Campaign Update

Today is the final day of our 2nd campaign quarter.  We are now at the half way point of our annual campaign and as we have discussed often, because the summer months are the slowest fundraising period, our campaign totals need to be well ahead of 50% if we are on pace toward our total goal.


Nationally, I am pleased to share we are at 67% toward our annual campaign goal.


Community leadership and professional staff should do a status review of your local campaign. In addition to reviewing your total numbers, look at each division of your campaign to assess areas of weakness. Discuss donors who you have not yet been able to close and who might be the best person to make the approach.



Collectively we have closed 1,300 gifts of $1,000 or more this second fiscal quarter for $13 million.


As a reminder, the goal of the 2019@$1,000 campaign is to close as many gifts of $1,000 or more during our second fiscal quarter, which is January through March. Our General Campaign division covers gifts of $1,000 to $4,999. It is a critical division as these donors, with proper relationship building and cultivation, often become major donors. We need to continue to expand this pipeline of donors for the overall vitality of our donor base.


These communities have closed 75 or more gifts at $1,000 this fiscal quarter:

  • Greater Los Angeles
  • Mid-Atlantic
  • Northern Florida
  • South Florida
  • Tri-State(Greater New York)

These communities have closed a minimum of 50 gift units at $1,000 or more:

  • Central New Jersey
  • Nevada
  • New England
  • Northern California


While some of us may feel that winter may never end, at Jewish National Fund, spring is right around the corner! Our SPRING CAMPAIGN begins in just 5 weeks! PLEASE TAKE A FEW MOMENTS to read through this email entirely, as it will address questions you may have and contains a lot of important information. Thank you for your role in ensuring this campaign is a success!


What is Spring Campaign?  Spring Campaign is our critical Q3 campaign targeting our donors at $500 + and JNFuture’s at $360+ who have given in any of the previous 3 fiscal years, but not in FY2019. Knowing that July & August are our slowest months, how we perform during Spring Campaign will forecast how strong our fiscal year will end. This campaign will run May 1-June 24. We have a very ambitious goal in raising $12M through Spring Campaign and I’m confident we can close 75% of our lapsed donors.


Here are some documents with background on the Spring Campaign program:


Spring Campaign Flyer

Regions and Professions

Spring Campaign Script



I look forward to seeing many of you in Las Vegas next weekend for our annual Major Donor Weekend.  If you haven’t registered, I think we can squeeze you in if you act fast.  Here’s the link to register:  www.jnf.org/majordonorweekend   I understand more than 150 people will be in Vegas from across the country. 


I want to thank Ben Gutmann, Nina Paul and their professional partner, Glen Schwarz, for their national leadership of the major gifts division and to our local host chairs for the Vegas weekend, Shelley and Bob Dubin, Bernice Friedman and Ed Devore and Rhonda Sheakley. 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 and a visit to the MOB Museum with a presentation and book signing with former mobster Myron Sugarman, the author of The Chronicles of the Last Jewish Gangster.



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



We had a great Lay Leader Training Seminar this past Wednesday focused on Peer to Peer fundraising.  Many thanks to Sheryl Buchholtz and Rick Krosnick who led the session.  If you missed the training, click on this link: 




If you missed any of the previous training sessions, you can click below to watch the videos.



History of Zionism and Jewish National Fund (9/13/18)  




The Power of the JNF Brand and Brand Management (11/14/18) 




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




Shabbat Shalom!





Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign

Alexander Muss High School in Israel

This week we welcomed a group from the World ORT school in St. Petersburg, Russia. The group of 8th graders took a tour of campus and ate lunch with our students from Milken Community High School. The visit was a huge success. We look forward to collaborating further with the Russian community and exploring ways to bring their students to our programs.


Students from Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School have moved over into their volunteering opportunities off campus for the next couple of weeks. While our Spring Semester students are in Poland and will return next week, we bid L’hitraot to our February mini-mester teens. Check out this recap video from one of our February Impact Fellows!


Travel & Tours Update

Discover Israel’s rich history, heritage, and culture while exploring the country from north to south. Perfect for first-timers and repeat visitors alike. Learn more.

