Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:



We had set an ambitious goal of reaching $600 million by the end of this May toward our $1 Billion goal. We are oh, so, close. I’m pleased to tell you we are now over $598 million, so with two weeks to go, and with your help, we will raise the final $2 million to keep us on pace.  



Our Spring Campaign effort… or as we call it --  “Win Dinner with Russell Robinson” --  is well under way. That’s right, the winning leadership team will have a visit from JNF’s CEO and dinner with the boss!


Spring Campaign is our critical Q3 campaign targeting our donors at $500 + and JNFutures 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 1st - June 24th.  We have the very ambitious goal of raising $12 million through Spring Campaign and are confident we can close 75% of our lapsed donors.



May is Women’s Month at Jewish National Fund, when we focus on the power of women. Our goal is to increase women’s giving and inspire women to take an active role in leadership positions, not just in the women’s campaign but throughout the organization.


The focus is on women solicitations, multi-generational gifts, email blasts throughout the month and a significant social media campaign. We have a generous donor match of $1 million from Shelly Gor Gerson in Cincinnati and Lynne Merriam in Tampa from May 1st until May 31st.  Therefore, all donations to the women’s campaign throughout the WHOLE of May will be matched, the matching funds will go to the general campaign. Please announce this match at every event, even if it isn’t a women’s specific event.  Shelly and Lynne…. on behalf of your entire JNF family, thank you for your generosity and your leadership! 



A new national subcommittee is being assembled to assess the current program and develop our tree strategy moving forward. Our primary objective is to increase revenue from tree sales. Secondarily, we aim to optimize donor experience and expand our marketing efforts. We are looking for lay leaders across a wide demographic of age, location, and JNF knowledge. They do not need to be current tree buyers. For more information or to nominate a lay leader, please contact Community Campaign Director Jessica Milstein at jmilstein@jnf.org



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 Summit this past Wednesday with JNF’s new Chief Operating Officer, Efrat Gilman, who discussed The Anatomy of an Effective Board Meeting. If you missed the live presentation, you can click on the link below to watch the video.




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






Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign

IsraelCast Update

This week on IsraelCast, Steven Shalowitz finds himself back in the town of Klil, where he speaks with Hagit Lidror, a chef, educator, and entrepreneur. Tune in at jnf.org/israelcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Alexander Muss High School in Israel


Our students from Emery Weiner arrived this week, after beginning their program in Poland, while our American Hebrew Academy students are completing the three-day hike Yam L’Yam (Sea to Sea) from the Mediterranean to the Galilee. We also hosted our bi-annual “Get Back to Israel” fair, promoting opportunities for continued Israel engagement with JNF partners and other organizations. Finally, we wish much hatzlacha to all our students currently taking AP exams on our campus in Israel!

Travel & Tours Update

Immerse yourself in Israel’s dynamic fashion and arts scene, meet emerging designers, and gain a new perspective of the country on the Art & Fashion Tour. Learn more. 

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

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. 



In the Media

Please take a moment to read some of the media coverage Jewish National Fund received this week: 


EJewish Philanthropy: Jewish National Fund Announced New (and Youngest) COO  

 Jerusalem Post: Women Raise Money with their Hearts


Updates from Israel

Honoring Raffi Capon



This week, Jewish National Fund’s partners in Gush Etzion were honored to bring Raffi Capon, his daughter Tammy, and granddaughter Becky on a tour. Raffi fought in the Chish unit in 1948 in Gush Etzion. He was part of the Nebi Daniel Convoy. They told him he would escort the convoy and return to Jerusalem that very same day – but it ended up being almost three months. The convoy was ambushed and the men massacred – only the last two trucks made it back. Raffi was on one of those trucks. On May 4, Raffi was wounded and operated on by a Russian Holocaust survivor who spoke no Hebrew. There were no anesthetics! Raffi was taken as a POW with the other survivors from the Kibbutzim and Palmach fighters to Transjordan – the women for 1 month and the men for 11 months. For his 90th birthday, Raffi’s family donated a fire wagon through Jewish National Fund to Kibbutz Kfar Etzion. This week, visiting the Gush with his family, he closed a circle as they learned about his bravery in the very place where it happened.


Bringing Entrepreneurs Together


Ron, an entrepreneur at NetGev Dimona, needed a new app for his online store. He is contracting with a fellow NeGev-er, Dima Gusyatiner, to develop the app. We love seeing how NetGev, a Jewish National Fund initiative, brings together young entrepreneurs to work together and use each other’s services. You’d expect this type of collaboration in Tel Aviv, but NetGev is showing it’s also possible in small Negev towns as well.


