WEEKLY UPDATES 9.21.18 – JEWISH NATIONAL FUND
Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:
I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year and the Days of Awe were meaningful.
In the two weeks since I last reported to you, the campaign has raised an additional $1.5 million. I am pleased that we have already exceeded our annual campaign goal for the year. However, because of the holidays we have very few precious work days before we close our campaign year on September 30 and still have many pledge cards to close. Let’s all work hard to the end!
LAY LEADERSHIP TRAINING SEMINAR
Our first Lay Leadership Training Seminar took place on September 13 featuring Yishai Goldflam who spoke on The History of Zionism and Jewish National Fund. It was a great first seminar and was well attended with nearly 60 lay leaders. Our next session is November 14 on the topic of JNF Organizational Overview and Financial Structure with JNF CFO Mitchell Rosenzweig and Treasurer Andrew Klein leading the program.
All of the sessions are being recorded and to view last week’s session, click here.
Click here to see the full schedule of seminars. 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.
GAZA EMERGENCY RECAP
I am delighted to share with you that Jewish National Fund has raised more than $4 million through our emergency campaign to support Israeli communities near the border with Gaza. Those dollars have been designated by donors to support a myriad of partners and programs in the region, including: Fire and Rescue services, Bomb Shelters for the region, the Sderot Indoor Recreation Center, projects in Halutza and projects for dozens of communities in the Gaza Envelope region. Also, importantly, Jewish National Fund raised awareness about the challenges of life for Israelis in the area and we received substantial press. Click here to see a recent article from The Jewish Voice in New York.
Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign
IsraelCast, the JNF Podcast
Travel & Tours Update
Alexander Muss High School in Israel
Experience Alexander Muss High School in Israel’s study abroad programs through the eyes of our students. Our Student Photo Journalism Blog is live and being updated regularly with thoughts, feelings, observations and, yes, photos that our teens provide. One example:
This photo was taken at a site looking over all of Jerusalem. After being told to put blindfolds on, we were led off the bus and into an unknown location. While our blindfolds were still on, we were given a speech about the importance of the place we were about to lay eyes on. After a few anxious minutes, we took off our blindfolds, and in front of us we saw the most beautiful view of the sun setting over Jerusalem. This was the first time I’ve ever been here and I could not believe that it was real. After taking pictures, we learned about a writer who was given the difficult task of enrapturing the amazingness of this city into a song. While she did struggle, it went on to be the most famous song in Israel. Hearing this song while looking over Jerusalem put tears in my eyes, and I’m happy that this was the first experience I had in this city. I am so excited to come back here and learn more about this amazing place. - Jordyn
Follow along for more!
Updates from Israel
Therapeutic Horseback Riding
National Service Orientation at Heritage Sites
Special in the IDF
By Yossi Kahana
According to a popular saying, every major Jewish experience is somehow connected to food. If I may add, where there is food, there is song…Thus, every Jewish experience is full of song.
Music and ritual have been united since the most ancient times. Deborah sang after Israel’s victory over the forces of Sisera. Hannah sang when she had a child. When Saul was depressed, David would play for him, and his spirit would be restored. David himself was known as the “sweet singer of Israel.” Elisha called for a harpist to play so that the prophetic spirit could rest upon him. The Levites sang in the Temple. Every day, in Judaism, we preface our morning prayers with Pesukei de-Zimrah, the “Verses of Song” with their magnificent crescendo, Psalm 150, in which instruments and the human voice combine to sing G-d’s praises.
Why is song such a major player in the Jewish arena?
A song is the pen of the heart. It expresses to us and to others the deepest parts of our hearts and souls, that which cannot be expressed through the medium of finite syllables.
Song brings emotion and depth wherever it enters. Song creates a marriage between who we are and who we ought to be. It is a journey inward, to one’s self, bringing our truest self to the forefront of our consciousness.
You don’t have to be musically wired to appreciate the power of a melody. You don’t have to hold the title of a singer in order to sing. All you need is a heart.
The greater part of the Torah reading this week, Haazinu consists of a 70-line “song” delivered by Moses to the people of Israel on the last day of his earthly life.
Why is Moses singing on the last day of his life? Why was the longest piece of poetry in the Torah chanted on one of the seemingly saddest days of Jewish history, the day that the greatest Jewish leader of all time passed on?
Perhaps Moses wanted to leave us with the power of song. He was leaving his flock, and until the end of times there wouldn’t be anyone like him to guide the nation. So he gave us a tool that would allow us to find G-d within ourselves, to create leadership even in the absence of true leaders. He taught us how to maintain the flame of Judaism whether in the gas chambers—where Jews sang the Ani Maamin (“I believe!”) on the way to their deaths—or sitting at the Shabbat table with family and friends.
On his last day of leadership, Moses gave us the means to persevere: song.
And very soon with Jewish unity when Moshiach comes, we will merit to hear the greatest song of all, when we will sing and dance with G d Himself in the most magnificent dance of all time.
And this Jewish unity is expressed in the upcoming holy day of Sukkot.
Every day of Sukkot (except Shabbat), we take the “Four Kinds” and make a blessing together. What are the four kinds? A palm branch (lulav), two willows (aravot), a minimum of three myrtles (hadassim) and one citron (etrog).
Jewish unity is one of the central themes of Sukkot. The four kinds you are holding symbolize four types of Jews, with differing levels of Torah knowledge and observance. Bringing them together represents our unity as a nation—despite our external differences. So in this spirit of unity, so that, as the Almighty promises, one will help atone for the other. This is particularly important after the High Holidays, for what better ingredient for a successful new year than to break down the separation between people.
Shabbat Shalom and happy Sukkot Holidays.