Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:

I am pleased to share with you that we have raised more than $514 million toward our $1 Billion goal!

Speaking of the $1 Billion Roadmap, here is a link to Jewish National Fund’s podcast called IsraelCast. In episode 29, JNF President Sol Lizerbram provides an update on JNF activities to develop the Negev and Galilee. If you are not a regular listener to IsraelCast, I encourage you to upload it via iTunes or any podcast service you use. They are professionally done and feature people making a difference throughout Israel. I know you will enjoy them while on a long drive or working out. JNF’s Social Media Chair, Vivian Grossman, Host Steven Shalowitz, and Digital Marketing Manager, Miriam Braun, deserve our praise for helping develop this great program.

2019 Budgeting and Campaign Planning
If you can believe it, planning is already taking place for 2019. Your local JNF professional will begin their budgeting process in the next two weeks and that should also include meetings with lay leaders to plan the calendar for 2019. More importantly, it should include a strategic discussion on how your community will achieve its fundraising goals by direct fundraising and community engagement activities. Please plan to join me in New York on August 12 & 13 for the annual Campaign Planning Summit where you will develop a tool kit to help your local campaign achieve its goals. More information including registration is at the end of this update.

$7Million@70 is our third quarter campaign initiative with a goal to raise $7 million from donors giving $250 or more. There is a strong focus on our community campaign division of gifts of less than $1,000. This campaign is chaired by our national Community Campaign chairs, Marcy Needle and Jim Riola, with professional support from Shmuli Zema and Benny Berlin.

  • To date:
    • We’ve raised over $4.3M from around the country
    • We've attained over 60% of our goal entering the month of June and are on progress to reach our national goal of $7 million
  • Our leaders are as follows:
    • The region that has closed the greatest percentage of gifts is Ohio Valley with 10% of open cards
    • The lay leader who has single-handedly closed the most gifts is Barbara Israel Bortniker with 16 gifts
    • The lay leaders who have overseen the most successful geographic region are Elece Kovel and Carol Neuman of Ohio Valley
    • The regional chair who has overseen the most successful action area is Marcy Needle of the Zionist Education Team

Summer Blitz
We are now in the process of getting organized for our annual Summer Blitz, where national lay leaders travel to communities and work in partnership with the local leadership and professionals to meet with prospects to tell the JNF story and help close gifts. Last year, 36 communities around the country participated. It is a great opportunity to engage prospects. Sometimes it is helpful to bring in an outside leader to gain appointments. It is a show of respect to a prospect that a national board member or Makor member is traveling to meet with them.

Please be sure your community participates and work with your local JNF professional to help set up an appointment with a good prospect. Consider people you are trying to upgrade to a higher giving level or a prospect you’ve had difficulty gaining an appointment. Over the course of a 2-day visit, six strong appointments plus a meeting with your leadership team in the evening can make each community visit a success.

The annual Campaign Planning Summit is August 12 and 13 at the Ronald S. Lauder JNF House, 42 East 69th Street, New York.

On Sunday, August 12, we will provide a light lunch and time to mingle at 11:00am and the meeting will begin promptly at 12 noon. On Monday, we will begin our day at 8:30 am and all participants are invited to attend the national Board of Directors meeting from 1:00 – 3:00pm. We are planning a special cocktail reception early Sunday evening with entertainment by the Israel Scouts Caravan and remarks by the esteemed Ambassador Danny Dayan, Israel’s Counsel General.

Our agenda for the two day Campaign Summit is under development, however, we plan to focus on many of these issues:

  • Helping communities use data to evaluate and develop local campaign strategies
  • Using Social Media to educate and inspire the market place
  • JNF branded events to project the strength and prestige of JNF USA
  • How to grow our donor base from 6,000 donors at $1,000 or more to 10,000
  • Asking for money can be intimidating…. Ten ideas you can put into practice today to help JNF reach our $1 Billion goal
  • In addition, you will be among the first to see our suite of 2019 marketing materials

To register for the Campaign Planning Summit, click here: CampaignSummit

We have procured a room block at the Loews Regency Hotel, 540 Park Avenue (at 61st street). Reservations can be made by calling the Loews Reservation Center phone #: 1-800-233-2356 and referencing Jewish National Fund or by going to https://www.loewshotels.com/regency-hotel/jewish-national-fund until August 1st, 2018.

Shabbat Shalom from Israel!





Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign

D’Var Torah

By Yossi Kahana

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, Jewish National Fund 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 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.

Shabbat Shalom,


Jewish National Fund’s Alexander Muss High School in Israel

We hosted an end-of-year lunch for our General Studies instructors here at Alexander Muss High School in Israel. Students and staff came together to thank them for their hard work and together acknowledged that it is thanks to their dedication that we are able to provide such high quality general studies classes and call ourselves a college preparatory program.

