Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:




At JNF, we celebrate the new year three times: our new fiscal campaign year on October 1; Rosh Hashana, the new year for the Jewish people; and of course, January 1.  So, while we are all preparing for the High Holidays and the Jewish New Year, our professional fundraisers are working diligently to close the remaining open gifts for the 2019 fiscal year. I am confident that when the final pledges are counted, we will exceed our annual campaign goal, making our New Year even sweeter.



For those who have not yet had the opportunity to download the 2020 Campaign Plan, please do so. This plan is “a living document” which provides a framework to conduct our annual campaign. It is also a great resource manual filled with a campaign calendar, best practices, and leadership directories. Please be sure all local board members review this document and even more, focus your October board meeting on how you will roll out many of the objectives and programs outlined in the plan. Click here to download the 2020 JNF Campaign Plan.




It is unbelievable that more than 300 people have already registered for the 2020 National Conference taking place in Israel next October 25 – 29. Register now! The sooner you register the more you will save. To learn more about NC 2020 in Israel, visit jnf.org/nc




If you missed yesterday’s Lay Leader Training Seminar on JNF Marketing and Social Media, you can view that and all previous seminars by clicking on the video library below.


Shana Tova U’Metukah.  Let us all enjoy a happy, healthy and sweet New Year.


    Ben Gutmann

    Vice President, Campaign

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Leadership Training Seminar #1 (9/13/18) – History of Zionism and Jewish National Fund



Leadership Training Seminar #2 (11/14/18) – The Power of the JNF Brand and Brand Management



Leadership Training Seminar #3 (1/26/19) – JNF Organizational Overview and Financial Structure



Leadership Training Seminar #4 (3/27/19) – Solicitor Training: Believe, Inspire, Do!



Leadership Training Seminar #5 (5/15/19) – Anatomy of an Effective Board Meeting



Leadership Training Seminar #6 (7/17/19) – Update on JNF Projects and Partnerships



Leadership Training Seminar #7 (9/25/19) – JNF Marketing Tools and Social Media Tutorial



Our summer session kicked off their first full week on campus by volunteering at Save a Child's Heart and Leket. Later this week they will continue on to Jerusalem for their first overnight tiyul. 

We also wished our April session farewell as they concluded their eight week session. We are already excited to welcome them to our AMHSI alumni community!

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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

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.


Updates from Israel

Special in the IDF




While millions of Jews around the world will be praying in the synagogue and celebrating the Jewish New Year, IDF soldiers will be on duty making sure Israel stays safe over the holidays. Every year, IDF preparations for the Jewish New Year include blowing the shofar by Jewish National Fund affiliate Special in Uniform soldiers. 



Lauder Employment Center




This week, The Lauder Employment Center hosted a conference on Innovative Solutions to Employment in the Negev that brought together over 150 employers, municipal/regional council employees, and field workers from the social sector to discuss potential solutions to challenges in finding quality employment for young adults.



Open House Tel Aviv




Last week, Open House Tel Aviv was in full force, generating visits to many heritage sites during the weekend long urban event. Open House Tel Aviv is a once-a-year special weekend festival showcasing architecture, interior design, and landscape gardening in Tel Aviv. History buffs and architecture lovers flocked to see the sites, including the Sarona Visitor's Center, Ben-Gurion House, and Bialik House. The event was done in collaboration with Liebling – White City Center – an Israeli-German project that seeks to discuss the values ​​of modern architecture and the White City as a world heritage site, while expanding the discussion about conservation and urbanism.

D’Var Torah

Did you see the JNF’s Rosh Hashanah Greeting Cards? They contain the symbols of Rosh Hashanah: shofar, apples and honey, fish, and pomegranates.


