An Exclusive Report from Russell F. Robinson
We Remember the Victims of the Arava Floods
In the parched deserts of Israel, rainfall is not always blessing. Recently, flash floods in the Arava led to the loss of 11 lives—10 teens and the driver of a truck. Immediately, roads were cut off and the region lost all power. This tragedy reminds us of the imperative need for the Emergency Response Center we are building in this isolated area. To date, we have raised close to half of what is needed to finish the $4 million facility. This center, currently under construction, will bring together fire, military, police, ambulance, and rescue teams, streamline communication, and enable faster response times during emergencies.
“The Central Arava rescue team was called to the area and led the rescue efforts,” said Beckie Fischer, chair of our Arava Task Force who were there at the time. “They were the first to arrive. Unfortunately, it was too late for many of the kids. We must complete the Emergency Response Center and provide more communications gear to the rescue team—it is critical to the area.” Additionally, while Israel experiences drastic flash flooding, it is also faced with the reality that for the last five years, severe drought has impacted the region. Flash floods during heavy rain remind us that we need to redouble our efforts to build new water reservoirs throughout the Arava to capture rainwater and reduce the devastating consequences of floods. To learn more about the flooding and support JNF’s important work in the Arava visit here.
NetGEV is Moving Along
As part of our multi-faceted Blueprint Negev initiative, Jewish National Fund leads the way developing the southern frontier of Israel’s Negev Desert to meet the goal of bringing 500,000 people to the expansive region that is some 60% of the land of Israel but where only 8% actually reside. To do that we’ve helped reshape Be’er Sheva and the surrounding area with new infrastructure, parklands, entertainment venues, community building and neighborhood renewal, and so much more. To meet the need to find good jobs we have invested in NetGEV Centers (which are part of the Lauder Employment Center) to serve as hubs for innovation and entrepreneurship—and they continue to provide opportunities never before available to Negev residents. Since we established centers in Arad, Hura and Dimona last year we have: 28 entrepreneurs renting space, who on average raised their income by 30% through NetGEV; 15 short term courses and two long term courses completed; 258 course graduates; 675 local residents participated in NetGEV events; made available exciting business courses and workshops in partnership with the Ministry for Small & Medium Businesses. Our next phase is to open five new Centers in towns which are in Jewish National Fund-USA’s focus area.
Look For Our New Sababa Society in Your Area
I am proud to announce that we will soon be launching a new society here at Jewish National Fund! The Sababa Society will give our some of our youngest supporters the chance to become involved in Jewish National Fund like never before. Founded by 11-year-old Ziv Zusman from Atlanta, GA, the Sababa Society will offer tweens and teens a way to create adventures in their local communities while learning about Israel and supporting Jewish National Fund.
“To me, the Sababa Society is more than just a way for kids to connect and contribute to the growth of Israel,” says Zusman. “It’s another great way for me to express my love for Israel, a place that has made a lasting impact on my life. I hope that with Jewish National Fund’s Sababa Society, more young people will be able to experience Israel and have their lives positively impacted.” Open, to youth ages 10 through 14, Sababa Society members are asked to raise $104 for the year—that is only $2 a week. Members decide which project in Israel will receive the money they raise. Children have the option to go solo or form a team of friends to work together to fundraise and do exciting activities together! Prizes, badges, and special recognition are all a part of this new awesome society!
A Note from University of Texas Hillel
I recently received this note from students at Texas Hillel. They are but one campus that receives Jewish National Fund support through our Positively Israel programming and educational department events; some 10,000 young people a year are reached on campus by JNF:
To the Jewish National Fund – I’m writing to thank you for your continued support of Israel Block Party (IBP). This year’s monumental success and 20th anniversary is a testament to the community’s ongoing support for vital pro-Israel work on UT’s campus. Without your generous gift, the celebration would simply not have the same impact. Over 1,000 students were affected by IBP this year and 103 student volunteers were empowered to show their love for Israel. Thank you again for making this possible.
Full of gratitude,
Elah and Rachel
IBP Co-chairs 2018
Help Fulfil the Dream of Aliyah this Summer
Everything we do at Jewish National Fund is for the land and people of Israel and the Jewish people everywhere, and as a key stakeholder your investment is realized in so many ways: from the moment a shovel breaks ground at a new community center in the Negev; as a woman in labor is rushed to our new medical center in the Central Arava; and when a visiting traveler walks into our Western Galilee Tourist Information Center looking to visit a nearby vineyard. And it all begins with our work with Nefesh B’ Nefesh that has brought more than 50,000 people to Israel to start new lives and become part of the Israeli fabric. With your help, this summer we can bring thousands of people to Israel to live their dream. I ask you to watch the above video and be a part of someone’s story by sponsoring a seat on their flight to Israel for $1,000, a Shabbat Dinner for $10,000, or an entire plane for $250,000. Click here to pilot a new story.
