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of the Winner er R oc k o w A P J A 2010 e nce r E x cel l o f d r a Aw n al ni z a t io a g r O in te r s Newslet E-mail us at B'Yachad 路 42 East 69th Street New York, NY 10021-5093




Dear Reader,

Inside this Issue 5

Project Spotlight: Operation Carmel Renewal

JNF’s Blueprint Negev campaign was an ambitious project when it was launched in 2004. Since then, together with our many partners, we have made incredible strides in developing Israel’s southern region for the next generation of Israelis. Thanks to your help, our efforts have improved the quality of life for the region’s residents and made it attractive to people looking to move there. This issue looks at the significant accomplishments that JNF’s work has produced in communities and industries throughout the Negev. Discover the potential of Be’er Sheva as the capital of the Negev. Meet the modern pioneers and young Zionists in the communities of Halutza, Givot Bar, and Yahel who are settling in the Negev. Learn about JNF’s efforts to preserve Israel’s history and foster a positive relationship with the Bedouin community. Turn to pages 16-23 to see the many ways in which JNF’s work has been critical in making the Negev Desert boom and bloom. We hope you enjoy this issue. Send your feedback to

It’s been almost a year since the fire that devastated Israel’s Carmel forest. Here’s an update on JNF’s Operation Carmel Renewal: From Black to Green, as JNF continues its efforts to revitalize the region.

14 N ew

Tree Planting Experience at Neot Kedumim

Thanks to a generous donation from Harvey Hertz, hundreds of thousands of people will be able to enjoy the tree planting experience outside of Jerusalem at the JNF Harvey Hertz Ceremonial Tree Planting Center at Neot Kedumim, the world’s only biblical landscape reserve.


JNFuture Brings Young Leaders to Israel

JNFuture’s inaugural leadership mission brought young philanthropists to Israel to learn how to become “change agents” for JNF and Israel.


Regards, B’Yachad Editorial Staff

Why Development of the Negev is So Important From Be’er Sheva, the capital of the Negev, to new communities like Givot Bar and Halutza, JNF’s Blueprint Negev campaign to bring people, industry, and essential services to the region is vital, necessary, and happening now.


Building Strong Zionists JNF’s Israel Advocacy and Education Department offers exciting initiatives and programs to connect students to Israel and empower them to advocate for Israel on college campuses.

Winner of THE 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


JNF Parsons Water Fund Update

One of the three drilling sites in the Upper Galilee

Water purification system at the Ramon Air Force Base

bacteria requires three months to grow to an effective mass and will be ready by November 2011.

Stanley M. Chesley I have been involved in the philanthropic world for most of my adult life so I feel com-

fortable saying that most non-profits have vision. They have a goal, a reason for existing, a campaign for which to fundraise. But I have also been in the philanthropic world long enough to know that it is not vision that makes a non-profit vital, it is the realization of that vision that gives it legs and breathes life into its being. JNF’s vision is the real thing. Ideas here don’t just take up space on paper or end in the board room. They are debated, researched, put to the fiscal responsibility test, and finally, actualized. They give life to Zionism, to the land and people of Israel and to you, our cherished and valued donors. Many are your ideas and in this issue of B’Yachad you will see how they have come to life. JNF CEO Russell Robinson likes to say that in Jewish philanthropy, there has always been an expectation that the organization determines the objectives. And the organization is usually defined by small groups of people that make up a board of directors or executive officers. Not so at JNF. This is the most open, donor-directed, donor-friendly organization I have ever come across. And just look at how much it has accomplished. Drought has become the headline of late across the world, but more than 10 years ago JNF began to address the issue of water. Our 220 reservoirs and counting are already contributing 12% to Israel’s water economy, putting food on the tables of Israel’s residents. Our R&D stations help the Arava’s farmers stay competitive in the global markets and they are responsible for 60% of Israel’s produce exports. Our Sderot Indoor Recreation Center has given Sderot’s children a safe place to play away from the terror of rocket attacks. And our Blueprint Negev campaign, a grand campaign deemed impossible by some, is making a vast difference in the quality of life of the Negev’s residents and paving the way for 60% of Israel’s land mass to be known for its wondrous wealth of spirit, openness, creative ability, and potential – now and in the future. Some say it takes a village; I say it takes a partnership. With fantastic people at the helm of this organization and you, our trusted donors, we have done and will continue to do wonderful things with our other partners – the land and people of Israel. With my very best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year. The production capacity of the constructed wetlands is 23.3 million gallons of useable water. The Ramon Air Force Base needs 1.6 million gallons to maintain JNF’s Essence of Life Park and satisfy all of its other irrigation needs. The remainder will be used for nearby agriculture. Farming is the main industry in the region, so water is a major commodity. The

constructed wetlands will produce water in an area that doesn’t have any. The Air Force Base plans to provide the water to Kibbutz Sde Boker and other neighboring communities. This will require building a pipeline through which to funnel the water. For more information, contact Pnina Dor at 212-879-9305 x262 or


The Shamir Drill The Shamir Drill project, which accesses water from a one-mile deep underground aquifer in northern Israel, has been critical in adding to Israel’s water economy. The total production capacity of Shamir is 6.6 billion gallons of water per year; in comparison, a large JNF reservoir provides approximately 265 million to 800 million gallons per year. The Shamir Drill will satisfy over 1% of Israel’s total annual water needs, every year. Two drills are already operational, and a third will be completed by December 2011. The multi-million dollar initiative was made possible by a generous donation from the Gruss Lipper Family Foundation. The population of northern Israel is not large enough for a viable waste water recycling program, so farmers in the region currently have limited alternatives to using fresh water from the Jordan River for irrigation, which in turn decreases the amount of water that flows to the Kinneret. The water from the Shamir Drill – which still needs to be treated in order to be used for irrigation – will be a lifeline for hundreds of agricultural families in the Western Galilee and the Golan Heights, Israel’s “Bread Basket.” To reach the Golan Heights, a piping system that can overcome an elevation difference of 2,400 feet between the drill sites and the Golan must be built. The farmers’ allocation of water will now come from the Shamir Drill, free-

Ramon Air Force Base Constructed Wetlands Israel’s military bases – many of which are in remote areas and not connected to the main sewage system – dump raw sewage with minimal to no treatment. This is harmful to the environment, contaminating the underground water aquifers and affecting water that can be used in the future. The Ramon Air Force Base Constructed Wetlands, a large-scale pilot project, is designed to provide water for irrigation of the air force base’s Essence of Life Park, built by JNF, and provide a safe disposal of effluents. The project is nearly completed; the treatment facility is there. To irrigate crops safely, the water must be purified to the tertiary level, accomplished by adding bacteria and specialized aquatic plants in gravel ponds to the water. The

A MEssage from Our President Jewish National Fund

ing up the water from the Jordan River to flow to the Kinneret, and raising its water level. The Shamir Drill also offers a great economic opportunity: the Upper Galilee Regional Council intends to build a spa that will utilize water from the Shamir Drill, as it is hot and rich in minerals.

Plant a Tree in Israel Today

by the Numb3rs

Honor or Memorialize a Loved One


There are

active farms in Israel


engaged in the culture of ornamental fish, both marine and freshwater. 14 million ornamental fish are exported annually from Israel, primarily to Europe.


homes are in the process of being built in Naveh, a new community

in the Halutza region.



Kibbutz Yahel is planning a -room 4-star hotel. Yahel is home to more than 50 families, half of whom are original members from the kibbutz’s founding in 1977.

The Negev community of Givot Bar is expected to grow to


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



in the near future.

Be’er Sheva is home to


residents, half of whom are under the age of 35. 80,000 people are expected to move to Be’er Sheva by 2020.

The Israeli Parliament voted 43-0 to establish the National Mine Action Authority to clear nearly


land mines

from Eilat to the Golan.

JNF and THE Israeli government have spent

Want to save 44% on your tree purchases? Sign up for an E-Z Tree account.

$10 million

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

putting in the sewage, water and electricity infrastructure in Halutza.

preparing the ground and

After the Fires: An Update on Operation Carmel Renewal

Campaign All-Star: Dr. Melinda Wolf A practicing physician in suburban Washington, DC, Dr.

Melinda Wolf’s connection to JNF dates back to 1999. She exemplifies what it means to be a Campaign All-Star. Melinda has inspired and implemented fundraising strategies, programs and advocacy to expand charitable giving by donors to JNF. She is one of JNF’s top solicitors, having closed hundreds of gifts and raised over $3 million. “Melinda is an inspiring leader,” said National Campaign Director Diane Scar. “She is dynamic in her approach and exhibits a passion and enthusiasm towards Israel and JNF that motivates our lay leaders and donors alike.” An original member of The Sapphire Society, Melinda has helped grow this women’s major gift division from 40 members to more than 300 active women who have contributed over $16 million to JNF; she herself is a Circle of Sapphire, which signifies lifetime membership in The Sapphire Society. She was also instrumental in shaping the mission of Makor, which has raised millions of dollars and trained more than 125 of JNF’s local and national leaders including Zone and Regional Presidents, Sap-

phire Society National Chairs, and the last two VP’s of Campaign. Two years ago, Melinda started Doctors for Israel, a donor society geared towards healthcare professionals; today there are over 500 members. She also initiated the therapeutic horseback riding center program at Aleh Negev. A member of JNF’s Community Outreach program, she has helped raise Jewish and Israel awareness in cities and towns with smaller Jewish populations across America. Her work in Albany, NY has helped develop a strong board of directors and build a dedicated JNF community in the Capital District that raises $100,000 annually. “Melinda Wolf is one of the most passionate and committed women I know,” said National Campaign Director Sharon Freedman. “She is a real Zionist and I am blessed to call her my friend.” Melinda has served on JNF’s Israel Relations Committee and National Education Committee, and is currently National Vice President of Administration, co-chair of the Realignment Information Team, and co-chair of this year’s National Conference. Said Rick Krosnick, Chief Development Officer: “Very rarely do I have the opportunity to work with someone who has Melinda’s strength of conviction, dedication and the wherewithal to really make a difference in our campaign and in improving the lives of Israelis every day.” CONGRATULATIONS TO dr. MELINDA WOLF!

Almost 10 years ago, I went on a JNF mission with the purpose of learning about a new and exciting plan that JNF was undertaking. The plan was called Blueprint Negev and it came with a hefty price tag: $600 million. I traveled through the southern part of Israel and saw mostly barren land and very few people. All along the way, I was told how JNF was going to develop many new communities and help revitalize established communities. But there was more. New jobs would be created and the area would flourish. The Be’er Sheva River Park was going to be the crown jewel of the Negev, attracting people from all around the country. This was very hard to believe while standing on a dry river bank and seeing nothing but trash, junk cars, and appliances littering the river bottom. THAT WAS 10 YEARS AGO. Since then I have traveled to Israel at least once per year on a JNF mission to follow the growth from one year to the next. JNF has not just made progress; JNF has transformed the Negev into something very special that we can all be proud of, mostly because we are improving the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of Israelis. The young families, who are true modern-day pioneers, have helped start many of the new communities by living in temporary housing until their own homes could be built. Along with helping these young families build new homes, JNF has added amenities to the communities such as day care facilities, community centers and playgrounds for the children. With our partners in the OR Movement, JNF has set up an information and visitor center to attract new families to the Negev. It is a central source for learning about regional housing opportunities, employment, and social initiatives. Young Israelis are offered help in building a new life that is environmentally responsible, including techniques developed by JNF for farming in the desert. I almost don’t recognize Be’er Sheva today. Gone are the junk cars and trash. In their place is a landscaped park with miles of promenades and bike paths. The new amphitheater will soon attract performers and visitors from all over the country. Private development has become involved in improving the venue by adding retail shops and restaurants. The $600 million goal for Blueprint Negev includes contributions from all partners dedicated to the development of the Negev—JNF worldwide, the Jewish Agency, the Israeli government, and private individuals. Over the last six years, about $300 million has been raised towards that goal, $60 million of which came from JNF-USA. What is my vision for 10 years from now? I believe JNF will have helped attract 500,000 residents to the Negev. Be’er Sheva will be the true capital of this area, and the Negev will play an integral part in the Israeli economy. This will be accomplished through agriculture and high tech industry. With your continued support, my vision will become a reality. Your dollars have already made dreams come true and will ensure the existence of a thriving community where only desert existed before.


generously. Through the support of people around the country and the world, JNF’s international Operation Carmel Renewal emergency campaign raised more than $7 million by August 2011. Funds have been used to purchase vital equipment for fire departments and forestry units across Israel as well as to begin the long process of rehabilitating the Carmel’s landscape. In the Carmel Forest, where more than five million trees were destroyed in the worst fire in Israel’s history, rangers and volunteers are removing charred vegetation, creating firebreaks, monitoring unaf-

Marc Kelman, vp, Campaign


When tragedy struck the Carmel region last December, JNF donors responded immediately and

fected trees in burnt areas, preventing soil erosion, repairing forest access roads, installing fire hydrants at recreation sites, and upgrading early detection systems. New trails, scenic roads, and picnic areas are being created to replace those destroyed by the fire and keep the region’s tourism industry alive. In addition, JNF is helping to regreen affected Carmel communities including Yemin Orde, Ussifiya, and Ein Hod. After a comprehensive evaluation of the first wave of natural regeneration, expert committees will develop guidelines for facilitating the forest’s renewal. New trees will be planted on a limited basis—in recreation spots, in areas where natural regeneration fails to occur, and to diversify areas where only one species takes root. Donations towards Operation Carmel Renewal have also enabled JNF to purchase 20 fire trucks and millions of dollars worth of rescue equipment and protective gear, including thermal cameras, air tanks, and forest fire suits. To donate to Operation Carmel Renewal, visit

campaign update

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










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New england Zone

Southern Zone

Los Angeles Zone

1 Murray Gorelick (center) was honored for his leadership and dedication in spearheading

1 (L-R) Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, JNF Atlanta Breakfast honoree; Beth Gluck,

1 (L-R) Los Angeles board member Mark Egerman and wife Lynn hosted Haifa Fire Chief

a fundraising campaign that raised money for over 4,000 trees. National Campaign Director Sharon Freedman (far right) presented Gorelick and his wife May with a plaque at Congregation Mishkan Tefila in Chestnut Hill. He was joined by his family.

