Arizona and Las Vegas Philanthropists Find Inspiration on VIP Mission to Israel
PHOENIX, December 19, 2022 — For many, a trip to Israel is not just a vacation. It’s a chance to be inspired, to be awestruck at how far the Jewish Homeland has come in nearly 75 short years. Recently, a group of philanthropists from Arizona and Las Vegas got to see the “fruits of their labor” while participating in Jewish National Fund-USA’s Desert States VIP Mission to Israel—an eight-day mission filled with memorable excursions and visits to Jewish National Fund-USA sites they are investing in. The trip showcased both the beauty of Israel and how their support of the organization is changing lives.
Arizona philanthropists visit the Red Mountain Therapeutic Riding Center, a rehabilitative facility in Israel’s southern region using cutting-edge equine therapy to help children with disabilities
Particularly resonant with the attendees was a visit to Jewish National Fund-USA-supported ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran, a one-of-a-kind rehabilitation hospital in the Negev that provides high-level medical services and unparalleled care to individuals with severe cognitive and physical disabilities. While there, they sat in on a musical jam session at the rehabilitation center’s special education school — an uplifting experience for everyone involved.
“We were so fortunate to be able to join a music class of young children with intellectual and physical disabilities,” said Cyndi Rosenthal. “I bonded with a sweet boy with nothing except touch and eye contact. I had a lump in my throat of emotion and at the same time was so full of joy.”
Attendees celebrate a musical session at JNF-USA supported ADI Negev-Nahalat Eran
“Of all the trips that I have made to Israel with Jewish National Fund-USA, this was the most spectacular and the most fun,” said JNF-USA World Chairman’ Council Member Shelley Dubin. “We made a lot of new friends, and we saw so many of the organization’s wonderful new projects throughout the country.”
Other highlights included visiting the GrooveTech Center in the Eshkol region of Israel’s Gaza Envelope, a bomb-proof indoor playground and innovative learning center that allows children to thrive during the day and after school hours, with features like rock climbing walls, virtual reality rooms, a planetarium, science and robotics spaces, art workshops, and more. The group also got an up-close look at a Hamas “terror tunnel” as well as a stirring recital of Havdalah to close out Shabbat at the grave of David Ben-Gurion, one of the founders of Israel and whose spirit is embodied by Jewish National-Fund-USA’s efforts to populate the Negev and Galilee.
Mike Kasser; Lynton Kotzin; National Board Member and Mission Co-chair, Kim Kotzin; Cyndi Rosenthal; Susan Farber; Steve Farber; Eddie Sturman; Carol Sturman; Beth Kasser; and JNF-USA National Campaign Director, Desert States, Deb Rochford at Ramon Crater
In addition, the mission featured a dedication ceremony for the Kasser Joint Institute for Global Food, Water, and Energy Security, which was attended by prominent Arizona philanthropists Michael and Beth Kasser, for whom the Joint Institute is now named after.
“The mission felt like going to summer camp,” said Jewish National Fund-USA Desert States President Mel Bottner. “New adventures, close friendships, and the pride of knowing you’ve contributed to making the experience better for the next person. But it was deeper than that. We also got to see how our philanthropic investments are making a tangible difference in the lives of Israelis.”
JNF-USA Desert States Board President and Mission Co-chair, Mel Bottner; Mim Bottner; National Board Member and Mission Co-chair, Kim Kotzin; and Lynton Kotzin
“This mission was a wonderful opportunity to see some of our many accomplishments in person and to share the experience with donors who had contributed to these particular projects,” added JNF-USA Las Vegas Board of Trustees Member Bernice Friedman.
To learn more about Jewish National Fund-USA’s work in Israel or to join a future mission, contact Deb Rochford, National Campaign Director, Desert States, at email@example.com or 480.447.8100 x980 or visit jnf.org/travel.
About Jewish National Fund-USA
JNF-USA is the leading philanthropic organization for Israel that supports critical environmental and nation-building activities in Israel’s north and south. Through its One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade, JNF-USA is developing new communities in the Galilee and Negev, connecting the next generation to Israel, and creating infrastructure and programs that support ecology, individuals with special needs, and heritage site preservation.