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Winter 2010

Then ild a rs bu y in e e n Pio unit comm ded new foun n v e eg pi t h e N NF ’ s h e l J h wit 940’s the 1

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JNF Dedicates Living Memorial to 9/11

As you look through the photos on pages 12-16, you might marvel at the evolution of JNF’s activities throughout its 108-year existence. Or, you may be struck with the thought that the more things change, the more they stay the same. With over a century of history behind us, the face and focus of JNF’s work continues to transform as Israel does, but we are guided by a mission that remains unaltered: to be the caretaker of the land of Israel.

3 A

Living Memorial to 9/11

JNF dedicates sculpture and memorial plaza in Jerusalem in memory of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

4 The Blue Box Through the Years

The origins of JNF’s famous fundraising pushke are revealed.

10 On the Ground With JNF’s Water Mission to Israel

Laureine Greenbaum, a member of the JNF Parsons Water Fund board of directors, reports back.

We hope you enjoy this glimpse into our past, called “JNF: Then and Now.” Have something to say? Don’t be shy! Send your feedback to

Regards, B’Yachad Editorial Staff

12–16 Cover Story – JNF: Then and Now See what’s changed—and what’s stayed the same—over JNF’s 108-year history.

17 Women’s Campaign for Israel and JNFuture

The face of JNF donors is evolving with the growth of special giving groups.

27 AMHSI Alumni News

Keep up with the goings-on at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel.

Printed on recycled paper with vegetable ink.

Jewish National Fund (JNF) began in 1901 collecting coins in blue boxes to purchase land and

return the Jewish people to their homeland. In over 109 years, JNF has evolved into a global environmental leader and become the central address for partnering with the land and people of Israel. JNF has planted 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 10%. 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

that crashed in Pennsylvania. The sculpture in the middle, depicting an American flag in flames, represents the Twin Towers.” The dedication ceremony combined song, prose and speeches to create a meaningful and moving experience for all those who attended. Henry Fuerte, a 9/11 survivor who made aliyah in 2005 and participated in the ceremony, hopes that this new memorial will not only honor the memory of the lives lost on that day, but go even further in the message that it represents. “It’s important that people take away a lesson from this memorial that not bowing down to terrorism is also a fitting memorial to the victims,” said Fuerte. The ceremony was attended by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, U.S. Ambassador to Israel James Cunningham, ambassadors of other nations whose citizens fell victim to 9/11, U.S. congressmen, Israeli cabinet ministers, Knesset members, families of 9/11 victims and other distinguished guests.

When I was elected president of JNF more than two years ago, I told many people about a letter my aunt had sent to me. She wrote of her memories of the Blue Box and how hard it was to scrounge up the money to fill it, but the Jewish State had to be built, so people gave. Times were tough then and every penny counted. She told me stories of children on the subways of New York, going around, Blue Box in hand, asking for change. A nuisance to many, sometimes they were even arrested for soliciting funds. But nothing stopped them. They were on a mission, a mission based on the hope of a Jewish homeland. The walls of the JNF House in NY are lined with many tree certificates, some new and some dated from the first decade of the 20th century. The old ones recognize trees planted in Palestine, not Israel. Those certificates represent what was then our major gifts campaign. Imagine that. But who we were then is so much a part of who we are today and no matter how much we accomplish or how big we grow, it always will be. Every donor is important to JNF’s work—from the $18 tree buyer to the million dollar World Chairman’s Council member. JNF connects everyone to the land and people of Israel and always will. We are truly the central address for the Jewish people to partner with Israel. One hundred eights years have passed since Theodore Herzl’s dream for a Jewish homeland took shape with the founding of JNF. How does an organization that old stay relevant? I’ll tell you. It listens and it acts. There are two levels to this exchange; the first takes place in Israel, the second in our boardroom. From our frequent trips to Israel, our communication and partnerships with people in key positions at different organizations as well as regular, everyday people, we hear about life in Israel. About what is great and what is lacking. About must-haves and desires. About immediacy and about vision. We respond by coming up with a plan, a budget, and a time frame and we hit the ground running. Some are single projects—like the Sderot Indoor Recreation Center—and some are multi-faceted like the JNF Parsons Water Fund. All keep us relevant to the land and people of Israel. Here in the U.S., no other organization puts as much faith and stock in its lay leadership as JNF does. Most great ideas come from our lay people, forging an unusually deep connection between them and our work in Israel. It is certainly unparalleled and the results speak for themselves. So here we are, well into our second century of work and busier than ever. We have a mission. It is shared by you, the donor. It is as true and necessary today as it was when your parents and grandparents went collecting nickels and dimes. It will be as true tomorrow when your children and grandchildren forge their own connection with their own creativity and passion. It will remain true always because it is Israel, our homeland.


Dear Reader,

Stanley M. Chesley

Jewish National Fund

Inside this Issue

Thanks to a new JNF-funded memorial in the Arazim Valley of of Jerusalem’s Ramot neighborhood, the memory of September 11, 2001 and the thousands of lives lost will never be forgotten. On November 12, 2009, a dedication ceremony took place at the site, which commemorates the victims of the attacks and stands as a testament to the virtues of tolerance, unity of mankind and democracy in preventing future terror attacks around the world. The Living Memorial, designed by award-winning Israeli artist Eliezer Weishoff, is a 30-foot high bronze sculpture of a waving American flag that morphs into a memorial flame. It rests on a gray granite base, which includes a metal beam from the original Twin Towers. Surrounding the memorial is a circular stone-tiled plaza, funded by the Bronka Stavsky Rabin Weintraub Trust. It offers visitors a place to reflect upon their thoughts and memories. The sculpture was donated by Edward Blank, who lost his wife a few days prior to the attacks. “When the idea of sponsoring the 9/11 memorial first came up,” said Blank, “I was still reeling from the untimely death of my wife Sharon. Her life was stopped short on September 2, 2001 after a long and difficult battle with cancer. This monument is about memorializing all people who are taken from us for no apparent reason. That includes my wife and the thousands who died in the attacks. Rather than try to make sense of the madness, we instead try to honor their memories as best as we can.” The memorial is the first outside New York that lists all the names of the people killed in the attacks, as well as their countries of origin. For Shuey Fogel, who attended the dedication, this represents an important link to the United States. “The monument’s inclusion of a complete list of all those that perished in the Twin Towers disaster underlines the special relationship that exists between Israel and the United States, one which is as important for us to acknowledge as it is for America to see,” said Fogel. “This poignant Living Memorial on behalf of the victims of 9/11 helps demonstrate the shared commitment of two great democracies that battle terrorism—Israel and the United States,” said Carmi Schwartz, nephew of Ms. Stavsky Rabin Weintraub. “This testament to the solidarity shared by the U.S. and Israel goes beyond lip service to unite these nations and their allies in the global fight against the destructive forces of humanity.” According to JNF CEO Russell Robinson, the sculpture and plaza are designed to evoke the three sites of the tragedy—New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. “The whole monument really tells the story of 9/11,” Robinson said. “The base represents the Pentagon and it’s a little bit indented into the earth, to depict the plane

A Message from our President

My Favorite Photo from Israel

Project Spotlight

Campaign Update

Fallen Chanukah Hero Continues to Light the Way The menorah at the entrance to Uri’s Way in Nesher Park.

Lew Schepps Dedicates Recognition Center in the Negev

Machane Yehuda

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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 Sarit at with your submis sions. Good luck!

Lew Schepps and Geraldine Kory at the dedication of the J. Lew Schepps Recognition Center at the Gateway to the Negev in Be’er Sheva.

