Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:



Our 2019@$1,000 campaign program is running full steam ahead. As a team, we have closed 532 gifts for nearly $3 million so we are one-quarter of the way toward our goal. Here is a report showing each community’s status as of February 7. I want to recognize the following communities that have closed more than 20 gifts of $1,000 or more:

  • Greater Los Angeles
  • MidAtlantic
  • Mountain States
  • Nevada
  • New England
  • Northern Florida
  • San Diego
  • South Florida
  • Tri-State (greater New York area)


February is known as Jewish Disability Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month (JDAIM). Jewish National Fund is proud to join together with Jewish organizations and communities from all over the world in this unified effort to raise awareness and champion the civil rights of people with disabilities. In Israel, one million people have some form of disability that makes them struggle with life's daily activities. Jewish National Fund believes that we can — that we must — ensure that each and every Israeli enjoys a life of dignity, belonging, and purpose. Person by person, family by family, community by community, Jewish National Fund is changing the lives of Israelis with disabilities.


Thanks to three generous donors, every gift made in support of Disabilities and Special Needs will be matched, up to $500,000, from February 1 to February 28, 2019. Please use this matching gift opportunity in your solicitations and share the story of Jewish National Fund improving the quality of life for all Israelis.


Also take a moment to listen to our latest episode of IsraelCast, featuring Jewish National Fund partner Tiran Attia, here.



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.  http://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 mbernstein@jnf.org 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, the 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. Please be sure to register for the National Conference and 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

We’d like to extend a heart-felt bruchim habaim (welcome) to our newest Israel Studies instructors Michael Sunshine and Michael Glassman. We wish them much hatzlachah (luck) and koach (strength) on their journeys with us!


Our three groups are active throughout our campus, busy with studies, new friends, and tasting local favorite Ofer’s falafel. Students in our Spring Semester, February Mini-mester and from Milken Community High School have all experienced their second tiyul (field trip) in our experiential Israel Studies curriculum. Exploring the biblical books of Kings and Judges, they retraced the footsteps of the Judges of Israel along with Saul, the first king of Israel. From the summit of Mt. Gilboa they took in the view of the Jezreel Valley and Mt. Tabor, allowing for a greater appreciation for the ancient Tribal settlements of Israel; setting for the stories of Deborah and Gideon. They hiked down the mountain and retraced King Saul’s final battle against the Philistines, in which he lost his life. Then finally, they arrived at the beautiful springs and pools of Sahne, where they enjoyed lunch and a swim. The tiyul concluded with a ceremony on Mt. Scopus where they were able to look out and see Jerusalem for the first time on our program.

Travel & Tours Update


“I was blown away the first day, what a tour…” Want this amazing experience on your next trip to Israel? Join the Israel H20 Tour, a unique, water-focused tour of Israel with exclusive access to leading water technologies and experts. Learn more here.

Updates from Israel

Arara B'Negev's first factory to open within one year!

Last week, the staff of the Lauder Employment Center was privileged to attend the official opening signing ceremony of the first factory in Arara B'Negev, located about 20 minutes southeast of Be’er Sheva. Unemployment among Bedouin women is an astounding 74%. This electronics factory will feature a hi-tech classroom to train women over a 3-month period of time to work in the electronics factory. The factory hopes to employ 100 local women within one year.

Special in the IDF

After 2 years, Jewish National Fund partner Special in Uniform says goodbye to the outgoing commander of the Home Front Command Base in Ramle , Major Shai Nach. The Home Front Command operates in various emergency situations, specializing in the field of civilian protection. In times of crisis or war, the Home Front Command operates to its fullest capabilities, using all its resources to instruct the civilian population on how to cope with the threats facing Israel. The Search and Rescue Brigade is a co-ed brigade under its command and is trained to carry out special rescue missions in Israel and abroad. The Home Front Command base is one of the IDF bases that is home to Special in Uniform. Major Shai Nach was like a father to Special in Uniform soldiers on his base. He was proud of them and used their dedication as an example to the other soldiers. We say thank you to Shai, and good luck.

Fire Fighting in Halutza

This week, members of the Halutza communities started a fire fighting volunteer course, with the goal of having their own team of fire fighters within a few months. On Wednesday night, the siren sounded as they were taking the course, and a rocket fell on the area the next day. In response, the community added more light to the region by painting another bomb shelter.

Winter at Israel’s Heritage Site

Winter in Israel is a busy time of year at Israel’s Heritage Sites, as families from across the country take advantage of the cool weather to spend time outdoors. Mikveh Israel, the historic agricultural school just south of Tel Aviv, hosted several events including nature tours through the site’s Botanic Gardens and tree planting activities to celebrate the holiday of Tu BiShvat. The Hareut Museum in the Upper Galilee welcomed youth groups and families who came to learn about the history of the region and the battle for the Koach fortress and the Upper Galilee during the War of Independence while enjoying the beautiful weather and time outdoors. In Rehovot, Minkov Citrus Orchard Site continues to celebrate citrus season and the coming of spring with special tours through the blossoming orchards. With so many activities, there are many wonderful opportunities to spend time with family and friends and enjoy nature while visiting Israel’s heritage sites.

D’Var Torah

There is a story in the Midrash of an old man planting a fig tree. When asked if he really expected to live long enough to consume the fruits of his labor, he replied: "I was born into a world flourishing with ready pleasures. My ancestors planted for me, and I now I plant for my children..."  


The act of planting is an act of faith. To bury a seed and walk away, with no way of tracking progress for months or years to come, demands equanimity of spirit and deep-rooted trust in G-d. So many variables can influence the eventual outcome, and we have so few means of control, that any future yield can truthfully be described as miraculous.


It can easily be said that Jewish National Fund’s beginnings exemplify this act of faith. With the help and support of Jews across the globe, JNF collected coins to repurchase land in Israel and planted trees for those who were yet to come. All of this was done in the hope that there would one day be a Jewish State once again. All of this was done because of faith, a faith that has turned into Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people.


In this week's Parshah, Terumah, Moses receives instructions on how to build a special sort of "house" for G-d, called the mishkan. This is where G-d will dwell and where the Jews will be able to perform services for G-d. It was the original synagogue—in fact, our synagogues today are modeled after, and in place of, the mishkan of old and the components which were required for it: “Bring Me an offering . . . the offering shall consist of…cedar-acacia wood.”


From where did they get these [trees] in the desert? From our forefather Jacob.


As he and his family descended from Canaan to Egypt, Jacob brought cedar saplings, native to Israel, with him, and subsequently replanted them in Egypt. Generations later, as his descendants readied themselves to finally flee from Egyptian slavery they cut down those now mature trees and carried the wood with them on their travels through the desert. These giant planks were eventually fashioned into the walls of the mishkan, the traveling Tabernacle for worship.


Jacob’s intention was clear: seeing the trees and remembering the promise of redemption that they represented would bolster the spirits of his descendants through even the darkest moments, encouraging them to look forward with hope to a better future.


Furthermore, by bringing specimens from Israel, Jacob was bridging the gap between the generations and ensuring that no matter how far his children went, they would always have a visceral link with their past to cling to, and a promise of future consolation with which to inspire themselves.


There are inevitable moments in life where we must take stock of our valuables, and decide for ourselves what to hold close and what we can safely abandon. As the fires of assimilation threaten, and the harsh winds of history blow toward us, there is a danger that we may mistakenly leave Judaism behind in exchange for a carload of worthless junk. However, by planning ahead during the periods of relative calm, and assessing the value of our real assets in advance, we ensure our personal safety and ensure our legacy for future generations.


Shabbat Shalom,