Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:


Most JNF events have been cancelled through the end of May and many of us are either working from home, or in some cases, are under a quarantine situation. And yet, Jewish National Fund must continue to reach out to people to ask for their support of Israel. We came up with a term for how to communicate with people about JNF: Empathetic and Compassionate Fundraising. Hundreds of calls are being made to donors by the professional staff and lay leaders across the country. The calls are primarily wellness calls to check on the well-being of our JNF family of partners… our donors, who have been incredibly appreciative. In a business where 90% of what we do is personal relationships, even without a specific ask, these wellness calls have been a great way to stay connected and create an even greater sense of family. And, by the way, many donors have also generously made their 2020 annual gift.


Remember, Israel needs us now as much as they ever have. All JNF community boards should be making calls to your donors. These are the easiest calls to make.


Finally, with so many events cancelled, let’s use creativity and technology to bring the community together. We have enough Zoom capacity for every community to do virtual events. If a JNF Breakfast for Israel has been cancelled, have the event by Zoom. You can still have your table captains recruit ten people to join the Zoom, and then follow the same agenda format, including the guest speaker and fundraising appeal. Do a Lawyers for Israel “Lunch and Learn” by Zoom.  We can do the same with JNFuture and Women for Israel. Most events can be held by Zoom. Let’s be creative and let us bring the community together in a virtual manner, even if we can’t physically be in the same room.


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

A big thanks to the General Campaign team headed up by Bob Cohan and Bob Weiss with the professional leadership of Deb Rochford. The 2020 in 2020 campaign is really doing well, and the three JNF pros who are enthusiastically managing the program are doing an exceptional job of motivating their colleagues across the country.  Thank you Audrey Lewis, Brandon Cohen, and Melissa Asarch. You made for a fabulous week by closing gifts $1k+. This was a challenging week and the entire JNF team really came through!


As a country, we’ve brought in a total of 437 gifts…compared to last year when we closed 338! That is a 29% increase! Great job!


We have been averaging 135 gifts a week. That puts us on track to bring in about 1,800 gifts by the end up of the campaign. IF EACH REGION BRINGS IN 1 MORE GIFT A WEEK, WE WILL HIT OUR GOAL OF 2020 GIFTS!


As you know, each week we feature a region and a fundraiser from that region who really shined. This week’s star closer is Donna Raider from Palm Springs! Sharon Joy describes Donna as having a “loyal and faithful donor family and has cultivated excellent relationships.”


We asked Donna what makes her so successful. “Targeting the donors who you know have the resources. Spending time developing the relationship. When I know there are donors at a $5k level that could give more, I spend more time cultivating… but you have to do the research to know who that is and what motivates them. Maximize your time and focus your efforts where it will have the biggest impact. Using your board effectively will help! I have an old boss who used to say, ‘All you can do is be in front of the donor when they are ready to give… know when to be in front of them!’ And finally, success is 95% preparation!” 


Thanks for all that great advice, Donna! Donna has increased 250% over last year so far in the campaign! Mazel Tov, Donna!



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 Bet 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. 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 hotel, will be available soon.



If you already registered for the National Conference, you should have received an e-mail inviting you to go on-line to make hotel reservations for one of the conference hotels. There are nearly 600 registered for the 2020 National Conference taking place in Israel next October 25 – 29.  We are well on our way to reach our goal to bring 1,000 people to Israel for the Conference. A friendly competition is underway among local communities for who can bring the most to Israel. Program planning is well underway and we will update you as more details are released. However, you can click here to see the latest on the program. Register now! jnf.org/nc


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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JNF On Demand

Across the country, we have been working tirelessly to create engaging and meaningful experiences for you–to connect you with the land and people of Israel–right from the comfort of your home. Please visit jnf.org/ondemand for ongoing updates and detailed information about upcoming Zoom Video Conference Calls. 

Tune Into IsraelCast

This week on IsraelCast, host Steven Shalowitz celebrates World Water Day by welcoming back recurring guest, Seth Siegel. Siegel discusses the debate of whether water regulation should fall under an environmental issue or a public health issue. Listen in to hear what’s really in our drinking water and why it’s not being fixed, even though there are solutions out there.