On a beautiful day in November 2009, Lew Schepps achieved a longstanding goal: continuing the legacy of his parents through a tangible commitment to the Zionist dream of making the desert bloom. A decades-long donor to JNF, Schepps gathered with members of his extended family from the U.S. and Israel for the dedication of the J. Lew Schepps Recognition Center at the Gateway to the Negev. Part of the 1,700-acre Be’er Sheva River Park—a cornerstone project of JNF’s Blueprint Negev campaign to sustainably develop the Negev Desert—the Recognition Plaza welcomes visitors to the park’s promenades, amphitheater, and recreational activities, and honors the major donations of Blueprint Negev contributors. Schepps, a father of two and grandfather of four from New York, still proudly speaks of a photo that shows his own father with David Ben Gurion. “I want to see the des-

ert area bloom so people can live there comfortably,” he said. “I feel very strongly about this. I believe Israel will teach the people of the world how to live in desert lands.” The development of Be’er Sheva, driven by the River Park, is “a very important anchor in the Zionist dream,” said Be’er Sheva Mayor Ruvik Danilovich. “It’s fulfilling the vision and dream of David Ben Gurion. It’s about how to change a desert city into a thriving oasis. It will help us bring more immigration to Israel and help more young people stay.” Modeled after the River Walk in San Antonio credited with that city’s revitalization, Be’er Sheva’s central park and waterfront district, still under construction, is already attracting private investors and government support to Be’er Sheva. The million dollar Recognition Plaza is the heart of the park. The 90-year-old Schepps says he was “born with the Blue Box.” At a young age, his parents instilled in him a strong love for Israel and a dedication to the work of JNF. His father attended the 1913 Zionist Congress when the State of Israel was still just a hope. Nearly 100 years later, Schepps is carrying on his family’s tradition of support for the Jewish homeland. “The ceremony was a great stepping stone for the future,” he said. “It was very emotional to see what has been done and how Be’er Sheva has already changed.”

WE ARE THE FUTURE The phrase “donor driven and lay led” sounds lyrical, but it has practical implications that undergird the management and mission of JNF. “Donor driven” means that donors can conceptualize philanthropic projects in Israel of their own choosing, assist in their development and realization, and participate in their execution and management. But what of the phrase “lay led?” What does that mean to the organization? The future of JNF turns on the answer to that question. JNF is a fund-raising organization. Today, a JNF staff of 157 annually raises in excess of $54 million. In 1996, a staff of 245 raised a fraction of that amount. What accounts for the change? Tighter management. Better use of existing resources and personnel. Recruitment of outstanding professionals. And critically, the expansion and evolution of lay leadership. I say “critically,” because it is self-evident that today the national staff is working to full capacity—and beyond—in reaching toward our next goal, $60 million. We could hire more staff to raise more money. Experience shows, however, that simply hiring more staff would result at best in marginal gains in net income—due to the burden of increased overhead and the intangible costs in managing a larger organization. The “value-added” must come primarily from growth in lay leadership assuming greater responsibility for direct donor solicitation. We have seen this trend developing for at least the past 10 years. JNF’s evolution from planting trees and filling Blue Boxes to protecting and cultivating Israel’s environment and infrastructure has been matched by the development of lay leadership. Our regional boards are younger, stronger and more dynamic than ever before. Today, board members are asked not only to make leadership gifts and attend board functions but to also possess a willingness to solicit others for major contributions and recruit others for leadership. Solicitation is an art form, and so we provide opportunities for training throughout the year—spearheaded by my predecessor as vice president for campaign, Bud Levin. (If you have not attended one of his sessions, given throughout the year and repeated annually on the Friday preceding JNF’s National Conference, you are missing something.) Makor, the national leadership society, has grown from a handful of members to 25 lay leaders who travel as a group to Israel annually to educate themselves on new developments, and then speak and solicit throughout the U.S. for the remainder of the year. All of the affinity groups—Sapphire Society, the women’s major donor group, for example—are directed by lay leadership. We who comprise the lay leadership of JNF are on a glorious journey that has just begun. There is infinite room at the top, and we need you. Please join us. We are the future of JNF, and when JNF reaches $100 million annually, it will be due to our efforts.


Three years ago, the participants on JNF’s Queen of Sheba women-only mission to Israel met up in an IDF cemetery in Haifa with Rosie Binamo, a bereaved mother. Her 21year-old son, Lt. Uri Binamo, was killed in 2005 when he intercepted and prevented two suicide bombers from entering Israel at a checkpoint. She shared her tragic story with the group, telling them she needed to do something to honor Uri—something that would have been meaningful to him. The group left committed to raising the funds to build an educational trail in Nesher Park, located on the northern slopes of the Carmel Mountain, in Uri’s memory. This past Chanukah—on December 15, 2009, the fifth night to be exact—a new menorah was lit in memory of

Charles s. fax, vp, Campaign

Jewish National Fund

Exactly two weeks after JNF was established at the Fifth Zionist Congress in 1901, Haim Kleinman, a bank clerk from a small town in Galicia, wrote to the Zionist movement’s newspaper “Die Welt” suggesting that a box be placed in every Jewish home emblazoned with the words “National Fund” to collect money to purchase land for a Jewish homeland. Production began in Vienna and because of the boxes’ initial blue color (they were later produced in a variety of shapes and hues) they became known as “Blue Boxes.” One of the first to come off the assembly line was handed over to Theodor Herzl and can still be seen at his reconstructed study in Jerusalem. Blue Boxes were distributed to every Jewish community and numbered about a million by the period between the two World Wars. Coin by coin, the money collected helped realize the dream of a return to the Jewish homeland. Since their debut in 1901, the Blue Boxes have remained an important fundraising and educational tool for JNF and a powerful symbol of the Diaspora’s connection to Israel.

Uri, who was killed on the fifth day of Chanukah. The menorah is at the entrance to the recently completed educational trail aptly named “Uri’s Way.” It is a testament to the bravery and legacy of Uri, whose name means light in Hebrew; a testament to the tenacity of his mother in her search for a meaningful way to honor his life; and a testament to the power of a trip to Israel and the power of women. The nature trail winds through the forest and presents visitors with a variety of activities and observation points ending at the park’s famed cable bridge, which is suspended at a height of 229 feet and sways as visitors walk across it. “Uri used to play in Nesher Park as a child,” said Rosie, who lived in Baltimore, MD before making aliyah. “Nature was a passion of his and I was determined to make his short life meaningful for the future. This project is the best way possible to keep his values and dreams, his lifestyle and his love of Israel, and his childhood home as a living memorial for generations to come.” “Uri’s Way is something that’s very much alive,” she said. “It is a memorial but a dynamic one; you don’t just stand there, it engages you. And the menorah allows you to both honor it and get close to it. Kids even hug the branches. It’s very emotional. If a seven-year-old can hug it, then we got it right.”

Mid-Atlantic Zone

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Jewish National Fund

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


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JNF Across the country

JNF Across the country

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1. Dina and Fred Faramarzi hosted a parlor meeting featuring guest speaker

1 JNF honored Jerome Belson and Semone Grossman at the annual Tree of

1 The Capital District board of directors proudly held its first board meeting.

1 (L-R) Washington, DC regional president Baruch Fellner, Dr. Samuel

1. Vegas board president Larry Monkarsh (center) welcomed students from the

2. (L-R) Liza Shtromberg, an alumnus of the Arava Institute, Deena Singer, and Alyse Golden Berkley at the SPME parlor meeting.

3. Dr. Jason Fenton (right), a volunteer member of the IDF during the War of

Independence and an Ammunition Hill donor, presented his book, “Strength and Courage,” to Major General (Ret) Roger Brautigan at a Veterans Day luncheon at the Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel. Brautigan now serves as the secretary of veterans affairs for the State of California.

4. In honor of Veterans Day and in support of JNF’s Wall of Honor at Ammunition Hill, more than 70 people came together to see a private screening of the award winning-documentary “About Face: The Story of the Jewish Refugee Soldiers of World War II.” Director Steven Karras (right) and John Stern, a Holocaust survivor and friend, spoke to the crowd after the film.

5. More than 100 young professionals gathered at a private home in Beverly Hills for the 2nd annual JNFuture Chanukah party. (L-R) Dean Solomon, JNFuture co-chair, Daniel Schwarzblatt, Michelle Jackson, JNFuture cochair, Lisa Elkan, Cat Gold, Cara Azran, and Josh Azran.

Life™ Award Dinner. Co-chaired by Jeffrey E. Levine of Levine Builders and Gary Jacob of Glenwood Management, the event was held at the New York Hilton. (L-R) David Picket, Jerome Belson, Steven Goodstein, and Ronald S. Lauder, JNF chairman of the board.

2 (L-R) Honoree Semone Grossman and co-chair Gary Jacob at the Tree of Life™ Award Dinner.

3 JNFuture hosted its 3rd annual Garden of Eden Gala featuring honorary

celebrity chair Yuri Foreman, who became the first Israeli boxer to win a world championship just days before. Sponsored by the Treeline Companies, All-Risk Insurance, BWD Insurance and Douglaston Development, the event brought together New York’s finest young philanthropists in support of Blueprint Negev. (L-R) Yuri Foreman with Ben Levine, JNFuture events chair.

