WEEKLY UPDATE 8.15.19 – JEWISH NATIONAL FUND
Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:
Other than a mission to Israel, the annual National Conference is the best opportunity for us to show the power and excitement of Jewish National Fund. Of the more than 1,000 who will attend NC 2019 next month, for several hundred of them, this will be their first formal experience with JNF. As leaders, let us be welcoming to first time attendees. The conference is just four weeks away. I want to encourage our local leadership teams to reach out to those attending from your area to answer questions, and perhaps meet for a cup of coffee, so they know a familiar face when they arrive in D.C. Also, now is the time to plan for a local post-conference get together to keep the momentum going. Also, remember that the Campaign Planning Summit is the Monday immediately following the conference and will include an open meeting of the JNF–USA Board of Trustees. If you haven’t pre-registered for the Summit, please let your local JNF professional know and we’ll be happy to accommodate you. More than 150 leaders from across the country will join us for a day devoted to strategic discussions about the 2020 campaign. And finally, registration will soon be open for the 2020 National Conference in Israel… start recruitment now!
Our Summer Blitz program is underway, and I am pleased we have lay leaders scheduled to visit 39 different communities over the next two months. Summer Blitz is our final quarterly campaign effort and is designed to raise funds by lay leaders soliciting new gifts and closing gifts of donors who have not yet made their donation to this year’s campaign. Members of our Makor team and national Campaign Cabinet have been assigned to communities for one or two days for 1:1 meetings, parlor meetings, and other fundraising opportunities that are organized by our local lay leaders and professional staff. Local lay leadership support is critical in setting up productive meetings. This is also a wonderful time to follow up with prospects who have attended JNF events or who have recently travelled to Israel. Make introductions to people you know in other regions and introduce to our JNF professionals those whom you might not feel comfortable soliciting.
We are excited to announce the launch of Be Inscribed, the JNF project to write Torah scrolls on Masada. As part of JNF’s product line, everyone has the opportunity to inscribe 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. https://beinscribed.org/
Travel & Tours Update
Celebrate Hanukkah and our B’nai Mitzvah in Israel at the Hadassah & Jewish National Fund Israel Family Tour this December. Learn more 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.
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.
Updates from Israel
Annual Guide Course
The Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites has begun its annual guide course, in which new tour guides receive training to successfully lead tours of Israel’s heritage sites. This year, there are 30 new guides enrolled in the course, which meets once a week for 5 weeks. A special emphasis is placed on learning how to lead tours that are accessible to visitors with physical and cognitive disabilities. With help from a program established by JNF affiliate LOTEM, guides in training get to experience what it is like to visit a site as a deaf or blind person, and learn how best to guide people with hearing or sight impairments. The guides also learn how to use materials to make their tours more accessible to visitors with cognitive disabilities. By the end of this course, SPIHS guides will be ready to lead tours for everyone who visits Israel's heritage sites.
Special in the IDF
Eden Turk, a 12-year-old from New York, celebrated her Bat Mitzvah with soldiers from Jewish National Fund affiliate Special in Uniform. Eden was inspired by them and decided to honor them by bringing special gifts and a lot of love on this beautiful occasion.
By Yossi Kahana
Last week, we talked about how Moses dedicated the last days of his life to ensuring the future of his beloved nation. Moses’ message is that we need to ensure that the next generation remains connected to their heritage and understands the depth and richness that Judaism has to offer.
In this week's Torah portion, Va’etchanan, Moshe continues telling the Jewish people about what happened during the years of his leadership. He tells them about how he asked G-d to let him go into the land of Israel, and about how G-d refused—but let him see Israel from a mountain. He then reminds the people of two major events in our history: the Exodus from Egypt and the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.
Near the end of Va’etchanan, is a statement with such far-reaching implications that it challenges the impression that has prevailed thus far in the Torah, giving an entirely new complexion to the biblical image of the people of Israel: “The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you are the fewest of all peoples.” This is not what we have heard thus far. In Genesis, G-d promises the patriarchs that their descendants will be like the stars of the heaven, the sands of the seashores, and the dust of the earth, uncountable. Abraham will be the father not just of one nation, but of many.
Targum Yonatan interprets it to be not about numbers at all, but about self-image. He translates it not as “the fewest of peoples” but as “the most lowly and humble of peoples.”
You do not need numbers to enlarge the spiritual and moral horizons of humankind. You need other things: a sense of the worth and dignity of the individual, of the power of human possibility to transform the world, of the importance of giving everyone the best education possible, of making each of us feel part of a collective responsibility to better the human condition, and a willingness to take high ideals and enact them in the real world, undaunted by disappointments and defeats. Nowhere is this more evident today than among the people of Israel in Israel: criticized in the media and denounced by much of the world, yet still, year after year, they produce human miracles in medicine, agriculture, technology and the arts—it’s as if the word “impossible” did not exist in Jewish vocabulary. When, therefore, we feel fearful and depressed about Israel’s plight, it is worth returning to Moses’ words: “The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you are the fewest of all peoples.” Small? Yes. Still surrounded, as the Israelites were then, by “nations larger and stronger than you.” But, that small people, defying the laws of history, outlived all the world’s great empires, and still has a message of hope for humanity. You don’t have to be large to be great. If you are open to a power greater than yourself, you will become greater than yourself. Israel today still carries that message to the world.
JNF’s commitment and mission epitomizes the idea that the word “impossible” does not exist and that it is our collective responsibility to ensure the peace and sustainability of Israel. Over the course of JNF’s existence the odds may have been stacked against us, but we have persevered and proved that hard work pays off. We hold the power to transform the world. JNF has laid the ground work to ensure that our nation and people survive, now it is our responsibility to continue to be Israel’s light onto the world. Reflect on the past accomplishments and continue to move forward to pursue your highest aspirations because they are POSSIBLE. As David Ben Gurion said, “If an expert says it can't be done, get another expert.”