WEEKLY UPDATE 12.5.19 – JEWISH NATIONAL FUND
Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving last week and perhaps you even missed not receiving this Weekly Campaign Update last Thursday.
Giving Tuesday was this week and while it will be several days before all the dollars are counted, it looks like we exceeded our expectations. I want to thank The Gene & Marlene Epstein Humanitarian Fund, Bernice Friedman, and Drs. Toby and Mort Mower who collectively contributed to the $1.25 million matching gift fund. Our annual campaign is already over $19 million which is a 17% increase over the same time last year. This brings us to more than $639 million toward our 10-year $1 Billion goal. Let’s keep up the great work.
JNF TEXT MESSAGING
As you know, we are always trying to keep up with the latest and most effective ways to communicate with our donors. As such, we are moving more and more to communicating with our donors via text. It is a timely, effective, concise, and faster-read means of delivering information in today’s busy world, and we are careful to use it judiciously. As a member of our leadership team it is important that you are opted in to receive these texts. Please text JNF to 563-872 which will opt you in.
ISRAEL EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY CAMPUS
The single largest project in the history of JNF-USA is the Israel Education and Technology Campus in Be’er Sheva. This $300 million campus will serve several functions: as a second home for the Alexander Muss High School, as an adult Zionist education and conference center, and as a campus for young adults in Israel for technology internships. The campus will be situated on 16 acres of land within the Be’er Sheva River Park. As you can imagine, with a capital project of this magnitude, there are significant naming opportunities. A feasibility study was just completed by KPMG and fundraising is just now getting underway. To learn more about this exciting and transformational project, watch this video: https://youtu.be/pdxJzoDpQHU
Everyone receiving this Weekly Campaign Update is a leader of Jewish National Fund. Our primary responsibility, no matter our titles or the committees on which we serve is to advocate for JNF and help expand our donor base so we can continue doing great things in Israel. When we make our annual gift, we affirm our commitment to participate in JNF’s transformative work. And as leaders, we should be the first in line to support JNF. With nearly 1,400 people serving on JNF boards and committees, we represent a significant percentage of JNF’s campaign. For those who have already made your annual campaign gift… thank you!! For those who have not yet had the opportunity, please do so now. Leaders lead!
2020 NATIONAL CONFERENCE IN ISRAEL
It is unbelievable that more than 400 people have already registered for the 2020 National Conference taking place in Israel next October 25 – 29. We are well on our way to reach our goal to bring 1,000 people to Israel for the Conference. A friendly competition is unfolding among local communities for who can bring the most to Israel. Register now! The sooner you register the more you will save. To learn more about NC 2020 in Israel, click here: jnf.org/nc
Travel & Tours Update
Young adults spend an exciting and meaningful week volunteering in Israel’s Northern region on Volunteer Vacation. Registration now open for the Summer 2020 program. Learn more here.
Alexander Muss High School in Israel
This week we welcomed to campus Shalom Jerbi, the Director of Education of KKL. He visited with our staff, learned about our program and even met a few of our students. We also welcomed a group of rabbis from Long Island who learned about our program and met with our students. We are looking forward to welcoming our December session arriving now and kicking off their Israel adventure.
Shop Amazon Smile
Did you know that you can support Jewish National Fund while you shop? Amazon Smile will donate a portion of your purchase price to us when you shop through smile.amazon.com.
JNF In Your Area
Traveling to another city and want to see what JNF events are taking place there? Just visit jnf.org/inyourarea for a quick look at how to stay engaged while on the road.
Updates from Israel
News from the Western Galilee
Take a moment to read Jerusalem Post’s article about the Western Galilee and the upcoming Winter Festival here.
Special in the IDF
This week, the IDF Zikim Training Base joined the Special in Uniform program. The base is located 8 km south of Ashkelon, near kibbutz Zikim and the Gaza envelope communities. The new soldiers are coming from Ashkelon and the surrounding communities. Mazal Tov!
This week’s parsha is Parshat Vayeitzei. In it, Jacob flees Be’er Sheva (after taking Isaac’s blessing) to Charan. At some point in his journey, Jacob stops to rest. Before he lays down to sleep, he forms a semi-circle of stones around his head as protection. When Jacob awakens the next morning, the language describing his circumstance changes: “Jacob arose early in the morning, and took the stone he placed around his head and set it up as a pillar.”
Before he goes to sleep, it says, “stones,” in the plural; when he awakens, it says, “the stone,” in the singular. Which one was it? Did Jacob use a single stone, or did he utilize many stones?
In a profoundly symbolic answer to this question, Talmudic tradition posits thus: Jacob indeed took several stones. The stones began quarreling, each one saying, “Upon me shall this righteous person rest his head.” So, God combined them all into one stone, and the quarreling ceased. Hence, we read that when Jacob awoke, he “took the stone” in the singular.
What is the symbolism behind this imagery? What is the meaning of stones quarreling with each other and then reaching a state of peace by congealing into one?
One more (possibly) obvious question: How did the merging of diverse stones into a single entity satisfy their complaint, “Upon me shall this righteous person rest his head?” Even after the stones congealed into a single large stone, the head of Jacob would still lie only on one part of the stone. So why didn’t the other parts of the stone (IE: Jacob’s “pillow”) still lament that Jacob’s head was not lying on them?
The Lubavitcher Rebbe once explained it with moving simplicity and eloquence:
The fighting between the stones was not caused because each one wanted the tzaddik’s (the righteous man’s) head; it was because they were separate stones. The fighting ceased when the stones became one because when you are one with the other, you don’t mind if the head of the righteous one rests upon the other. Their victory is your victory; Their loss is your loss.
The Jewish people — each of us individually are truly part of one essence.
Jacob, the father of all Israel, who encompassed within himself the souls of all his children, inspired this unity within the “stones” around him. Initially, the stones operated on a superficial level of consciousness, thus quarreling about which will get to lie under Jacob’s head. But Jacob inspired in them a deeper consciousness, allowing them for that night to see themselves as a single stone, even while they were in different positions.
This week, on Giving Tuesday we again joined together as one single stone to help the Land of Israel and its people.