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Together Fall 2016

B’Yachad: The Newsletter of Jewish National Fund

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE:

Together Fall 2016 JEWISH NATIONAL FUND

We hope you enjoy this issue. Send your feedback to newsletter@jnf.org. Regards, B’Yachad Editorial Staff

Read how a selection of JNFuture members and JNF staff made their journey from youth movements to advocates for Israel.

B’YACHAD STAFF EDITOR IN CHIEF

Daniel Peri PUBLISHER

Russell F. Robinson EXECUTIVE EDITOR

Jodi Bodner

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Connecting the Next Generation to Israel

MANAGING EDITOR

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Adam H. Brill

JNF.org

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Atara Paris

Featured:

The Arava and its Boundless Opportunities A look at how JNF continues to transform the Arava, from new communities built from the ground up to thrills for adventure seekers.

ASSOCIATE EDITORS

Donna Breitbart Marina Brodetsky

JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a

dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. Today, JNF continues to give all generations a unique voice in building and ensuring the prosperity of the land of Israel through their generosity and partnership with the people of Israel. JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism. JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers. For more information on JNF, call 800.JNF.0099 or visit jnf.org.

/jewishnationalfund /jewishnationalfund

@JNFUSA @JNFUSA

Printed on recycled paper with vegetable-based ink

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Snap, Post, and Set Your Inner Photographer Free in the Arava

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Rabbis for Israel Reignite Passion for Israel

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“Studying Abroad in Israel Has Forever Transformed My Life”

The Arava’s landscape is a paradise for our wired generation. From rolling sand dunes to sunsets in unimaginable colors, it’s one of Israel’s best kept secrets for showing off to your online followers.

See how JNF’s Rabbis for Israel group is working to engage congregants and future generations with the land and people of Israel.

Meet Samara, a recent alum of Alexander Muss High School in Israel. Read how her experience made a lasting impact.


Water Update

Awaken Your Senses in the Arava

By Avi Ramot

THE ARAVA EXTENDS FROM the southernmost tip of Israel, from Eilat in the south,

orange desert floor. Driving at dusk down the Peace Road from the southern tip of the Dead Sea to the Central Arava Valley—situated along the Jordanian border—the jagged hillside and ancient sandstone rock formations of the Edom and Negev mountains remind you that little has changed since the time of Moses. But it has. New generations of the Children of Israel have put down roots and watched their own children do the same. Yes, the historical biblical connections are abundant, for it is in Paran where the one-time Prince of Egypt led our Hebrew brethren to settle during their time in the wilderness following the Exodus. Whether it is under a night sky or during the heat of the sun, the Arava boasts incredible visuals and a tranquil air of peace. Aside from its nickname, Route 90, or the Peace Road, is an open border between the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan, where clusters of farms and communities just off the road offer the weary traveler much more than a tent and pillow. The fragrance of dates and figs, combined with the low altitude, produces a tranquility many come to enjoy. Sprouting up among the many wadis, or dry ravines, are luxurious boutique bed and breakfasts and tzimmers (bungalowtype lodges), where tourists can bed down in style and awaken to a delicious breakfast of cheeses, regional dishes, and Israeli staples. Many of these lovely hideaways double as operational farms so guests have the added attraction of friendly horses to feed morning oats to, free-range chickens clucking underfoot, and the country’s freshest agriculture grown just yards away. If this is a side of Israel you’ve never seen before, well, make sure that your next trip includes a component to the South. Along Route 90 there are magnificent Jewish National Fund lookouts, reservoirs, and ruins from the Romans and from the time of King Solomon. At Timna Valley National Park, you can see the preservation of the desert on a much larger scale. Thanks to JNF donor Avrum “Abe” Chudnow (z’l) and his family, this 15,000-acre park boasts extensive hiking and bike trails, campgrounds, a beautiful lake, and major archeology finds. Within a half-hour drive from Eilat, it is JNF partners who are making the Central Arava and Eilot regions a great place to live and prosper. In the community of Zuqim, a thriving artist colony built with the support of JNF’s Sapphire Society, the Arava Brewery and Ursula’s Tavern are warm and inviting local spots to enjoy a cool crisp ale and German-inspired menu. North of Zuqim, farmers living on kibbutzim and moshavim are growing hundreds of acres of fruits and vegetables, and you can easily see their greenhouses on both sides of the road. In the town of Sapir, the seat of the local government, the Danielle A. and Irving J. Grossman Sapir Medical Center, a JNF project that opened two years ago, provides 8,000 locals with the comforts of good and easily accessible medical care. Just across the street is one of the greatest gifts Israel has given to the world: the Arava International Center for Agricultural Training. Here, and at nearby farms, students come from countries across the globe to study agricultural science and food security. Working alongside Israeli farmer mentors, students learn how to use their year-long experiences for when they return home to their villages in countries like Malaysia, Cambodia, South Sudan, and Indonesia, to name a few. The Arava is an enchanting place for those who come to live, learn, and visit. I am so proud that JNF’s vision has sparked renewed interest and growth. Above all, the people who call it home have great optimism for the future. I hope you, too, visit and take it all in. The history, beauty, and serenity must be experienced with all the senses. You can always reach me at jlevine@jnf.org. n

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Avi Ramot is the Manager of the Southern Arava Water Association.

THE BRIGHT FULL MOON CASTS a long pale reflection on the dusty

JEWISH NATIONAL FUND

north to the Arava Junction along the Jordanian border, and west to Mount Harif. In this expanse of desert approximately 8,000 people reside in over a dozen communities, including kibbutzim and moshavim. Given its extreme climate, the area receives very little annual precipitation, has one the warmest temperatures on the planet, and a high pan evapotranspiration (water loss) rate of 3,200 millimeters annually. Despite this, the area’s economy is based primarily on three agricultural branches: field crops, date palm plantations, and dairies. In other words, the Arava’s economy is based on a constant supply of water. Clearly, water is an essential and critical component for those who call the Arava home. Currently, its water needs are met through the use of a network of 40 wells. These wells draw water from three primary aquifers—some are replenished through rainfall and some are fossilized. While the annual water supply to the region is 17 million cubic meters, the quality of water is low and the electrical conductivity of the water is high and contains iron, sulfates, sulfides, and other components that require extensive treatment before the water is suitable for use. Additionally, the Eilot Regional Council, together with the Municipality of Eilat, has established a wastewater treatment plant in conjunction with the Southern Arava Water Association. The plant provides seven million cubic meters of treated sewage water annually for agricultural irrigation. However, the Arava still suffers from three major drawbacks: low water supplies that do not meet present or future needs; the poor condition of these water supplies which negatively affects agricultural yields; and the dearth of water especially during high seasonal demands. Water containing high electrical conductivity levels results in an increase in aquifer salinity and subsequently affects the growth and yield of date palms. Furthermore, scientific research conducted by the Southern Arava Agricultural Research and Development Center has found a direct link between decreases in milk production by dairy cows and the quality of drinking water available. To improve water supplies to the Arava, a master water supply plan has been created through a joint cooperation between the Ardom Water Association, the Israeli Water Authority, and the Ministry of Agriculture. This plan aims to supply the region with 33 million cubic meters of water annually. One proposed method is the construction of a joint Israeli-Jordanian desalinization plant in the port of Aqaba, which will produce 80 million cubic meters of desalinated water annually, and from which 26 million will be directed toward the Arava. Up until the mid-1970s, the Israeli government supplied kibbutzim with brackish water that did not meet drinking water standards. In response, the government funded the establishment of small reverse osmosis desalinization plants for each kibbutz. These facilities provide safe potable water for drinking and cooking needs. In 2005, the Israeli Health Ministry issued a decree requiring the state to provide quality drinking water for all household purposes. Today, kibbutzim are laying down new water pipe networks with larger diameters that will guarantee the supply of fresh quality drinking water to all who need it. Water, and its continuous supply, is critical to the continued development and flourishing of the Arava for new generations of Israelis. With these new infrastructure projects and planning, this unique part of the desert will be realized as a viable place to lay down roots and enjoy a good quality of life. n

A Message from our President Jeffrey E. Levine


CAMPAIGN UPDATE KEN SEGEL, VP, CAMPAIGN THE ARAVA IS DRY. So dry that Israel’s

JEWISH NATIONAL FUND

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national water carrier does not supply irrigation to the region’s agricultural fields. And, it’s remote. So remote, that until Jewish National Fund built the Central Arava Medical Center, people needing urgent medical attention had to drive nearly 90-minutes to Be’er Sheva for treatment. What is not widely known is that the Arava—the narrow slice of dry and sandy land straddled along the Jordanian border, starting just south of the Dead Sea and running toward the resort city of Eilat—represents what may be considered the single greatest achievement of JNF in its development of the land of Israel. While many may have the impression that the Arava is an economic wasteland devoid of job opportunities, over the decades, JNF has helped transform the Arava into a thriving agricultural miracle. There are 8,000 residents spread out among seven communities, and those residents, who are mostly farmers, produce 60% of Israel’s vegetable exports and 10% of cut flower exports. The ingenious agricultural entrepreneurs of the Arava are even raising ornamental fish, like the clown fish, in the middle of the desert! These stunning achievements and feats are made possible mostly through the use of recycled waste water, which is collected in the network of JNF-built reservoirs. Over the last three decades, JNF has leveraged its expertise in water resource development, community building, and green space and recreation so that Israel’s frontier regions are able to grow and expand. With the help of JNF’s Housing Development Fund, we are working with the Central Arava Regional Council to develop infrastructure for more than 300 new housing lots. And who are these people wishing to move to such a remote location? Some are second generation farmers, while others are seeking respite from the congested and expensive center of the country. Although the region may lack in the cultural qualities and amenities offered in big cities, these modern day pioneers have found the sense of community, peace, and natural beauty that can’t be found in the hustle and bustle of Israel’s larger cities. One of the booming towns in the Arava is Zuqim, the first non-agricultural community in the region, which began development just 15 years ago. Zuqim is truly a JNF success story. Soon after the launch of JNF’s groundbreaking Blueprint Negev initiative in 2000, a group of women on a JNF Women for Israel mission made the commitment to raise funds for the initial building of a new town to be built upon the remnants of a deserted army camp. Money was raised, and in 2003, the first new homes were completed. Today more than 100 residents call Zuqim home, and the town has become an economically viable artist colony with beautiful bed and breakfast lodges. Take a moment and think about that. It is only because of the commitment of JNF’s Women for Israel that now we can easily find such a community on a map. Only JNF can make that kind of direct impact on the land of Israel, for the people of Israel. At JNF, you, too, can be part of making history. n To get involved, contact Ken Segel at ksegel@jnf.org

Campaign All-Star: Susan Farber WHEN WAR BROKE OUT with Gaza two years

ago, Susan Farber dove head-first into Jewish National Fund—and she hasn’t looked back since. It began when U.S. airlines suspended flights to Israel during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge. Susan remained committed to getting there and learned that JNF was leading the way with its Solidarity Mission to Israel. It was during that critical mission of support for the besieged people of Israel when she had a life-changing experience and learned not only about the everyday impact JNF has in Israel, but also how it holds steadfast alongside Israel during times of crises. Following her experience, Susan joined JNF’s Sapphire Society, became a member of the Arizona Board of Directors, chaired a Spirit of Israel Mission, joined the Gaza Envelope Task Force, participated on the One Billion Dollar Roadmap Mission, became a member of Makor, and is currently the local JNF General Campaign Chair. Recently, Susan and her husband, Steven, took their three grown children to Israel, where they were introduced to JNF partners and witnessed firsthand what inspires and drives their mother to be so active in JNF. Susan has raised tens of thousands of dollars for JNF in Arizona and has contributed substantially to JNF’s fundraising success. She

is proud to share with her network of friends the importance of supporting JNF and the incredible impact it has in Israel. “Susan is a JNF campaign rock star and a Zionist powerhouse,” said Deb Rochford, JNF executive vice president of Desert States and Southwest Region. “She is a hardworking lay leader who is truly a voice for Israel. You can tell it comes from her heart.” Said JNF Arizona Board President Toni Dusik: “We are so proud to have Susan in our region and she has been such an asset for JNF. Her energy is contagious and her dedication is unending. Arizona is honored to have so many strong leaders such as Susan playing a valuable role in JNF on a national level.” A true Campaign All-Star, Susan Farber has raised the bar with her involvement in JNF. More importantly, Susan has shown what a single individual can do in a short amount of time, and how actions can have tangible success within the local community, as well as for the land and people of Israel. n

FROM BIRTH TO END OF LIFE — AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN. CELEBRATE EVERY SPECIAL EVENT BY PLANTING A TREE.

250 million trees planted in Israel and counting.