4 JNF’s Women’s Campaign for Israel kicked off its fall season with a festive

brunch and private viewing at the Andrea Meislin Gallery in Chelsea, which features contemporary Israeli photographers and artists. (L-R) Irit Stoppelman and Talia Tzour.

5 In a red, white, and blue festooned room, Army, Navy, and Air Force Veterans were feted as JNF celebrated Veterans Day with guest of honor Max Fuchs. A WWII veteran, in 1944 Fuchs led the first Jewish prayer service in occupied Germany on a battlefield in the city of Aachen. Guests also learned about JNF’s Wall of Honor at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem, a project to recognize Jewish military personnel worldwide.

Back: (L-R) Karen Hausler, Michael Scher, board president Ken Segel, Susan Farber and Nancie Segel. Seated: (L-R) Jane Golub and Evy Farbstein. Not pictured: Micki Massry and Dr. Warren Geisler.

2 The critical water crisis affecting Israel and the Middle East was the focus

of Judy Mendel’s cocktail reception. (L-R) President Robert Cohan, Sharon Freedman, Judy Mendel, Colonel (Res.) Sharon Davidovich and New England president and host Lawrence Cohen.

3 The New England board is proud to announce four dynamic new members:

Martin Kofman of Martin S Kofman & CO, Mitchell Katzman of Katzman & Katzman, P.C., Jonathan Plaut of Chardon Law, and Adam Zlotnick of Richard J. Boudreau & Associates. Also pictured: President Robert Cohen (second from left).

4 Communications coach Diane Ripstein shared her expertise with the New

England board of directors at a luncheon hosted by Lawrence Cohen, partner at Edwards Angell Palmer and Dodge LLC. (L-R) David Eisenberg, David Beatty, Diane Ripstein, Paul Garrido and New England president Lawrence Cohen.

5 (L-R) Board members Judith Sidney, Todd Patkin, VP of campaign, and Judi Elovitz Greenberg, Women’s Alliance chair, enjoyed the festivities at JNF’s 2009 National Conference, held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Halperin, Rita Stein, and Dr. Chet Stein admired a piece of artwork from Dr. Halperin’s Judaica collection, which was donated to JNF to be auctioned off throughout the Mid-Atlantic Zone.

2. (L-R) Maryland Sapphire Society chair Teresa Alpert, Sderot Mayor David

Bouskila, Anna Davis, and Efraim Sadon, advisor to the mayor, at an information session about the Sderot Indoor Recreation Center in Davis’s home.

3. (L-R) Sderot Mayor David Bouskila presented a Sapphire Society pin to Susan Levene, national Women’s Alliance co-chair.

4. (L-R) Makor member Jeff Menick, Mid-Atlantic Zone director Diane Scar, and vice president of campaign Charles S. Fax at a fundraiser in support of Aleh Negev.

5. University of Maryland Rak Shalom singers jammed with Mid-Atlantic Zone chair Andrew P. Klein at a major donor thank you reception. (L-R) Daniel Eisenberg, David Rubinstein, Andrew P. Klein, David Goldstein, Eli Bilmes, and Jordan Savitsky.

6. Krieger Schecter Day School of Baltimore, Maryland contributed $10,000

towards the construction of JNF’s Sderot Indoor Recreation Center. Rabbi Paul Schneider (left), headmaster of the school, and Sderot Mayor Bouskila celebrated the donation with the students.



Los Angeles Zone Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, Hebrew lecturer at UC Santa Cruz. Attendees learned how Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, a JNF partner, helps college professors fight academic anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism on campus. (L-R) Toni Parker, Fred Faramarzi, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, Dina Faramarzi, and Makor member Alyse Golden Berkley.


Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus to JNF’s 5th annual golf tournament at Siena Golf club.

2. (L-R) Carol Jeffries, Sandra Mallin, tournament chair, Judy Berkovitz, community director, Helen Feldman, Women’s Campaign for Israel chair, and Gloria Monkarsh at the Vegas golf tournament.

3. (L-R) JNFuture committee members Bennie McMullen and Jonah Fruchter

at the JNFuture Colorado salon meeting, “Don’t Let the Lights Go Out.” Fruchter, an environmental consultant for the Sierra Club, spoke to the group about energy conservation.

4. (L-R) Rena Dulberg, JNFuture Colorado co-chair, and Jessica Pivar at the JNFuture salon, “Don’t Let the Lights Go Out.”

5. Amir Halevi (third from right), JNF’s Israel emissary in San Francisco, was

the guest speaker for the Freilache Menschen at a Veterans Day luncheon at Temple Or Rishon in Orangevale, CA. Halevi spoke to a group of Jewish war veterans about JNF’s Wall of Honor at Ammunition Hill, a project to honor Jewish military service worldwide.

6. Young professionals new to JNF gathered for a presentation by Noam Dolgin

(right), Jewish environmental educator, at an event co-chaired by Rebekah Jackson Sapirstein (left) and Chen Sapirstein. Dolgin spoke about the challenges of addressing environmental issues in Israel and the accomplishments of JNF.

7. (L-R) Barry Zemel, actor/comedian Paul Reiser, and Arizona regional president Bruce Goldberg at the 2009 Tree of Life™ Award dinner.

8. Tree of Life™ honorees Neil and Peggy Hiller (left) accepted their award

from friends and 1999 honorees, Vicki and Howard Cabot. The Hillers were honored for their longstanding commitment to Israel and the Jewish people.

9. (L-R) Joni Steinman, president of JNF in San Diego, Ambassador Gabriela Shalev, and Bill Cegelka (representing Congresswoman Susan Davis) at a breakfast in San Diego.

10. Ambassador Shalev (center) with event co-chairs and San Diego board members Mimi Gross (left) and Debbie Elghanian.

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1. (L-R) Roy Esh, Elana Eli, Rebecca Schlanger, and Abbey Glaser at the 2010

1. (L-R) Bob and Helen Levine with Maj. Gen (Res.) Uzi Dayan at JNF’s annual

1. The Southeast region celebrated its second annual Sam P. Alterman JNF Me-

1 The Women’s Campaign for Israel held a kick-off event at the home of

Miami-Dade board kick-off campaign event, held at Bar Rosso Restaurant & Vinoteca in Aventura.

2. (L-R) Beau Burton, David Chaifetz, David Finkelstein, and Jim Haberman at a wine and cheese reception at the home of David and his wife Edie.

3. (L-R) Tampa board member Mark Simpson, Harold Haftel, Rabbi Shmuel

Reich, special guest speaker Lt. Col. (Res.) Ronnie Porat, and Jeff Schoenbaum at a dessert reception at the home of Dr. Robert Metnick.

4. The South Palm Beach board of directors held a meeting at the Boca Grove

Plantation Country Club. (Clockwise from left) Broward/Palm Beach regional director Laura F. Sherry, Martin Stein, Women’s Campaign chair Linda Selbst, Alan Levy, board president Michael Lazar, Ron Lewittes, Alan Goldstein, Ken Esrig, Cynthia Hertz, Marty Teitelbaum, and Yossi Kahana, executive director of Aleh Negev.

5. (L-R) Mort Fishman, board president Irving Wiseman, and JNF Alternative

Spring Break participant Elana Schechtman at a recent meeting of the Palm Beach board of directors.

6. (L-R) Broward board member Risa Schiff and South Palm Beach board

member Ron Lewittes at the Ft. Lauderdale Tower Club for the Tree of Life™ Award Dinner committee kick-off event.

Teaneck reception, which the Levines have chaired for more than 40 years.

2. (L-R) Bob Benedon, Northeast Zone president and Makor member, Pam

Benedon, MOSHAV band members David and Yehuda, Lynn Norton Robins, NJ regional director, and event benefactors Donna and Rick Forman at a MOSHAV concert.

3. JNFuture board members got together for a photo with Governor Ed Rendell

at JNF’s National Conference Gala in Philadelphia. (L-R) Scott Solomon, JNFuture co-chair, Adam Brenner, Allison Freedman, Governor Rendell, Dayna Finkelstein, JNFuture executive committee member, and Gillian Frisch.

4. (L-R) Rob Fox and Marc Felgoise at the Gala event, held at the National Constitution Center.