Updates from Israel

Gaza Envelope Update

Update from the Gaza Envelope, from Yedidya Harush: “This week was a challenging week for us. It’s been on and off with rockets and explosions and a whole unknown weekend is ahead of us still that may lead to a much larger situation. I think one of the hardest parts of this situation is going from totally regular life to an emergency mode in less than one minute without any notice. In times of stress, the spirit that leads us plays a central role – the same spirit we had coming out of Egypt thousands of years ago and going through everything we went through in our history. Looking at our situation, we really feel like there is so much we can do to build and grow our communities on the border with Gaza as a perfect response to terror. On Thursday, we painted a bomb shelter thanks to the amazing partnership of Boca Raton Synagogue Florida at the entrance to Bnei Netzarim, together with the youth of the community who later baked cakes and challah and deliveryed them to the soldiers guarding us on the border. I want to thank you for the supporting messages and for caring, knowing we are not along helps keep our spirit strong and allows us to move on. Am Israel Chai! Shabbat Shalom.”



International Women’s Day at Israel’s Heritage Sites

Earlier this month, Jewish National Fund partner Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites honored International Women's Day by celebrating the wonderful women who work hard to ensure that Israel’s heritage sites are preserved and shared with the public. The women of SPIHS gathered at the historic Yellin House at Motza for a special pottery workshop and a chance to learn about the important heritage site. Though March may be International Women’s Month, SPIHS works all year round to ensure that the stories and legacies of women who played significant roles in Israel’s history are not forgotten. The Nitzanim Women of Valor Center in the south and the Hannah Senesh Museum at Sdot Yam are just two of many heritage sites across the country that are dedicated to these women, their contributions to Israel, and the sacrifices they made along the way.



Special in the IDF

Congratulations to Ori Salmon, an IDF soldier who is blind. Ori‘s commanders just told her that she is going to be one of 120 soldiers who receive the Presidential Award of Medal of Excellence for distinguished service. The traditional awarding of the Medal of Excellence to soldiers and officers of the IDF takes place at President Reuven Rivlin's residence in Jerusalem on Yom Haatzmaut. Attending the ceremony will be the Prime Minister of Israel, the Defense Minister, IDF Chief of Staff, and of course the hosts, President Reuven Rivlin and his wife Nechama. Mazal Tov!



D’Var Torah

There is no way you can practice Judaism religiously or culturally without food—this is also why one of Jewish National Fund’s most attractive trips to Israel has a heavy culinary focus and now JNF is building a world-class International Culinary Institute in the Upper Eastern Galilee. Food has been intrinsic to Jewish ritual, life, and culture from the outset. What is the very first act that the Israelites in Egypt are commanded to do? It’s to have a communal meal—roast lamb and herbs, some nice shwarma. And with that, the beginning of the Jewish people is through a meal. The famous joke:“They tried to kill us, we won, now let’s eat.”

Why are food and meals so essential to the Jewish experience?


First of all, we should be grateful for the blessings in our lives—that we get to make choices about food, that food is plentiful in our homes and that we go to bed with full stomachs each night. However, more than that, food speaks to us. It tells us stories.


Challah and grape juice on the table tell my kids that it is Shabbat. The aroma of chicken soup and matzah balls reminds them of their grandmother. The taste of apples and honey announce to them that a new year has started.


So, it should be no surprise that a religious system like Judaism has rules about food. The first rules regarding food required human beings to share their food with G-d to say thank you as well to ask for continued blessing, forgiveness and protection.


In this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Shemini, we read about permitted and forbidden food sources. These rules are the foundation for keeping kosher as we know it today. As I read the lists of animals, I find myself asking, “What’s the story in these foods?” Or, better yet, “What story does the Torah want us to tell?”


Food was instrumental in forming the identity of nascent Israel. The founding of the state brought 750,000 new immigrants and the need to feed them all. Sharing food with others through rationing, a practical policy, was transformed into an ideological one in which old-time Israelis metaphorically broke bread with new arrivals. It was a symbolic way of creating a nation. Due to the economic need for austerity, the question of what kind of food the nation should eat became relevant. The Ashkenazi policy makers assumed that the Ashkenazi diet was the scientific one. For people from Yemen, Iraq or Morocco and other non-Ashkenazi Jews, this was a big adjustment. In the late 1950s, experts began to suggest that the non-Ashkenazi diet was more appropriate for the local climate and that all school children should get used to eating Mizrahi food. In 1958, a new edition of the bestselling (WIZO) cookbook Thus Shall We Cook came out with a section entitled “Mizrahi Recipes.” In 1963, there was a competition to find Israel’s “Queen of the Kitchen”; the winner was an Arab woman from Nazareth, and the runner-up was a Bulgarian immigrant who was Sephardi. It became evident that there was a desire for a new Israeli cuisine that would show togetherness and build a bridge between east and west.


So, why are food and meals so essential to the Jewish experience? Perhaps, there is no generation better equipped to understand this than our own.


Shabbat Shalom,