Were your eyes glued to your computer screen yesterday, like mine, watching Israel try to become just the fourth nation on the planet to land a spacecraft on the moon?  Although they came up short at the end of the mission and lost the spacecraft on the descent, Israel achieved a moon orbit, which only seven other countries have so far successfully accomplished. We all must applaud Israel’s vision, creativity, and tenacity to get to this point. Space.IL captured the world’s attention and certainly that of Jews across the globe.


Jewish National Fund may not be sending a spacecraft to the moon, but our visionary work to develop the Negev and Galilee is making a similar historical impact. And speaking of impact, we have now raised $589 million in just five and ½ years. Those dollars are transforming the landscape of Israel and enabling Jewish National Fund to improve the quality of life for the Israeli people.



Great job everyone. We had an excellent week of closing $1,000 and over gifts. In the last week, we closed another 124 gifts of $1,000 or more for nearly $1 million.


Our total over the last three months is 1,508 gifts closed of $1,000 or more for $14.4 million.


These communities have closed a minimum of 75 gifts of $1,000 or more since January 1:

  • Greater Los Angeles
  • Central New Jersey
  • MidAtlantic
  • Northern Florida
  • South Florida
  • Tri-State(Greater New York)

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

  • Arizona
  • Illinois
  • Mountain States
  • Nevada
  • New England
  • Northern California
  • Southeast


There was a very informative Community Campaign video conference call earlier this week with important information about the Spring Campaign. If you were unable to participate on the call, click here to watch a recording:




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 are 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



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 8:30am to 3:00pm 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



Mark your calendar for the next training seminar, Anatomy of an Effective Board Meeting, taking place May 15 at 12 Noon eastern time.


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)



Peer to Peer Fundraising (3/27/19)



Shabbat Shalom!





Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign

Alexander Muss High School in Israel


Last Sunday we participated in JNF-USA Partner Day, and were proud to welcome our sisters and brothers in the JNF family to our campus. Meanwhile our student body has been spread out all over the country this week, with Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School students in their volunteer posts, Spring Semester students completing Gadna, and Milken students completing the three-day Yam L’Yam hike from the Mediterranean Sea to the Kineret (Sea of Galilee).  We are also proud to welcome the Tzofim Friendship Caravan, who are spending a week on our campus preparing for their tours this summer. Jewish National Fund and Alexander Muss High School in Israel has sponsored upcoming performances all throughout the United States, beginning in June. Keep your eyes open for more information and to see if the Friendship Caravan is coming to your community!


Travel & Tours Update

Make a lasting impact on the land and people of Israel this summer. Spend a meaningful week volunteering in the Negev on Volunteer Vacation, for 25 – 35-year-olds. Learn more.

Updates from Israel

Supporting Olim

Please take a moment to read an update from Jewish National Fund partner Nefesh B’Nefesh here: https://www.nbn.org.il/march-2019-month-in-review/

Documenting and Discovering Personal Stories at Atlit Information Center

Atlit Information Center, an initiative led by JNF and the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites as part of Atlit Detention Camp, continues its mission of documenting the names and stories of 130,000 clandestine immigrants, primarily Holocaust survivors, who made the perilous journey to the land of Israel. The database, which holds names, stories, photographs, video testimonials and more, can be an important piece of the puzzle for those looking to understand their own personal histories and those of family members, preserving and sharing incredible stories of the long road to Eretz Israel. Like Moshe Klein, an activist in the Clandestine Immigration who needed to sneak back into Mandatory Palestine, went to extraordinary measures to do so. He created a fake identity and family, enlisted a woman named Esther Avnei to be his wife and used one child from a set of twins to be their pretend child. Disguised as a family, they successfully entered the country. This story was documented by the Information Center, which years later helped Moshe Klein reunite with the twin who helped him return to Eretz Israel.



