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Our Pride, Our Joy,

URE T U F r u O

Today Sign up ence Confer l a n o i t Na ati, OH CinciNn -19, 2011 Sept 18 / NC E-mail us at B'Yachad 路 42 East 69th Street New York, NY 10021-5093




Inside this Issue 5

Dear Reader, The future of Israel depends on the next generation, and the next generation depends on Jewish National Fund. In this issue, learn how JNF projects are directly shaping the future of our children in Israel. From a group of students helping to design part of the Be’er Sheva River Park; to children with disabilities experiencing nature through educational activities; to young adults in the Negev who now have a community center of their own, this issue brings you stories straight from the heart of the Israeli children impacted by JNF’s work. Turn to pages 1621 to learn how JNF remains dedicated to improving the quality of life for the children in Israel. We hope you enjoy this issue. Have something to say? Don’t be shy! Send your feedback to

Project Spotlight: Carmit The new community of Carmit, currently under development, will play a central role in redefining the image of Israel’s southern region.

11 H onoring

Three of Israel’s Finest

Three firefighters – Danny Hayat, Uri Samendayev and 16-year-old Elad Riven – lost their lives fighting the December Carmel Forest fire. Ariel Kotler pays tribute to their sacrifice and the commendable work of Israel’s Fire & Rescue Services.


Water Mission

The JNF Parsons Water Fund Board went on its first-ever Road Show Convention to explore the possibility of regional collaboration to solve water issues facing the Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians.


Regards, B’Yachad Editorial Staff

Our Pride, Our Joy, Our Future

Through projects like the Sderot Indoor Recreation Center, JNF-Yerucham Young Adult Community House, and the Children Plan a Park program, JNF has touched the lives of thousands of Israeli youth. Hear about their experiences firsthand.


Bangor, Maine Door-to-Door Pushke Drive Bangor, Maine’s annual Door-to-Door Pushke Drive brings fundraising to a personal level.

Winner of AJPA Rockower Award for Excellence

Cover Photo Credit: Amnon Gutman


Printed on recycled paper with vegetable-based ink


Jewish National Fund (JNF) began in 1901 collecting coins in blue boxes to purchase land and return the Jewish people to their homeland. In over 109 years, JNF has evolved into a global environmental leader and become the central address for partnering with the land and people of Israel. JNF has planted 250 million trees; built over 1,000 parks and recreational areas; constructed security roads; educated students around the world about Israel; created new communities so that Jews from around the world would have a place to call home; discovered new means of growing plants under arid conditions, bringing green to the desert; and built nearly 220 reservoirs and water recycling centers, increasing Israel’s water supply by 12%. Today, JNF is supporting Israel’s newest generation of pioneers by bringing life to the Negev Desert, Israel’s last frontier. A United Nations NGO, JNF sponsors international conferences on desertification, shares afforestation techniques, and funds research on arid land management. JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers. For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit

Moms Get All Fired Up

Moms for Israel has successfully supported numerous programs, including sending over 500 Israeli children from southern Israel to summer camps, far away from Hamas-launched missiles; supporting sports, arts, dance and educational programs at the JNF Sderot Indoor Recreation Center; and sponsoring Cara-

Stanley M. Chesley I LOVE KIDS. I love how they think, how they see the world, how they make you look at things anew. I love their optimism, their cheerful ways, their boundless energy and the promise they hold. By definition, children represent the future; by our actions, they can take hold of that future and make it their own. As you read this publication you will see and feel how your dollars, JNF’s hard work, and our joint commitment are really making a difference in Israel for the next generation. We are giving them a brighter today – one filled with education, training, empowerment, a sense of security, and everything they need to become future leaders. Our young people are no less important on this side of the ocean. There is nothing more powerful or more transformative for anyone than a trip to Israel, and JNF has the best choices to get there – one to fit any pocket and any age. Consider this: a hike up Masada and an understanding of what took place there will remain forever imprinted onto a person’s psyche, far outlasting the memories of a Caribbean cruise. A semester at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI), 10 days on a Taglit-Birthright Israel trip, a week on Alternative Spring Break – these experiences can shape a future. I have never met a young person who has returned from Israel the same as before they went – my grandson included. Before the trip he recently took with me and the rest of my family, he had been ambivalent about the Israel he only heard about in the media; now he is contemplating spending a semester at an Israeli university. A mind transformed! Israel has a magic about it. It has a feel, you get a rush. We have to make sure this opportunity is available to all our children. Join me, join JNF as we create active Zionists and as we remain steadfast in our commitment to build and secure the Jewish homeland for generations to come.

van for Democracy speakers at local high schools to prepare American children to defend themselves against anti-Israel sentiment they may face in college. This year, the campaign hopes to change the lives of Israeli high school students who wish to volunteer in Israel’s Fire and Rescue Services by raising money to sponsor participants. Each volunteer must be outfitted with specialized protective gear, making the Fire Scouts program costly to run. It has

therefore remained small – approximately 350 scouts are enrolled throughout Israel – despite the fact that many students are interested in participating. A contribution of $1,800 will completely outfit one scout with state-of-the-art protective clothing that meets stringent safety standards, including coats, pants, heavy-duty suspenders, gloves, helmets, and boots. For information, contact Elisa Frankel at 212-879-9305 ext. 297 or efrankel@jnf. org, or visit


Supporting the Moms for Israel campaign exemplifies the power of women and the strong pull we have as mothers to help children.

A MEssage from Our President Jewish National Fund

Last December, the world got a glimpse of the bravery of Israel’s first responders when they risked their lives fighting the Carmel fire, the worst in Israel’s history. They all demonstrated sacrifice, commitment and determination under tragic circumstances, but one hero in particular, 16-year-old Elad Riven, a volunteer Fire Scout who died trying to save others, has captured the hearts of JNF’s Moms for Israel campaign. This year, JNF Moms for Israel has chosen to help support and expand the Fire Scouts program through the JNF-Friends of Israel Firefighters (FIF) Fire Scouts sponsorship fund established in Elad’s memory. “Supporting the Moms for Israel campaign,” said Dr. Carol Ford Freidkin, national chair of JNF’s Sapphire Society, “exemplifies the power of women and the strong pull we have as mothers to help children. Hundreds of women across the country gather each year and we, above all people, understand how important it is to come together and support our children, both in Israel and the United States. Sponsoring the Israeli Fire Scouts is especially meaningful at this time as we remember Elad Riven who gave his life doing what he loved and provide a transformative experience for other Israeli high school students.” When the fires broke out in the Carmel forest, Elad Riven wasted no time heading to offer his help. He gathered his firefighting gear and waved down a passing fire truck. As you’ll read on page 11, the fire truck was called to the scene of the tragic bus fire, where Elad, only 16, lost his life trying to save others.

The Fire Scouts program, established in 1959 by Israel’s Fire and Rescue Services, gives high school students the opportunity to fulfill their community service requirements by volunteering at their local fire stations. The transformative program instills in its participants the value of helping others, shaping them into better citizens and better people. Volunteers learn that they are responsible not just for themselves but for their entire crew, their family at the fire station, and the residents of their community. They experience success and failure and understand what it means to be part of a team. “It is so gratifying to save lives,” said Shoshi Mishali, a firefighter in Jerusalem and a single mother of a one-year-old. “To know that when you arrive on the scene, it’s all up to you. “I fought in the Carmel fire, and we drove through the Beit Oren road many times and saw the burned bus. It was so hard for me. The idea that 44 people lost their lives there is something that as a firefighter you just can’t get past. It stays with you forever. Of course, with more equipment, we could save more lives.” JNF Moms for Israel is a grassroots campaign that has brought together thousands of women across the country and the world. Over the past three years, JNF

Plant a Tree in Israel Today

by the Numb3rs

Honor or Memorialize a Loved One



young adults


have used the JNF-Yerucham Young Adult Community House since its opening in 2010.


Israeli children

have received informal educational programming from Green Horizons over the past 30 years.




of all ages with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities participate in LOTEM, Integrated Nature Studies activities each year.


of children and

teenagers in the Sderot area have a fun, safe place to hang out at the JNF

Sderot Indoor Recreation Center.

When I want to memorialize a loved one, or someone close to a friend of mine, I plant a tree in their honor—in Israel with Jewish National Fund. JNF makes it so easy. I just go online to place my order, JNF sends a beautiful certificate, and a tree is planted in Israel. People respond to having a tree, a living thing, planted in Israel by someone who cares about them. I know how much I appreciated receiving this expression of sympathy when my father passed away. Give the gift that keeps on growing. Plant a tree with JNF.

A living tribute to your friends or loved ones memorials • new baby • birthdays • anniversaries • b’nai mitzvah weddings • retirement • new home • graduation Want to save 44% on your tree purchases? Sign up for an E-Z Tree account.

Order by calling 1-800-542-TREE (8733) or visiting

Over the past



the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel’s (SPNI) Children Plan a Park program has enabled local children in Be’er Sheva to become active partners in planning the Be’er Sheva River Park.

The 9/11 Living Memorial in Jerusalem is the only place outside of New York that recognizes the names of

nearly 3,000 people who were killed on 9/11 as well as their countries of origin.

Project Spotlight: Carmit

Campaign Update

Redefining the Negev

Marc Kelman, vp, Campaign

Artist’s rendering of aerial view of Carmit

the northern Negev; nearly 230 families participated. Located just outside of Be’er Sheva and less than an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Carmit is planned as a modern, diverse, progressive community that will play a central role in redefining the image of Israel’s southern region. It was founded through a partnership between JNF, the OR Movement, and the Israeli government to offer an attractive alternative to the cities and towns of central Israel. The goal is to integrate new immigrants with native Israelis from throughout the country in order to strengthen the economic fabric of the Negev and bring investment, businesses, and other important resources to the region. So far, this goal is being met. Of the families who purchased the first housing plots, 18 are olim (immigrants to Israel), 34 are from the center of Israel, 29 are children of residents of the nearby town of Metar, and 35 live in other

areas of the Negev. During the first month and a half of marketing alone, nearly 900 people called to express interest in the lottery. Groundwork is underway on Carmit’s inaugural neighborhood and residents are expected to move into their homes at the end of 2013. A 30,000 square foot community complex will feature The Levitt Family Synagogue, a day care center, library, youth club and various other facilities. Carmit will also boast a sprawling central park open to the entire region and a beautiful landscaped entranceway that will greet visitors and prospective residents. A total of 235 housing plots will be marketed in 2011. After its final phase of development, Carmit’s population is expected to exceed 2,500 families. For information, visit

Campaign All-Star: Simon Eisenberg successfully chaired a festival that attracts 3,000 people. During his presidency he motivated board members to Simon “Si” Eisenberg reach higher goals, and as National Campaign Chairman, gives 100% of himself he recruited more local chairpersons across the country as he strives to make the than anyone had before. world a better place. “If you want a job done and done right, everyone knows A motivator, organizer, you call Si,” said Marc Kelman, Vice President of Camand leader whose unwaver- paign. “Not only is he conscientious and thorough, but he ing support and leadership is a pleasure to work with.” has had an enduring imSaid Ted Kort, Arizona Regional Director: “Si has come pact on the land and people into the JNF office once or twice every week since he beof Israel, Si is this issue’s came involved. He makes calls, attends meetings, runs JNF Campaign All-Star. errands – whatever we need at the time. No job is too big A resident of Phoenix, AZ, Si joined JNF’s board in or too small. He and his wife Natalie believe in giving back 2000 and became immediately immersed in the organiza- with their time and money. One follows the other. They are tion, taking on such roles as Campaign Chair of the annual very generous with both.” $1 million campaign, Treasurer, Vice President, and then Congratulations to Simon eisenberg! President from 2007 through 2009. For two years he also A most dedicated and productive JNF volunteer,


On March 14, a lottery was held for the first 116 housing plots in Carmit, a new community being developed in


Artist’s rendering of The Levitt Family Synagogue

Imagine living in a city where your children can’t play outside. Not because of the weather but because it is too dangerous. For eight years, this was the reality in Sderot until JNF built an indoor recreation center in just 10 months’ time and gave the children of Sderot a safe place to play. When we see a need for the people of Israel, JNF is there with a solution. I have seen first-hand the joy that JNF brings to the children of Israel. Two years ago I was in Sderot for the dedication of the rec center. I was able to witness the children running and playing in their new “safe space.” This includes play equipment, a basketball court and soccer field, a movie theater, video games, a climbing wall, snack bar, and many other amenities. Bomb shelters doubling as play areas line the perimeter so no one is more than 15 seconds away from safety should the sirens go off. At the dedication, grateful parents were coming up to me to thank me and express their appreciation for what JNF did for their children. Imagine having a child with disabilities who is unable to take advantage of the recreational facilities a local park has to offer. Again, JNF saw a need and provided the answer. Parks are now being equipped with special play equipment and other facilities to accommodate those with special needs. JNF is dedicated to improving the lives of all Israelis, especially children. My visit to Red Mountain Therapeutic Riding Center is one I will always remember. I watched a young boy named Josh, who has cerebral palsy, taking his weekly hour-long riding session. The smile on his face is something I won’t forget. Just as gratifying was meeting his mother. When she found out that I was there with JNF, she could not thank me enough for what JNF has done for her son. She said that this single hour of riding was the happiest hour of the week for her son. When I hear comments like this and feel the gratitude of parents, I really appreciate that the work JNF does makes a difference in the lives of Israeli children. Every individual matters and every life deserves enrichment. In the world of JNF, all citizens are equally important. This is something of which we can all be proud.