Are You Ready for Phoenix?
Join me this October in Phoenix, Arizona for Jewish National Fund’s 2018 National Conference! This annual conference brings together over a thousand committed leaders, philanthropists, young professionals, college students, and high school students from across the country and Israel for an impactful three-day experience to learn about the key issues of the day facing Israel and the world Jewish community. In 2017, the largest crowd ever descended on Jewish National Fund’s National Conference, including 250 college students from over 100 campuses and more than 100 JNFuture leaders, to hear incredible speakers, engage in in-depth meetings, and network with old and new friends.
JNF’s National Conference showcases the organization’s vision for the future of the land and people of Israel and the great successes it is enjoying. The annual event provides an opportunity for all participants to strengthen their connection to Israel and to one another over what is sure to be an incredible three days. Don't miss this opportunity to hear from experts on various important issues of our time. You may make a reservation under JNF's Room Block here. For more Information contact Sarah Budin at SBudin@jnf.org or 212.879.9305 x208.
I want to share with you some prized info: there’s never been a better time to earn up to 9.5% on your money and 100% of a nation's gratitude with a Charitable Gift Annuity from Jewish National Fund. A Charitable Gift Annuity is a way for you to make a gift to Jewish National Fund with the promise of receiving fixed income for the rest of your life. Benefits include secured fixed payments for life, a charitable deduction, tax savings, partially tax-free income, special capital gains tax treatment on appreciated assets, stocks, bonds, or mutual funds, and recognition in Israel. Contact one of our Planned Giving Specialists today at 800.562.7526 to make your gift or visit jnflegacy.org for more information. Additionally, I invite you to join our popular Sunshine Tour: For Active Adults 55+ to enhance your Jewish identity with a life-changing, 10-day excursion exploring the country from north to south. 10-days exploring Israel’s herniate sites, museums, cultural history, and hidden gems. You will get to meet inspirational leaders, journalists and Israelis, and enjoy authentic cuisine, fine dining, and luxurious accommodations in Tel Aviv, the Sea of Galilee, and Jerusalem. For more information visit jnf.org/sunshinedetails or call 800.562.7526.
Last month, over 270 JNF-USA representatives—professionals, lay-leaders, and first-time supporters alike—traveled to Israel and joined me for an unforgettable celebration of the country’s 70th birthday. This once-in-a-lifetime trip was timed to coincide with Israel’s most significant national commemorative days: Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror), and Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day). Jewish National Fund’s whirlwind Israel@70 tour, took participants from one end of the country to the other on five different tracks: Young Professionals, Spirit of Israel, the President’s Society, San Diego Community, and Interfaith. Participants had the opportunity to explore Israel through the unique lens that is Jewish National Fund. This incredibly meaningful trip surely sent each participant home and to their communities as dedicated stakeholders in Israel’s past, present, and future. Through Jewish National Fund, they have a range of opportunities to work in toward a flourishing, peaceful, and equitable society in the Jewish homeland. We are proud of the role we have played, hand-in-hand with our lay people, in Israel’s development. We are also are proud of the role we continue to play, together, in the strategic development of Israel’s natural resources and infrastructure to make sure the future of the county stays brighter than before. May there be many more milestones for all of us to celebrate together!
Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI-JNF) has entered a partnership with the Israel Scouts of America which will enhance the mission of both organizations. AMHSI-JNF is offering 10 spots for Israel Scouts teens to attend the Alexander Muss High School in Israel this coming September at a reduced price. Additionally, Jewish National Fund-USA will join the "Israel Scouts Friendship Caravan" tour this summer, which will visit hundreds of communities. The show will feature our vast work and Jewish National Fund’s iconic Blue Boxes will be distributed to audiences. What Is the Caravan? The Tzofim Friendship Caravan is celebrating over 40 years of bringing excitement, energy and friendship to North America. Founded in 1973, the first Caravan came to the U. S. to bring a message of hope and peace for Israel. Since that first Caravan, the program has grown to three different Caravans travelling across North America, from New York to California to Wyoming and Tennessee. Each Caravan is made up of a group of five girls and five boys and their two leaders. They are chosen to be members of the Caravan based on their maturity, fluency in English, and of course their talent in the performing arts. After several rounds of competitive auditions and interviews, the scouts spend a year training and rehearsing for their exciting summer in North America. For more info contact our Education Department at 800-JNF-0099 x245.
With my very best wishes to you and your family,
Chief Executive Officer
Jewish National Fund