WEEKLY UPDATES 12.15.17 – JEWISH NATIONAL FUND
Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:
Chanukah is a time of reflection and gratitude. It is an opportunity for me to say thank you to the hundreds of Jewish National Fund volunteers and professional staff members for making this such a great organization.
- Thank you for the more than $470 million you helped JNF raise in a little more than four years toward our $1 Billion Roadmap.
- Thank you for your personal commitments of dollars and time which make a big impact on our fundraising campaign, but even more, on Israel.
- And thank you for helping our fundraising team close as many gifts as possible at the end of this calendar year so we ensure everyone has the opportunity to be counted among JNF donors.
Lastly, thank you for your efforts and donations on Giving Tuesday a few weeks ago. I am pleased to share with you these statistics:
- $1.8 million raised
- 1,300 donors
- 177 gifts of $1,000 or more
- 60 gifts of $5,000 or more
- 142 new donors who gave a total of $65,000
We owe a big THANK YOU to Bob Lembke of Denver and the Gene and Marlene Epstein Humanitarian Fund from Bucks County, NJ, who combined made a $750,000 matching grant for Giving Tuesday. This grant was a significant communication tool to encourage people to double their impact by making their gift on that day.
THANK YOU, again, and Happy Chanukah!
Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign
In this week's reading, Mikeitz, Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, has two dreams. In the first, he sees himself standing over the Nile River, where seven fat cows emerge from the river followed by seven thin cows. The thin cows proceed to swallow the fat ones, yet they remain just as thin as before. In his second dream, Pharaoh sees seven thin, shriveled ears of grain swallow seven fat ears of grain.
None of the wise men of Egypt could offer Pharaoh a satisfactory interpretation of his dreams. Finally, Joseph is summoned from his dungeon, he interprets the dreams to mean that seven years of plenty, symbolized by the fat cows and fat grain, will be followed by seven years of hunger, reflected by the lean cows and the shriveled ears. The seven years of famine will be so powerful that they will "swallow up" and obliterate any trace of the years of plenty.
Joseph then advises Pharaoh to prepare for the looming crisis by stockpiling food during the years of plenty and then rationing it out during the famine. Pharaoh is blown away by Joseph's vision. "Can there be another person who has G-d's spirit in him as this man does?" he asks his advisors. He appoints Joseph viceroy of Egypt, and the rest is history.
Joseph’s true brilliance demonstrates how it remains as relevant as ever to each of us struggling to survive our own private ‘years of famine.’ In our own lives we all experience cycles of plenty and cycles of famine. There are times when things are going very well, we are healthy, successful and comfortable, and there are times of recession and challenges, when curve balls come our way. Joseph taught us how that we must prepare in our years of plenty for our years of famine.
Interestingly, the haftorah reading for Mikeitz is from the book of Zechariah. Zechariah (who lived in the 6th century BCE) prophesied the return of the Israelites to their Homeland after they had been exiled by the Babylonians. Among his many visions, Zechariah saw a menorah (flanked on both sides by olive branches) and he heard an angel explaining to him that this vision meant the Temple in Jerusalem (which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 422 BCE) should now be rebuilt “not by might, not by power, but by the spirit of G d."
Zechariah's vision is one of most powerful images of prophecy. It continues to have profound significance for us today. More than ever, we see darkness fill our world. But fighting darkness is a tough battle which leaves darkness within. Despair. Don't fight darkness, just add light. A little bit of light dispels a lot of darkness. Something we so clearly see during these days of Chanukah.
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