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Summer 2010

f the Winner o w er A Rocko P J A 9 0 e 0 2 cellenc x E r o f Award al niz ation in Orga t t ers Ne w s l e E-mail us at B'Yachad 路 42 East 69th Street New York, NY 10021-5093




Inside this Issue

Dear Reader,

It is not a mirage; it is no longer merely our vision; it is a reality. In the few years since its launch, great strides have been made in JNF’s Blueprint Negev campaign to develop the Negev Desert in a sustainable manner and make it home to the next generation of Israel’s residents. The Negev represents 60 percent of Israel’s land mass but less than 8 percent of the population lives in its barren, rocky, yet beautiful terrain. Ronald S. Lauder, JNF’s Chairman of the Board, said it best: “I believe the Negev is Israel’s frontier and its future. And as caretaker of the land of Israel, it is JNF’s role to prepare the land so new communities blossom, as we have for 108 years.” In partnership with local organizations, cities and communities, JNF’s work is advancing and in a few short years much has changed in Israel’s southern region. We hope you enjoy this Blueprint Negev update as you read about how JNF’s work is transforming the Negev Desert. Have something to say? Don’t be shy! Send your feedback to

5 Ilanot

Park Dedication

T he former experimental tree farm has been upgraded and made accessible to people with disabilities.

12 Israel


Israel’s firefighters, the first responders to crisis, are in desperate need of new equipment to protect and save Israel’s communities. You can help.

14–19  Cover Story: Blueprint Negev Update

JNF’s work is transforming the Negev into a thriving region. Learn more about the ongoing projects and the growing communities of Israel’s southern region.

22 JNF



Shows You Israel Like No One Else Can

Past participants share their stories about what makes a JNF mission special.

ASB effect on the Negev

Alternative Spring Break brings motivated college students and young professionals to the Negev to work on community service projects.

What’s Free at JNF: Makor Speakers

JNF’s highly trained and knowledgeable volunteers are available to speak to communities about JNF’s work.

Printed on recycled paper.


Regards, B’Yachad Editorial Staff

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 108 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 240 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 over 200 reservoirs and water recycling centers, increasing Israel’s water supply by 12%. Today, JNF is supporting Israel’s newest generation of pioneers by bringing life to the Negev Desert, Israel’s last frontier. A United Nations NGO, JNF sponsors international conferences on desertification, shares afforestation techniques, and funds research on arid land management. JNF is a registered 501(c) (3) organization and continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers. For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit

The Blue Oasis: A JNF Parsons Water Fund Update By: Laureine Greenbaum, Vice Chair, JNF Parsons Water Fund Col. (res.) Sharon Davidovich, National Director, JNF Parsons Water Fund

A Message from our President Stanley M. Chesley I have been to Israel a great many times

sons Water Fund board members toured the park and lake area, and Israeli planners and architects came to New York for final meetings and to determine the timeline. The lake will be completed in two main phases. The first phase, which involves creating one section of the lake, will cost $5 million and will take approximately 10 months to finish. The second phase, which will triple the size of the lake, will also involve landscaping the surrounding area. This project is a unique example of collaboration that draws upon Israel’s leadership in the field of water recycling. Funded by JNF, the government of Israel, a local agricultural cooperative, and the Be’er Sheva municipality, the lake’s water will come from upgraded recycled waste water plants in Be’er Sheva and the nearby Bedouin town of Arara. In exchange for JNF’s contribution to these upgrades, the lake has been guaranteed a quota of more than 100 million gallons of water each year for the next 25 years. The water will flow from Arara to the lake through existing pipelines. It is a win-win situation for all involved. This water recycling initiative will be a major boost to the area’s economy. In addition to attracting tourists to the Be’er Sheva River Park, it will enable the expansion of agriculture and create new jobs.


Surely it must be a mirage. Well, it’s not. As part of JNF’s Blueprint Negev campaign, a 1,700-acre park is being built in the heart of the city of Be’er Sheva (see centerfold). Green open spaces are already sprouting up covered with indigenous desert flowers, plants, and trees, and dotted with recreational and seating areas. The Be’er Sheva River Park has promenades and bike paths, and will soon have a sports arena, playgrounds, bridges and a 12,000-seat amphitheater. And believe it or not, in the middle of the desert, there will be a shining, shimmering blue man-made lake spanning 23 acres. A $17.5 million project spearheaded by the JNF Parsons Water Fund—JNF’s comprehensive $100 million water campaign—the lake will be one of the park’s major attractions, ringed by restaurants, shops, and galleries, and offering boating, bird watching, and other activities. It will be filled with purified water from two nearby treatment plants that meet the highest standards established by the Minister of Health. The lake will double as a reservoir, supplying water for irrigating the entire park instead of drawing upon scarce and expensive fresh water. In the past three months several JNF Par-

Jewish National Fund

A 23-acre lake in the middle of the desert?

over the course of my life — even more since becoming president of Jewish National Fund. However, it was the four-day trip I took a few months ago that I will remember always. The group consisted of my son and daughter-in-law, Rick and Dee Dee; their two sons, Andrew (18) and Nathan (16); and my daughter-in-law’s parents, Joann and Don Lyall. My daughter-in-law and her parents are not Jewish. My grandchildren had not been to Israel before; this was their maiden voyage. The most enlightening aspect of the trip was seeing the change in their perception of Israel as the days unfolded. They had no idea how dynamic, modern and peaceful the country is today. What they saw everywhere was a buzz of vitality and industry — happy and vibrant people and communities. What they saw was life. We began our trip with an enchanting dinner with Chief Rabbi Metzger on the day the Hurva synagogue in the Old City was rededicated. He engaged us all with his telling of its history, its repeated destructions, and its importance to the Jewish people. The next day we read the papers quoting Hamas as saying “the synagogue’s dedication signified the destruction of the Al Aksa Mosque,” a sentiment that incited tensions. My family was fascinated by the truth that faced them like never before: these were the people Israel is supposed to make peace with. We spent a day in the Knesset, meeting with several ministers and had the honor of meeting with President Shimon Peres. We planted trees in the Jerusalem forest with the president of Brazil. We had lunch at Nevatim Air Force Base in the Negev. At one point a general entered the room, and Don Lyall (who had flown a Hercules plane during the Vietnam War) stood up and saluted him. What was expressed was not in Hebrew or English, but was understood as a common bond and mutual respect. They were thrilled by the visit to Masada – understanding the history and what it meant, at the core, to be Jewish. Their hearts melted in Sderot. They saw the hundreds of spent rockets behind the police station and could not believe that this is how the people lived every day, that they remained and did not evacuate. They were in awe of the community’s faith — their tenacity, their will to hold on. They were warmed by the smiles they saw on the children’s faces at JNF’s Indoor Recreation Center. They could not get over Be’er Sheva. My grandson Nathan said they should keep the wrecked cars piled up alongside our clean riverbed as it shows the wonderful contrast. They were amazed at how big the Ben Gurion University campus is today. My grandson Andrew, a freshman in college (who had boarded the plane somewhat ambivalent about the Israel he heard about largely from the media) is now planning on spending a semester at an Israeli university. The family began the trip with a few trepidations about safety. Once they were in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, they immediately realized that Israel was much safer than most large cities in the U.S. They were greatly impressed with how resilient the country and her people are, the way life changes day to day and the speed with which people adapt. My family saw a strong and peaceful Israel, the real Israel. They felt the momentum, they experienced the vitality. Through both my eyes and the youthful eyes of my family, I gained an even greater realization and appreciation of what Israel truly means. It’s an Israel that you helped build, one that I am so proud of. It is Israel, now and forever.

My Favorite Photo from Israel $30 million

More than has already been invested in the revitalization of the biblical city of Be’er Sheva.


The new and improved Be’er Sheva will feature a central park with a waterfront district, restaurants, shopping and water activities. Giv’ot Bar, one of the Negev’s new planned communities, is expected to grow to families by 2011.



The city of Ofakim is home to Aleh Negev, a , state-of-the-art communal rehabilitative village for individuals with mental and physical disabilities.

Shoah Sculpture

JNF has partnered with Kibbutz Yahel to develop a eco-tourism park.

$3.5 million

The riverbed that wends its way through the ancient city of Be’er Sheva is clean for the first time in

3,000 years


e lkway on th long the wa a re tu lp u re Shoah sc nts, z”l, we ture of the n (my pare o ti ra e This is a pic n e G this Second n glow off l Aviv. As a te afternoo la ry beach in Te e fi e s by th x structure I was struck gn of the si si e d e h survivors), T . n bolx millio werful sym ute to the si veying a po n co moving trib ts le b e ta lical t was of bib biblical ston f a o th e y m d d e e g d a remin resents a tr e Shoah rep th s a e m r ism fo people. wton, MA the Jewish r fo s enfield, Ne n io rt o prop — David Gre

You can be featured in the next issue of B'Yachad!

Submit your favorite photo taken on a trip to Israel with a short caption describing the photo and why you chose it. Email Ariel at with your submis sions. Good luck!

The amphitheatre in the Be’er Sheva River Park will be the largest in the country with more than

12,000 seats


3,000 families

have already moved to the Negev with the help of the OR Movement.

Project Update

Campaign Update

The Well That Abraham Built

Making Ilanot Park Accessible to Everyone

The Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County helped make Ilanot Park accessible to people with disabilites. At the beginning of the 1950s, Ilanot Park, north of Tel Aviv,

served as an experimental farm for discovering which types of local and imported trees could be grown in Israel. The site, originally popular with scientists, students, and nature lovers, remained dormant for years. Now, thanks to a grant given to JNF by the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County, the park has been upgraded and made accessible to people with disabilities. Trails have been paved, wheelchair-accessible picnic tables are available, and water fountains for those with limited mobility have been installed. A tree-like maze has been built, public interest in the site has been renewed and it will eventually boast a study hall, corners for storytelling to children, and explanatory signs for all the different kinds of trees. The dedication of the project was timed to be the first

experience on a trip to Israel for the 20 men and women of the Marion and Norman Tanzman Fellows program; the next generation of Jewish leaders in Middlesex County traveled to Israel as part of their leadership training. And what an experience it was. The group was treated to an extraordinary dance performance as part of the dedication ceremony. One of the dancers, Adam Greenfeld, performed in a wheelchair. A disabled war veteran, he was injured 18 years ago while doing reserve duty. The project is a meaningful one for Israel’s 1.4 million people with disabilities who have limited access to some of Israel’s natural beauty owing to their physical condition. And that’s why the Federation chose it from the many projects they were presented by JNF and other organizations. “We are so pleased with the results of the partnership we created by funding the JNF Ilanot forest in Israel,” said Gerri Bamira, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County. “Our Federation had decided to do some direct funding in Israel and chose to make this forest accessible to people with disabilities. We were truly impressed when we visited the park and saw the improvements. This collaborative venture was a real pleasure. There was a warm feeling from beginning to end, and our Federation feels great about it.”

The New War Our plane took off at the close of the latest Makor* mission, and I got my final glimpse of Israel’s glittering coastline. I felt “cognitive dissonance,” the strange sensation of holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously. I had it then, and have it now, in thinking about Israel. Let me explain. On Makor missions, we update ourselves on JNF’s projects, focusing on those under construction. This year we went south. I could spend this entire column describing JNF’s success in its work in the Negev – and throughout Israel – but that is not my purpose, except to emphasize that we are making modern miracles that must be seen to be believed. JNF’s success is a microcosm of Israel’s economic explosion. Everywhere, you see construction cranes, human activity, electricity in the air. In all of the trips that I have taken to Israel, never have I seen such purposeful energy. And the mood of the people expresses that energy – optimism, confidence, joy, material success, a feeling of safety. “Israel is winning,” I thought to myself. Then I returned to the United States, to Israel Apartheid Week on American university campuses, during which many anti-Israel events took place throughout the country. That repugnance is a microcosm of an aggressive world-wide effort to de-legitimize Israel. The Goldstone Report. The University of California trying to impose “economic sanctions” on Israel. Israeli officials shouted down in public speeches. The media routinely reporting events only from the Palestinian perspective. “This is the next war,” I thought to myself, “and Israel is losing.” JNF is fighting this war. We sponsor Caravan for Democracy, bringing Israeli spokespeople to campuses to speak about Israel. We send college students and young professionals to Israel for Alternative Spring Break community service trips that reinforce Israel’s message. Our Taglit-Birthright Israel program achieves the same purpose, as does our partnership with the Alexander Muss High School in Israel. We work with Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, a non-sectarian organization that develops effective responses to antiZionist and anti-Semitic lies and distortions. These programs, however, are expensive. The more donations we receive, the better we can fight. The battlefield is the classroom, the campus, the office, the streets, the Internet and all of the media. Please help. *Makor is a specially trained cadre of JNF volunteers who travel to Israel each year to study JNF projects and bring their insights to communities across the country.


of holographic projections, the main show will take visitors on a cinematic historical journey, from Abraham’s directive from God to leave his home to his pact with Abimelech. It will end with a re-enactment of Abraham digging the well – the next stop on the tour. Abraham’s Well is the focal point of the courtyard, faithfully reconstructed according to depictions in old drawings. Seven sculptured sheep will represent Abraham’s gift. Other features will include a wall that displays the entire story of Genesis:21 in various languages, and interactive activities that teach visitors about the history of the city. Be’er Sheva’s name roughly translates to “well of the oath,” or “well of the seven.” Given Israel’s severe water shortage, the centrality of wells — Be’er Sheva is a city of hundreds of wells – connects Be’er Sheva and the story of Abraham’s Well to the discussion of the centrality of water and well-digging in desert life. The new visitor center, an important component of the River Park project, educates people about the history and significance of Be’er Sheva, and of Abraham’s connection to this ancient city.


