Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:


I know the last several weeks has many feeling anxious about the Coronavirus and its effects on our daily lives and businesses. This week the difficult decision was made by our lay leadership team to postpone the upcoming national Major Donor Weekend and Jewish Leadership Institute Summit in San Diego. I have also heard about cancellations of local JNF events as well.


Of course, we need to be pragmatic during these times, but we are also running the business of JNF-USA to raise the necessary dollars to  support the land and people of Israel.  Our work must continue. And so, when JNF gatherings are cancelled or postponed, we must redouble our efforts to communicate with our donors. We must speak with people individually and ask for their support for the 2020 campaign. If a fundraising event of 30 or 300 people is postponed, our lay leaders and professional fundraisers must have a plan in place to personally reach out to those who would have otherwise attended. Sending an e-mail won’t make the connection. We need to reach out to people directly and ask for their support.


Despite the current climate of uncertainty, we will overcome this challenge as we have done many times before. After the dust settles, people will again attend community events, go to social gatherings, and travel overseas. We urge you to make Israel the first destination you visit. In this spirit, we continue to plan and curate an incredible program for National Conference 2020 taking place in Israel between October 25‑29. Many Israeli families, particularly in the Negev and Galilee, rely on tourists, people like us, to visit and support their businesses. Please encourage your friends and family to support Israel’s regional economic recovery by registering for National Conference 2020 today at jnf.org/nc.

While our newsfeeds and newspapers are consumed with headlines about the current status of global health, together with you, Jewish National Fund‑USA remains steadfast in our support for the people who rely on us most — families building new lives in Israel’s north and south, disabled youth and adults seeking respite and therapy, environmental conservation programs and a multitude of other important initiatives.

I know you join us in wishing a speedy recovery to those in the public who are ill and a quick de‑escalation of the current situation regarding COVID‑19.


2020 in 2020

This quarter of our campaign focuses on closing the gifts of our $1,000 and over donors as well as bringing in new donors at this level.  The goal is to close 2,020 gifts at this level over the next eight weeks.  Our General Campaign team reports we are off to a good start.  Here is their weekly report.


2020 in 2020 Week 2

Nationally we brought in a total of 310 gifts…compared to 227 during this same week last year. That is a 37% increase! KOL HAKAVOD EVERYONE!! Each week we will feature a region and a fundraiser from that region who really shined. This week’s killer closers are the “rock stars” from the New England and the Capital District Region.


Executive Director Sara Hefez said, “I was thrilled to hear that our amazing team here in New England are the killer closers of the week! We eat, breathe, and sleep fundraising; always staying focused on building relationships and welcoming people to our JNF family. The five of us work together as a strong squad, supporting and cheering each other on.”


My special shout out goes to Rina Wagman for closing 6 gifts, out of our total 21, since the start of the #2020in2020 campaign! Rina’s secret is she is always super focused on getting things done. She works diligently with our lay leaders maximizing the partnership. Go Rina!


Thanks to our entire team! Sara Hefez, Rina Wagman, Dar Nadler, Joey Cohen, Dana Gerbie Klein and Sydney Sadur.



As you know, the Israel national baseball team has earned a spot in the Olympics this summer and JNF-USA is a major supporter. In addition, through our Project Baseball initiative, we are supporting the Israel Association of Baseball by building new facilities in Israel and, most immediately, the new baseball complex in Beit Shemesh. There are still naming opportunities with this high visibility project.


You can help JNF and Team Israel. Please consider being an honorary member of the team by clicking on this link to create your own fundraising page. https://my.jnf.org/israel-baseball/   You can customize it if you choose or send it as is to friends and family. Support Israel’s Olympic baseball team and JNF’s Project Baseball. By supporting the team, you will feel pride when the Boys in Blue are on the medal stand in Tokyo.





The annual Campaign Planning Summit will take place Sunday, August 23 and Monday, August 24 at the Ronald S. Lauder JNF House in New York City.