2 (L-R) Cherry Garrido; Shai Bazak, Consul General of Israel to New England; and Paul Garrido, JNF Executive board member, attended the Celebrate Israel’s 63rd Birthday event. Hundreds of Israelis and Americans attended this event hosted by the Israeli Consulate, JNF and Combined Jewish Philanthropies.

Lavi Zamir, CEO of Green Horizons Youth Movement. Zamir was on hand to thank the board for their years of dedication.

4 (L-R) Incoming Boston President Michael Blank, board member Philip Phillips, outgoing Boston President Robert Cohan, and Board Member Mark Furman, Campaign Chair, gathered for a successful 31 Days in May Campaign phone-a-thon.

5 M  assachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (right) shared his experiences on his recent trip

to Israel with James Zuckernik, JNF Board of Directors Member (left) at the New England Israeli Consulate’s Yom Ha’Atzmaut Independence Day reception, co-sponsored by JNF.

2 During a recent visit to Israel, Paul and Leno Sislin spent a day in the Sderot region and

Goodfriend Community Service Award presented by Enoch Goodfriend at Atlanta’s annual breakfast.

3 (L-R) Breakfast emcee Steve Labovitz, breakfast co-host Jill Lerner, Atlanta Co-President 4 (L-R) Atlanta young professionals Cobi Edelson, Miriam Fisher, Steven Vogel, Mamie Dayan,

Training Officer Hezi Levi and JNF Israel Development Officer Ariel Kotler at their home for a parlor meeting to educate supporters about the devastating Carmel fires of 2010.

2 (L-R) Long time JNF supporter Marvin Botnick accepted the Cantor Isaac and Betty

Mechal Perl, and breakfast co-host Scott Selig at the 8th annual Jack Hirsch Memorial Breakfast in Atlanta.

3 (L-R) Martin Kaufman, board member; Sharon Freedman, National Campaign Director; and

JNF Southeast Director; and Mechal Perl, JNF Atlanta Co-President, at the 8th annual Jack Hirsch Memorial Breakfast in support of JNF’s water projects in Israel.

and Anna Wishnoff at the 8th annual Jack Hirsch Memorial Breakfast.

5 (L-R, standing) Anthony Busacca; Michal Avaham; and Amaka Chinedo; (L-R, sitting) Julie

Malin, JNF Southwest Regional Director; Leah Stolar, event host; and Ellen Reisel, Director of Red Mountain Therapeutic Riding Center at a Houston event benefiting Red Mountain Riding Center.

6 Kindergartener Hannah Stein held a JNF certificate presented to Beth Yeshurun Day School in Houston, TX in recognition of its fundraising efforts for JNF’s Operation Carmel Renewal campaign.

visited the Nir Am reservoir, overlooking the Gaza Strip.

3 (L-R) Judy Zweig, Allison Martini, Alyse Golden Berkley, and Francine Golden enjoyed a

winery tour during the “Fruit of the Vine” mission to Israel.

Florida Zone









JNF Across the country













Florida Zone

7.(L-R) Robin Amkraut and Jeff Amkraut, JNF South Palm Beach board member, at the musi-

1. (L-R) Miami-Dade Board of Directors members Josh Berkowitz, JNFuture and Events Chair; Roy Esh; Ken Segel, President’s Council Chair; Rosalie Schlaen, General Campaign Chair; and Ron Kriss at a Miami-Dade board meeting.

cal reception to kick off the OR Movement’s Gateway to the Negev Visitor and Information Center, at the home of JNF South Palm Beach board member Ken Esrig.

2. Yaakov Katz, Military Correspondent and Defense Analyst for the Jerusalem Post, was the

8 (L-R) Jim Riola, Orlando Board President; Yossi Kahana, Director of Development for Aleh

featured speaker at a JNF Miami-Dade business breakfast at the law offices of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP. (L-R) Ken Segel, President’s Council Chair; Michael Benchetrit, Miami-Dade Board of Directors President; Yaakov Katz; Ira Teicher; and Ron Kriss.

Negev Rehabilitative Village; and Glen D. Schwartz, Florida Zone Director at the Orlando Tree of Life™ dinner.

9 Marc Reicher brought his daughter to the Tree of Life™ dinner in Orlando so that she could learn about Israel and JNF.

3. (L-R) Roy Esh; Michael Benchetrit, Miami-Dade Board of Directors President; Glen D.

Schwartz, Florida Zone Director; and Josh Berkowitz, JNFuture and Events Chair, at the JNF Miami-Dade business breakfast held at the law offices of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP in Miami.

10. (L-R) Francine Rosencweig, Ori Serfati, Sari Rayek, and Dori Mizrahi at a JNF Moms for

Israel meeting held at the Hollywood home of Laura Sion. All funds raised have been designated to support and expand the Fire Scouts program in memory of 16-year-old volunteer Fire Scout Elad Riven.

4. (L-R) JNF Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Monsignor Laurence Higgins, Tampa Bay

board member Jack Ross, and Barry Cohen at the Tampa Bay Tree of LifeTM Award dinner.

5. (L-R) Betsy Marcadis, Tampa Bay Co-President; Ray Terracina; Harvey Hertz, Tree of LifeTM Award recipient; and Mark Miller, Tampa Bay Co-President at the Tampa Bay Tree of LifeTM dinner.

6. (L-R) Tampa Bay board member Wendy Maurer-Linsky, Tree of LifeTM Award honoree Cindy Spahn and Jamie Jalazo enjoyed the gala event.

13. Dr. John Hitt, past Tree of Life™ honoree, presented the Tree of Life™ award to Judy and David Albertson in Orlando. (L-R) David Albertson, Tree of Life™ honoree; Martha Hitt; Dr. John Hitt, President of University of Central Florida; and Judy Albertson, Tree of Life™ honoree.

14. (L-R) Noa, Mimi, and Sergio Mileguir relaxed poolside during the musical evening in support of OR at the home of JNF South Palm Beach board member Ken Esrig.

15. (L-R) South Palm Beach board members Michael Lazar, Board President; Jan Silverman;

Scott Brenner, General Campaign Chair; and Howard DuBosar, Lawyers For Israel Co-Chair at a South Palm Beach Board of Directors meeting held at the Boca Grove Plantation Country Club.

16 (L-R) Susan Cain, hostess of a Boca Raton Rosh Chodesh meeting, and Cantor Elaine

Shapiro, JNF South Palm Beach Board member, Israel Advocacy & Education Chair, and Rosh Chodesh facilitator.

11. (L-R) Nicole Rothman, Mavis Rothman, JNF Broward board member Vivian Grossman, and Sue Brody enjoyed a JNF Moms for Israel event at the Weston home of Sharon Gilbert. 12. (L-R) Bill Bernstein, JNF Palm Beach board member; and Joan Bernstein at the JNF/

17 (L-R) Karen Saster, Becky Frankenthal, Debbie Nyman, Sharon Gilbert, and Paula Udell at

18 (L-R) JNF Campaign Executive Debbie Regent, Ellen Kessler, Anita Robrish, and Debbie

MacKenzie-Childs Wine and Trees event hosted by MacKenzie-Childs at their new Worth Avenue, Palm Beach store.

the JNF Moms for Israel meeting hosted by Sharon Gilbert in Weston. The funds raised have been designated to support and expand the Fire Scouts program in memory of 16-year-old volunteer Fire Scout Elad Riven. Stark at the JNF Moms for Israel meeting held at the Weston home of Sharon Gilbert.

Western Zone

JNF Across the country










8 10











7 .Roee Landseman, 7th grader from Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School in Palo Alto, CA,

1. (L-R) David Levi, David Michelson, Gush Etzion Mayor Shaul Goldstein and board member

learned about JNF for his year-long Tzedkah Project. Through his research of the Carmel Forest Fire renewal efforts as well as JNF Parsons Water Fund, Roee raised much-needed funds from his family, friends and community for JNF.

Esty Sarfaty at the annual Las Vegas parlor meeting for prospective new major donors where funds were raised for the Gush Etzion Visitor Center.

2. (L-R) Asher Azoulay, board member Tammy Ofek, Mayor Shaul Goldstein, and Leora Azoulay

8 (L-R) 2011 Denver Annual Breakfast Co-Chairs David Adelstein and Tammy Goldstein

at the annual Las Vegas parlor meeting.

shared a lighthearted moment while they welcomed guests. (Vicky Kelman Photography)

3. (L-R) Helen Feldman, Bob Dubin, Alan Stock, Janice Mclanahan, and Shelley Dubin at the annual JNF breakfast in Las Vegas. 4. JNF board member Eric Berzon and wife Danielle Ruymaker hosted a parlor meeting featuring guest speaker Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed, Director of the Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. (L–R) Hillel Salomon, Friends of Arava board member; Alli Darrow, Campaign Executive; Dan Schachter, Executive Director of Friends of Arava; Eric Berzon; and Dr. Tareq Abu Hamed.

5. Former Executive Director of the Friends of Arava David Weisberg was the featured speaker at the 2011 Denver Annual Breakfast where he spoke to the audience about the cuttingedge technology to advance sustainability at the Arava Institute. (Vicky Kelman Photography)

9 (L-R) Jolyn Widgerow, Orange County board member, and Lauren Lizerbram, San Diego board member, at JNF’s Campaign Seminar 2011 held in Irvine, CA. 10. (L-R) J. J. Surbeck, David Barach, Elie Yehezkel, Dr. Raanan Gissin, San Diego board member Mitch Simon, Michael Urich, and Allen Chitayat after a lunch in San Diego.

11. (L-R) Outgoing Palm Springs and Desert Region President Rick Stein congratulated incom ing Region President Allan Nyman following his May 2011 election. 12. (L-R) Miriam Paley, JNF Palm Springs & Desert Region board member, welcomed speaker

6. (L-R) Former Assistant Secretary of the Interior Lyle Laverty and David Manson arrived at the 2011 Denver annual breakfast. (Vicky Kelman Photography)

Dr. Isaac Eliachar, board member and former Israel Air Force Surgeon General to the Women’s Alliance “Afternoon at the Movies,” where he spoke following the screening of “An Article of Hope,” about Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon.

13. (L-R) Sylvia Gould received a Blue Box from Evelyn Binsky, JNF Region Vice President, and event committee member Diane Cohen at the JNF Palm Springs & Desert Region booth at the 2011 Yom Ha’Atzmaut Community Celebration.

14. (L-R) Adam Goodman, Steven Schwarz, Dan Bachus and Bryan Kort enjoyed a morning of golf at the JNF Open Golf Tournament. Proceeds from the day supported the Ramon Air Force Base constructed wetlands project.

15. (L-R) Natalie Eisenberg, Sue Waldbaum, Irene Lubin, Rosemary Stralser, and Cookie Shifris took part in an artist studio tour through JNF’s Women’s Alliance.

16 (L-R) Skeeter Marcus gave a hug to JNF Moms for Israel program host Ellen Eisinberg. The Moms for Israel program raised money to help the Israeli Fire Scouts.

17 (L-R) Don and Sharon Bernhard, Orange County board member, at JNF’s Campaign Seminar 2011 held in Irvine, CA.

18 (L-R) San Diego Board Member Debbie Seid with JNF National Campaign Director Diane Scar in San Diego.

19 (L-R) Stuart Starr, Dr. Raanan Gissin, and Micha Danzig in San Diego.

Midwest Zone









JNF Across the Country













midwest Zone

7 .(L-R) Abigail Ophir, Zachary Reizes and Jacob Browner, 8th grade students from the Agnon

1. (L-R) Donald Zimelis; Scott Gendell, national board member; and Harold Kaplan enjoyed the Chicago Region Annual Breakfast at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

School in Cleveland, raised money to replace and plant trees lost in the Carmel forest.

2. (L-R) Morrie Zimring, keynote speaker Hilary Krieger, and Miki Zimring at the St. Louis

8 Z achary Reizes did his part to perform an act of tzedakah and replace the trees lost in the

Annual Breakfast.

Carmel Forest on the Agnon School’s 8th grade trip to Israel.

3. (L-R) JNF Lawyers for Israel chair Steven Stender, Chicago board member Tracy Treger,

9 Talia Stewart showed her commitment to Israel by planting trees in the Carmel Forest on the Agnon School’s 8th grade trip.

Congressman Mike Quigley, and Chicago Regional Director Rick Kruger at a JNF Lawyers for Israel event at the Much Shelist law firm.

10. (L-R) St. Louis Breakfast Committee members Morrie Zimring, Ellen Stein, Miki Zimring,

4. The 6th grade class of Kehila School (Northern Hills Synagogue and Ohav Shalom) raised

the most money in a JNF pilot education program. (L-R) Lauren Kurtzer; Tracy Weisberger, Educational Director; Samantha Segerman; Hannah Baum; Sam Krimins; Cindy Kravitz; Jessica Silver; Josh Strauss; Sasha Cohn; Marvin Weisberger; Angelina Amedeo; Melissa Ann Fabian, Southern Ohio Regional Director; Eva Fischer; Alex Roth; Israela Ginsburg; and Jared Sandow.

5. Cincinnati held its 2nd annual breakfast with keynote speaker Dr. Jonathan Adelman, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy. (L-R) Hirsch Wise, JNF Past President and National Conference Cincinnati Recruitment Co-Chair, and Betsy and David Schneider.

6. (L-R) Todd Bailey, JNF VP of Judge Carl B. Rubin Legal Society; Jan Cobb; and Kurt Grossman, JNF board member at the JNF Cincinnati annual breakfast.

Celeste Wieselman, Dr. Harvey Cantor, Fran Cantor, Keynote Speaker Hilary Krieger, Kim Miller, Norm Pressman, Bill Miller, Annette Heller, Dan Kweskin, and Jack Heller.

11. At a recent B’nai B’rith Bread Breakers Luncheon in Omaha, JNF Regional Director Yaron

Iram shared a presentation, “JNF – Beyond the Blue Box,” which discussed JNF’s action areas and the efforts of Operation Carmel Renewal. (L-R) Rabbi Jonathan Gross, Beth Israel Synagogue; Yaron Iram, JNF Regional Director; and Gary Javitch, B’nai B’rith Omaha President.