The ancient city of Be’er Sheva, the capital of the Negev, is the site of pivotal moments in the story of Abraham, patriarch of the Jewish people. One such moment is the covenant made between Abraham and Abimelech, king of the Philistines, which took place at the site of a well dug by Abraham. Abraham made an oath of non-aggression to Abimelech and offered a gift of sheep and cattle. Seven sheep specifically marked Abimelech’s recognition that Abraham had built the well, that it belonged to him. Abraham’s Well is the first recognition of the Jewish people’s ties to the land. Today, the site is more than just an ancient well, thanks to a donation from the estate of May Mann. It is being reimagined as a multimedia visitor’s center, a time machine that allows visitors to walk through history in Abraham’s footsteps. When completed, visitors will pass through a fluttering tent flap into a world reminiscent of the Be’er Sheva of thousands of years ago. At the entrance will stand an ancient tamarisk tree, much like the one that Abraham planted next to the well. After walking through a tunnel

Charles S. Fax, VP, Campaign

Jewish National Fund

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

JNF Across the country

  Los Angeles Zone

  Greater New York Zone







  New England Zone








Los Angeles Zone

Greater New York Zone

New england Zone

1. (L-R) Ben Berkley, Shira Blatt (JNFuture), and Cat Gold (JNFuture) at the JNF Tree of Life™

1 (L-R) Knesset member Amir Peretz, pictured with Asaf Palgi, JNF NY board treasurer, gave

1 BNY Mellon Wealth Management hosted a reception featuring David Lehrer of the Arava


2. Children planted an oak sapling in front of the JNF booth at the Yom Ha’Atzmaut festival at Woodley Park in Encino.

3. Los Angeles board member Paul Lewis arrived early to deliver oak saplings for the Yom Ha’Atzmaut festival at Woodley Park in Encino.

an exclusive major donor briefing at JNF House, about his time in the IDF, the injury that put him in a wheelchair, and how current events, such as the Goldstone Report, have the ability to bring Israelis from all political persuasions together.

2 At a JNF-Birthright Israel NEXT lecture at Morgan Stanley/Smith Barney, GNY regional

board member Andrew Wilshinsky, pictured with Aviva Garbowit and Shelly Muhlbauer, spoke to Birthright alums interested in working their way up on Wall Street, while speaking passionately about JNF’s mission and its projects.

3 Andrew Burian, a Holocaust survivor, was the keynote speaker at a cocktail reception at

Bernstein Global Wealth Management in commemoration of Yom Hashoah, Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut. The event mourned the Israeli soldiers who gave their lives defending our homeland and ended on a festive note by celebrating Israel Independence Day.

4 (L-R) Makor member Larry Frankel, Mary Kelberg, Kathy Gantz and Shelley Parker attended the New York Women’s Campaign for Israel’s illuminating presentation of the Jewish Theological Seminary’s rare book collection. Dr. David Kraemer, renowned head librarian and professor of Talmud and Rabbinics, shared rare editions dating from the year 1,000 through 1953, including Haggadot, personal letters, manuscripts, and meditations, which reflected the undeniable and timeless bond between the Diaspora and the land of Israel.

Institute for Environmental Studies. (L-R) New England Zone director Sharon Freedman, board member Brian Nagle, BNY Mellon managing director Tom Dicker, chairman of the board Jeffrey Davis, David Lehrer, board member Richard Noone, Boston region president Robert Cohan, and BNY Mellon president Vicary Graham.

2 (L-R) Sapphire Society member Dr. Phuli Cohan, Boston president Bob Cohan, past president Ronald Lubin, who produced the video tributes, and honoree Colonel (Res.) Sharon Davidovich at the Shalom Dinner event honors.

3 World Chairman’s Council members Yadira and Todd Patkin chaired the Shalom Farewell

Dinner for honorees Consul General Nadav Tamir and Colonel (Res.) Sharon Davidovich, national director of the JNF Parsons Water Fund. (L-R) Todd Patkin (VP Campaign), Stephen Patkin, Colonel (Res.) Sharon Davidovich, Yadira Patkin (Sapphire Society), and Ora Davidovich.

4 Sapphire Society president Amy Parsons updated members about the JNF Parsons Water

Fund at a dinner hosted by Sapphire member Davida Stocklan. (L-R) Judi Elovitz Greenberg (Women’s Alliance Chair and past Sapphire president), Davida Stocklan, Amy Parsons, and Sandy Davis (Century Club, Sapphire Society).

5 Sapphire Society and board of directors member Judith Sydney and Aviva Sapers hosted

Major General Uzi Dayan, chairman of the Green Horizons Israeli youth movement, at an informative and inspirational luncheon reception at their home. (L-R) Judith Sydney, Major General Uzi Dayan, and Aviva Sapers.

Florida Zone









JNF Across the country


  Southern Zone






chairman of Miami-Dade board of directors, Josh Berkowitz, Miami-Dade board of directors member and events chair, and Gideon Shavit, executive director of the Alexander Muss High School in Israel, at the Miami-Dade 2010 campaign kickoff.

2. Ron Bernstein (right), founder of Kibbutz Yahel and Florida Israeli emissary, and Rabbi Mayer Abramowitz at a parlor meeting at the home of Rela and Julio Schniadoski.

3. (L-R) Barry Stein, Miami-Dade board of directors member and Josh Berkowitz, Miami-

Dade board of directors member and events chair, at a recent Miami-Dade board meeting.

4. (L-R) Naples board president Dr. Bernard Lublin with Nancy and Hank Greenberg at a recent parlor meeting.

5. Past Tree of Life™ recipients at the Naples Tree of Life™ dinner: (L-R) Irv Berzon, Chuck Steinmetz, Arnold Lerner, Neil Braverman, Harry Grandis, Nancy Grandis White, Maureen Lerner, and Jeanne Braverman.

6. (L-R) Glen Schwartz, Edie Chaifetz, and Uri Smajovits shared a moment at the Sarasota gala dinner.

7. (L-R) Charles Kramer, Art Silber, Palm Beach board president, Ron Bernstein, JNF Israeli

emissary, and Irving Wiseman, former JNF Palm Beach board president, at a recent meeting of the Palm Beach board of directors at Frenchman’s Creek in Palm Beach Gardens.

8. (L-R) Debbie Regent, campaign executive for Broward/Palm Beach region, Amy Someck, Alison Mars, Marla Garfinkle, Broward board member, Karen Firestone, Laura Sion, and Beckie Fischer, Broward board president, at a recent Women’s Campaign For Israel meeting at the home of Karen Firestone.




Florida Zone

1. (L-R) Lt. Colonel (Res.) Ronnie Porat, Southeast Zone Israeli emissary, Jeffrey Perlow,



Southern Zone

9. (L-R) Melanie Fishman and Robbie Puritz-Hayes, senior campaign executive for Broward/ Palm Beach region, with friends, at a Women’s Campaign For Israel meeting at Melanie Fishman’s BallenIsles home.

10. (L-R) Roger and Linda Benjamin, Palm Beach board members, and comedian Paul Reiser

at the Tree of Life™ Award dinner at the Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA) in Dania Beach.

11. (L-R) Scott Brenner, S. Palm Beach board member and general campaign chair, and

Michael Zimmerman, S. Palm Beach board member, at a parlor meeting hosted by Sydelle and Michael Lazar, S. Palm Beach board president.

12. (L-R) Celia Jacobs and Phyllis Hartman at the S. Palm Beach Rosh Chodesh meeting held at Judi Bukaitz’s home in Boca Raton.

13. (L-R) Beckie Fischer, Broward board president, comedian Paul Reiser, and Roger and Esther Shackett at the Tree of Life™ Award dinner held at the Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA) in Dania Beach.

1 JNF’s Southeast region honored Israeli Consul General to the Southeast, Ambassador Reda Mansour, with the Tree of Life™ Award and Jay Zandman with the first Betty and Cantor Goodfriend Community Service Award at the 7th Annual Jack Hirsch memorial breakfast in Atlanta. The event attracted close to 350 community members. (L-R) Perry Goodfriend, Jay Zandman, Ambassador Reda Mansour, Enoch Goodfriend, and Ronnie Porat, Israeli special emissary.

2 Heart & Soul mission participants gathered in Sde Boker in the Negev beside Ben Gurion’s

grave during their tour of JNF sites and projects. (L-R) Bill Rosenberg, Morris Brown, Michael Miller, Kathe Brown, Howard Workman, Michael Ruthman, Gabrielle Starr, Ronnie Porat, Southern Zone Director Beth Gluck, Jodi Rothman, Honey Workman, Newt Klements, Bill Travis, Jay Zandman, Al Kleeman, and Todd Starr.

3 In early May, JNF women proudly posed by the Sapphire Society’s pillar at Aleh Negev to show their continued support of JNF partnerships during the Heart & Soul mission. (L-R) Kathe Brown, Jodi Rothman, Honey Workman, Gabrielle Starr, and Beth Gluck.

4 Rabbi Loren Lapidus and preschool students learned about Blue Box Bob and tzedakah with parents and teachers at their weekly Kabbalat Shabbat program at The Temple in Atlanta.

5 Pat Pugrant, an active JNF volunteer in Atlanta, presented one of seven quilts made by the Shalom Quilters of Atlanta to Israeli staff at the JNF Sderot Indoor Recreation Center.

Western Zone

JNF Across the country




















Western Zone

1 (L-R) Shirley Goodman, JNF volunteer, and Florence Rockoff at the annual JNF breakfast in Las Vegas.

2 Harry and Isabella Abram at the annual JNF breakfast.

9 (L-R) Matt Bernstein and Marge Hess at a Sapphire Society luncheon. 10 (L-R) National chair of the Women’s Campaign for Israel Terry Katz pinned new Sapphire Society member Aloha Saxon at a Sapphire Society luncheon.

3 Dr. Lee Bernstein at the annual JNF breakfast.

11 (L-R) Terry Katz, Adele Alterman, and Sharon Bernhard at a Sapphire Society luncheon.

4 Rabbi Mitchell Delcau (center), Mountain States advisory board member, with two new

12 (L-R) JNF Palm Springs and Desert Area Council chair Rick Stein presented Barbara Platt

JNFuture members attending the 2010 annual breakfast.

5 Middle school students of the Denver Campus for Jewish Education attended the Denver annual breakfast for the first time.

6 Eretz Yisrael Award honoree Lyle Laverty at the 2010 annual breakfast. Laverty, the former

assistant secretary of the interior, received the award in recognition of his extraordinary care and concern for the environment.

7 (L-R) Greg Sterling, Amir Halevi, Marlene Maier, and Yossi Leshem at the annual breakfast. 8 (L-R) Ilene Spear, Terry Katz, Libby Isaacman, Lauren Lizerbram, and Cookie Sieger at a Sapphire Society luncheon.

with a certificate for her contribution to Aleh Negev in memory of her husband, Stephen M. Platt.

13 (L-R, standing) Women’s Alliance chair Judy Cohn, event speaker Professor Penny Rivin,

committee member Miriam Paley; (seated) committee members Lucy Meepos, Sheila Freeman and Lainie Weil at the Women’s Alliance Education Day breakfast.

14 (L-R) JNF Yom Ha’Atzmaut committee member Diane Cohen, Palm Springs and Desert

region vice president Evelyn Binsky, and JNF regional consultant Nat Bent stand ready to greet attendees and discuss JNF’s ongoing activities and projects in Israel at the Palm Springs and Desert Area Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebration.

15 (L-R) Rabbi Eli Adler, one of the on-campus rabbis with Jewish Arizonans on Campus at

Arizona State University, was welcomed by past president Si Eisenberg to JNF’s Tu B’Shivat Community Walk for Israel.

16 (L-R) Sapphire Society member Barbara Goldberg and her husband, Arizona region president Bruce Goldberg, planted a tree in a JNF forest on their family trip to Israel.

17 (L-R) Board member Skeeter Marcus and Ellen Eisinberg greeted hundreds of walkers at

JNF’s 1st annual Tu B’Shivat Community Walk for Israel, which took place at Tempe Beach Park, a model for the Be’er Sheva River Park.

18 (L-R) Adele Bilewitz, campaign executive, and Helene Ellis, administrative assistant, manned the JNF table at the Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebration.

Midwest Zone









JNF Across the Country











Midwest Zone

1. (L-R) Board member Steven Elrod of Holland & Knight (host of the Loop Professional Forum), guest speaker Congressman Mike Quigley, and board member Dan Cohan (President’s Council).

2. (L-R) National board member Scott Gendell (Century Club), guest speaker Jerusalem

Post Washington correspondent Hilary Krieger, and Rabbi Steven Mason of North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe.

3. (L-R) Co-chair and board member Joseph Sameh, guest speaker Raanan Gissin, and

co-chair and board member Lori Rubin Dekalo enjoyed the Chicago region community breakfast.

4. National chair for Women’s Campaign Terry Katz hosted a special major donors/board

dessert reception at the Cincinnati Playhouse. Twenty-five individuals attended a preview of “The History of Invulnerability.” (L-R) Terry Katz, Louise Roselle, Southern Ohio regional president, Patti Schneider, executive board member, and Eddie Paul, national board member.

5. The JNF/Judge Carl B. Rubin Legal Society hosted a Rubin Scholars event at the Cincinnati Playhouse for “The History of Invulnerability.” Playwright David Bar Katz and most of the cast attended a private dessert reception. (L-R) Amy Kurlansky, Rubin Scholars co-chair, Michelle Rothzeid, Rubin Scholars co-chair, and Jon Lieberman, VP of Legal Society.

6. JNF joined in the Cincinnati community celebration for Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Blue Box Bob,

played by JNF board member Al Miller (left) and David Gershuny (not pictured), entertained the crowd throughout the evening. Marvin Weisberger (right) served as JNF Blue Box co-chair.

7. Moshe Berniker (right) spoke at Green Road Synagogue, B’nai Jeshrun Congregation, and

several private home gatherings on a recent trip to Cleveland. He is pictured here with Rabbi Yehuda Appel.

