Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:



With the Jewish holidays in the rear-view mirror, our fundraising team is operating on all cylinders and our campaign is getting back on track following a slow October. Even so, I am pleased to report we are more than $500,000 ahead of last year at the same date. If the momentum continues, we will be on pace toward our $92 million annual goal.



It’s been a long time since we’ve seen so much mission and travel activity in such a short period of time. During the first two weeks of November, there are eight JNF missions in Israel bringing more than 200 people to see JNF’s transformative work in building the land of Israel. And this does not include another 125 individuals on private tours that were coordinated through JNF Travel and Tours. I don’t know how our small and dedicated team gets it done. But they do. I want to recognize National Missions Director, Talia Aviani, Associate Manager of Travel and Tours, Ilana Rosenzweig, and Donor Travel Coordinator, Rebecca Cohen. Coordinating all these groups in Israel is JNF’s staff…and by staff I mean one person…Shahar Hermelin, JNF’s Director of Tourism. I honestly don’t know how Shahar does it all. Scott Schreiber from Chicago is National Vice President of Missions and Ann Zinman from Phoenix is Assistant VP of Missions, and I want to thank Scott and Ann for their great leadership moving our missions and travel program forward.



Everyone receiving this Weekly Campaign Update is a leader of Jewish National Fund. Our primary responsibility, no matter our titles or the committees on which we serve, is to advocate for JNF and to help expand the donor base so we can continue doing great things in Israel. When we make our annual gift, we affirm our commitment to participate in JNF’s transformative work. And as leaders, we should be the first in line to support JNF. With nearly 1,400 people serving on JNF boards and committees, we represent a significant percentage of JNF’s campaign. For those who have already made your annual campaign gift, thank you! For those who have not yet had the opportunity, please do so now. Leaders lead!



It is unbelievable that more than 300 people have already registered for the 2020 National Conference taking place in Israel next October 25 – 29. We are well on our way towards our goal of bringing 1,000 people to Israel for the Conference. A friendly competition is starting to unfold among local communities as to who can bring the most people to Israel. Register now! The sooner you register the more you will save. To learn more about NC 2020 in Israel, visit jnf.org/nc.



Shabbat Shalom,


    Ben Gutmann

    Vice President, Campaign

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Our summer session kicked off their first full week on campus by volunteering at Save a Child's Heart and Leket. Later this week they will continue on to Jerusalem for their first overnight tiyul. 

We also wished our April session farewell as they concluded their eight week session. We are already excited to welcome them to our AMHSI alumni community!

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Updates from Israel

Special in the IDF


This week, we welcome the new soldiers of Special in Uniform who join The DF Nachshonim Military base for armored corps. The commanders were impressed to meet the highly motivated volunteers. Emotions ran high and there was hardly a dry eye in the audience as the soldiers, who have been integrated alongside peers, took turns ascending to the stage and receiving their uniforms. Mazal Tov.

D’Var Torah

Is it a coincidence that the JNF Presidents mission is in Israel 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 to Israel.


Abraham was the first person to realize that G‑d is a Supreme Being and that G‑d is not dust, an idol, the sea or the sun. He spreads this message all the time in the city of Charan where he lives. One day G‑d tells him to leave his city and his father’s home and go to the land which G‑d will show him. So, Abraham and his wife Sarah travel to the Land of Canaan where G‑d reveals Himself to him and tells him that He will give this land to Abraham’s children. Israel.


In the Torah, the name of a Torah portion is the "theme" of that portion. The name of the Torah portion recounting this tough-love 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 and theme of this Torah portion is one of forward mobility toward spiritual achievement and G-dly revelation; and yet, the content of the portion seems decidedly negative and uninspiring. How do we reconcile this contradiction?


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


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 downward spiral, we must also view the entire situation as a Divine opportunity. We should not lose hope but rather pick up the pieces and continue forward.



Shabbat Shalom,




Travel & Tours Update

Savor Israel's remarkable sips, bites, and sounds on the Culinary, Wine & Music Tour this May. Learn more here

Alexander Muss High School in Israel

This week, our semester students departed for their week-long trip to Poland where they explore Poland’s rich Jewish history, the Holocaust, and modern day. Our Barrack students are now on Gadna where they are learning about (and getting a taste of) serving in the Israeli military.



Shop Amazon Smile

Did you know that you can support Jewish National Fund while you shop? Amazon Smile will donate a portion of your purchase price to us when you shop through smile.amazon.com

JNF In Your Area

Traveling to another city and want to see what JNF events are taking place there? Just visit jnf.org/inyourarea for a quick look at how to stay engaged while on the road.