Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:



Our 2020 annual campaign stands at $51.5 million. This is 19% ahead of the same time last year. I am pleased with the strength of our campaign across all divisions. We have solid increases from $500 all the way up to our King Solomon Society at $100,000 or more. Keep up the great work. As far as our progress toward our ten-year $1 Billion goal, we are now at $671.5 million.




This quarter of our campaign focuses on closing 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 1

Nationally we brought in a total of 151 gifts…compared to 126 during this same week last year. That is a 20% increase! KOL HAKAVOD EVERYONE!! What a kickoff to the #2020in2020 campaign!  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 Southern Florida! Glen Schwartz, Jeffrey Greenberg, Lee Lebovich, Laura Sherry, Mike Teichberg, Roni Raab, Robin Dermer, and Zohar Vloski knocked it out of the park!! Director Roni Raab says the reason South Florida was so successful is because: “We are an entire team of rock stars. Every single one is a rock star fundraiser.” We agree! The Florida fundraiser who was a gift closing machine is Lee Lebovich! We asked Roni how Lee was so effective, he said, “It’s how strategic she is in her approach to events. She hosted multiple events with Yedidya this past week. She is strategic in which affiliates she uses, the time of day the events occur, which day of the week, and so on. She also knows her donors inside and out. She’s awesome!” Lee closed six $1k+ gifts, five of which were major gifts. Mazel Tov Lee!




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 for 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 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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IsraelCast Update

This week on IsraelCast, host Steven Shalowitz sits down with Lt. Col. Oshrat Bachar, the first female combat battalion commander in the Israel Defense Forces. Lt. Col. Bachar now serves as the commander in charge of gender equality in the IDF, where she assists in efforts to integrate women, shapes policies against sexual harassment, and changes the narrative for LGBTQ soldiers. Tune in to learn about gender in the IDF and what other international armies can learn from Israel. Tune in here.

Travel & Tours

This summer, take an upbeat tour of Israel’s hottest sights and enjoy all there is to see and do on the Singles Tour: For 40s and 50s. Learn more here. 

JNF In Your Area

Traveling to another city and want to see what JNF events are taking place there? Just visit jnf.org/inyourarea for a quick look at how to stay engaged while on the road.

Traveling to another city and want to see what JNF events are taking place there? Just visit jnf.org/inyourarea for a quick look at how to stay engaged while on the road.

Shop Amazon Smile

Did you know that you can support Jewish National Fund while you shop? Amazon Smile will donate a portion of your purchase price to us when you shop through smile.amazon.com

Updates from Israel

Israeli Winter at the Heritage Sites


Winter in Israel is a busy time at the heritage sites. The weather is cool and thanks to generous amounts of rain this year, everything is green – a perfect opportunity for families from across the country to spend time outdoors. In Rehovot, Minkov Citrus Orchard Site is celebrating citrus season with special tours through the orchards and fruit picking. Mikveh Israel agricultural school has been hosting nature tours through the site and their traditional Tu BiShvat tree plantings. And on the way to Jerusalem, Yellin House in Motzah has beautiful blooming Almond trees to serve as the backdrop for the historic building and the new café on-site. So many wonderful opportunities to spend time with family and friends and enjoy nature while visiting Israel’s heritage sites.


Western Galilee Now



The multiple rains have made the northern rivers a celebration of water, nature at the height of its beauty and its lush green color that fills us with joy. The Galilee has a full calendar of events for Purim and beyond, including the annual Wine Time Fair of the Western Galilee Now Association, as well as winter trips, artist workshops, cultural events, performances, indulgent meals, and more. Visit the north and enjoy the beauty, the space, and the possibilities!   


Special in the IDF



This week, four soldiers from Jewish National Fund affiliate Special in Uniform received their official IDF ID cards, bringing the total of Special in Uniform soldiers with IDs to 66. These inspirational soldiers prove that disability is not an obstacle to success. 

D’Var Torah


This week I was in Chicago with Chris Neeley, the Chair of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Chris spoke about his vision to bring JNF’s Special in Uniform model to the USA in referencing a quote from the Book of Isaiah: "Yea, He saith, 'It is too light a thing for you to be My servant, to establish the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the scions of Israel, and I shall submit you as a light unto the nations, to be My salvation until the end of the earth”.  For him, by teaching the world about inclusion in the Army, Israel is a light unto the nations.


This week's parshat Tetzaveh, tells us some more about the goings-on of the Mishkan. The first thing discussed is the olive oil used for the lighting of the menorah.


One of the oldest symbols of the Jewish faith is the menorah, a seven-branched candelabrum used in the Temple.


Indeed, it has been said that the menorah is a symbol of the nation of Israel and its mission to be "a light unto the nations." The sages emphasize that light is not a violent force; Israel is to accomplish its mission by setting an example, not by using force. The menorah of the Temple evokes the image of a tree—a tree of life, a tree of light and a tree of fire. The oil with which it was kindled represents the constancy of the light.


Many generations after the destruction of the Temple, the prophet Zechariah saw a vision of a menorah. It was flanked on either side by olive trees feeding it directly with oil, while the voice of an angel explained that the Temple would be rebuilt, "Not by might, not by power but by the spirit of G‑d."


Even after the Temple was destroyed, the menorah has remained a symbol of bringing this "spirit of light" to the world.


The State of Israel is one of only two countries in the world that ended the 20th century with more trees than it started with, thanks to the efforts of Jewish National Fund in planting more than 260 million trees (to date). This incredible achievement brings new life to the ancient words of the Midrash (Vayikra Rabbah 25:3): Rabbi Yehuda ben Shimon began, “You shall emulate the Lord your God.’ Is it possible for flesh and blood to emulate the Almighty?... What this means is that in the beginning [of creation], God engaged in planting; similarly “You shall come into the Land, and you shall plant.”


Many of the serious environmental concerns that now face the global community – scarcity of water, addiction to oil, and degradation of arable land – have confronted the State of Israel since its inception. Applying Jewish ingenuity to our biblical mandate to “work and guard the land” is now providing the answers to some of the world’s most pressing problems.


The prophet Isaiah wrote long ago that one day, "The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom" (Isaiah 35:1). Our generation has been privileged to witness not only the miracle of the blooming of Israel’s deserts, but the emergence of the Jewish State as a global leader in environmental innovation. Concern for the environment helps bring the Torah to life and, to paraphrase Isaiah, casts the Jewish people as a “renewable” light unto the nations.


Shabbat Shalom,