Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:





Here is our first update on Spring Campaign achievement. To date, we have closed 160 gifts for $323,520. We have closed 6.2% of the total outstanding pledge cards.  On the one hand, it looks like we are off to a slow start. However, I was reminded that in the last two weeks there were many JNF events across the country with a significant number of past donors attending.   As these gifts are entered into Salesforce, we expect a big jump in closed pledge cards.

In the early stages of this Spring Campaign, notable communities are:


·        Arizona has closed 16.3 % of their pledge cards

·        Mountain States has closed 10.5% of their pledge cards


·        Palm Springs has closed 13% of their pledge cards


·        Western Pennsylvania has closed 21% of their pledge cards





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




Please save the date for the next Lay Leader Training Seminar on July 17 at 12 noon eastern, featuring JNF CEO Russell Robinson and the Chair of the Israel Relations Committee, Ken Segel, who will provide an update on JNF Projects and Partnerships.



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)






Anatomy of an Effective Board Meeting (5/15/19)






Shabbat Shalom,








Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign

Fires Rage in Israel

Once again, our homeland is facing the destructive power of fire. Israel is facing an unprecedented heat wave, with temperatures soaring over 100 degrees, creating ideal conditions that have led to the outbreak of wildfires throughout the country. Additionally, Hamas terrorists have continued to send incendiary kites into Israel, setting fire and destroying thousands of acres of crops. Watch this video of CEO Russell F. Robinson at a community that was destroyed:



Alexander Muss High School in Israel

We were proud to welcome JNFuture to our campus. In addition to touring our facilities, they were able to meet with Co-CEO Rabbi Leor Sinai to discuss what leadership means and the importance of Israel advocacy. We bid farewell to our Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School students and wish them all the best as they graduate high school and move on to college! Finally, we have new and special grant opportunities for AMHSI-JNF sessions available to students in Chicago and Atlanta. Do you know a teen in these areas who is interested in strengthening their college application? Send them these links and have them contact recruitment@amhsi.org for more information.

Travel & Tours Update

Capture your forever young hearts and minds on this carefully-paced, life-changing, 10-day excursion. Spend 10 days in Israel on the Sunshine Tour this Fall. 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: 


Israel’s Best-Kept Secret: This Food City on the Mediterranean

Updates from Israel

Site Preservation Week in Be'er Sheva


Heritage Sites in Be’er Sheva are gearing up for a busy week! Jewish National Fund affiliate Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites’ 30th Annual “Site Preservation Week” begins this weekend at heritage sites across Israel. In Be’er Sheva, several heritage sites are participating by offering special tours and programs, including The Be’er Sheva ANZAC Memorial Center, which honors soldiers from Australia and New Zealand who fought for Be’er Sheva and for the Land of Israel during World War I. The ANZAC Museum will be holding a special seminar about preservation. There will also be a special photo exhibition at the Artist’s House in the Negev and more to celebrate the history and preservation of Be’er Sheva.


Special in the IDF

A warm welcome to the new soldiers in Jewish National Fund affiliate Special in Uniform. These soldiers joined the Israeli Medical Corp, located in Tel HaShomer. The unit is responsible for providing healthcare services and medical treatment to the IDF. The commanders were impressed to meet the highly motivated soldiers and learn about the important work they are doing. The new soldiers will be part of the Medical Organization Division’s warehouse, which provides medical equipment and shipping to IDF bases all over Israel. 


D’Var Torah

I once asked our CEO, Russell Robinson, how he manages to remember, in detail, conversations with so many people he meets. His answer was, “I listen…”


This week’s Torah reading, Parshat Behar, begins: “G-d spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai . . .”


Everybody knows that the Ten Commandments were given by G-d on Mount Sinai. But why Mount Sinai in particular? The Midrash tells us that Mount Sinai was not the highest and most splendid mountain. In fact, it is described as being the lowest of all the mountains which might have been chosen. Nonetheless, G-d chose Mount Sinai for the Giving of the Torah to teach an important message: that humility is a prerequisite to the learning of Torah.


Torah comes from G-d. When hearing an instruction from the Torah, we need the ability to listen. This is a rare quality-- usually our own ego gets in the way. We hear our own ideas, not what the Torah is saying. Humility is the step beyond our ego, a mood of selflessness, which makes us receptive to the Torah. Thus we say at the end of the daily Amidah prayer: "May my soul be to all as the dust - open my heart to your Torah." A Chassidic comment on this idea goes a step further. Surely, if the emphasis is on humility, why choose a mountain at all? Wouldn't the message have been more keenly felt if the Torah were given on a flat plain, or even better, in a valley?


This puzzle is explained as follows. While humility is important, there are also many occasions in Jewish life when a more determined and forceful approach is demanded. Personal self- sacrifice, steadfastness in the face of ridicule or contempt, the readiness to suffer for Judaism (as Jews in Communist Russia did for many years) are responses that are sometimes required.


It is interesting that right at the beginning of the Code of Jewish Law comes the statement, "Do not be embarrassed by mockery and ridicule." If one were to waver in observance of a Jewish law simply because of the derisive criticism of others, there would soon not be much observance of Judaism left at all!


So one needs both qualities: humility and strength. The ability to listen and also the firmness to be able to stand up against the current. Both qualities are expressed in the image of Mount Sinai.


Shabbat Shalom,