8. (L-R) Moshe Berniker, with Chuck Whitehill, board president, at B’nai Jeshurun Congregation, where Berniker shared his commitment to JNF’s Blueprint Negev campaign.

9. Moshe Berniker described the development of communities in Halutza to the crowd. 10. (L-R) Moshe Berniker and Debbie Rothschild, JNF Ohio regional director. 11. At JNF’s Michigan board retreat, Rick Krosnick, national campaign coordinator and Midwest

Zone director, shared JNF’s 2010 campaign plan with the group and stressed how each board member plays a vital role in its success. (L-R) Ron Sollish, Dr. Leora Bar-Levav, Jaime Cohen, Cherie Guttman Lyons, Allan Gale and Marvin Yagoda.

12. Dr. Leora Bar-Levav, Michigan region president, presented a plaque to Marvin Yagoda in recognition of his ongoing generosity to JNF.

13. (L-R) Lauren Schachter, Jessica Schwartz and Western PA regional director Adrienne

Indianer said goodbye at the Newark airport after returning from Alternative Spring Break in Israel.

14. (L-R) Blue Box Bob and Avi Baran Munro, Head of School at Community Day School, a 2010 JNF Ambassador School, celebrated Tu B’Shivat at Dunkin Donuts in Squirrel Hill.

15. Pittsburgh city councilman Doug Shields used the JNF GoNeutral carbon calculator at the JNF booth at the community Yom Ha’Aztmaut celebration held at the JCC in Squirrel Hill.

16. (L-R) Rusti Moffic, Wisconsin region Green Sunday co-chair, Beth Peterman, volunteer, and

Merle Wasserman, General Campaign chair, installed JNF’s Green Week banner prior to the start of the local Green Sunday phone-a-thon event. Thirty-five volunteers made calls to the community to raise funds to help increase Israel’s water resources.

17. (L-R) Wisconsin region co-president Enid Bootzin and husband Abe Berkovits teamed up at the region’s Green Sunday phone-a-thon. The volunteers enjoyed an inspiring day raising funds to build additional reservoirs in Israel to capture floodwaters and recycled water for agricultural purposes.

18. (L-R) Fred Safer, Wisconsin region board member, Rena Safer, Israel Advocacy and Education chair, and Sidney Rivkin, regional director, at the JNF booth for the 62nd Yom Ha’Atzmaut community celebration. The booth featured Rena’s photos from a recent day tour of JNF projects including the Ayalon Institute, Sderot Indoor Recreation Center, and Be’er Sheva River Park.


Northeast Zone

  Mid-Atlantic Zone

JNF Across the country




















Northeast Zone

Mid-atlantic Zone

1 (L-R) Board members Bob Levine (World Chairman’s Council), Talia Tzour (JNF Israel Emis-

1. Leah Rosin (left) with Elaine Alpert, proudly displayed one of the many Sderot tulips she

7. Herzl Society member Cary Feldman (right) thanked Herzl Society member Franklin

2. (L-R) Maryland Doctors for Israel chair Dr. Jim Chisum and National Women’s Campaign

8. Herzl Society member Paul Frommer demonstrated his farming skills at Halutza, a new

sary), Janice Rosen, Doryne Davis, Gisele Ben Dor (Century Club, Sapphire Society), Joan Oppenheimer (Herzl Society), and Jerry Rosen enjoyed the JNF Wine, Cheese and Trees. Co-chairs Joan Oppenheimer and Doryne Davis hosted more than 50 people.

2 (L-R) Marc Leibowitz, Central Area board president, Alyssa Russo and Dan Richter, cochairs of the JNF breakfast at JCC West Orange.

3 The Jewish Community Youth Foundation of Princeton, NJ met with Ellen Rosenberg in

Washington, DC and learned about Caravan for Democracy. JNF was awarded $4,900 from their collective 2010 allocation.

4 (L-R) Front row: Eastern PA regional director Marina Furman; Second row: Jason Hersh,

Justin Fine, Michael Stalbaum, Richard Cohen (Philadelphia board president-elect), Bill Shaid (event co-chair); third row: Brett Hersh, Adam Lisausky, David Dinenberg (event cochair), Robert Zuritsky (immediate past president); fourth row: Eugene Umansky, Stewart Anmuth, Scott Solomon; fifth row: Joseph Wolfson (Philadelphia board president).

5 Gil Hoffman Meet & Greet with South Jersey JNF board members: (L-R, seated) Eva Sch-

langer (Century Club), Debbie Drachman, Marni Shatz (Herzl Society), NJ regional director Lynn Norton Robins; (L-R, standing) board president-elect Mark Kramer (Herzl Society), Gil Hoffman, Pam Benedon (Sapphire Society), Bob Benedon (NE Zone president, Makor, and President’s Council), and Peter Fischer, (board president, Century Club).

6 (L-R) Event co-chairs David Dinenberg and Bill Shaid at the fourth annual Philadelphia poker tournament.

7 (L-R) Samantha Galman and Bart Blatstein at the fourth annual Philadelphia poker tournament.

purchased at a Women’s Alliance event in Baltimore.

for Israel co-chair and Sapphire Society member Susan Levene worked the phones at the Green Sunday phone-a-thon.

3. Dr. Jim Chisum, Doctors for Israel Campaign chair, worked on personal correspondence to donors.

4. (L-R) Jeb Brownstein, Dr. Irving Taylor (World Chairman’s Council), Brenda Jaffe (Sapphire Society) and guest speaker Ellen Cannon discussed Middle East politics.

5. Women’s Campaign for Israel host Nadine Sachs (right) and Hilary Krieger, Washington Bureau Chief for The Jerusalem Post, at a Women’s Alliance event in Baltimore.

6. Century Club and Circle of Sapphire member Dr. Melinda Wolf beamed with pride over her father’s plaque at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem.

Paulson for his efforts in supporting JNF.

region in the Negev being developed with JNF’s help.

9. Julia Berman and Herzl Society member Daniel Vogel attended a recent Washington breakfast.

10. Century Club donors Sandye and Jerry Turnauer of Wilmington posed in front of the fire truck they purchased for Israel.

11. Mid-Atlantic Zone president David Margules (left), and Mid-Atlantic Zone director Diane

Scar congratulated Community Campaign chair and Green Sunday 2010 chair Jeb Brownstein (center) and recognized his efforts during the 2010 Green Sunday Campaign.

What’s Free at JNF: Makor Speakers

Annual Makor missions to Israel enable members to gain an intimate knowledge of JNF projects. For a knowledgeable and FREE resource on JNF projects, look no further than the members of Makor. Makor (Hebrew for “source”) is a group of highly involved volunteers dedicated to spreading the JNF message throughout the United States. As leaders in their communities, Makor members participate in direct fundraising both in their hometowns and across the country. While it’s a delicate art to ask people for money, especially in these economic times, Makor members are trained and comfortable in solicitation. “It’s the ability to ask one Jew to give to another Jew, or in this case to help Jews in Israel and change or develop the quality of life for people in Israel,” said Rebecca Fischer, chair of Makor.

Makor members are also committed to educating the public about JNF and its projects and participate in an annual mission to Israel to learn first-hand about new and ongoing initiatives and see JNF dollars in action. “Every year the mission has a different focus,” said Joel Leibowitz, JNF Northeast Zone Director and professional leader of Makor. “In the past we centered on Blueprint Negev and Sderot. This year, owing to the severe water crisis in Israel and JNF’s commitment to alleviating it, water was the focus. We traveled the country and really learned in depth about Israel’s water crisis and what JNF is doing to solve it. Now, we have 28 people who can speak knowledgeably on the issue.” Once back on these shores, they share what they’ve seen and learned, speaking honestly and effectively about Israel. Communities appreciate having speakers who are credible, interesting, and well-informed about the issues that Israel is facing. “We recently had Ellen Rosenberg address a crowd at a JNF event we held in Temple Beth Sholom in Cherry Hill, NJ,” said Mark Kramer, JNF general campaign chair. “She spoke passionately and intelligently on the water crisis in Israel and everyone was riveted. Not only did we have a wonderful turnout, but the event was a tremendous success, giving us 72 new donors to JNF. That’s in large part thanks to her Makor training and attention to detail.” In addition to becoming familiar with JNF projects

and action areas, Makor members attend a yearly retreat following the National Conference which helps strengthen their knowledge base and raise their level of expertise even higher. Fischer, who is from Florida and has served as chair since 2007, has been instrumental in improving the solicitor and speaker training of members. “Beckie has a great organizational background and developed greater structure within Makor,” said Leibowitz. “She really intensified the training process.” Fischer, who is stepping down this October to be succeeded by Joe Wolfson from Philadelphia, found the experience wholly gratifying. “I’ve held many other leadership roles in the Jewish world both nationally and locally,” said Fischer, “but I think the work I did as chair of Makor is my single biggest and proudest time as a Jewish leader because of the people I worked with and the differences that I saw we were able to make in Israel.” Makor members exemplify the spirit and enthusiasm of JNF’s projects in Israel. If your community is having an event and you’re searching for a speaker, look no furthur than Makor. And remember, it’s FREE! To book a Makor member please contact Joel L. Leibowitz (Northeast Zone Director, Director of Makor) at 973-593-0095 or


Sunday & Monday, October 10–11, 2010, Atlanta, GA Register Now: $425 per person, $800 per couple Special single day and dinner rates: Sunday (excluding dinner) or Monday: $125 per person · Sunday Night: $175 per person A reception for major donors will be held on Saturday night, October 9, 2010. Conference Hotel: InterContinental Buckhead. Special Conference rate $179 per night. Rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please contact the hotel directly at 404-946-9191 or toll free at 877-422-8254. Group name is Jewish National Fund and group block code is CZ4. For more information please contact Natalia Shuster at (212) 879-9305 ext. 295 or Register online at

Special Thanks to our Major Sponsors to date The Marcus Foundation

Israel’s First Responders FIF Needs and Funding Opportunities Specialized Fire Trucks


JNF is raising funds to supplement Israel’s aging fleet of fire engines with new, specialized vehicles— including trucks designed to fight forest fires, compact fire engines able to navigate narrow streets and rough terrain, and crane-and-ladder trucks that reach up to 150 feet. Motorcycles and Alternative Rescue Vehicles


Israel’s Fire and Rescue Services are the first responders in emergency situations.

lands in Israel, who responds to the alarm? Who responds to the bombings, car accidents, forest fires and hazardous materials incidents that take place across the country? Enter the Israeli Fire and Rescue Services, Israel’s unsung heroes, ranked among the best in the world, and considered the #1 specialists in responding to acts of terror. These dedicated individuals put themselves in danger daily, saving and protecting lives and property in the face of ever-increasing challenges and demands. But they do so with an aging fleet of trucks and inadequate equipment, making their jobs not just difficult, but more dangerous. Security concerns have cut national budgets, and many communities, particularly smaller ones close to hostile borders, cannot afford the new equipment they desperately need. With long-range rockets from Gaza and southern Lebanon, and the emerging threats from Iran and Syria, the need for a robust and effective fire service is greater than ever. “In most places around the world, wars do not take place in their own backyards,” explained Shimon Romach, Israeli Fire Commissioner. “They do not have to fear that rockets will fall on their homes. In Israel, we do, and it’s for this reason that the firemen are so important and must be well-equipped to fight any threat.” Jewish National Fund (JNF) has partnered with the Friends of Israel Firefighters (FIF) to meet the challenge of outfitting Israel’s first responders with the state-of-the-art equipment, vehicles, and facilities necessary to continue

When a rocket fired from Gaza

performing their job of protecting Israel’s citizens. This collaboration has already put cutting-edge fire trucks into service, upgraded stations, and outfitted crews with new equipment and protective gear. But much more must be done to ensure that every community in Israel is protected. In the northwest Negev, the Eshkol region on the Gaza and Egyptian borders boasts about 12,000 full-time residents in about 30 communities and is poised to grow to 30,000 residents over the next five years. There are schools, a pre-army yeshiva and evacuees from Gush Katif. Its crackerjack firefighting team is the first responder to all rockets and mortars launched from the Gaza Strip, and yet their equipment provides them insufficient protection. Currently, the firefighters are deployed from a 10 square foot room situated outside the region. This “fire station” is not rocket-proof. Rockets have fallen as close as 100 yards away. The fire truck is parked outside in the open. If a rocket were to hit the firefighters or the station, the entire region would be left without personnel or equipment to respond to emergencies. This situation does not just hinder operations; it puts the lives of the firefighters and local residents in danger. The Eshkol region needs a new centralized fire station. When complete, it will be the first rocket-proof station in Israel. Its proximity to Gaza makes it a priority. Romach said: “We are honored to be able to partner with such an important organization that has made such a major impact on the State of Israel. Together with JNF, we are looking at a brighter future for Israel’s Fire and Rescue Services.”

An important part of the first responder unit for any fire incident, firefighting motorcycles can navigate heavy traffic in urban areas to provide quick and immediate support prior to the arrival of additional vehicles. Alternative rescue vehicles easily traverse forests and agricultural sites, as well as areas with difficult access like the Old Cities of Jerusalem and Yaffo that larger fire and rescue vehicles cannot reach. Equipment and Gear

Thermographic Cameras – Infra-red cameras help firefighters detect and rescue individuals trapped in burning buildings, allowing them to see through heavy smoke and locate fire hotspots. There are only four of these life-saving devices in the entire country; at least 21 more are needed to ensure that all regional stations are equipped. Steel Door Openers – It is vital to equip firefighters with machines that are able to crack steel doors— common in Israeli architecture—so that they can gain access to burning buildings and rescue trapped individuals as quickly as possible. Protective Clothing – Due to lack of funds, firefighters currently wear outdated protective clothing. It is essential to provide new safety gear for crews throughout the country. Computerized Monitoring System

This centralized system will streamline the activities of the Israel Fire and Rescue Commission by facilitating communication and information sharing among all fire stations throughout the country. In the event of a national emergency, the system will provide real-time guidelines for residents.

