Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:


I am pleased to share with you that we have reached $470 million toward our 10-year $1 Billion goal.  


Our campaign to date is showing particular strength at the $100,000 and $25,000 annual giving levels. It goes to show that major gifts is the driving force of fundraising for non-profit organizations, as it is for Jewish National Fund. At the same time, most every major donor started with a smaller  first gift, whether the purchase of a tree, a $100 gift through our direct mail campaign, or perhaps a $1,000 gift made at a Doctors for Israel or Lawyers for Israel lunch and learn program. As leaders we are instrumental in the cultivation of donors. When we share the JNF story and our personal passion for supporting the transformative work of JNF, others are inspired to follow our lead. Think about your own path to giving and leadership within JNF… who was that person who motivated you to give a little more and do a little more? You can make that same impact!


We have a great story to tell about the difference our work makes on the land of Israel for the people of Israel.  Here is the Jewish National Fund 2017 Year in Review.  Please read this document and incorporate some of these stories into your JNF vocabulary:  2017-Year-in-Review  I want to congratulate and thank the JNF Marketing and Communications department for putting together another exceptional piece to help us tell the JNF story.


Please enjoy this feel good article about how JNF and our partner Western Galilee Now are bringing together people of all faiths to enjoy this holiday season, and, if you are so inclined, share on your Facebook or Twitter page:  jpost.com/Galilee-winter-wonderland  This article is also the product of the efforts of JNF’s Public Relations team who do a great job of getting media placement in Israel and throughout the United States.


Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom and a very Happy New Year!

Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign

D’Var Torah

By Yossi Kahana

In this week’s Torah reading Vayechi, Jacob asks Joseph to bury him in Israel, in the place reserved for the burial of the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs. Jacob says to Joseph, "If I have now found favor in your eyes… do not bury me now in Egypt. …As for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel (Joseph’s mother) died in the land of Canaan on the way, when there was still a stretch of land to come to Ephrath, and I buried her there on the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.”


Jacob wanted to clarify to Joseph why he had buried Rachel in Bethlehem instead of in the traditional burial place of the patriarchs and matriarchs. He told Joseph that his mother was willing to make a spiritual sacrifice on behalf of her children. She sacrificed being buried in the Me'arat HaMachpela, in Hebron, for one reason. From this place, she could be supportive of her children in a special way that only she could accomplish. She was able to pray for the return of her children to the Holy Land.


Rashi comments that Rachel was “buried there by divine command, so that she would be of assistance to her children. When Nebuzaradan exiles them (the Israelites) in the year of 586 BCE , and they pass by there, Rachel will emerge from her grave and weep and beg mercy for them, as it is said: “A voice is heard on high, [lamentation, bitter weeping, Rachel is weeping for her children]” (Jeremiah. 31:14). And the Holy One, blessed be He, answers her, “‘There is reward for your work,’ says the Lord… ‘and the children shall return to their own border.’”


What did Rachel’s prayer have that others’ didn’t?


The Midrash tells us that at the pathetic sight of the Jews being exiled from their land, all of the patriarchs pleaded with G-d to stop the humiliation of the Jews. But G- d was unmoved by their pleas. After all, the Jewish people had been warned by many prophets that they would be exiled if they didn’t return to an upstanding Torah lifestyle. G- d had given them enough opportunities to reinvent themselves. But when Rachel had her turn to advocate on their behalf, G-d “melted” and promised her that her “children will return to their own border.” And in fact, 70 years later they returned. What did Rachel’s prayer have that the others’ didn’t? It was her self-sacrifice. Her life was about her family. Her death was about her children. That was something that G-d couldn’t ignore. If Rachel gave up the burial place that she so rightfully deserved for the sake of the Jewish people, G-d would mitigate the consequence that they rightfully deserved in order to help them recover.


The service of humility is irresistible up on high. This is the service of Rachel and the legacy of the Jewish woman.


We see the legacy and power of women in our Women for Israel (WFI) division. Our women are visionaries and, like Rachel, want to do as much as they can for families and children in Israel. WFI has engaged and enlisted women donors from across all regions and communities in the United States to join JNF in improving the lives of the women and their families throughout Israel as well as building a prosperous future for the land of Israel. 


Protecting the Land through Agriculture

This week Jewish National Fund partner HaShomer HaChadash was honored to host the JNFuture Alternative Winter Break Mission in Moshav Tzofar on the Jordanian border in the Arava. The group learned about HaShomer HaChadash's activities and the importance of protecting the land through agriculture, met Famer Moshe from Tzofar,heard his stories, and gave him critical help in his onion field picking 11 rows of onions! The visit ended with a delicious poike (Israeli cast iron pot stew) lunch.

Second Grade Learns About LOTEM

John and Judith Shear, longtime donors of Jewish National Fund’s partner LOTEM, recently took the time to educate their children’s classmates about LOTEM. The school’s newspaper recapped: “LOTEM is the leading organization in Israel offering accessible hikes and educational nature activities around the country to children and adults with special needs. The 2nd grade was so excited to have a representative from JNF visit them this week to teach them about the organization’s important work. The students were so engaged while learning about the experiences of a person who is disabled and not fully free to explore, see and hear everything in nature. Each student also received a tzedakah box to raise money for this amazing organization. On Yom Ha’atzmaut, the JNF representative will return and see how much tzedakah the students have raised. Kol Hakavod to the 2nd grade!” And Kol Hakavod to the Shears!

Innovation at the Heritage Sites

Every year, approximately 3 million visitors enjoy Israel’s heritage sites around the country, and every year, Jewish National Fund partner SPIHS develops new and interactive ways to enhance these visits. One of the newest innovations is the “Navigation” app at Mikveh Israel, site of an agricultural school This new application, a pilot program for the heritage sites, lets visitors learn, discover and explore the site on their own. Catered to students and families, the app provides visitors with a series of questions about the sit, which they must answer correctly in order to proceed to their next destination. The navigation app is the perfect mix of new and old, using modern technology to teach future generations about Israel’s brave history and pathway to independence.

Special in the IDF

On Wednesday, at a graduation ceremony at the Hatzerim Airbase near Be’er Sheva, new pilots and navigators received their wing pins. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Special in Uniform soldiers and said: “I’m happy to see you here, thank you for your service. Israel is the only nation in the world that has a strong army with the ability to include people with disabilities.”

Employment in the Negev

Jewish National Fund trains residents for a variety of employment opportunities previously unavailable to them through partner Eretz-Ir's NetGev Center in Hura. This week, Eretz-Ir took participants in the International Import/Export certification course to visit the port of Ashdod, where they were able to see how import processes happen on the ground.