12. (L-R) Art Fishman of the Temple Shir Shalom Brotherhood was presented with a plaque by

Yaron Iram, JNF Regional Director, in honor of his tireless efforts to raise funds for JNF. The Brotherhood has raised funds to purchase a parkland in honor of its members.

13. (L-R) Gush Etzion Foundation Director Shani Abrams-Simkovits, Chicago board member Bernard Hasten and his wife Laurie, and Gush Etzion Mayor Shaul Goldstein at the Chicago parlor meeting held at the Hastens’ home.

14. Drs. Ellen and Loren Roth at the dedication of Hatikvah Park in Israel, built with funds raised by a community-wide JNF dinner in Pittsburgh.

15. (L-R) Lou Weiss; Ellen Reisel, director of Red Mountain Therapeutic Riding Center; and Amy Weiss at a reception for Red Mountain held at the Weiss home in Pittsburgh.

16 Members of the Diller Teen Fellowship made calls for the JNF 31 Days in May campaign on the lawn of the Agency for Jewish Learning in Pittsburgh.

17 (L-R) Wisconsin Regional Director Sidney Rivkin, Green Sunday volunteer Judy Kristal, Wisconsin Regional Green Sunday Co-Chair Rusti Moffic, and Green Sunday volunteer Bernard Kristal displayed the scorecard results of their Green Sunday calling session.

18 Students of the Milwaukee Jewish Day School planted trees in the Aminadav Forest near Jerusalem on their 8th grade trip to Israel. The trees were purchased by board members Gail and Martin Komisar, major donors to the JNF Sderot Indoor Recreation Center.

19 (L-R) On JNF’s Day Tour of the Negev, Wisconsin Regional Director Sidney Rivkin, Phyllis Herz of New York and Gwen Rivkin visited JNF’s Sderot Indoor Recreation Center, the Sderot Reservoir, the Be’er Sheva River Park, Aleh Negev and new communities in the Negev.

Northeast Zone

 Mid-Atlantic Zone

  Greater New York Zone

JNF Across the country
























10 northeast Zone

mid-atlantic Zone

greater new york Zone

1 (L-R) Marc Leibowitz, Central New Jersey Board President, and Alan Kirshenbaum, event

1 (L-R) Lori Dym, Gary Kushner, Dr. Chet Stein, and Cyna Cohen at a fundraiser for

1 (L-R) Jordana Gutman, Out @JNF Chair; honoree Alan van Capelle; and Shaya Klechevsky, event

co-chair and Central New Jersey board member, at the Central New Jersey Poker Tournament at The Maplewood Country Club.

2 (L-R) Alyssa Sutton and Central New Jersey Board member Lynn Berman at the Central New Jersey Poker Tournament.

3 (L-R) Joel Leibowitz, Northeast Zone Director; Alyssa Russo, event co-chair and Central New Jersey board member; Dan Richter, event co-chair and Central New Jersey board member; and Marc Leibowitz, Central New Jersey Board President, at Central New Jersey’s second annual JNF Breakfast.

4 (L-R) JNF CEO Russell Robinson, Terry Katz, and Alan Blumenfeld attended Southern New Jersey’s major donor thank you event.

Ammunition Hill and Sapphire Society projects.

2 (L-R) Sheldon Berman, Dr. Cliff Faber, and Dr. Jim Chisum took a break from a JNF event to smile for the camera. 3 Ellen Rosenberg and Leon Berg at a JNF Lawyer for Israel event in Towson, MD. 4 Mitch Berliner and wife Debra Moser posed for the camera before enjoying an

chair, at Out@JNF’s coming out party in New York, which raised funds for scholarships to the Arava Institute.

2 (L-R) JNF CEO Russell Robinson, Seffi Janowski, Jill Janowski, Consul General Ido Aharoni, JNF Israel Emissary Tali Tzour and JNF VP of Education Bob Levine at the Israeli Independence Day Reception in Northern New Jersey hosted by the Janowskis.

3 (L-R) Dan Tzour, Eli Ben Dor, Zohar and Michal Beeri and David Kostman celebrated at the Israeli

elegant dinner on their JNF trip to Israel.

Independence Day Reception in Northern NJ.

4 (L-R) Kathy Gantz, Ivy Engel, Harry Engel, Dr. Peter Ross and Laureine Greenbaum attended an insider briefing by JNF CEO Russell Robinson at the Greater New York annual breakfast.

5 (L-R) Russell Robinson, Sid Banon and son Ross Banon at the Greater New York annual breakfast.

5 (L-R) Twins Caley and Jake Fischer, Betsy Fischer and JNF CEO Russell Robinson at

6 (L-R) Isaac Reshad; Ben Levine, JNFuture events chair; Sophie Cohen and Andy Ashwal, JNFuture

Southern New Jersey’s major donor thank you event.

chair, at the first-ever Generation to Generation Dinner in New York.

6 (L-R) David Dinenberg, Philadelphia Board of Directors Vice President and Poker Co-Chair; Marina Furman, Eastern PA Regional Director; and Marc Rayfield, Poker Co-Chair, at the 5th annual Philadelphia Poker and Blackjack Tournament.

7 (L-R) Bob Levine, Morissa Falk-Freedman, Michael Freedman, and Lindsay Ashwal at the first-ever

7 (L-R) David Dinenberg, Philadelphia Board of Directors Vice President; Lester Lipschutz;

8 (L-R) Shira Berenson, Valerie and Mark Gerstein and family at the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York.

Joe Gerber; Harmon Spolan; and Russell Robinson, JNF CEO, at a presentation honoring the Cozen O’Connor law firm.

8 (L-R) Rob Kitchenoff; Art Shamsky; Joe Wolfson, Makor Chair; and Harris Devor at a Philadelphia Chai Fund event featuring Shamsky as guest speaker.

Generation to Generation Dinner in New York.

9 (L-R) Yoni Raab and Ezra Chasser entertained the crowd on the JNF float at the Celebrate Israel Parade.

10 JNF’s mascot Blue Box Bob, as presented by Bob Levine, JNF’s VP of Education, made an appearance at the Celebrate Israel Parade.

11 (L-R) Joan Oppenheim, Doryne Davis, Amy Albalah, Chef Galit Aboodi and Talia Tzour at the Food for Thought cooking lesson at the home of Amy and David Albalah.

Young Zionist Pioneers Jump-Start the Negev By Ariel Kotler, Development Officer, JNF-USA Israel Operations In August 2009, after living in the States for eight years, meeting my wife Ranit, and starting a family, I returned to Israel.

You can’t just tell everyone how important the Negev is, that its cultivation is one of the biggest challenges the State of Israel is faced with today; you have to take a huge step and show that you’re serious about it.

(L-R) Dr. Karen Steinfield with sons Jacob and Evan from Westfield, NJ learned about the Even Shmuel community and Blueprint Negev from residents Chaim Levy and daughter Avishag, and Ariel Kotler.


community, this development will help attract a quality population that will strengthen the social fabric of Even Shmuel and the surrounding communities. The facilities will be the focal point for community and cultural activities, creating infrastructure for interaction between the various groups of residents. The growth and expansion of Even Shmuel will not only

have significant implications on the local level, but will also contribute to Israel’s national goal of increasing the population of the Negev and improving quality of life for current and future residents. The experience gained from the integrated services and community development in Even Shmuel will become a model for other communities throughout the Negev engaged in expansion and absorption of new populations. I have brought many young families to Even Shmuel to show them around and try to convince them to join us. I have brought potential partners who will help us make the development of the Negev a reality. This is a time for the community members to take action, roll up their sleeves and help us make a better future for the Negev, the people and the land of Israel. Thank you for being part of this exciting development. Please be in touch next time you are coming to Israel so we can show you how Blueprint Negev is becoming a reality and how Zionism is alive and at its best! For more information contact Ariel Kotler at


As a JNF staff member in Israel who gets to see firsthand the breadth and depth of our projects and influence, I recognized the need to move to the Negev. You can’t just tell everyone how important the Negev is, that its cultivation is one of the biggest challenges the State of Israel is faced with today; you have to take a huge step and show that you’re serious about it. My wife and I decided to move to the Negev, and in 2010 we purchased land in a community in the northern Negev called Even Shmuel. Located about a five minute drive south of Kiryat Gat on the way to Be’er Sheva, Even Shmuel is part of a cluster of communities that make up the southern Shafir Regional Council. They were built in the 1950’s to absorb new immigrants, mainly from north Africa, who were sent to the Negev by the government in an effort to realize David Ben Gurion’s vision of populating the region. Unfortunately, over the last 60 years the area has not enjoyed the same rapid development that Israel, as a whole, has experienced. In many respects it seems “frozen in time.” The population is aging, reflecting a massive migration of younger residents to other parts of the country; the socio-economic profile is very low, with many families supported by social services; and most communities are run-down and neglected. To revitalize the region, the Shafir Regional Council developed a plan in 2003 to expand Even Shmuel and absorb 280 religious families from all over Israel, thus tripling the total population size of the cluster. The goal is to attract young Zionist pioneers to jump-start the renewal of Shafir’s southern communities and close the socio-economic gap between the cluster and the rest of the regional council. A new neighborhood is currently under construction that will bring Even Shmuel’s population to 2,000. The surrounding farming communities will soon experience the same process, with a goal of increasing the cluster’s population to 10,000 over the next five years. One hundred lots have been purchased in Even Shmuel and the first 30 families moved in during the summer of 2010. At that time, Even Shmuel still had a long way to go: there was a dirt road leading in to the community, there was no electricity, and there was no synagogue or park. After some convincing, the mayor of the regional council got involved and several weeks later the electricity was connected, a temporary synagogue was brought to the community and gravel was laid down so residents didn’t get stuck in the mud on their way home. The mayor remarked that it was the first time he had felt such young Zionistic spirit from new families who wanted to make a difference and shape the Negev’s future. Today, thanks to JNF and you, we will be breaking ground shortly on a beautiful youth center, a park, and a

central synagogue and community center in Even Shmuel. In addition to upgrading the level of services available to the

Giving Feels Good for the Golden Berkley Family



In 2006, Alyse Golden Berkley went on a JNF mission that changed her life. “I’ve never been treated so wonderfully in my life,” said the Los Angeles resident, who now boasts a string of JNF titles beside her name. “By the time I got my Israel phone connected, I had four phone calls welcoming me to Israel. It was an incredible experience.” Her mother Marilyn had long been involved with JNF, but this was Alyse’s first interaction. She fell in love and it is a love that has grown stronger every year. She and her siblings Francine and Avery were looking for a way to honor the wonderful life that their parents have given them. The LA community’s focus on raising money for the amphitheatre at the Be’er Sheva River Park was attractive to them. The siblings, along with their spouses, decided to dedicate an entranceway to the amphitheatre in honor of their parents, Marilyn and Allen Golden. Golden Berkley and her husband Stuart are giving $100,000 for the entranceway. Her sister Francine Golden and husband Marvin Schlossman, and her brother Avery Golden and wife Faith Golden, are each donating the same amount. The Be’er Sheva River Park, a 1,300-acre urban park, is the driving force behind the economic and cultural revival of the city. It will feature restored historical sites, green spaces, promenades, walking and bike trails, space for shops,

Take Advantage of Tax-Free IRA Gifts Last year’s tax bill extended the extraordinary opportunity to make tax-free rollover gifts from IRAs to charity.

galleries, and restaurants, and a 23-acre lake. The amphitheatre at the Be’er Sheva River Park will be Israel’s largest open-air venue and play host to music, theater, and dance performances as well as festivals, city events, and celebrations. It will dramatically alter the cultural landscape of southern Israel. Israel has been close to Golden Berkley’s heart since living there during her junior year of college. She has visited Israel several times on different missions and is very invested in JNF’s work. “In my lifetime, I’ve always been frustrated because I never knew how to help Israel,” she said. “You could give money, but it never felt like I was doing enough. When I saw how I could actually do good and see the consequences of it, it changed my life.” Since joining the LA JNF board, Golden Berkley has been an enthusiastic supporter of JNF. In addition to being a member of Makor, Golden Berkley is a proud member of The Sapphire Society, the women’s major gifts division of JNF. Her mother is a Sapphire, and she convinced her sister Francine to become one as well.

“When I was in American Independence Park on the mission in 2006, I saw my mom’s name and the names of women from my community whose children I grew up with. I knew I wanted to be on that wall; I wanted to be a part of The Sapphire Society.” With this donation towards the amphitheater, she will become a lifetime member of Circle of Sapphire. She and her siblings are thrilled to be a part of this very special project. Said Golden Berkley: “The amphitheatre is for the community and with our donation my family and I will be permanently in the land of Israel. That matters to me.” To learn more about ways women are getting involved in JNF, contact Elisa Frankel at or 212-879-9305 ext. 297.

The family at the Los Angeles Tree of Life™ award dinner

JNF’s Blue Box has gone retro! Order your new Blue Box today! 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.

An owner of an IRA may instruct the trustee to distribute directly to JNF up to $100,000 without counting the distribution as taxable income. Also, the distribution will count towards the IRA owner’s required minimum distribution.

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.

To make sure that your gift will qualify or for more details, please call a JNF Planned Giving Specialist at 800-562-7526 or go to

To be part of this enduring story, order your FREE Blue Box and register it today at or call 1-800-542-8733.

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. • 1-800-542-8733

To Educate Generations, Gould Builds Amphitheatre at Ammunition Hill is expected to be completed in a year. Gould, a World Chairman’s Council member, has been a dedicated member of JNF since 1997 and has held many different roles, including Orlando Regional President and National Assistant Treasurer. He currently serves as a member of the National Board of Directors, a member of the Land of Promise Foundation Board, co-chair of Zones and Regions, President of the Florida Zone, and lay consultant to JNFuture. Gould has dedicated a classroom at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel in Hod Hasharon and is the named sponsor of JNF’s Gould Legacy Society through his commitment of a million dollar life insurance policy. To experience the 45th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem and enjoy VIP status at the ceremony, sign up for the Road to Jerusalem Mission, May 15-22, 2012 at, or call 888-JNF-0033 and ask for Joel Leibowitz, ext. 820.


