WEEKLY UPDATE 6.27.19 – JEWISH NATIONAL FUND
Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:
CAMPAIGN PLANNING SUMMIT AND NATIONAL CONFERENCE
As a reminder, this year’s Campaign Planning Summit will take place in conjunction with the National Conference in Washington DC. The National Conference is Friday through Sunday, September 13 – 15, and the Campaign Planning Summit will be Monday, the 16th from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm. In addition, an open meeting of the Board of Trustees will take place as part of the agenda of the Campaign Summit. If you have not already done so, please register for National Conference now and plan to stay Monday for the Campaign Summit and Board of Trustees meeting. You can still catch a 6:00 pm flight home.
You can register for the National Conference and the Campaign Planning Summit by clicking here: jnf.org/nc
With over $29M in lapsed donors $250+ still open, we extended our Spring Campaign through July 1st to continue focusing on closing these gifts. The success of our community campaign relies heavily on Spring Campaign as 84% of lapsed donors are gifts at $1000 or under. Please continue to reach out to as many lapsed donors under $1000 as possible.
• To date, we have renewed 551 lapsed gifts for $1,748,757 • In addition, we brought in 1,987 new gifts at $250 or more for $8,327,836 • This brings our Spring Campaign total to $10,076,593 exceeding our FY2018 numbers!
Some additional stats:
• 12 of 23 regions met or exceeded their goal of closing 20% or more of their lapsed donors • 4 regions exceeded their income goal • 3 regions brought in over $1M total during Spring Campaign • Kol HaKavod to Mountain States who set the pace nationally and has closed the highest percentage of lapsed donors at 66.43% AND raised the most money of all the regions at $2,237,748! • San Diego renewed a $125,000 lapsed donor- the single largest renewed gift of Spring Campaign!
We are excited to announce the launch of Be Inscribed, the JNF project to write Torah scrolls on Masada. This is the ideal gift for births, bar/bat mitzvahs, weddings, anniversaries and other milestones in life. The public now has the opportunity to sponsor a letter, word, verse and so on…even the entire Torah. Click on this link to see a great promotional video and to learn more. jnf.org/beinscribed
Check out this video by “Queen of Kosher” Jamie Geller, who is available to come to your community through JNF’s Speaker’s Bureau. Jamie posted this video on her Facebook and Instagram accounts. Watch it now!
Also, check out this article that ran in the Jerusalem Post.
Please share with family and friends that, in addition to planting trees in Israel, they can also honor a loved one by contributing to the writing of a Torah on Masada.
LAY LEADER TRAINING SEMINAR
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.
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)
Alexander Muss High School in Israel
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!
Travel & Tours Update
Discover Israel’s rich history, heritage, and culture on the Spirit of Israel Tour! Learn more here.
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
This week on IsraelCast, we hear from Aston Bright—an American fire fighter from Plantation, Florida who traveled with the Emergency Volunteer Project to Israel in 2017–2018 to help fight fires. While deployed in Jerusalem and along the southern border of Gaza, Bright witnessed the difficulties Israel fire departments face. Listen in to hear an outsider’s perspective on Israel and the positive impact the country has had on his life and career. Listen 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.
Updates from Israel
Please take a moment to read about this new research lab opened by Jewish National Fund affiliate ALEH-Negev Nahalat Eran.
Honoring Activists in the Ha’apala (Clandestine Immigration)
This past week, a special ceremony was held in La Spezia, Italy to honor Yehuda Arazi, an Israeli hero who, in the pre-State era, led two ships of Jewish refugees in a hunger strike as they demanded to be allowed to sail from the port of La Spezia, Italy to the land of Israel. Yehuda Arazi later played an influential role in the acquisition of bullet making machines for the Ayalon Institute Bullet Factory. Yehuda’s story is one of many preserved and shared by the Atlit Information Center, the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Site’s online database created in partnership with JNF-USA that documents the names and stories of clandestine immigrants, including many Holocaust survivors who fought to come to Eretz Israel from a war-torn Europe. From stories of life in the British detention camps to first- hand accounts from activists such as Yehuda, the database ensures that this often overlooked chapter of Israel’s history is not forgotten.
Eric Michaelson, Chief Israel Officer of JNF-USA posted a picture this week standing in Beer Sheva together with World Chairman's Council Marv Schlanger, both of them looking at the desert. Eric wrote: “From this week's Torah portion - 'We should go up at once and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it... the land which we have passed through is an exceedingly good land.’ The continued JNF development of Israel's southern frontier.
Indeed, in this week’s Torah reading, Parashat Shelach, Moses sends 12 spies (one from each tribe) to the Land of Canaan (the former name of the Land of Israel) to see what the land and its people are like. The spies tour the whole land and when they come back after 40 days they tell the people that it is indeed a land "flowing with milk and honey." But, they add, the people in it are very strong and the cities have huge walls like fortresses, and "we even saw giants." And they tell the Jews that the land would be much too difficult to conquer. Even though two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, disagree with the rest, saying that the land is very good and they can surely conquer it, the Jews believe those with the bad report, and they cry out to Moses that they don't want to go.
The spies dispatched by Moses were no ordinary individuals: “They were all men of distinction, leaders of the children of Israel” (Numbers 13:3). Furthermore, in all of history, it would be difficult to find a generation whose lives were more saturated with miracles than theirs. Egypt, the most powerful nation on earth at the time, was forced to free them from slavery when “the mighty hand” of G d inflicted 10 plagues. When Pharaoh’s armies pursued them, the sea split to let them pass and then drowned their pursuers. In the desert, miracles were the stuff of their daily lives: manna from heaven was their daily bread, “Miriam’s well” (a miraculous stone which traveled along with the Israelite camp) provided them with water, and “clouds of glory” sheltered them from the desert heat and cold, kept them clothed and shod, destroyed the snakes and scorpions in their path, and flattened the terrain before them to ease their way.
For these people to doubt G d’s ability to conquer the “mighty inhabitants” of Canaan seems nothing less than ludicrous. Yet these were the people whose leaders said, “We cannot go up against these people, for they are mightier than we”—and even “than He”!
What happened? Where did they go wrong?
The spies were not afraid that they could not conquer the land. They were afraid of what their lives would be like after they did. Being spiritual people, they had a profound fear of becoming involved in the kind of worldly affairs that would arise in the course of settling the Land—agriculture, city-building, commerce, government, etc. In the desert, they had no work, no homes, no responsibilities. They were happy to be nomads, for such living left them free to inhabit what the kabbalists refer to as the "plane of thought and speech," rather than "the plane of action."
What these misguided spiritualists forgot, however, is that G d's purpose for them was not in the modified reality of the desert, but in tackling the holy task of settling the Land and dealing with the world, the point of the creation of the world and man upon it. The raison d'etre of the entire mess we call a "world" is for the human being to discover the Truth and reveal it within every aspect of physical life.
Throughout its history, JNF has been instrumental in developing communities in Israel, and it continues to play a central role in creating and supporting communities in Northern and Southern Israel. Whether it be by planting trees, building communities, helping modern pioneers settle in the periphery or bringing thousands to visit Israel each year, JNF is making the desert bloom.