We will start Sunday afternoon and conclude with lunch on Monday. There is a national Board of Directors meeting from 1:00 – 3:00 pm on Monday, and all Summit participants are invited and encouraged to attend. The Campaign Planning Summit provides an opportunity for lay leaders to have a voice in the direction of our campaign initiatives for the coming year. More information, including preferred the hotel will be available soon.



If you already registered for the National Conference, you should have received an e-mail inviting you to go online to make hotel reservations for one of the conference hotels. There are nearly 600 registered for the 2020 National Conference taking place in Israel October 25–29. We are well on our way of reaching our goal of bringing 1,000 people to Israel for the Conference. Program planning is well underway and we will update you as more details are released. Click here to see the latest on the program: JNF NC 2020 Program jnf.org/nc to see the latest on the program. Register now!


Shabbat Shalom,


    Ben Gutmann

    Vice President, Campaign

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Our summer session kicked off their first full week on campus by volunteering at Save a Child's Heart and Leket. Later this week they will continue on to Jerusalem for their first overnight tiyul. 

We also wished our April session farewell as they concluded their eight week session. We are already excited to welcome them to our AMHSI alumni community!

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Updates from Israel

Purim at the Heritage Sites


It is that time of the year again for party masks and Purim celebrations at Israel’s heritage sites. Ben-Gurion's Desert Home in Sde Boker and Naharayim at Gesher are two of several of Israel’s heritage sites that hosted special events like costume parties and arts and crafts activities for children and their families. Celebrating one of the happiest holidays of the year is a great way to attract more visitors to the sites and show them the importance of preserving heritage sites and sharing the story of Israel’s pathway to independence.



Special in the IDF



The IDF Purim Project is an initiative of Jewish National Fund’s affiliate Special in Uniform. Every commander received Mishloach Manot baskets from Special in Uniform soldiers as a token of appreciation for their love and support. Chag Sameach!



D’Var Torah

This week, Parshat Ki Tisa largely deals with Moses meeting with G-d upon Mount Sinai, the tablets of the law, and the apostasy of Israel. G-d gave Moses tablets of the law, which Moses broke in anger upon seeing his people worshipping the golden calf. Even Aaron, as the high priest, had failed his duty by giving in to his own weakness and allowing the sin to occur. This was such a disappointment on a national scale.


The two sets of tablets, the broken ones and their replacements, are stored together in perpetuity in the Ark of the Covenant. But why keep the broken pieces? In what way do they differ from the gift-wrapped public-relation disaster in the above story? Aren't they just a symbol of our crime and punishment? Why stockpile a souvenir of the depravity to which the Jews sank?


This scenario articulates messages at the very genesis of Judaism: The fragments of your life are as sacred as its whole parts. G-d is present not only in the complete tablets, but also in the shattered ones. G-d actually thanks Moses for breaking the tablets, then instructs him to carve replacements.


The broken tablets, representing the shattered pieces of human existence, have their own story to tell; they contain a light all their own. Truth is found not only in wholesomeness, but also – even primarily — in the broken fragments of the human spirit. There are moments when G-d desires that we connect to Him as wholesome people, with clarity and a sense of fullness; there are yet deeper moments when He desires that we find Him in the shattered experiences of our lives.


We hope and pray to always enjoy the “whole tablets,” but when we encounter the broken ones, we ought not to run from or become dejected by them; we ought to embrace them with tenderness and bring them into our “holy of holies.” We must recall the observation of the Kotzker Rebbe “There is nothing more whole than a broken heart;" one of his most famous classic statements.


JNF believes that we have an obligation to ensure that each and every Israeli enjoys a life of dignity, belonging and purpose. We just completed our February campaign championing the value, dignity and ability of those people in our Community who have disabilities. Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month was a call to action for all of us to act in accordance with our Jewish values and honor the gifts and strengths we each possess. Shabbat Shalom,





Shabbat Shalom,





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