WEEKLY UPDATE 12.12.19 – JEWISH NATIONAL FUND
Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:
We have raised more than $641 million toward our $1 billion goal and are at $22 million for our 2020 annual campaign.
I want to remind our JNF leadership team that to be on pace to reach our annual campaign goal, every community should be at 30% or more of their goal by the end of our 1st fiscal quarter on December 31. As you know, and as we have articulated in the 2020 Campaign Plan, each fiscal quarter does not realize equal revenue. The 1st quarter is one of our strongest, so if we aren’t ahead of pace by the end of the calendar year, it is hard to make up ground. I am asking each community to do a review of your current campaign compared to your annual goal.
Giving Tuesday results are in, and it was another successful program. In total, we raised more than $2.1 million, not including the generous matching gift of $1.25 million from Bernice Freidman, Drs. Mort and Toby Mower and the Gene and Marlene Epstein Humanitarian Fund. Of that total $340,000 was raised from on-line donations by 1,714 donors, 357 of whom were first time JNF donors.
I also want to highlight that on Giving Tuesday JNF events took place across the country bringing together more than 2,000 people to hear the JNF story. Well done to all. JNF and Blue Box Bob were even in Times Square on Giving Tuesday. Enjoy these photos:
JNF TEXT MESSAGING
As you know, we are always trying to keep up with the latest and most effective ways to communicate with our donors. As such, we are moving more and more to communicating with our donors via text. It is a timely, effective, concise, and faster-read means of delivering information in today’s busy world, and we are careful to use it judiciously. As a member of our leadership team it is important that you are opted in to receive these texts. Please text JNF to 563-872 which will opt you in.
ISRAEL EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY CAMPUS
The single largest project in the history of JNF-USA is the Israel Education and Technology Campus in Be’er Sheva. This $300 million campus will serve several functions: as a second home for the Alexander Muss High School, as an adult Zionist education and conference center, and as a campus for young adults in Israel for technology internships. The campus will be situated on 16 acres of land within the Be’er Sheva River Park. As you can imagine, with a capital project of this magnitude, there are significant naming opportunities. A feasibility study was just completed by KPMG and fundraising is just now getting underway. To learn more about this exciting and transformational project, watch this video: https://youtu.be/pdxJzoDpQHU
2020 NATIONAL CONFERENCE IN ISRAEL
It is unbelievable that more than 400 people have already registered for the 2020 National Conference taking place in Israel next October 25 – 29. We are well on our way to reach our goal to bring 1,000 people to Israel for the Conference. A friendly competition is unfolding among local communities for who can bring the most to Israel. Register now! The sooner you register the more you will save. To learn more about NC 2020 in Israel, click here: jnf.org/nc
Updates from Israel
News from the Western Galilee
Every two months, members of Western Galilee Now meet for updates and to get to know each other. The most recent meeting took place at Noalush Cafe, and welcomed two new members: Noor Cafe and Restaurant in the Druze Village, and Flooka Fish Restaurant, in Old Akko.
Special in the IDF
This week, a young man named Oria, who is on the autism spectrum, was surprised by his commander with a promotion, in a moving ceremony in front of the soldiers and his parents. Mazal Tov!
In this week's reading, Parashat Vayishlach, Jacob is finally back in the Holy Land. He had fled his childhood home in fear of 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 couriers ahead with a message of peace. They return with the unfortunate response that Esau is marching 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 representing Esau. Jacob and the angel fight all night long until dawn. The angel injures Jacob’s hip, but Jacob still manages to win the battle. The angel blesses him and gives him a new name: Israel, the meaning of which is "he who wins over the divine".
Jacob seemed to always be running away. He ran from Be’er Sheva and Esau’s threats to kill him. He ran from Laban in Charan. And now he was preparing to run from Esau yet again. However, G-d has a different idea of the man Jacob is to become. He must learn that a philosophy of escaping cannot be the Jewish way. So, the angel dislocated his hip, preventing him from running. Jacob had no choice but to fight. In the end, he defeated the angel and was blessed with the name "Israel," for he was a man who fought with the divine and overcame.
This is a lesson to us all.
Each of us must become a Child of Israel. The qualities of fearlessness and courage, strength and sacrifice, are the hallmarks of the Children of Israel. When we stop running away from our problems and face them head on and with fortitude, we embody that higher state. We start as a struggling Jacob and emerge the triumphant Israel.
Of course, it is never easy. Escape is often the path of least resistance. I am not suggesting that we go looking for a fight, but the fact is that there will be times when we know confrontation is the only way. We should not be confrontational people. It is better be able to recognize in our heart of hearts that if we don't engage a problem honestly it will continue to plague us. We must face our problems with fearlessness and courage, strength and sacrifice.
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.
In this we see the story of Jacob's wrestling match continuing to inspire us.
Travel & Tours Update
Who needs swiping when you have Jewish National Fund? Singles in their 30s and 40s, join us on our Dare to Venture tour this May. Learn more here.
Alexander Muss High School in Israel
This week we welcomed our third Australian session, Board of Jewish of Education (BJE), to campus. We now have 220 Australians with us!
AMHSI will also be represented at the JCC Global Conference this week, which brings together JCC representatives from around the world.
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.