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.


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.


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.

Shabbat Shalom!





Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign

D’Var Torah

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.

Shabbat Shalom,



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

Last week, the Ayalon Institute Bullet Factory held a sign language tour, making the heritage site more accessible for the deaf community. The tour, which consisted of both spoken and signed guidance, is part of a larger plan to make the Ayalon Institute more accessible to all visitors. The plan includes installing an elevator and a more accessible stairway into the underground factory and repaving the pathways throughout the site. This plan aims to make the Ayalon Institute a more inclusive site so that everyone can learn about this important chapter of Israel’s history.

The Mossad and The Lauder Employment Center

When we say we are dedicated to creating quality employment for Negev residents, we aren't messing around! The Lauder Employment Center was thrilled to collaborate with the Mossad in holding its first ever spotlight recruitment event last week in Be'er Sheva. One hundred and twenty pre-screened young adults attended to learn about employment opportunities at Israel's national intelligence office. We wish we could tell you more, but it's top secret from here on out.

Special in the IDF

Lihi Lapid is an Israeli author and journalist whose books and weekly newspaper column deal with contemporary women’s issues. Her popular weekly newspaper column is published in the weekend supplement of one of Israel’s major newspapers. Lihi has written two bestselling novels in Hebrew, Secrets from Within and Woman of Valor, as well as a cookbook and a bestselling children’s book. She in known as the new feminist voice of Israeli women. Lihi is married to Yair Lapid, political party Yesh Atid’s chairman, and together they have a daughter with autism who serves as a volunteer in Special in Uniform. Lihi is unveiling her bestselling new book To Be A Mother of a Soldier together with soldiers of Special in Uniform.

Young Leadership Farm Program

This week, the second class of the Young Leadership Farm Program (a program from Jewish National Fund partner HaShomer HaChadash) began. The amazing participants will undergo 3 months of training and then continue to operate our educational community farms, opening two brand new farms in the Golan Heights. This training commenced in Pke'in, an ancient Jewish City in the Galilee with a Synagogue with stones evacuated from the Second Temple during its destruction, in order to understand our roots in the land of Israel. The participants hiked together to become a closer group, volunteered on a farm in Ma'ale Gamla, guarded farmland at night, and more. In the coming weeks and months they will learn about navigation, survival skills, and undergo professional training in the areas they will be guiding in the coming year- agriculture, carpentry, farm-animal care, education and more.