JNF.ORG/TREES 800.542.TREE (8733)


PLANNED GIVING

An Unforgettable Trip for Active Adults By Matt Bernstein, CFP, JNF Chief Planned Giving Officer TWENTY-FIVE STRANGERS MET IN Jerusalem on a warm

The Meaning of ‘Family’ FOR JILL AND JIM RIOLA, proud World Chairman’s Council

and President’s Society members, there’s only one word to describe Jewish National Fund: family. Already active in their local Orlando Jewish community and synagogue, the Riolas’ decision to get involved with JNF was a no-brainer. Jill became involved with JNF first, in 2007, when she joined the JNF Orlando Board of Directors. “I wanted to be part of a Jewish organization whose sole focus was Israel,” she said. “A place where I knew my money would go directly to Israel and I knew how it would be used.” Soon afterward, Jill became a Lifetime Sapphire Society member, and in 2015 she was appointed National Co-Chair of Lawyers for Israel (LFI), JNF’s affinity group for attorneys. As co-chair of LFI, in June 2016 Jill coordinated a program featuring former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. and Member of Knesset Michael Oren. The program was videoconferenced live from Israel to 14 law firms, as well as JNF offices, across the U.S. What most people didn’t know was that Jill went to Jill Riola, Didi and Doron Almog, Israel on her own and Jim Riola

initiative to ensure the program ran smoothly, despite a few obstacles thrown in at the last minute. Jim began his involvement with JNF in early 2009 when he traveled to Israel on JNF’s Solidarity Mission following Operation Cast Lead. “I was a little hesitant going,” he said. “There were rockets being launched by the thousands from Gaza, but I left Israel awestruck by the passion of the Israeli people and the other JNF members on the mission. The feeling was contagious and I was impressed with the work JNF was doing. I was hooked!” So hooked, in fact, he turned right around and went back for the opening of JNF’s Sderot Indoor Recreation Center during Purim that March. Following those trips, he joined JNF’s Orlando Board of Directors, and served as its president for two years. Jim is now co-chair of both JNF’s National Community Campaign and JNF’s Ofakim Task Force. In 2015, the Riolas sponsored a luncheon for Israel Defense Forces Major General (Res.) Doron Almog, founder of JNF partner ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran rehabilitative center, and his wife, Didi. At Almog’s invitation, Jill joined JNF’s Task Force on Disabilities. A few months later, while visiting Israel on JNF’s One Billion Dollar Roadmap Mission, the couple visited ALEH Negev and were in awe of the life-changing work being done there. Jill said: “I met a little Arab girl at ALEH Negev and fell in love with her. After returning to the U.S., I sent her a teddy bear. I went back to Israel a few months later, had the opportunity to visit ALEH

Negev with the Almogs, and was so excited to be able to actually see her with her teddy bear, and, once again, I saw just how much the work we fund there helps.” To ensure that their dedication and commitment to helping secure a bright future for the land and people of Israel continues, the Riolas have included a bequest to JNF in their Estate Plan. “JNF is our family and Jim and I are involved on such a deep and emotional level,” said Jill. “We feel very strongly that it’s important for us to leave behind a legacy that will help JNF continue to ensure a stronger, more secure Israel.” n

Create a Lasting Legacy • • • • • • •

charitable gift annuities charitable remainder trusts charitable lead trusts life insurance endowments donor advised funds bequests

Contact our Planned Giving Specialists today at 800.562.7526 or visit jnflegacy.org

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We experienced the Old City of Jerusalem and watched with pride as young soldiers were inducted into the military in a moving ceremony. We visited the Galilee and learned about JNF’s Go North initiative that is growing regional tourism and new economic opportunities in Northern Israel. We also witnessed the ongoing work JNF is involved in to ensure that Israel’s water supply remains secure for generations to come. In the Negev Desert, we saw first-hand the effect JNF donors are having in the revitalization of the city of Be’er Sheva, and the extraordinary impact ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran has on Israel’s special needs population. JNF’s Sderot Indoor Recreation Center, a signature JNF project, was in full operation, filled with children playing in a safe environment protected from rockets fired from nearby Gaza. During our Shabbat dinner in Tel Aviv, we shared our experiences, reflecting on the personal and transformative journey many of us experienced. While tour members were aware of JNF’s history of planting 250 million trees in Israel, they expressed awe at JNF‘s role in making Israel a strong and vibrant part of all of our lives. As several members of the group told me, “This trip and Jewish National Fund has changed our lives.” Join us for our next Sunshine Tour from September 3-12, 2017. Whether it will be your first or 100th visit to Israel, we can promise you an unforgettable experience! For more information and trip details, please contact the Planned Giving office at 800.562.7526 or via email at plannedgiving@jnf.org. n

PLANNED GIVING

Sunday evening this past spring. For some, it was their first visit to Israel and they had very little or minimal connection with Jewish National Fund, while others has visited many times. The reasons for their visit varied, but the common denominator was clear: seeking to reconnect with their childhood memories and with Israel. They wanted a unique and wonderful experience, so they joined JNF’s Sunshine Tour for a 10-day journey, that, in the end, many characterized as life-changing. JNF’s Sunshine Tour is unique among the many mission experiences offered to donors. It is designed for people over age 55 who lead active adult lives, and offers participants more time to explore the abundant beauty Israel offers, a departure from the many fast-paced visits typically found advertised toward specific age groups. Our first visit was to Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust Memorial Museum. The group, which quickly formed a family-like bond, was engaged and inquisitive, and partook in an emotional journey to better understand this tragic period of our collective Jewish history, and why Israel is so important to Jews around the world. For many on the tour, the message of the continued well-being of the Jewish people was quite evident and directly connected to ensuring a strong Israel. Throughout the trip, we visited important religious and heritage sites.


FOOD & WINE

Dining on Desert Trails HAREL ZELTZER MOVED TO THE Arava over 12 years ago to work as a tour guide for one

FOOD & WINE

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of the area’s largest guest houses. “There’s nothing like the Arava,” Zeltzer said. “Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to introduce the beauty of the region to those who are looking to explore this unique desert.” What started as a business coordinating hiking tours and rappelling excursions quickly evolved to include jeep tours and overnight camping. Leading desert tours is still a large part of Zeltzer’s business—he still guides large scale groups sometimes numbering hundreds of tourists—but over the last few years he has added another aspect to his offerings for these visitors: Food. “Cooking has always been a passion for me, and the demand for adding a culinary element to tours has increased,” said Zeltzer. “People vacationing in the Arava don’t just come to see the sights; they want a well-rounded experience. To fulfill this desire, I make a hands-on culinary experience part of the adventure, rather than just handing food to them. What I often do is take a group out for a hike, explore the Arava, and then make a turn down a path where there is a full meal waiting for them,” Zeltzer explained. “If a group is touring the area just for a few hours, there are some cafés around the Arava for a quick bite. But if the group decides to stick around and camp out for a few days, I have the opportunity to really give them an authentic desert dining experience.” Faced with a growing demand for culinary inclusions on hiking and camping trips, Zeltzer offers meals ranging from simple sandwiches, stir fries, or poyke (a traditional stew cooked over a fire in a cast iron pot). Full dinners can be cooked over a bonfire during a family desert hike,

but there’s also a sit-down, formal meal option that leaves participants with the impression they dined at a five-star restaurant, complete with fine chinaware, wine, and mood lighting all while surrounded by the breathtaking desert scenery. Zeltzer’s experiences have gained popularity and requests for them continue pouring in from people looking for a different, breathtaking experience. n For more information on excursions and outdoor meals provided by Desert Trails, please visit deserttrails.co.il.

Harel Zeltzer’s Recipe for Matfuna Matfuna—A traditional Middle Eastern dish that is typically prepared in the sands of the desert. The recipe below uses standard kitchen preparations. Ingredients:

Instructions:

1 whole chicken 1 cup long grain white rice 3-4 tablespoons date honey 1/2 cup walnuts 1/2 cup dried fruit or raisins Half an onion, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 2. Cook the rice in a pot of water over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. The rice should be too firm to eat. Strain the rice and set aside. 3. Lightly sauté sliced onions, then add dried fruit and date honey. In a separate bowl, add 3/4 of the onion-fruit mixture to the rice, saving the remainder for garnish. 4. Stuff the chicken with the rice mixture followed by some aluminum foil to seal the cavity, and bind the chicken’s legs with kitchen twine. Once the chicken is secured, tightly wrap the whole chicken in two layers of aluminum foil to ensure that it is completely covered. 5. Place the wrapped chicken in a baking dish and place in the oven to cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. 6. Once fully cooked, remove the chicken and let it rest for 15 minutes. Slowly unwrap the layers of aluminum foil and place the chicken on a serving platter. 7. Garnish with extra onion-fruit mix and serve.

Aluminum foil Kitchen twine


TRAVEL & TOURS

10 Reasons to Visit the Arava TIMNA PARK

Visit this cultural, historical, and archeological landmark opened by JNF. This attraction is rich in copper and has been mined since the 5th millennium by the kings of ancient Israel and the pharaohs of Egypt.

SNORKELING

Head to the famous beaches of Eilat for an exceptional underwater experience. Navigate through the crystal clear waters to see the colorful fish and sea life living in this northern-most reef in the world.

ZUQIM

What once was a landmine-ridden stretch of desert is now a thriving artist colony with sought-after eco-tourism adventures. See the various displays of local art and learn how this rapidly developing JNF-built community uses innovative, self-sustaining, and environmentally friendly methods.

CENTRAL ARAVA RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT CENTER

At the forefront of agricultural sustainability, this cutting-edge JNF-sponsored R&D center in Hatzeva is home to scientists and researchers who are creating innovative, cost-efficient methods for farmers to thrive under the harsh, arid conditions of the desert environment.

HAI-BAR YOTVATA NATURE RESERVE

Kibbutz Grofit

KIBBUTZ GROFIT: RED MOUNTAIN THERAPEUTIC RIDING CENTER (RMTRC)

Just 45 minutes north of Eilat, JNF-partner RMTRC provides weekly horseback riding therapy to nearly 200 children and adults with physical and mental disabilities, bringing much-needed therapeutic services and care to this remote region of the Arava.

JEEP RIDES

Take a scenic jeep ride tour through the desert on an exciting 4x4 off-road adventure. Ride along the ancient pilgrim route, ascend Eilat’s highest mountain, and take in one-of-a-kind views of the Arava Valley and Red Sea coastlines of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

VIDOR VISITOR CENTER Greenhouse at JNF’s Vidor Center

The Vidor Center is a multimedia facility that gives visitors a taste of the Arava in all its variety. Take a multi-sensory tour and learn about the region’s advanced agriculture, watch a 3D film screening and hear about its fascinating history, visit the greenhouses showcasing the best of the region’s crops, and journey through an interactive museum for an insider’s view into the lives of local Arava families and farmers.

GOOD EATS

Central Arava Valley Vista

Ursula Coffee-Pub This delicious restaurant boasts an inviting atmosphere, warm hospitality, an authentic German-inspired menu, and refreshing beer from the local brewery. (Ursula.co.il) Pundak Neot Semadar Enjoy a light, vegetarian meal of locally-sourced ingredients from the nearby organic farm. Taste the rich cheeses and fresh vegetables, sip on some coffee or refreshing juices, and treat yourself to homemade cakes and creamy ice cream. (Kosher-style; neot-semadar.com)

BOUTIQUE B&B’S

Nof Zukim Enjoy a charming desert getaway with stunning views of the Arava desert. (nofzuqim.co.il/en; Avg. rates $210/night) Rotem’s Guest House Located in Moshav Paran, this family-friendly B&B offers comfortable and spacious rooms with shady hammocks and recreation areas. (rotems.co.il; Avg rate $110/night) Midbara On the outskirts of Zuqim is Midbara, a B&B where the rooms are fully-equipped huts, providing a natural feel to your stay. (midbara.co.il/en; Avg. rate $154/night) n Common Area at Midbara

To learn more about traveling to Israel with JNF, contact our Travel & Tours department at 877.JNF.TOUR (877.563.8687), email travel@jnf.org, or visit jnf.org/travel.

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This one-of-a-kind nature reserve works to breed and rehabilitate animals threatened with extinction as well as endangered desert creatures from Israel and the Middle East, such as the oryx, ostrich, sand cat, gazelle, Arabian wolf, and Griffon vulture.

TRAVEL & TOURS

Artist colony at Zuqim


WOMEN FOR ISRAEL

Women for Israel Saving Lives in the Arava “DON’T WORRY; EVERYTHING IS GOING to be alright. We are here for you.”

WOMEN FOR ISRAEL

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It was 3 am, and my one-year-old son, Yonatan, was coughing, almost suffocating, and I didn’t know what to do. My husband was in Tel Aviv on business, I was home alone, and the nearest hospital was a two-hour drive away. Overcome with worry, I picked up the phone to call for help and the first number that came to mind was the emergency line for the new Jewish National Fund Central Arava Medical Center. Avidor, the paramedic on call, helped guide me through. “It sounds like a severe cold,” he said. “Take your son outside for some fresh air to calm him. I have the doctor on the other line and there’s an ambulance driver on call in case you need him,” he reassured me. After several minutes outside, Yonatan’s breathing stabilized. “It’s just a bad winter cold, also known as croup,” Avidor said. “It happens to every other baby and Yonatan is no different. Come by the medical center tomorrow and we will take another look at him in case he needs an inhaler.” Being a young mother can be very stressful, especially when it comes to your child’s health and wellbeing. Every little thing can be intimidating because you don’t know if it’s just your mind panicking over nothing, or if it is a real, lifethreatening situation. Living in the Arava and having to drive two hours to the nearest hospital doesn’t do much for your peace of mind. Five years ago, when my husband and I decided to move to the Arava, I didn’t pay attention to what kind of medical services were available in the area. When my mother, who lives near Tel Aviv, brought it up, I dismissed her. I told her she was overthinking it and there were more important things on my mind, like the financial obligations of starting a new farm in an area with little natural resources. It was only when I became pregnant that it suddenly hit me: I am living two hours away from the nearest hospital, and if something happens I’m pretty much on my own. Having a simple ultrasound check-up at the old clinic proved difficult due to the out-of-date machine they used. So I left my home in the Arava for Tel Aviv when I was nine months pregnant, just to be near a hospital when the baby came. I remembered thinking: What do other mothers in the Arava do in this situation? Could they leave their families and travel hours to the nearest city for basic care? Where could they go to receive the top-quality treatment they need? The day after my son’s croup seizure I called my mother, crying. “Mom, Yonatan had a seizure, but he is okay now. The medical center team took care of him and they were amazing,” I told her. I felt exhausted, yet proud that there is now quality medical service in the Arava thanks to JNF’s Central Arava Medical Center. Roni Avidoro, the new administrative director of the medical center, told me why he chose to stop farming and resume his career as a medical staff member. “This is

VISIT TEL AVIV, JERUSALEM & TRAVEL NORTH ALONG THE COAST. MEET THE WOMEN SHAPING ISRAELI SOCIETY. OPTIONAL TOURS TO MASADA AND THE DEAD SEA. ENJOY YOGA ON THE BEACH, CULINARY CLASS + SPA TREATMENTS.

THE FULL RANGE OF HUMAN EMOTION. GUARANTEED ON EVERY ONE OF OUR TRIPS.

QUEEN OF SHEBA

An Unforgettable Trip To Israel For Women Only November 10-16, 2016 FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT JNF.ORG/WOMENONLY OR CALL 212.879.9305 X242.

By Noa Zer

more than a job for me,” said Avidoro. “It is a privilege to be part of the team and work every day to make the lives of the people of the Arava a little better. I view my return to the medical field as a patriotic duty, one that is in line with early Zionist values, the dream of making the desert bloom, and providing a safe and secure future for the people of Israel that have made the Arava their home.” Thanks to JNF and the dedication of its Women for Israel (WFI) division, we are no longer alone. WFI is a dynamic group of committed American women working tirelessly to improve the lives of Israelis by transforming the desert into lush oases Photo: Gilad Livni and helping establish critically needed community services and infrastructure in the periphery. American women are transforming and helping everyday Israeli farmers, families, and mothers to continue that quintessential Israeli pioneering value. “The emergency services offered at the medical center have changed the quality of life for the people of the Arava,” said Avidoro. Irit Shahar Rave, director of the center and a mother of two young boys, agrees: “The quality and capacity of the health services that are available in the Arava today are worlds apart from where they previously were. We can now respond to any emergency, quickly and professionally. And we will soon have a pediatrician in the Arava! This is something my mother-in-law did not even dream of when she came to the area as a young pioneer and as a young mother in the 1960s. Today her grandchildren enjoy the proper medical services they deserve.” JNF’s Arava Medical Center is not just a building. It is a shining beacon of safety that symbolizes the love of, and for, the Arava and its people. It is also thanks to the hard work of the women of JNF and their love and care for Israel and Israelis that we are able to continue community development to attract more people to come and lay their roots in the Arava. Knowing that I no longer need to worry about what to do or where to go if my son were to fall sick fills my heart with gratitude for the remarkable work JNF and WFI does in Israel. I call on you to join WFI to make a difference in peoples’ lives in Israel. I also invite you to come on JNF’s Queen of Sheba Tour, an unforgettable women’s-only trip to Israel from November 10-16, 2016. It will be a life changing experience. n Noa Zer is the Resource Development Director of the Central Arava Regional Council. To get involved with WFI, please contact Sharon David at sdavid@jnf.org or at 212.879.9305 x242.