Jewish National Fund

Across the country For info on upcoming JNF events, visit and click on “JNF in Your Area”

JNF Across the country

  New England Zone

  Southern Zone


  Los Angeles Zone










6 2





New england Zone

Southern Zone

Los Angeles Zone

1 (L-R) Regional Director Sara Hefez, Boston President Bob Cohan, JNFuture co-chair Gail

1 JNF and Hadassah brought JNF-KKL firefighter Aviram Zuck to the Levine JCC in Charlotte,

1 (L-R) Mort and Toby Mower, and Fred and Dina Faramarzi at a parlor meeting about Israel’s

Schwartz, and speaker David Goodtree at JNFuture’s “Leveraging Israeli Innovation in Massachusetts” event, hosted by New England President Lawrence Cohen.

2 New England’s Lawyers for Israel hosted Israeli firefighter Moshe Geffen for a round-table discussion about the Carmel fire and its aftereffects. Moshe thanked JNF for its incredible support of the Israeli firefighters. (L-R) Boston President Bob Cohan, Moshe Geffen, Lawyers for Israel Chair James Zuckernik, and Mark Furman, event host and board member.

3 Physicians welcomed Israeli firefighter Moshe Geffen at a parlor meeting hosted by Doctors

for Israel Society Chair and board member Dr. Russell Donnelly and his wife, Dr. Sheila Statlender. Geffen, also a paramedic, addressed the importance of medical response teams in Israel. (L-R) Russell Donnelly, Sheila Statlender, and Moshe Geffen.

Blank, board member Martin Lowenthal and Regional Director Sara Hefez at JNF’s Advisors breakfast, chaired by Ralph Rotman and Judy Mendel. The featured speaker was Dr. John Deutch, the former head of the CIA and MIT professor.

“The Greening of Israel – Creating a Better Future.” (L-R) Beverly Held, Dr. Ra’anan Gissin, Gil Held, Hillel Kaplan, and David Frolich, President of Jewish Federation of Macon and Middle Georgia.

nick, Sunny Russ, and Los Angeles Board President Larry Russ at the JNF Annual Breakfast in support of the Friends of Israel Firefighters.

3 Western Galilee Fire Chief Amir Levy, JNF/FIF donors Elaine and Larry Friedman and Ariel Kotler at the JNF Los Angeles breakfast.

in Hattiesburg, MS to listen to Dr. Ra’anan Gissin speak about the greening of Israel and learn about the role of JNF in creating a better future for Israel. (L–R) Ronnie Porat, Israel Emissary, Marvin Shemper, Dr. Ra’anan Gissin, and Rabbi Uri Barnea.

5 Judy and Seth Eskind hosted Dr. Ra’anan Gissin in Nashville, TN, where he spoke about

the green work that JNF has been doing in Israel. (L-R) Ronnie Porat, Israel Emissary, Seth Eskind, Judy Eskind, Dr. Ra’anan Gissin, and Beth Gluck, Southeast Regional Director.

6 Ann Kahn and Denny Rogers hosted a JNF brunch in Dallas, TX, where guests listened to Dr. Ra’anan Gissin speak about the greening of Israel and about the amazing work that JNF has done through the years. (L-R) Ronnie Porat, Israel Emissary, Geri Shatz, JNF National Secretary, Ann Kahn, Dr. Ra’anan Gissin, and Denny Rogers.

4 Joel and Leah Kabaker gathered at an event hosted at the home of Mark and Lynn Egerman with guest speaker Hezi Levi, Training Chief of the Haifa Fire Department. Hezi spoke about the Carmel fires and the dire need for new and updated fire equipment and stations all over Israel.

3 C olumbia, SC Jewish Day School students raised their Blue Boxes, which they used to

4 Fifty members of the Southern Mississippi Jewish Community came to Temple B’nai Israel

5 O ver 100 attendees joined JNFuture’s New England Leadership Cabinet Members: (L-R,

water crisis.

2 (L-R) Shari Weiner, Tom Morgan, Alyse Berkeley, JNF Chief Development Officer Rick Kros-

2 Congregation Sha’arey Israel in Macon, GA hosted Dr. Ra’anan Gissin for a lecture entitled,

collect coins for JNF’s Operation Carmel Renewal: From Black to Green. Significant funds were raised during the campaign between Chanukah and Tu Bishvat which was initiated and led by Mr. John Baker and included Tree of Life and Beth Shalom Sunday schools as well.

4 (L-R) National Campaign Director Sharon Freedman, executive board member Michael

back) Josh Rosenfield, Dan Rudoy, Seth Cohen, Zev Steinmetz, Alex Bloom, and Alex Schuman; (L-R, front) Gail Schwartz and Michelle Parsons. The group officially kicked off 2011 at their Tu Bishvat event with featured speaker David Goodtree.

NC. With over 70 community members in attendance, Aviram gave a presentation about the Carmel fires and was presented with a gift from the Charlotte community towards JNF’s Operation Carmel Renewal. (L-R) Hadas Kasher, President of Charlotte Hadassah Chapter; Aviram Zuck, Beth Gluck, Director of Southeast Region, and Patricia Johnson, Hadassah Committee.

Florida Zone









JNF Across the country











Florida Zone

1. (L-R) Miami-Dade Board of Directors members Rosalie Schlaen, general campaign chair, and Ron Kriss at a board meeting.

2. Neil and Jeanne Braverman with family, friends, and keynote speaker JNF CEO Russell Robinson at the Tree of Life™ Dinner in Naples. (L-R, standing) David Braverman, Glen Schwartz, Russell Robinson, Steven Braverman, Allan Zachariah. (L-R, seated) Neil and Jeanne Braverman, and Melissa and Dr. Ramon Gonzalez.

3. David and Edie Chaifetz from Sarasota and Connecticut with family members during their trip to Israel for grandson Noah Adelstein’s bar mitzvah. Major General Doron Almog (far right) told them of his personal story to help establish and build the village of Aleh Negev.

4. (L-R) Major General Gadi Shamni, Israel Defense and Armed Forces Attaché to the US and Canada, Hadas Shamni, and Esther and Bob Heller at the Sarasota Tree of Life™ dinner.

5. (L–R) Beth Glickman Morris with Tampa Bay Board Co-President Mark Miller, Tampa Bay Board Co-President Betsy Marcadis, and board members Linda Bialow, Mary Ellen Hogan, Tina Gordon, and Ida Raye Chernin.

6. (L-R) Rabbi Noah Chertoff, Rabbi Sheldon Harr, and JNF Broward Board of Directors members Lance Ross and Alan Cohn at a JNF breakfast.

7. (L-R) Major General Gadi Shamni, Hadas Shamni, and Bruce Gould, Florida Zone president, at the Sarasota Tree of Life™ Award Dinner.

8 (L-R) Debbie Meline and her parents, Audrey and Sam Meline enjoyed an Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI) event.

9 (L-R) Jeff and Lesli Rosenblatt, Louis and Adi Reinstein, and Joel Reinstein at the AMHSI event at Passion Night Club/Seminole Hardrock in Hollywood. 10. (L-R) Albert and Susan Waksman, Major General Gadi Shamni, Tampa Bay Co-President Betsy Marcadis, and Dr. Abe Marcadis during an insightful Sunday brunch in Tampa.

11. (L-R) Rochelle and Paul Koenig and Selig Golen at a parlor meeting held at the Weston home of Vivian Grossman. 12. Stacey and Mark Gendal at the AMHSI event at the Seminole Hardrock in Hollywood.

13. (L-R) Benjamin Sherry, Noah Roberson, Miami Dolphins defensive end Ryan Baker, Jared Queen and Ophir Rachimi at the JNF Mitzvah project football game of best friends Evan Rosenblatt and Max Agronin. Funds raised went to the Sderot Indoor Recreation Center. The game took place on the field of David Posnack Hebrew Day School where Evan and Max are students.

14. (L-R) Claude Ades and Skeets Friedkin enjoyed an afternoon at the JNF “Taste and Talk” event with featured speaker forest supervisor Aviram Zuck.

15. (L-R, seated) Marilyn Gardner, committee member, and Sheila Lamel. (L-R, standing)

Skeets Friedkin, committee member, Ruth Sandler, event host, and forest supervisor Aviram Zuck during the JNF “Taste and Talk” event at the Pavillion in Boca Raton hosted by Ruth Sandler and Florence and Stephen Soble.

16 (L-R) Roger Benjamin, JNF Palm Beach Board member, and forest supervisor Aviram Zuck discussed the Carmel forest fire in Israel at the home of Linda and Roger Benjamin in Palm Beach.

Western Zone

JNF Across the country










8 10









Western Zone

1 (L–R) Sherri Van Mindeno, Bernice Friedman, Norma Friedman, and Helen Feldman at the JNF Sunday Brunch on the East Side in Henderson, NV.

2 (L–R) Adi Mor, Bob Dubin, and Cassie Mor at the JNF Sunday Brunch on the East Side in Henderson, NV.

3 (L-R) Dr. Bill Silvers and Cindy Levin opened their home for the 1st Annual Mountain States Region Tu Bishvat Seder in Denver, CO. (Vicky Kelman Photography)

4 (L-R) JNF Las Vegas President Bob Dubin, Rabbi Adam Watstein, Joey Frye, Blue Box Bob, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, Rabbi Felipe Goodman, and Judy Berkovitz, Director of JNF Las Vegas, at the JNF and Temple Beth Sholom Operation Carmel Renewal fundraiser and Tu Bishvat carnival. (Photography by Marc Frye Photography, Las Vegas)

5 (L-R) Cantor Martin Goldstein of the Hebrew Educational Alliance and Rabbi Joe Black of

Temple Emanuel led a lively Tu Bishvat Seder for the Mountain States Advisory Board and friends in Denver, CO. (Vicky Kelman Photography)

6 Sixth graders from Tehiyah Day School of El Cerrito, CA and the San Francisco and Marin campuses of Brandeis Hillel Day School planted 93 trees in St. Mary’s Park in San Francisco on Tu Bishvat.

7 Israeli forester Michael Weinberger spoke to the Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School in Palo Alto about the Carmel fires. During his visit he also met with prominent members of the Santa Clara Fire Department and local HAZMAT teams.

8 In addition to planting trees, fifth grade students from Brandeis Hillel San Francisco collected over $2,000 for JNF’s Operation Carmel Renewal and fifth grade students from the Brandeis Marin campus raised $367.

