WEEKLY UPDATES 8.10.18 – JEWISH NATIONAL FUND
Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:
Gaza Border Crisis: The Trauma, The Damage, The Needs
Our team has been hard at work preparing for the 11 Gaza Border Town Hall meetings that will take place across the country. Many of you have seen and shared on social media video taken from the Jewish National Fund outdoor park in Sderot. If you haven’t seen the video, watch it here. It makes a sharp point of the importance for JNF to bring awareness to the public of what life has been like for communities near the Gaza border. This has been going on since the end of March and the media is paying little attention to it. You can find the full schedule of town hall events here, and a list of fundraising opportunities here. If your community is not hosting a town hall, please consider organizing a viewing party to watch a simulcast via Zoom. We will simulcast the Chicago town hall on Thursday, August 23 at 7:00 pm Central time and the South Florida event on Sunday, August 26 at 7:00 pm Eastern. We do not have enough lines for individuals to watch, so we are asking our local community leaders to come together in groups. Please make an event out of it. Many have already scheduled viewing parties.
CAMPAIGN PLANNING SUMMIT
I am looking forward to seeing many of you in New York this weekend for the annual Campaign Planning Summit. Click here for another copy of the agenda.
LAY LEADERSHIP TRAINING SEMINAR
In a previous update I shared with you that JNF will provide lay leaders with ongoing education and training by video conferencing. Every other month, starting September 13, JNF will offer a 30 – 45 minute webinar on a variety of topics. Click here for the 2018-2019 schedule. Advance registration will be required, and you will receive an invitation for each seminar two weeks prior to the date. Please put a hold on your calendar for each of the seminars listed on the schedule.
Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign
By Yossi Kahana
Tzedakah. The Hebrew word for charity - for giving aid, assistance and money to the poor and needy, and to worthwhile causes. It is the responsibility to give a portion of one's personal substance for the common good. But it is more than giving money to the poor. Done properly, tzedakah requires the donor to share his or her compassion and empathy along with the money. Judaism teaches the belief that donors benefit from tzedakah as much as, or more than, the recipients.
In this week’s Torah portion, Re’eh, we find the mitzvah of aser te’aser, literally translated as “tithe you shall tithe,” referring to the obligation to set aside a 10th of our earnings for charity. Since the word for “tithing,” aser, has the same root as “wealthy,” ashir, the Talmud interprets this verse as “Tithe in order that you shall become wealthy.”
Since we left the oppression of ancient Egypt, the Jewish people have been obsessed with the act of charity. When, in the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Julian ordered the setting up of hostels for transients in every city, he referred to the example of the Jews "in whose midst no stranger goes uncared for." Historical records from every era show that everywhere Jews gave to those less fortunate and created charitable organizations to provide for these people—free loan funds, soup kitchens, wedding funds, widow funds, orphan care, new mother care, free education and much more. There wasn't a Jew who wasn't either giving or getting—and often both.
Most Jewish homes had the famous Jewish National Fund blue box for the deposit of tzedakah coins for charity; it was the method of donation the Jewish State was built on. From early childhood, Jewish children learned their responsibility was to care for other Jews in need. Though the methods are now more complex, the motivation for tzedakah endures through the centuries: to sustain the Jewish people, to enhance the Jewish life and to strengthen the Jewish community for today and the future. During daily prayer services, a pushke (or charity box) is commonly passed as part of the service, meaning prayer and charity go together. And it's not just you—a pushke elevates your living space as well. "A charity box in a home or office," the Lubavitcher Rebbe taught, "redefines the entire space. It is no longer just a home, just an office. It is a center of kindness and caring."
Tzedakah is not limited to gifts of money. Sharing time, expertise, or even a kind smile are all forms of charity that we can do.
No matter how much you were blessed with, you can always share with others.
JNF Travel & Tours Update
Join Jewish National Fund for the Israel H20 Tour, a unique, water focused tour of Israel with exclusive access to leading water technologies and experts. This tour provides an invaluable look into the amazing progress Israel has made in becoming water-secure, and gives insight into all that is still left to do. Learn more here.
Alexander Muss High School in Israel
In this week’s rare moment of quiet on campus, with no students currently engaged in a course of study, we invite you to experience the #MussMagic! This past summer, we proudly launched a podcast series with the same name, where you can hear from the students themselves about life at AMHSI-JNF. Take a listen!
Prefer a more visual story? Search for #MussMagic on your favorite social media channel to see photos and stories from our community from last week and going backwards throughout the last few years. Follow along with our adventures via our Facebook and Instagram pages, and share with your favorite pre-teen or teen so they can apply to have The Ultimate College Prep Study Abroad Adventure.
Updates from Israel
Accessibility at the Ayalon Institute
The Mossad and The Lauder Employment Center
Special in the IDF
Young Leadership Farm Program