Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:


Jewish National Fund is a big organization making a big impact on the land of Israel for the benefit of her citizens. We are an organization that has now raised $490 million in a little more than four years toward our $1 billion goal.
So the question is: why aren’t many of us talking big?
As a JNF team, we are not a $1 million or even $5 million campaign in a local community; Jewish National Fund is a national campaign working toward a $1 billion goal. We are an organization with nearly 400,000 active donors across the country. What sounds more impressive when you are talking with prospects about participating to help us achieve our vision? If we think small and speak small, the public will define us as such. When we speak consistent with the incredible accomplishments JNF USAis actually achieving on the ground, we inspire people to join us.
Part of speaking big about Jewish National Fund comes from understanding why it exists and how we differentiate ourselves relative to others. What is our purpose? For those who have heard one of Rick Krosnick’s fundraising training sessions, he often shares a Ted Talk video by Simon Sinek called How Great Leaders Inspire Action. In the video, Sinek talks about how excellent organizations define themselves and effectively communicate their purpose to break away from the noise of others. It starts with articulating our purpose from a high-level, the “why” we exist. Specific projects and partnerships represent the “what” JNF does to accomplish its goals. Watch this video, and see if you can articulate the “why” of JNF. Consider doing this as a fun exercise with your local community leadership team at an upcoming meeting.

Shabbat Shalom,



Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign

D’Var Torah

By Yossi Kahana

JNF’s Israel Relations Committee Mission just came back from Israel and had many amazing experiences. One of them was a morning spent on Masada. Here they watched a Rabbi write a Torah scroll and met Jews who flocked to the desert fortress of Masada from every corner of the globe to celebrate the rite of passage of their sons and daughters, becoming a Bar and Bat Mitzvah.

There's a significant connection between mountains and Judaism—in fact, in this week’s Parshat Yitro, the Torah was given to the Jewish people on a mountain.

Why a mountain?

Why, after 2,500 years of gardens and floods, towers and exiles, rivers that ran with blood and seas that split, did G-d finally decide to reveal Himself to mankind? Why did He gather His nation around a mountain?

G-d gathered us at Sinai to teach, to impart wisdom and knowledge, and to guide. The location He chose was certainly not random; rather it presents lessons of its own.

There are many messages from the mount.

Four are the kingdoms that comprise our world: the inanimate, the vegetative, the animal and the human. Our Sages have referred to the towering mountains as the "vegetative within the inanimate kingdom." Earth that grows tall.

We do notice, however, that mountains also shrink. Buffeted by winds, rinsed by rainfalls, carved by rivers. Organizations exist to protect certain mountains, to prevent landslides and erosion. The prophet Elijah referred to a "strong and powerful wind that erodes mountains."

Why does the wind attack mountains, yet largely ignore flat lands? The cause is the mountain itself—it simply and stubbornly gets in the way. The wind hits it with force, and must force its way around or over. As it does so, it carries little pieces of the mountain with it.

Minuscule mountains that accompany the clouds. Onwards they travel until the wind reaches another upright rocky formation, ideally poised to collect the particles. Thus does the "strong and powerful wind that erodes mountains" also fortify others. Whilst some mounts shrink, others grow.

One mountain's loss is another mountain's gain.

"All that the Holy One created in His world," say the Sages. "He also created in man."

Our mountain represents our feeling of self, of position and importance. We could opt for a negative mountain of arrogance and pride. Or we could have a holy mount, used for positive advancement.

We can raise ourselves as a mountain of haughtiness—a chunk of earth that rises in affront to decency, to society, to our Creator.

But that very haughtiness is what invites the forces that will temper it and remold it. When a person realizes he has allowed himself to hold his head and heart high over others, he is filled with a spirit of humility and resolve to improve. This feeling is a wind that lowers the arrogant peaks we have grown. Since such a change is positive, the mountain is not shrinking; rather it is growing smaller and progressively diminishing. The reduction of a negative trait is always a step forwards and upwards.

On the other side of the hill, our height may allow us to attain greater heights. We can use our importance, our respected position, power, or fame to create changes for the betterment of others. Our mountain of influence can be utilized to guide others in a positive direction.

Our mountain may be impressive enough to gain entry to the hearts of those who would ignore the same message from a mere mound. Our importance and "altitude" then becomes a holy mountain, a place where G-d can reveal Himself.

Shabbat Shalom,


Updates from Israel

Touring the Netgev and Lauder Employment Centers

Last Sunday Jewish National Fund partner Eretz-Ir had an amazing day with JNF's Israel Relations Committee, at the NetGev Center in Arad and the Lauder Employment Center in Be’er Sheva. Discussions were had about the power of partnerships and their ability to create long-lasting, sustainable social change, and the successes in the employment landscape in the Negev.

Heritage Sites Conference

Last week, Jewish National Fund partner SPIHS hosted the 8th annual Heritage Sites Conference. Over 150 heritage site managers from all over the country gathered in Haifa for two days of lectures, workshops, and strategy sessions. Guest speakers included Yona Yahav, the mayor of Haifa; Yosi Sharabi, Director General of the Ministry of Culture and Sport; and Shlomo Hillel, an Israeli hero and the President of SPIHS. This annual conference is just one of the many preservation initiatives that SPIHS’s education department develops and offers each year.

Special Visit

Eli Sagi, a young man with an intellectual disability, made aliyah from France. He joined Jewish National Fund partner Special in Uniform at the Lipkin base with the infantry brigade unit of paratroopers. This week, Eli had a very meaningful visit at the base from his grandparents, who saw him there for the first time.

Week of Agriculture

Over 300 families, youth, and members of Green Horizons (a Jewish National Fund partner) participated in a festival at the HaShomer HaChadash Youth Organization Community farm in Hadera. Even Hadera’s Mayor Tzvika Gendelman joined the festivities! The festival included Tu BiShvat activities, a Farmers Market selling produce grown by Young Leadership and Youth Organization participants, booths for making freshly squeezed orange juice, and more.