Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:


All of us at Jewish National Fund extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the ten teens who lost their lives in the tragic flooding in the Arava this week. Our Arava Task Force was in Israel this week and has been reporting to us on the tragic loss of life and devastation in the region, and also on the heroism displayed by civilians, emergency workers, and Central Arava rescue team which was a leading force in the rescue efforts. While we mourn this tragedy, we are also reminded of the imperative need for the Jewish National Fund Emergency Response Center we are building in this isolated area. To date we have raised $1.8 million toward the $4 million needed for the Emergency Response Center. Now more than ever, we must do everything we can to raise the remaining money for this initiative. This tragedy also reminds us we need to double our efforts to build additional water reservoirs throughout the Arava to capture rain water and reduce the devastating consequences of flash floods.  Please join us in showing our support for this region now. Click here.

Campaign Success
I just want to tell you what an incredible job our lay and professional fundraising team has done over the last six weeks.  Our 2018 annual campaign has taken off.  We are way ahead of our pace compared to the same time last year and in 2016.  We are now ahead of pace to not only reach, but to exceed, our 2018 campaign goal and, even more, we are now at $508.6 million toward our $1 Billion ten-year goal.

70th Anniversary Mission
I hope you all enjoyed my video message from Israel last week.  The 70th Anniversary mission was an incredible experience, and to have the opportunity to be in Israel with more than two-hundred Jewish National Fund supporters for Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut was truly special.  I have previously mentioned some of the key lay leaders and professionals who were instrumental in coordinating the mission, and I want to, again, thank all of you for your leadership.

We are now entering a critical six-weeks for our campaign.  May through the middle of June is our last best opportunity to close gifts before the summer vacation season.  Our national Community Campaign team, led by co-chairs Jim Riola and Marcy Needle, along with their professional partners, Shmuli Zema and Benny Berlin, have worked hard on a motivational initiative to create a sense of teamwork within local communities.  The $7Million@70 campaign is about team-building while closing gifts around the country, with a goal of $7 million raised by the end of June.  Below you will find some great materials that will explain the concept, the team organization and sample scripts your local team can use to close gifts.  Please be sure your local teams have this information and are ready to go to do their part to reach our $7 million goal by the end of June.


Sample Scripts

Regions and Professionals


The Impact of Major Gifts and the Importance of Broad Participations
Please click on this link for a nice article from eJewish Philanthropy about how a robust major gifts campaign builds a sense of community.


Shabbat Shalom from Israel!





Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign

D’Var Torah

By Yossi Kahana

This week’s Torah portion is Kedoshim – “you shall be holy.”  It’s about how to encompass the gamut of human activities and relations, private, social and spiritual, the attitude towards the weak and needy and one’s conduct towards his enemy and oppressor. These guidelines reach their climax in the famous verse of the Torah “Love your fellow as yourself.” Rabbi Akiva, the second-century sage that was the inspiration for many legends said, “This is a major principle of the Torah.”

How is it possible for G‑d to command an emotion? If we were asked to show respect to one another, or to be kind to one another, that would be easily understood and actuated. But, to forcibly generate an emotion for another is something much more difficult. There are some people we like and some people we don’t like. How does one love unlikable people?

Because we’re all one!  Perhaps nothing has been as detrimental to the Jewish people as the modern idea that Judaism is just a religion. We are much more than a religion; we are a single soul radiating into many bodies, bonding them as one.

A healthy body is one where every part works in harmony. A healthy Jewish people is one big, caring family where each individual loves the other like his or her own self. Where one Jew faces rough times and the others hold his hands. Where one meets good fortune and all of us celebrate. Where no one is labeled or alienated for his or her beliefs, behaviors or background. Where each runs to do an act of kindness for the other, and shuts his eyes and ears to the other’s shame.

Perhaps this is the secret of our survival. We are unique in this: to this day, when one Jew hears of another Jew’s plight somewhere across the globe, he identifies with him, feels his pain and is moved to do whatever he can to help.

Jewish National Fund helps build a stronger, healthier, more secure Israel. By visiting Israel ourselves, we demonstrate our love of the land and our love of our brothers and sisters in Israel.

Shabbat Shalom,


We’re Halfway There

Join Dr. Sol Lizerbram on Thursday, May 3 at 12pm ET for a special zoom video call update on “We’re Halfway There: Jewish National Fund’s One Billion Dollar Roadmap Update.” Register here.

Jewish National Fund’s Alexander Muss High School in Israel

Our challenge grant is still going! A New York foundation will provide a 2-for-1 match for any gift of $10,000 or more to support AMHSI through the month of June.  A gift of $10,000 designated to support AMHSI would receive a $5,000 match from the NY foundation turning that gift into $15,000! Please consider a donation and help to identify those who might be interested in giving to this significant matching opportunity.

Updates from Israel

Yom Ha’atzmaut at the Heritage Sites

This Yom Haatzmaut, in honor of 70 years of Israeli independence, 70 heritage sites around the country were open for free to the public. Special tours and activities were offered at heritage sites around the country, including Atlit Detention Camp; Ayalon Institute - The Bullet Factory; HaReut museum in the Upper Galilee; Yellin House outside of Jerusalem; Sarona Visitors Center; Mikveh Israel; Kinneret Courtyard and many more. Visitors of all ages were invited to come celebrate Israel's 70th birthday and learn about Israel’s brave pathway to independence.

Annual Yom Ha’atzmaut Celebration

This week, Jewish National Fund partner Hashomer HaChadash was proud to host its Annual Yom Ha'atzmaut Celebration, which took place this year at the Yehiam Convoy Memorial Site in the Western Galilee. The celebration was a true example of Israeli unity, with thousands of participants from all ages and walks of Israeli life. Among the activities were pita making, painting for kids, ropes courses, outdoor adventures, guided tours of the historical memorial site, and more. The highlight of the event was the public reading of the Israeli Declaration of Independence by farmers and volunteers, and singing and dancing the hora together to Israeli music.

Dedications in Gush Etzion

This week we were honored to dedicate two fire wagons donated by Gina Refael and Jeff Gross. The Promenade in memory of Naftali, Gilead and Eyal and the Ezra Schwartz Lookout are also completed. The Presidents Society Mission with Ron Werner form Denver dedicated the Promenade. Each of the boys have a mosaic that was created with the families characterizing each boy and an audio recording by family members in English and Hebrew. A panorama on the observation deck explains the history of the region.

Entrepreneurs at Work

This week, another amazing local entrepreneur joined the NetGev Arad Family.  Anat Raskin has been working as a journalist for the past 12 years, and a content writer for innovative websites. For the past 8 years, she has also written and produced a bi-annual newsletter on tourism in the Eastern Negev. NetGev Centers, which operate in Arad, Dimona, and Hura, offer local residents a high quality workspace, networking with other entrepreneurs, and courses for professional enrichment and advancement. We also offer certification courses that enable them to begin a new career, such as quality assurance specialists, graphic designers, or digital marketing managers. 

Special in the IDF

Israel Defense Forces' official Facebook page, posted this picture and wrote:  “Being blind didn’t stop Daniel Dafur from volunteering in the IDF with the Jewish National Fund - JNF’s Special in Uniform program. Daniel came to the Yom Hazikaron ceremony with his friend, Menachem Bitton, a young man with Down Syndrome who also volunteers in the program”