1. The organization’s debt and the weight of its financial problems. The only way to fix things was by careful prioritization. Before he could begin working his way through the long list of crises, Russell realized that getting finances in order was top priority. 2. How to plan and strategize. Russell set a new plan and strategy that would be implemented with metrics and accountability. 3. A smaller, tighter-knit organization would work more efficiently than a large one. Russell understood that he needed to make significant personnel changes. 4. To build a more inclusive and committed group, he needed to open up the staff’s communication system and welcome feedback. 5. Technology would play a key role in moving the organization forward. The reassuring part about Russell is that no matter what crisis JNF may face, it is clear that he is up to the challenge. He will be there to utilize the resources necessary to accomplish the task at hand, communicate with clarity, and recognize the team around him. All this goes on while he accepts the heavy personal burden that having a higher sense of social responsibility takes. It means knowing that whatever you are working on is about to be interrupted by another urgent phone call that cannot possibly wait, because whatever it is, it must be really important.”

About the author: Jeffrey S. Davis serves as a JNF New England Chairman of the Board and is a member of JNF’s National Board of Directors and the National Campaign Cabinet. Since 1985, his consulting company, Mage LLC, has guided over 700 small businesses and organizations on issues ranging from marketing and sales to organizational and transitional issues. This book, co-authored by Mark Cohen, pinpoints the most common situations Mage LLC has encountered with entrepreneurs and owners of private companies. The case studies highlight means and methods by which business leaders can achieve their visions and goals, regardless of the nature of the market or the economy. You may pre-order the book online at www.happyabout. com/24hr-turnaround.php. Contact Jeffrey Davis at

The entrance to the Bruce K. Gould Amphitheatre

Book Excerpt: “The 24-Hour Turnaround” Below is an excerpt from “The 24-Hour Turnaround,” a new book that highlights entrepreneurial styles, innovations and triumphs. It features a chapter on Russell Robinson, Chief Executive Officer of JNF, who took the helm of the organization 13 years ago amid financial instability and completely turned it around. “When Russell joined JNF, commitment met opportunity at the bottom of a huge mountain. He has worked step-by-step to move the organization to the top of the nonprofit world. Russell is fearless in mission and has shown that he is not inclined to give up in the face of doubt and overwhelming odds. In fact, one of the fastest ways to get his attention is to tell him that something cannot be done. That quality alone demonstrates why he has been so successful. “He learned about good business practices and customer satisfaction by watching his father run a stereo business. He started his own business at a young age and taught himself the essentials of being an entrepreneur by assuming the leadership role and learning-by-doing. His good-natured, magnetic charm seems to have come naturally. Part of the reason that, from the beginning, Russell fit so perfectly with JNF’s mission was because he understood five critical things:

Jewish national fund

Bruce K. Gould Amphitheatre at Ammunition Hill, “which will bring education and arts programs to soldiers and school children alike,” he said. JNF is assisting in the development and renovation of the Ammunition Hill Memorial site, which portrays the siege of Jerusalem in the ‘67 Six Day War and serves as an educational center about the historic battle waged there. Funds are being used to expand and preserve the museum and battlegrounds and to create a computerized datacenter, a library, an archive, an exhibition hall, and a center for assemblies and conferences. In addition, JNF has erected a Wall of Honor (L-R) Col. Shimon “Katcha” Cahaner, Bruce Gould and his parents where individual plaques can be purchased to honor Jeanette and Norman Gould, at the groundbreaking ceremony Jewish soldiers who served or serve in the military of any country. For Bruce Gould, visiting Ammunition Hill, the site of the Annually on Jerusalem Day, a celebration is held at Amhistoric battle for the reunification of Jerusalem in the 1967 munition Hill, and it is also the setting for the induction War, is always an incredibly meaningful experience. ceremony of IDF paratroopers. Thanks to Gould’s generous “No other place represents the unification of Jerusalem donation, visitors will soon be able to enjoy arts and culture at better than Ammunition Hill,” said the Orlando resident. the amphitheatre, which will be used extensively for evening “Every time I go there, I’m moved by what happened – the concerts, symphonies, operas and plays. sacrifice made by those who lost their lives fighting for their Joined by his parents Jeanette and Norman, Gould laid homeland and keeping their heritage alive.” a cornerstone at a groundbreaking ceremony last December, Looking to share this moving experience with others, eswhere the sign for the amphitheatre was unveiled. The project pecially young people, Gould has committed to building the

Ceremonial Tree Planting Center Now Open at Neot Kedumim What a difference seven decades makes.



When Harvey Hertz was eight years old, his mother would walk him to the subway station in his Brooklyn, NY neighborhood and deposit him on a train headed towards Coney Island with instructions to hold onto the center pole and not let go. In one hand was the pole; in the other, a JNF Blue Box. He would ride to the end of the line and then come back, a total trip time of about two hours. When he returned, his mother was waiting at the station. His pushke was always full. “How did I get people to put money in?” he reminisced. “I would shake the pushke up and down and say ‘help me plant a tree in Palestine,’ and it worked like a charm. I loved doing it.” Today, Hertz is enabling hundreds of thousands of people to plant trees with the recent dedication of the JNF Harvey Hertz Ceremonial Tree Planting Center at Neot Kedumim, the world’s only biblical landscape reserve. Located just 10 minutes from Ben Gurion Airport and 20 minutes from Jerusalem, the Ceremonial Tree Planting Center offers visitors the opportunity to plant saplings that will later be transferred to sites throughout Israel. Each planter receives a special tree planter’s prayer and a commemorative certificate mailed directly to them. The idea came to Hertz after seeing pictures of Israel’s burnt Carmel Forest after last December’s tragic fire. “It brought tears to my eyes,” he said. “When I read about the devastation of the fire, I knew I had to do something.” Hertz, who recently retired as a Senior Vice President at Raymond James after 30 years, has lived in St. Pete Beach, FL for the past 50 years. He fell in love with the area when he was transferred from Philadelphia to Tampa Bay while working as an account executive for the cosmetic company Revlon. He went back to New York to become a stockbroker, but moved back when he realized how much he missed the St. Pete Beach area. He credits his mother with giving him the philanthropic bug. “I will never forget the memory of riding the train collecting money for JNF,” he said. “Without so many other people like me, the State would never have been created. “Dedicating the Tree Planting Center was a dream come true,” said Hertz. “Thousands of years ago Moses led the Jewish people through the desert looking for a fertile place. Planting trees keeps the story going. And when you plant, you really feel like you are doing something for Israel’s future. If I was 15 years younger, or even five years younger, I would move there tomorrow. It’s a fantasy story come true.” to register for a tree planting experience, visit

Harvey Hertz unveils the new sign for the Ceremonial Tree Planting Center at Neot Kedumim.

Russell Robinson and Harvey Hertz plant the first tree at the groundbreaking ceremony.

A New Generation Carries the JNF Torch

This past July, something exceptional happened to 24

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hand-picked participants when they embarked upon the inaugural jam-packed, four-day JNFuture Leadership Institute Mission to Israel (JLIM). “The trip was an emotional journey that exposed me to many major JNF accomplishments and demonstrated how I myself can start impacting Israel’s future, today,” said JLIM participant Michelle Bernstein from Florida. “I greatly appreciate having been given this incredible chance to experience the positive impact of JNF firsthand.” The trip, the first of its kind, demonstrated JNF’s commitment to shepherding in tomorrow’s generation of leaders. “Without young philanthropy, there is no future for JNF,” said Philadelphia resident Scott Solomon, a member

Boston. “From meeting with the Mayor of Be’er Sheva and seeing vegetables grow in miles of sand, to shooting hoops at the Sderot Indoor Recreation Center, our group was able to catch a glimpse of many of JNF’s most impressive projects in Israel. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity allowed some of the most promising JNFuture members to see what it means to be an impactful, powerful, and young leader. With eyes wide open, I have returned to Boston with an even greater passion for JNF, JNFuture, and the continued and increased success of the State of Israel.” Said David Levy of Austin: “JNF is helping Israel build for the future and the leaders of JNFuture stand ready to accept the challenge of carrying the JNF torch to the next generation.” For information on how to get involved in JNFuture, visit Adam Belfer, Ben Levine and Ben Jablonski (JLIM Chair) at the Haifa

Jewish national fund

JLIM participants at the Sderot Reservoir

of the JLIM selection committee. “If we as young adults do not learn to give back now, we won’t do so in the future.” “Some of them experienced an epiphany,” said Bruce Gould, a member of JNF’s World Chairman’s Council, who helped subsidize the trip and went on the mission as a mentor. “They really connected to Israel and started to get a grasp on what JNF is all about and the incredible we work we do. That’s what I call success.” Designed for young philanthropists committed to becoming “change agents” for JNF and Israel, JLIM was created to establish a young society of proven, high impact Jewish leaders who are willing to commit their time, leadership, talent and resources to strengthen JNF and Israel, and connect to the land and people of Israel. Joined by JNF CEO Russell Robinson, the participants learned about qualities of effective leadership, experienced powerful personal stories of “change agents” and visited JNF projects in Israel. The itinerary featured some of today’s most dynamic leaders across the diverse Israeli society, as well as ordinary people who have done extraordinary things. In addition, participants had the opportunity to be critical decision makers for the future of JNF’s connection to the land and people of Israel. “Each day was packed with stops and visits to Israel’s most innovative and promising companies,” said Alex Schuman of

The future of Israel lies in the Negev, said David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister. JNF recognized this when it launched Blueprint Negev, a multi-faceted, $600 million initiative aimed at bringing population to Israel’s southern region. Over the past several years, our projects have yielded tangible results that have significantly improved the quality of life for residents and created attractive opportunities for people interested in moving away from Israel’s crowded and expensive center. The articles on the following pages show the necessity and progress of JNF’s efforts to develop the Negev Desert. JNF has been the catalyst and others – the government, the private sector, and other non-profits – have followed. Together, we are making the desert bloom.

Breeding Nemo in the


By Keren Rotem

Limitations owing to water scarcity may exist in the Arava, but thanks to the Yair Station, part of the Central & Northern Arava Research and Development Center, the fish rearing industry has opened up new career paths for the next generation of farmers. Breeding the ornamental marine fish Amphiprion ocellaris, also known as “clown fish” or “Nemo fish,” has become a commercial endeavor and due to the relatively small area required for their production, this new enterprise enables second generation sons and daughters of veteran Arava farmers to return to the Arava and start their own businesses. In addition to the economic advantages, there are environmental ones as well. “Breeding marine ornamental fish under controlled conditions is of special interest,” said Professor Sheenan Harpaz, an expert in the field of fish nutrition and rearing who heads the Animal Science Institute at the Agricultural Research Organization in Bet Dagan, Israel. “It can help in alleviating the constant destruction of natural reefs and fish populations in the wild caused by people capturing these fish for their enjoyment. Now, fish are reared in tanks under controlled conditions and people no longer need to plunder the sea.” The Central & Northern Arava R&D, a division of the network of agricultural research and development

stations in Israel’s peripheral regions, seeks to serve the development needs of farmers and growers while utilizing the region’s unique attributes. Sponsored mainly by JNF and government bodies (including the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry for Development of the Negev and Galilee), it aims to increase agricultural sustainability and farmer profitability and to support the growing population in the Arava. Commercial ornamental fish breeding has been practiced in Israel for over two decades. Arava R&D has been involved in this area for over 15 years, starting with the production of tropical ornamental fish culture followed by research aimed at developing marine ornamental fish culture. Currently there are about 15 active farms engaged in the culture of ornamental fish, both marine and freshwater. The freshwater variety includes guppies, koi, goldfish, angelfish and platyfish. Fourteen million fish are exported annually, primarily to Europe. Establishing a viable ornamental fish farm requires heavy investments of time as well as funds. The research work carried out at the R&D station has led to a number of breakthroughs currently utilized by farmers involved in fish production, saving them valuable time

and money and opening up job opportunities – a real need if the Arava is to prosper going forward. The farmers obtain information from the R&D station and are in constant connection with the researchers at the station, who are attentive to their needs and initiate research projects aimed at providing answers to specific questions raised by the farmers. Research topics range from reproduction to nutrition to physiology. The growing ornamental fish industry is just one way that R&D stations have proven to be invaluable resources to the farmers of the region. Arava growers produce vegetables, cut flowers, fruits, fresh herbs and ornamental fish. Sixty percent of Israel’s fresh produce export, 10% of Israel’s cut flower export, and 80% of the country’s tropical fish export come from the Central and Northern Arava regions. Keren Rotem was the Director of Resource Development for the Central Arava Regional Council.

For more information on JNF’s work with the Central & Northern Arava R&D Center, visit

Negev, assisted by the thousands of quality people who will go there, affecting industry, construction, culture in all its aspects.” Naveh a Bnei Netzarim, which are a commutable distance from the area where bases will be built, are building the infrastructure needs for religious army families. Shlomit, another neighborhood that will be a mixed community of religious and secular families, will be a wonderful area for army officers and their families to live. In addition, the Israeli government has decided to move Highway #10, which is the Israeli-Egyptian border patrol road, about a half a mile north of the border. This new highway will connect all the villages and cities from Eilat in the south to Halutza in the northeast and will bring traffic and growth to the area. Such a move will drastically improve the accessibility of the region and is essential to population growth and increased connection between the residents of these communities and their fellow Israelis. Jewish National Fund takes special pride in the pioneering spirit and efforts of the families settling in Halutza. Not only are they providing a meaningful and successful future for their families, but like the pioneers of past generations, they are making a tremendous contribution to providing a prosperous future for the land and people of Israel.