JNFUTURE

From Youth Movements to JNFuture— Growing the Next Generation of Leaders DESPITE THE PRESSURES of anti-Israel sentiment on campuses and a biased news media, many of today’s

JNFUTURE

youth are connecting to Israel in a big way. Jewish National Fund and youth movements across the U.S. are growing the next generation of Jewish leaders by deepening young peoples’ ties to Israel, and offering opportunities to give back to the Jewish homeland. Whether it’s through their involvement in JNFuture, the affinity group for young professionals ages 22-40, or, in some cases, pursuing a professional career in the Jewish communal world, read below how JNFuture and the JNF family provides today’s youth with a powerful voice to continue building a prosperous future for the land and people of Israel.

9 (Campaign Executive, JNFuture Central New Jersey) “When I applied to become a JNF professional, I was looking to become part of a serious organization that ensures the future and continuity of the Jewish people. I quickly learned that JNF is a movement, an agent of change, and an organization that is also a family. I had been part of Young Judea since age 11, and during my time at JNF I have learned that the people at JNF and Young Judea are cut from the same cloth. It’s the Zionist spirit espoused by both organizations, the pioneering vigor, and the visionaries that turn dreams into reality. I am proud to be part of such an organization that positively impacts the lives of those it touches.”

David Israel Haber, 25, Baltimore, MD (JNFuture member; Engineer)

“I was an active member of the HaNefesh region of USY and later became regional president. My involvement in USY gave me the opportunity to learn about Israel in all senses—religiously, socially, and culturally. This awareness helped me get in touch with my identity in a world where it is easy to forget who you are and where you came from. As a result, today I can confidently and proudly stand up and state that I am a Jew and a Zionist. JNFuture was a natural choice for me. Not only does it educate and foster the next generation of Israel advocates, but it also allows me to continue to grow my own sense of who I am. I feel an unbreakable tie to the work JNF does in Israel and the impact it has.”

Steffanie Altman, 27, Los Angeles, CA (Campaign Executive, JNFuture Los Angeles)

“Growing up in Young Judea didn’t just help me fall in love with Israel, it also gave me a thorough understanding of its history and people, and it made Israel a central part of my identity. Working as a professional at JNF means I get to directly impact the state of Israel as well as empower others to do the same. Furthermore, JNF allows me to work with the two passions Young Judea has given me—Israel and leadership development.”

Josh Goodkin, 29, Morristown, NJ

(Vice Chair of JNFuture New Jersey; Founder of Homework Helpers of Long Valley) “I was active in my synagogue youth group and the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) from middle school through high school. Through my involvement with NFTY, I participated in food drives, feeding the homeless, and spending weekends learning at Kutz Camp. My involvement with Jewish youth groups is the cornerstone of my Jewish identity and connection to Israel. I joined JNF because I was seeking to reconnect with Israel and Judaism after losing touch in my twenties. JNF has filled that void and exceeds all my expectations. Since joining JNF, I have visited Israel on JNFuture Volunteer Vacation and have had the opportunity to join hundreds of my peers at various JNFuture events across the U.S. Today, I lead the New Jersey chapter of JNFuture as vice chair, and we have grown it to over 40 members just in its first year! I am proud to be part of such an amazing and worthwhile organization that does so much for the land and people of Israel.”

Arielle Levy, 27, Austin, TX

(Campaign Executive, JNFuture Austin and Atlanta) “I’ve been a proud Zionist and supporter of Israel for as long as I can remember. Although I was active in Young Judea as a teen, it was only in 2008 when I got hands-on with JNF while on Alternative Winter Break in Israel that I knew this was what I wanted do with my life. During that life-changing trip, I helped raise funds for JNF’s Sderot Indoor Recreation Center and got my hands dirty helping the community of Yerucham in the Negev. As a JNF professional I have been fortunate to visit the finished playground in Sderot and saw firsthand the critical shelter it provides Israeli children during times of conflict and calm. Joining the JNF family has allowed me to actively support and promote why JNF’s work in Israel is so important every day. I couldn’t imagine living my Zionist dream any other way.” n To learn more about joining JNFuture, please contact Sharon David at sdavid@jnf.org or at 212.879.9305 x242.

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Anna Richlin, 26, Flanders, NJ


JEWISH NATIONAL FUND

ACROSS THE COUNTRY FOR INFO ON UPCOMING JNF EVENTS, VISIT JNF.ORG AND CLICK ON “JNF IN YOUR AREA”

JNF ACROSS THE COUNTRY

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1. (L-R) Abbye Silver, Florence Hersh, Judy Hersh, and Susan Silver at the Quarterly Meeting in Waco.

4. Kaethe Solomon and Director of Special in Uniform IDF Lt. Col. (Res.) Tiran Attia in the photo booth at the WFI Annual Yom Ha’atzmaut Luncheon at Congregation B’nai Torah in Sandy Springs, GA.

2. (L-R) Rachael Genson, Zach Silverman, Jackie Mintz, and Marc Katz at Shabbat in the Park in Austin.

5. (L-R) Tally Korman, Margot Alfie, Eugene Cohn, and Barbara Kaplan at the Sandy Springs WFI Meet & Greet hosted at the home of Eugene Cohn in Sandy Springs.

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6. Silvia DeWitt and Ellen Sager give a JNF presentation to the Raton Rouge Federation. 7. Dr. Paul Scheinberg unveils his plaque on the Wall of Honor at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem.

3. (L-R) Ari Franklin, David Levy, Jessica Goodman, Arielle Levy, Rebecca Levy, and Joel Lowinger at a JNFuture Austin Board Meeting.

MIDWEST

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MIDWEST 1. (L-R) Chicago Corporate Advisory Board Member Andy Hochberg with Sagi Bronstein at JNF’s Western Galilee Tourist Information Center in Akko.

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5. (L-R) JNFuture Co-Chair Stephanie Stein, JNFuture Campaign Executive Hannah Feldman, and JNFuture Co-Chair Tanya Bodzin at JNFuture’s Evening of Jazz in Cleveland.

2. (L-R) City Farm Chicago employee Elizabeth Bennette, Sari Zager, Dan and Layne 6. (L-R) Jamie Synenberg, Gloria Jacobson, and JNFuture Co-Chair Tanya Bodzin at a Zagorin, Jordan Magat, Elaine Ross, Liz Robbin, Andy Stein, Bruce Ratain, and WFI event in Cleveland. Shawn Taylor volunteer at JNFuture’s urban farming event with City Farm Chicago. 7. (L-R) David Eidelman, JNF Project: Baseball Manager Peter Kurz, Daniel Rinder, 3. (L-R) Layne and Dan Zagorin, Rebecca Otis, and Ross Leder at JNFuture’s Purim Dina Rinder, Iris Salsman, Aleene Schneider Zawada, and Earl Salsman at a Party in Chicago. Project Baseball parlor meeting in St Louis. 4. Event Co-Chairs Marla Silberman and Laura Geller at WFI’s Canasta and Mahjong event in Cleveland.

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10 8. (L-R back row) Chicago WFI Chair Candy Carter, Linda Silberman, and Red Mountain Therapeutic Riding Center Project Coordinator Jill Oren. (L-R front) Gail Adams and Gayle Weber Rakita at WFI’s Riding Event in Milwaukee. 9. JNF honors Jewish War Veterans for their service at JNF’s annual Wisconsin Community Breakfast. 10. (L-R) Donald Chudnow, JNF Chief Development Officer Rick Krosnick, Lorraine Mitz, Wisconsin Co-President Rusti Moffic, Gail Komisar, and Sue and Allan Carneol at JNF’s annual Wisconsin Community Breakfast.


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MID-ATLANTIC 1. Florence and Bob Chertkof during JNF’s President’s Mission in Israel.

3. Gail Kushner visits the dairy farm at Teva Ez on JNF’s Culinary, Wine & Music Tour. 4. Gary and Gail Kushner on a visit to Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem. 5. (L-R) National Campaign Director Diane Scar enjoys a glass of wine with Debbie Zager on JNF’s Culinary, Wine & Music Tour.

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6. Melissa Donimirski and Brian Gottesman discuss JNF’s Law and Justice Tour to Israel at the Delaware Community Breakfast. 7. Russell and Michelle Silberglied at the Delaware Community Breakfast. 8. Ron and Leslie Goldberg hiking with a Green Horizons student in Northern Israel.

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11. (L-R) Rabbi Joseph Telushkin meets with Frank and Debbie Spector at the Maryland Professional Societies’ Luncheon in Baltimore. 12. (L-R) National Campaign Director Diane Scar, Gail Kushner, Jayne Klein, and Drs. Morton and Toby Mower visit the old train station in Tel Aviv during JNF’s Culinary, Wine & Music Tour.

9. Maryland WFI members gather in Naomi Amsterdam’s kitchen to learn new Passover recipes and to induct new members into WFI’s Chai Society. 10. (L-R) Maryland LFI Co-Chair Leon Berg, guest speaker Elliott Abrams, and Maryland LFI Co-Chair Mike Hamburg at an LFI Luncheon in Baltimore.

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7 NEW ENGLAND 1. (L-R) Mark Zwetchkenbaum celebrates Israel’s Independence Day with Boruchin Israel Education Advocacy Center Chair and JNF Rhode Island Board President Mike Lederman in Brookline. 2. (L-R) Deputy Consul General of Israel to New England Matan Zamir celebrates Israel’s Independence Day with Aaron Blank at a JNF event in Brookline.

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5. (L-R) New England Chairman of the Board Jeffrey Davis, Director of Special in Uniform IDF Lt. Col. (Res.) Tiran Attia, and Rich Hirschen during a taping of Radio Entrepreneurs highlighting Special in Uniform. 6. (L-R) JNF New England and Capital Region Executive Director Sara Hefez and Joanne Linowes Alinsky at a meeting with AMHSI-JNF student applicants in Newton.

3. Nicole Litvak and Matthew Drouin at the Kotel in Jerusalem during JNFuture Volunteer Vacation.

7. Water experts and government officials gather at JNF’s Capital Region-Israel Water Summit in Albany.

4. (L-R) Seth Cohen and Zev Steinmetz at JNFuture Boston’s Jewish Heritage Night with the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

8. (L-R) Sofia, Robert, and Phuli Cohan with AMHSI-JNF Head of School Mordechai Cohen celebrate Israel’s Independence Day in Brookline.

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9. (L-R) JNF New England and Capital Region Executive Director Sara Hefez, Water Summit Chair Mara Ginsburg, Breakfast Chair Alan Lobel, and Capital Region President Robert Ganz at JNF’s Capital Region Breakfast and Water Summit in Albany. 10. (L-R) Joanne Linowes Alinsky with AMHSI-JNF Impact Fund recipients Rachel Selvin, Hannah Katz, Sophie Meltzer, and Jackson Pierce, and AMHSI-JNF Head of School Mordechai Cohen celebrating their upcoming semester in Israel. 11. (L-R) JNF Associate Director Yarden Fanta-Vagenshtein celebrates Israel’s Independence Day with Susan and Joe Stone in Brookline. 12. (L-R) Zev Steinmetz celebrates Israel’s Independence Day with Allyson Parker and Jonathan Plaut in Brookline.

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2. (L-R) Jayne Klein with Israeli culinary author Janna Gur on JNF’s Culinary, Wine & Music Tour.

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JNF ACROSS THE COUNTRY

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LOS ANGELES

NORTHEAST

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1. (L-R) Central New Jersey WFI Co-Chair Phyllis Solomon presenting Nati Kushner with her Chai necklace at WFI’s Art Afternoon Event hosted by Barbara Borniker in West Orange, NJ.

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2. (L-R) Director Central New Jersey Michael Zimmerman with New Jersey JNFuture Board Member Dan Kline, New Jersey JNFuture Vice Chair Josh Goodkin, Central New Jersey Campaign Executive Anna Richlin, and Matt Rosen at JNF’s Professionals Society Breakfast in Morristown, NJ.

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4. Central New Jersey’s 2016 Leadership BBQ. 5. (L-R) Louise Dabrow, Eva Schlanger, Barbara Waxman, and Helene Blumenfeld at a WFI cooking demonstration at Eva and Marvin Schlanger’s home. 6. (L-R) Sheila Friedman, Marina Furman, and Natalie Wolbransky at JNF’s WFI Summer Jam event in Ventnor, NJ.

3. (L-R) Past-President of WFI Louise Dabrow welcomes Andrea Barsky into WFI’s Chai Society, and Sheila Freedman into the Sapphire Society at WFI’s Summer Jam in Ventor City, NJ.

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LOS ANGELES 1. (L-R) Terri Diamond, Alyse Golden Berkley, and JNF National Campaign Director Sharon Freedman at a WFI parlor meeting. 2. Yom Ha’atzmaut WFI Luncheon Co-Chair Gina Raphael honors Israeli Consul General David Siegel with JNF’s Shalom Peace Award for his five years of service. 3. JNF National Campaign Director Sharon Freedman with Karen Kennedy and her granddaughters, Micah and Morgan, during a lunch where Sharon presented Karen with her Sapphire pin.

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GREATER NEW YORK 1. (L-R) JNF Development Officer Ariel Kotler with Ben, Batya, and Sydney Klein at the Knesset for the Bonei Zion Nefesh B’Nefesh event in Israel. 2. Josh Gelb and Sadie Guttman Gelb at the annual JNFuture Root Dinner in New York City. 3. (L-R) JNF Westchester Co-President Jeremy Abramson and Amy Abramson, with JNF Director of Westchester & Southern CT Stephanie Risa Balkin, JNF Board Members and Hosts Lynn Jacobs and Bill Jacobs, Co-President Caren Hammerman, and JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson at a dessert reception in Scarsdale, NY.

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4. (L-R) Vivian Brisman with Red Mountain Theraputic Riding Center Project Coordinator Jill Oron and JNF Northern New Jersey Director Jocelyn Inglis at a WFI event in Tenafly, NJ. 5. (L-R) Ben and Susan Gutmann with Washington, D.C. correspondent for Times of Israel Rebecca Shimoni-Stoil, Jan and Lisa Seiffer, and Bruce Pomerantz at a JNF Breakfast in Park Ridge, NJ. 6. Israeli Consul General to New York Danny Dayan and Director of Special in Uniform IDF Lt. Col. (Res.) Tiran Attia with Special in Uniform soldiers at the Palmachim Air Force base.