5. (L-R) Dan Richter, Marcy Needle, and Central NJ president Marc Leibowitz at a recent board meeting.

morial Golf Tournament, honoring Abe Schear, major donors committee chair, at the Standard Club in North Atlanta. (L-R) Philip Rodbell, Bo Wilkins, Scott Selig, and Ski Feinstein.

2. Ninety people participated in the tournament, including (from left) Alan Lubel, Todd Ryman, Ross Perloe, and Gadi Gal.

Cathy and Rick Jacobson in Highland Park. Guest speaker Hilary Krieger, Jerusalem Post Washington D.C. bureau chief, presented her perspective on American/Israeli relations and the Obama administration. (L-R) Board member Cathy Jacobson, JNF campaign executive Susan Levin-Abir, Hilary Krieger, and June Gross, JNF administrative assistant.

3. Eli Hyman, owner of Hyman’s Fish Restaurant in Charleston, SC, hosted a

2. During a visit to Chicago, Sderot Mayor David Bouskila and city manager

4. (L-R) David Cohen, Leah Chase, Russell F. Robinson, and Todd Starr at the

3. (L-R) Larry Neuman and Sharon and Jeff Casper at the annual Tree of Life™

luncheon featuring JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson as guest speaker. (L-R) Adam Solender, executive director of the Savannah Jewish Federation, Michael Miller, JNF Southern Zone president, Eli Hyman, Russell F. Robinson, and Todd Starr, Southeast regional co-president. luncheon.

5. (L-R) Todd Starr, Michael Miller, Russell F. Robinson, John Baker, and Todd Serbin, who traveled from Columbia, SC for the luncheon.

Efraim Sadan presented plaques to Adam Taitz and Avidan Halivni of Deerfield, IL, in recognition of their fundraising efforts for the Sderot Indoor Recreation Center. (L-R) Efraim Sadan, Adam Taitz, Mayor Bouskila, and Avidan Halivni. award dinner honoring Father Michael J. Graham, S.J. Jeff was named Board Member of the Year at the event.

4. The JNF/Judge Carl B. Rubin Legal Society held its 3rd annual Attorney of

the Year Gala honoring Todd Bailey of Frost Brown Todd. Mimi Gingold and Al Gerhardstein, 2009 Attorney of the Year, hosted the event at their home. (L-R) Melissa Ann Fabian, regional director, Eddie Paul, national board member, Morry Wiener, past president, Nina Paul, national board member, Jill Meyer of Frost Brown Todd, LLC, Louise Roselle, JNF president and 2008 Attorney of the Year, Ann and Todd Bailey, Jon Rubin, grandson of Judge Carl B. Rubin, Ann Schoen, Scott Gurney, Michelle Rothzeid of Frost Brown Todd, LLC, and Jon Lieberman, VP of the Legal Society, of Atkinson, Simms & Kermode.




5. Herb Solomon and his son, Ron, a member of JNF’s executive board, visited JNF’s Sderot Indoor Recreation Center on a recent trip to Israel.

6. Mort Weisberg traveled to Sderot, Israel with Kimberly Clos and her daughter, Kayla, for a dedication at the Indoor Recreation Center. The Cleveland community contributed generously to the project when they paid tribute to Mort as the 2009 Tree of Life™ Award recipient.

7. (L-R) Maj. Gen. Uzi Dayan and Northern Ohio board member Dan Geller at a meeting at the home of Mort Weisberg. Dayan spoke to the group about the importance of supporting JNF and the Hugey Sayarut youth leadership program in Israel.

8. While in Israel, Michelle Seid of Franklin, MI and her family visited a JNF

woodland that was dedicated in memory of her mother, Saralee Bross, more than 30 years ago. (L-R, top-bottom) Jacob, Sara, Jerome, Michelle and Thea Seid.

9. Ester Manko accepted a plaque in memory of her late husband and in recognition of her support of JNF water projects.

10. JNF and the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies held two events

in the Twin Cities—a “Wine & Trees” at Adath Jeshurun Congregation in Minnetonka and a JNF/Arava Breakfast at the St. Paul JCC. (L-R) Event co-chairs Ted Jewett, Dave Patchen, Debby Jewett, Lisa Heilicher, and Judith Berman, David Lehrer, executive director of the Arava Institute, and Tareq Abu Hamed, a professor at the school.

11. Joel Feinstein, JNF’s campus liaison and a member of AEPi at Carnegie Mel-

lon, made calls at the Green Sunday phone-a-thon at Hillel JUC.

12. University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University students used their cell phones to raise funds for JNF on Green Sunday.

13. At the Wisconsin region’s annual banquet, 10 community activists were

honored as well as staff members Rhoda Parsons and Rena Gershowitz for their many years of service to JNF. Front: (L-R) Honorees Keith Lindenbaum, Kathy Wheatley, Drs. Bradley and Sharon Fedderly, Gayle Weber Rakita, and Richard Rakita. Back: (L-R) Honorees Cynthia and Rabbi Jacob Herber, and Jill and Jay Plavnick.

14. Outgoing co-president Ruth Resnick was presented with a citation of honor plaque for her second term of dedicated service to the Wisconsin region. (L-R) Ruth Resnick, Wisconsin co-president Enid Bootzin Berkovits, and regional director Sidney Rivkin.


On the Ground with First-Ever Water Mission in Israel By Laureine Greenbaum, Co-Chair, Women’s Campaign for Israel I had the incredible opportunity to participate in the JNF Water Mission in Israel. Led by Dr. Morton Mower, chair of the JNF Parsons Water Fund, and Colonel (Res.) Sharon Davidovich, the Fund’s national director, our goal was to see firsthand JNF’s many water reclamation projects that mitigate the severe water crisis in Israel and the Middle East and identify future initiatives. We started in the north at the Shamir Drill, the deepest drilling effort in Israel, which will produce billions of gallons of fresh, potable water from an aquifer one mile below the surface. This will add six to seven inches to the Kinneret— Israel’s largest fresh water lake that is now at a dangerously low level—as well as irrigate thousands of acres of northern Israel’s fruit basket. The project will make a huge difference for the hundreds of farming families whose livelihoods have been compromised by the drought. Drilling is about to begin and is projected to produce around 800 million gallons of water by mid-2010. Next, we visited an elementary school in Kfar Blum to learn about the Rainwater Harvesting Program, which utilizes a system invented by an Israeli schoolteacher to trap rainwater for reuse in school bathrooms, sparing the use of scarce and expensive drinking water. This program also includes a special curriculum to educate the school children about the In November,



(L-R) Sharon Davidovich, Susan and Leonard Miller, Laureine Greenbaum, Toby and Mort Mower, Dan Hoffman, and Alan Levenson on JNF’s first-ever water mission.

need for water conservation. The goal is to expand it to schools throughout Israel, as well as the West Bank and even Jordan. In the south, we stopped at the construction site of the new Sderot Reservoir, which will provide recycled waste water to the farmers in the region for irrigation. We continued to the Be’er Sheva sewage treatment station, where we learned about the need to upgrade the facility to provide recycled water for the lake at the Be’er Sheva River Park, an integral feature of JNF’s Blueprint Negev initiative. Finally, we visited the Bedouin village of Arara to meet with its leaders about upgrading their sewage treatment system. One of the highlights of the trip was seeing the constructed wetlands being installed at the Ramon Air Force Base, a system that will treat the base’s waste water organically and irrigate the 7.5 acre park that JNF built for the enjoyment of the military personnel and their families who live on the base. The new technology duplicates the physical, chemical

and biological processes that occur in natural wetlands to remove contaminants from the water and is highly cost effective, requiring minimal energy and maintenance. An Israeli company is responsible for the design and installation of this project, which was adapted to suit Israel’s arid climate. The mission coincided with Israel’s hosting the second biannual WATEC Water Technologies International Conference and exhibition of companies at the cutting edge of water and environmental technologies, many of which are Israeli. We attended the plenary discussion on water efficiency solutions, desalination, irrigation and water purification, and a breakout session at which Dr. Mower was a panelist on how governments, businesses and NGO’s can work together toward a sustainable future. All of the water projects we visited are examples of how JNF is taking an unusually active role as an NGO in partnering with businesses and government agencies. It is interesting to note that JNF also hosted a delegation from Turkey at the conference to discuss the possibility of importing potable water from Turkey. I completed the mission with an incredibly proud feeling about how much Israel and JNF are doing in this small corner of the world. Israel is the world leader in water recycling, reusing about 75% of its waste water. Spain comes in second, reusing just 17%. Israel counsels many countries in Africa and Asia about waste water management, sending delegations to work at local government and community levels. I learned from this mission that water is too valuable and scarce a resource to be used only once. I believe that the investments JNF has made and continues to make in research, development and implementation of water reclamation benefit not only Israel, but also all of us throughout the world.