Halutza Plays a Pivotal Role in Negev

DEVELOPMENT By Rabbi Eric Lankin In previous issues of B’Yachad, you have heard about the community of Halutza. Residents settled in this remote region of the Negev after the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, where they had lived in the seaside town of Gush Katif. They watched their homes dismantled, their neighbors evacuated, and their communities undone. After such an ordeal, it would have been difficult to start their lives over even in a pre-existing site, but these people chose to completely rebuild their community from the ground-up, on a forgotten piece of land in the middle of the desert. This is a story about what it means to be a modern pioneer. Today, many residents are finally leaving their temporary mobile homes (known as caravillas) that they have lived in since the withdrawal and building beautiful houses in Naveh and Bnei Netzarim, Halutza’s first two towns. Eighty homes are in the process of being built in Naveh alone, with some already completed and inhabited by families. JNF and the government of Israel have spent $10 million preparing the ground and putting in the sewage, water and electricity infrastructure. Hot houses have also been built and open fields have been cultivated. Agriculture is the vital industry that powers this community, and the people of Halutza have made enormous progress since settling there. In the last few years, millions of dollars worth of organic potatoes, peppers and carrots – grown in sand, not dirt – have been exported to Europe and sold in local markets. The magnitude of this achievement cannot be understated. The sandy terrain was once thought to be unable to sustain large-scale agriculture; working with it was an incredible shift from the dirt that the farmers were used to in Gush Katif. But for this community, failure was not an option. Not only does the success of this new farming style speak to the resourcefulness and resilience of the residents of Halutza, but it is reminiscent of the technological and scientific pioneering happening across Israel. And the acres of green fields are not all that is growing in Halutza. Schools, synagogues and other community institutions are in various stages of being built and in the plans for future civic development. “We are building a vibrant community,” said Rabbi Eli Adler, “at the center of which is the spirit and our strong connection to history, to the land of Israel and to Torah life.” Our communities in Halutza have another, perhaps even greater, role to play in the building of the area. Last April, the Israeli government approved a seven-year plan to move significant army bases from the center of the country to the Negev. Prime Minister Netanyahu said the move would provide “strong momentum to the development of the

Rabbi Eric Lankin is JNF’s Chief of Institutional Advancement and Education.

Children picking carrots in the fields

Celebrating the dedication of Halutza’s beit midrash

For more information on JNF’s work with Halutza and other new communities in the Negev, visit and

Realizing the Negev’s


in Givot Bar By Sol Fayerman-Hansen

As a young married couple with two children and a third in their plans, Danny and Hadass Dillion had some decisions to make. They could stay in the center of Israel and be somewhat house poor and sacrifice on ample space, or they could take a chance and move to the Negev Desert to one of the new communities being built near Be’er Sheva. “During the first year we had quite a few doubts, debating whether we had done the right thing,” said Danny, who relocated his family and now enjoys a beautiful home, fresh air and quality of life. “But now, a few years later, we are sure we made the best choice.” It was President Shimon Peres who said: “The Negev has the ability to allow for doubling the population of Israel. The Negev allows us to harness the energy of the sun to produce environmentally clean power for the country, and to desalinize and purify sea and ground water. It offers us an opportunity to create economic relations with three of our neighbors thus promoting peace and good will.” Other reasons for successful development of the Negev hold as true today as decades ago. Even prior to Israel’s independence in 1948, a vision to develop the Negev was set in motion by the country’s first pioneers. During the pre-state period, settling the Negev was essential for evenly distributing the new immigrant population, and many towns and villages popped up throughout the region. For many years the

The town of Givot Bar

Negev prospered as a region on the move. This development came to a halt until 1999, when JNF’s partner, the OR Movement, established Sansana in the northern Negev, the first town created in the region in over 15 years. Today, it is as important as ever that families from central Israel have the opportunity for improved quality of life, open space, fresh air and a chance to be true pioneers while securing Israel’s borders for future generations. One town making a positive impact on the region is Givot Bar, located just a few minutes north of the Negev’s capital city, Be’er Sheva. In 2004 the initial 14 families—the Dillions among them––started their new lives as new pioneers in the Negev. The town now has over 80 families and hundreds more are on the waiting list, eager to move in. The town boasts a beautiful day care center attended by over 70 children and a synagogue used for holidays and weekly prayer. A beautiful central park, Wingate Park, is currently being completed, spread over more than 15 acres of breathtaking desert hills and Negev scenery. “This is a place to reach your dreams,” said Shirley Barzalai, a resident. The community is expected to grow to over 500 families in the near future, which will significantly increase the Jewish presence in that area.

New towns and communities in the Negev are especially attractive for young families, not only because of the cost, which is substantially less than in central Israel, but also because the quality of life in the Negev is much more appealing than in the center. A single-family home with a yard in the Negev costs about the same as a two-bedroom apartment in central Israel. Young families also receive major tax benefits when moving to the Negev, a significant attraction. The potential in the Negev is limitless. It is just waiting for the winds of innovation and pioneering vigor to shape its landscape for the future. The journey has begun. With dedicated youth realizing their need for better lives, it will not be long until this vast region changes into a main residential area in Israel. Sol Fayerman-Hansen is the Resource Development Coordinator for the OR Movement.

For more information on JNF’s work in developing new communities in the Negev, visit

Be’er Sheva is

Today, it’s a different story; Be’er Sheva has taken dramatic steps forward.” Ilan Peretz, who has been driving his cab around Be’er Sheva for 15 years, marvels at the changes in the city that he has witnessed over the last decade. “The progress is truly amazing,” he said, Hermelin “with new neighborhoods and shopping centers, better schools and kindergartens, a better health system, young families moving here because they have more and better options, and students because of Ben Gurion University. The theater is great, we’ve got sports, movies, all kinds of industry— everything you’d find anywhere else in Israel. The list just goes on and on. “As a resident, I enjoy these changes and developments on a daily basis. We are being offered many options to do whatever we wish to do. The city looks much better, so it makes one feel better about living here.” David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, believed that the future of the country depended on the development of the Negev, which represents 60% of Israel’s landmass, but houses only 8% of the total population. JNF is working to bring Ben Gurion’s dream to reality and Be’er Sheva is at the center of these efforts. A 3,700-year-old city with a history dating back to the patriarch Abraham, Be’er Sheva is young and dynamic and has much potential. It is home to over 205,000 people — more than half of whom are under the age of 35 — and provides regional services for 200,000 more. After a decade of unprecedented growth, Be’er Sheva’s continued development is the key to making the Negev

booming By Shahar Ruvik Danilovich, mayor of Be’er Sheva, is seeking to turn the city, considered the capital of the Negev, into the capital of opportunities for everyone in Israel— young, old, businessmen, educators, entrepreneurs, students, soldiers. But he is aware of the city’s biggest challenge in the near future. “The question we ask ourselves all the time,” said Danilovich, “is, ‘How do we make Be’er Sheva a better place for its residents, and for the many thousands we wish to attract here over the next few years?’” Danilovich has a perfect perspective from which to approach this challenge. Born and raised in Be’er Sheva, he has seen the city undergo incredible changes, many of which he can take credit for. In 1998, he joined the campaign of Mayor Yaakov Turner, who led significant development and progress in the city. After serving as Deputy Mayor for ten years, Danilovich ran for mayor, winning 60% of the vote. “Growing up, Be’er Sheva was a melting pot of more than 70 different countries and ethnic groups; everyone was warm and welcoming,” said Danilovich. “The only things we missed were attractions like parks and lakes that kids from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or Haifa could enjoy.

an attractive place for a new generation of Israelis to call home. With Be’er Sheva’s improvements, Danilovich seeks to offer residents the best quality of life in every aspect: education, healthcare, recreation, public spaces, and transportation, to name a few. With IDF bases moving south, it is expected that 80,000 more people will move to the city by 2020. Sol Fayerman-Hansen, Resource Development Coordinator for the OR Movement, a nonprofit organization working to develop and populate the Negev and Galilee, moved to Israel in 1999 to join the paratroopers. In 2006 he moved to Be’er Sheva. “Since 2006, the city has transformed before my eyes,” he said. “We can find everything we need right here: New entrepreneurial projects are expanding the city limits, new beautiful water statues have been installed throughout the city, the promenade at the Be’er Sheva River Park is bringing families outside more and the municipality and many other supporters are improving infrastructure and the beauty of the Old City.” Both Fayerman-Hansen and Peretz are impressed with the strides Be’er Sheva has taken and see it as just the beginning of the modern city coming into its own. “There is a lot more to be done,” said FayermanHansen. “In my opinion, Be’er Sheva needs to create new projects that families can enjoy free of charge. In the last few years many shopping malls have been built throughout the city and even more are on the way. While shopping malls create new jobs, families here need something other than new ways to spend money in their free time.” As a father to a young daughter and son, Peretz has something invested in the growth and development of the city. “The potential of Be’er Sheva is almost unlimited,” he said. “With the way Be’er Sheva is improving, I’m very optimistic about my children building a future here as well.” Danilovich praises JNF’s work in the Negev as a crucial factor. “JNF is the greatest gift our city could have received,” he said. “With JNF, it’s not just about fundraising. We are partners who share the same dreams and vision for Be’er Sheva. JNF is leading the change with us. JNF helped us to bring decision-makers to the Negev and change the way Israelis see the Negev and Be’er Sheva. JNF was the first to believe in the idea of the Be’er Sheva River Park, saw the potential in sites like Abraham’s Well and has been a driving force on numerous other initiatives. This is a true partnership, and we could not have hoped for a better one.” Shahar Hermelin is JNF’s Director of Tourism in Israel.

For more information on JNF’s work in Be’er Sheva visit Photo by Amnon Gutman

What is the

Negev. They coped with the scarcity of available water by using asphalt surfaces to collect rain water in underground pools. A field hospital was also established there and it was used as a base for establishing the kibbutzim of Urim and Nirim. Revivim, with the assistance of Palmach soldiers, managed to resist the enemy forces of a long Egyptian siege. Founded by members of the youth group movement Noar Oved, it was By Noa Gefen the most southwest Jewish settlement in Israel at the time. They encountered great difficulties including lack of water, poor soil, and hot weather. Their agricultural success, especially in the collection of flood waters into enormous pools, attracted the attention of the investigative committee of UNESCO, which later helped in the acceptance of the Zionist movement’s demand to include the Negev in the Jewish State. Beit Eshel, named “House of the Tamarisk” after the tamarisk trees Abraham planted in nearby Be’er Sheva, started off as five men living in two tents. As the settlement grew, buildings were constructed in a manner they called “a castle,” trees were planted, and they developed a vegetable garden, hen house, and cowshed. Beit Eshel became home to families.

FUTURE Without the PAST?

In 1943, despite the British Land Edicts that prohibited the sale of land in the Negev to Jews, JNF created three new communities in the region — Gvulot, Beit Eshel, and Revivim — passing them off as scientific research stations when, in fact, they were intended to be the basis for permanent settlements. These Negev observatories were actually fully functioning research centers: they investigated the soil, the water, and the climate, and performed agricultural experiments growing plants that were unknown in the Negev at the time. In addition they developed friendly relationships with their Bedouin neighbors. But they also played important strategic and defensive roles during Israel’s War of Independence. The kibbutz at Gvulot operated a regional bakery that supplied bread to the settlements during the siege of the

Beit Eshel endured repeated attacks from the Egyptian army during the War of Independence. Under siege and detached, the women and children were evacuated and the defenders dug posts and fortified the “castle.” But with few and poor weapons, it was destroyed and abandoned. It is said that so much of our future lies in preserving our past. Not only is the Negev rife with ancient biblical history, it is teeming with modern history and as such must be preserved. Today, Gvulot is a site that represents the pioneer settlement in the Negev; Revivim depicts the distant and isolated settlement that survived in the face of tremendous difficulties by man and nature; and Beit Eshel is a central entrance to the Be’er Sheva River Park and a key component to the educational activity at the site. These settlements represent the work that JNF and the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites (SPIHS) have undertaken to protect historic sites associated with Israel’s rebirth. JNF and SPIHS work together to restore and preserve national heritage sites, and to increase public awareness of the importance of heritage preservation through special educational programs including lectures, tours, and seminars. Noa Gefen is the Development Director for the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites.

For more information on JNF’s work with the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites, visit

A Desert Paradise in

YAHEL By Ron Bernstein

Anyone who has driven to Eilat knows that besides McDonald’s and a gas station or two, there are few places to stop along the 120-mile highway that runs from the Dead Sea through the Arava Desert. But by the end of the year, travelers on their way down to Israel’s “Red Valley” tourist region will have a much more enticing place to stretch their legs and grab a bite to eat: Paradiso Arava, a five-acre compound located at the entrance to Kibbutz Yahel that will include restaurants, shops, a farmer’s market, a park with a small lake shaded by a date plantation—and, perhaps most important, ample parking and clean restrooms. More than just a fancy rest stop, however, this new attraction will have major implications for the 34-year-old kibbutz and the entire region. The Southern Arava Desert Valley (also known as the Hevel Eilot Region) is Israel’s largest municipality by area, yet just over 3,000 people live there. The long-term goal of

Construction on Paradiso Arava

the regional council is to expand to 11,000 residents, and Paradiso Arava, which is being built with the financial support of Jewish National Fund, will play a vital role in this growth. The park will create scores of jobs for kibbutz members and local residents and will bring in an estimated $6 million annually. Kibbutz Yahel was founded in 1977 by young pioneers from Israel, the U.S., South Africa, and the U.K. Today it is home to more than 50 families, half of whom are original members, and is preparing to absorb 40 new families in the coming years. Yahel’s economy is largely based on agricultural production, but also operates a small eco-tourism business that includes a 43-room bed and breakfast and agricultural and desert tours. The new park will ensure a vibrant future for the kibbutz and enable its expansion by creating employment opportunities for prospective residents and attracting some of the millions of people who drive past each year. A 100-room four-star hotel that will eventually replace the B&B is in the planning stages. Paradiso Arava is also expected to be a catalyst for continued development of the region. By raising the bar for rest stops along the Arava highway, the park will encourage existing facilities to upgrade, which will lead to more time

and money spent in the area and speed the construction of a proper four-lane expressway. This park is made possible thanks to a lead gift from entrepreneur and land developer Jack Freeman of Orlando, FL, who first heard about the kibbutz’s work from his children. “I knew this is where I wanted my money to go,” he said about his decision to donate to the Yahel Park project. “I wanted to do something constructive, something tangible.” Visitors will pull up to an impressive Middle Easternstyle building that will house restaurants with outdoor seating, shops, and various entertainment options for children and adults. The surrounding park will have playgrounds and a pond with three small islands connected by foot bridges. One island will feature a bi-weekly farmer’s market with local produce and artisanal goods; another will have an arts-and-crafts station for kids. Additional attractions are planned by the kibbutz, including a tour of Yahel’s impressive plantations and fields in the middle of the desert. Visitors will taste Yahel’s signature crop—the delicious pomelo—and hear stories of the kibbutz’s pioneering years and residents’ experiences living a stone’s throw from the Jordanian border. “This park is a central turning point for the Yahel economy, the Yahel community and the Arava community at large,” said Hillel Tobias, who is the business manager for Kibbutz Yahel. “The park will launch Yahel into an era of tourism and commerce and acts as a spring board to developing a hotel on Yahel. The Yahel community will expand with these new job opportunities and its communal extension will flourish with new settlers that will come. Join in making the desert bloom.”