9 Sheila and Ygal Sonenshine hosted a Tree of Life™ Patron Gala dinner in honor of

General Doron Almog and Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran. (L-R) Didi Almog, Sheila Sonenshine, Ygal Sonenshine, Liz Merage and General Doron Almog.

10 Molly Weinberg, Sheila Sonenshine and Liz Merage were named as co-chairs for the

June Orange County Tree of Life™ Gala at the St. Regis Hotel. (L-R) Adele Bilewitz, JNF Orange County Director, Molly Weinberg, Liz Merage, Ygal Sonenshine, Shelia Sonenshine, General Doron Almog and Didi Almog.

11 Fifty-five participants attended the Palm Springs Planned Giving seminar. (L-R) Rick Stein, Palm Springs & Desert Region President, Bob Fey, Planned Giving Chair, Kimberly Lee, attorney with the Desert Law Group, and Matt Bernstein, CFP, Chief Planned Giving Officer.

12 (L-R) Rick Stein, Palm Springs & Desert Region president, Judy Cohn and Debbie Orgen, Women’s Alliance Education Day Chairs, and Dr. Isaac Eliachar, board member and keynote speaker, at the Women’s Alliance Education breakfast.

13 Over 50 people attended the Orange County Carmel Fire Breakfast for the latest information on Israel’s December fires with Israeli Fire Chief Hezi Levi. (L-R) Firefighter, firefighter, Rochelle Sieger, JNF board member, Hezi Levi, Chief Training Officer, Haifa Fire Department, Adele Bilewitz, JNF Orange County Director, firefighter, Joe Hess, JNF V.P. Government Relations, Peter Pflaum, JNF board member, Ariel Kotler, JNF Development Officer, Hazel Pflaum, JNF board member, and firefighter.

14 (L-R) Rick Krosnick, JNF Chief Development Officer, Vera and Lewis Rosenberg, and David Baker, keynote speaker and Senior Foreign Press Coordinator of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office at the Palm Springs & Desert Region Love of Israel dinner.

15 (L-R) Cristina Perelman, Rachel Perelman, Jonah Kurland, and Bruce Goldberg celebrated JNF’s Tu Bishvat Community Walk for Water in Phoenix.

16 Over 40 people attended a very informative Carmel Fire parlor meeting at the home of

David and Miriam Smotrich. Hezi Levi, spokesman and Chief Training Officer for the Haifa Fire Department, gave an updated report on the Carmel Forest renewal efforts. (L-R) Host Miriam Smotrich, Israeli Fire Chief Hezi Levi, JNF San Diego Director Adele Bilewitz, JNF Development Officer Ariel Kotler, and San Diego Board President Mimi Gross.

17 (L-R) Arizona Regional Director Ted Kort walked for water with Ethan Weiss while raising awareness of Israel’s water crisis.

18 (L-R) Mel Bottner and Michael Barinbaum prepared to walk the 3.1 mile route around the Tempe Town Lake to support JNF and the JNF Parsons Water Fund and to celebrate Tu Bishvat with the Phoenix Jewish community.

Greater New York Zone

 Midwest Zone











JNF Across the Country





6 Greater New York Zone

1 Fifty people gathered to celebrate JNF’s LGBT Committee’s inaugural event at the Israeli Consulate. The newly formed LGBT Committee has committed to donating all funds raised in 2011 for a scholarship to the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. (L-R) David Schapira, Acting Consul General to New York Ido Aharoni, Israel Weiszner, and Jayson Littman.

2 Israeli Firefighter Hezi Levi was the guest speaker at a Fair Lawn, NJ parlor meeting at the home of Esther and Stuart Rubinstein. (L-R) Talia Tzour, JNF Israel Emissary, Israeli Firefighter Hezi Levi, Esther and Stuart Rubinstein, and Susan Monane, JNF Northern New Jersey board member.

3 (L-R) Barbara Merson, Executive Director of Shaaray Tefila in Bedford NY, presented a generous donation for Operation Carmel Renewal to Larry Walker, JNF Regional Director for Westchester.

4 The Annual Teaneck, NJ Council Dinner, hosted by Helen and Robert Levine, raised funds for the community of Halutza and Operation Carmel Renewal. (L-R) Robert B. Levine, honoree Rabbi Steven Sirbu, honoree Betty Samuels, honoree Lorna Pascal, honoree Dr. Mark Pascal and Helen Levine.

5 The Women’s Campaign for Israel sponsored a special luncheon and event at Sotheby’s featuring their fabulous Judaica collection. (L-R) Emily Golden, Sheryl Buchholz, and Lenore Rattner.

6 JNF Westchester Region held its first JNFamily event at the JCC Scarsdale. Nina Woldin

from JNF conducted an amazing Tu Bishvat seder using the Haggadah she wrote. Among the attending families were founding members of JNFamily Jeremy Abramson and Michael Kislin. Congresswoman Nita Lowey (center) attended the event.









Midwest Zone

1 Standing in front of Temple Beth Israel’s (Skokie) “JNF tree” are (L-R) Rabbi Michael Weinberg, Lynne Goldman, Barbara Seaver, Gale Nudelman, Cindy Franklin and Steve Franklin.

2 Israeli firefighter Hezi Levi is flanked by hosts Tracy Treger, Chicago board member, and her husband Scott Levy at a parlor meeting at their home.

3 (L-R) JNF Chief Development Officer Rick Krosnick, board member Mike Gold and his wife Linda, Israeli firefighter Hezi Levi, board member Lori Dekalo and her husband Eytan, and board member Bruce Werner at a Temple Beth-El (Northbrook) breakfast.

4 (L-R) Susan Knobler, Elinor Ziv, Patti Schneider, JNF National Conference local Co-Chair Nina Paul, Pam Barnett, Carol Neuman, JNF Southern Ohio Regional President Louise Roselle, Elece Kovel, Southern Ohio President-elect Ron Solomon, David Gershuny, Hirsch Wise, Jan Goldstein, and Adam Bellos.

5 Southern Ohio Region President Elect Ron Solomon, board members Yafa Osona and Carol Neuman, and Go For The Green Chair Yossi Dahan teamed up to increase awareness for JNF’s environmental projects.

6 Jane Eisen and her extended family spent time in Israel at the OR Movement’s “Gateway to the Negev” and took a tour of the visitor’s center in the old city of Beer Sheva. (L-R) Jane Eisen, her brother and sister-in-law, Ed and Brenda Parver, her brother and sister-in-law, Mitch and Karen Parver, and her sister and brother-in-law, Naomi Alazraki Taylor and Andrew Taylor.

7 The community of over 300 came together to celebrate Tu Bishvat at Green Road Synagogue. Volunteers helped children pick out trees to be planted in their uniquely created plant pots.

8 Ruth Fingerhut led the Community Choir of over 60 children in singing Tu Bishvat songs at Green Road Synagogue’s Tu Bishvat celebration.

9 Cleveland board members enjoy their time and service at the monthly meeting led by board president Chuck Whitehill.

10 Dr. Hamid Banooni, co-chair of Michigan Doctors for Israel, led a meeting where plans were drawn up for a special outreach event within the medical/dental community.

11 (L-R) Western PA Regional Director Adrienne Indianer and board member Debby Firestone

at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Annual Meeting. Debby was recognized as JNF’s Volunteer of the Year for her outstanding service to the region.

12 Community Day School kindergarten students and faculty with Western Galilee Fire Chief Amir Levy. The kindergarten presented their tzedakah money to the Chief to aid the Friends of Israel Firefighters and JNF in response to the Carmel Forest fires.

13 Community Day School Student Council officers presented Western Galilee Fire Chief Amir Levy and JNF representative Ariel Kotler with the funds they raised for Operation Carmel Renewal. CDS students raised over $1,300 in just a few short days.

14 At the annual banquet, co-chair Selma Zeiger (R) presented a plaque from the Wisconsin

Region Board to Regional Director Sidney Rivkin (L) in recognition and appreciation of his 25 years of dedicated service to JNF and the Wisconsin community.

15 (L-R) At a special Tu BiShvat celebration event, Gan Ami Beginnings preschool students and

teacher Debbie Silberman presented Wisconsin Region Co-President Enid Bootzin Berkovits and JNF Regional Director Sidney Rivkin a check from monies raised from the sale of their handmade greeting cards and put into their handmade tzedakah boxes. The students raised over $740 for Operation Carmel Renewal following the devastating fires.

16 Panelists at a discussion titled “After the Fire: Creating a Green Israel” included Rena Safer,

JNF’s Wisconsin Region Education and Israel Advocacy Chair. Rena was in Israel at the time of the fire and spoke about peoples’ responses: opening their homes to those whose homes were destroyed and collecting clothing for those who had lost everything in the fire. (Photo courtesy of Leon Cohen - Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle)

Northeast Zone

 Mid-Atlantic Zone

JNF Across the country















10 Northeast Zone


Mid-atlantic Zone

1 (L-R) Marc Leibowitz, Central New Jersey president, and Dan Richter, Central New Jersey board member, at a board meeting.

1 Richard Gordon and Anna Davis, Lawyers for Israel Campaign Chair, raised thousands of dollars to help support Operation Carmel Renewal.

2 Eve Kaplan, Central New Jersey board member, manned the JNF table at the Tu Bishvat Bash at the JCC Metrowest in West Orange.

2 (L-R) Eric Reisman, Larry Amsterdam, and Eyal Talor attended a discussion regarding the rebuilding of the Carmel Forest.

3 Karen Wagner (center), owner of The Bagel Spot, proudly presented a check made up of customer contributions and staff tips collected in a

3 Sgt. Moshe Geffen thanked Shuli Raffel for her leadership in raising $15,000 to purchase helmets for the Haifa area firefighters.

giant Blue Box to restore the burned forest for Operation Carmel Renewal to Michael Weinberger, Carmel Mountain Forest Supervisor, and Lynn Norton Robins, NJ Regional Director, at the Bagel Spot in Cherry Hill, NJ.

4 Carmel Mountain Forest Supervisor Michael Weinberger, was presented with a check from the student body for Operation Carmel Renewal from Lior Algrably, student at Kellman Brown Academy in Voorhees, NJ.

5 Beth El Cherry Hill Hebrew High students Nina Drachman (left) and friends at a hot chocolate drive for Operation Carmel Renewal. 6 Aliyah Furman and Marina Furman, Eastern PA Regional Director, with famous Israeli singer David Broza at his concert in Wilmington, Delaware, raising money for Operation Carmel Renewal.

7 Israeli Firefighter Moshe Geffen (center) with members of the Philadelphia Chai Fund. 8 Israeli Firefighter Moshe Geffen (right) with former Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Joseph Rizzo at the Cozen O’Connor Lunch and Learn.

4 (L-R) Charles S. Fax, Vice President of Israel Action, presented Mid-Atlantic Zone President Baruch Fellner with a JNF plaque thanking him for his leadership as the Washington, DC President for the past three years.

5 Jon Entine, author of “Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People,” delivered an intriguing presentation at the Washington, DC installation of officers. (L-R) Amy Krupsky, Jon Entine, and Seth Morrison.

6 Ruth and Sheldon Weinstein proudly accepted recognition for all their support and guidance throughout the years at a Planned Giving event in Wilmington.

7 (L-R) Selma Woolf, Sgt. Moshe Geffen, Anna Davis and Richard Gordon at a Baltimore event that raised money for firefighting equipment.

Honoring Three of Israel’s Finest By Ariel Kotler, Development Officer, JNF-USA Israel Operations

Elad Riven

Uri Samendayev

On December 2, 2010, the worst fire in the history of the State of Israel broke out. Two high school students

to Learn more about the Friends of Israel Firefighters, contact Ariel Kotler at or visit

Hats off to Hollywood

Elliott Gould

Famed American actor Elliott Gould took to the radio waves and lent his voice and his heart, asking Americans to support Jewish National Fund and help re-green Israel’s Carmel forest region in the wake of December’s disastrous fires.