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7. (L-R) Robin Hershkowitz with Beth Sadicario, Amy Abramson, and JNF Director of Westchester & Southern CT Stephanie Risa Balkin at an event for the Westchester Young Moms Circle Book Club Series. 8. (L-R) Mark Landman with Shimon Battat, and Anne Landman at the Small Cultivation event in New York City.


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2. (L-R) Dr. Suzanne Steinberg-Green, Faye Steinberg, VP of Partnerships and Development at Nefesh B’Nefesh Doreet Freedman, Janet Wellish, Sara Schuman, and Charlene Sher during a Sapphire Appreciation luncheon at the home of Bernice Friedman.

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3. Wall Street Journal Deputy Editor Bret Stephens and JNF Las Vegas Board President Bernice Friedman during JNF’s Annual Breakfast for Israel at the Major Donor Weekend in Phoenix. 4. (L-R) National Board Member Dr. Mort Mower, Cantor Joel Lichterman, Dr. Toby Mower, and Rabbi Steven Foster at JNF’s Colorado-Israel Water Summit. 5. (L-R) Mountain States Board Member Eric Elkins, Jeremy Kamlet, Josh Yeddis, Simon Schwartz, and Holly Johnson at JNF’s Annual Mountain States Breakfast.

8 6. Rabbi Anat Moskowitz with Board President Ron Werner at a WFI event in Denver. 7. Bay Area Rabbis sing together at JNF Northern California Yom Ha’atzmaut Community Celebration at Temple Emanuel in San Francisco. 8. (L-R) Andrew Sapperstein, Adam Ross, Israel Education Emissary Tal Shaked, and Chairman of Green Horizons and IDF Major General Uzi Dayan at the Google headquarters in Mountain View.

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15 9. (L-R) JNF-LOTEM Liaison Alisa Bodner with WFI Chair Elaine Land-Dexter at JNF’s WFI brunch in Palm Springs. 10. (L-R) Iris Smotrich and Barbara Platt at JNF’s WFI brunch in Palm Springs. 11. (L-R) Debbie Orgen-Garrett and Judy Brown at JNF’s WFI brunch in Palm Springs. 12. (L-R) Ralph Bassett, Cindy Saperstein, and Charles Saperstein at JNF’s Major Donor Weekend in Phoenix.

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16 13. (L-R) Toni Dusik with Rodney and Sasha Glassman at JNF’s Major Donor Weekend in Phoenix. 14. (L-R) David Bramzon, Bryce Schotz, Jay Chernikoff, Kalie Kelman, and Talyah Sands at JNFuture Arizona’s Shabbat in the Desert. 15. (L-R) Marti Eisenberg, JNF Planned Giving Director Cynthia Hizami, JNF San Diego Director Amy Hart, San Diego Board President Lauren Lizerbram, Knesset Member Merav Michaeli, and Bruce Greenhaus at a parlor meeting in San Diego.

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17 16. (L-R) JNF Planned Giving Director Cynthia Hizami, San Diego Board President Lauren Lizerbram, Bruce Greenhaus, Dr. Frances Lobman, Myra Chack Fleischer, JNF National Campaign Director Sharon Freedman, JNF San Diego Director Amy Hart, Marti Eisenberg, Judith Lief, and Steven Oberman at the Love of Israel Brunch in San Diego. 17. (L-R) Wendy, Chaim, and Dafna Avraham at the Love of Israel Brunch in San Diego.

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1. (L-R) JNF Las Vegas Director Shawn Willis, Arava Institute Executive Director David Lehrer, Rabbi Malcom Cohen, incoming Las Vegas Board President Janet Wellish, and Las Vegas Board Member David Kruger during an Arava Institute event at Temple Sinai.

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FLORIDA

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1. (L-R) Rachel Rochman and Paulina Flasch in Israel on JNF’s JLIM Mission.

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3. Karin Kroto and her son planting seedlings at JNF’s Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration in Orlando.

2. (L-R) Paulina Flasch, Rachel Rochman, Joe Davis, Karin Kroto, and Shira Glickman at a JNFuture “Hands on Israel” program in Orlando.

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4. (L-R) Dr. Abe and Betsy Marcadis with JNF Director of Northern Florida Uri Smajovits, and Tampa Bay Board Co-Presidents Mary Ellen Hogan and Ida Raye Chernin at the Tampa Bay Tree of Life™ Award Dinner.

7. (L-R) Marilyn Shuman with Len and Helen Glaser, and Sarasota Board President Mark Schlanger at the Guardian of Israel Dinner in Sarasota.

5. (L-R) Guardian of Israel and Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree Marilyn Shuman with Betty Schoenbaum and Anne Virag at the Sarasota Guardian of Israel Dinner. 6. (L-R) Adam, David, Amy, Jeanie, and Alan Abelson receive JNF’s Tree of Life™ Award at the Tampa Bay Tree of Life™ Award Dinner.

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12 8. DFI Award Honoree Dr. Josh Green accepts his award from his wife, Julie, at the Sarasota Guardian of Israel Dinner.

9. (L-R) Lee Mezrah with Tree of Life™ Award recipients Leon and Diane Mezrah, and Shari and Todd Mezrah at the Tampa Bay Tree of Life™ Award Dinner.

10. (L-R) Hinks and Elaine Shimberg upon receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Tampa Bay Tree of Life™ Award Dinner.

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12. (L-R back row) JNF South Florida Executive Director Roni Raab with Michael 14. Jennifer Budman and JNF Miami-Dade Director Jeffrey Greenberg at a JNFuture Kapiloff, JNF National Executive Director of Major Gifts Glen Schwartz, National happy hour in Miami. Major Gifts Chair Bruce Gould. (L-R front row) Sharon Pikus, Saul Rosen, JNF South 1 5 .  (L-R) Jim and Sue Schiller with JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson at the South Florida Palm Beach Director Lee Lebovich, Florence Paley, and Glenda Shacter in Halutza Winter Connection Brunch at The Polo Club of Boca Raton. on JNF’s Spirit of Israel Tour and JNF’s Negev Society Mission.

13 (L-R) JNF COO Harold Cohen with Harvey and Beverly Robins, and JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson at the South Florida Winter Connection Brunch at The Polo Club of Boca Raton. 11. (L-R) David Gilman with Michael Kapiloff, Jeffrey Riback, Dana Levy, Susan Farber, Ronnie Blakin, Stephen Epstein, Saul Rosen and Glenda Shacter on JNF’s Spirit of Israel Tour in Israel.


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16. (L-R) Ricard and Bibi Ohlsson with Sarasota Board President Mark Schlanger at the Tampa Bay Tree of Life™ Award Dinner.

17. (L-R) JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson with JNF South Palm Beach Director Lee 18. (L-R) Dr. Charles Gonik with Florida Congressman Ted Deutch and Andrea Gonik at the DFI Dinner in Boca Raton.

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19. (L-R) Miami Board President Ron Kriss with Joe Weisenfeld at JNF’s Beth David Congregation event in Miami. 20. (L-R) Kent Bontley and Walter Loebenberg at the Tampa Bay Tree of Life™ Award Dinner. 21. (L-R) JNF National Executive Director of Major Gifts Glen Schwartz with JNF South Florida Executive Director Roni Raab, Rabbi Arele Gopin, Rabbi Yaakov Gibber, Rabbi Ruvi New, Rabbi Josh Broide, Rabbi Benjamin Yasgur, JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson, Rabbi Philip Moskowitz, and Rabbi Efrem Goldberg at a Rabbis for Israel lunch in Boca Raton.

22. JNF Student Volunteers from Katz Hillel Day School, Yeshiva High School, Donna Klein Jewish Academy, and Donna Klein Rosenblatt High School at the South Florida Winter Connection Brunch at The Polo Club of Boca Raton. 23. Donna Klein Jewish Academy student volunteer Layla Sherry with JNF South Florida Vision League Chairman Dr. Mark Gendal at the Vision League phone-athon in Boca Raton.

ISRAEL H2O: A TOUR ON THE TRAIL OF ISRAEL’S WATER SOLUTIONS December 1 - 8, 2016

Visit Israel with JNF and learn how the desert nation turned itself into the most water conscious country on earth.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS: Dive deep into Israel’s natural water resources and how they are managed • Meet and network with leaders from various water authorities, companies, and universities • Explore Israel’s geopolitics, hydropolitics, and transboundary water management • Visit reservoirs, wetlands, desalination plants, and river restoration projects. Space is limited. Register at jnf.org/watertour

FROM BIRTH TO END OF LIFE — AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN. CELEBRATE EVERY SPECIAL EVENT BY PLANTING A TREE.

PRICE INFORMATION: Land Cost (based on double occupancy): $3,395; Single Supplement: $750 For more information, please contact Talia Tzour Avner at jnfwatersolutions@jnf.org or call 212.879.9305 x241.

250 million trees planted in Israel and counting.

JNF.ORG/TREES 800.542.TREE (8733)

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Lebovich, Helen Cohan, and Dr. Mark Cohan at the South Florida Winter Connection Brunch at The Polo Club of Boca Raton.

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JOURNEY INTO THE ARAVA

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By Rebecca Fischer

Somewhat isolated, unique, and breathtakingly beautiful, the Arava offers experiences not found anywhere else in the country, including a peaceful quality of life, agro- and eco-tourism, extreme adventure, and the freshest produce imaginable. With less than an inch of rain per year, the Arava exports more than 50% of its produce and 10% of its fresh flowers annually to markets across the globe. The Eilot region is the “Silicon Valley” of Israel, where innovation, research, and development go hand-in-hand with agriculture. Though it comprises 20% of the Negev, the Arava only has approximately 8,000 residents. Its future growth depends on Jewish National Fund and its donors to support medical and emergency care, education, and housing. I hope you enjoy reading about the Arava, a slice of heaven that is staking out its rightful place in our vast and beautiful Jewish homeland. Rebecca Fischer is the Chair of the Arava Task Force. To learn how to join or for more information, please contact Talia Tzour Avner at ttzour@jnf.org.

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D

avid Ben Gurion once said, “The State of Israel, to exist, must go south,” and so, Jewish National Fund heeded his advice and headed south more than two decades ago.

JOURNEY INTO THE ARAVA

JOURNEY INTO THE ARAVA


JOURNEY INTO THE ARAVA

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ZUQIM—THE DESERT OASIS By Megan E. Turner

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two-hour drive south of the Negev’s capital city of Be’er Sheva lies the small, yet blossoming village of Zuqim in Israel’s Central Arava region. The term “Central” may be a bit misleading, as the Arava desert is situated deep in Southern Israel, with its communities nestled up against the Israeli-Jordanian border. Seven villages comprise the Central Arava, five of which are solely agriculture-based—as has been the long-standing tradition in the Arava—with the remaining two relying on tourism and a thriving arts scene, a radically new concept for this part of the country. Zuqim, one of these new and innovative communities, is a seemingly out of place oasis in this harsh, desolate, yet breathtaking desert landscape. Built into a sandy hill, Zuqim may give the impression that the community organically came into existence, with its few roads

effortlessly winding over the sand, its rustic and unique pastel-colored homes standing out, yet blending in with their surroundings, and its calm, soothing nature that quickly overtakes anyone who ventures into its midst. However, the plot of land where Zuqim lies today has not always reflected the peace and quiet of the desert. Once scattered with landmines from past conflicts, it took the cooperation of Jewish National Fund and the Israeli government to safely clear the land to allow for the new community’s development. Today, Zuqim is thriving and its success is viewed by many as a modern-day miracle. It is safe to say that in the blueprint phase, no one thought that a place like Zuqim, with its artistic character coupled with its isolated location, would ever succeed. But the vision was clear to the dedicated women of JNF’s Sapphire Society, who set about to create a

non-agrarian community within the Arava and worked to make Zuqim a reality. The Arava itself emits a quiet magic from its endless sand dunes. This desert’s majestic beauty is further amplified in the streets of Zuqim. Imagine that you are driving south on a rural highway, passing the occasional vehicle sharing the road. Gradually, the outline of a few buildings takes shape to the west. From the slight incline at the entrance of this charming community, Zuqim looks like any other non-descript community in the area—cute, tidy, and as remotely located as possible. As the entrance to Zuqim appears, an honest to goodness tavern called Ursula’s, that serves tasty locally-sourced German-inspired cuisine, greets the traveler. But after an initial glance, small details emerge. At the lone bus stop, 10-15 children’s bicycles lay


LEFT: The Arava Film Festival, now celebrating its fifth year Photo Credit: Alex Levac

A pottery shop in Zuqim

RIGHT:

“In the desert, you must create yourself, and the result is that you bring out the best of yourself here.” She described her first visit to Zuqim as love at first sight, for both herself and her husband. “Many people who come to live here have traveled the world and have life experiences; it’s through those personal awakenings they discovered that a balance was needed and a desire to lay down roots. So we decided to do just that, here in Zuqim. Deciding to move to Zuqim provided my daughter with the opportunity to just be a kid.” Kedem owns an art studio within Zuqim’s artists village and employs women from the Arava to help create and manufacture her jewelry. There, she explains, one can find mandala-makers, sculptors, gardeners, soapand cosmetics-crafters, and more. Many of the artists also have backgrounds in a variety of holistic healing professions, specializing in massage therapy, reiki, meditation, and reflexology. Weekend and weeklong retreats are often hosted by these practitioners as a way to offer respite for Israelis and tourists alike. “In the desert, you must create yourself, and the result is that you bring out the best of yourself here,” Kedem said. “We get to live in a state of full awareness here, and we are surrounded by many like-minded people. I found the tribe I wanted in Zuqim.” “Everyone who comes here wants something different than what is available in the cities,” Eyal said. “Everyone has come to Zuqim for the same reason.” This ‘reason’ is clearly felt in the energy and the atmosphere of the community. Today, Zuqim is moving forward, and although it has grown over the past 15 years, it has done so at the slow, unrushed pace of desert life. This community, as well as those nearby, has been supported from the very beginning by JNF, and it ranks as a true success story in this little-known part of Southern Israel.

