meekness to courage, then the story of Jacob's wrestling match will live on and continue to inspire us to become the stronger personalities we really can be.


Special in the IDF

This week, Jewish National Fund partner Special in Uniform warmly welcomed their newest soldiers and wished them luck on their new journey with the IDF.

Partnering for Special Needs

Last week two of Jewish National Fund’s partners for Disabilities & Special Needs, ALEH NEGEV and LOTEM, joined forces. The residents of ALEH NEGEV went for an enjoyable walk in the caves of Beit Guvrin. LOTEM, which specializes in guiding trips for people with special needs, led the group along the beautiful paths of the National Park, also showing them many illustrations. Residents also participated in a workshop of nature sounds, creating a mini-concert using a musical instrument and the echo of the caves. At the end of the trip, they enjoyed a delicious lunch at Kibbutz Alumim. While the trip required tremendous planning, it was a welcome break for the residents, who found it a challenging yet wonderful experience.

A Letter of Thanks

A letter of thanks from Farmer Or Eliyahu, who's farm JNF partner HaShomer HaChadash protects through our Famland Watch Program: "Whoever hasn’t experienced sleepless nights or cold ones filled with anxiety and the feeling of insecurity will never understand the organization's incredible contribution. To be able to go to sleep peacefully and awaken without worry, to get up in the middle of the night and fall back to sleep because I know that my farm is in good "eyes" and hands. I would like to thank you for all of the help, I don’t think that words can describe the feeling that it gives me."

Global Entrepreneurship

As part of “Global Entrepreneurship Week”, NetGev Dimona hosted a variety of speakers and events, exposing the local residents to different entrepreneurs who succeeded - and failed, and to the personal story of Dimona success-stories, including Mayor Beni Biton. All together the events drew approximately 1,000 people. Jewish National Fund partner Eretz Ir hosted a concentrated rebranding day for 8 local businesses. For 12 intense hours, they worked with marketing, Facebook, content, and financial experts, website developers, graphic designers, storytellers, and photographers, to create new material for their businesses.