October 25–26 Philadelphia, pa

JNF: A Catalyst in the Creation of Additional Water Sources for Israel By Col. (Res.) Sharon Davidovich, National Director, JNF Parsons Water Fund When we consider the state of Israel’s

water economy during the last decade, the picture that unfolds is bleak: Israel is drying up, the Kinneret (its largest fresh water reserve) is shrinking, aquifers are emptying, and the Dead Sea is vanishing. At the close of Israel’s rainy season this past May, the Kinneret’s water level measured only 60 inches above its black line, the point at which continued pumping would cause irreversible salinity and the Kinneret would cease to be a viable source of drinking water. The last 10 years have seen a 6.5-foot decrease in the Kinneret’s water level and an astonishing 33-foot decrease in the level of the Dead Sea. Until about 25 years ago, more than 90 billion gallons of water flowed annually into the Dead Sea from the Kinneret. Today, that flow has nearly ceased. The level of the mountain aquifer, which supplies about one third of Israel’s drinking water, has reached the lowest point ever measured. The rapid depletion of Israel’s water supply—caused by years of drought and increased demand from a growing population—raises a frightening question: Where will Israel get

its water 10 years from now? The Israel Water Authority has focused on the construction of desalination plants along Israel’s shoreline, believing these facilities will soon be able to meet most of Israel’s household water needs. However, the growing deficit must be narrowed today. While the government implements the desalination program, the JNF Parsons Water Fund, a $100 million, 10-year initiative, is acting as a catalyst for the promotion of complementary projects to mitigate Israel’s water shortage and replenish natural reserves. As Dr. Mort Mower, the Fund’s chairman, said, “We don’t want to stand in front of our donors 10 years from now and still talk about the water crisis in Israel.” The JNF Parsons Water Fund will: • Create new water sources in Israel.

Without JNF’s involvement in Israel’s water economy over the last 10 years, the crisis could have reached catastrophic levels. JNF’s 204 reservoirs serve as the main water source for Israel’s agricultural industry, providing more than 66 billion gallons of recycled water annually. The JNF Parsons Water Fund will construct 40 new reservoirs with its part-

ner in Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, implement modern recycling technologies in remote communities, mainly in the Negev, and access untapped aquifers. • Increase awareness of the water crisis among the Israeli public and encourage conservation and efficient consumption of drinking water.

This includes establishing educational programs in schools and promoting recycling systems for gray water (water generated from domestic activities). • Import water to Israel.

Israel is considering importing water from Turkey, and the JNF Parsons Water Fund is spearheading the effort, which could begin as early as this year once an agreement has been obtained. These initiatives are projected to create nearly 60 billion gallons of water a year, equal to the production of the three largest desalination plants in Israel. This added supply will enable Israel to meet its growing demand for water, replenish water resources, and even renew the water flow to the Dead Sea. For more information, visit

With each passing year JNF’s National Conference continues to excel and our 2009 gathering in Philadelphia is testament to that—it was a huge success! Headlined by Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Senator Arlen Specter, Israeli Vice President Silvan Shalom and others, it drew an attendance of over 500, including more than 50 JNFuture members. In addition, 40 teenagers participated in the conference’s first-ever Teen Leadership Seminar. Both groups received standing ovations at the opening plenary and signal an important sea change in this organization: we are cultivating the future leadership of the Jewish world.

Save the Date! 2010 jnf National Conference in atlanta October 10–11, 2010 Special event for major donors evening of October 9 Intercontinental Buckhead · Atlanta, GA For information, contact

Wat e r


Access in g a n u n t a pp ed aqu if e r a t K ib b utz S h a m ir , 2009

Throughout its history JNF has been instrumental in laying the foundations for new communities in Israel, including the first modern Jewish city, Tel Aviv. JNF cleared land for agricultural cultivation, built infrastructure and housing for new immigrants, helped establish kibbutzim and moshavim, and provided the land upon which

Water Then

Israel’s universities and cultural institutions were built. Today JNF continues to play a central role in community development in Israel, especially in the Negev. Through its Blueprint Negev initiative, JNF constructs new towns in Israel’s southern desert region as an alternative to the crowded and expensive center, and bolsters existing Negev

Drilling for water in the Negev, 1951

cities that have suffered from high unemployment and stagnant population growth for decades. Partnering with other organizations and local municipalities, JNF enhances the quality of life in the region by creating parks, playgrounds, and youth centers; providing employment and education opportunities; promoting tourism; improving transportation; and building reservoirs and agricultural infrastructure to bring economic viability to newly developed areas.

As new communities sprouted up

on JNF-purchased land during

reservoirs, increasing the total water supply by 12% and providing half of Israel’s agricul-

Israel’s pre-state period, one of its first orders of business was to find water sources to sus-

tural water needs. As Israel grapples with its worst water shortage in 80 years, the newly

tain them. JNF laid pipelines to transport the water, built towers to store it, and conducted

established JNF Parsons Water Fund is expanding upon and accelerating this vital work

research to maximize the scant supply, thus beginning its century-long involvement in

by investing in a diverse portfolio of projects to increase Israel’s supply of high-quality wa-

Israel’s water economy. JNF’s modern-day work in water management and conservation

ter. One such initiative, the Shamir Drill, is a joint private, philanthropic and governmental

began in the late 1980’s with the construction of dams and reservoirs to address a mount-

venture to access a recently discovered aquifer in northern Israel by drilling a mile below

ing water shortage. Since that time, it has invested $75 million and built 204 of Israel’s 350

the earth’s surface.

R&D Then

In the early 1900’s JNF began financing research expeditions to study plant life and soil quality in different areas of Israel as part of its efforts to cultivate the land. A botanist on one of these expeditions discovered an early form of wild wheat, enabling him to raise funds in the U.S. for the establishment of an agricultural research station. More than 100 years later, JNF’s commitment to agricultural research and development remains as strong as ever. JNF sponsors a network of agricultural R&D stations in Israel’s peripheral regions where leading scientists and technicians work closely with local farmers, research institutes and universities to increase agricultural sustainability, profitability, and stability.

it y Commun t Now n e m p Develo ents s t r e s id T h e f ir Negev of the it y o f commun 05 il k a , 2 0 B e ’e r M

The cutting-edge technologies developed at these stations keep Israeli farmers at the forefront of their field, providing them with innovative, cost-efficient ways to grow produce under arid conditions and allowing them to compete in the global market. Breakthroughs include using brackish water for irrigation and growing crops without soil.

A woman learns to operate agricultural machinery, 1940

In 1943, ley

y over Cranes fl park, e hula lak 7 200

In 1951, JNF embarked on its largest-ever public development project: draining the marshes of the Hula Valley to reclaim the sludgy soil for agricultural use. A small section of the swamp was set aside as Israel’s first nature reserve while the rest was converted into more than 10,000 acres of arable land, expanding the sources of income for thousands of residents of kibbutzim and moshavim in the region. An important national achievement that suited the young country’s needs at the time, the project unforesee-

B e it Es hel no w Restor a t io n o f b e it e s hel, 2009

ably caused numerous environmental problems and the need to restore the original ecosystem became evident. In the early 1990’s JNF spearheaded the reflooding and rehabilitation of the valley, which improved soil conditions for agriculture, prevented the flow of pollutants into the Sea of Galilee, and restored local flora and fauna. Today, millions of migrating cranes once again stop at Hula Lake Park each winter on their way to Southern Africa, making it one of the most impor-

, e it e s h e l k ib b u t z b ed by e s t a b l is h 43 19 in jn f


tant bird-watching sites in the world and an international tourist destination. In

l then B e it Es h e

addition to bird watching at the Crane Lookout, visitors can bike through the park on JNF’s cycling routes or view the birds on a camouflaged tractor that pulls right up to the feeding sites. An educational center offers videos and information about the history of the Hula Valley and the many kinds of wildlife that inhabit it.