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Tinkerbell and Eyal Shiray Photo Credit: Edward Kaprove

have been living in Zuqim for 10 years. “We first began coming here and renting a place, just to see how we liked the area,” said Eyal. After falling in love with the community, the couple built a house with a pool overlooking the desert landscape. “We came here and started from scratch,” Eyal continued. “But by settling in Zuqim you return to being your true self and you can really do what you want.” The Shiray family began organizing and hosting a yearly boutique film festival in Zuqim. The Arava Film Festival will now celebrate its fifth year (scheduled for Nov. 24 - Dec. 4, 2016) and is expecting over 6,000 guests, with people coming from all over the world. Eyal produces movies for the festival and brings in premier film directors and students in Israel to produce and shoot movies for the event. “We feel more complete with our work and art now that we’re living in Zuqim, and we feel that our craft is more successful,” Eyal said. The quality of life enjoyed by families in the community can also be seen just through observing the local children. While his parents discussed plans for future festivals, the Shirays’ wide-eyed, strikingly blonde three-year-old son comes romping into the room, barefoot and full of life. It’s obvious that he and the Shirays’ other two children are the central focus for Tinkerbell and Eyal. “We have time to spend with them every day, no nanny needed,” said Tinkerbell. “All the neighbors and their kids come together in the afternoon to talk, play, and just spend time together. When I’m not with them, I don’t have to worry about where my kids are because I know everyone who lives here.” Eyal added, “And they’re not glued to a screen all the time. They go out to explore nature, play games, and learn how to build things. This is how it should be.” Lola Kedem, a local artist and jewelry maker in her 50s, echoed the Shirays’ sentiments: “My family and I were living in Ibiza, Spain, when one day my then 12-year-old daughter came into the house. I was suddenly struck by the dark makeup and high heels she wore, and I thought, ‘Whoa—she’s growing up too fast.’”

JOURNEY INTO THE ARAVA

strewn across the sidewalk, without locks, signaling no apparent fear of theft. Sculptures and life-size wire structures depicting the wildlife found in the region adorn the single traffic rotary in the town’s center. Each house along the immaculately paved streets of Zuqim is intricately decorated, some with the recycled remains of glass bottles, others with fountains made from mud, each showcasing the personality of the family that dwells within. The yards, too, are littered with bicycles and strollers, a symbol of the tranquil, slow, and unburdened life the people lead here. The magic of this desert oasis is surely in the details. Since its establishment and construction by JNF, Zuqim has become a magnet of sorts, drawing Israelis to the Arava—away from the country’s congested and overpriced center—to live a life that is decidedly and intentionally slower-paced and family-focused. Zuqim’s population is made up of artists, businesspeople, and even a film director and actress power couple, all of whom decided that the hustle and bustle of big city life was no longer for them. “I’ll admit that I was concerned about moving to Zuqim,” Tinkerbell Shiray, 38, a well-known Israeli actress and mother of three said. She shared the difficulties of living in a place like this, especially with regard to her work as an actress. “After I addressed all of my concerns, such as relocating rehearsals closer to me, it has been euphoria, simply euphoria.” Tinkerbell and her director-husband, Eyal Shiray, 52,


JOURNEY INTO THE ARAVA

20 JNF.org

AN OFF THE BEATEN TRACK EXPERIENCE By Allison Speiser

O

nce upon a time the Arava desert was a place that, for many, served as a short pit-stop on the highway to the resort city of Eilat. While Eilat has enjoyed immense popularity with both local tourists and those visiting from abroad for years, now the Arava is growing in its appeal particularly to those looking to experience a true Israeli-style desert adventure, and has today become a unique travel destination. “Tourists looking for an adventure of a lifetime are coming to the Arava,” said Gali Loria, who, along with her husband Yinon, run Motor Experiences, an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) tour company that takes visitors into the heart of the desert. Located in Moshav Ein Yahav, the couple own 18 “tom cars,” an Israeli-made ATV that is rugged and sturdy, the perfect vehicle to explore the far reaching sites and vistas of the area. Unlike other

traditional jeep tours, which are usually led by a hired guide, Motor Experiences gives tourists the opportunity to sit behind the wheel and navigate the rolling hills and rocky pathways on their own. “It’s a thrill and a challenge driving the tom cars in the Arava, where there is so much to explore,” Loria said. The Lorias, who moved to Ein Yahav from Northern Israel, came seeking their own adventure, and to be part of something larger. “Making our home in the Arava is our way of expressing Zionism,” Loria said. While agriculture remains the bread and butter for many in the Arava—as is apparent by the hundreds of greenhouses visible to the naked eye— as interest in local tourism rises, so too does the number of small businesses catering to the industry. Loria said that while some tourists come to ride the tom cars on the way to

or from Eilat, tour operators are increasingly receiving vacationing families and groups who are staying in the Arava. “We get many fathers and sons who come here for bonding time and to engage in something challenging,” Loria said. “Couples and families travel here for special getaways, and lately, we have been seeing repeat customers who come back each year.” Though camping outdoors remains popular for many adventure enthusiasts, the Arava is home to a growing number of boutique hospitality options. One such option is Rotem’s Guest House, which offers a relaxing atmosphere with its four mud-brick villas. Located in the community of Paran, about a half-hour south of Ein Yahav, Rotem’s eco-friendly buildings offer a unique experience to those seeking respite from the desert’s heat after a long day of thrill-seeking. Owner Rotem


By: Allison Levine

LEFT:

Mud-brick villas at Rotem’s Guest House

RIGHT: Greenhouses

at JNF’s Vidor Center

“The fact that we are situated in a remote area of Israel allows us to devise exciting and fresh ideas.” Ratner is quick to point out that their accommodations are called “guest houses” for a reason. “People come here looking to get away, but they also get to meet other interesting people,” Ratner said. “They are our guests. If they have children, our own kids hang out with them. In the evenings I often have coffee with couples staying in the guest houses, and we swap stories, tell jokes, and laugh together. It’s clear to me that the visitors to the Arava are looking to interact with the locals.” An usual way to pass the time is a stop at Jewish National Fund’s Vidor Center in the Arava’s Research and Development Center near Moshav Hatzeva. A visit to the center includes a 3D film screening, an interactive museum for all ages to explore the varying innovations in agricultural research in the Arava, as well as the ability to visit local greenhouses. A coffee and gift shop are also found on the premises, where visitors can buy locally made arts and crafts, honey, and seasonal produce. Historically, the Arava was not known for its culinary options, but this, too, is changing. While some tourists may picnic or barbecue along the many well-marked hiking trails or parks throughout the Arava, increasingly the area is offering new and one-of-a-kind eateries. One of the more creative initiatives, started by the local regional council, is a program called “Eat With Us,” where visitors make arrangements to eat with local participating families. In addition to the lavish meal that is provided, visitors have the opportunity to become acquainted with a family in a stress-free,

For information on planning a trip to the Arava, contact JNF Travel & Tours at travel@jnf.org or call 877.536.8687

For more information, visit parktimna.co.il/en.

21 JNF.org

casual setting—in their home. “There are diverse options to choose from in terms of the types of food served,” Chagit Shaham, one of the chefs in the “Eat With Us” program, explained. “You can choose a family that serves Yemenite, Moroccan, or Iraqi cuisine, but it all comes back to the idea of having an exclusive meal in someone’s home—it’s a different environment than a traditional restaurant or coffee shop.” Shaham has been baking professionally for years, turning out delicious cakes, pies, and other delightful confections to order straight from her home kitchen in Ein Yahav. She receives most of her business simply by word of mouth. Joining “Eat With Us” was a natural choice for Shaham, who spends much of her time in her well-stocked kitchen. Shaham and her husband, Ido, both grew up in the community of Ein Yahav and they live close to their extended family. “I think the fact that we are situated in a remote area of Israel allows us to devise exciting and fresh ideas,” Shaham said. “Agriculture is still king in the region, but it’s becoming an increasingly competitive form of earning a livelihood. People choose to live here against the odds, and ‘Eat With Us’ affords them the opportunity to share their stories with visitors. This is an important aspect to me.” While the Arava is one of the rarer areas of Israel for tourists to visit, it offers myriad things to do, see, and experience. This unique corner in Israel’s south and its communities continues to grow, and with that growth, the Arava and its welcoming residents are set to become a “hot” tourist attraction for those looking for something off the beaten track.

Signs along the road remind drivers and hikers not to drop fruits or vegetables on the ground. It’s a request meant to help preserve the unique nature of the Negev’s ecosystem by not introducing invasive species to the area. When you arrive at Timna Valley National Park, located a half hour north of Eilat and facing the nearby mountains of Jordan, you see the preservation of the desert on a much larger scale.  Timna is home to ancient copper mines as well as towering, unusual rock formations. Timna Park was established 30 years ago as a joint project between Jewish National Fund and the Chudnow family from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as well as Keren Kayemet LeIsrael and the Eilot Regional Council.  Thanks to the Chudnows’ contributions since the 1980s, Timna Park boasts a man-made lake, a restaurant, a gift shop, and now a new Visitor Center, that provides tourists and history buffs with interactive overviews and explanations of the historic copper mines scattered throughout the park. The Chudnows’ involvement with Timna began with Avrum “Abe” Chudnow’s (z’l) devotion to preserve, and at the same time, create something that would be enjoyed for generations to come. Over the years, hiking trails, exhibits, and activities have been developed throughout the 15,000-acre park. Research continues to take place in Timna, with ancient textiles dating back 3,000 years being recently uncovered by archaeologists. The continued development of the Arava’s treasures serve to preserve the special qualities of the desert, while at the same time working to create infrastructure and support for those looking to build their home amongst the sand and mountains.

JOURNEY INTO THE ARAVA

TIMNA VALLEY NATIONAL PARK’S NEW VISITOR CENTER


JOURNEY INTO THE ARAVA

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SAVING THOSE IN NEED: JNF’S ARAVA SEARCH AND RESCUE CENTER By Allison Speiser

T

he early morning haze does nothing to diminish the breathtaking views during a drive through the Arava desert. To say that this desert is an empty landscape would hardly be doing it justice. Wadis [dried-up river beds] wind their way through the sands as rocks and trees are scattered haphazardly throughout the area. Ridges in the hills indicate where wind and rain have left their marks over thousands of years. The Arava is beautiful, but nothing takes away from the fact that this is a rugged, difficult, and remote region. It is here that Elad Seker has volunteered for the past 13 years with the Arava Search and Rescue Team. In one of the most challenging geographical places in Israel, this team is

standing by, ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice. There are 86 volunteers who collectively cover an area that spans 15% of Israel’s landmass. They oversee approximately 110 rescues per year. “It’s actually hardest for me during the quiet times, between the calls, because it’s impossible to prepare yourself for what’s around the bend,” said Seker, director of the Arava Search and Rescue Team. “So to keep ourselves sharp and prepared for whatever is called in, we work hard with trainings and practices.” Seker, who is handsdown the most experienced commander of a search and rescue crew in all of Israel, counts 1,320 saves over his years of service in the Arava.

Seker and his volunteer-based team are ready around the clock to respond to any type of call, and because of their remote location, the calls they respond to are varied and often complicated. The team springs into action to help search for lost hikers, fallen climbers, or overturned vehicles that have been washed away during a flash flood. Said Seker: “The major part of my job is making immediate decisions—do I need to mobilize one jeep or 10? Do we need a climbing team? Do I need to get a helicopter out there? I have to make judgement calls very quickly based on the complexity of the call, the location in respect to the nearest access point, and the weather. Many factors are at play in the Arava.”


Artist rendering of the JNF Central Arava Emergency Command and Control Center

When talking about the day-to-day lives of the nearly 8,000 residents that call the Arava home, access to medical services is still a major issue. “Take Ein Yahav, for example,” Seker said. “We are located exactly halfway between two major hospitals—in Be’er Sheva and Eilat—but they are both an hour and twenty minutes away. That’s a long time to make it to the labor and delivery room.” In fact, a woman in labor on her way by ambulance to the hospital travels with a nurse at her side the whole way, and not all of them make it to the hospital before the baby arrives. Then there is the issue of general access to doctors and medical specialists. “The new Jewish National Fund Central Arava Medical Center in Sapir has transformed lives,” said Seker. “Residents can now receive medical

Elad and Ziv Seker in front of one of the JNF rescue vehicles

23 JNF.org

“It’s stories like this that make our work meaningful; we are making a difference and saving lives in the Arava.”

In addition to the regular cohort of volunteers, the Search and Rescue Team has a number of teenage volunteers as well. Starting at age 17, teenagers are able to join in on trainings and rescue missions. Seker’s daughter, Ziv, is 18 and recently finished high school. She has accompanied her father on a number of meaningful rescue missions. “I think it’s really important that I’m able to give back to the community—to my community,” she said. Ziv, who will be spending the next year at an IDF preparatory program, reflected on her future with the rescue team. “I hope that when I’m home during the weekends and holidays I’ll be able to continue my volunteer work with the rescue team. I’ve learned so much during my trainings and I’m part of the team. I’m proud of how I’ve been able to contribute.” Seker sees a great deal of value in getting younger generations involved. “There is a burn-out effect among the volunteers,” he said, “and as people grow older or decrease their volunteering hours, we need to work on expanding our crews. Involving younger people is an important step that also connects them to their communities.” In 2010, Seker received the President’s Volunteer Award, Israel’s highest honor for volunteer service, from then-Israeli President Shimon Peres. “I accepted the award because all the work that we do together in the Arava is noteworthy,” Seker said. “Our group provides critical services to those who live in, or travel through, our beloved area.” The crew has also been sent to countries around the world during times of natural disasters, and crews from search and rescue divisions from other countries come to train or consult with the Arava Search and Rescue Team. Of importance to the team are the good relations enjoyed with their Jordanian neighbors, particularly since much of the Arava shares an open border with Jordan. Despite the remoteness of the region, or perhaps because of it, a sense of togetherness forms and is strongly felt between the communities of the Arava. The realities of living in the desert motivate the local volunteers of the Arava Search and Rescue Team to keep going. “We have to take care of each other,” Seker said. “If the Arava is to be a success, then we must be there for each other, in good times and in bad. And we are.”

JOURNEY INTO THE ARAVA

attention for services right here in the Arava, instead of traveling all the way to Eilat or Be’er Sheva!” Access to outstanding medical care is on the minds of all families when considering a move to any region. “No one thinks about needing emergency rescue services, but everyone thinks about where they can take their child to see a pediatrician,” Seker said. “JNF is helping us address both of these needs in the Arava. Thanks to JNF and its dedicated donors in the U.S., we have two new rescue vehicles that are truly worth their weight in gold.” A JNF Central Arava Emergency Command and Control Center is slated to be built adjacent to the JNF Central Arava Medical Center, providing a real home to Seker’s team and giving them a space to hold meetings, trainings, and to house their invaluable vehicles and equipment. Seker and his team receive over 100 calls per year; some rescues stick out in his mind. One is the story of Tamar Even, who came to the area three years ago during the Passover holiday with her husband and small child. During their hike in Wadi Masor, a rock that she held onto dislodged and Even suddenly fell 30 feet down the side of a cliff. The call came to Seker, who mobilized a crew of 30 rescue volunteers and a helicopter to evacuate Even to Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva. At the hospital, doctors found that Even broke two vertebrae in her back, several ribs and her arm, and suffered internal injuries to her spleen. It was while undergoing multiple surgeries that it was discovered that Even was in the early stages of pregnancy. Due to the difficult physical recovery that lay ahead, doctors were forced to end the pregnancy. Over the years, Even has kept in touch with Seker, and this Passover sent him a holiday card along with a picture of her new baby girl, Amit, who was born this year, three years after the fall that could have taken her life. Said Seker: “This was a particularly challenging rescue, but it’s stories like this that make our work meaningful; we are making a difference and saving lives in the Arava.”