This park is a central turning point for the Yahel economy, the Yahel community and the Arava community at large

Ron Bernstein is the JNF Israel Emissary for the Southwest Region and a founding member of Kibbutz Yahel.

For more information about Kibbutz Yahel, visit

JNF’s Bedouin

the thousands of conflicts over land rights. Israel’s government recently published a plan to create dozens of new, legal Bedouin settlements in the Negev and invest over a billion shekels in economic infrastructure. It is critical that Israel’s government make its peace with its Bedouin citizens, but it is Alon Tal not enough. The world Jewish community should be part of the solution. There is therefore tremendous symbolic significance to the emerging partnership between the Negev’s Bedouin cities and JNF. It lets Bedouin citizens know that they too have a place in the unique demographic mosaic of Israel’s southlands. And beyond symbolism, the immediate environmental, social and economic benefits from these projects cannot be exaggerated. • In Rahat, the largest Bedouin city, a multi-year, multi-million dollar project to restore the neglected biblical Grar Stream is underway. The intermittent stream running through the town will provide a scenic central park and river walk, comparable to the one being developed in Be’er Sheva. The Krupsky family of Washington has chosen to fund the city’s first playground through JNF. • The city of Hura, considered to be among the most socio-economically advanced Bedouin settlement, articulated a new vision of becoming an environmentally sustainable city. JNF has become the lead funder in the Wadi Attir project, which promises to reconnect the Bedouin citizens with the ecological harmony that characterized their culture’s traditional nomadic lifestyle. • In 2003, JNF San Diego built a park in Segev Shalom, a Bedouin village of 10,000 people in the Negev, for joint use by the Bedouin and Jewish residents of the region. • The JNF Parsons Water Fund has begun to provide supplementary water infrastructure for Bedouin towns. Projects in the Negev Bedouin community make a critical contribution to reducing the friction between Israel’s Jewish majority and the Bedouin minority. They also signal to the

Challenge By Prof. The decision by Jewish National Fund–Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (JNF-KKL) to reach out to Israel’s Bedouin community with several key projects that can impact quality of life for Bedouin citizens in legally recognized towns probably came 30 years later than it should have. Since the birth of the State of Israel, the relationship between Israel’s citizens and Bedouin communities has been contentious. But it was not simply for JNF to take on the responsibility of assisting Israel’s poorest non-Jewish minority; it was first and foremost the government’s. The Bedouin are descendants of nomadic tribes who came to Israel during the Ottoman rule and for centuries avoided the trappings of the civilized world, disinclined to settle, pay taxes, and register lands. When the dust settled after the war in 1949, of the 65,000 Bedouin who lived in the Negev, only 11,000 remained. During this period, Israel sent mixed messages to the Bedouin, who were relegated to a small area of land in the Negev under military rule. In opening up the Israeli army to Bedouin youth, the government attempted to establish the kind of solidarity so successfully cultivated with Israeli Druze communities. At the same time, tremendous pressure to settle the waves of Jewish immigrants and fund Israel’s army made it easy to overlook the provision of social services needed to empower a community that remained predominantly illiterate and unfamiliar with Israel’s western reality. Bedouin women, in particular, fell behind. Unlike during the Mandate period, where there was a school for Bedouin girls in Be’er Sheva, the community had no female educational facilities. When Israel established Tel Sheva, the Negev’s first permanent Bedouin town in 1968, the Bedouin did not easily adjust to giving up their tents. The new cities did not offer the residents employment and did a poor job of accommodating tribal affiliations. When Israel began to provide good medical care and generous child allowances in the late 1970s, the Bedouin birth rate increased. The comeback of polygamy in some quarters accelerated the demographic explosion, resulting in poverty, unemployment, crowding and general disenfranchisement. Take, for example, Rahat, the largest Bedouin city and the second largest city in the Negev: 60% of its residents are under 18; a majority of citizens are either unemployed or in need of government assistance. The enormity of closing Israel’s most mammoth social gaps is beyond JNF’s immediate resources, and again is not its responsibility to shoulder alone. A critical component of any long-term solution involves resolving

world that contrary to anti-Israel propaganda, Zionism is anything but racism. Jewish nationalism is committed to taking a population that only a generation ago lived at the desert’s edge and on the edge of abject poverty and offering them a prosperous future, with their cultural integrity intact as partners in building the State of Israel. Professor Alon Tal, from Ben Gurion University, is a member of the KKL-JNF international board, chairman of Israel’s Green Party, and founder of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies.

For more information on JNF’s work with Bedouin communities, visit

Photo by Amnon Gutman

a tonsillectomy. Throughout the 90-minute ambulance ride to the closest hospital, Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva, his mother prayed for her son’s survival. He passed out from loss of blood just as they arrived. Thankfully, doctors were able to revive him and he survived. Scenarios such as this are all too common in the Central Arava, a remote region of Israel that is 80 miles from the nearest city. Women regularly give birth en route to the hospital. Blood samples are collected once a week and sent to a laboratory in Be’er Sheva for testing, because the regional medical clinic does not own a hematology analyzer. People suffering from acute back pain wait an average of one month for an appointment with a visiting specialist. Inadequate medical care is just one of the many challenges facing the Central Arava, located along the Jordanian border between the Dead Sea and Red Sea. Currently home to 3,000 residents spread among seven communities, the Arava is an area of unparalleled beauty, with stunning desert landscapes and a peaceful quality of life, but there are significant obstacles that must be addressed to achieve the Regional Council’s goal of increasing its population. In February 2011, members of JNF’s Central Arava 2020 Committee met with the Regional Council, community representatives, and members of the Israeli government to assess the region’s needs and devise a plan for the future. Sustainable development of the Arava is an integral piece of JNF’s Blueprint Negev campaign, its location a bridge between the northern and southern Negev.

Bringing Attention

to the Central Arava By Beckie Fischer Recently, a child from the Central Arava was rushed to the hospital when his throat began hemorrhaging after

Medical Care There is a critical need for a new medical center in the Central Arava. The condition of the 40-year-old regional clinic, located in the city of Sapir, is deplorable. With an increasing elderly population and a desire for

young people to return, adequate medical care is vital. Government ministries, along with Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom have committed two million of the four million dollar project. JNF will match this commitment and ensure that the regional medical center is built. Our plans will allow for people to remain in the Central Arava and to move there. Agricultural Development Despite an average annual rainfall of less than two inches, the Central Arava is responsible for growing more than 60% of the produce and 10% of the fresh flowers annually exported from Israel. Farmers utilize the findings of the local R&D centers, funded in part by JNF, to maximize their productivity in these harsh desert conditions. The result is the freshest, best tasting peppers, tomatoes and strawberries ever harvested. An adequate water supply is critical to the Central Arava’s ability to grow; the region’s master plan calls for 250 new farming families to join the area within the next few years. JNF is exploring a variety of avenues for increasing the availability of useable water in the region. Tourism Funded in large part by JNF’s Sapphire Society, Zuqim is a beautiful village based on eco-tourism and home to nearly 50 families and growing, many of them artists. A Craftsmanship Khan (Center) is in the works for local artists to sell their wares; this will draw business to the area by attracting some of the eight million travelers heading to Eilat each year. Land Mines Near Moshav Tzofar is a fenced-off area that contains more than 90,000 land mines, some laid when there was no defined border between Jordan and Israel. Many land mines have been swept away with flash floods outside the periphery of the safety fence and must be cleared. Not only do they pose a safety hazard, but the mines sit on enough land for 400 families to farm. On March 14, the Israeli parliament, in an historic vote of 43 to 0, passed legislation to establish a National Mine Action Authority. The NMAA will implement a systematic national plan to clear nearly one million land mines from Eilat to the Golan within years. Our visit caused Environmental Minister Gilad Erdan to support NMAA legislation. In so many respects, Jewish National Fund has helped bring attention to the small population of the Central Arava, heretofore largely ignored. Beckie Fischer is Chair of the JNF Central Arava 2020 Committee, President of JNF in Broward County, and immediate past chair of Makor.

For more information about JNF’s work in the Arava, call your local JNF office at 888-JNF-0099.

Bringing Young Jews Closer to Israel By Rabbi Eric M. Lankin, DMin Israel advocacy & education


Each year, JNF provides programming for hundreds of high school and college students with diverse backgrounds and interests. We want to introduce you to three of them: Rachel, a ninth grader at an Orthodox Jewish day school, is active in her local NCSY chapter and attends synagogue regularly with her family. She has already visited Israel and feels a strong connection and desire to return. “I believe it is necessary to support Israel because it is the Jewish state and it is so important to our people,” she said. “I can’t wait to go back!” David is a junior at a public high school who attends Hebrew school at his Reform synagogue once a week. It is important to him to choose a college with a large and active Jewish population. “I want a school with a lot of other Jews I can hang out with,” he said. He also hopes to travel to Israel, maybe in college on Taglit-Birthright Israel. Jacqui, a high school sophomore, is part of a loving Jewish family but not affiliated with a synagogue or JCC. She didn’t have a bat mitzvah and has received no formal Jewish education. People are always surprised to find out she’s Jewish because she isn’t involved in youth groups or other Jewish activities. “But I still know that I am Jewish,” she said, “and I want to go to Israel someday.” At JNF, our work is not limited to building and strengthening Israel on the ground. An integral part of our mission is to engage, educate and energize young American Jews to be lovers and supporters of Israel by creating programs that appeal to a wide range of participants. According to the National Jewish Population Study (NJPS 2000-2001), approximately 40% of the American Jewish community is engaged in Jewish life through synagogue/JCC membership or giving to a Jewish cause. This means that 60% of the Jewish community is not engaged in any such activities. In the under-18 demographic, that same 40%-60% split exists. How do we reach young Jews and bring them spiritually and physically closer to Israel? We want to deepen Rachel’s knowledge with exposure to Jerusalem Online University (JOU). JOU’s “Israel Inside/ Out” video series has been adapted for high school students in partnership with JNF and the David Project. JNF is bringing these educational materials to hundreds of Jewish schools and synagogues across the country.

We want David to consider Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI). Over the last 30 years, AMHSI has educated more than 30,000 Jewish high school students. Its core program, an eight-week accredited high school program in

An integral part of our mission is to engage, educate and energize young American Jews to be lovers and supporters of Israel by creating programs that appeal to a wide range of participants. Hod HaSharon and its new campus, soon to open in the Negev’s Eshel Hanassi, allows students to study secular subjects and the history and geography of Israel while touring the country. This program will invigorate David and empower him with a strong education and a more individual Jewish identity and connection to Israel.

We want Jacqui to become part of our JNF family by taking advantage of JNF’s Plant Your Way program that allows participants to solicit donations for forestation; half of the proceeds go towards planting and caring for trees in Israel and the other half is set aside in a special JNF account for the participant to use towards a trip to Israel. This is an opportunity for JNF to encourage a transformative educational experience leading to a tangible relationship with Israel. JNF is committed to leaving no Jewish student untouched by the experience of Israel. With the generous financial support of donors like you, we can ensure that Rachel, David, Jacqui, and all Jewish students like them receive preeminent Jewish education and develop a deep and lasting relationship with Israel that will shape them into the future leaders of their communities. For more information on JNF’s education programs, contact the Israel Advocacy and Education Department at or 212-879-9305 ext. 245, and visit jnf.or/education.

AMHSI students in Israel

JNF VP of Planned Giving is Driven by Deep Connection to Israel Growing up in Los Angeles, Da-

ern and Southern Walls in the Old City of Jerusalem. And in 1973, following the Yom Kippur War, it was a sense of obligation that sent him back to Israel as one of the first nonIsraeli volunteers. He worked for a year at Kibbutz Gesher Haziv near Rosh Hanikra, three miles from the Lebanese border. The following year he worked as a social worker in Jerusalem with disadvantaged youth and children of Moroccan immigrants. Of his time spent in Israel, Frank said: “I felt I owed it. I wasn’t Israeli; I wasn’t going to be in the military. To me, it was the equivalent to military service, and my social duty as a Jew.” In addition to his Planned Giving role, Frank currently serves as National Chairman of the LA region. He was President of the LA board from 2003-2008. Frank, who works in the real estate industry, lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Robin and three children, Ari, 22, and 19-year-old twins, Hyla and AJ. The boys just returned from JNF-Shorashim’s Taglit-Birthright Israel program. David’s sister, Michelle, has lived in Ranana, Israel since 1981.

