Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:



Our annual campaign is still running about $1 million ahead of the same time last year and we have closed 200 more gifts of $1,000 or more than at the same time last year. For our $1 billion goal, we are at just under $575 million. I want to be sure all our local leadership teams are supporting our 2019@$1,000 initiative to boost the number of donors giving at this level.  Each of us should take five pledge cards and make a phone call.



Have you included Jewish National Fund in your estate plan?  Making a provision in your estate is easy to do and leaves a legacy to ensure your philanthropic priorities are supported when you are gone. It is my goal to encourage 100% participation among our Jewish National Fund leaders to make a provision in their estate to support the land and people of Israel.  Jewish National Fund has an excellent online tool to walk you through the many options available, including Charitable Gift Annuities, Trusts, IRA Rollovers, Donor Advised Funds as well as donations of insurance and property.  jnflegacy.org


Under the leadership of national chairs, David Frank from Los Angeles and Bernice Freedman from Las Vegas, working with Chief Planned Giving Officer Matt Bernstein and his great team, Jewish National Fund can tailor a tax-smart package to meet your needs. For a personal consultation, contact Matt Bernstein at [email protected] or (212) 879-9305, ext. 292.



Please join us in Las Vegas for our annual Major Donor Weekend April 5 – 8 at the Four Seasons Hotel. Many fun and interesting programs are planned, including a wonderful Shabbat Dinner with JNFuture leaders from around the country, VIP tickets to the Cirque du Soleil show Mystere, a visit to the MOB Museum and a book signing with former mobster Myron Sugarman, author of The Chronicles of the Last Jewish Gangster. You are also invited to attend an open meeting of JNF’s National Board of Directors on Monday morning, April 8th. To register for major donor weekend, click here:  jnf.org/majordonorweekend



Because this year’s National Conference is taking place so early on the calendar, September 13-15, we have decided to schedule the annual Campaign Planning Summit for the Monday immediately after the conference on September 16. The Summit will be a one-day meeting from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm and is open to any lay leader serving on a JNF board, committee or task force.


Registration for the Campaign Planning Summit is included on the National Conference registration page. On the drop down menu there is a place to indicate you will attend the Campaign Summit. Click here to register for National Conference:  jnf.org/nc




The next training session will take place March 27 and will focus on solicitation training.


If you missed last week’s training session, or any of our previous video conference training sessions, you can click below to watch the video.


Leadership Training Seminar #1 (9/13/18) – History of Zionism and Jewish National Fund




Leadership Training Seminar #2 (11/14/18) – The Power of the JNF Brand and Brand Management




JNF Organizational Overview and Financial Structure #3 (1/16/19)




Shabbat Shalom!





Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign

Alexander Muss High School in Israel

This Shabbat our campus will be full of new souls: teens on our Spring Semester and February Mini-mester, and from Milken High School in Los Angeles. They have all had orientation, settled into their dorms, and begun classes. Our first tiyul for all groups is Tel Gezer, an archaeological site located between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem where students will explore the importance of archaeology and its role in understanding history. Additionally, they will learn about the Canaanite civilization and its relationship to the earliest iblical texts - an ideal set-up for the next 4,000+ years of Jewish and Israeli history that will follow.

Travel & Tours Update


See firsthand the impact your commitment has on Israel on the President’s Society Mission, open to donors of $10,000 or more. Join us in May or October.

Updates from Israel

Forbes Magazine Recognition

This week was a milestone for Jewish National Fund partner HaShomer HaChadash. In an issue that recognized innovation, in this year’s "30 under 30" list Forbes Israel highlighted two leaders of Hashomer Hachadash, Amit Meir and Shlomo Lampert, for their work in agriculture and land protection. Amit is the founder and director of Adam V’Adama high school in the Arava, which combines academic learning with agricultural experience. Shlomo developed the leading agricultural volunteering project “Connecting to the Land,” one of the largest youth volunteering projects in Israel. We are so proud of their successes, and know that they will keep growing and connecting more and more youth to the land of Israel through HaShomer HaChadash and its programs.

Annual Heritage Sites Conference

Last week, almost 200 people gathered in Israel’s northern town of Beit Sha’an for the 9th Annual Heritage Sites Conference hosted by Jewish National Fund partner Society for the Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites. Attendees included managers of the 180 heritage sites located all across Israel, important representatives of the local and national government, and more. Lecturers and attendees shared new ideas and innovations about how to improve Israel´s heritage sites. The conference also included a tour of area sites in Beit Sha’an and Naharayim at Old Gesher in the Valley of Springs. Over the years, the annual Heritage Sites conference has become an important resource and source of inspiration for those who seek to bring Israel’s heritage sites to the next level and share Israel’s history with visitors from around the world.

Special in the IDF

Congratulations to Orel on achieving another milestone during his volunteering in Jewish National Funds’s Special in Uniform when he received an award for his dedication and service in the army. His parents were present for this special moment. We are making a difference in their lives, one soldier at a time.

D’Var Torah

How was it that February was chosen to be Jewish Disability Awareness Month? It was chosen because of this week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim.

Now that the Jews have received the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai (in last week's parashat Yitro) and accepted the Torah, God teaches them the laws that are part of this Torah. In this week’s parshaha, Mishpatim, we learn that the Torah demands that we be extra nice to strangers, widows, and orphans. These defenseless people especially deserve our kindness.


But what should one make of the discussion of a ger (one who converts) and its placement adjacent to the discussion of widows and orphans, two categories of people who are often seen as venerable? 


In modern Hebrew the word ger means convert, but that could not be the Torah’s meaning here, as the children of Israel were saved, in part because we chose not to convert to the Egyptian culture during our time in Egypt. Therefore ger is often understood in this context to mean a stranger, a person who stands out from the crowd. When God created us in his image, He could have chosen to make us all the same with the same strengths and weaknesses, the same looks and the same ideas, but he did not. By choosing to make each of us unique, he signified the importance and the power of our uniqueness. Our difference, that which makes us strange to others, is precisely what allows us to see the world from alternative perspectives and find solutions to challenging situations, while growing in the process. Angels don’t leave footprints; it is because of our challenges, faults and our individuality that people are able to have an impact on the world.


While our differences - that which makes each one of us what someone else may call strange – can be a person’s biggest asset, it is also vulnerability as articulated in Mishpatim. When faced with a stranger, a person who is different, whatever the cause of that difference, we should not punish them for that difference but embrace them as we would want to be embraced.


February is Jewish Disability Awareness Month, and is also referred to as Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance and Inclusion Month. During this month, we call special attention to the need for the Jewish world to do more to include members of our community with special needs, to make them feel at home, to make them feel welcome, to make them feel loved by people as they are loved by God. Through accessibility and therapeutic services, JNF partners work tirelessly to empower all children and people with disabilities in Israel.



Shabbat Shalom,