JOURNEY INTO THE ARAVA

24 JNF.org

PIONEERING THE DESERT: JNF’S HOUSING FUND PAVES THE WAY By Megan E. Turner

“O

ff in the distance, you can start to see the outline of where the roads will be,” Carmel Har, 29, manager of community development for the Central Arava Regional Council, excitedly pointed out. She was referring to the beginnings of the 84 housing plots that are taking shape just outside the Arava community of Ein Yahav, which are being developed from the ground up thanks to Jewish National Fund’s Housing Development Fund. For many Israelis the Negev Desert is no-man’s land, isolated from civilization and impossibly far away from everything. The Arava? Forget it. Even for those Israelis who hail from the south, the Arava region of the Negev,

located in Israel’s extreme south along the Jordanian border, is too far removed from reality. Yet for the 8,000 people who call it home there exists a love affair with their region, a sentiment being seen today with the return of many young families to where they were born and raised. This phenomenon is catching on with newcomers as well. But just because they want to leave the stress and pressures of Israel’s congested center in search of a different pace and quality of life doesn’t make it easy. Building and expanding in the Arava is no simple feat. The Central Arava and Eilot Regional Councils include 19 small communities—kibbutzim, moshavim, and

villages—that are not located near any large cities, leaving them far away from existing infrastructure for electricity, water, and sewage. Unlike in the U.S., there is no private residential development in Israel; all development is controlled by municipalities. Physical infrastructure (water, roads, sewage, electricity) costs approximately $75,000 per lot to develop. Moreover, only after all the lots in a development are purchased and financed can the physical infrastructure be developed because municipalities do not have the funds to do so independently or up front. And due to laws and regulations, private industry cannot play a


View of Arava greenhouses

“Without the Housing Fund, we would not see the construction of our own house come to fruition— it’s simply too complicated and too expensive.”

Housing Fund Stats $7 million IN LOANS APPROVED

9

COMMUNITIES

426

HOUSING LOTS TO DATE Smallest Expansion Project

Largest Expansion Project

17 lots

114 lots

Kibbutz Pelech: IN THE GALILEE

Moshav Ein Yahav: IN THE ARAVA

200/426

LOTS UNDER CONTRACT FOR NEW FAMILIES Expansion leads to

50% increase IN POPULATION

1,000 new lots TO BE DEVELOPED IN THE NEXT YEAR Including expansion of Sderot

ALL COMMUNITIES ARE ALONG ISRAEL’S BORDERS:

NEGEV

ARAVA

25 JNF.org

Narisna said as she described her view of the strategic development of the Arava. “It’s apparent that without JNF, growth in the Arava would not be as successful as it is today,” Narisna said. “Without the Housing Fund, we would not see the construction of our own house come to fruition—it’s simply too complicated and too expensive.” “The assistance provided by JNF is considered to be a true game changer,” said Har. “People who come here are looking for a specific quality of life, one where they come home at a decent hour every day and one that is community oriented.” But because of the extreme difficulty that building poses, many of the families moving here would not have considered taking such a giant leap had it not been for JNF revolutionizing the housing development issues plaguing Israel. As for the Arava’s economy, this traditionally agriculture-based economy is growing to include the fields of tourism, research, industry, and the arts. The area is also developing ways to be self-sufficient, and now 80% of the electricity needed in the Arava, including for the resort city of Eilat, is produced in the Eilot region, which brings employment opportunities. Said Mayor Blum: “Our three main areas of development for the future of the region are preparing plots of land for future housing, increasing the places and types of employment, and improving education, health services, and police and fire services. JNF is part of all of these developments in real time.” “We are always searching for the next thing that will help make our dreams come true,” Mayor Gat said. “JNF has helped every step of the way. This is the quality and the spirit of JNF that we so value and respect.” n

JOURNEY INTO THE ARAVA

role either. This can cause major delays in starting housing construction—from two to five years—after a family has decided to make the move and made an initial down payment. As a result, thousands of housing lots in the Negev are sitting, waiting, and languishing, while potential homeowners move elsewhere—even outside of the country. Enter JNF’s Housing Development Fund, which relieves individuals of bureaucratic delays and provides targeted funding for physical infrastructure needed to commence the home building process. Through the fund, which plans to raise $50 million for community building in Israel’s north and south as part of JNF’s visionary One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade, JNF provides direct loans to communities for the development of infrastructure, with the loans eventually being paid back by the community at an agreed time. The program essentially functions as a ‘revolving fund’ and helps many Israelis realize their dreams. “It is amazing that JNF understood this. They were the first and really the only ones to do so,” said Eyal Blum, mayor of the Central Arava Regional Council. “JNF has been able to do what, in many ways, the government doesn’t know how to do,” added Udi Gat, mayor of the neighboring Eilot Regional Council. In December 2016, families will begin to move into the homes they built on land that was prepared with the help of the fund, a true success story of JNF’s Blueprint Negev initiative that focuses on developing the Negev in many unique ways. “You can clearly see the difference between the center [of Israel] and here,” Har said. Born in the Arava community of Tzofar, Har left to live in the center of the country after her army service. When she got married, Har realized that life in the big city was not as fulfilling as she and her husband wished. “The ideas of togetherness and community are very strong in the Arava,” she said of the values that drew her young family back to her childhood home. “Many people leave the Arava because of its remote location and lack of amenities. They leave looking for something more exciting,” Dorit Narisna, 34, a resident and manager of the Hatzeva Field School, said. Narisna was born in Moshav Hatzeva, and like Har, she, too, left the Arava only to return with her young, growing family. She, her husband, their three-year-old daughter, and a baby on the way, are waiting for their plot to be ready for building. “This is true Zionism for me,”

GALILEE

Gaza Border

Jordanian Border

Northern Border

Kibbutz Nahal Oz Kibbutz Erez

Moshav Hatzeva Kibbutz Ein Yahav Kibbutz Yahel

Kibbutz Gesher Eshchar Kibbutz Pelech Kibbutz Moran


OUT & ABOUT WITH

JNF’S MAJOR DONORS JNFUTURE JNFUTURE ROOT

ROOT SOCIETY SOCIETY

JNF’S MAJOR DONORS

$1,000,000 Lifetime

$100,000 Lifetime

$100,000 Annual

$25,000 Annual

$10,000 Annual

$5,000 Annual

$5,000 Annual

$1,000 Annual

GREATER NEW YORK

26 JNF.org (L-R) Ben Gutmann (World Chairman’s Council, Negev Society) with Susan Gutmann (World Chairman’s Council, Negev Society, Sapphire Society), guest speaker Washington correspondent for the Times of Israel Rebecca Shimoni-Stoil, event hosts Jan and Lisa Seiffer, and Northern New Jersey Board President Bruce Pomerantz (Herzl Society) at JNF’s Breakfast at Temple Beth Sholom in Park Ridge, NJ.

(L-R) Northern New Jersey Board President Bruce Pomerantz (Herzl Society) with Barry Honig at a Major Donor Reception in Alpine, NJ.

(L-R) Bruce Gould (World Chairman’s Council, King Solomon Society) with JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson, Susan Gutmann (World Chairman’s Council, Negev Society, Sapphire Society), and Ben Gutmann (World Chairman’s Council, Negev Society) at a Major Donor Reception in Alpine, NJ.

(L-R) Barbara and Skip Cohen (President’s Society), JNF Director of Westchester & Southern CT Stephanie Risa Balkin, Lynn Jacobs (Sapphire Society), Host and Board Member Stuart Werner (President’s Society), JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson, and Marni Heller at an AMHSI-JNF dessert reception in Scarsdale, NY.

(L-R) Chen Orpaz with Sapir Weisel, Bob Weiss (Negev Society), Elad Kachalon, and Nissan Levi during a visit to Special in Uniform during JNF’s President’s and Negev Societies Mission.

(L-R) Fred and Ella Toczek (Sapphire Society) with Israeli Consul General David Siegel at JNF’s WFI Yom Ha’atzmaut Luncheon.

(L-R) Gila and Adam Milstein (Negev Society) with Sunny Russ (World Chairman’s Council, Negev Society, Sapphire Society) and Larry Russ (World Chairman’s Council, Negev Society) at the Los Angeles Tree of Life™ event.

LOS ANGELES

(L-R) Josh, Jamie, Steven (President’s Society), and Lanie Etkind at JNF’s Sderot Indoor Recreation Center.

(L-R) Event Chair Irina Shifrin (Herzl Society) with Host Dr. Elliot Meisenberg, Dr. Alexander Shifrin (Herzl Society), KKL-JNF Chief Israel Emissary Talia Tzour Avner, and JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson at a JNF Cocktail Reception for the Russian community in New York City.

(L-R) JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson with Alex Sapir (King Solomon Society), former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, IDF Maj. Gen. (Res.) and ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran Chairman Doron Almog, and Rotem Rosen (King Solomon Society) at the NOMO Hotel in SOHO, NY. (L-R) JNFuture New York Chair Jonathan Gertman (Root Society) works on housing expansion with Rubin Pikus (Century Council), and Evan Roklen at Kibbutz Gesher in Israel.

(L-R) JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson with Los Angeles Tree of Life™ Honorees Judy (World Chairman’s Council, Negev Society, Sapphire Society) and Bud Levin (World Chairman’s Council, Negev Society) at the annual Tree of Life™ Award Dinner.


SOUTHERN

(L-R) Merle Horwitz (Sapphire Society) with Ula Zusman (Sapphire Society) in the photo booth at WFI’s Annual Yom Ha’atzmaut Luncheon at Congregation B’nai Torah in Sandy Springs.

(L-R) Sharoni Levison (Sapphire Society) with Teddi Sanford (Sapphire Society) in the photo booth at WFI’s Annual Yom Ha’atzmaut Luncheon at Congregation B’nai Torah in Sandy Springs.

(L-R) JNF Executive Director to the Greater Southwest Reagan Weil, Tom Randolph, and Randall Pate (President’s Society) meet to discuss JNF and afforestation.

NEW ENGLAND

JNF’S MAJOR DONORS

(L-R) Atlanta Board Co-President Howard Wexler (Herzl Society) with Gerilynn Brill and Makor Chair Alan Lubel (Herzl Society) at an LFI video conference event.

27 JNF.org

(L-R) Marc Perlman (World Chairman’s Council, King Solomon Society), Misha Joukowsky (Century Council, President’s Society), and JNF-KKL Israel Emissary Rami Hazan at a meeting in Rhode Island.

(L-R) JNF New England and Capital Region Executive Director Sara Hefez and Chai Society Chair Risa Aronson (Century Council, President’s Society, Sapphire Society) present Lori Gilman with her Sapphire Society pin in Newton.

(L-R) Pat Blank (World Chairman’s Council, President’s Society, Sapphire Society), National VP of Communities and Boston President Emeritus Michael Blank (World Chairman’s Council, President’s Society), JNF National Campaign Director Sharon Freedman, and National VP of Campaign Ken Segel (World Chairman’s Council, King Solomon Society) at JNF’s Major Donor Weekend in Phoenix, AZ.

(L-R) Steve Aronson (Century Council, President’s Society), Chai Society Chair Risa Aronson (Century Council, President’s Society, Sapphire Society), Lee Aronson (Century Council, Sapphire Society), and JNF New England and Capital Region Executive Director Sara Hefez celebrating Lee’s retirement from Aronson Insurance.

(L-R) New England President Larry Cohen (Century Council, President’s Society), IDF Lt. Col. (Res.) and Director of Special in Uniform Tiran Attia, and JNF-KKL Israel Emissary Rami Hazan strategizing over breakfast in Newton.

National VP of Campaign Ken Segel (World Chairman’s Council, King Solomon Society) and JNF New England and Capital Region Executive Director Sara Hefez present Todd Patkin (World Chairman’s Council, President’s Society), Yadira Patkin (World Chairman’s Council, President’s Society, Sapphire Society), Michael Blank (World Chairman’s Council, President’s Society), and Pat Blank (World Chairman’s Council, President’s Society, Sapphire Society) with their World Chairman’s Council Crystal Blue Boxes at JNF’s Major Donor Dinner in Brookline.

(L-R) Evelyn (Century Council, Negev Society, Sapphire Society) and Mike Miller (Century Council, Negev Society), and Christina Zlotnick (Sapphire Society) celebrate Israel’s Independence Day at JNF’s Major Donor Dinner in Brookline.

(L-R) Pat Blank (World Chairman’s Council, President’s Society, Sapphire Society), Chai Society Chair Risa Aronson (Century Council, President’s Society, Sapphire Society, Chai Society), and Phuli Cohan (Herzl Society) at JNF’s Major Donor Dinner in Brookline.

(L-R) Marion Lidsky (Century Council, President’s Society), Sinai Lidsky (Century Council, President’s Society), and Yadira Patkin (World Chairman’s Council, President’s Society, Sapphire Society) with JNF New England and Capital Region Executive Director Sara Hefez at JNF’s Major Donor Dinner in Brookline.

(L-R) Community Campaign Chair Judith Sydney (Sapphire Society), Isaac Edry and Ilana Edry (Herzl Society) at JNF’s Major Donor Dinner in Brookline.

(L-R) Ami and Lisa Joseph (Herzl Society), and CEO of HaShomer HaChadash Yoel Zilberman at JNF’s Major Donor Dinner in Brookline.

(L-R) Artemis and Martha Joukowsky with Jane (Century Council, President’s Society) and Misha Joukowsky (Century Council, President’s Society) at JNF’s Major Donor Dinner in Brookline.


FLORIDA

JNF’S MAJOR DONORS

Assistant Vice President of Campaign and Major Gifts Chairman Bruce Gould (World Chairman’s Council, King Solomon Society) receives a necklace from a Special in Uniform soldier on the President’s and Negev Societies Mission.

(L-R) Nina Oppenheim (Sapphire Society) receiving her Sapphire pin from Orlando Board President Debbie Meitin (President’s Society, Sapphire Society).

(L-R) Orlando Board President Debbie Meitin (President’s Society, Sapphire Society) with Sy Israel (Century Council, Negev Society), Larry Gutter (President’s Society), Mark Israel (Century Council, Negev Society), Valeria Shapiro (Century Council, Sapphire Society), and National Community Campaign Co-Chair Jim Riola (World Chairman’s Council, President’s Society) at a special LFI video conference with MK Michael Oren held at Burr Forman in Orlando.

David and Linda Stein (World Chairman’s Council, Negev Society) with Jacksonville Caravan for Democracy participants at a luncheon following their trip to Israel.