Greetings from Israel

(L-R) Not only do Shahar Hermelin, Meirav Atis and Alon Badihi know how to run JNF’s Israel office along with Ariel Kotler and Adina Bitton (not pictured), but they know how to get into the spirit of wonderful events such as the opening of the Sderot Indoor Recreation Center. The phone rings. “Shalom, boker tov,” we say. “Oh, hello Ike

In the short time that the new JNF office has been open in the storied Heichal Shlomo building on King George Street in Jerusalem, activity has skyrocketed. With the next ring a meeting with Israel’s Water Authority is confirmed for when Israel Emissary Sharon Davidovich, JNF Parsons Water Fund founder Mort Mower, and JNF Secretary Laureine Greenbaum are in Israel. Emails and phone calls with many JNF professionals in the States fly back and forth (not just during regular office hours) and of course, there are the frequent missions – big and small – that add to the frenetic pace of a day in the life of JNF’s office in Israel. And that is just on any given Sunday. In the short time that the new JNF office has been open in the storied Heichal Shlomo building on King George Street in Jerusalem, activity has skyrocketed. Our ability to serve and connect with JNF donors and interested individuals visiting Israel improves daily. JNF weekly Negev bus trips (every Wednesday – register at have been hugely successful and have even led to a major



Unique JNF invitations by Encore Studios let you plant a tree or make a contribution toward JNF’s water development projects in Israel in honor of each guest. What a perfect way to enhance your simcha with a mitzvah: support Israel and celebrate your special day at the same time! A portion of your purchase is tax deductible. “Our family and friends were delighted that trees were planted in Israel in their honor through JNF…” —Janice & Evan Kohn, Parents of Bar Mitzvah boy, David, Chicago, IL

For more information visit or call 1-800-542-8733.

(Blachor, VP Israel Relations Committee). Of course, we’re expecting you. We are looking forward to going over some of our new plans before Ariel takes you to see the progress in Halutza. See you soon.” The phone rings again. “Shalom, Minister Silvan Shalom. Yes, everything is ready for the dedication today in Be’er Sheva. We are expecting a great crowd. You will not believe the progress that has been made at the River Park in the past few months.”

gift (see story on page 17). We are busier than ever monitoring JNF projects to ensure that donor dollars are being put to good use. But this office in Jerusalem is not just about money. Like everything JNF does, this office is about vision and leadership. With representatives on the ground, JNF is able to offer an enhanced partnership with Israel, forge new alliances, and make things happen. Our staff constantly visits the many JNF project sites, meeting with planners, contractors, mayors and legal advisors to ensure that we get the job done right. Bringing our 108 years of experience to the table, we work hard to turn ideas into reality. Our staff in Israel can present JNF donors with the results. Take, for example, the museum at Ammunition Hill, which opened its gates to the public chaired by the legendary military hero Katcha. JNF funds have helped renovate and enhance the site of the decisive 1967 battle that led to the reunification of Jerusalem. The moving story is told through tours of the trenches and a fascinating three dimensional video exhibit made possible by the Russ family of LA. Through JNF’s involvement, the Wall of Honor was erected at this historic site. Jewish veterans from wars throughout history and around the world are being honored here by their friends and families. Their donations are ensuring that the story of Ammunition Hill will be shared for generations to come. It was JNF who believed that, to build new communities in the Negev, glossy developers’ plans were not sufficient to attract young families to leave Tel Aviv and Jerusalem to live in the desert. There had to be a reason to believe that these communities would thrive – so JNF built appealing community entranceways, playgrounds, and day care centers to help prospective buyers visualize their new lives. The successful results can be seen in the few hundred families that have already moved to the new community of

Alon, Shahar, Meirav and Ariel. 02-563-5638 or

Jewish National Fund

Giv’ot Bar, and by the length of the waiting list. And it was JNF who, upon many visits to the city of Be’er Sheva, realized that to simply clean the polluted, litterstrewn riverbank was not enough to revitalize the city. We had to think BIG and spin gold out of mud. We had to build the largest park in the Negev with the largest amphitheatre and man-made lake in the country. Yes, a lake in the middle of Be’er Sheva! Imagine that. Have you been there lately? We are well on our way (see centerfold). We here in Israel are proud to be a part of this nation under creation. We are happy hearing from you, working with you, and consulting with you so that together we can create a better Israel — forever! Hope to see you soon.

The Negev Desert’s Jewel: The Be’er Sheva River Park Blueprint Negev campaign is the transformation of the biblical city of Be’er Sheva, already greatly changed from a dusty backwater and assuming its rightful place as the “Capital of the Negev.” And at the city’s core lies the Be’er Sheva River Park. A massive project that is creating a 1,700-acre civic paradise on the riverfront, this $300 million undertaking will change the image of Be’er Sheva and encourage the settlement of the Negev by Israel’s next generation. It will restore the river’s original significance – as a natural system that functions ecologically, as a place that brings neighborhoods together and provides green breathing space in the heart of the city, and as an amenity and investment that brings great value to the city. Already, great strides have been made and the meandering riverbed is flanked by new promenades, bike paths, and walkways. Once the park is completed, the city will have a sports arena, playgrounds, bridges, a lake, and a 12,000seat amphitheater. With new apartment buildings, pleasant shops and exquisite restaurants taking up residence, it will generate billions in tourism for the city of Be’er Sheva. It is, most certainly, the jewel of the Negev.

At the heart of JNF’s

Abraham’s Well This historical site, the first recognition of the Jewish people’s claim to the land, is being re-imagined as a multimedia visitor’s center, a time machine journey that allows millions of visitors to walk through history in Abraham’s footsteps. (See page 5.)

J. Lew Schepps Recognition Plaza The J. Lew Schepps Recognition Plaza honors major donors to Blueprint Negev. The plaza welcomes visitors to the park’s promenades, amphitheatres and recreational activities.

old city The old Turkish city is undergoing a renaissance, with gaslights flanking the refurbished cobblestone streets and tons of new restaurants, galleries and stores, thanks to the municipality’s investment of millions of dollars to renovate the Old City streets and support weekly events and activities. Said Israel’s president, Shimon Peres: “You don’t need to be a pioneer to move to Be’er Sheva, you need to be clever. Now is the time to buy a house here, before the prices get too high, because in a few years this neighborhood is going to more valuable than Tel Aviv.”

Pipes bridge

Between the Neve Noi neighborhood to the south and the old city to the north, a bridge over drinking water pipes crosses the Be’er Sheva River. Soon it will link the old city to the park while becoming a point of interest. Rather than being concealed, the pipes will be integrated to create a distinctive design that will transform the site into a major attraction. Benches and a covered shaded area will enable pedestrians to leisurely stroll along the wooden walkway and an observation point in the center of the bridge will afford a magnificent view of the Old City, the Be’er Sheva River Park, and Abraham’s Well.

River Park Promenade before Piled with rusty cars and loaded with toxic waste and garbage, the banks of Be’er Sheva’s river were once eyesores, not attractions. Tens of millions of dollars later, lighted and paved promenades serve as walkways, jogging and biking paths, attracting the city’s residents and offering leisure activities where there were none. Green grass grows where there was once dry dirt and refuse, and private developers are building high-rise luxury apartment buildings facing the riverbed. See the transformation unfold in the three pictures below.

AMphitheatre The 12,000-seat amphitheatre complex will be the largest venue of its kind in Israel, playing host to a variety of music, dance, theater events, festivals and happenings, programs for children, young people and the general public. Israeli artists, internationally renowned performers, classical music concerts, dance and theater festivals will make it their home. Its close proximity to the other areas of the park will allow different events to mix during festivals and happenings.

The lake

A shining, shimmering blue man-made lake spanning 23 acres and filled with purified water will be one of the park’s major attractions, ringed by restaurants, shops, and galleries, and offering boating, bird watching, and other activities. It will double as a reservoir, supplying water for irrigating the entire park instead of drawing upon scarce and expensive fresh water.

River Park Promenade After

The new Yahel Park will provide jobs and an economic boon to the region.

Where to stay in the Arava Desert

Kibbutz Yahel at 33 Gila Marks for 15 years. Jack Freeman doesn’t live there, but he is committed to its future. Three individuals, bound by a shared commitment to Kibbutz Yahel, located in the center of Israel’s Arava Valley, 45 minutes north of Eilat and on the eastern border with Jordan. What is the attraction? Thirty-three years ago, Ron Bernstein was transplanted from New York to Israel’s Arava Desert Valley, a hot, barren and desolate region that he nevertheless found to be a truly beautiful and enticing place to visit and live. Along with a group of young pioneers from Israel, the U.S., Great Britain, South Africa and Australia, Bernstein founded Kibbutz Yahel, Israel’s first Reform Jewish kibbutz. The goal of Yahel was to build a vibrant community based on agriculture, tourism, industry, and the ideals of Reform Judaism, offering a religious alternative for Israelis.

Ron Bernstein has been there from the beginning.

Now we have to take it to the next step, grow it even further. And now, like then, we can’t do it without JNF. Jewish National Fund prepared the land and infrastructure for the kibbutz site, as well as 1,000 acres for agricultural purposes, enabling Yahel’s young pioneers to fulfill their dreams and to produce Israel’s finest fruits and vegetables. “When I got there,” said Bernstein, “we lived in prefabricated houses, there were maybe a few trees, and a lot of rocks. We worked really hard, but it was very exciting. We were all young, idealistic and looking to build up Israel.” Today, it is a vibrant community of 250 residents that now includes Yahel’s third generation, a sign of its success. The kibbutz boasts impressive agricultural achievements, including the largest date plantation in the region, a highyield pomelo orchard, and a successful dairy herd. “When I look at it today,” said Ron, “I see that we really

The Arava Desert has many scenic and comfortable places to stay. Choose from a wide range of inviting styles and amenities.

Blueprint Negev Update

made something from nothing. Now we have to take it to the next step, grow it even further. And now, like then, we can’t do it without JNF.” “Yahel had everything we were looking for,” said Gila Marks, a special-ed teacher who works in nearby Kibbutz Yotvata. “Lots of open space, a tight-knit community, close proximity to work, and a very active community life—in short, real quality of life. “But today, one of the major challenges in this area is job opportunities,” she continued. “To attract young families to move to Yahel and help the kibbutz grow as a thriving community, Yahel is planning a huge tourist park project that will provide both jobs and a nice place to spend time. We are thrilled and excited about Yahel’s prospects once this is complete.” Thanks to a lead gift from entrepreneur and land developer Jack Freeman of Orlando, FL, JNF has partnered with the kibbutz to develop a recreational and educational park in Yahel. The park will be a tranquil green retreat just off the Arava Highway, a perfect stop for the tens of thousands of travelers who pass by on their way to and from Eilat and the Sinai Desert. It will bolster the kibbutz’s existing ecotourism industry, providing much-needed employment opportunities that will attract new residents and contribute to the growth and sustainability of the kibbutz. The anchor of the park will be Yahel Reservoir, an expansive lake for irrigation and recreational activities. The reservoir will be surrounded by date palms, picnic tables, and hammocks, providing shade and the feeling of a desert oasis. Other attractions will include walking paths, playgrounds, and gardens; a lookout tower providing a view of the Arava Valley; a weekly farmers market offering locally grown produce, homemade jams and baked goods, and crafts made by area artisans; a restaurant and coffee bar; a 45-minute motorized tour of Yahel’s amazing agricultural accomplishments; an arts & crafts “island” where children can create projects using recycled and natural materials; a petting zoo; and a Visitors Center.

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Oasis Gadish — Lounge in the large yard or enjoy the soothing Jacuzzi and sauna. 7 wooden cabins. 052-3666358 Desert Sand — Take in the relaxing atmosphere of the Bedouin tent, or one of the hammocks in the yard. 5 wooden cabins. 08-6581173 Matmon Ba’Arava — The rustic style creates a peaceful desert atmosphere. 5 wooden cabins. 052-8666246 Moshav Hatzeva

Ya’arat Hadvash/Honey Forest — Savor a relaxing and rustic visit in the large garden. 3 wooden cabins. 052-8804033 La Siesta — A Spanish oasis in the Arava Desert. 4 Spanish-style guesthouses. 052-3666415 Moshav Idan

Sahara — Moroccan-inspired accommodations make for a sophisticated stay. 6 guesthouses and suites. 052-3307777

Yahel Park will be a major source of employment for new residents, creating jobs in administration, maintenance, restaurant and store management, to name a few. Another benefit will be the increased volume in its guest house, Maayan B’Midbar. (; 011-972-86357967/8; Fax: 011-972-86357016) “Why Yahel?” Jack Freeman was asked. “I grew up poor, but we always put coins in the Blue Box,” he recalled. “My children visited Yahel and when they told me about what is going on down there, I knew this is where I wanted my money to go. I wanted to do something constructive, something tangible. I wanted it to mirror what I would do if I were younger, which is: build something, build a town. I consider this a wonderful opportunity. In your lifetime, if you can, you should give back.”

Green Fields and Commitment Help Halutza Region Blossom To the casual observer it may look like Sheldon and Fritzi Robinson have merely dedicated a building or two – a boys’ elementary school, beit medrash and playground – in the new community of Naveh. But to the people who will be making a home in this brand new community located in the sand dunes on Israel’s borders with Egypt and Gaza, the Robinsons are responsible for so much more. “We could have sent the kids out to a nearby school for their education,” said Rabbi Neria Tsur, who together with his wife Mindy and eight children will live there and who will be the rosh yeshiva as soon as the school opens for the coming school year. “But because we know that our children represent the next generation here, we decided to educate them on site and provide them with the best foundation for their future. The Robinsons didn’t just lend us a helping hand; they gave us our heart.” The Halutza region was founded in 2005 by a group of families evacuated from the Gush Katif communities of Atzmona and Netzarim. After the trauma of watching their homes dismantled, these uprooted families decided to rebuild their lives and their communities in a remote corner of the desert that had never before been inhabited or farmed, and immediately undertook the challenge of making its barren sands flourish. With the help of JNF, Halutza’s desert fields quickly boasted hothouses and im-

pressive yields of organic produce, ready for export. There is a joke that to reach Halutza, one must go “to the end of the earth and make a left.” Its founders chose to move to this remote corner of the desert because they believe that developing the Negev and transforming it into a major population center is vital for Israel’s future. The rapidly expanding region is attracting new residents from all across Israel and the population is poised to grow to more than 20,000 people. Two of the six planned com-

Mindy and Rabbi Neria Tsur greet Sheldon and Fritzi Robinson on their recent visit to the Halutza region.

