WEEKLY UPDATES 4.20.18 – JEWISH NATIONAL FUND
Dear JNF Campaign Leaders:
You can also read about the moving Yom HaZikaron ceremony you see in the video here.
Shabbat Shalom from Israel!
Bruce K. Gould
President Elect and Vice President, Campaign
By Yossi Kahana
More than 270 people are now in Israel with Jewish National Fund’s Israel@70 mission. JNF missions visit places in Israel that are not the mainstream tourist destinations. They are the secret “treasures” mostly known by our local partners from Northern Israel and the Galilee all the way South into the Negev desert.
But what about the hidden treasures within ourselves?
There are many things in life that we treasure: our families and communities; our health and wellbeing; our successes and accomplishments; and our gifts and opportunities.
None of these are hidden treasures; they are revealed for us – and for all – to see.
Hidden treasure, the kind that comes with a map and a pirate ship, is another story. Hidden treasure is the preciousness buried deep within, the gems and jewels one finds when one least expects them and in the least likely of places.
More often than not, hidden treasure is more valuable than any overt treasure.
It is of this hidden treasure that this week’s Torah reading, Parshat Tazria-Metzora, speaks.
“When you come into the land of Canaan which I give you for a possession and I will put a case of tzaraat affliction in a house..."—Leviticus 14:34.
In the Book of Leviticus, the Torah speaks of tzaraat, a malady that occurred in biblical times. The affliction not only appeared on people but also on inanimate objects including the walls of one's house. In the event that one's house became infected, the entire affected area had to be removed, entailing great expense to the homeowner.
This strange disease was not a physical malady but rather a physical manifestation of a spiritual illness. When a person was spiritually sick, G-d would alert him to his condition by afflicting first his possessions and then his body so that he would be roused to proper penitence and mend his ways.
Many times, however, a person who had done nothing wrong would also find the walls of his home afflicted. Why did innocent people suffer as well?
What seemed to have been a stroke of bad luck was actually a great blessing. The answer is that many Israelites lived in houses built by the Canaanites who had previously occupied the land. Many of the Canaanites hid their wealth inside the walls of their homes, thus, when an Israelite's house would become afflicted, he would be forced to remove the wall and find the hidden treasure. So, what seemed to have been a stroke of bad luck or an unwarranted punishment from Above was actually a great blessing.
When we look back at all of the trouble we have had in our lives, it is not that hard to come to terms with the problems we had before coming to recovery. We realize that G-d sent us visible signs to force us to realize how sick we really were. But what about when life slaps us in the face even in sobriety, even when we're doing the right thing? When this happens, we cry foul. "What have I done now to deserve such problems?"
What we come to realize is that the hidden treasures of life are sometimes only discovered through hardship and loss. Those difficulties that we are so quick to judge as "Gd giving us a hard time" may actually be His way of sending us gifts beyond our dreams. We may curse our troubles, never even knowing of the treasure intended for us that will more than offset the immediate loss. Of course, if we only knew what was behind the wall, then we would be happy to knock it down. But we don't know. That's what faith is for—to feel peaceful, secure, grateful and happy even when we don't know what's happening. When we fear hardship and change, we not only show a lack of faith but unknowingly forgo great blessings that lie waiting for us just on the other side of our troubles.
Jewish National Fund’s Alexander Muss High School in Israel
Alexander Muss High School in Israel commemorated Yom HaZikaron and celebrated Yom Ha'atzmaut this week as a community. We were proud to remember and honor the fallen, and then, in true Israeli style, celebrate 70 years as a nation!
Updates from Israel
Ronald Lauder Fellowship Program
Interviews are officially underway for this summer's Ronald Lauder Fellowship Program.
This unique fellowship provides graduating engineering students an opportunity to work with the Negev's biggest and best employers. Fellows receive personal mentoring, hands-on training, and a "foot in the door" towards establishing their career at Negev companies including SodaStream, Intel, Netafim USA, and more.
Previously, many engineers graduating from Negev colleges immediately flocked to the center of the country in search for hi-tech careers. Ronald Lauder Fellowship Program shows them that there are incredible jobs here in the South, and provides them with the tools to successfully integrate into a new company.
C46 Airplane Experience Dedication Ceremony
Special in the IDF