Best known for playing Trapper John in Robert Altman’s satirical 1970 film MASH, the actor said, “I have a very deep Jewish identity and when I was asked if I would do this, I immediately said yes. Israel is a beautiful country – both inside and out – and if my time and name can help bring back some of what was lost, that’s gratifying to me.” In addition to Gould, Center City Film & Video donated time to record the spots, Neff and Associates wrote and directed them, and CBS Radio in Philadelphia generously donated free air time. It is thanks to JNF Philadelphia board member David Dinenberg that Gould became involved. “What a wonderful experience it was working with William Morris Endeavor, especially Ari Greenberg and Mr. Gould’s agent Tim Curtis,” said Dinenberg. “Without their help, as well as the help of the others, this never would have happened. I am proud to be part of a group effort that is acting for the greater good.”


from the Druze village of Usafia were smoking a nargila (hookah) and left the coal at an illegal garbage dump. The combination of drought conditions, high winds, and a mature forest made this fire unstoppable. It took the Israeli Fire and Rescue Services two hours to evacuate nearly 20,000 people. One of the last places left to evacuate was the Damoon prison, located in the heart of the Carmel forest, which houses 500 Palestinian inmates. To complete this mission, a busload of cadets (wardens who are in the prison system’s officer school) was sent to help with the evacuation process. At 2 pm, the bus was approximately two miles away from the prison when it found itself engulfed in a wall of flames. All 38 wardens, the bus driver and two senior police officers—including Ahuva Tomer, chief of the Haifa police department and the highest ranking female officer in Israel, who succumbed to her injuries later—were killed. The “Emek 9” fire truck from Afula was not far when the call for help came in, and it rushed to the scene. Three firefighters—Danny Hayat, Uri Samendayev and volunteer fire scout Elad Riven—arrived in this truck, which was manufactured in 1982. Unfortunately, after nearly 30 years of service, it was incapable of giving them what they needed to overcome the raging flames. What was a volunteer doing on that truck is the question I am often asked. The story of Elad Riven is one of true heroism. The longawaited only son of his parents, at age 14 he, along with about 1,000 other kids his age, joined the Fire and Rescue Services for his community service requirement. After the requisite 60 hours of training, he decided to stay on as a volunteer firefighter and helped to train others; he even paid for his own uniform. On the day the fires broke out he went home from school, had a quick snack, packed up his gear and kissed his mother good-bye; he was going to help fight the fires. He waved down a passing fire truck and asked them to take him to his unit, but along the way they were called to help the bus of prison wardens. No one even knew he was on that truck until about six hours later, when his mother went looking for him.

Fire and Rescue Services will be better equipped to answer the next call. Thank you for partnering with us to save lives. JEWISH NATIONAL FUND

Danny Hayat

Fire Chief Amir Levy broke the news to his parents. He told me that when he did, Elad’s mother cried out: “You are responsible for my only child. For 16 years we prayed for this son; you are responsible for his life.” Levy told me that he has been a firefighter and commander for more than 20 years, but nothing prepared him for such an encounter. Danny Hayat suffered major burns and fought for his life in the hospital for more than two weeks. On Saturday December 19, the date when his wife Hofit was supposed to give birth to their first daughter, Danny succumbed to his wounds. His daughter was born right after the shiva and was named Ella, after one of the trees in the Carmel forest. She will only know her father through pictures and from the stories her two older brothers will tell. Uri Samendayev grew up near Afula and served in a combat unit in the IDF. Upon his discharge, he felt that he had so much more to give. That’s when he joined the Fire and Rescue Services. He is survived by his wife of three years. After his tragic death, both of his surviving brothers, Adam and Gilad, joined the Fire and Rescue Services as firefighters. This fire will change Israel. On December 2, we all woke up to a new reality. JNF supporters have long known that Israel’s Fire and Rescue Services needs support. Over the last decade, and with your help, Friends of Israel FirefightersJewish National Fund (FIF-JNF) has purchased more than 100 fire trucks and much-needed equipment and built several fire stations and command centers. Now this fundraising has taken on even greater urgency. At a recent breakfast for JNF in Orange County, CA, local firefighters showed us the Grass Suit, used in fighting forest fires. The suit comes with a pouch containing a silver foil blanket called a “fire shelter;” when a firefighter is trapped, he is supposed to lie down and cover himself with it. The grass suit saved the lives of eight firefighters last year in San Diego. Such a shelter would have saved many lives during the Carmel fire. As of February 2011, JNF has ordered 10 new fire trucks and has spent more than $1 million on emergency equipment to ensure the safety of the people of Israel. We ordered the first 100 grass suits for Israel’s firefighters. Our goal is another 1,500 suits. Throughout the State of Israel, the Fire and Rescue Services responds to 80,000 calls annually. At any major car accident, terror attack, home/industrial fire, rocket attack or other rescue situation, it is the brave firefighters who risk their lives to save others. The Carmel fire began on the first night of Hanukkah. On the holiday of fire and lights, 44 people lost their lives. During the eight days of Hanukkah we light a total of 44 candles. One for each person who died. We won’t be able to prevent the next fire. Fires happen all the time; it’s a fact of life. But with your support, Israel’s

JNF’s parsons Water fund Board Visits Israel Water knows no borders. That is a core principle upon which the JNF Parsons Water Fund, a $100 million initiative to increase Israel’s supply of high-quality water, was established in memory of Natan Parsons. In January, 22 participants embarked on the JNF Parsons Water Fund’s first Road Show Convention, a nine-day mission dedicated to the subject of regional collaboration in the Middle East. Partnering with the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, the trip focused on looking for solutions to alleviate the water crisis affecting Jordanians, Palestinians, and Israelis alike; sharing water solutions; and learning about new projects that need funding. “This was the trip of a lifetime,” said Amy Parsons, vice chair of the JNF Parsons Water Fund, “an adventure filled with passionate people, dedicated participants, and brilliant minds coming together to understand the need for regional collaboration related to the Middle East’s water crisis.” Participants felt that they were taking part in an “insiders” mission as they met with ambassadors, ministers, professors, mayors, scientists, engineers, and water experts to assess how the JNF Parsons Water Fund can truly make a difference in the region. “We felt like it was revolutionary,” said Sharon Freedman, JNF National Campaign Director. “The idea of all of us joining forces with our Arab neighbors, working together to try and really make a difference, really understand the needs of our brothers and sisters across the borders, knowing all the while that water issues have no borders—it was very exciting. “Traveling with this group of people, who have each committed $100,000 towards water research and projects, was so inspiring,” Freedman continued. “They are

engaged and active partners in high-level proceedings in the region’s water sector. They recognize the importance of preserving the region’s shared natural water resources and spearhead activities that enhance collaboration between Arab, Bedouin, and Jewish communities.” One of the projects discussed on the mission was the Red Sea – Dead Sea Canal, which, if implemented, would provide desalinated drinking water from the Red Sea to Jordanians, Palestinians, and Israelis and transfer the brine—the by-product of the desalination process—to the quickly diminishing Dead Sea. An economically, environmentally, and politically complicated project, the Red Sea – Dead Sea Canal would involve constructing the world’s largest desalination plant in Jordan, which would provide essential drinking water to Jordanian households that currently receive water only once a week. However, Jordan cannot afford to build it on its own. Planned meetings with the Palestinian Authority, which would have been a unique opportunity to discuss shared problems and potential solutions, were suddenly cancelled. Unfortunately, the stalled peace process has been an obstacle to this important collaboration. The convention concluded in Israel, where the group viewed the Shamir Drill project, an exciting JNF Parsons Water Fund initiative [see next page for update on the project]. “About five years ago, my husband and I met with Shimon Peres,” said Amy Parsons. “At the meeting, he told us that solving the water problem was one of the most important reasons for peace in the Middle East. Our mission continues.” For more information, contact Pnina Dor at or 212-879-9305 ext. 262.

Mission participants on the Parsons Road Show Convention at the Hadera Desalination Plant.

Water Projects Update Shamir Drill At the beginning of March, construction was completed on the second of three aquifer drills at Kibbutz Shamir, thanks to the generous donation of the Gruss Lipper Family Foundation. At the request of the Israeli Water Authority, JNF is directing all of the water from the drills—9.5 million gallons a day—into the Jordan River, which flows into the Kinneret, Israel’s main water source. At the end of the rainy season in February, the level of the Kinneret had risen by just 21 inches, only 62% of the annual average for a drought year. The completion of the third drill, expected to occur at the end of this summer, will double the amount of water currently being pumped from the aquifer. In total, the three drills, a $30 million project, will add seven billion gallons of water per year to Israel’s water economy.

In February, the evaluation of ground samples began from the site of the Be’er Sheva Lake, a 23-acre lake that will be filled with recycled water. The engineering office of the Be’er Sheva municipality has approved JNF’s detailed plans for this $24 million lake and the final permit to start groundwork is expected by late spring.

Constructed Wetlands

Visiting the private residence of Israeli Ambassador to Jordan in Amman, Daniel Nevo. Guests included Reuven Azar, Deputy Israeli Ambassador to Jordan; Robert Stephen Beecroft, US Ambassador to Jordan; Professor Uri Shani, former Head of Israeli Water Authority; Raed Abu Saud, former Jordanian Minister of Water, and Avraham Tenne, head of the Israeli Water Authority’s desalination division.

Having dinner with Dr. Uzi Landau, Minister of National Infrastructure.

Dr. Mort & Toby Mower, Amy Parsons, and chief consultants from the World Bank feasibility study to learn about the Red Sea-Dead Sea conduit project.

Visiting the Nevatim Air Force Base.


The largest constructed wetlands in the Middle East will soon be completed at the Ramon Air Force Base. This innovative $2.5 million system will purify the base’s waste water by duplicating the biofiltration processes of natural wetlands. In addition to controlling pollution, the wetlands will provide 80 million gallons of recycled water a year to irrigate the 7.5 acre park created by JNF and enjoyed by the families on the base. The wetlands will keep this beautiful recreation space green for years to come and serve as a model for efficient water solutions in remote communities throughout the Negev and Arava. The project was made possible through the support of the Crown Foundation, Robert Lichtenstein, and the Phoenix, AZ community.

Water Misson

The Lake at the Be’er Sheva River Park

Teaching Israel to our Children JNF’s Israel Advocacy and Education Department engages, educates and energizes the next generation of Jews through a range of exciting programs. From Tu BiShvat in the Schools and Blue Box Bob to Caravan for Democracy on high school and college campuses and Alternative Spring and Winter Break, we engage the young American Jewish community to gain a better understanding of Israel and form a deep commitment to the land and the people of Israel.

Caravan for Democracy brought David Olesker, Director of Jerusalem Center for Communications and Advocacy Training, to speak to students at the Adelson High School in Las Vegas.

On his Caravan for Democracy college tour, former Israeli Knesset member Effie Eitam addressed AEPi Fraternity brothers at Georgia Tech.

Israeli Survivor star Avigail Perl, pictured with students from the Shalom School in Sacramento, CA, toured the country with Caravan for Democracy to speak about JNF.

For Mitzvah Day at Temple Shaarei Shalom in Boynton Beach, FL, children learned about Sderot, put together a big puzzle map of Israel, wrote thank you cards to firefighters in Israel and gave tzedakah.

At JNF’s Tu BiShvat Birthday Bash at the JCC MetroWest in West Orange, NJ, Raglayim Shel Zahav, the Golda Och Academy Israeli dancers, performed for the crowd.

The Alternative Winter Break trip was the first US volunteer group to assist JNF in the rehabilitation efforts in the Carmel. Alternative Winter Break participants picked oranges with Leket Yisrael, an organization that donates produce to food banks and needy families.

Students from The George Washington University Hillel/JSA celebrated Tu BiShvat and raised funds to plant a garden of trees in the Carmel Forest. Alternative Winter Break participants painted low income housing in Dimona with Amidar.