en R iv e rs t h

In 1965 JNF began

planting the Yatir Forest in the northern Negev, a dry area

of loved ones. One hundred years and 240 million trees later, JNF has transformed a once-

deemed unsuitable for afforestation by experts, with less than 200 millimeters of rainfall

desolate landscape—described by Mark Twain in 1867 as a “silent, mournful expanse”—into

a year. Today, it is the world’s largest desert forest—and Israel’s largest forest overall—and

more than 250,000 acres of green. Initially, planting forests met immediate needs like

is home to a research station for the study of trees’ role in the absorption of greenhouse

laying claim to the land and creating jobs for immigrants. Today, trees are used to serve

gases. Tree planting, one of JNF’s most well-known activities, began in the early 1900’s

as “green lungs” in urban areas, halt desertification, prevent soil erosion, and protect wa-

when the fledgling organization turned its attention to cultivating the land it was purchas-

tersheds. JNF foresters have developed expertise in arid land management that is shared

ing. The first forest was a 62-acre olive grove planted in memory of Theodor Herzl, which

with countries throughout the world.

the D r e d g in g er, iv r k is h o n 7 19 2

R iv e rs

established the time-honored tradition of planting trees in Israel in honor and in memory

Y a t ir F orest, 2009

Much of the land

Tree Planting Then The Start of Yatir Forest, 1965


the ale xander r iv e r a fter restor a t io n , 2003

Tree P l a n ti ng Now

Alexander muss high school in israel

H u l a Va l Now

despite the British Land Edicts prohibiting the purchase of land in the Negev, JNF created three new communities in the region—Gvulot, Beit Eshel, and Revivim—to help ensure the Negev’s inclusion in the future State of Israel and serve as experimental agricultural stations where the soil, water, and climate conditions of the desert could be studied. Beit Eshel, located near Be’er Sheva, was destroyed by the Egyptian army during the War of Independence and abandoned for decades. Its original courtyards and buildings are now being restored by JNF and the Be’er Sheva River Authority as part of the Be’er Sheva River Park in an effort to preserve the history of the site for future generations. Visitors will be able to learn about the agricultural marvels that were achieved at Beit Eshel as well as the battle that took place in 1948.

that JNF purchased in Israel consisted of malaria-ridden swamps that had to be drained and transformed into fertile, arable farmland. This process, conducted throughout the country during much of the early 20th century, involved digging canals, widening riverbeds, and laying pipes to regulate water flow into river channels. JNF’s attention has remained focused on Israel’s waterways but its 21st century work combats a different type of threat: pollution of rivers and streams. In 1993, JNF and Israel’s Ministry of the Environment created the National River Administration, the coordinating body for more than 15 governmental ministries, non-profits, and research organizations

charged with overseeing the restoration of Israel’s rivers. This involves reducing pollution, rehabilitating ecosystems, regulating channels to conduct floodwaters, and promoting river recreation, tourism, education and research. In 2003, JNF was recognized with an international prize from the prestigious Australian River-Price Competition for its collaboration with the Palestinian Authority to restore the Alexander River, a severely polluted 20-mile stream that runs through Jewish and Arab towns. Current projects include the rehabilitation of the Yarkon River, which runs through Israel’s largest population center, Tel Aviv, and the restoration of the Be’er Sheva River as part of the 1,700-acre Be’er Sheva River Park.

In April 1927,

at the Children’s Village in the Jezreel Valley, the first teachers’ con-

has been a JNF imperative. From Alternative Break volunteer trips to Taglit-Birthright Is-

ference was held with the aim of involving schools in the work of JNF. “Slowly but surely

rael to Tu BiShvat in the Schools, JNF offers myriad ways to bring Israel to the classroom

there was a general awareness,” wrote the teachers at the end of the conference, “that by

and college campus, providing exciting and innovative materials to engage the next gen-

involving children in [the work of JNF], we are not merely helping an important national

eration of Jewish leaders.

Global Community of Young Leaders Commits to Century-Old Mission of JNF

institution on whose work we pin our highest hopes; we are also working diligently for the educational reform, imbuing the school with new meaning that will link children to the national reality and foster in them a sense of duty to their People.” Since its early years, educating and energizing the young American Jewish community to form a deeper commitment to both the land and people of Israel

Women’s Giving on the Rise The first roads built by JNF

in the early 1960’s were aimed at providing access to new communities

and areas slated for afforestation, but later JNF responded to government requests to create roads for security reasons. In the years leading up to the Six Day War JNF carved out hundreds of kilometers of new roads, mostly along the Syrian and Jordanian borders, that enabled the IDF to move with speed during the war. After Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, JNF built security bypass roads to protect local residents from sniper fire, and constructed similar roads along Israel’s new border after the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza. These roads provide safe travel for children and adults on their way to school and work.

y S e c u rit w o N r o ads ga B u il d in y road s e c u r it rn weste in T h e 6 0 , 20 negev

with a belief in the power of women. Since the creation of The Sapphire Society, JNF’s women’s major gift division, in 1998, and the Women’s Alliance in 2005, JNF has seen a considerable increase in women’s unique giving—a remarkable trend that speaks to what women can achieve when given the opportunity. The Sapphire Society began with 10 women and has since grown to more than 300 active members throughout the United States, each of whom makes a minimum annual contribution of $5,000. The Women’s Alliance was created to expand involvement, bringing in women at lower donation levels. What has resulted is a demonstration of the incredible passion of women. Not only has the number of women donors to JNF increased, but their donation amounts have gone up as well. A driving force encouraging women’s giving is the opportunity to contribute to projects to which they can be emotionally attached—a critical component for many female givers. An August 18, 2009 article in the New York Times Magazine reported that “A study of more than 10,000 large donors by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University suggests that while men describe their giving as practical—filling in the gaps that government can’t or It all began

Security Roads then Paving the road to mt. gilboa, 1962

(L-R) Marlene Maier, Marcy Needle, Geri Shatz, Ellen Rosenberg, Carol Ford Freidkin, Lauren Mescon, Becky Fischer, and Alyse Golden Berkley visited Zuqim on a recent mission to Israel. All are members of the Sapphire Society and Makor, JNF’s national leadership society.

won’t—women describe theirs as emotional, an obligation to help those with less.” “Women now have a choice to give their money where their heartstrings are drawn,” said Dr. Carol Ford Freidkin, national chair of The Sapphire Society. The Sapphire Society raises funds for a wide variety of projects in Israel, including its keystone project, the creation and development of Zuqim in the Negev—the first non-agricultural town in Israel in 24 years—as well as the Grofit Therapeutic Horseback Riding Center, an inclusive park at Ofakim, and the Aleh Negev Rehabilitative Village. “Women are blown away when they hear about our projects,” says Louise Dabrow, national chair of the Women’s Alliance. And their support is truly making a difference. During a recent mission to Israel, a group of JNF donors were having lunch at a park in the Arava when they struck up

To learn more about JNFuture in your area, check out the new website at a conversation with a woman enjoying the sun with her baby. Upon learning that the group was from JNF, the woman was all smiles. “Thank you,” she said. “I live in Zuqim and you have changed my life.” According to Dabrow, “Giving is about empowerment. It says, ‘You are your own person.’ It’s important to show women that it’s within their power to do something as well.” “These women are an integral part of what’s going on. They’re not just writing a check,” said Terry Katz, national chair of the Women’s Campaign for Israel, the umbrella for the Women’s Alliance and The Sapphire Society. “They’re really a stockholder in the organization.” In addition to membership in these giving groups, more women are now serving on JNF’s local and national boards of directors. And four years ago, JNF began an annual Queen of Sheba women-only mission to Israel, so participants could see the country and JNF’s work through the eyes of the women who live there. The trend of women as givers continues to thrive, a positive development for the future of JNF. “We are a growing organization and we are showing that women have strength and power as a group to make a difference,” said Dr. Ford Freidkin. For more information on the Women’s Campaign for Israel, contact Elisa Schindler at 212-879-9305 x297 or eschindler@


Barely two years old, JNFuture is already accomplishing what it set out to do: breed the next generation of leaders in the Jewish community. Robin Nourmand and Sam Goldberg, two Los Angeles JNFuture members and alumni of JNF’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program, recently threw down the fundraising gauntlet by issuing an exciting challenge to fellow JNFuture members. They will each match every dollar (up to $9,200) that any member donates toward funding a scholarship for ASB. JNFuture—the gateway for the next generation to Jewish National Fund—engages and energizes young leaders who are committed to environmentalism and community

action area. For instance, New York has adopted a rainwater harvesting program for a school in Jerusalem. Unlike other young leadership divisions that focus on social gatherings, JNFuture is less concerned with building membership quickly than with building an organization with highly dedicated people. “We want to have more long-lasting value,” said Steinmetz. “If people get involved now, they’ll stay in the future. The idea is to create a global network through which to sustain JNF through JNFuture.” In just two years JNFuture has grown from a small New York contingent to Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Miami, Denver and Chicago in the United States, as well as Melbourne and Sydney in Australia. With each chapter holding regular events such as Philadelphia’s annual Shankbowl and Denver’s Salon Series, JNFuture continues to attract new members. “Our most valuable asset is our youth,” said Solomon. “If you start donating young, it’s instilled in you and then you’ll continue at a higher level.” “JNFuture is for everybody, regardless of where you stand on any issue,” said Gabrielle Carlin, JNF campaign executive. “Once people see what JNFuture does, it acts as a gateway to play a part in JNF.”

