Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:

Gaza Border Crisis: The Trauma, The Damage, The Needs

Already more than 1,500 people have registered to attend one of the 11 Gaza Border Crisis Town Hall events taking place around the country, kicking off this Sunday in Los Angeles. We expect the number of attendees nationally to number more than 3,000 as momentum picks up, and we are expecting a large number to walk in. In addition, 10 communities are hosting viewing parties to watch a live simulcast of either the Chicago Town Hall next Thursday, August 23, at 8:00 pm ET, or the South Florida Town Hall Sunday, August 26, at 7:00 pm ET. Click here to see the full schedule of Gaza Border Crisis Emergency Town Hall events. If your community is not hosting a town hall, but would like to organize an event to watch a live simulcast, please speak with your JNF representative who can make the arrangements. In addition to raising awareness about the situation for Israeli families living along the border with Gaza, we need to raise millions of dollars to make their lives better.  Click here to see the list of needs and giving opportunities.  Will you consider making a special gift to support the Gaza Emergency campaign?  Click here to make an online donation or contact your JNF representative. Naming opportunities are available.


WOW, just WOW!!!

130 campaign leaders came to New York for our sixth annual Campaign Planning Summit and the passion, ideas and commitment to help Jewish National Fund achieve our goals was simply awesome. I want to thank all the JNF professional staff and the members of my national Campaign Cabinet for their hard work which made these two days of planning such a success. Lay leaders and JNF professionals have returned home with great ideas from two days of sharing best practices, and they will be reporting key concepts at local board meetings across the country. We also received excellent input about our 2019 Campaign Plan, which will be released by mid-September. Many were posting pictures on Facebook during our time together, but in case you missed all the action, click here to see some photos.


Please be sure to save the dates in your calendar for our Lay Leadership Training seminars. These seminars will be done by Zoom video conferencing and will last no more than 30- 45 minutes. The first seminar is September 13, with the topic: The History of Zionism and Jewish National Fund. Click here to see the full schedule of seminars. Advanced registration will be required, and you will receive an invitation for each seminar two weeks prior to the date.


Shabbat Shalom!





Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign

JNF Travel & Tours Update

Discover Israel’s rich history, heritage, and culture on a meaningful journey exploring the country from north to south. Join us this May on the Spirit of Israel Tour! Perfect for first-timers and repeat visitors alike. Learn more here.

Updates from Israel

Aliyah Flight

This past Wednesday, through the generous contribution of World Chairman Society donor Heidi Rothberg, Jewish National Fund sponsored partner Nefesh B’Nefesh’s 59th charter flight to Israel. The flight allowed 239 new immigrants to fulfil their dreams of moving to Israel from North America.

Gush Etzion

Last week, Jewish National Fund sent another fire wagon to Gush Etzion, thanks to a generous donation in honor of Rafi Capone on his 90th birthday by his family. Rafi was wounded when fighting in Gush Etzion in 1948, and was taken as  a POW to Transjordan with other brave defenders. Four days after Kfar Etzion received this wagon, a major fire broke out as a result of arson. The new fire wagon, as well as a Jewish National Fund fire truck and an additional truck arrived from the army, were all used to fight the fire.

Tour Guide Training in Accessibility

At the beginning of August, Jewish National Fund partner Society for Preservation of Israel Historic Sites graduated a new class of tour guides. The final day of the course focused on making tours more accessible to people with various physical or cognitive disabilities, with guidance from Jewish National Fund partner LOTEM, an organization that advocates for increased accessibility. Through a tour of LOTEM's ecological farm in Emek Hashalom, in the north of Israel, tour guides learned techniques and strategies to make their tours more accessible. With these skills, heritage site tour guides will be better equipped to make sure that everyone can learn about Israel's history and heritage.

Aleh Negev

After arriving in Israel on the Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah flight, World Charmian Society donor Heidi Rothberg came to Aleh Negev to dedicate a department in the new rehabilitation hospital in memory of her father Sam. We are extremely grateful for their gift.

D’Var Torah

By Yossi Kahana


This past weekend, 130 of our lay leaders came to New York from throughout the country to participate in the JNF 2019 Campaign Summit. What drives our lay leaders to be involved in such a great commitment?

If we look at this week’s Torah portion, Shoftim, we can see how the Torah speaks about the blueprint of a society—a society built on freedom and human dignity, whose high ideals remain compelling today.

There is no doubt that this great country's historically unprecedented success and prosperity is due to the fact that its Founding Fathers recognized that there is a Supreme Being who cares for every creature. They understood that since G-d sustains and gives life to every being, every being has certain "inalienable rights" upon which no government can impinge.

And so, America became a country of rights, not only our rights to freedom and democracy, but the ability of every individual or group to defend its rights. From women to workers to minorities, each group vocalizes its expectations of people who are not in that group. And to be sure, tremendous social improvements have come from rights advocates.

But even if the American Revolution was based on the Hebrew Bible, there is still no verse in Torah that says, “And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Every human being is endowed with the right to life and liberty.’” On the other hand, G-d does say, “Thou shalt not murder”— your neighbor has the right to live.

Likewise, the Torah doesn’t say, “Ladies, these are your rights! Don’t let anyone take advantage of you.” Instead, the Torah obligates the husband to take care of his wife in ten ways.

Similarly, respect for animals can be inferred from our obligations towards them: “If you see your enemy’s donkey lying under its burden, would you refrain from helping him? You shall surely help along with him.” The Talmud infers from this verse that relieving the suffering of an animal is a biblical law. The Talmud also says that a person can’t purchase an animal unless he has the means to feed it, and a person must feed his animals before he feeds himself.

Instead of reading us our rights, the Torah tells us to be respectful to others: “You shall love your fellow as yourself.” Rabbi Akiva says that this is the major principle of the Torah. That would be comparable to the Declaration of Independence opening with, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men were created to treat others with love and dignity.”

I was going to say that even the most unaffiliated Jews typically put service ahead of rights, without even realizing that they’re acting out the most essential Torah value. But our CEO Russell F. Robinson corrected me and said, “There is no such thing as ’unaffiliated Jews‘. There are Jews that haven’t been reached out to yet.” 

Jews are notorious for voting against their own class interest in order to bring about social equality. Jews are known to be extremely philanthropic; in 2016, five of the top six philanthropists in America were Jewish! Social welfare organizations are prolific in Jewish communities. Whether we admit it or not, Jewish people are famous for putting service before entitlement, like our leadership and donors. They are truly and inspiration and they move others to join them. They stand up and don’t just talk about what they want to do, or how things can be done better. They take action and they make things happen. Our leaders do just that - make things happen. This is JNF.

Shabbat Shalom,