A sense of empowerment. High self-esteem. Leadership skills. All qualities we hope to inculcate in our children, for armed with these, the sky’s the limit and they can achieve greatness. Most of JNF’s work is tangible—projects can be visited and their value quantified. The next six pages are different though; they reveal the intangible effect your support has on the lives of youth in Israel. Written by the very people you are helping to shape— from 5th graders to young adults in their 20s—the essays here highlight how JNF’s work is enabling the next generation to grow into informed and committed adults ready to put their own mark on the world. All thanks to you. For more information on these or any other programs, please contact Ariel Vered at or 212-879-9305 ext. 227.


As part of my academic scholarship, I joined the “Young Academics” program, a group of 15 local students that meet weekly at Beit ZVI to discuss issues relevant to Yerucham. Having grown up here, I wasn’t sure what more I could possibly learn about my hometown. Throughout the course of our meetings though, I learned an incredible amount and gained a sense of pride for my hometown, something I did not have before.

All of these activities take place at Beit ZVI, a 2,000-square-foot building funded by Jewish National Fund through a donation by the late Jean Filstein Martin and the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee. Since its opening last year, the JNF-Yerucham Young Adult Community House, a $2.3 million project, has already welcomed more than 200 young adults to programs and projects like this one.

my degree in social work so that I can really make a change in our society. My involvement in the Yerucham youth community – which started as part of my obligation in exchange for an academic scholarship – has grown into something so much greater and today I work part time at Beit ZVI while I continue my studies. It is a “home base” that gives anyone with an idea or the desire to be part of something a place to put that into action.

We initiated a community project, the Young Soldiers program, which today numbers 60 participants. After my experience in the army, I recognized the need to support the population of young soldiers. We formulate an individual plan for each soldier which includes improving high school matriculation scores, getting through the university entrance exam, and finding employment. We also spend time on getting them involved socially.

The Young Soldiers program has brought together young people of varying ages and socio-economic backgrounds. We continue to meet new challenges – not just in the quality of our activities but also in identifying needs within the community and addressing those needs creatively to ensure that the youth of Yerucham grow to fulfill their individual potential.

Working with young people requires great flexibility, humanity and, most importantly, the ability to listen to them and take them seriously. I have learned that the more I give, the more I get in return. That is what makes all the effort worthwhile, and now that we have Beit Zvi as a place to get together, I know we are here to stay and will continue to grow as a community.

My daily involvement with the young people here has strengthened my connection to Yerucham and taught me invaluable lessons. I have learned to see difficulties as opportunities and I am motivated and enthusiastic to complete

Yishai Ben Shimol is a 26-year-old social sciences student who grew up in Yerucham. To learn more about JNF’s work with youth in the Negev, visit

Photo by Amnon Gutman

By Danny Wassa and Meir Levy In the beginning of December, we went on a school trip to the Old City of Jerusalem. Our guide was a woman soldier named Yona, from LOTEM, Integrated Nature Studies. We weren’t able to see the Hanukkah menorahs in every window because it was a daytime outing. However, thanks to Yona and Lotem we were able to experience the special atmosphere of the Jewish Quarter. The Old City is made up of narrow streets and passageways. For kids in wheelchairs, this was an adventure. At first we were a bit anxious as we bumped along, feeling every stone under our wheels. But we managed to laugh and overcome our fears together as Yona and our teachers led us through the passageways, some of which were so narrow that we thought our wheelchairs would never get through. She showed us old black and white photos of the area and we were all able to feel how families lived there hundreds of years ago, one on top of the other, with few possessions of any kind. We soon realized that we were sitting in exactly the same spot where one of the photos was taken. What an experience! Our next stop was the Horva Synagogue. We were so impressed by how beautiful it is. Yona told us the story of the synagogue through photographs. We learned how it had been destroyed and rebuilt again and again. She made us feel that we, too, were part of the story of the synagogue and of the area through the pictures she used and the way she told the story. At the end, Yona played the song “Jerusalem of Gold.” It was very sad, but very moving. The weather that day was beautiful. It was so much fun to leave the four walls of our school and to learn new things in an exciting and different way. All the students in Osnat’s class at the Alanot School would like to thank everyone who made this trip possible. Todah Rabah! Danny and Meir, both 20-years-old, have been in wheelchairs their whole lives. They took part in Lotem’s Hanukkah outing to the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem.

touring is now accessible to all LOTEM, Integrated Nature Studies, a JNF partner, is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing people with special needs closer to nature. Today LOTEM is the leading organization in Israel offering field trips, extracurricular activities, and creative workshops for people of all ages with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities, at-risk youth, and battered women and their children living in shelters. 7,500 people participate in LOTEM’s activities each year. Until recently, these activities took place mainly in the north of Israel. In December 2010, LOTEM opened a new center in Jerusalem, which enabled LOTEM to expand its activities to include populations with special needs from Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh and the Negev. It has also allowed them to bring children with special needs from all parts of Israel on visits to Jerusalem. To learn more about JNF’s work with people with disabilities, visit

The Be’er Sheva River Park, a 1,300acre park being built along the Be’er Sheva River, is already generating significant changes in the city’s appearance, image and residents’ attitude to their hometown. As part of the effort to strengthen this bond, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) created the Children Plan a Park program, a unique educational program that enables local children to become active partners in planning the park and act as key players in designing the environmental and social milieu of their neighborhood and surroundings. The program, which has been operating in Be’er Sheva for the past four years, functions as an important platform, connecting residents to their environment and strengthening the local affiliation.

Photo by Amnon Gutman

Children actually Plan Be’er Sheva Park By Haddas Malca, Tal Levi, Eli Alayev, and Rafi Nisimov We love SPNI! We love JNF! As members of the Green Student Council, we have actually been involved in planning a new area of the Be’er Sheva River Park! What other fifth graders do you know who do that? Around the Be’er Sheva River there are many areas where we like to play, run around, and observe nature. Using the tools and knowledge that we learned from park planning authorities, we came up with a plan for a new park area, which we presented to the community and decision makers. Throughout the course of the year, we went on expeditions to the Be’er Sheva River, where we observed insects, birds and plants, and learned about them through books and pictures. We met with the park planning authorities, who taught us general planning principles and allowed us to examine and evaluate existing areas of the park. While learning about the area’s zoological and botanical features, we learned about taking responsibility, cooperation, civil activism, contributing to the community, the ability to influence others, and much more. We even took a school trip and got to teach all the school’s students what we have learned so far.

We know what the literature says. “The Plan a Park program promotes social change and environmental awareness, and establishes a platform for environmental activism. It emphasizes the role of sustainable development, while teaching the importance of public participation to Israeli youth.” What we say is that we have learned so much through the SPNI/JNF program. Implementing the program activities has empowered us and helped us develop our personal leadership skills, leading us to expand our horizons. It was such a special opportunity to be chosen as Green Student Council representatives and to plan an area in the Be’er Sheva River Park, which the whole community will get to enjoy! The authors are members of this year’s Green Student Council at the Yachdav School, part of SPNI/JNF’s Children Make a Difference program. To learn more about the Be’er Sheva River Park, visit

Photo by Amnon Gutman

NURTURING LEADERSHIP AND A LOVE OF NATURE By Ron Hadad Growing up in Ofakim, a small, remote development town in the Western Negev, I felt very isolated. Then I joined the JNF/Green Horizons program (known as Hugey Sayarut in Israel), an experience that has changed my life. I joined the program with eight other children from my seventh grade class. We met once a week and went on hikes once a month. Our counselors taught us basic survival skills, such as how to light fires, how to figure out where north, south, east, and west are, and how to navigate using a map. I found the lessons on nature particularly interesting. I learned the names of different plants and whether they could be eaten or made into tea. I was extremely devoted to the program, even if it meant running straight from school without having dinner; Green Horizons always came first! I started collecting stones from all of our amazing trips. My mother thought I was crazy bringing all those rocks

home, but for me, they served as memories. Our trips have taken us all over the country, helping us discover new places. Coming from Ofakim, which has very little water, I had always heard stories about Lake Kinneret – the main source of Israel’s water – and how beautiful and big she is. Thanks to Green Horizons, I was able to see this amazing sight with my own eyes. The program also opened up my eyes to the country I live in. Before I became a member, I would come home after school and sit in front of the computer or television. I was often very bored and I would pick fights with my brothers and my parents. Today, when I have nothing to do, I go for a nature walk. All my life, teachers and other children have called me “slow,” because I am always distracted and it takes me time to finish anything. Thanks to Green Horizons and JNF, I have learned how to do everything myself – pack my bag, cook food, read a map to know where to go. Recently, I led my first trip! It felt good to lead a whole group of my peers.

Green Horizons has had a great impact on my life. I’ve been in the program for two years now, and I credit it with nurturing my interest in plants and nature. Green Horizons shapes the lives of young children. When I think about the future, I know that I want to continue with the program and become a guide. The way the guides choose to lead the children is so inspiring to me. It has helped connect me to my homeland. I have so much pride for Green Horizons and feel so lucky that I have learned so much from them. Ron Hadad (center) is a 13-year-old from Ofakim who joined JNF/Green Horizons in the seventh grade.

Funded by JNF, Green Horizons is a young leadership program that has provided informal educational programming to 20,000 Israeli children over the past 30 years. Participants build self confidence and independence, knowledge of the country, decision-making and survival skills, and thinking and caring for others. The transformative program serves as a way of grooming better citizens and the future leadership of Israel. For more information, contact Ariel Kotler at

JNF’s 9/11 Living Memorial, set against the magnificent backdrop of the foothills of Jerusalem in the Arazim Valley, is one of the first major international memorials to 9/11 and the only site outside of New York to recognize the names of every victim of the attack. Commissioned and built by Jewish National Fund, the memorial depicts the World Trade Center and Pentagon through sculpture and landscape architecture. The 30-foot high bronze sculpture, designed by award-winning Israeli artist E. Weishoff and donated by New York resident and JNF major donor Edward Blank, is composed of a waving American flag that transforms into a memorial flame. The sculpture is surrounded by a circular, crater-like plaza and reflection area tiled in stone, funded by the Bronka Stavsky Weintraub Trust, which lists the names of those fallen. For opportunities to donate and more information, visit

REMEMBERING LOVED ONES AT JNF’S 9/11 MEMORIAL By Adir Dvir My aunt Alona was like a second mother to me. She used to be with me on Shabbat and holidays, and when my parents would go out, she babysat for me. Ten years ago, on September 11, 2001, Alona was killed in the terrorist attacks. I was two-years-old and had just come home from nursery school when my mother turned on the TV. It was about 4:15 pm and suddenly, the program that we were watching was interrupted by a special broadcast which showed a burning building. My mother says that I approached the television and complained of pains in my heart. She didn’t know what to do with me. Suddenly we saw a second airplane crash into a second tower. It was only much later that night that Alona’s parents were notified that she had been on that second airplane. Before Alona left for the United States, I had gone to wish her farewell. According to my mother, Alona gave me a kiss and said goodbye as she rushed out to the airport. But then she came back inside, gave me another kiss and said, “This kiss is for Rosh Hashana since I will not be with you then.” She left again, and came back inside to give me another kiss, saying, “And this kiss is for Yom Kippur.” Her last words to me were, “You won’t forget me, right?” We both laughed at that—how could I forget her? Alona was supposed to be away for one month, but it seemed as if deep down she knew what would happen. I want to thank JNF for building a magnificent commemoration in Jerusalem for all the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks, and for giving my family a place to remember Alona. The 9/11 Living Memorial is a place for everyone affected by the tragedy to gather and reflect on those who lost their lives. It’s comforting to know that when I miss my aunt Alona, I can come to the 9/11 Memorial and see her name and remember her life. Adir Dvir is 12 years old and lives in Ashdod.

Photo by Amnon Gutman

bringing smiles to sderot’s kids

By Rava Buchbote

The JNF Sderot Indoor Recreation Center, known as the “Mischakiyah,” (Blue Box) is a wonderful and magical place in the city of Sderot.

