Shaloha from the Aloha State to the Jewish State
There is an expression used on the Hawaiian Islands combining the words “shalom” and “aloha” to greet friends: “shaloha.” Drs. Don and Vivien Wong, a pair of Jewish National Fund’s most welcoming and dedicated members from Honolulu, are the embodiment of the spirit and essence of shaloha.
Evangelical Christians with a deep love and respect for the land and people of Israel, Vivien first visited the Holy Land in 1999 with her mother, and Don two years later. Shortly after, the Wongs began planting trees in Israel through Jewish National Fund, and in 2014, they returned to Israel on JNF’s inaugural Doctors for Israel Tour.
“The Wongs are among the most genuine and noble people I have ever encountered at Jewish National Fund,” said Josh Lipsky, Jewish National Fund’s Pacific Northwest Director. “Beyond their continued philanthropic generosity, the energy and vision they share with the JNF universe demonstrates their virtue and love for the land and people of Israel.”
Following their trip in 2014, the Wongs participated on two Ride for Yerucham bike rides, and in 2017, they again participated on JNF’s Doctors for Israel Trip.
The Wongs believe that Jewish National Fund provides an opportunity for them to participate in projects that have a direct and positive impact on the land and people of Israel. Vivien joined the Go North East Task Force; Don joined the Yerucham and Ramat HaNegev Task Force. In 2018, the couple spent extended time in Israel; Vivien volunteered and taught radiology to doctors at a local medical center in the Galilee and helped map out a future medical center for the Upper Eastern Galilee, a region Jewish National Fund is developing and growing.
“The fact that Don and Vivien have to cross two oceans just to reach Israel from Hawaii is not lost on me or anyone else,” said Matthew Leebove, Jewish National Fund's Mountain States Associate Director who serves on the Yerucham and Ramat HaNegev Task Force with Don. “They continue to demonstrate a tireless and selfless commitment to Israel that is inspiring.
They are firmly dedicated to growing Israel and it comes out through their words and actions.”
The Wongs’ love and devotion to Israel is infectious. Anyone who encounters them feels inspired and motivated to give back and help others.