Blueprint Negev Update

munities have been established: Naveh and Bnei Netzarim. Each already numbers 100 families, with 7-8 children per family, and has plans to grow to 300 families. Residents continue to live in temporary homes while permanent ones are being constructed. A third community, Shlomit, is in the early stages of development, and 1,500 housing sites are planned. Enter the Robinsons. Committed philanthropists with homes in Chicago, Florida, and Jerusalem, their family has contributed to various educational institutions and projects throughout the years. On a day trip to see JNF’s work in the region, the couple was visibly impressed with the attitude of the people they met. “They are working so hard to make something where there was nothing,” said Sheldon, “and all to benefit Israel. It doesn’t get more inspiring than that. And when I asked about schools, the idea was born and solidified in one fell swoop.” Having already dedicated a beit medrash in Ma’ale Adumim in memory of both their parents, the Robinsons are dedicating the boys’ elementary school in Naveh in memory of Sheldon’s recently deceased brother Jerome and his wife Esther. The beit medrash will be named for their parents, and a playground in memory of his nephew Elnatan Horowitz and his wife Debby, who were murdered at their Friday night dinner table in Kiryat Arba years ago by Palestinians. “Everybody who can, should do something,” Sheldon said. “I am lucky. God has given me years and I want to accomplish something with the years I have.”

Blueprint Negev Update

Illuminating Be’er Sheva River Park Traditionally, millions of visitors traverse Israel during the Passover holiday, taking advantage of the fine spring weather and family vacation time. But the Negev city of Be’er Sheva has never attracted a crowd. Until now. More than 50,000 people – from Be’er Sheva to Haifa and the Galilee – enjoyed the games, rock concert, street

fair, hikes, horseback riding, zipline, and other attractions at the first-ever Be’er Sheva River Park festival, titled “Lighting up the Negev.” The event, sponsored by JNF and the municipality of Be’er Sheva, served as a debut for the amazing transformation of the city and river park. “I had no idea there was even a park here,” said one attendee.

That’s about to change. As the centerpiece of JNF’s Blueprint Negev campaign, the renaissance of Be’er Sheva and the creation of a 1,700acre central park are well underway. The old Turkish city is experiencing a gentrification: young people are moving in, refurbishing old homes, and opening restaurants, galleries and stores. The planned recreation and waterfront district, modeled after the successful San Antonio River Walk, runs along the once-polluted Be’er Sheva River, which has been cleaned and restored. When completed, it will include 15 kilometers of promenades, a 23-acre lake filled with recycled water, a 12,000-seat amphitheatre for performing arts, bike and nature trails, and more. Today the park includes open areas, playgrounds, promenades, and two historical sites that tell the story of the city from its ancient beginnings to today. The event was a great success, with games and activities for the entire family designed to expose JNF projects to the populations and teach the younger generation about the values of Zionism and ecology. At the rock concert on the second evening of the festival, Be’er Sheva Mayor Ruvik Danilovich addressed the young crowd. “This will be the biggest and most impressive park in the country and will offer lots of wonderful attractions,” he said. “The park will contribute to the welfare of the residents of Be’er Sheva and the surrounding areas, promoting tourism in the city and the entire Negev.”

New Information Center Showcases Negev’s Unlimited Potential Relocating anywhere can be stressful, but relocating to what many consider uncharted territory – like the Negev, Israel’s final frontier – can be even more daunting. To assist the many families and individuals looking to lay new roots in Israel’s southern region (12,000 families are in the process, several thousand have already moved), JNF and the OR Movement, a Blueprint Negev partner, unveiled the Gateway to the Negev information center in the Old City of Be’er Sheva. Teeming with young people, new art galleries, coffee houses, restaurants, and construction on every block, Be’er Sheva is undergoing a real transformation, one that Gateway to the Negev is well-positioned to tap into. In addition to the information and relocation center on the top floor of the newly renovated two-story, 8,000square-foot old Turkish building, a Visitor’s Center on the ground floor showcases everything there is to know, see and do in the Negev. Tour guides, accommodation recommendations and tours can be arranged using this one-stop shop. Access to each floor is via separate entrances. “Since 2002 we have worked with 25,000 families look-

ing to move to the Negev or up north,” said Ofir Fisher, president of the OR Movement. “This new facility will allow us to be more user-friendly, have face-to-face meetings, and host whole families in our new conference room. It will enable us to help not just 12,000 families, but 120,000 families!” The staff answers all the questions and concerns families face when considering moving: Where will we live? Where will the children go to school? Where will we find jobs? How will we get around? What kinds of cultural and leisure time activities are there for us? “This center will provide comprehensive information on opportunities and life in the Negev region,” said JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson, “and serve as the main tool for facilitating our goal of attracting new residents to the region and dispelling pre-conceived notions about the area. Not only are we increasing awareness of the importance of populating the Negev, we are creating a unique and independent tourism anchor.” The experience begins in an inviting courtyard with a desert landscape. Inside, visitors are treated to a multi-di-

mensional program that tells the story of life in the Negev throughout history, ending in present day as they hear from new residents and why life in the Negev is so positive. “The Negev has unlimited potential,” said Fisher. “When visitors leave the Gateway to the Negev, it is with this dramatic message: ‘All this could be yours, don’t miss the opportunity.’”

The state-of-the-art Gateway to the Negev Information Center provides a one-stop experience for residents and tourists alike.

Blueprint Negev Update

Reut Toyeto finds her work with the residents of Aleh Negev very rewarding.

Sima Zevin started working at Aleh Negev when it opened.

Aleh Negev Enhances Quality of Life for Its Residents and Ofakim Residents Alike

its workers. “Working there made me stop to think — about life in general and about myself – and then came the question: was I able and willing to stay and work in this place? A force stronger than me kept pushing me to return to the village, and after a few weeks, watching and working with the people of Aleh Negev, witnessing their strength, their beauty and their uniqueness – the staff, the parents, and especially the residents – it was clear to me that here I would remain.” Merhavim Daycare Center

as a rehabilitative village for people with special needs established in 2005 in Israel’s Negev region, adjacent to the city of Ofakim. Many know it as a groundbreaking endeavor that is being studied throughout the world as a cutting-edge model of care for people with disabilities. And JNF’s role in it as part of the Blueprint Negev campaign is also no secret. But perhaps less known is that in addition to providing much-needed services to the area, the village creates jobs for people from the nearby city of Ofakim. And with jobs comes quality of life for the residents of this Negev community suffering for decades from high unemployment. Read about how development of the Negev is transforming the lives of the area’s residents. Many people know Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran

Sima’s Story

Sima Zevin, a 49-year-old resident of Ofakim, works in Aleh Negev’s laundry service. Originally from Morocco, she made aliyah in 1992, settling in Ofakim with her husband and son. She came to Aleh Negev as soon as it opened, starting in the janitorial department. “At the beginning, finding work in Israel was very difficult,” she said. “I was the only breadwinner of the family and desperate to work. I took whatever job came my way, but I could not find a steady job where I would have peace of mind and where I would be treated respectfully.” She found work at Aleh Negev and as her work ethic and connection to the village and the residents became obvious, she moved to the laundry service. And if you watch her interact with Alex *, a 21-year-old resident with cognitive disabilities, the miracle of Aleh Negev unfolds. Not only

does it transform the people who live there, but it does wonders for the employees as well. Alex comes each day to help Sima organize the clean laundry and distribute it among the various residential units. He is always excited to tell her about his day’s experiences, and she listens with a full heart and open ears. “For me, Aleh Negev is a holy place,” she said. “It’s not a regular workplace. I feel connected to it heart and soul, and I will stay here as long as I can stand on my feet.” Reut’s Story

Twenty-seven years old and a resident of Ofakim, Reut Toyeto is a social worker in Aleh Negev’s daycare center. “When I completed my academic studies I was faced with a dilemma that many of the younger generation face,” she said. “Should I remain in the Negev, or should I move to another area where employment and economic opportunities abound, are varied, and are probably more rewarding?” Her feelings of belonging to the Negev tipped the scales for her and Reut chose to remain in Ofakim. The next challenge was looking for work in the area. “I will never forget my first days in the village,” said Reut. “I felt I had come to a magical village with wide expanses of grass and greenery, a devoted staff, and warmth and love showered on everyone. “The work in the village is not easy,” she said. “It’s challenging and complex, even as it is varied and extremely satisfying. But a child’s smile or the excitement he feels at taking a first step makes all the effort worthwhile. Aleh Negev gives a real quality of life to the people who call it home. It is a village that is like family to its residents and

Aleh Negev does not only provide valuable care to the residents of the rehabilitative village. It also houses the Merhavim Daycare Center, a facility for young children from the Merhavim area, ranging in age from three months to three years. “They graciously opened their doors to us,” said Chana Nurayof, director of the center, part of the “Smart Beginnings” daycare network. The city of Ofakim is adjacent to the regional council of Merhavim, which is comprised of 10 small moshavim (agricultural communities) with about 75-200 residents each – and daycare facilities are neglected. When Aleh Negev offered its modern facilities – free of charge – it presented the residents of Merhavim with a great opportunity for quality childcare. Parents at first were worried about the children interacting with the residents, “but very quickly the parents began to see the gift of meeting daily with the residents of the village,” said Nurayof. The daycare center at Aleh Negev has represented a huge boost to the Merhavim community. It enables parents to find work and support their families, without worrying about quality daycare for their children. The center also serves as an important connection between the residents of Aleh Negev and the outside world. “At the beginning, when we first came, I was amazed to discover that there is such an extraordinary place that cares for these people with special needs,” says Nurayof. “We have been given the privilege of being part of this great endeavor.” * Names have been changed to protect residents’ privacy.

Say it With a JNF Card This New Year Landscapes of Israel New Year’s Cards - $30

What better way to wish someone a happy and healthy New Year than with Jewish National Fund’s Landscapes of Israel greeting cards? Featuring beautiful images of Israel from paintings by world-renowned Israeli artist, Avner Moriah, these cards highlight Israel’s natural scenery and the diversity of its landscape. One box contains 12 cards (three each of four designs,) and 12 envelopes. The inside message reads “Shana Tovah! Wishing You a Happy and Healthy New Year”. The cards also note that “A donation has been made to Jewish National Fund in support of its projects in Israel.” To purchase these and other cards, holiday gifts and more, visit the JNF store at or call 1-800-542-TREE.




Caravan for Democracy Prepares High School Students for Anti-Semitism on College Campuses

To better prepare high school juniors and seniors to face the growing anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment on college campuses across the U.S., Moms for Israel 2010 funds are going towards JNF’s Caravan for Democracy High School Edition (CFD-HSE), an initiative of JNF and American Friends of Likud. The program brings speakers from Israel to discuss the issues affecting Israel and promote Israel advocacy and education to high school juniors and seniors throughout the U.S. as they prepare to transition to their future college campuses. “A mom’s job is to help educate and prepare her children for life,” said Terry Katz, national chair of JNF’s Women’s Campaign for Israel. “What better way to do that than by educating and preparing them to counter anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli rhetoric that they may face on campus?” CFD-HSE students take part in open dialogue about their connection to Israel, their role as Jewish teens and the challenges they face as Israel advocates. Students learn about Israel through a variety of educational modules which provide them with the necessary knowledge, skills, and strategies to advocate for Israel. Since January 2004, CFD-HSE has sponsored over 250 programs in 26 cities around the U.S. reaching more than 15,000 students in

To donate or for more information, please contact us at 888-JNF0099 or visit


It can no longer be denied that we need to arm our children with the knowledge necessary to advocate for Israel on college campuses across the U.S. Imagine this. At prestigious universities across the United States there is a widespread call for divestment from Israel. You can stop imagining. It really happens. Imagine this. At campuses all over the country, protests and rallies are held against Israel during something called Israel Apartheid/Hate Week. You can stop imagining. It really happens. Imagine this. At respected universities, pro-Israel speakers — from former members of the Knesset to ambassadors – are protested against, shouted down and heckled by wellorganized groups of students. You can stop imagining. It really happens. For the past two years, the crisis in Sderot, Israel and the well-being of that community’s children has dominated JNF’s Moms for Israel initiative. These springtime campaigns have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to send children to summer camp and help build the largest secure indoor recreation center in Sderot. This year, their efforts are focused on a crisis of a different sort.