In our playground, kids can jump around and play in a warm and loving environment, without having to worry that a rocket might fall on us. In the Mischakiyah, there are all sorts of games that kids of all ages can enjoy; it is a place where we feel togetherness and have fun with friends. Air hockey is one of my favorite games to play at the Rec Center. Sometimes I wish that winning the battle for peace was as easy as winning a game of air hockey. The JNF Rec Center is not only about playing. It offers different activities that give us extra strength and support in addition to what we get at home and in school. From artists and circuses to visitors from around the world, all these activities open up our minds to new experiences. Every single person who has donated to this playground deserves a special thank you. Your generosity is the reason that we children are smiling every day in Sderot. Rava Buchbote is a 4th grade student from Sderot.

In the two years since Jewish National Fund’s Sderot Indoor Recreation Center opened its doors, it has become an integral part of life in Sderot, whose residents have endured almost a decade of rocket attacks from Gaza. Thanks to your generosity, thousands of children and teenagers in the region have a fun place to hang out with friends, play games and sports, and receive help with homework. And while the children of Sderot enjoy the chance to simply be kids, the parents of Sderot have the peace of mind that their children are playing in a safe environment. Donating to the JNF Sderot Rec Center: • Keeps the calendar packed with special events — everything from magic shows to disco nights to petting zoos • Makes the center available for birthday and b’nai mitzvah parties, conferences, field trips, and summer camp outings • Provides complimentary therapy services to children and adults coping with post-traumatic stress disorder • Stocks the center with new toys, video games, and sports equipment • Offers programs and services to Sderot’s senior citizens JNF’s Indoor Recreation Center has revolutionized the Sderot community. When the need was urgent, you helped us build the facility in just 10 months. Continued support is still needed to ensure that residents may enjoy the center for years to come. For more information, visit

Mission to Israel is an Invaluable Experience By Professor Mario Garcia


Last summer, I had the honor of being selected as one of the U.S. professors to visit Israel with the Faculty Fellowship Summer Institute in Israel 2010 mission. As a professor, I travel frequently to present my research at national and international conferences, and I have to say that my time in Israel was the best of all; an experience that will stay with me forever. The program was dynamic and academically productive for all participants, encouraging conversation and collabo-


Professor Mario Garcia planting a tree at the 9/11 Living Memorial on the Faculty Fellowship Summer Institute in Israel 2010 mission.

ration between the mission participants and Israeli figures in a range of areas, from history and culture to science and technology to law, democracy and human rights. From early in the morning until late at night, we met our Israeli colleagues and learned about the history, politics, and culture of Israel. Each day we had food for the body and food for the mind. It was a true honor to be able to meet the amazing minds who are contributing valuable research and discoveries to the fields of computers, technology and innovation. We had informative working sessions with the faculty across Israel, including individuals from Hebrew University, Bar Ilan University, Haifa University, Ben Gurion University, and the Technion. Finding common interests with my Israeli counterparts and learning about all the positive contributions that Israel has given the world has encouraged me to explore options to come back to Israel for a sabbatical year or for a summer research. I am grateful to the Faculty Fellowship Summer Institute in Israel for presenting the amazing opportunity to engage in intellectual partnership with my Israeli colleagues. The trip was a wonderful introduction to Jewish traditions and Israeli culture. Our program commenced in Jerusalem at the Western Wall. For many years, I have heard

about this holy place. It was truly an unforgettable experience to stand and watch hundreds of people pray with the highest devotion. Other highlights included attending my first traditional Shabbat dinner and floating in the Dead Sea. From the visits to Jerusalem and all the holy sites to the speakers’ presentations, I found the whole experience to be transformative. When so often in the news Israel is portrayed through political discourse, it was invaluable to meet Israelis as they live their everyday lives: as nice, hardworking people who love their country and who want to live like everybody else—with dignity and peace. Professor Mario Garcia is a professor of computer science at Texas A & M. The Faculty Fellowship Summer Institute in Israel is a competitive two-week academic fellowship in Israel that seeks to link scholars from diverse disciplines with their Israeli counterparts at major institutions for the purpose of initiating exchanges and collaborations. Participants meet with professionals and experts involved in government, industry, education, media and other sectors to understand the many facets of Israel’s evolving national and international policies and gain a deeper awareness of the many challenges faced by the country and the creativity, spirit and ingenuity that Israelis bring to tackling these issues. JNF operates the Faculty Fellowship Summer Institute in Israel program with Media Watch, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) and the support of generous donors. The 2011 Faculty Fellowship Summer Institute in Israel will take place June 19-29 2011. For more information, visit ff2israel. org or contact Rene Reinhard at

Earn up to 11.3% on your money, and 100% of a nation’s gratitude. For as little as $5,000, you can help achieve your financial goals and those of a nation — Israel. S

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Check in with JNFuture chapters around the country

(L-R) JNFuture Chair and event hostess Jennifer Rosenbaum, Regional Director Sara Hefez, and Deputy Consul of Israel to New England Ronit Nudleman Pearl at a JNFuture New England Coffee Tasting event. Denver: On January 26, JNFuture Denver celebrated Tu

NYC: On January 20, JNFuture celebrated Tu BiShvat with a twist at its first Tu BiShvat seder and wine tasting. Over 50 people were in attendance to enjoy the different elements of the seder paired with wines. All funds raised from the event supported Operation Carmel Renewal: From Black to Green.

Jewish National Fund

LoyaLty Program Get Great Savings While Supporting Israel Check out all the fantastic deals: Israeli jewelry, Israeli wine, El Al, hotels, Direct TV, flowers & gifts, and more!

May 15 – Earth Day is Everyday / Sustainable Picnic & Bike Ride, Denver June 17 – Shabbat in the Park, Central Park Zoo, NYC July 24-29 – JNFuture Leadership Institute Mission, Israel August 22 – Hava Tequila tasting, New England SEPTEMBER 18 – JNFuture Breakfast at National Conference, Cincinnati

Los Angeles: On December 1, JNFuture Los Angeles cel-

ebrated Hanukkah at the JNFuture Kings & Queens of Comedy event at the iconic Los Angeles venue, The Comedy Store. Over 50 people were in attendance and enjoyed the comedic stylings of local Jewish comics. All proceeds from the event went to support Friends of Israel Firefighters (FIF). To learn more about JNFuture, visit


BiShvat at its second annual Wine & Trees event. Over 40 people attended the program at the trendy offices of Dining Out magazine. The evening included a brief seder led by the founders of EKAR Urban Farm and a tasting of organic wines with a master sommelier.

Atlanta: On January 20, young professionals joined Dr. Ra’anan Gissin, former senior advisor to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and an influential member of Israel’s foreign press, for an early morning breakfast to discuss Israel’s changing environment. It was an interesting and intimate conversation and part of an ongoing effort to bring young Jewish professionals closer to Israel through JNF and Israeli speakers and events.

Calendar of events


New England: On January 20, 75 attendees enjoyed “Leveraging Israeli Innovation in Massachusetts,” presented by Board of Directors member David Goodtree. On February 16, JNFuture hosted a coffee tasting and presentation by the Deputy Consul General of Israel to New England Ronit Nudelman Perl. The members look forward to a summertime tequila tasting.

JNFuture Denver Wine & Trees

Are You a Member of a Conservative Synagogue? Jewish National Fund has entered into a partnership with United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ). For every tree planted, all purchases from the JNF store and any donation that is made to JNF by you or your synagogue members, JNF will donate 20% back to your synagogue and another 5% to United Synagogue to support congregational Israel programs. To participate, your synagogue must be a member of USCJ. Please contact your rabbi or president and let them know about this program. Details are available at

Help support Israel and your congregation • Pass the word, sign up today! For more information, contact Amanda Levine at or call 516-678-6805 x135.

Collecting Blue Boxes in Bangor



Every year, on the Sunday between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Norman Minsky leads the Bangor, Maine Door-to-Door Pushke Drive, collecting full JNF Blue Boxes from members of his community. “It’s a small town. By calling on people directly, we get 90% participation,” said Minsky. “People won’t turn you down if you come to their house.” The Bangor community has always requested specific projects towards which they can allocate their annual donations; over the years these have included roadside picnic areas and forests. Their current project is supporting a rainwater harvesting program at Kibbutz Shoval, a community that Bangor adopted after World War II. On a recent JNF Budget and Finance mission, the kibbutz unveiled a plaque honoring the community of Bangor for its support. “Norman is an incredible and dedicated leader,” said Sharon Freedman, JNF’s National Campaign Director. “He has raised much-needed funds for JNF from the whole community of Bangor for so many years.” Minsky, a lawyer, comes from a long line of Jewish community fundraisers; his father, Myer Minsky, was deeply involved for decades.

“We’ve never stopped the pushke drive,” said Minsky. “Even though we’re a small community, we collect anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000.” People are notified of the drive at the end of August via postcard, and it’s a testament to the giving nature of the Bangor community that people who have plans to be out of town usually send a check. Synagogues also announce the drive during services. On the morning of the drive, a dedicated group of 15-20 volunteers spends two and a half to three hours visiting 200-250 houses. While there are many regulars, first-time volunteers are always welcome. The next day, a letter goes out to all residents who weren’t home during the drive inviting them to send a check or leave their Blue Box at the local JCC office. It’s these personal touches that encourage the close-knit community’s participation. David Lieberman has been volunteering with the Doorto-Door drive for the past 46 years. When asked how he first got involved, he said, “Somebody once asked me to do it and it’s been a continuous thing year after year. It’s just automatic to me.” Lieberman, who has known Minsky since they were kids, enjoys going around from house to house, usually

taking the same route each year. He is often invited inside people’s homes for a cup of coffee while he counts out the Blue Box donation. Turning 74 years old this summer, he plans to retire from his job as a sales representative for the gift/toy souvenir industry at the end of the year. But he has no plans to retire from the pushke drive. “Absolutely,” Lieberman said, “I’ll never stop doing that.”

(L-R) Norman Minsky and David Lieberman with the JNF Blue Box.

Order the new JNF Blue Box now! The first JNF collection box was actually Theodor Herzl’s hat. At the Fifth Zionist Congress in 1901, Herzl removed his hat and asked delegates for donations to purchase land in Eretz Yisrael to re-establish a Jewish homeland. Two weeks later, the iconic Blue Box, or pushke, was born. Stamped with the words “National Fund,” small tin boxes were distributed to Jewish communities across the globe and numbered over a million by World War II. Their impact was immediate, generating vital funds to develop and cultivate the land of Israel. For many, the Blue Box is an integral part of childhood memories. More than a century after its creation, it remains a powerful symbol of the link between Diaspora Jewry and the people of Israel. To be part of this enduring story, order your FREE Blue Box today at or call 1-800-542-8733. • 1-800-542-8733

Donor’s Bequest Builds Park in Peduel

Evelyn Gross led a very singular and modest life. A

probably one of the closest to her, she didn’t share any of that with me. I was unaware that this was the direction she was going to go.” To decide where the park should be, Carl phoned his cousin Nissim Greisas in Israel. Nissim’s daughter had just moved to Peduel, where it turned out that there were already plans for two parks. “I flew to Israel and visited the area with JNF-KKL,” said Carl. “It seemed like a great idea.” Since the plans for the park were already drawn up, it was

Help JNF Continue its Valuable Projects Through Bequests By Matt Bernstein, CFP, JNF Chief Planned Giving Officer Over the past several issues this column has dealt with some sophisticated and helpful planned giving strategies that offer our donors a myriad of benefits. From enhancing income though our gift annuity program to demonstrating the many benefits derived from donations of highly appreciated assets such as real estate, we have shown JNF donors they can plan for their future while ensuring that the work of Jewish National Fund will continue. We call it a “win-win” scenario. One of the simplest ways to plan, however, is to leave JNF as a legatee in your estate. In this case, all you need do is mention in your will that you would like to leave a sum of money to Jewish National Fund. What better way to commemorate a lifetime of good memories and successes, or perpetuate the memory of a loved one, as well as secure your wishes for the future, than with a bequest in your will to Jewish National Fund? Through your bequest, your name and generosity live on via JNF’s critical projects in Israel, enabling the land to grow and fulfill its destiny on behalf of

Jewish people everywhere. At the same time, your bequest may protect your assets from taxes and other expenses. After providing for your loved ones, there are numerous ways to help JNF’s crucial programs continue in your

Through your bequest, your name and generosity live on via JNF’s critical projects in Israel. memory: important projects in ecology and afforestation; water conservation; building roads, parks and playgrounds; education; research and development; and tourism and recreation. There are several ways to leave a bequest and JNF’s planned giving specialists can assist you in the method that suits you best. In brief, you can leave a bequest as: • Bequest of a sum – A bequest of a specific dollar amount.