Rosh Hashanah - it’s one of the most important holidays in the Jewish calendar. It’s the Jewish New Year, anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, a day of judgment and coronation. The Jewish new year greetings for this time of year reflect our prayers for a good, sweet year up ahead. The first night of Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Sunday, September 29. We wish l'shanah tovah tikatevu v'techatemu: “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.” The main thing is to wish each other a good, sweet year with all our heart – because that is what G-d values the most.


Rosh Hashanah continues through nightfall on Tuesday, October 1, and is packed with mitzvahs, special foods and traditions, but the central observance of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar, the ram’s horn, on both days of the holiday.


Why the Shofar?


The blowing of the shofar represents the trumpet blast that is sounded at a king’s coronation. Its plaintive cry also serves as a call to repentance. The shofar itself recalls the Binding of Isaac, an event that occurred on Rosh Hashanah in which a ram took Isaac’s place as an offering to G-d. The shofar fills us with awe and humility as we contemplate the true infinitude of G-d, how He fills all space and time. The chassidic masters teach us that the cry of the shofar is akin to the wail of a child, yearning to be reunited with a beloved parent. There are no words to express a longing that is so deep, so primal and so true. On Rosh Hashanah, we give expression to the cry of our soul.


After the conclusion of the prayers, we go home and have a festive meal, certain that it has been decreed that we will have a sweet new year. It is customary to eat sweet foods, symbolizing our desire to have a sweet year, blessings and abundance. Throughout the meal, it is customary to also eat foods whose names allude to blessing and prosperity. We dip a piece of sweet apple into honey. Before eating it we say: “May it be Your will to renew for us a good and sweet year.”


Why Apple in Honey?


The sweet honey is different from the sweet apple. The apple is a sweet fruit grown on a tree, which is not surprising - many sweet fruits grow on a tree. But the honey, coming from the bee – an insect that is not desirable to eat and even prickly. But look at this wonder: the honey produced by the bee is even sweeter than the apple.


In life there are two types of sweetness: there are times of family rejoicing, successes at work or happy relationships. These times are as sweet as the apple. But there is also a different sweetness: one that comes after challenges. When things do not go as expected, when disaster happens, when we are about to lose a job, when we fail to meet the goals we set for ourselves, or when our relationships experience a crisis and we feel lonely.


When faced with these challenges, they look just as bitter and painful as the bee sting. But if we are strengthened and meet with challenges successfully, we discover new dimensions in our personality that we did not even know existed. Challenges reveal our inner depths. Stress in a relationship is painful, but there is nothing sweeter than the reconciliation that comes after it. It's hard to lose a job, but new and better options are often opened to us. The feeling of loneliness can eat us inside, but we can use it to get to know ourselves better. We have all experienced difficult times in our lives, and after the fact we look at them and say, "God, thank you for giving us challenges - where would we be without them?”


And so we eat apple in the first day of the new year. We wish each other that the apple would bring sweetness, and that the bee sting would bring greater sweetness!


A head of a fish, ram or other kosher animal is served. This symbolizes our desire to be at the "head of the class" this year. A pomegranate is eaten, symbolizing our wish to have a year full of mitzvot and good deeds as a pomegranate is filled with luscious seeds.


In Israel, there already is a palpable sense of excitement within JNF’s extended family in anticipation of the upcoming holiday and the opportunities that are available now for the children - those living along the Gaza border as well as all of our children with disabilities in Israel. All will have the same sense of belonging, of being part of the family, of being an integral part of the Jewish nation.


On behalf of JNF family, I want to wish you and yours a beautiful, blessed and awesome new year; a year of tremendous health, happiness, prosperity, a year of fulfillment and growth, a year of peace and redemption!



L’shana tova,




Travel & Tours Update

Spend an exciting week experiencing Israel like the locals and getting your hands dirty on Volunteer Vacation, for ages 25-35, this December. Learn more.

IsraelCast Update


This week on IsraelCast, host Steven Shalowitz sits down with Rakhel Zinder and brings in the New Year with a sweet talk. Listen in to hear about everything honey and more in this episode of IsraelCast.