Anti-Israel demonstrations are a growing concern on U.S. college campuses.

synagogues, youth movement programs, public schools, JCC’s, and Jewish day schools. “I did not know anti-Semitism occurred in colleges to this degree because I personally have never seen or been affected by it,” said one CFD-HSE student. “But this program really opened my eyes to how Israel is viewed by the rest of the world and gave me the information I needed to build up my confidence if I were to face such a situation.” Moms for Israel is a grassroots campaign that has brought together thousands of women – mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and friends — across the country and the world. In 2008, its inaugural year, they sent more than 500 Israeli kids from Sderot to summer camp in central Israel, far away from Hamas-launched missiles. This year, they hope to make an impact closer to home and raise money to educate their high school-aged children and grandchildren about anti-Israel sentiment they may face. Many Jewish students learn to be effective Israel advocates during their first two years of college. However, this means that about half of a student’s college career is over before these tools can be utilized. CFD-HSE prepares them in high school for what lies ahead in college. These students come into college having learned the skills necessary to be effective leaders for Israel, so they can begin advocating for Israel immediately and build on their skills throughout their college career. CFD-HSE includes three training and activist components in order to reach students on all levels: a prominent speaker; interaction with current Israel activists on college campuses; and Israel advocacy-training sessions where students learn different techniques to promote Israel’s commitment to peace and battle anti-Israel sentiments on their future campuses. Said one CFD-HSE participant: “This program gave me the foundation to become a campus leader and activist on behalf of Israel and taught me that a few students can really make a big difference.” A CFD-HSE program costs $5,000. And moms, not only will your child or grandchild have the opportunity to participate, but a speaker will be brought in for a session with adults to speak about this very important issue. “I believe any mother who is concerned about Israel knows the current climate on our college campuses must be combated,” said Carol Ford Friedkin, national chair of JNF’s Sapphire Society, “We must also assist our young people here in the U.S. by providing them with tools to counter the delegitimization of Israel on college campuses. Thousands of dollars are pumped into universities to assist the Arab propaganda machine. We have to do our part.”

“JNF doesn’t just plant trees. It is behind so many wonderful projects in Israel and there is always a story — such as mine — behind each donation.” — Ben Gutmann, Major Donor, New Jersey

JNF Shows You Israel Like No One Else Can JNF Missions Testimonials “I came away with a new impression of JNF and what they have done for years; they are truly the backbone of Israel.” — Paula Flink, Queen of Sheba participant, South Carolina

“No one should visit Israel without booking through JNF. You made my son’s bar mitzvah on top of Masada an event to remember. You fulfilled every one of my requests and did not just meet, but exceeded, my expectations. I cannot begin to express my gratitude. I will begin by promising you that I will help JNF in any way possible. Two of the families that were part of the bar mitzvah trip are making pledges to JNF. Another of the bar mitzvah guests, an academician, plans to volunteer his time to JNF and the school in Sderot. Thank you for all of your time, consideration, effort and friendship.” — Ellisa Habbart, Delaware

“You have shown me a bit of Israel that will never fade — the strength of women to go forward, no matter what the obstacles are. How can I not help these women, and others, achieve their goals? JNF is so much a part of it all. I always knew this. But this is truly the first time I have appreciated the need for JNF to remain a constant factor in Israel’s growth. And I am a part of this — how marvelous is that? It doesn’t get better!” — Helene Blumenfeld, Queen of Sheba participant, New Jersey

“The JNF Makor mission to Israel is like no other. Traveling with a group of committed individuals and the behind-the-scenes view of the work of JNF is an incredible honor. It allows me to take the special training I received back to my community and the nation and share from a distinctively unique perspective.” — Carol Ford Friedkin, Makor Mission, Arizona

“I looked up and there was a breeding male ostrich charging us. I figured there was no way I could outrun an ostrich so I was hoping if I stayed still he would not bother with me. Well, he stopped right in front of me, got down on the ground, and started a mating display. I was all dressed in gray that day (the coloring of female ostriches) so I guess I looked like a possibility, but when I did not respond to his advances, he got up and walked away. Just like the Jewish people, migrating birds love the land of Israel. We saw thousands of birds on this mission; I was not disappointed.” — Shari Sujk a, Bird Watching Mission Participant, Florida

“After years of just maintaining my sense of Jewish identity, I went on Taglit-Birthright Israel with JNF-Shorashim. I then learned about Alternative Spring Break (ASB) from JNF newsletters and signed up. ASB was so much more meaningful to me; I wasn’t in Israel just to see her, I was there to care for her. The trip inspired me to become a Jewish professional and now I am also very active in my synagogue. Birthright made me more serious about my Judaism, but it was ASB that taught me to take care of my Judaism. Now, every day of my life is about being Jewish.” — Ginny Adams, ASB participant, Taglit-Birthright Israel JNF-Shorashim trip, Hillels of Georgia and Director of Jewish Student Life for Kennesaw State and Georgia State Universities

Retirees Enjoy Warmth and Community Service in Israel Thanks to Canadian and American Active Retirees in Israel

CAARI participants enjoy a good time and a sense of purpose.

For more information on CAARI, visit or call 877-JNF-TOUR.

Nefesh B’Nefesh Encourages Settlement in Northern Israel with “Go North”

Shira and Boaz Gura and family moved to northern Israel from New Jersey. Most people immigrating to Israel, or “making aliyah,” tend

to settle in the center of the country — Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa — relegating the southern region and the North as traditionally more difficult areas to populate. But JNF understands the importance of populating all of Israel’s borders and regions. In addition to its Blueprint Negev campaign to make the Negev Desert home to the next generation of Israel’s residents, JNF has partnered with Nefesh B’Nefesh in its “Go North” campaign, an initiative that encourages olim (someone who makes aliyah to

Israel) to settle up North. As the first formal initiative to populate Israel’s northern region with English-speaking olim, “Go North” is about creating opportunities, and offers enhanced financial assistance as well as social and career support to families looking to integrate in their new communities. “Moving to the Galilee was one of the best decisions our family ever made,” said Shira and Boaz Gura, who used “Go North” to make aliyah from New Jersey. “The pace of life, the peacefulness of the surroundings, and the beauty of the Galilee made moving to the North a perfect match for our family.” The vision is to establish long-term growth in these northern communities by strengthening the infrastructure and developing opportunities in education, employment, and community living. When it was first launched in January 2009, “Go North’s” goal was to create opportunities for 1,000 people to make aliyah in a five-year period. Together with program partners — JNF, Jewish Agency for Israel, The Russell Berrie Foundation and Ministry of Immigrant Absorption — the program has accelerated: for the year of 2010, 400 olim are anticipated. For Yoni Avital, making aliyah from New York to Kibbutz Ga’aton has presented new opportunities, personal growth and inspiration. “Since I made aliyah a year ago,” he said, “I’ve developed a music and education project, known as The Shuk,

which performs and teaches in Israel and throughout the world. I’ve also begun graduate studies at the University of Haifa.” Two different tracks offer two types of experiences. One is based on a community support system for new olim, and one integrates individuals directly into an Israeli community for a more independent experience. The oleh can choose either one based on what they’re looking for. Nefesh B’Nefesh has reached out to potential olim all across the U.S. through online and print media, parlor meetings and weekly webinars that enable interested individuals to interact with the “Go North” team and other interested olim. This support continues once new olim arrive in Israel. “Some olim have formed a sort of welcoming committee for ‘Go North’ families making aliyah,” said “Go North” Project Manager Michele Kaplan Green. “That people who have had a positive experience themselves then choose to get involved and help others is a wonderful reflection of our program’s success.” “Making aliyah was great in and of itself,” said Dennis and Hadas Rosenthal, who made aliyah from Georgia to Ma’alot, “but moving to the north of Israel has given us endless inspiration and a true feeling of what Zionism really is.” For more information, visit the Nefesh B’Nefesh Go North website at or email


The Hulkowers have also witnessed the transformation of the Be’er Sheva River Park, from a muddy riverbed to a thriving recreation space. “JNF is rejuvenating the area to encourage people to settle there and you can see the improvement,” said Joan. “It makes a big difference for the community.” CAARI is a worthwhile opportunity for people to deepen their connection with the country. This year, the group spent Tu Bishvat with JNF in Modi’in, handing out 8,000 tree seedlings to children, parents, and grandparents. One

Jewish National Fund

(CAARI), it’s possible to perform mitzvot and enjoy a warm, beautiful climate in the winter months. The program, which runs from January to March, enables retired individuals to contribute to Israel through charitable work. “You feel like you have a purpose in life, a feeling of giving back and participating,” said Joan Hulkower of Port Washington, NY, who recently returned from the 2010 CAARI mission with her husband Bernie. This year’s itinerary included a trip to JNF’s projects in Be’er Sheva and the Negev. Since the Hulkowers have been on CAARI seven times in as many years, they have seen the changes that JNF is making in the Negev. “The difference is quite noticeable when you look at the new communities such as Zuqim,” said Joan. “The first time we went, it was barren desert, there was nothing there. Now it’s become a real home. Just a few years ago there was no electricity or water and people were living in caravans; now they have homes surrounded by green space.”

day a week is devoted to JNF forest work — pruning trees, clearing overgrown areas in parks and even rebuilding terrace walls. Other community service includes working in orange groves, helping patients at a rehabilitation center, and packing food boxes for needy families with the organization Table to Table. When they aren’t volunteering, the group tours offthe-beaten track heritage sites and hears from interesting speakers from the Foreign Ministry office, the U.S. embassy, the Knesset, and others. Led by Susan Horwitz, CAARI is a devoted, cohesive group that is always looking to welcome new members. “This is my 12th year working with CAARI and I love to see the enthusiasm and excitement of the participants,” said Horwitz. “They share a passion for the land and people of Israel and a desire to learn more about the country. Each day when they return from their community service assignment, they can’t wait to talk about the wonderful experiences they had.” Participants agree that the trip is incredibly fulfilling and meaningful. “As long as we are able to do it physically,” said Joan, “we’ll continue going on CAARI missions.”

Alternative Spring Break: Making a Lasting Impact on the Negev Israel Advocacy & Education


On private farms in the Negev, there are usually only one or

two people working the land. These farms are often in danger of failing, since the Negev is not an easy place to farm. On a recent JNF Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trip, one bus of participants spent a whole day weeding a young olive grove to ensure that the trees, and not the weeds, get water. “It would have taken me a month to do the same job that they did in one day,” said a local farmer. With 45 people helping out, it’s possible to accomplish a lot. ASB, which is funded partially through a grant by the Repair the World Foundation, is an opportunity for college students and young professionals to give back to Israel, come face-to-face with the people they are helping, and create bonds between Israel and Jewish youth in the Diaspora. But it’s not only the participants who are profoundly affected by their experiences. In addition to raising an impressive $1.2 million for Blueprint Negev projects, the participants have made significant changes to the Negev landscape by choosing to spend their spring break doing community service in Israel. While each ASB bus spends only one day at each project site, the work they accomplish has a profound, positive, and lasting effect on the communities they visit. When the ASB participants visited Amidar’s low-income housing, many of the buildings had been largely neglected since they were

• $ 1. 14 m il l io n r a is ed built in the 1950s. Helped out by children from the area, the ASB’ers painted building exteriors, created a beautiful nature mural in the public space and did plastering and painting inside some apartments. “One of the tenants asked to keep the paintbrushes so that he could paint the other rooms of his apartment,” said a participant. “He was inspired by the effect of the little changes we made.” Enthusiastic and not afraid of getting their hands dirty with Table to Table, an organization that donates excess produce to food banks, participants harvested entire fields of beets. It stained their hands and clothes, but the group, helped out by Israeli soldiers from a nearby base, didn’t mind. With Earth’s Promise, ASB helped improve the look

and efficiency of a community garden in Be’er Sheva, using recycled materials such as tires and garbage to build functional objects such as mud benches and tire walls. Their help made a huge difference. “It is rare to have such a big workforce at one’s disposal to create and work, so the changes were quite dramatic in our projects and created a real boost in the garden’s appearance,” said Noga Zohar, executive director of Earth’s Promise. Sometimes the task is as simple as forming an assembly line and moving rocks from one place to another. But the cumulative effect of their work, coupled with the energy that the ASB participants display, goes a long way towards developing the Negev.

JNF Named a Water Champion by World Water Monitoring Day

Schoolchildren take water samples and test them for important environmental indicators. The first ever World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD) Awards were given out on World Water Day on March 22, 2010 and JNF was recognized with a “Water Champion” award for its efforts in raising awareness of water quality issues. “We are incredibly honored by this recognition of the efforts of our staff to raise awareness about water,” said Joseph Hess, JNF vice president of Governmental Relations. “JNF has been at the forefront of educating our children about the importance and value of potable water

for humanity.” The WWMD program, an international education and outreach program that provides kits for people to test their local water, is a joint venture between the Water Environment Federation (WEF), a not-for-profit technical and educational organization, and the International Water Association (IWA), a global network of water professionals. Since 2004, JNF has provided WWMD kits to 300 schools annually in the U.S. and Israel. Its program takes place every year from September 18 to October 18 through a generous grant from the U.S. Forest Service, reaching approximately 19,510 students. JNF’s involvement in the program has been crucial in creating a connection between private Jewish schools and WWMD resources. “Over the past few years, our students have taken part in WWMD as part of our ongoing efforts toward conservation education,” said Mary Corton, Lower School science teacher at Beth Tfiloh Dahan in Baltimore, Maryland. “We have monitored a pond on campus for water quality and celebrated a school-wide WWMD with activities that stress

the importance of water conservation. Our children have come to understand that we are all responsible for maintaining a clean water supply.” The WWMD kits are equipped with the materials for children to test their local water for four important environmental indicators. JNF has developed a variety of education materials connecting the use of the kits in studying of water in local communities to the water issues in Israel. As well, schools are encouraged to upload their data to the WWMD website, allowing schools in the U.S. to compare their data with results from schools in Israel. “JNF’s program engages students in learning about the critical water issues facing Israel, and how they can make a global impact by monitoring their local water sources,” said Michelle Wachtel, director of Education Programs and Resource Development at JNF. JNF has plans to expand its program and is developing new partnerships with sister organizations in Canada, Australia and the UK to educate students about the importance of water.

Florida Donor Contributes to Israel’s Development Through JNF I really appreciate what they have done and continue to do for the country.

At 84, Stanley Schmerken has seen and done a lot in his life.