• Specific bequest – Enables you to designate a specific asset to be used. • Residuary bequest – After all debts, taxes, and other bequests have been paid, you can designate the remainder of your property to be given to Jewish National Fund. • Restricted Bequest – Tell us how exactly you would like the gift to be used. The gift can be used to fund existing projects or you can start a new project. A JNF Planned Giving specialist can work with you and your advisors to provide specific language that can be tailored to ensure your wishes are carried out exactly as you desire. Here is a helpful planning tip: IRAs, 401ks and other similar retirement plans are among the heaviest taxed assets of your estate. By choosing these as bequests you can save taxes, increase the amount left to your heirs, and transfer the larger tax liabilities to JNF. If you would like more information, call the award-winning JNF Planned Giving Department at 800-562-7526 or email us at We look forward to hearing from you.


schoolteacher her whole life, she never married, never had children, and lived frugally in her Brooklyn apartment. When she passed away in 2007, her cousin, Carl Gross, was named executor of her estate and discovered that one of her bequests was to JNF for the establishment of a park in Israel. Her other bequests included B’nai B’rith Fund, Hadassah, Sloan Kettering Hospital, and Brooklyn Law School. “That she would have these thoughts in her mind, charity-wise, came as a surprise,” said Carl. “Even though I was


The Gross family at the dedication ceremony of Peduel Park

easy to arrange for Evelyn’s bequest to fund the project. Carl attended the June 15 dedication with his mother and his son and planted trees in memory of their relatives. “When we arrived at the dedication, the entire town was there. There were 300 members of the community with their children, balloons, flowers, flags; a celebration in honor of Evelyn’s bequest. My mother had tears in her eyes.” The ceremony was very special, with greetings from residents of Peduel, JNF-KKL representatives, and Carl himself, who paid tribute to his cousin Evelyn. The children of Peduel sang songs and put on a performance. Per Evelyn’s request, a plaque dedicates the park to Evelyn’s parents, Rebecca Solomon Gross and Joseph A. Gross. Said Carl: “I am totally amazed at what has been done with the money. A million and a half dollars has transformed a rocky outcropping into a huge green park with a walkway going up to the pinnacle. “It was very special to observe the tight-knit community of Peduel and know that this cohesive group will enjoy the park for years to come because of Evelyn.”

out & about WITH

JNf’s major donors   Greater New York Zone JNF’s Major Donors


(L-R) Russell F. Robinson, JNF Chief Executive Officer, presented the first-ever JNF Heritage Award to Bob Levine, Vice President of Education (World Chairman’s Council).

(L-R) Michael Feinman, Greater New York Zone Director, Jeffrey E. Levine (World Chairman’s Council, President’s Council), and Sidney R. Banon (Century Club, President’s Council) at a New York Regional board meeting.

(L-R) Louise Banon (Century Club, President’s Council) and Laureine Greenbaum (World Chairman’s Council, Sapphire Society) at the Sotheby’s event sponsored by the JNF Women’s Campaign for Israel.

Susan and Ben Gutmann hosted a parlor meeting honoring the Battle of the Refusniks for Freedom with guest speaker Marina Furman. (L-R) Ben Gutmann (Century Club, President’s Council), Marina Furman, Eastern Pennsylvania Regional Director, and Bob Levine (World Chairman’s Council).

  Western Zone

Amy Iles (Century Club, President’s Council, Sapphire Society), Ed Blank (World Chairman’s Council), and Marta Gutkovsky at the Women’s Campaign for Israel event at Sotheby’s.

Sapphire Society National Vice President Alyse Golden Berkley was the guest speaker at a Sapphire Society event at Rena and Phil Kantor’s home in Las Vegas. (L-R) Sapphire Society members Alyse Golden Berkley, Helen Feldman, Shelley Dubin, Faye Steinberg, Toni Chaltiel and Lara Stone.

(L-R) Adam Milman, MD (Herzl Society) and Robert Feldman (Herzl Society, Century Club) at the Sunday Brunch on the East Side.

(L-R) Judy Berkovitz, Director of JNF Las Vegas, Toni Chaltiel (Sapphire Society) and Victor Chaltiel (Herzl Society) at the Sunday Brunch on the East Side.

  Los Angeles Zone

Avinoam Binder (right), JNF Emissary from Jerusalem, presented a JNF certificate to Daniel Feigin (President’s Council), acknowledging his generous contribution in support of research and education in Israel.

(L-R) Seymour Rife (Herzl Society), Bruce Goldberg (President’s Council), and Si Eisenberg (Century Club) celebrated the accomplishments of community leaders at the Tree of Life™ Award Dinner held at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

(L-R) Burt Kruglick (Century Club), Dr. Carol Ford Freidkin (Century Club, National Sapphire Society Chair), Gene Kay (Century Club, President’s Council) and Lee Kay at the JNF Tree of Life™ Award Dinner in Arizona.

(L-R) Sapphire Society’s Ann Zinman and Cantor Sharona Feller enjoyed a special night honoring their friends Martin and Joan Mollen and Bob Ramsey and Jenny Norton at the JNF Tree of Life™ Award Dinner.

Carole Bolotin (Century Club, Sapphire Society) at a parlor meeting with guest speaker Hezi Levi, Chief Training Officer for the Haifa Fire Department.

(L-R) Joel Forman (President’s Council) and Andrew Gardner (Century Club) at a parlor meeting featuring Hezi Levi, Chief Training Officer for the Haifa Fire Department.

Florida Zone

(L-R) Josh Berkowitz, Miami-Dade Board of Directors member and events chair; Roy Esh, MiamiDade Board of Directors member; Ken Segel (Century Club, President’s Council, Makor), Rosalie Schlaen, Miami-Dade Board of Directors member and general campaign chair; and Ron Kriss, Miami-Dade Board of Directors member at a board meeting.

Century Club members Harry and Anne Grandis enjoyed the Tree of Life™ Dinner in Naples.

(L-R) Valerie and Harold Joels (President’s Council), Bob Kramer (Herzl Society), Brenda Johnston (Sapphire Society), and MeMe Kramer (Sapphire Society) at the Sarasota Gala Dinner.

JNF’s Major Donors

(L-R) Miami-Dade Board of Director members Ron Kriss and Mark Tanenbaum (President’s Council) at a board meeting.


Famed musician and Alexander Muss High School in Israel alumnus Matisyahu visited with Dr. Rob Norman (Century Club) in Tampa.

(L-R) General Shimon “Katcha” Kahaner, Bruce Gould (World Chairman’s Council) and his parents Jeanne and Norman Gould at the cornerstone laying ceremony for the Bruce K. Gould Ampitheatre at Ammunition Hill.

(L-R) Richard Rappaport (President’s Council) and Major General Gadi Shamni, who spoke on the current military issues in Israel at a Sunday brunch at the beach home of Marshall and Ida Raye Cherrin.

(L-R) Broward Board of Directors member and General Campaign Chair Craig Feldman, Israeli firefighter Moshe Geffen, and Broward Board of Directors member and Go For The Green Chair Judi Edelman (Sapphire Society) at the JNF Breakfast at Temple Kol Ami in Plantation.

(L-R) Palm Beach Board of Directors member and General Campaign Chair Mort Fishman (Herzl Society), Palm Beach Board of Directors member Melanie Fishman (Herzl Society), and JNF Israel Emissary Ron Bernstein at the home of Melanie and Mort Fishman during a recent meeting.

(L-R) Palm Beach Board members Irving Wiseman (Century Club, President’s Council), Charles Kramer (President’s Council), Michael Wechsler (Century Club, President’s Council), General Campaign Chair Mort Fishman (Herzl Society) and Palm Beach Board President Art Silber (Century Club).

(L-R) Marshall Chernin (President’s Council), Major General Gadi Samni, and Tampa Bay Co-President Mark Miller (President’s Council).

Shelley and Marty Teitelbaum (Century Club, Herzl Society) at the JNF Annual Chanukah breakfast.

(L-R) JNF Broward Board of Directors member and Women’s Campaign for Israel Chair Vivian Grossman (Century Club, President’s Council), Ofir Fisher, Founder and Director of the OR Movement, and Melissa Ginsberg at a meeting hosted by Vivian Grossman in her Weston home.

Palm Beach Board of Directors member Charles Kramer (President’s Council) and Broward Board of Directors member and Women’s campaign For Israel Chair Vivian Grossman (Century Club, President’s Council, Sapphire Society) at a meeting of the Palm Beach Board of Directors held at the law offices of Shutts and Bowen in West Palm Beach.

(L-R) Irene Spalter (Herzl Society) and Mimi Mileguir at the JNF Breakfast at Temple Kol Ami in Plantation.

MidAtlantic Zone

JNF’s Major Donors

(L-R) Dr. Jim Chisum, Doctors for Israel campaign chair and Women’s Campaign for Israel chair Susan Levene (Sapphire Society) made calls at the Maryland Green Sunday phone-a-thon.

(L-R) Nanci Seff (Sapphire Society) and Lawyers for Israel campaign chair Anna Davis (Sapphire Society) at an Operation Carmel Renewal parlor meeting.

Baltimore leadership prepared for JNF’s Culinary & Wine Mission to Israel. (L-R) Larry Amsterdam (President’s Council), Anna Davis (Sapphire Society), Naomi Amsterdam (Sapphire Society), and Selma Wolf.

(L-R) Seth Morrison (Herzl Society) and Dr. Samuel Halperin (Century Club) at the Washington, DC installation of officers and board members.

Mid-Atlantic Zone Leadership at the “Passing of the Gavel” installation of officers and board Members in Washington, DC. (L-R) Ken Krupsky (President’s Council), Charles S. Fax (Century Club, President’s Council), and Baruch Fellner (Century Club, President’s Council).

(L-R) National Campaign Director Diane Scar, Russell Smith (President’s Council) and Sheldon Sacks (President’s Council) at a recent JNF Thank You Reception.

Northeast Zone

28 (L-R) Anna Davis (Sapphire Society) and Naomi Amsterdam (Sapphire Society) at a meeting raising funds for Operation Carmel Renewal.

Newly elected Mid-Atlantic Zone President Baruch Fellner (Century Club, President’s Council) proudly accepted responsibility for the Mid-Atlantic efforts in support of JNF.

(L-R) Central New Jersey Board members Robert Wolfson and Alan Kirshenbaum (President’s Council) at a board meeting.

(L-R) Rob Zuritsky (President’s Council), Israeli firefighter Moshe Geffen, Evelyn Spritz (Century Club, President’s Council, Sapphire Society, Makor), Philadelphia Vice President, David Dinenberg, and Philadelphia President Rich Cohen (Herzl Society) at the Blank Rome Lunch and Learn.

(L-R) Mid-Atlantic Zone leadership Jonathan Fishman (President’s Council), Maryland Regional President, Baruch Fellner (Century Club, President’s Council), Mid-Atlantic Zone President, and Kenneth Krupsky (President’s Council), Washington, DC Regional President convened in early December to raise emergency funds for Operation Carmel Renewal: from Black to Green.

Israeli firefighter Moshe Geffen with board member Rob Zuritsky (President’s Council) and Rob’s children, nieces, and nephews. Cousins Haley Zuritsky and Megan Boni (center) raised money for Operation Carmel Renewal.

(L-R) Central New Jersey President Marc Leibowitz and board member Andy Rubenstein (President’s Council, Century Club) at a board meeting.

(L-R) Central New Jersey board members Andrew Solomon (President’s Council) and Dora Young (Herzl Society) at a board meeting.