Jewish national fund

(L-R) JNFuture members Gail Schwartz (marketing chair, Boston), Matthew Bielski, Josh Berkowitz (chair, Miami), Michelle Jackson (chair, Los Angeles), Rena Dulberg (co-chair, Denver), and Scott Solomon (co-chair, Philadelphia) at JNF’s National Conference in Philadelphia.

development in Israel. Members support and connect to JNF’s mission through speakers, special events and trips to Israel. For people who have participated in ASB or TaglitBirthright Israel, JNFuture is the perfect way to continue their involvement. Scott Solomon, co-chair of JNFuture’s Philadelphia chapter, first went to a brunch meeting in the fall of 2008, where he was introduced to JNF’s Sderot Indoor Recreation Center and felt an immediate connection. “We watched a video of kids in Sderot, who have 15 seconds from when the siren goes off to be safe from potential bombings,” said Solomon. “How could you not want to support them? There’s not enough money in the world to ensure that they don’t have to live like that.” Solomon also names the building of water reservoirs and Project: Baseball as JNF initiatives that are close to his heart. For Zev Steinmetz, chair of the Boston chapter, learning about JNF’s work to help alleviate the water crisis solidified his interest in JNFuture. Steinmetz said, “Once I heard what they’re doing with regard to water, I got very excited about being able to give back to Israel and to engage young adults.” To date, JNFuture events have brought in over 1,000 unique donors to JNF and raised $100,000. The focus on tangible projects attracts people to causes they can believe in, encouraging them to donate to the specific area in which they are interested. In addition, each chapter has its

Former MK Effie Eitam Kicks Off University Tour With JNF

The new synagogue at Bahad 1 Army Base outside of Mitzpe Ramon, funded by the Rudermans.

Jay and Shira Ruderman.

Read more about Eitam’s travels at effieeitamtour.blogspot. com. For information about Caravan for Democracy, visit

Online Tool Encourages Teens to Take on More Mitzvah Projects than just a party; she wanted to give something back, to make a difference, to help other people. So the 12-year-old turned to JNF’s new B’nai Mitzvah Projects Tribute Pages and is now well on her way toward her fundraising goal of $5,000, which will be donated to Aleh Negev, a state-of-the-art rehabilitative village in Israel for young adults with severe disabilities. Designed with the bar/bat mitzvah-age child in mind, the program makes it fun and easy for teens to spearhead their own fundraising campaigns online. At, participants select a JNF project that is important to them, choosing from options like the Sderot Indoor Recreation Center, Therapeutic Riding Centers, Aleh Negev, Project: Baseball, and the B’nai Mitzvah Remembrance Wall. Then they create a personalized web page, starting with prewritten text about the project they choose and adding their own thoughts and photos. Using a simple online participant center, they send emails to family and friends telling them why they’re raising money for the project. People can donate online and participants are able to track their progress on their pages, which also feature a message board and a list of recent donors. Avia is raising money through her web page by selling a cookbook called “Cooking with My Grandmothers.” And the cause she is supporting is close to her heart. “My cousin Shai suffers from a physical and mental dis-

Avia Muller wanted her bat mitzvah to be more

ability,” she wrote on her page. “He lives in Aleh Negev in Israel and I wanted to create something to help him and others like him.” Avia compiled recipes from her grandmothers, Safta Nina and Safta Sara, and her family donated the cost of production and printing of the books. All the money collected from donations directly supports Aleh Negev. In honor of her bat mitzvah last May, Isabel Snodgrass of

Williamsburg, MA used the Tribute program to raise funds for the restoration of degraded coral reefs in Israel’s Red Sea, an initiative of Israel Oceanographic & Limnological Research (IOLR) supported by JNF. Using a brochure she created and a personalized JNF web page, Isabel raised more than $1,400 from family, friends, and members of her synagogue. A self-proclaimed lifelong “ocean-environmentalist,” Isabel detailed the state of the world’s dying coral reefs on her web page and her plan to sponsor a section of the reef in the Red Sea. “In exchange for your support,” she wrote, “I’ll send yearly photos and updates on the progress of ‘our’ reef, and how the scientists in Israel are using the money.” Isabel and her family were invited to attend the annual meeting of North American Friends of IOLR, where she spoke as part of a presentation on coral nursery research. “Today’s bar/bat mitzvah kids usually have a tzedakah or mitzvah project requirement to fulfill and we are proud to offer students and their families engaging projects that connect them to Israel, using a medium they are comfortable with,” said Nina Woldin, JNF education content manager. “We are also pleased to offer ‘JNF and U,’ a corresponding activity guide with suggestions for hands-on fundraising and volunteer activities.” To check out Avia’s page go to To learn more about Tribute Pages, go to

Even during the day, the new synagogue at Bahad 1 Army Base, an IDF officer training school located near Mitzpe Ramon, stands out by virtue of its height and design. But look at it at night, when it’s lit up, and it is mesmerizing; you almost get the sense that it’s on fire. “We live in a Jewish country where the army and religion are intimately intertwined,” said Jay Ruderman, a former Boston resident who now lives in Rehovot, Israel. Jay and his wife Shira, as well as Jay’s sister Sharon Shapiro of Brookline, MA, donated funds to JNF through the Ruderman Family Charitable Foundation to build the synagogue. Both Sharon and Shira are proud Sapphire Society members. “The strength of the army comes from protecting the Jewish State and people who are religious play a significant role in that,” he continued. “When the army chief of staff told Shira that more and more soldiers who are training to become officers are religious and the current synagogue was too small to serve their needs, she came to the Foundation and said, ‘I really want to do this for the leaders of the army.’ It feels great to do something for people who give so much for their country.” Designed by architect Eli Armon, the synagogue’s wavy concrete pillars are 42 feet high and intersected with metal beams. Its likeness to a burning bush set up high is deliberate;

it signifies G-d and a fire that is never extinguished. As for the building’s materials, Armon chose concrete for its simplicity so that it fits in with the rest of the base and because it connotes an unfinished modesty. This project is part of JNF’s Blueprint Negev campaign to sustainably develop the Negev Desert and increase its population, in which the IDF plays a significant role. “If you’re going to bring 500,000 people to a region,” said JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson, “one of Israel’s biggest employers is the army. The army made a decision to move bases and people to the Negev out of the center of the country where it’s become so expensive. We are working closely with them to help make the Negev Desert a home, not just a place where people are stationed until they’re released. Deliberately, housing will not be on the bases save for those in training. People will live in nearby towns. This will serve as an economic engine for the region; everything is tied in. Nothing is just a project; it’s all part of a vision: Blueprint Negev.” Said Jay: “The synagogue will always be here. It took a long time to build; the wavy columns were difficult to cast, but it will always be here. And that means a lot to us.” In addition to the synagogue, the Ruderman Family Charitable Foundation is also heavily involved in recycling.