Special in the IDF


This week, we welcomed Special in Uniform soldiers Ron Perloff and Alon Nagar, who were among the Israeli delegation that competed in basketball at the Abu Dhabi Games, the first Special Olympics World Games to be held in the Middle East. According to Special Olympics Israel, there are some 40,000 people with intellectual disabilities in Israel, while Sports Olympics notes there some 200 million people with intellectual disabilities around the world. The thousands of athletes competing in the Abu Dhabi games, were joined by 2,500 coaches and about 20,000 volunteers.


Read more updates from Jewish National Fund partner Special in Uniform here .


D’Var Torah

Many of us have visited Israel, but when you are part of a Jewish National Fund trip, you are visiting places in Israel that are not the mainstream tourist destinations. They are the secret “treasures” mostly known by our local partners from Northern Israel and the Galilee and all the way South into the Negev desert. JNF is focused, as part of our Billion Dollar Roadmap, to see the full potential of these hidden treasures of the Galilee and Negev as rich centers of agriculture, tourism and technology development.


Today, 70% of Israelis live on the 10% of the land of Israel in the Tel-Aviv-Haifa-Jerusalem triangle. Only 9% of the population lives in the Negev, which is 60% of the land. David Ben Gurion told us long ago that the Negev is the key to Israel’s future.


Once barren lands are prospering through a combination of visionary programs and partnerships that include new olim, infrastructure development, hospitals, parks and recreation sites.

While these “hidden areas” of Israel are not so hidden anymore, what about the hidden treasures within ourselves?

There are many things in life that we treasure:

  • our families and our communities;
  • our health and our wellbeing; 
  • our successes and our accomplishments, and ; 
  • our gifts and our opportunities.

None of these are hidden treasures; they are revealed for us – and for all – to see.


Hidden treasure, the kind that comes with a map and a pirate ship, that is another story. Hidden treasure is the preciousness buried deep within, the gems and jewels one finds when one least expects them and in the least likely of places.

More often than not, hidden treasure is more valuable than any overt treasure.

It is of this hidden treasure that this week’s Torah reading speaks: When you come into the land of Canaan which I give you for a possession and I will put a case of tzaraat affliction in a house..."—Leviticus 14:34.

In the Book of Leviticus, the Torah speaks of tzaraat, a malady that occurred in biblical times. The affliction not only appeared on people but also on inanimate objects including the walls of one's house. In the event that one's house became infected, the entire affected area had to be removed, entailing great expense to the homeowner.

This strange disease was not a physical malady but rather a physical manifestation of a spiritual illness. When a person was spiritually sick, G d would alert him to his condition by afflicting first his possessions and then his body so that he would be roused to proper penitence and mend his ways.

Many times, however, a person who had done nothing wrong would also find the walls of his home afflicted.

Why did innocent people suffer as well?

What seemed to have been a stroke of bad luck was actually a great blessing. The answer is that many Israelites lived in houses built by the Canaanites who had previously occupied the land. Many of the Canaanites hid their wealth inside the walls of their homes, thus, when an Israelite's house would become afflicted, he would be forced to remove the wall and find the hidden treasure.

So, what seemed to have been a stroke of bad luck or an unwarranted punishment from above was actually a great blessing.

When we look back at all of the trouble we have had in our lives, we realize that G- d may have sent us visible signs to force us to realize how sick we really were. But what about when life slaps us in the face even when we're doing the right things? When this happens, we often cry, "What have I done now to deserve such problems?"

What we’ve come to realize is that the hidden treasures of life are sometimes only discovered through hardship and loss. Those difficulties that we are so quick to judge as "G d giving us a hard time" may actually be His way of sending us gifts beyond our dreams. We may curse our troubles, never even knowing of the treasure intended for us that will more than offset the immediate loss.


Of course, if we only knew what was behind the wall, then we would be happy to knock it down. But we don't know. That's what faith is for—to feel peaceful, secure, grateful and happy even when we don't know what's happening.

Shabbat Shalom,