JNF’s Charitable Gift Annuities Answer Myriad Needs By Matt Bernstein, CFP, JNF Chief Planned Giving Officer As a result of the unprecedented financial turmoil during the past two years, interest rates have remained stubbornly low. As a matter of fact, they are hovering at historic lows. As of the writing of this column, the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond is showing a yield of less than 4% and longer-term high grade corporate bonds are offering just about 4%. Bank certificates of deposit, a favorite of many of our donors, are paying under 3%. This is a doubleedged sword. For borrowers, if they can get a loan, this is good news. But for savers, investors, and retirees depending on income from their investments to maintain lifestyles, the low interest rates create many challenges. In this type of environment many of our donors have to look at either reducing their expenses or choosing to take on more risk in the hopes that their returns will also be greater. Jewish National Fund has a solution that can not only increase income but helps support Israel as well. As many of our donors know, JNF runs one of the most successful charitable gift annuity programs in the country. We believe our success is due to the fact that we offer very competitive annuity rates and that our donors enjoy the stability of receiving a steady income check — all with the knowledge that their annuity gift will ultimately support JNF projects in Israel.

So how does this work? A JNF charitable gift annuity is a simple agreement that offers our donors a lifetime annual income in exchange for their gift. In addition to the income there are valuable tax advantages such as taxfree income, an income tax deduction, and the avoidance of lump sum capital gains taxes if the donation is made with long-term appreciated stocks or mutual funds. Our annuities can be structured to cover one or two lives and can even be designed to act like a supplemental retirement plan by deferring income for a number of years. Here is a sampling of the single life annuity rates we currently offer: Age 60 5.7% Age 65 6.0% Age 70 6.5% Age 75 7.1% Age 80 8.0% Age 85 9.5% Age 90+ 11.3% Let’s look at an example:

Ellen is 72 years old with a $50,000 bank certificate coming due next month. Her bank has offered her a renewal rate of 2.88% for 5 years. This represents almost a 40% decline in income. As a supporter of JNF, she has been receiving regular updates from our planned giving department about the gift annuity program and is ready to make an inquiry. A simple phone call provided her with

the following information. •A  t her age we can offer her an annuity with an income of 6.7% (compared to the 2.88% CD rate) •H  er $50,000 gift would pay an an annual income of $3,350, vs. $1,440 offered by her bank. •H  er gift makes her eligible to claim a tax deduction of $16,820, saving her $5,887 in federal income taxes. • $ 2,290 or 68% of the income will be paid to her as taxfree income over her actuarial life expectancy of 14.5 years. After 14.5 years, all of the income she receives will be considered as taxable income. •H  er gift will ultimately be used to fund maintenance and upkeep for the Sderot Indoor Recreation Center, which she visited on her last President’s Council Mission. When Ellen looked at the increased income and tax benefits, she saw that she could help herself and support JNF at the same time. To receive information including a detailed illustration on how a JNF charitable gift annuity might benefit you, please call 800-562-7526 and speak with one of our Planned Giving specialists. We are ready to answer all of your questions. We look forward to hearing from you.


So when this successful entrepreneur and avid traveler decides where to donate his funds, it is because he knows his donation is in good hands.


L-R: Florida Zone Director Glen Schwartz, Sue Orden, Stanely Schmerken, and Israel Special Emissary Ronnie Porat.

“There’s really not that much to say,” said the Pensacola, FL resident when asked about his gift annuities to JNF. “I give them the check and they take great care of it. I know the money is going to a great cause; on my trips to Israel, I’ve seen what JNF has accomplished – their forests and reservoirs – and I really appreciate what they have done and continue to do for the country.” Born and raised in Brooklyn, Schmerken earned an engineering degree from Lehigh University in PA after WWII. After working in that field for several years, he then joined his father in the garment industry. “I was a salesman and my territory was America,” he said. “I traveled a lot and became familiar with many places one of them was Pensacola, which I liked a lot.” When his father sold the business, Schmerken and his brother heeded a suggestion they had heard in passing: what Pensacola needed was a good NY-style bakery. “We started

with the sweet stuff – pies, desserts and cakes – before going on to different kinds of breads. I was the delivery guy, driving miles in every direction, often selling doorto-door. When we tapped into the Air Force bases, that’s when we started to make it; the day the Pensacola Naval Air Station called asking us to stock their commissary with bread, we knew we would be successful.” His brother returned to NY, but Schmerken stayed and built a life in Pensacola with Sue Orden; he has lived there for almost 50 years. Now retired, the two travel quite a bit, have a close relationship with their rabbi, and wherever Schmerken may be, he attends the area synagogue for Shabbat morning services and offers to read the Haftorah portion. “I enjoy traveling a lot,” he said, “but when you visit Israel and see how much it’s grown and changed in just 60 short years, it’s quite remarkable. I am happy to be doing what I can to contribute to her development.” Schmerken’s total gift annuities to JNF have enabled him to become a member of JNF’s Century Club, which recognizes all donors who, in their lifetime, have contributed $100,000 or more to Jewish National Fund.

out & about WITH

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


  Western Zone

Yom Hashoah, Yom Hazikaron, and Yom Ha’Atzmaut were all celebrated at an event held at the offices of Bernstein Global Wealth Management, overlooking the skyscrapers of New York, Central Park and the Hudson River. (L-R) Randi Levine (Sapphire Society and World Chairman’s Council), and Jeff Levine (World Chairman’s Council) lit memorial candles.

The service was followed by Yom Ha’Atzmaut festivities. Enjoying the party were (L-R) Linda Walker (Sapphire Society), Laureine Greenbaum (Sapphire Society and World Chairman’s Council), and Louise Chazen Banon (President’s Council).

(L-R) Sapphire Society’s Elaine Kort and Sharyn Spillman enjoyed the cocktail reception at JNF’s Tree of Life™ dinner.

Palm Springs and Desert Area vice president and Sapphire Society member Evelyn Binsky (right) presented a thank you gift to event hosts Donna and James Levitas. Evelyn and JNF board member Annette Sunshine chaired the event. (L-R) Donna Levitas, James Levitas, and Evelyn Binsky.

Palm Springs and Desert Area regional president Rick Stein thanked everyone in attendance for their support of the 2010 JNF Palm Springs project – a children’s playground and park at Givot Bar, a new community located in Israel’s Negev Desert.

(L-R) Helen Feldman (Sapphire Society), Robert Feldman (Century Club), Robert Dubin (President’s Council, 1st vice president), Larry Monkarsh (Herzl Society board president), and campaign director Judy Berkovitz at the annual Las Vegas breakfast event. The Feldmans were honored for their lifelong dedication and support.

(L-R) Frances Schor (President’s Council), and Amy Berko Iles (Century Club and Sapphire Society) attended the Women’s Campaign for Israel event at the Jewish Theological Seminary. The event featured JTS’ extraordinary rare book collection, with editions dating back to the year 1000 AD. The event was chaired by Laureine Greenbaum and Shirley Amdur.

(L-R) Mountain States chair Gene Kay (Century Club), Diana Zeff Anderson (Sapphire Society), and Jerusalem Post columnist/correspondent Gil Hoffman at Denver’s annual breakfast sponsored by Carmel Properties.

(L-R) Brenda Katz, table captain and Sharry Solomon (Sapphire Society).

(L-R) Dr. Peter and Gabriela Gottlieb (Century Club) with their son Yoni at the 2010 Mountain States Region annual breakfast. Yoni coordinated a table of 12 middle school students to attend the breakfast for the first time.

Ann Zinman (Sapphire Society) volunteered at JNF’s Tu B’Shivat Community Walk for Israel. Ann registered hundreds of walkers who came out to show their pride for Israel.

(L-R) Mountain States chair Gene Kay (Century Club) with campaign executive Roberta Witkow during the 2010 annual breakfast.

Guest Speaker Dr. Isaac Eliachar, IDF Deputy Surgeon General, Northern Israel, (Ret.) addressed a gathering of JNF Palm Springs and Desert Area major supporters at the Rancho Mirage, CA home of Mr. and Mrs. James Levitas.

(L-R) Regional director Judy Berkovitz with Las Vegas board members Lara Stone (Sapphire Society), Helen Feldman (Sapphire Society), Robert Feldman (Century Club), guest speaker Dr. Jonathan Adelman, Robert Dubin (Presidents Council, 1st vice president and event chair), Dr. Garet Gordon, Glenda Lippman, Larry Monkarsh (Herzl Society president), Dr. Richard Chudacoff (Doctors for Israel Campaign chair).

Southern Zone

  Mid-Atlantic Zone

(L-R) Board of directors and Century Club members Gregg Cohen and Gladys Hirsch, with her grand-nephew Bennie Cohen (director of Birthright Israel NEXT- Atlanta) at the 7th Jack Hirsch Memorial breakfast hosted at AA synagogue in Atlanta. In the background is the synagogue’s president Marc Cohen (Century Club).

Bill Travis, beside a plaque in honor of former Atlanta mayor Sam Massell at a playground in Nir Am. Mayor Massell was the recipient of the Jack Hirsch Memorial award at the 2006 Jack Hirsch Memorial breakfast. The plaque highlights major sponsors of the breakfast: Stacey and Emanuel Fialkow, Gladys Hirsch, Shellie and Bill Travis, and the Marcus Foundation.

(L-R) Jayne Klein (Circle of Sapphire Society), Nancy Boguslaw, Leah Rosin, national chair of the Women’s Campaign for Israel Susan Levene (Sapphire Society), and Mid-Atlantic Zone director Diane Scar (Sapphire Society).

JNF’s Major Donors

(L-R) Board of director members David Birnbrey (Herzl Society), Michael Miller (Southern Zone president, Century Club), breakfast co-chairs Dawn and Allan Zachariah (Herzl Society), and Southeast co-president Lauren Mescon (Sapphire Society, Makor) celebrated JNF’s work in Israel at the 7th annual Jack Hirsch Memorial breakfast.


(L-R) Brenda Jaffe (Sapphire Society) with National Women’s Campaign for Israel chair Susan Levene (Sapphire Society).

Maryland regional major gifts campaign chair Ellen Rosenberg (Makor, Sapphire Society) and her husband Cary Besmanoff (Herzl Society).

Maryland Sapphire Society chair Teresa Alpert (right) pinned Lynn Kapiloff (Sapphire Society, Century Club).

(L-R) Dr. Chet Stein (Century Club), with speaker Yossi Leshem and Franklin Paulson, discussed the issue of bird migration in Israel.

Wilmington residents Sandye and Jerry Turnauer (Century Club) proudly displayed a marker depicting the completion of the Mid-Atlantic Zone’s one-mile promenade in Be’er Sheva.

(L-R) Jayne Klein (World Chairman’s Council and Circle of Sapphire), Maryland Regional major gifts campaign chair Ellen Rosenberg (Makor, Sapphire Society), Mid-Atlantic Zone president David Margules (Century Club), and breakfast chair Dr. Ellen Taylor (Century Club) promoted Park Yahel.

Jeff Menick (Makor, Herzl Society) addressed the Washington DC region at the annual community breakfast held at congregation Beth El in Bethesda.

Paul Frommer (Herzl Society) at Abraham’s Well in Be’er Sheva.

(L-R) Russell Smith (Herzl Society), MidAtlantic Zone director Diane Scar (Sapphire Society), and Dr. Samuel Halperin (Century Club) at a major gifts reception.

Mid-Atlantic Zone president David Margules (right) thanked Kate Shelter (Sapphire Society) for her generosity and ongoing support of JNF.

(L-R) Maryland Doctors for Israel campaign chair Dr. Jim Chisum, Dr. Irving Taylor (World Chairman’s Council), and Mid-Atlantic Zone chairman Andrew Klein (World Chairman’s Council) at a community breakfast.

Florida Zone

JNF’s Major Donors

(L-R) Naples Tree of Life™ honoree and Century Club member Truly Nolen with Major General Gadi Shamni, Israel Defense and Armed Forces Attaché to the United States and Canada, at the Tree of Life™ Award Dinner honoring Truly Nolen’s many philanthropic accomplishments.

(L-R) Northern FL Regional director Uri Smajovits, Century Club members Max and Doris Gendelman (Naples board member), and Florida Zone director Glen Schwartz at the Naples Tree of Life™ dinner.

(L-R) Two Sarasota philanthropists, Bea Friedman and Nate Benderson, shared a happy moment at Bea’s 90th birthday celebration at a JNF gala. Also pictured: Katherine Skinner, Bea’s nurse/companion.

(L-R) Scott Brenner (Herzl Society, S. Palm Beach board member, General Campaign chair), Howard Dubosar (Herzl Society, Palm Beach board member and Lawyers For Israel Society co-chair), Stacey DuBosar (Herzl Society), with Broward/Palm Beach regional director Laura Sherry, at a parlor meeting.

(L-R) Sydelle Lazar (President’s Council, Sapphire Society), S. Palm Beach board president Michael Lazar (President’s Council), General Doron Almog, and Didi Almog at a parlor meeting at the Lazar home.

(L-R) Palm Beach president Art Silber (Century Club, President’s Council), comedian Paul Reiser, and Lynn Silber (Century Club, President’s Council) at the Tree of Life™ Award dinner held at the Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA) in Dania Beach.

(L-R) At the Tree of Life™ dinner, Barbara Mautner (Century Club, President’s Council) received the Aleh Negev award for her support of Aleh Negev; General Doron Almog, chairman of Aleh Negev, was honored with the Tree of Life™ award; and Michael Lazar (President’s Council) received the Guardian of Israel award for his support of Israel through JNF.

(L-R) Myron Stayman (President’s Council, Broward board member), David Polen (Century Club, President’s Council, S. Palm Beach board member, Florida Zone major gifts chair), Cantor Elaine Shapiro (President’s Council, Sapphire Society, S. Palm Beach board member and education chair), and JNF Southern Zone director Glen D. Schwartz, at a parlor meeting hosted at the home of Sydelle and Michael Lazar.

(L-R) Beverly Rubenstein (World Chairman’s Council, Sapphire Society, Palm Beach board member), Marilyn Posner, General Doron Almog, and Gloria Slass (Sapphire Society) at a parlor meeting hosted by Palm Beach board members Linda and Roger Benjamin.