Updates from Israel

Special in the IDF



We are proud to share that Israel’s Ministry of Health recruited JNF's Special in Uniform affiliate to help. Our soldiers are hard at work in the Home Front Command Emergency Logistics Center energetically packing and replenishing testing and emergency kits. The soldiers’ experience preparing emergency and crisis kits made them priority workers for the job, and they were summoned to the Ministry of Health’s warehouse to facilitate the preparation, packing and delivery of the kits. Our dear soldiers demonstrate their capacities and exemplary dedication to their people and nation—just like regular soldiers. We can even say that our soldiers can accomplish the crucial task better and more industriously than others due to their conscientious, assiduous nature and their patience and persistence at a job that requires long hours of meticulous, repetitive work.



Western Galilee Now



Greetings from your friends of Western Galilee Now and the JNF Tourist Information Center,




As we all know, the Coronavirus has affected each of our lives, but here in Israel, the tourism industry has struggling with this situation since day one.  Tourism makes up 40% of the industry in the Western Galilee, and our WGN members have grown over the past years because of tourism and your support.  Now, more than ever, it is important that we have this network, to think together creatively, and support one another, to continue to bring the beauty of the Western Galilee to others, even if they cannot come to visit.  




With the brain trust of our JNF partners, we are launching, for the first time, our Online Mitzvah Marketplace: Shop Israeli Goods, where WGN members that you know, and some that you may not know, can share their products and works of art, along with the stories behind the products.  Working around the clock to bring you this experience has given us a great opportunity to work together and come up with new ideas that we will also duplicate for the Israeli market.  


We are helping our members to also think outside of the box to continue to keep busy and maintain their livelihood. Buza Ice Cream has launched Buza to Go, bringing their unique ice cream flavors to Israeli families who are practicing social distancing.  We are also developing virtual workshops for families to learn from our members all kinds of things like cooking with Shula from Shtula, quilting with Hasi Fiber Studio, Herbal Health Tips and Tricks with TamaraHindi, and ceramic designs with Efrat from Kibbutz Kfar Masryk, just to name a few (stay tuned!!!).  And for those who are unable to enjoy nature, we are creating a Nature to Go videos and photos, to bring the natural beauty of the Galilee to your living room.




This is a difficult time for all of us, but with your help, support, and motivation, you all are keeping us busy, and we will continue to remain active and optimistic for you.




With love and appreciation,




Michal Shiloah and everyone at Western Galilee Now




Letters from Our Affiliates



Please take a moment to read letters that have come in from our affiliates in Israel:




Ramat HaNegev

Nefesh B’Nefesh Press Release



D’Var Torah

The global Novel Coronavirus pandemic has really thrown us for a loop. Many of us feel as if all sense of certainty is gone. What will happen next? We don't know. Our experts don't know. Our leaders don't know. Only G-d knows. So, what we can do? Keep Calm, Trust G-d, and Carry On. Think good and it will be good. Do good deeds, support one another, take every precaution advised by health authorities. Wash your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds several times a day; and every time you do, remember whose hands you are in.


In this week’s Torah portion Vayakhel, Moses relays G-d’s command that the Israelites donate materials for the construction of the Mishkan. All kinds of items were needed: metals (gold, silver and copper); fabrics and material (wool, linen and skins); wood, oil, spices and precious stones.

As soon as Moses finished talking, the people began collecting items to donate. The people were so happy to contribute that they brought everything they had. They brought so much, that Moses had to tell them to stop.


Next, the Torah describes the workers who volunteered to build the Mishkan as "every man whose heart inspired him." These Israelites had absolutely no experience in this type of unique construction. What then made them qualified to carry it forth? The answer: Their "hearts inspired them." In other words, they had a desire. They were eager and willing to do it. And by virtue of this desire and eagerness, they became qualified and rose to the occasion.


We’re taught that the most essential ingredient is not contemplation or analysis, but a willingness to act. When we’re presented with an opportunity to do a mitzvah, to become more religiously observant or to get involved in a worthwhile endeavor, let us lighten up a bit on the philosophical introspection and self-examination and "Just do it!" 


At JNF, our inspirational leaders and donors have once again proven their “willingness to act”.


Earlier this week, JNF definitively acted and immediately released $500,000 from the JNF endowment to charter an EL AL flight and bring home close to 300 Alexander Muss High School in Israel students. Our leaders and donors know how to move others to join them.  They don’t just talk about what they want to do, or how things can be done better.  They take action and make things happen, even if it is something they have not done before. This is what makes our leadership and donors so special.  JNF’s leaders and donors join Task Forces, become Makor members, and host parlor meetings. They travel to Israel to see JNF’s work and meet with our affiliates; and they do so much more. This is a certainty on which we can depend.

Shabbat Shalom,