(L-R) Vice President of Campaign Ken Segel (World Chairman’s Council, King Solomon Society) with JNF National Executive Director of Major Gifts Glen Schwartz, Leonard Kleinman (Century Council), and Assistant Vice President of Campaign and Major Gifts Chairman Bruce Gould (World Chairman’s Council, King Solomon Society) at the Tampa Bay Tree of Life™ Award Dinner.

(L-R) Tampa Bay Tree of Life™ Dinner CoChairs Shari Mezrah (Herzl Society) and David Pearlman (Herzl Society) with Tampa Bay Board Co-Presidents Ida Raye Chernin (Century Council, Sapphire Society) and Mary Ellen Hogan (Century Council, Sapphire Society) at the annual Tampa Bay Tree of Life™ Award Dinner. (L-R) Florence Paley (Negev Society, Sapphire Society) with Rabbi Robert Silvers, Dr. Robert Colton (Century Council, President’s Society), guest speaker and IDF Commander Shimon Battat, Alan Mibab (Herzl Society), and Sandra Crain (Sapphire Society) at a South Palm Beach Board Meeting in Boca Raton.

28 JNF.org Jayne (World Chairman’s Council, Negev Society, Lifetime Sapphire) and Andy Klein (World Chairman’s Council, Negev Society) at the Sarasota Guardian of Israel Dinner.

Marty and Maxine Solomon (Century Council, President’s Society) at the Tampa Bay Tree of Life™ Award Dinner.

(L-R) Susan Stone (Sapphire Society) with guest speaker and Times of Israel Washington, D.C. Correspondent Rebecca Shimoni-Stoil, and Dan Stone at a parlor meeting in their home in Wycliffe Golf & Country Club.

National Co-Chair of JNF’s Doctors for Mark Miller (Century Council, President’s Israel Dr. Robert Norman (Century Council, Society) at the Tampa Bay Tree of Life™ Negev Society) with Co-CEO of Alexander Award Dinner. Muss High School in Israel Rabbi Leor Sinai at a JNFuture and AMHSI event in Tampa.

(L-R) Dayna Titus (President’s Society, Sapphire Society) with Richard Rappaport (World Chairman’s Council, King Solomon Society) and Brian Rappaport at the Tampa Bay Tree of Life™ Award Dinner.

(L-R) Glenn Grossman (World Chairman’s Council) with guest speaker and Wall Street Journal Editorial Page Editor Bret Stephens, and Social Media Committee Chair Vivian Grossman (World Chairman’s Council, King Solomon’s Society, Sapphire Society) at JNF’s Major Donor Weekend in Phoenix.

(L-R) Donna Klein Jewish Academy student volunteer Layla Sherry with Ad Shuster (President’s Society),and Cantor Elaine Shapiro (Century Council, President’s Society, Sapphire Society) at the Vision League phone-a-thon in Boca Raton.

(L-R) First Vice President Alan Dabrow (Century Council, Negev Society) with JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson, Joan Muss (President’s Society, Sapphire Society), and Michael Wechsler (Century Council, President’s Society) at the South Florida Winter Connection Brunch at The Polo Club of Boca Raton. (L-R) Jim Anchin (Herzl Society) with JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson and Joan Anchin (Herzl Society) at the South Florida Winter Connection Brunch at The Polo Club of Boca Raton.

(L-R) JNF COO Harold Cohen with First Vice President Alan Dabrow (Century Council, Negev Society), Presidential Advisor Louise Dabrow (Century Council, Negev Society, Lifetime Sapphire Society), Michael Wechsler (Century Council, President’s Society), and JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson at the South Florida Winter Connection Brunch.

Neil and Sandra Malamud (Century Council, President’s Society) holding their vintage JNF Tree Certificate from 1948 at a breakfast with guest speaker Co-CEO of AMHSI Rabbi Leor Sinai.

(L-R) JNF Palm Beach Director Laura Sherry with Cynthia Hertz (Century Council, Sapphire Society), Marty Weiss, Cantor Elaine Shapiro (World Chairman’s Council, Sapphire Society), Mort Fishman (Herzl Society), JNF South Florida Executive Director Roni Raab, and Palm Beach Board President Art Silber (Century Council, Herzl Society) at a Palm Beach Board Meeting. (L-R) Jack Ross (Herzl Society) and Tampa Bay JNF Board Member Shirleyann Haveson with Tree of Life™ Award Recipient Leon Mezrah (Herzl Society) at the Tampa Bay Tree of Life™ Award Dinner.


(L-R) JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson with Sharon Pikus (Century Council, Negev Society) and Rubin Pikus (Century Council, Negev Society) at the South Florida Winter Connection Brunch at The Polo Club of Boca Raton.

(L-R) Larry Gutter (Herzl Society) with Orlando Board President Debbie Meitin (President’s Society, Sapphire Society), Assistant Vice President of Campaign and Major Gifts Chairman Bruce Gould (World Chairman’s Council, King Solomon Society), and Vice President of Campaign Ken Segel (World Chairman’s Council, King Solomon Society) at the Tampa Bay Tree of Life™ Award Dinner.

Sydelle Lazar (Century Council, Sapphire Society) and Michael Lazar (Century Council, Negev Society) at the South Florida Winter Connection Brunch at The Polo Club of Boca Raton.

(L-R) H. Jordan Weitz (Herzl Society) with Robin Weitz (Herzl Society), Marni Kriss (President’s Society, Sapphire Society) and JNF Miami Board President Ron Kriss (President’s Society) at a wine tasting event in Miami Beach.

MID-ATLANTIC

JNF’S MAJOR DONORS

Robert Meyer (President’s Society) with guest speaker and Washington, D.C. Correspondent Rebecca Shimoni-Stoil at a parlor meeting held at the home of Susan and Dan Stone in Wycliffe Golf & Country Club.

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(L-R) Joe Marzouk, IDF Lt. Col. (Res.) Tiran JNF National Campaign Director Diane Attia, and Nanci Seff (Century Council) Scar (Sapphire Society) and Dr. Cliff Faber dedicate a unit to Special in Uniform. (President’s Society) during the closing dinner for the Culinary, Wine & Music Tour.

(L-R) Jeffrey Menick (Century Council, Herzl Society), Adrienne Rulnick (Sapphire Society), and Chet Stein (Century Council, Negev Society) host the Washington, D.C. Community Breakfast.

(L-R) Saul Pilchen (Herzl Society) and Ken Krupsky (President’s Society) at the Washington, D.C.-Israel Water Summit.

Rita Stein (Century Council, Negev Society, Sapphire Society) and Jack Rose (Century Council, President’s Society) at a cocktail reception for Major Donors in Washington, D.C.

(L-R) Gary Kushner (Century Council, (L-R) David Margules (Herzl Society) and President’s Society), National Campaign Marty Lessner (President’s Society) at the Director Diane Scar (Sapphire Society), and Delaware Community Breakfast. Andy Klein (World Chairman’s Council) at the Washington, D.C.-Israel Water Summit.

(L-R) Joel Friedlander (World Chairman’s Council, King Solomon Society) congratulates Jerry and Susan Grossman (World Chairman’s Council, King Solomon Society) on their efforts benefiting the Delaware Breakfast.

(L-R) JNF–Ammunition Hill Liaison Yoel Rene (President’s Society) and Melanie Rosby with Mota and Amy Gur (Century Moreno (President’s Society, Sapphire Council, Lifetime Sapphire Society), during Society) planting trees in Israel. the unveiling of Mota’s plaque on the Wall of Honor at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem for his service during the 1967 Six-Day War.

(L-R) Gary Kushner (Century Council, President’s Society), Ken Krupsky (Century Council, President’s Society), and Chet Stein (Century Council, Negev Society), at the Washington, D.C.–Israel Water Summit.

Orly Shalem (Sapphire Society) and JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson at JNF’s Sderot Indoor Recreation Center during JNF’s $1 Billion Roadmap for the Next Decade Mission.


WESTERN

JNF’S MAJOR DONORS

(L-R) Bob Dubin (Century Council, King Solomon Society), Janice McClanahan, and Shelley Dubin (Century Council, King Solomon Society, Lifetime Sapphire Society) at the Las Vegas Love of Israel Brunch.

(L-R) Linda Copeland (Century Council, President’s Society, Lifetime Sapphire Society), Bernice Friedman (Century Council, Negev Society, Lifetime Sapphire Society), and JNF Director of Planned Giving Cynthia Hizami at the Las Vegas Love of Israel Brunch.

(L-R) JNF Desert States Director of Major Gifts Itzik Becher with Daniel and Sara Schuman (Sapphire Society) at the Las Vegas Love of Israel Brunch.

(L-R) Dr. Robin Mower (Sapphire Society) with Dr. Toby Mower (World Chairman’s Council, Negev Society) at a WFI event in Denver.

(L-R) Evi Makovsky (President’s Society, Sapphire Society) with Mountain States WFI Chair Barbara Burry (Sapphire Society) at a WFI event in Denver.

(L-R) Vivian Grossman (World Chairman’s Council, King Solomon Society, Lifetime Sapphire Society) with JNF Chief Israel Officer Eric Michaelson and Ron Werner (Century Council, King Solomon Society) on a visit to the new JNF Jerusalem office.

(L-R) Aaron Parker (Herzl Society), Alan (L-R) Debra Flaum, Dick Berman (World Chairman’s Council, King Solomon Society), Fisher (World Chairman’s Council, King Manar Sarie, Morris Flaum, and David Lehrer at a reception for the Arava Institute for Solomon Society), and Barbara Sommer Environmental Studies at the home of Debra and Morris Flaum in Tiburon. (World Chairman’s Council, King Solomon Society, Lifetime Sapphire Society) at JNF Northern California’s Yom Ha’atzmaut Community Celebration at Temple Emanuel in San Francisco.

(L-R) Sherri Borax (President’s Society, Sapphire Society) with JNF Campaign Director Sharon Freedman at WFI’s Palm Springs Brunch.

(L-R) Evelyn Binsky (Sapphire Society) and Janet Sheiner (Sapphire Society) at WFI’s Palm Springs Brunch.

(L-R) JNF National Campaign Director Sharon Freedman with Janet Sheiner (Sapphire Society) at WFI’s Palm Springs Brunch.

JNF’s Arizona Breakfast for Israel Co-Chairs (L-R) Marc Kelman (Century Council, Negev Lisa (Sapphire Society) and Jeff Geyser at Society) and Gerald Webner (Century the Arizona Breakfast for Israel. Council, Negev Society) at JNF’s Arizona Breakfast for Israel.

Blue Box Bob with Leonard Hirsch (Century Council, Negev Society) and Dr. Barbara Hoffer (Sapphire Society) at JNF’s Love of Israel Brunch in San Diego.

30 JNF.org Si Eisenberg (Century Council) and Natalie Eisenberg (Century Council, Sapphire Society) at JNF’s Major Donor Weekend in Phoenix.

(L-R) Executive Vice-Chair of Society for Preservation of Israel Historic Sites Noa Gefen with Dayna Titus (President’s Society, Sapphire Society) in San Francisco.

(L-R) Marti Eisenberg (Sapphire Society), San Diego Board President Lauren Lizerbram (Century Council, King Solomon Society, Sapphire Society), and Dr. Frances Lobman (Sapphire Society) on JNF’s $1 Billion Dollar Roadmap Mission in Israel.

(L-R) San Diego Board President Lauren Lizerbram (Century Council, King Solomon Society, Sapphire Society), JNF Chief Development Officer Rick Krosnick, Jane Ottenstein (World Chairman’s Council, Negev Society, Sapphire Society), and Myra Chack Fleischer (Century Council, President’s Society, Sapphire Society) at JNF’s Love of Israel Brunch in San Diego.


NORTHEAST

(L-R) Leonard Glaser, June Schechner, Central New Jersey Campaign Executive Anna Richlin, and Helen Glaser (Sapphire Society) at JNF’s Annual Central New Jersey Breakfast in Short Hills.

(L-R) Golf Tournament Co-Chairs Ari Wise and Ira Steinberg (Herzl Society) with JNFuture Board Member Aaron Tucker (Herzl Society) at JNF’s Bayonne Golf Tournament in Bayonne, NJ.

(L-R) Philadelphia Board Members Jackie Danilewitz (Century Council) and Joseph Wolfson (Century Council) with Regional Director Marina Furman at the Eastern Pennsylvania Golf Tournament.

(L-R) Event Co-Chairs and Philadelphia Board Members Scott Barsky (Herzl Society), Jay Minkoff (Herzl Society), and Philadelphia Board President Robert Kitchenoff (Herzl Society) at the Eastern Pennsylvania Golf Tournament.

(L-R) Eva Schlanger (Century Council, Negev Society, Sapphire Society), Barbara Pick (Sapphire Society), and Louise Dabrow (Century Council, Negev Society, Sapphire Society) at WFI’s Summer Jam in Ventnor, NJ.

Jackie Danilewitz (Century Council) and Steve Collis (Century Council) at the Eastern Pennsylvania Golf Tournament.

MIDWEST

JNF’S MAJOR DONORS

(L-R) Sharon (Herzl Society), Mark, Steve (Herzl Society), Norman (Century Council), and Diane Seiden at the Seiden Family Forest in Israel.

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(L-R back row) Robert Benedon (Century Council, Presidents Society), Peter Fischer (Century Council, Negev Society), Betsy Fischer (Century Council, Negev Society, Sapphire Society), JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson, Andrea Gottlieb, and Pamela Benedon (Century Council, President’s Society, Sapphire Society). (L-R front row) JNF Professional Staff Members Boaz Meir, Adele Raemer, and Marina Furman, with Helene Blumenfeld (Century Council, President’s Society, Sapphire Society) and Eva Schlanger (Century Council, Negev Society, Sapphire Society) at a parlor meeting featuring Adele Raemer in Betsy Fischer’s Groove Lounge.

(L-R) Steve Lavin (Herzl Society), Scott Gendell (Century Council, President’s Society), and Keith Shapiro (Herzl Society) at the Chicago Corporate Advisory Board Insider’s Briefing.

(L-R) Ted Koenig with Harold Kaplan (Century Council, President’s Society) at the Chicago Corporate Advisory Board Insider’s Briefing.

(L-R) Steven Stender (Herzl Society), guest speaker Eugene Kontorovich, Harold Kaplan (Century Council, President’s Society), and Robert Wigoda (Century Council, President’s Society) at JNF’s LFI Breakfast in Chicago.

(L-R) Barry Goloboff (Century Council, President’s Society) with Dr. Inna Vilinsky, and Noreen Koppelman-Goldstein (Century Council, President’s Society, Sapphire Society) at an ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran dessert reception in Cleveland.

(L-R) JNF Northern Ohio Director Mindy Feigenbaum with Sandra Zieve (President’s Society, Sapphire Society) at an ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran dessert reception in Cleveland.