In the middle of the night in midDecember 2010, Congress passed the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts. In addition to continuing the current income tax rates through the end of 2012, the provisions included a reunification of estate and lifetime gift exclusions of $5 million per person. This means that individuals can exclude the first $5 million from their estate before the federal tax is applied (married couples can combine their exclusions for a total of $10 million). It also means that they can give away an additional $5 million, on top of $13,000 a year, without incurring a gift tax. The extension gives JNF supporters an opportunity to participate in estate and gift planning through the end of 2012 with amounts that may not be available after the deadline. Shrinking your estate by making lifetime gifts to loved ones is a terrific idea. For many JNF donors, estate planning is a necessity, enabling them to pass wealth on to heirs and charities at the most efficient cost possible. The current economic climate, with its historic low interest rates, has made a charitable lead trust a very attractive estate planning tool. A charitable lead trust is a gift plan offered by JNF’s Planned Giving Department that allows a donor to transfer assets to family members at a reduced tax cost while making a generous gift to Jewish National Fund. During its term, a charitable lead trust pays an annual in-

come to JNF. At the termination of the trust, its principal or primary assets are distributed to the donor’s heirs. The benefit to JNF is the annual income stream the trust pays. The value to the donor’s heirs is they can receive assets at a very low tax cost. Here’s an example: Judy and David, both 65, own apartment buildings and have accumulated an estate in excess of their combined exclusions (currently $10 million). In doing their estate planning they realize the estate tax could significantly reduce the value of the estate they wish to pass to their heirs. They support Israel and insist philanthropy be a part of their plan, but are looking for ideas that will not disinherit their children and grandchildren. One of their buildings was appraised at $3 million, down significantly over the last four years. The building has stable tenants and produces a 6% annual return after expenses are paid. JNF’s Planned Giving Department presents the idea of transferring this apartment building to a JNF charitable lead trust with a 15-year term, which could produce the following results: • The gift tax deduction for a $3 million gift put into a 6% charitable lead trust for 15 years is about $1,794,570. As far as the IRS is concerned, even though Judy and David are transferring a gift of $3 million to their children, it is only worth $1,205,430 for estate and gift tax purposes. • Since Judy and David are using a portion of their combined $10 million gift and estate tax exclusion, the gift is tax-free to their kids.

•F  or the next 15 years JNF will receive an annual income of $180,000 (6% of $3 million). •A  t the end of the 15-year term the building will be given to Judy and David’s children without any taxes owed. If the children wish to sell the property, they will owe capital gains taxes. Judy and David consult with their legal and tax advisors and realize they can increase the amount of tax-free gifts, reduce their estate tax burden, give their children a very valuable asset that will most likely increase in value, and provide Jewish National Fund with a significant donation for 15 years. All for very little tax cost. We like to call it a win-win scenario. Our charitable gift annuity program is as popular as ever as donors look to earn current income, save on income and capital gains taxes, and support Israel at the same time. With interest rates still hovering near all time lows, the gift annuity rates we offer our donors are very competitive and may provide more income than some bonds or commercially available investments. As always, JNF’s Planned Giving specialists are available to guide you through the process with detailed financial information that you can share with any of your advisors. If you are interested in learning more about any of these ideas, call our award-winning Planned Giving Department at 800-562-7526. A JNF Planned Giving specialist will be ready to assist you.


Charitable Lead Trusts Make an Attractive Estate Planning Tool By Matt Bernstein, CFP, JNF Chief Planned Giving Officer


vid Frank, JNF Vice President of Planned Giving, remembers buying trees at the young age of four. “I attended Hillel Hebrew Academy Day David Frank and his family at a JNF Tree of Life™ dinner School,” he said, “and the first thing we would do after prayers was purchase JNF stamps, which we would place on a tree certificate in the outline of a tree. Back in 1955, the cost of a tree was $1.25.” Thirty years later Frank came to JNF as part of the Los Angeles Board under then-director Frank Salkoff. His first assignment was to chair the Green Sunday phone-a-thon. Under his leadership it grew from raising $5,000 to $150,000. Twenty years ago, he met Matt Bernstein, Chief Planned Giving Officer, and became part of JNF’s Planned Giving

Department. Working together with the department to solicit donors, David has been involved with many real estate gifts and property transfers to charitable remainder trusts that will ultimately benefit JNF. Said Frank: “People hear about our Planned Giving Department through ads and the seminars that Matt holds across the country. They understand the benefits of donating highly appreciated real estate: avoiding capital gains, receiving an income tax deduction from an asset that is no longer needed, or getting income for life using real estate to establish charitable remainder trusts. They know it’s a smart business move. And it works for all kinds of people with all variations of family – those with children and those without. It’s about a desire to take care of Israel.” Frank’s first of many trips to Israel was in 1966 when he was 15. He took a 10-week ulpan course at Meir Shfeya, an agricultural high school in central Israel near Zichron Yakov. Two years later he returned to Israel to work on Kibbutz Yifat for the summer; he wanted to see the country after the Six Day War. In 1970, as a third year archaeology student at UC Berkeley, he worked at the initial excavations of the West-

out & about WITH

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


(L-R) Ed Blank (World Chairman’s Council); Russell Robinson, JNF CEO; and Marta Gucovsky at the JNF-OR Movement Broadway Sensation, co-sponsored by JNF, OR Movement and the American Israel Cultural Foundation.

(L-R) Bob Friedland (World Chairman’s Council); Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York; and Russell Robinson, JNF CEO at the JNF-OR Movement Broadway Sensation.

(L-R) Congresswoman Nita Lowey accepted a tree certificate from Sheila Friedland (World Chairman’s Council). Representative Lowey spoke at the Westchester JNF board meeting.

(L-R) Jerry Berko (Century Club Member); Harold Cohen, JNF COO; and Sid Banon (Century Club) at the annual GNY breakfast.

(L-R) Arthur Adler and Adrienne Cooper (President’s Council) hosted the Consul General Reception with guest Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York.

(L-R) Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York, and Laureine Greenbaum (World Chairman’s Council, Circle of Sapphire member and incoming President of the New York Regional Board). Greenbaum gave an informative overview of the JNF Parsons Water Fund and the pressing need to help alleviate Israel’s severe water crisis.

(L-R) Robert Cohan (New England President); Richard Noone (President’s Council, Co-Chair, Board Member); inventor Dean Kamen; National Campaign Director Sharon Freedman; and Paul Garrido (Herzl Society) at a BNY Mellon Wealth Management reception.

(L-R) Sara Hefez, New England Regional Director; Jeffrey Davis (Chairman of the Board, Century Club, President’s Council); Lawrence Cohen (New England President, President’s Council); Michael Blank (Makor, Century Club, President’s Council); Sharon Freedman, National Campaign Director; and Robert Cohan (Boston President, Herzl Society) honored incoming Boston President Michael Blank.

Judy and Bud Levin (World Chairman’s Council) took a break from dancing to the hits of the Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley at the Tree of Life™ gala dinner.

(L-R) Tom Morgan (Herzl Society, Board Member); JNF CEO Russell Robinson; Alyse Golden Berkley (Circle of Sapphire, Board Member); and Larry Russ (Century Club, JNF Board President) gathered together at the Tree of Life™ dinner to raise money for the Be’er Sheva Amphitheater.

  New England Zone

(L-R) President’s Council members Yvette and Maurice Bendahan with Judy Feig at the Planned Giving Alliance Bernstein Cocktail Reception. Proceeds from the evening supported JNF’s vital water projects in Israel.

(L-R) Emily Golden (Sapphire Society); Marta Gucovsky; and Ed Blank (World Chairman’s Council) at the Planned Giving Alliance Bernstein Cocktail Reception, where guests learned about JNF’s Planned Giving opportunities.

(L-R) Jeffrey Davis (Chairman of the Board, Century Club); Steve Grossman, Massachusetts Treasurer; Todd Patkin (World Chairman’s Council); Michael Blank, incoming Boston President (Makor, Century Club); Sharon Freedman, National Campaign Director; and Lawrence Cohen (Boston President, Century Club).

  Los Angeles Zone

(Back row, L-R) Jim Levine; Capital District President Ken Segel (Century Club, President’s Council); (Front row, L-R) Jane Golub (President’s Council); Nancie Segel (Century Club, Sapphire Society); Susan Farber, Micki Massry, Karen Hausler, Mike Scher, Regional Director Sara Hefez and Evy Farbstein attended the 2nd annual Susan Shpeen Memorial Walk for Water hosted by the Capital District Board of Directors.

(L-R) Jim Elkind (Century Club) and Rachel Goldstein (Century Club, Sapphire Society) received a plaque honoring them for their dedication from National Campaign Director Sharon Freedman and Senior Campaign Executive Deborah Budd after hearing from Ellen Reisel, co-founder and managing director of Grofit Therapeutic Riding Center.

Past President Tony Rubin (Century Club) and wife Linda Rubin (Century Club, Sapphire Society) at the Tree of Life™ gala dinner.

Florida Zone

(L-R) JNF CEO Russell Robinson, Roz Clayman, JNF Northern Florida Regional Director Uri Smajovits, Jenny De Yanez, Harvey Hertz (World Chairman’s Council), Deena and Larry Silver (Herzl Society) proudly inaugurated the Harvey Hertz Ceremonial Tree Planting Center at Neot Kedumim, in Israel.

(L-R) Martin Solomon (Century Club); Tampa board member Susan Turner (Sapphire Society); Tampa Bay Co-President Mark Miller (Herzl Society); Craig Sher; and Joe Sterensis enjoyed the Tampa Bay Tree of LifeTM dinner.

(L-R) Albert Waksman, Tampa Bay Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Monsignor Laurence Higgins, and Tampa Bay board member Dr. Abe Marcadis (President’s Council, Doctors for Israel Society Chair) at the Tree of Life™ dinner.

JNF’s Major Donors

(L-R) Roz Lederman received the Sapphire Society pin from Sydelle Lazar (President’s Council, Sapphire Society) during the musical reception to kick off the Gateway to the Negev Visitor and Information Center campaign.


(L-R) Debra Israel, Sy Israel (Century Club), Orlando board member Sonia Atkinson and Carl Atkinson at Tree of Life™ event. The Israels and Atkinsons recently visited Israel and went to Atlit to attend the dedication to the Israel Family.

(L-R) Orlando board member Bruce Gould (World Chairman’s Council), Dyan Awes and Jack Freeman (World Chairman’s Council) at the Orlando Tree of Life™ event, where Freeman was recognized for his major gift toward the Kibbutz Yahel Jack Freeman Family park.

(L-R) Past Tree of Life™ honoree and Orlando board member Harvey Kobrin (Century Club) and Sy Israel (Century Club) at the Orlando Tree of Life™ dinner.

(L-R) JNF Palm Beach board members Roger Benjamin (Herzl Society) and wife Linda enjoyed the evening at the JNF/MacKenzieChilds Wine and Trees event in Palm Beach.

(L-R) Betty and Irwin Berger (President’s Council) at the musical reception to kick off the Gateway to the Negev Visitor and Information Center campaign. The evening was held poolside at the home of JNF South Palm Beach Board member Ken Esrig.

Steven Caller (Herzl Society) with his family during a trip to Israel. They were the first family to plant trees at the Harvey Hertz Ceremonial Tree Planting Center at Neot Kedumim.

(L-R) JNF Broward Board and Herzl Society members Dr. Herb and Nancy Brizel were honored for their involvement and vital contributions to the Jewish and medical communities at the JNF breakfast at Temple Solel in Hollywood. All proceeds from the breakfast were designated to the Central Arava Medical Clinic.

(L-R) Sandye and Gerald Turnauer (Century Club, President’s Council) at the JNF breakfast at Temple Solel in Hollywood.

(L-R) Lynn Silber (Century Club), JNF Palm Beach Board President Art Silber (Century Club), and guest speaker Ofir Fisher, founder and Director of the OR Movement, at the JNF/MacKenzie-Childs Wine and Trees event in Palm Beach.

(L-R) JNF South Palm Beach Board member and Lawyers For Israel Society Co-Chair Howard DuBosar (Herzl Society), JNF South Palm Beach Board President Michael Lazar (President’s Council), and JNF South Palm Beach Board member and General Campaign Chair Scott Brenner (Herzl Society) enjoyed the JNF musical event.

JNF South Palm Beach Board members at a meeting of the Board of Directors held at the Boca Grove Plantation Country Club in Boca Raton. (Front Row, L-R) Cynthia Hertz (Century Club, Sapphire Society), Linda Selbst, Jeff Amkraut; (Second Row, L-R) Board President Michael Lazar (President’s Council), Israel Advocacy and Education Chair Cantor Elaine Shapiro (President’s Council, Sapphire Society), Doctors for Israel Chair Dr. Robert Colton (President’s Council), and Ken Esrig; (Back Row) Board guest Mitch Fogel.

Mid Atlantic Zone

JNF’s Major Donors

Amy Gur (Sapphire Society, Century Club) and Ellen Rosenberg (President’s Council, Makor, Sapphire Society, Major Gifts Chair) at the JNF Breakfast at Temple Oheb Shalom in Baltimore, MD.

Baltimore JNF Breakfast Chairperson Dr. Ellen Taylor (Sapphire Society, President’s Council, Century Club) and Erika Schon (Sapphire Society) at a fundraiser for Alternative Break and Sapphire projects.

Gail Kushner (Sapphire Society) and Gary Kushner (President’s Council, Makor) visited the compact fire truck generously donated by their synagogue, B’nai Tzedek of Potomac, MD.

Gary Kushner (President’s Council, Makor) and Dr. Chet Stein (Century Club, Makor, President’s Council) at the Washington D.C. Region Breakfast at Congregation Beth El in Bethesda, MD.

Dr. Irving Taylor (Century Club, World Chairman’s Council) celebrated his birthday with a trip to Israel on JNF’s Culinary and Wine Mission.

Jeffrey Menick (Makor, Herzl Society) put the finishing touches on his hamantashen to prepare for Purim during JNF’s first Wine and Culinary Mission.

Midwest Zone

28 Delaware board member Joel Friedlander (Herzl Society) and his wife Julie Sandler admired the JNF Sderot Indoor Recreation Center during a trip to Israel.

Naomi Amsterdam (Sapphire Society) and Dr. Larry Amsterdam (Herzl Society) further rooted their passion for Israel during the Culinary and Wine Mission.

Maryland Region Board President Jonathan Fishman (President’s Council) delivered a speech about Sderot to JNF supporters in Baltimore, MD.

Cincinnati held a special thank you event for major donors, with keynote speaker JNF CEO Russell Robinson, to kick off recruitment for National Conference in Cincinnati. (L-R) National Conference Cincinnati Co-Chair Eddie Paul (Century Club, National Board Member), John Barrett (Century Club), Russell Robinson, and JNF National President Stan Chesley (World Chairman’s Council).

(L-R) JNF CEO Russell Robinson, Diane and Alan Weber (Herzl Society, Past Cincinnati President) mingled at the major donor’s thank you event.

(L-R) National Conference Cincinnati Co-Chair Eddie Paul (Century Club, National Board Member), JNF CEO Russell Robinson, Joel Stone, JNF National President Stan Chesley (World Chairman’s Council), and Kim Halbauer enjoyed the Major Donors cocktail reception.

