Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:



As of today we have reached $545 million toward our $1 Billion goal, and our 2019 annual campaign is off to a fast start. It is really important that our local leadership teams are participating in donor meetings. Even if you don’t feel comfortable asking for the donation, having you join a JNF professional fundraiser in the meetings and sharing why JNF is important to you, or perhaps sharing a story from a mission to Israel or the National Conference, makes a big impression. People like to hear from their peers. 



In case you missed this great article from the Jerusalem Post about JNF’s work to develop Be’er Sheva, please read it here now. Be’er Sheva is one of the fastest growing cities in Israel and its development is having a ripple effect in neighboring towns and cities as professionals working in Be’er Sheva are finding quiet bedroom communities with even lower cost of living than the rapidly expanding Be’er Sheva. Who could have imagined 10 years ago, that Be’er Sheva would be viewed as a cool hi-tech town where young entrepreneurs are flocking? That was a rhetorical question because JNF imagined it, and JNF assisted in making this dream a reality.



More than 50 lay leaders participated on the first Lay Leader Training Seminar, and I am sure we’ll have a big group for the next Seminar on Wednesday, November 14. You should have received an e-mail invitation from me and Michael Blank on Tuesday, but in case you missed it, the details are below. These seminars are done by Zoom video conferencing and you must register in advance to receive the log-on information. Due to a scheduling conflict, we switched topics for next week’s seminar.

The Power of the JNF Brand and Brand Management
November 14, 2018
12:00 pm Eastern


Steve Crystal and Donald Morris


Register now. The link for the Zoom online meeting will be sent to you.


To enhance the knowledge and leadership skills of lay leaders supporting the Jewish National Fund Campaign, an online training series is offered by JNF via Zoom video conferencing. Sessions will take place every other month. Each session lasts no more than 30-45 minutes and is recorded for those unable to attend. Links to the videos are included in the JNF Weekly Campaign Update and a library of the videos is maintained so lay leaders may view them at their convenience.


Shabbat Shalom,





Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign

Travel & Tours Update

See Israel through the eyes of our matriarchs and patriarchs on the Israel: From a Torah Perspective Tour this March. Learn more.

Alexander Muss High School in Israel


We have many comings and goings this week! Our students from Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy are off campus, participating in Gadna, a taste of Israeli army training. Meanwhile, our Fall Semester group of students is in Poland, learning about the history of our people in the area, and discovering the vibrant Jewish community that is there today. Our September mini-mester session has just wrapped up and we bid them L’hitraot. Learn more about the AMHSI-JNF experience from the perspective of our day school students on our latest #MussMagic podcast! (link) Finally, we were pleased to welcome none other than Jewish National Fund CEO Russell F. Robinson back to our campus as well.

Updates from Israel

Eretz Ir

The second annual Negev Employment Conference hosted by our Lauder Employment Center, the Southern Manufacturer's Union, and many other special partners took place this week in Be'er Sheva. Over 180 employers and 50 employment agencies participated in this special event, which discussed the challenges and solutions to working with the X, Y and Z generations in today's employment market. Jewish National Fund CEO Russell F. Robinson spoke on the importance of quality jobs in bringing and retaining populations to the Negev, and we also heard from blue collar factories about their recruitment needs. Hi-tech companies including Wix Be’er Sheva spoke about the challenges they share and how to meet them, and hosted many conversations about the importance of building relationships between employment agencies and HR professionals.What an amazing day for promoting the Negev!

120th Anniversary of Herzl’s Visit to the Land of Israel

Last week, The Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites and Mikveh Israel hosted a ceremony in celebration of the 120th anniversary of Theodore Herzl’s meeting with Kaiser Wilhem II of Germany, which happened just outside Mikveh Israel’s gates on October 28th, 1898 during Herzl’s first and only visit to the land of Israel. The ceremony took place at a statue built to commemorate the meeting and included a parade, Israeli folk dancers, vocal performances, and a re-enactment of the monumental meeting. More than 100 people attended, including several school and tour groups. It was a wonderful way to commemorate Herzl and his dedication to the Zionist dream which led to the creation of the State of Israel.

Special in the IDF

Eilat Navy base’s JNF-Special in Uniform branch is ready to recruit more soldiers. This week, commanders of the base and soldiers of Special in Uniform already serving, came together to meet the young adults who are applying to join the program, and shared with them what it’s like to be a soldier, the activities on the base, and how it feels to serve together side by side. There was a sense of excitement by those young adults in anticipation of the upcoming opportunities that are available to them.

D’Var Torah

In this week’s Parsha, Toldot, we read about Isaac and Rebecca’s twins, Jacob and Esau. The hairy and red-headed Esau is born first, immediately followed by Jacob, who is holding Esau’s heel as he is born. Esau and Jacob are quite different: Esau is cunning and loves to hunt, while Jacob is passive and spends most of his time studying Torah. Interestingly, we call Isaac and Rebecca our patriarch and matriarch and yet they missed one of the prime rules of parenting: they each chose a favorite. The Torah states that Isaac loved Esau and Rebecca loved Jacob. Isaac loved Esau for being the hunter and providing the family with the tastiest venison. Rebecca, on the other hand, loved Jacob for being quiet and staying close to home studying and learning. We can understand why Rebecca loved Jacob. However with Esau, how could Isaac put hunting above the importance of studying the Torah?


The classic answer is that Isaac loved Esau because he simply did not know who Esau really was. They say the way to a man’s heart is his stomach and such it was with Isaac and Esau. Isaac couldn’t actually see Esau, only taste the meat he brought.


However, there is another possible answer: Isaac loved Esau precisely because he did know who Esau really was. Perhaps Isaac saw that Esau was missing some of the building blocks for long-term success. Perhaps he knew that he had to invest more of his time in Esau than Jacob purely because he felt he didn’t need to worry about Jacob who had all the traits to make it through college, graduate school, and find a good profession. Others may have dismissed Esau as the black sheep, but Isaac praised and loved his son for all that he could accomplish. It is because of this that Isaac could be the patriarch of a moral that has become so important in Jewish communities everywhere -- inclusion.


Did Isaac try to change Esau? We don’t know what Isaac’s intentions were, but we do know he loved Esau for his abilities and the person he was. He saw who his child was, saw what he needed, and invested his time in making sure Esau stayed on the right path. Did Isaac’s love and attention have an immediate and direct effect on Esau? Esau remained exactly who he was, a hunter and a man of the field and that was enough.


You should love your children unconditionally, for that is surely how G-d loves us.


We all have our limitations. We all have our deficits. So, too, do those we love. We can be disappointed and grow impatient with ourselves and others, or we can choose to love them and love ourselves even more for who we are.


I see that unconditional love in each member of Jewish National Fund’s leaders. I see that unconditional love in the firefighters and the organizations that Jewish National Fund partners with in Israel. I see that unconditional love in those who dedicate their professional lives to working with disabled—differently abled—children.These children are precious and while they may look like they have little, they have a lot more love to give. They are G-d's language.


Shabbat Shalom,