Travel & Tours

Join us on the President’s Society Mission this October! Exclusively for donors of $10,000 or more, this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to see firsthand Jewish National Fund’s critical work in cutting-edge technology and sustainable solutions that is improving the quality of life in the Negev. Register here.

Updates from Israel

Digitization for Business Owners

NetGev Arad held a fascinating conference on digitization for business owners. Experts in the field presented useful digital tools and a range of services available for local businesses, such as photography and editing tools that can help increase the number of customers. Local business owners then presented to show firsthand how digital tools helped them significantly upgrade their business. Our NetGev Centers for Innovation and Entrepreneurship enable us to work closely with entrepreneurs in small development towns and create the workshops, lectures and courses that will create the largest impact for their business development.

Helping Those in Need

Many of the missiles fired from Gaza recently fell in Ofakim, near Jewish National Fund partner ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran. The residents of ALEH Negev were confined to bomb shelters during the attack. Since the last war with Hamas 4 years ago, ALEH Negev instituted a training program so that employees and volunteers would know how to react to ensure that residents remain safe. Here is a video showing the resilience of the ALEH Negev community.

"Adopt a Heritage Site" Program in Raanana

Last week, Jewish National Fund partner Society for Preservation of Israel Historical Sites celebrated the end of this year’s “Adopt a Heritage Site” program in Raanana with a special closing ceremony, attended by the Mayor of Raanana and students from all of the elementary schools in the city. As part of this year’s program, more than 1,200 fourth graders from 16 different elementary schools volunteered at different museums and heritage sites in Raanana and the surrounding area. Sites included: The Pioneers’ Museum of Raanana, the Historic Water Tower, Beit Ha’am in Rehovot, the Agricultural Orchard of Raanana, and many more. The “Adopt a Heritage Sites” program allows students to learn about the importance of preservation through hands on experience and activities.

Special in the IDF

Five members at Jewish National Fund partner Special in Uniform were promoted yesterday to full IDF soldiers – just like every other soldier in the Army, despite their disabilities. They arrived together with their families to the IDF induction center and were conscripted to the Israeli Army. Mazal Tov!

Missing Watermelon or Planting Watermelon? – an essay by Sivan Rahav Meir

A few days after the Disengagement Plan from Gaza was executed, I interviewed Rabbi Rafi Peretz from the evacuated Jewish community of Amona, and asked him what do we do now?  "Now?” he said, “Now we will go wherever we are needed. And it seems to us that we are most needed in Holot Halutza (a sandy area in South-West Israel)."  After years of living under the constant bombardment of mortar shells in Gush Katif, one could think of many more convenient places to start a new life, but these community members decided otherwise. Shortly thereafter, the new Israeli community of Naveh was built in Southern Israel. Near Naveh, out of the sand, came the communities of Bnei Netzarim and Shlomit. These three dots on the map made a real desolate area of sand near Egypt bloom. An area that in previous political negotiations had been written off as empty and without value. But today, just 800 meters away from the Israeli-Egyptian border, kindergartens and schools have brought a new vibrancy and life to this “desolate” area.  Agricultural fields and greenhouses (the pineapples are delicious!) have literally sprung up from the sands, and are being exported throughout the world. Synagogues have created religious and social centers, providing the emerging family homes surrounding them with a sense of purpose and community.

Just yesterday, I went to Shlomit for the first time (I'm embarrassed to admit), where they were holding an event for the women of the community, as well as for the older kibbutzim and moshavim of the Eshkol Regional Council. Places such as Ein HaBesor, Tze'elim, Kerem Shalom, Mivtachim, Talmei Yosef, Yated, Yevul, and Sdei Avraham, are names we only hear about in security-related contexts, but offer so much aside from newspaper headlines. As part of the development of the community and the entire region, the Charlene Women Empowerment Fund organizes every few months, high quality events for all women in the region. Topics range from management strategies, the balance between career and parenting, leadership and change capabilities.Through lectures, workshops and even trips, these subjects are explored through a personal lens, and provide high quality, tangible support and insight to the women of the region. Some of the activities include extreme and creative challenges in order to develop true belief in every woman's ability and power.  

Halutza is also working to establish professional courses to provide a solution to the distance from employment centers, a very big concern for new families moving to the area, and are working to enable women to work from home, shared co-working spaces, or creative centers, being able to spend more time close to their children and home.

On my way back I thought to myself what I should write about this morning regarding the Weekly Torah Portion, and I suddenly realized that what I saw was indeed a tikkun for the sin about which we read in this week Torah reading. The Portion describes the attitude of some of the Children of Israel in the desert: "And the children of Israel also wept again and said: 'Who shall give us meat to eat? We remember the fish, which we ate in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic... Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent". The Torah warns us against focusing only on that which we do not have. It warns us against a culture of kvetching, hopelessness and bitterness. After we left Egypt, it calls upon us to enter the Land and be people who are full of faith, optimism and hope. Thousands of years later, near that same location - Egypt, yesterday I saw such people with my own eyes.