Spirit of Israel Mission Visits Israel Heritage Site

Spirit of Israel

This week, the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites welcomed the Spirit of Israel mission to several of Israel’s heritage sites. At the Ayalon Institute Bullet Factory in Rehovot and the Palmach Museum in Tel Aviv, the group saw the heroic efforts made by Israel’s earliest defense organizations to win Independence for a Jewish homeland. At Ben Gurion House in Tel Aviv, the group learned about the life and leadership of Israel’s founding father and first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, and at Atlit Detention Camp just south of Haifa, the group experienced the story of the clandestine immigrants who made the perilous journey to the land of Israel. At all of these sites, we see the spirit and commitment of brave men and women to Israel.


Eggs from Halutza

halutza eggs


This week, the Halutza Communities, located on the border with Gaza, officially opened their new chicken farm which houses 50,000 chickens that will help supply about 50,000 eggs a day. These will be shipped all over the country. The farm uses the most green, and "chicken-friendly" technology in the country. What a great way to get back into routine after a tough few weeks.

Special in the IDF


On Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and the Chief of Staff reviewed and honored 120 outstanding soldiers who were chosen on the recommendation of their commanders to receive the President’s Award for Excellence for their service and outstanding contributions to the IDF. Among the 120 soldiers are Ori, Daniel, and Hovav, all soldiers with special needs who participate in Jewish National Fund’s Special in Uniform program. President Rivlin said, Thank you for your spirit. You, who are not afraid of challenges, who are ready for the unexpected, who pull harder and stronger than anyone – you are Israel’s hope.”


D’Var Torah

This week’s parshat Emor charts a deceptively simple list of festivals and holy days.

 Time plays an enormous role in Judaism. The first thing G-d declared holy was a day: Shabbat, at the conclusion of creation.


The first mitzvah given to the Jewish people as a whole, prior to the Exodus, was the command to sanctify time, by determining and applying the Jewish calendar. The prophets were the first to see G-d in history, seeing time itself as the arena of the Divine-human encounter. Virtually every other religion and civilization before and since has identified G-d, reality, and truth with timelessness.


So, time in Judaism is an essential medium of the spiritual life. But, there is one feature of the Jewish approach to time that has received less attention than it should: the duality that runs through its entire temporal structure.


Take, for instance, the calendar as a whole. Christianity uses a solar calendar, Islam a lunar one. Judaism uses both. We count time both by the monthly cycle of the moon and the seasonal cycle of the sun.


Then, consider the day. Days normally have one identifiable beginning, whether this is at nightfall or daybreak or—as in the West—somewhere in between.


Why do Jewish holidays begin at nightfall?


This is based on the story of creation in Genesis, where at the end of each day it says, "And it was evening, and it was morning; day one," "And it was evening, and it was morning; the second day," etc... By mentioning evening before morning, the Torah defines a day as beginning with the evening, followed by the morning.


This definition of the passage of time is not only relevant to how we set up the calendar; it has profound implications as to our attitude to life itself. Everyone agrees that life is full of ups and downs. We go through periods where the sun is shining upon us and we feel on top of the world, only to turn a corner and be faced with difficulties and obstacles that drag us down. But it isn't long before something pleasant comes our way to pick us up again. The question is: which one wins the day, the ups or the downs? In other words, is life a series of disappointments dotted by the occasional glimmer of hope, only to be crushed by another surge of gloominess? Or are we on a journey upwards, with challenges along the way, to make us even stronger in our quest for enlightenment?


Does darkness extinguish light, or does light conquer darkness? Does night follow day or day follow night?


The Jewish view is clear. "And it was evening, and it was morning." First the night, then the day. Darkness is a pathway to the sunrise hiding behind it. A challenge comes our way only to help us tap in to and reveal our inner powers that have until now remained unfathomed.


At Jewish National Fund, we have found one of the best ways to shine light on the real Israel is to bring people there to experience it firsthand. From the JNF Travel & Tours team and the wonderful trips they put together to JNF’s Faculty Fellowship program bringing non-Jewish professors to Israel, every single one of the thousands of people that JNF brings to Israel sheds a little more light on this dark world.


That's Jewish time—the comfort in knowing that no matter how dark it may seem, it is light that will have the last word.       


Shabbat Shalom,