(L-R) Chicago board member Joe Sameh (Herzl Society) enjoyed a moment with guest speaker Ken Stein at the JNF annual breakfast at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

(L-R) Alana Spilman, Lauren Spilman, Max Barbara and Herb Shear (Century Club) at the Spilman, Sydell Miller and Steve Spilman at the JNF major donors reception at the AIPAC Policy dedication of their pillar at American IndepenConference in Washington, D.C. dence Park during their first visit to Israel. Their gift was given in support of Hugey Sayrut.

(L-R) President’s Council and Sapphire Society members Sue Sacks, Robin Kafenshtok and Karen Budin at the very successful Women’s Campaign for Israel event at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Fred and Rena Safer (Sapphire Society, Israel Advocacy & Education Chair) of Milwaukee visited the JNF 9/11 Living Memorial in Jerusalem while on a trip to Israel.

Northeast Zone

(L-R) Central New Jersey Board members Doris Leibowitz (Century Club, Sapphire Society) and Marcy Needle (Sapphire Society, Makor) at the 2nd annual Central New Jersey breakfast.

(L-R) Central New Jersey Board members Andrew Solomon (President’s Council) and Alan Kirshenbaum (President’s Council) at the 2nd annual Central New Jersey breakfast.

(L-R) Marcy Dash Friedman (Herzl Society), Micki Krakauer (Herzl Society), and Robin Hirsch (Herzl Society) at Southern New Jersey’s major donors thank you event at the home of Marv and Eva Schlanger.

JNF CEO Russell Robinson and Ethyl Blumenfeld at Southern New Jersey’s major donors event.

JNF’s Major Donors

(L-R) Tali Tzour, JNF Israel Emissary; Joan Shepp, Louise Dabrow, (National Women’s Alliance Chair, Century Club, Sapphire Society), Pat Ciarrocchi, Jane Golden, Evelyn Spritz, Community Campaign Chair; and Dr. Beverly Emanuel at the 2nd annual “Women: Our Amazing Journeys” event.


(L-R) Shelly Abramson (Sapphire Society), Jerry Abramson, Marv Schlanger, Eva Schlanger (President’s Council), Pam Benedon (President’s Council, Sapphire Society), Bob Benedon (President’s Council, Makor), Helene Blumenfeld, Alan Blumenfeld (President’s Council), Gerrie Rudoler (Sapphire Society), and Achim Rudoler (Herzl Society) at the Southern New Jersey major donors thank you event at the home of Marv and Eva Schlanger.

(L-R) Rich Cohen (Philadelphia Board of Directors President, Herzl Society), Larry Brownstein and Joe Wolfson (Makor Chair, President’s Council) at the 5th annual Philadelphia Poker and Blackjack Tournament.

(L-R) Joel Leibowitz, Northeast Zone Director; Central New Jersey Board member Andrew Rubenstein (Century Club), and Russell Robinson, JNF CEO at the Central New Jersey Poker Tournament.

(L-R) Marc Felgoise (Herzl Society, Century Club), Frank Chudnow (Herzl Society), Mark Bernstein, Mary Relles (Sapphire Society), Steve Berger, Steve Dabrow (President’s Council), Robert Fox, Alan Dabrow (President’s Council, Century Club), Russell Robinson, Jeff Schwartz, Joe Wolfson (Makor, President’s Council), Rob Kitchenoff, and Richard Cohen (Herzl Society) at a leadership lunch in Philadelphia, PA.

Southern Zone

JNF CEO Russell Robinson met with major donors in Atlanta. (L-R) Community Campaign Chair Jay Zandman, Doug Ross (Herzl Society), and Russell Robinson.

JNF Israel Emissary Ronnie Porat visited Stella Smiley (Herzl Society) in Mountain City, TN on his tour of the Southeastern states.

Stanley Hirsch (President’s Council), Gladys Hirsch (President’s Council), and Michael Miller (Century Club) gathered to celebrate Israel and honor the memory of the late Jack Hirsch z’’l at the 8th annual Jack Hirsch Memorial Breakfast in Atlanta, GA.

Western Zone

JNF’s Major Donors

(L-R) Fran Fine and Priscilla Schwartz-Hodes (Sapphire Society) at the 2011 annual breakfast in Las Vegas.

(L-R) Lara Stone (Sapphire Society), Priscilla Schwartz-Hodes (Sapphire Society), Judy Berkovitz, Sharon Solomon (Sapphire Society), Shelly Dubin (Sapphire Society), and Helen Feldman (Sapphire Society) were presented with JNF plaques at the major donor thank you luncheon held at David and Lara Stone’s home in Las Vegas.

(L-R) Helen Feldman (Sapphire Society), Bob Dubin (Century Club), Alan Stock, Janice McLanahan, and Shelley Dubin (Sapphire Society) at the 2011 annual breakfast in Las Vegas.

On the Future of Israel Mission, Gene Kay (Board Chair, Century Club) and Regional Director Stan Kamlet broke ground for the Colorado Carbon Neutral Dorm at the Arava Institute on Kibbutz Ketura.

Mountain States Board Chair Gene Kay (Century Club) presented Joyce Zeff (Century Club) with a Sderot Tulip for her continued generosity to JNF and support of the State of Israel. (Vicky Kelman Photography)

(L-R) Jim Barthel, Chief Development Officer Rick Krosnick, Mountain State Board Chair Gene Kay (Century Club), Holocaust survivor Manny Weizman, and John Stulp at the 2011 Denver annual Breakfast. Mr. Stulp was recognized for his participation as special advisor on water to Colorado’s governor on a mission to Israel last summer and for chairing the Colorado/Israel Water Symposium. (Vicky Kelman Photography)

Long-time donors Jack A. Elfant and Seena Praag Elfant of Walnut Creek, CA are proud new President’s Council members. After hearing CEO Russell Robinson speak, they decided to support the efforts of new water technology through a donation to the JNF Parsons Water Fund.

(L-R) Didi Almog and Liz Merage (President’s Council) at the Orange County Tree of Life™ Gala at the St. Regis Resort in Dana Point, CA.

(L-R) Molly Weinberg (Century Club, Sapphire Society) and Orange County Board President Dr. Cookie Sieger (Century Club, President’s Council, Sapphire Society) at the Orange County Tree of Life™ Gala at the St. Regis Resort in Dana Point, CA.

(L-R) Sheila Prell-Sonenshine and Molly Weinberg (Century Club, Sapphire Society) at the Orange County Tree of Life™ Gala at the St. Regis Resort in Dana Point, CA.

(L-R) Palm Springs & Desert Region Vice President Evelyn Binsky (Sapphire Society) presented outgoing Region President Rick Stein (Herzl Society) with a gift of a shofar in appreciation for his two years of outstanding leadership.

(L-R) Palm Springs & Desert Region Appreciation Reception Co-Chair Debbie Orgen, JNF Mid-Atlantic Region Major Gifts Chair Ellen P. Rosenberg (Herzl Society), Palm Springs & Desert Region Appreciation Reception Co-Chair Judy Cohn and Palm Springs & Desert Region President Rick Stein (Herzl Society).

(L-R) Si Eisenberg (Century Club) presented Zach Ivanhoe with a Right Toyota tee box sign from the JNF Open Golf Tournament. Right Toyota sponsored the Hole in One contest as well at the JNF Open.

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

(L-R) Sapphire Society members Terry Katz, Carol Ford (National Sapphire Society Chair), and Natalie Eisenberg proudly wore their Sapphire Society pins at the Arizona Region’s annual Women’s Alliance Luncheon.

San Diego’s newest Sapphire Society member and board member Myra Chack Fleischer met with Yossi Kahana, Director of Development for Aleh Negev, when he was visiting San Diego.

San Diego board member Linda Church and her husband Jeff Church (Herzl Society) visited JNF’s B’nai Mitzvah Remembrance Wall in Jerusalem’s American Independence Park with their family where they dedicated a tile in honor of their daughter Rachel’s bat mitzvah.

National JNF Board Member and Vice President Dr. Sol Lizerbram (Century Club, President’s Council) with his wife Lauren Lizerbram (Sapphire Society) at Congregation Beth Am’s annual Gala, where they were honored as “Champions of Israel” for their strong support of JNF.


Alexander muss high school in israel

Visiting AMHSI’s New Campus at Eshel Hanassi

Session December 2011 February 2012 April 2012 Summer 1 Summer 2 September 2012

Depart Return November 29 January 24, 2012 January 31 March 27 April 17 June 12 June 19 July 31 June 27 August 8 September 4 November 2

Early decision incentives and financial aid available. Visit or call 800-327-5980 for more details.

With this expansion, AMHSI participants will see Israel off the beaten path, living and learning in a part of Israel many tourists don’t have the opportunity to experience. While preserving the distinctive curriculum and high quality of instruction of AMHSI’s well-known program, the location in the Negev will put students in greater contact with the land itself. Students will explore aspects of contemporary Israel unique to this region, for instance, studying the Bedouin communities as an example of the ways in which Israel relates to its minorities, or learning about research in water conservation and ecological protection in the very place leading the world in advances in these critical sciences. Students will take advantage of the many outstanding facilities, including the farm and greenhouses, science labs, environmental initiatives, and communications projects. Students will also have the chance to interact and work with the Eshel School’s community of diverse and outstanding students, building relationships and lasting memories. The many new benefits and features of AMHSI’s program at Eshel Hanassi will be completely unique amongst the many programs available to teens studying in Israel. In the coming year, students attending AMHSI will join pioneers like David Ben Gurion in his dream of making the desert bloom. AMHSI’s mission of strengthening lifelong bonds between youth and Israel will be fortified; students will find that their Jewish identities will flourish and grow, as do the vibrant flowers and crops in the fields and greenhouses of the Eshel Hanassi campus.

College Credit for High School Students AMHSI is the only high school Israel program that grants college credit to its participants. Students can earn up to nine college credits through the AMHSI program which they can then transfer to the college of their choice. In addition to furthering students academically and enhancing their high school resumes and college applications, students at AMHSI live in a college-like campus environment where they learn responsibility, study habits, how to budget their time and finances, and other life skills acquired in an independent yet supervised environment, all of which prepares them for a successful college experience.

In their own words… “AMHSI was a life-changing event and one of the most amazing things I have ever done. Starting college, I feel AMHSI left me more prepared than most others. The program gives you a chance to live on your own, learn and understand a different culture, travel everywhere in Israel, and most of all, helps you figure out what kind of person you are and who you want to strive to become in the future.” 

- AMHSI alum, from a recent impact evaluation study

To begin your experience with AMHSI, apply now at


The view from the window of the bus changes dramatically during the drive from AMHSI’s campus in suburban Tel Aviv to Eshel Hanassi, near Be’er Sheva. The terrain, the crops, the people, indeed the entire landscape shifts. But this is not the barren desert many imagine; the northern Negev is fertile, and green, and incredibly beautiful, often referred to as “the edge of the desert.” Located on the grounds of the Eshel School – a day and boarding school serving 1,500 students with a unique, combined curriculum of academics, agriculture, and specialized subjects – AMHSI’s completed, eco-friendly dormitory and classroom building are more than just a new location for our students to learn. Eshel Hanassi will soon be a place for students to get an entirely new perspective on Israel, and on themselves. In his memoirs, David Ben Gurion wrote, “Nowhere, not even in Jerusalem, is the continuity with the past so meaningful as it is here [in the Negev]. Abraham’s understanding of the Negev and its significance in the life of his people as a part of the Promised Land has great affinity with our view of its importance to Modern Israel.” On these now fertile fields Abraham planted a grove of tamarisk trees (eshel), the very same eshel after which the school is named. Isaac built an altar here, and the prophet Elijah found refuge and a new identity in these hills. As AMHSI begins its 40th year in 2012, the organization is creating a place for its future alongside Israel’s future in the Negev. AMHSI, like the eshel, is setting down roots in the desert soil to deepen the identity of Jewish American teens who will travel to these ancient lands walked by our prophets.

upcoming AMHSI sessionS Alexander muss high school in israel

AMHSI promotes, builds, and strengthens lifelong bonds between youth and Israel through the 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.

SEE a different side of israel with jnf The Road to Jerusalem Mission 45 Years After the Reunification: May 15 - 22, 2012

A once-in-a-lifetime experience, unique to JNF • Start in the Golan and end in Jerusalem, as you experience the Six-Day War unfold. Enjoy JNF’s VIP status and meet high-level dignitaries, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, at a special ceremony in honor of the 45th anniversary of Jerusalem’s unification at Ammunition Hill, the official site in Israel where Yom Yerushalayim is celebrated annually.

Upcoming Trips and Missions: Israel Express Mission: November 3 – 8, 2011 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. Lawyers Mission: December 18 – 22, 2011 See Israel through a legal perspective. Meet top Israeli attorneys, high-level judges and legal experts. Attend exclusive meetings on geopolitics and civil rights in the Negev. Visit many life-changing JNF projects. Mission is open to all members of the legal profession. L’dor V’dor Israel Experience: February 19 – 28, 2012 Enjoy all of the beauty and wonder of Israel on this 10-day “Birthright-style” trip for adults. Open to those who have never been to Israel or haven’t gone in the last 10 years. Sounds of Israel Mission: April 21 – 28, 2012 Explore the sights and sounds of Israel from the Carmel Forest region in the north to the new communities in the Negev. Celebrate Israel’s National Independence Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut, in the heart of Jerusalem and attend the famous ceremony at Mt. Herzl.

Experience More JNF One-Day Tours: Wednesdays Only have a day? Take advantage of JNF’s unique one-day tour. Visit the Ayalon Institute, a secret bullet factory established during the War of Independence and the new Negev community of Givot Bar; walk in the footprints of Abraham at the Be’er Sheva River Park, and tour JNF’s Indoor Recreation Center in Sderot. No one knows Israel like JNF, so no one can show you Israel like JNF. To register for one of these unique tours of Israel or for more information, contact JNF Travel & Tours: • 877-JNF-TOUR (563-8687)

B'Yachad Summer 2011  
B'Yachad Summer 2011  

Jewish National Fund's quarterly newsletter.