(L-R) Brian Rosenzweig, Elaine Gingold (Century Council), and JNF Associate Executive Director, Midwest Jason Rose at the Twin Cities Passover Breakfast in Minneapolis.

Gail Komisar (President’s Society, Sapphire (L-R) JNF Associate Executive Director, Society) is presented with a gift by JNFMidwest Kim Levy, with Rusti Moffic LOTEM Liaison Alisa Bodner in Wisconsin. (Sapphire Society), Rabbi Steve Adams, and Rena Safer at the Milwaukee Walk for Israel.

(L-R) Harry and Shelly Friedman with Barry Feldman (Century Council, Negev Society) at an ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran dessert reception in Cleveland.

(L-R) Donald and Mimi Chudnow (Century Council, President’s Society), with Wall Street Journal Editorial Page Editor and guest speaker Bret Stephens, Lorraine Mitz (Sapphire Society), Rusti Moffic (Sapphire Society), Sue Carneol (Sapphire Society), and Allan Carneol at a Major Donor dinner in Milwaukee.

(L-R) Nina Paul (Century Council, Negev Society, Sapphire Society), David Gershuny (President’s Society), Didi Almog, IDF Maj. Gen. (Res.) Doron Almog, Karen Palactchi, and Jan Armstrong Cobb (Sapphire Society) at a WFI dessert reception in Cincinnati.


The Central Arava: Your #NoFilter Heaven

JEWISH NATIONAL FUND

#poweredbyJNF SCROLLING THROUGH INSTAGRAM, particularly during the

hot summer months, one’s feed is essentially a collage of travel and weekend excursions: pool-side selfies, beach boomerang videos, the ubiquitous airplane wing shot, and, of course, that perfect summer sunset often with the popular hashtag #nofilter, indicating to the world that the photo was au naturel. These photos, while instilling envy among your followers and friends,

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are a great marketing tool for discovery within the social media platform. The Arava’s desert landscape is an Instagramer’s paradise: rolling sand dunes folding into the endless sky, sunsets in a jewel-toned palette, and mysterious rock formations that beg to have their story told. The natural landscape is quite literally one of Israel’s best kept secrets, waiting to be discovered by tourists, and drawing Israelis looking for a home to lay roots and raise families in the serenity of the desert. In addition to the majestic natural beauty, the Arava is full of awe-inspiring structures, that, when photographed, will undoubtedly make you the coolest of your squad. Take for example Zukim, the artist colony boasting eco-hotels (think toilets without running water and induction ovens heated by the sun), small desertinspired boutiques selling wares ranging from soaps to jewelry, and yearly yoga and film festivals that draw thousands. A visit to Zukim will surely infect you with the Arava bug, making you long for a trip back to the deep south of Israel. It would be remiss not to mention the Arava’s thriving agricultural industry. Aside from the mere miracle that food is grown in the sunbaked desert, the region is home to many amateur and professional farmers, who grow artichokes, cucumbers, peppers, peppers, and more peppers—all extremely photogenic—the majority of which are exported to countries around the world. It’s surprising to learn that Yonash Farms, which grows cut flowers, is one of the largest exporters of fresh cut flowers to Europe. This family-owned company is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit that permeates the air of the Arava. Tania Pons-Alon, an Arava native who works for the Central Arava Regional Council, a JNF partner, said it best: “The Arava has skies with thousands of shades of blue and gray, and clouds that bring magnificent sunsets; desert flowers that bloom in yellow, purple, and pink.” After 10 years living in Tel Aviv, Tania and her husband decided to return home to the Arava to raise their family, where, as she described it, “The simplicity of life leaves plenty of room to get to know the people

around you—and yourself.” Not only is the Arava becoming a hot—no pun intended—tourist destination, offering picturesque landscapes and out-of-this-world accommodations, but the residents of this region exude warmth and a welcoming atmosphere. On JNF’s Instagram page we focus on Israel’s beauty, and the Arava is surely in our rotation of National Geographic-like posts. We always love receiving travelers’ photos—especially spectacular shots of the desert—to be featured on JNF’s page. The next time you travel to Israel, be sure to make the Arava a destination on your itinerary and not merely a stop on the way to Eilat. We can guarantee that perfect shot will make your friends—on Instagram or otherwise—jealous. n Follow us on Facebook (Jewish National Fund-JNF), Twitter (@jnfusa), and Instagram (@jnfusa). For more information, contact Miriam Braun at mbraun@jnf.org.

THOUGHT ABOUT YOUR LEGACY? Pat and Michael Blank have... They named JEWISH NATIONAL FUND in their Will “JNF’s focus on the environment, community development, water reuse, and planning for the future is improving the lives of millions of Israelis each and everyday.” Request a free Wills Guide to learn how to leave your Legacy to Jewish National Fund in your will or trust. Pat & Michael Blank, Boston, MA

Contact a JNF Planned Giving Specialist Today!

jnflegacy.org • 800.562.7526


Rabbis for Israel Reigniting Love of Israel By Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt RABBIS OFTEN SPEAK OF ISRAEL’S importance, for Israel is

future generations. As Ambassador Danon noted in his speech, one of our primary duties as leaders of our congregations and Jewish communities across the U.S. is to not only keep the connection to Israel alive among younger generations, but also to advance the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam—healing the world— among congregants and Ambassador Danny Danon supporters of Israel. I am proud that JNF has taken this important step in facilitating a forum for open discussion and action. Together with Jewish National Fund, RFI will continue to develop and identify new ways for rabbis to connect with Israel. I invite you to join Rabbis for Israel and be part of the transformation JNF makes for the land and people of Israel. n Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt is the rabbi of Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac, MD. To learn more about RFI, please contact education@jnf.org.

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Rabbi Weinblatt speaking at a recent RFI meeting at JNF House

Yisrael—love of Israel—a love for, identification with, and commitment to, the Jewish state. Yes, Israel, like any democracy, has its flaws, but it remains paramount in the hearts and minds of the Jewish people. We care about its wellbeing, its safety, and its future. Jewish National Fund’s Rabbis for Israel (RFI) is a vehicle to express commitment to the land and people of Israel. Throughout its 115 year existence, JNF has done more than any other Jewish organization to help reestablish the Jewish homeland, be it through the planting of over 240 million trees or its successes in mitigating Israel’s water crisis. But for me, JNF’s greatest successes are its various programs that touch the lives of every Israeli, from educational initiatives, water solutions, building new communities in the north and south of the country, and providing state-of-the-art rehabilitative care for Israel’s special needs population. RFI offers rabbis and Jewish community leaders the opportunity to be a part of JNF’s efforts and to stand together with Israel’s supporters spanning across our vibrant community. In June, RFI held its first gathering at JNF House in New York, which included dozens of rabbis and a keynote speech by Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon. The meeting provided a platform to discuss and emphasize the importance of the role rabbis and Jewish community leaders play in engaging with our

JEWISH NATIONAL FUND

a quintessential part of our identity and our collective Jewish family. No matter our affiliation, Israel is an integral part of our souls. We care deeply for the land and the people of Israel. Simply put, Israel is in each person. It is the place where you find your roots and where you learn who you truly are. Jews do not just travel to Israel, they return home. It is my belief as a rabbi, that as leaders of the Jewish community we have a duty to nurture Ahavat


Celebrating a Delectable, Delightful Israel on JNF’s Culinary, Wine, and Music Tour JEWISH NATIONAL FUND’S CULINARY, Wine, and Music Tour

JEWISH NATIONAL FUND

of Israel’s leading and celebrated culinary masters such as Assaf Granit, the distinguished winner of Israel’s Iron Chef competition and co-owner of the iconic Jerusalem restaurant Machneyuda, and Nir Zook, an Israeli superstar TV chef and owner of Cordelia restaurant, Noa Bistro, and Jaffa Bar, participants toured the shuk (outdoor market) and learned how to select premier ingredients for sumptuous and delectable meals. The many stalls of brightly colored fruits and vegetables, freshly picked from the field, undoubtedly lend a hand to creating delectable culinary dishes for every palate. Coupled with food prep and lavish plating presentations, each meal was a once-in-a-lifetime gastronomic experience. Authenticity was the key to this year’s tour. Israel’s vibrant multi-cultural and multireligious landscapes were explored by all the senses, especially through touch and taste as the participants chopped, diced, and supped alongside Israel’s leading chefs and wine sommeliers, who offered insight into the country’s growing boutique wineries and the fine pairing of wine to food. Further enriching the tour were iconic coffee roasting, wine bottling, and dessert making adventures, while cultural diversity was enjoyed via Israel’s vast and unique musical sounds and instruments. For many, the Culinary, Wine, and Music Tour has

celebrated its fifth year by bringing 20 Americans to Israel this past June to personally witness the latest in the country’s booming food scene. The group, comprised of business leaders, lawyers, physicians, and other health care workers, traded in work clothes to don aprons and chef’s hats for a 10-day immersion into the daily life of Israeli chefs. Working side-by-side with some

34 JNF.org The 2016 Culinary, Wine, and Music Tour

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Why fund a JNF Gift Annuity? “We are conservative investors. What’s very important to us is the annual income we receive while helping Israel, and how secure we feel that Jewish National Fund is equally conservative in the way it invests this money.” -Alan and Louise Dabrow, Haverford, PA

800.562.7526 • JNFLEGACY.ORG

become an annual journey and an opportunity to enhance their personal kitchen repertoire. Bonding through their mutual love of fine cooking, the group has attracted more than 110 new people to Israel, with JNF showing them firsthand its miraculous work being done throughout the nation. The tour has left participants feeling connected to Israel, rich Jewish history, and, of course, to Jewish kitchens. If your taste buds and knife skills are in need of an overhaul, join JNF in Spring 2017 to team up with a new crop of restauranteurs and experience the bold cuisines of Israel and the Middle East. n For more information on JNF’s Culinary, Wine, and Music Tour, please contact Diane Scar, National Campaign Director, at 410.486.3317 x840, or at dscar@jnf.org.


MEET SAMARA SPILER, 17, a senior at Livingston High School (Class of 2017) in Livingston, NJ. In addition to receiving a silver medal from the National Spanish Honors Exam, Spiler is a volleyball superstar and spent her sophomore Spring 2015 semester studying abroad at Alexander Muss High School in Israel. explore Israel in the most exciting way possible, but they also provided me with knowledge about the Jewish people, which fueled my newfound passion for my heritage and for Zionism. One of the best things about Muss is the experiential learning. There’s nothing like standing in the Golan Heights while learning about the 1973 Yom Kippur War, or roaming around a Druze village and truly appreciating Israel’s diversity. Aside from the knowledge I gained, I also brought home with me a new perspective and a new set of skills. Today, I am a senior at Livingston High School, and every day I utilize all the wisdom that AMHSI instilled in me. I am now more assertive in my opinions; I know where I stand on certain issues and I

“As I sit in a mundane classroom, trapped by four white walls, I can’t help but feel my mind drift towards the classroom I’d rather be in: running around on the beach in Akko, hiking Masada, and exploring the Old City of Jerusalem.”

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“Alexander Muss High School in Israel gave me the experience of a lifetime! As cliché as it may sound, AMHSI gifted me with an incredible opportunity that has helped mold me into the person that I am today. One year later, as I sit in a mundane classroom, trapped by four white walls, I can’t help but feel my mind drift towards the classroom I’d rather be in: running around on the beach in Akko, hiking Masada, and exploring the Old City of Jerusalem. Not only did AMHSI’s teachers— particularly my CORE Jewish Studies teacher—help me

am not afraid to speak out against injustice or support what I think is right. Since I’ve come home, I now view the world on a broader scale. As I prepare for college, I will continue to appreciate my time at AMHSI as the precedent for my approaching independence. My fervor towards Israel has only just begun, and to anyone interested in attending AMHSI: I say do it! Experience it. Learn to love Israel like I, as well as almost 25,000 other alumni, do. You won’t regret it.” - Samara Spiler, AMHSI Spring 2015 Student

ALEXANDER MUSS HIGH SCHOOL IN ISRAEL

ALEXANDER MUSS Calling all AMHSI alumni! We want to hear from you. Let us knowSCHOOL where you are and what you’re up to since your experience with us. Please contact HIGH tsevelow@amhsi.org or call 212.472.9300. We look forward to hearing from you. IN ISRAEL

Samara and friends on a trip in Israel

Don’t let the student in your life miss an unparalleled opportunity! Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI-JNF) offers six-week, eight-week and full -semester study abroad sessions. At AMHSI, students: • Use the land as the classroom on tiyulim (field trips) to landmarks and archeological sites. • Bring all their high school coursework and work with dedicated teachers to keep them on track. • Earn college credits while studying our CORE curriculum of Jewish and Israeli history. • Connect to Jewish life, Israeli culture, and learn independent life skills.

For more information, please visit AMHSI.org, email info@AMHSI.org or call 212.472.9300 to connect with a representative in your area.


Remember the family.

COME HOME FOR A VISIT. Find your unique trip to Israel with JNF!

Spirit of Israel Tour

October 20 - 27, 2016

President’s Society Mission

Optional Pre-Mission to Amsterdam: November 2-6

November 6 - 10, 2016

Discover Israel in a whole new light. Experience its history, heritage, and culture, and connect to the land in an authentic and life-changing way. Enjoy an exclusive opportunity touring through central and northern Israel to see how JNF is transforming the country.

Queen of Sheba: Women for Israel Tour

November 10 - 16, 2016

See Israel through laughter and tears on this once-in-a-lifetime journey for women only, and experience life as our Israeli sisters do.

Israel H2O: A Tour on the Trail of Israel’s Water Solutions

December 1 - 8, 2016

Learn first-hand how Israel transformed from a water-starved country into the most water conscious nation on earth, and how JNF has played a key role in its water achievements.

Classroom Israel

December 19 - 29, 2016

CAARI

January 9 - February 26, 2017

(Canadian American Active Retirees in Israel)

2-7 week program options available

Doctors for Israel Tour

March 26 - 30, 2017

50th Anniversary of Jerusalem’s Reunification Mission

May 21 - 30, 2017

Culinary, Wine, and Music Tour

Four program options available

June 9 - 17, 2017

Explore and discover Israel’s past, present, and future with educators from Alexander Muss High School in Israel. Recommended for ages 25-75. Looking for something different this winter? Capture Israel’s spirit through rewarding community service, touring the land, and participating in a Speakers Forum. Join JNF for a one-of-a-kind opportunity exploring Israel’s unique healthcare system and innovative medical breakthroughs. Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem on this once-in-a-lifetime, exclusive trip to Israel with JNF. Explore the sights, sounds, and aromas of Israel’s rich food, wine, and music scene.

For more information, contact 877.JNF.TOUR (877.563.8687) or visit jnf.org/travel


Byachad Fall 2016