(L-R) Valerie Shapiro (Century Club, Orlando board president), Harold Cohen (JNF COO), Bruce Gould (World Chairman’s Council, Florida zone president), and Aaron Gorovitz (JNF Orlando board).

(L-R) President’s Council members Richard and Lena Smith with Ron Bernstein, who spoke to a Hadassah group in Palm Coast.

28 (L-R) S. Palm Beach board member Ken Esrig (Herzl Society), Andrea Brenner (Herzl Society), S. Palm Beach board member and Doctors For Israel Society chair Dr. Robert Colton (President’s Council), and S. Palm Beach board member Dr. Dan Schwimmer at a meeting at the home of Sydelle and Michael Lazar (S. Palm Beach board president).

(L-R) Gerald Schwartz (Miami-Dade board of directors and Planned Giving chair) and Myron Stayman (President’s Council and Broward County board of directors) at the Miami-Dade 2010 kickoff event.

(L-R) S. Palm Beach board member Joel Reinstein (President’s Council), Beckie Fischer (Sapphire Society), comedian Paul Reiser, and Dr. Robert Colton (President’s Council, S. Palm Beach board member, Doctors For Israel Society chair) at the Tree of Life™ Award dinner held at the Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA) in Dania Beach.

Midwest Zone

(L-R) Cheryl Banks (President’s Council, Sapphire Society) and Ted Banks (national board member) enjoyed breakfast at Temple Beth El (Northbrook) with Brig. General (Res.) Effie Eitam.

(L-R) Rob Mintz (Chicago region president, President’s Council) and Scott Schreiber (Chicago region chairman) at a Loop Professional Forum.

(L-R) JNF donor Ron Solomon, Terry Katz (Century Club, President’s Council, Circle of Sapphire), David Bar Katz, playwright, and Michael Evan Haney, director, at a meet and greet dessert reception hosted by Terry Katz to showcase her nephew’s play, “The History of Invulnerability.”

JNF’s Major Donors

(L-R) President’s Council members Stanford and Marian Davis celebrated Tu B’Shivat at the JCC with son-in-law Justin Braver and grandson Simon.


(L-R) Executive Director of Friends of the Arava Institute David Weisberg, with Midwest Zone president Hannan Lis (Century Club) and Michael Langlas, at a breakfast meeting hosted by Ron Sollish of Maddin, Hauser, Wartell, Roth & Heller, P.C.

(L-R) Larry Neuman (Legal Society fellow) and Southern Ohio regional president Louise Roselle (Legal Society fellow, President’s Council, Sapphire Society) at a JNF/Judge Carl B. Rubin Legal Society “Lunch and Learn” with Gil Hoffman, Jerusalem Post political correspondent/columnist, hosted by Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C.

(L-R) Ellen Rosenberg (Sapphire Society, Makor) met with Esther Manko, whose support has had a tremendous impact on water research in Israel. Rosenberg provided an update on the status of the JNF Parsons Water Fund.

(L-R) Board member Karen Budin (President’s Council), her daughter Daphne, David Weisberg of the Arava Institute and board member Jeffrey Wohlstadter enjoyed a parlor meeting at the Budin home.

Naomi Horwitz, who has purchased many JNF annuity gifts over the past eight years, is one of Milwaukee’s few remaining Jewish women military veterans from World War II. A plaque was installed at Ammunition Hill’s Wall of Honor in Jerusalem in recognition of her many years of service in the Women’s Army Corps.

  Los Angeles Zone

(L-R) Maureen Komisar, Wisconsin co-chair Selma Zeiger, board member Gail Komisar and Randi Komisar Schachter attended a JNF banquet proudly wearing their Sapphire Society pins. The Komisar Family of Wisconsin, a group of multi-generational Sapphires, is the largest family of Sapphire Society members within JNF.

(L-R) Sapphire Society chair Alyse Golden Berkley (Makor), Larry Miller, comedian and Tree of Life™ master of ceremonies, Russell Robinson (JNF CEO), LA Zone and planned giving chair David Frank, Major General Doron Almog, chairman of Aleh Negev, and LA Zone president Larry Russ at the JNF Tree of Life™ Award dinner.

(L-R) Judy Levin (Sapphire Society) and Bud Levin (World Chairman’s Council) at JNF’s Tree of Life™ Award dinner.

(L-R) Tony Rubin (Century Club) and Linda Rubin (Sapphire Society) at JNF’s Tree of Life™ Award dinner.

Northeast Zone

JNF’s Major Donors

Ellen Reisel (middle), supervising psychologist at the Red Mountain Therapeutic Riding Center at Kibbutz Grofit, addressed the board meeting at the Short Hills, NJ home of Steve and Barbara Squires (Herzl Society). She is pictured here with Steve and Barbara Squires.

(L-R) Joe Wolfson (Philadelphia board president, President’s Council), Scott Barsky (Herzl Society), and Rich Cohen (Philadelphia board president-elect, Herzl Society).

“It’s Never Too Late, to Remember JNF in Your Will.” Thank You and Happy 100th Birthday to Lucie Klanfer from JNF! (L-R) Achim Rudoler (Herzl Society), Lucie Klanfer, and her niece Gerrie Rudoler (Sapphire Society).

(L-R) Helene Blumenfeld (Sapphire Society), Alan Blumenfeld, Ethyl Blumenfeld, and NJ regional director Lynn Norton Robins recognized the plaque on the Ammunition Hill Wall of Honor of (father and husband) Charles Blumenfeld at the JNF Ammunition Hill / Temple Beth Sholom Men’s Club breakfast.

(L-R) Alan Robbins (Herzl Society, Philadelphia board member), Gil Hoffman, event speaker, Evelyn Spritz (Century Club, President’s Council, Sapphire Society, National board member), Alan Dabrow (Century Club, President’s Council, National board member), Louise Dabrow (President’s Council, Sapphire Society, National board member), and Jerry Harvitz (general campaign member, Philadelphia board member) attended a major gifts thank you reception at the home of Alan and Louise Dabrow.

( L-R) JNF CEO Russell Robinson, executive board member Michael Blank (Century Club, Makor), Patricia Blank (Century Club, Sapphire Society), and Capital District president Ken Segel (Century Club, Makor) at the Shalom Dinner. The Blanks and Segels will be on JNF’s President’s Council Mission, with Ken serving as the chair.

(L-R) Colonel (Res.) Sharon Davidovich (Herzl Society), Aileen Lederman (Century Club), and Rhode Island president Michael Lederman (Century Club) enjoyed the Shalom Farewell tribute dinner. Michael was recently appointed national treasurer and is the newest member of the JNF Parsons Water Fund board.

(L-R) World Chairman’s Council member, VP of campaign and dinner chair Todd Patkin, Colonel (Res.) Sharon Davidovich (Herzl Society), Amy Parsons (Sapphire Society president and vice chair of the JNF Parsons Water Fund), JNF CEO Russell Robinson, and Jeffrey Davis (chairman of the board and Century Club).

  New England Zone

(L-R) Rob Zuritsky (Philadelphia board immediate past president, President’s Council) and Hugh Douglas, former Philadelphia Eagles player.

30 (L-R) Claire Perlman (Century Club), Colonel (Res.) Sharon Davidovich (Herzl Society and National Director of the JNF Parsons Water Fund), and Marc Perlman (Century Club) at the Shalom Farewell tribute dinner. The Perlmans are generous supporters of the JNF Parsons Water Fund.

Colonel (Res.) Sharon Davidovich (Herzl Society), New England Zone director Sharon Freedman, Todd Patkin, (VP of Campaign and World Chairman’s Council), and Michael Lederman, (Century Club, national treasurer, and Rhode Island president) on JNF’s Israel Relations, Budget & Finance mission.

Col. (Res.) Sharon Davidovich Honored by New England Zone

(L-R) World Chairman’s Council member Todd Patkin, Consul General Nadav Tamir, New England Zone director Sharon Freedman, Colonel (Res.) Sharon Davidovich and JNF CEO Russell Robinson.

National Director of the JNF Parsons Water Fund Colonel (Res.) Sharon Davidovich was recently honored at JNF’s New England Zone Tribute Dinner. Davidovich served as New England Emissary from 2002-2009 and “made a huge impact on the New England community,” said New England Zone director Sharon Freedman. “This evening is a real testament to his success.” Over $200,000 was raised at the dinner, which also honored Nadav Tamir, Consul General of Israel to New England. Todd and Yadira Patkin chaired the event. All funds raised support the JNF Parsons Water Fund. JNF is currently building new reservoirs and sustainable wetlands at the Ramon Air Force base, drilling near Kibbutz Shamir, and increasing awareness about water conservation amongst the Israeli population. The goal is to increase Israel’s high-quality water supply by more than 440 billion gallons by 2020. To date, JNF has built more than 200 reservoirs, adding more than 66 billion gallons of water to Israel’s national water economy.

Alexander muss high school in israel

AMHSI Breaks Ground on The New Eshel Hanassi Campus AMHSI Chairman Stephen Muss with students at Eshel Hanassi.

(L-R) Ze’ev Miller (Director Eshel Hanassi Youth Village); Stephen Muss (Chairman AMHSI); Silvan Shalom MK (Vice Prime Minister of Israel and Minister of the Development of the Negev and the Galilee); Russell Robinson (CEO JNF); Gideon Shavit (CEO AMHSI)

Enroll in An upcoming AMHSI session today! Early decision incentive discount available — visit for more details. Session Depart Return December ‘10 Nov. 30 January 25, 2011 February ‘11 February 1 March 29 April ‘11 April 27 June 21 Summer 1 June 14 August 2 Summer 2 June 26 August 12 September ‘11 Sept. 6 November 4 December ‘11 Nov. 29 January 24, 2012

Dance for a cause Silvan Shalom MK (Vice Prime Minister of Israel and Minister of the Development of the Negev and the Galilee) with Gideon Shavit (AMHSI CEO) at the ground breaking ceremony.

In the spring, more than 230 AMHSI students from all over the United States, along with Israeli students from the Mosenson High School in Hod Hasharon, gathered at the Port in Tel Aviv and participated in a “flash mob” (a “spontaneous” performance meant to surprise passers-by). This flash mob dance was done in the hope to raise awareness and support for captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit and his safe return home. The song used was “One Day”, by our very own AMHSI alum, Matisyahu, and remixed by Israeli trance band Infected Mushroom. We are very proud that both groups endorsed this video and featured it on their official websites!

As part of its Blueprint Negev campaign, JNF raised $500,000 for this initiative to support the bringing of students to the Negev. Both the Israeli government and AMHSI chairman Stephen Muss matched the funds and the dormitory will be named in memory of Muriel Grow (z”l). Joint fundraising between JNF and AMHSI is continuing for the second and third dormitories and we look forward to having the first AMHSI students at Eshel Hanassi in early 2011.

In just a few short weeks, the video was viewed more than 20,000 times on YouTube and continues to be viewed around the world. We hope it will help bring Gilad Shalit home soon! Watch the video at

Did you know? Save $400 on enrollment · 93% of alumni rated AMHSI among the three most Early Decision Incentive: Register for any AMHSI session at least four months in advance of the session start date and receive a discount of $400! Sign up today for the experience of a lifetime! Visit for more details.

influential Jewish educational experiences in their lives.

· 94% of alumni rated the program as one of the three most influential educational programs of any type.

· 88% have married a Jewish spouse. · 70% between the ages of 28-49 contribute to Jewish charities.


AMHSI broke ground on the first of three dormitories planned at Eshel Hanassi Youth Village, the site of AMHSI’s second campus. This marks the first stage of an ambitious multi-campus expansion. AMHSI’s vision is to ultimately have five campuses around the State of Israel with 5,000 students attending each year. Situated in the northwestern region of the Negev near Be’er Sheva, Eshel Hanassi was established in 1952 and includes a high school and a boarding school for students from nearby kibbutzim, moshavim, and suburban towns. The resulting healthy mixture of demographic, cultural, socio-economic and educational backgrounds will provide unique learning opportunities to AMHSI students living and learning at Eshel Hanassi. Eshel Hanassi is considered a green and eco-friendly village: it is dedicated to sustainability, safeguarding natural resources, recycling, and energy conservation. State-of-the-art technological methods are used in all areas of campus life and emphasis is placed on educating youth to preserve natural resources. The campus features an agricultural farm and a student-run radio station; Alexander Muss students staying at Eshel Hanassi will have the opportunity to use its many amenities including a swimming pool, computer center, library, and sports facilities. The school motto of Eshel Hanassi is “to meet people who are different and acknowledge their right to be different.” Bringing AMHSI students to Eshel Hanassi will help enhance that motto and offer valuable learning opportunities to all students there. The main campus of AMHSI is located in Hod HaSharon, a northern suburb of Tel Aviv. Enrollment reached a record 1,200 students this year and the campus was full to capacity at times! Early enrollment for 2010-2011 indicates a continuing upward momentum in both the general program and the customized day school trips, making now the perfect time for a second campus.

In early February,

Alexander muss high school in israel

AMHSI aims to promote, build, and strengthen lifelong bonds between youth and Israel through study of the history and culture of the people of Israel. AMHSI is a premier academic experience in Israel that prepares students for college and beyond. Since its founding in 1972, AMHSI has successfully impacted over 20,000 students. To learn more, visit

If only Noah had reservoirs to collect the floodwaters.


Jewish National Fund’s network of over 200 reservoirs and dams conserves Israel’s precious rainwater. To learn more about how JNF is combating Israel’s severe water crisis, including exploring new resources and recycling waste water, visit

B'Yachad Summer 2010  

Transforming Lives in the Desert: A Blueprint Negev Update. The Summer 20010 issue of the Jewish National Fund newsletter.

B'Yachad Summer 2010  

Transforming Lives in the Desert: A Blueprint Negev Update. The Summer 20010 issue of the Jewish National Fund newsletter.