(L-R) Michael Weinberger, Carmel Mountain Forest Supervisor joined Southern New Jersey General Campaign Chair Peter Fischer (Century Club, President’s Council), and Board President Mark Kramer (Herzl Society) as the guest speaker for the 4th annual Beer, Cheese and Trees at Temple Beth Sholom in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Mary Relles, right, (Sapphire Society) with daughter Tami Astorino, grandchildren Eden and Michael Astorino, and Israeli firefighter Moshe Geffen. Michael, 7, raised $1800 for Operation Carmel Renewal from family and friends.

Midwest Zone

New Century Club members Annette Lidawer and Rob Rubin recently donated and helped to hang new wind chimes for the children of Aleh Negev.

With the National Conference coming to Cincinnati for the first time, local leadership is gearing up to make this the best conference yet! (L-R) National Conference co-chair Nina Paul (Century Club, President’s Council, Sapphire Society), Southern Ohio Regional President Louise Roselle (Century Club, Sapphire Society), and Southern Ohio President-elect Ron Solomon.

Pam Barbash (Sapphire Society, Century Club) and Bernard Barbash (Century Club) enjoyed the annual Tree of Life™ dinner in Cincinnati.

JNF Vice President of Legal Society Todd Bailey and Southern Ohio Regional President Louise Roselle (Sapphire Society) participated in Cincinnati’s first annual CLE training for the JNF/Judge Carl B. Rubin Legal Society.

JNF’s Major Donors

(L-R) Firefighter Hezi Levi greeted Regional Director Rick Kruger and new Century Club members Sondra and Max Lorig at the annual Temple Beth-El (Northbrook) breakfast.


Following the devastating fires in the Carmel Forest, JNF Michigan held a community-wide phone-a-thon to raise funds for Operation Carmel Renewal. Israeli firefighter Tsahi Levy gave a first-hand account of what it was like to be on the front lines of the fires. (L-R) Hanna Berlin, Helen Brody, Rina Edelson (daughter of Dr. Leora Bar-Levav), David Cuttner, and Dr. Leora BarLevav (President’s Council), Michigan Region President.

At the Wisconsin annual community banquet: (L-R, seated) Neena Florsheim (Sapphire Society), Selma Zeiger (Sapphire Society), Lorraine Mitz (Herzl Society), and Merle Wasserman, banquet co-chair; (L-R, standing) Linda Silberman, banquet co-chair, Robin Zaks (Sapphire Society), Rusti Moffic, Co-President, Enid Bootzin Berkovits, Co-President, and Eileen Chudnow (Sapphire Society).

Western Galilee Fire Chief Amir Levy thanked Chuck Perlow (President’s Council) for his support of the Karmiel/Misgav Region through The Charles M. Morris Charitable Trust’s renovation of the Acco Fire Station.

(L-R) Fire Chief Amir Levy, Barbara Shear (Century Club), and JNF’s Ariel Kotler spoke about Operation Carmel Renewal in Pittsburgh.

The New England Zone proudly welcomed new World Chairman’s Council members Claire and Marc Perlman. The Perlmans were in Israel to dedicate the Sderot Reservoir, which was the vision of their dear friend Natan Parsons, z”l. The reservoir was constructed under the guidance of the JNF Parsons Water Fund.

(L-R) Michael Blank (Makor, Century Club, President’s Council), Jeffrey Davis (Chairman of the Board, Century Club, President’s Council), National Campaign Director Sharon Freedman, Colonel (Res.) Sharon Davidovich (President’s Council) and Michael Lederman (National Treasurer, Rhode Island President, Century Club, President’s Council), toasted JNF New England’s successful campaign.

  New England Zone

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick welcomed Shai Bazak, Consul General of Israel to New England, at Zone President Lawrence B. Cohen’s (Century Club) JNF Chanukah dinner. (L-R) Governor Patrick, Shai Bazak, Lawrence Cohen, and Laurie Hall.

JNF CEO Russell Robinson proudly presented Amy Parsons, VP of the JNF Parsons Water Fund, (Sapphire Society President, Century Club) with a plaque at the dedication of the Sderot Reservoir, which was the vision of Amy’s husband Natan Parsons, z”l. The event was attended by all of Natan’s family from Kibbutz Kfar Blum.

Steve Aronson (Herzl Society) eloquently presented “Strategic Philanthropy in Family Business” on behalf of JNF at the Family Business Association event. Aronson, president and CEO of Aronson Insurance, shared his family’s business plan for philanthropy as an effective tool to pass down values. (L-R) Steve Aronson and National Campaign Director Sharon Freedman.

Southern Zone

JNF’s Major Donors

Stacy and Manny Fialkow hosted a JNF parlor meeting in their Atlanta home. Twenty-five guests listened to JNF CFO Mitch Rosenzweig’s comments about JNF 2011 annual budget as well as JNF projects in Israel. (L-R) Felicity and Jeff Diamond (Herzl Society) and Abe Levine (Century Club, JNF Parson’s Water Fund Board).

(L-R) Southeast Co-Presidents David Birnbrey and Mechal Perl (Herzl Society), JNF National Board Member Michael Miller (Century Club), Stacy Fialkow, Mitch Rosenzweig, and Many Fialkow at the Atlanta parlor meeting.

(L-R) JNF National Board Member Michael Miller (Century Club) and Matt Lieberman at the Atlanta parlor meeting.

In the Spotlight

30 Lainey Paul, 18, daughter of National Board members Nina and Ed Paul of Cincinnati OH, won 3rd place and a $300 prize in the MERCAZ USA-Canada/Women’s League for Conservative Judaism essay contest. Lainey’s essay considered the social challenges facing Israel in its road to achieving the utopian vision for the Jewish state envision by Theodor Herzl.

For her bat mitzvah project, Kinneret Katz, daughter of Miriam and Michael Katz of Valley Village, CA, has raised over $2,000 to go towards Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), Israel’s largest fresh water reserve that is severely depleted.

(L-R) Ruvik Danilovich, mayor of Be’er Sheva, and Alan Abramson, Board of Trustees member, attended a dedication ceremony at Beit Eshel, a recently restored Be’er Sheva outpost that was destroyed by the Egyptian army during the War of Independence. The ceremony was part of the JNF-KKL 2011 World Leadership Conference.

National Conference comes only once a year • Don’t miss out! September 18 – 19, 2011 • Cincinnati, OH Early Bird Special available now. For more information, visit

Alexander muss high school in israel

AMHSI Teachers Teach From the Heart By Jonah Geller, Chief Executive Officer When I think of children, I also

for tests. But the teachers also taught from the bus, the top of a mountain, on the trail during a hike, and inside caves. Even more impressive to me, and to so many of AMHSI’s 20,000 alumni as well, is that they taught from the heart. They took their responsibilities of child development and education seriously. They shared personal stories. They rarely said “no.” At AMHSI, we are very fortunate to have educators of the highest quality teaching our students; however, they are not the only ones who have a major impact on the participants’ experiences. As prospective students communicate their interest in participating in our program, our regional directors of admissions nurture relationships between students, parents and school officials in order to prepare each student for a seamless academic transition. And in Israel, our hadracha (leadership) staff, including the madrichim, also put in countless hours, creating safe spaces of motivation and inspiration for students to grow on any number of personal levels. The success of our program truly depends on a team effort of everyone involved. As AMHSI approaches its 40th anniversary in 2012, the organization has more than 20,000 reasons to celebrate 40 years of encouraging its children – our children – to pursue a discovery of their Jewish roots and their connection to Israel, all in a meaningful way. So much of this success is a result of our educators and their good work. Albert Einstein once said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” I encourage you to catch up with any of our alumni – ask them how their AMHSI experience helped shape their future.

Session Summer 1 Summer 2 December 2011 January 2012 April 2012 Summer 1 2012 Summer 2 2012

Depart Return June 14 August 2 June 26 August 12 Nov. 29 January 24, 2012 Jan. 31 March 27, 2012 April 17 June 12, 2012 June 19 July 31, 2012 June 27 August 8, 2012

Early decision incentives and financial aid available – visit for more details.

AMHSI Online Community


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think of parents, teachers, and the future. These four ideas are each individually powerful; putting them together in an article, discussion, or strategic plan is a completely different story. President Obama’s State of the Union address in late January of this year emphasized the important roles that parents, teachers and schools play in a child’s education. The education of a child begins “not in our classrooms,” he said, “but in our homes and communities.” Obama asked “whether all of us – as citizens, and as parents – are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed. It’s family first that instills the love of learning in a child.” I have only been a parent for approximately nine years and I recognize that I still have a lot to learn – especially before I comment publicly on the subject. But as the new CEO of Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI), I can submit to you a few thoughts regarding teachers and their impact on children. My first interactions with AMHSI occurred in 1995 and 1997, when, serving as a madrich (counselor) for four sessions, I was fortunate to work with many of the school’s educators. I observed them interacting with our students, consistently going the extra mile to encourage exploration, thought, and growth. These individuals – many of whom are still teaching today – were not your “typical” teachers. Yes, they taught from the classroom, their students took notes and prepared

upcoming AMHSI sessionS Alexander muss high school in israel

AMHSI promotes, builds, and strengthens lifelong bonds between youth and Israel through study of the history and culture of the people of Israel. AMHSI is a premier academic experience in Israel that prepares students for college and beyond. Since its founding in 1972, AMHSI has successfully impacted over 20,000 students. To learn more, visit or call (800) 327-5980.

to search for your classmates, send messages, post announcements, update your profile, and even create an AMHSI forwarding email address for life (! Register at

Customize a Trip with AMHSI

AMHSI works with day schools, camps, synagogues and community groups to design tailor-made programs to accommodate each group’s individual needs. Educational and experiential programs can range from two weeks to five months and feature the renowned AMHSI curriculum and staff. For more information about partnering your group with AMHSI, visit

Travel to Israel with JNF





JNF Missions

Experience More

Executive Mission: Experience all of the beauty and wonder that Israel has to offer on this brand-new 5-day mission, designed especially for busy professionals who can’t afford to be away for too long. November 3 – 8, 2011

JNF Day Tours: Only have a day? Visit the Ayalon Institute, a secret bullet factory established during the War of Independence, the Sderot Indoor Recreation Center, the new Negev community in Givot Bar, and walk in the footprints of Abraham at the Be’er Sheva River Park. Wednesdays

Walking the Land We Love Mission: Take a sunrise hike through the Ramon Crater, under the stars in the Negev and along Israel’s National Trail. Witness the transformation of the Be’er Sheva River into a green lung for the Negev as you experience the homeland as you never have before: on foot! November 6 – 13, 2011

Canadian and American Active Retirees in Israel Program (CAARI): CAARI offers an in-depth view of Israel for active seniors by providing them with the opportunity to immerse themselves in local culture and connect with Israel’s vibrant people.

Lawyers Mission: Experience Israel through a legal perspective. Meet top Israeli attorneys, high-level judges and legal experts. Attend exclusive meetings on the current legal issues involving JNF’s relationship with the environment, geopolitics and civil rights in the Negev. Visit many life-changing JNF projects and experience the magic of Israel. Mission is open to all members of the legal profession. December 18 – 22, 2011

Private Tours: JNF offers unique and personalized itineraries that are customized to suit every family. Celebrating a Bar or Bat Mitzvah? JNF will arrange a special ceremony, celebration, and customized tour to fit your family’s needs.

The Road to Jerusalem Mission: 45 Years After the Reunification: Take part in this once-in-a-lifetime trip as you experience the Six-Day War unfold and enjoy JNF’s VIP status at the 45th Jerusalem reunification ceremonies at Ammunition Hill. May 15 – 22, 2012 To register for one of these unique tours of Israel or for more information, contact JNF Travel & Tours:

1-800-563-8687 or visit

B'Yachad Spring 2011  

Our Pride, Our Joy, Our Future. The Spring 2011 issue of Jewish National Fund's newsletter.

B'Yachad Spring 2011  

Our Pride, Our Joy, Our Future. The Spring 2011 issue of Jewish National Fund's newsletter.