“When we lived in Boston,” explained Jay, “we recycled everything—newspapers, cardboard, glass, plastics, and tin. Then we moved to Israel and we saw that no one recycled anything; it was virtually unheard of. We felt so bad about it. How could people not be looking out for the environment in such a small country?” So the Rudermans, together with matching funds from Amy and the late Natan Parsons and JNF, started a recycling program in Arad, a city in the Negev Desert northeast of Mitzpe Ramon. Because JNF’s focus is on the Negev, they looked to that region and found an interested partner in the city of Arad. To date, receptacles for glass, paper, and plastic have been placed all over town, and local manufacturers that recycle the material have been put to use. After-school educational programs have also been implemented to teach the youth about the importance of recycling and a museum in Arad displays art projects that students made out of recycled materials. “The idea is to create a model for other towns and cities to copy,” said Jay. “This works because everyone is involved— the children, the residents and even the municipality which invested its own resources as well. It’s so important to do projects in Israel’s periphery and this is one of them.” Indeed, thanks to the Ruderman Family Charitable Foundation, recycling will now be the middle name of the citizens of Arad. The goal of this one-of-a-kind environmental project, called “Arad: A Recycling City,” is to brand Arad as an “eco-oasis” and attract an increased population. “A project such as this can help improve the city’s image and the quality of living for its residents,” said Jay. “That’s why we chose Arad, as a city that truly needs these benefits.” The result of these efforts will be a true recycling city, which has not been achieved in Israel to date. “This should serve as a model for other cities,” said Jay. “After all, Israel is a small country, and it’s important to all of us that it remains beautiful and healthy. Recycling is one of the key ways of achieving this.”


and a few nervous phone calls, but that was before former Israeli Knesset member and minister Effie Eitam began his first of three, three-week sweeps of college campuses in the U.S. with JNF’s Caravan for Democracy (CFD) program. Although dubbed by some as a “right wing fanatic,” Eitam’s lectures and thoughtful ques-

There were picket lines, heated emails,

Blueprint Negev a Priority for Ruderman Family Charitable Foundation

Jewish national fund

israel advocacy & Education


Former MK Effie Eitam addressed students at Temple University during the East Coast leg of his speaking tour with Caravan for Democracy.

tion-and-answer sessions dispelled pre-conceived views and inspired a vibrant discussion about Israel. “There were 15 students of mine at the event,” wrote a faculty member from one of the universities visited by Eitam. “They all raved about it. One said that it gave her a great sense of Jewish pride. To me this is the ultimate success. Another said that it made her want to be proactive.” During his lectures, Eitam covers such topics as the nuclear threat of Iran, morality and ethics in Israel, the advocacy skills and historical knowledge needed to make the case for Israel, the story of the raid on Entebbe, and more. His goal is to reframe and strengthen the true discourse in the U.S. about the Middle East, especially among the younger generation. According to Eitam, Israel took U.S. support for granted for many years but over the last two decades has started to lose in the world’s public opinion battle—especially since the second intifada, when the Palestinian narrative began to exclusively define the issues. “There is a lot of work to do,” he said, “as there are thousands of university campuses and a few hundred thousand students to reach. We must counter the prevailing narrative. Many college students are ignorant of the facts, and because of that have taken themselves out of the conversation and when confronted with extreme views are unable to counter them. By providing critical truths, our goal is to re-establish

a moral clarity and balance and provide the necessary education and communication tools.” After meeting with students and faculty on the first leg of his tour, Eitam came away with several impressions. “So far,” he wrote on his blog, “I think that most of the students, whether they are Jewish or not, are open to consider new facts about the Middle East, the Iranian problem and even more so, the threat that Israel faces with radical Islam. There is still a lot to do but it’s a doable mission. Without being apologetic, we can come and speak proudly about what Israel is doing. Additionally, the academic staff and the professors are not part of the cycle of debate and discourse. It’s important to find a way and a new channel to make them active participants to teach the students. They need to be confronted with the issues and to show some fresh ideas in order to have a positive dialogue on campus with regards to Israel.” CFD, an initiative of JNF and Media Watch International, brings Israeli speakers representing a wide spectrum of political and philosophical thought to college campuses across the U.S. Since 2002, the highly successful program has visited nearly 100 campuses and communities and sponsored 267 programs. Past speakers include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and other noted politicians and journalists

75 Years After Founding, Israeli Town Dedicates First Park in Memory of Former Resident


Heart & soul mission (May 2–9, 2010)

· WEEKLY JNF DAY TOUR — Every Wednesday

Environmental MISSION (May 5 – 11, 2010)


Future of Israel MISSION (May 6 – 16, 2010)

· ARAVA INSTITUTE & HAZON RIDE — October 19–26, 2010

Field of Dreams Baseball MISSION (May 9 – 15, 2010)

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Chai Fund MISSION (May 22 – 27, 2010) Israel insights MISSION (May 23 – 29, 2010) PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL MISSION (October 24–28, 2010)

B’NAI MITZVAH TRIPS Celebrate your child’s bar or bat mitzvah in Israel WEEKLY GUARANTEED DEPARTURE TOURS

Children enjoy the new park in Kiryat Bialik.

The Estate Tax Question By Matt Bernstein, CFP, JNF Chief Planned Giving Officer At the beginning of George W. Bush’s first term in office several changes to the tax code were introduced. One of the most intriguing was the plan to phase out the estate tax in 2010 and reinstate it in 2011. Most tax experts thought this would never actually happen. Most were counting on an increase in the estate exemption, which did come to pass, but hardly anyone thought Congress would allow the estate tax to disappear entirely, even for one year. Well, 2010 is upon us and it turns out there is no estate tax for this year. A tax attorney was recently asked by a client about the best way to minimize his estate taxes and his answer was, “Die in 2010!” Of course, that advice is a little extreme, and might not be the best way to save tax dollars this year. In fact, a remedy has been in place for a

few months that would reinstate the estate tax for 2010, but Congress has not yet voted on it. Many experts feel that once there is a vote, the tax will be made retroactive to January 1. Our advice to our JNF supporters is to first consult with your own advisors and not take any drastic actions until this is all sorted out. After all, dying is quite final and, in the end, may not even achieve the tax savings you are looking for! Seriously, though, it is tough to make long-term plans when we don’t know what the rules will be. Assuming the estate tax will be in force this year and in years to come, one of the easiest and most flexible strategies to achieve estate planning goals and provide critical support for JNF and Israel is to simply designate JNF for a bequest in wills and trusts. It is an easy procedure, and qualifies the estate for a tax deduction equal to 100% of the bequest. Moreover, as the estate tax laws change, donors

can adjust the bequest to take maximum advantage of prevailing laws at the time. JNF’s Planned Giving specialists can give you some ideas that you can share with your legal counsel or advisor. Our charitable gift annuity program is as popular as ever as donors look to earn current income, save on income and capital gains taxes, do estate planning, and support Israel all with the same vehicle. With interest rates still hovering near all-time lows, the gift annuity rates we offer are very competitive and may provide more income than some bonds or commercially available investments. As always JNF’s Planned Giving specialists are available to guide you through the process with detailed financial information that you can share with any of your advisors. If you are interested in any of these ideas call JNF’s awardwinning Planned Giving Department at 800-562-7526. A Planned Giving specialist will be ready to assist you.


lived in Kiryat Bialik for eight years, the time that Ingrid Bigman spent there as a child had a profound influence on her, imbuing in her many of the wonderful qualities for which she is remembered by friends and family. On December 25, 2009, a beautiful new central park was dedicated in this northern Israeli town near Haifa in memory of Ingrid and her husband Anton of Pittsburgh, PA. Donated by the couple through their estate and built by JNF, the park—the first in the town’s 75-year history—will serve as a lasting tribute to the love they had for Kiryat Bialik and Israel and provide a much-needed recreational space for the community to which Ingrid was deeply connected. “Living in Kiryat Bialik provided Ingrid the cornerstone for learning many of life’s skills that she never forgot and cherished throughout her life,” reads a pillar at the park. “Both she and Anton lived a life of love and service to their community and family and dedicated their being to improving the quality of life of the less fortunate.” Born Ingrid Friedman in Barbados in 1942, Ingrid moved

Though she only

Planned Giving

Upcoming Missions

to Kiryat Bialik with her mother Edith at the age of nine, after wish to build a park and playground in Kiryat Bialik in their her father’s tragic death. They moved in with Edith’s brother name. For the last three and a half years, Ingrid’s cousins, PeErwin Kovac, a British war hero who navigated the plane that ter Friedman of Los Angeles, CA and Moshe Kovac of Israel, have worked with JNF and the Kiryat brought Theodor Herzl’s remains to Israel for Bialik municipality to fulfill that wish. burial. Ingrid enrolled in the fourth grade at The Ingrid and Anton Memorial Park Bialik Elementary School and quickly formed a was established on a neglected plot of strong attachment to her new home and friends, land that was transformed into a flourto whom she was known as Esther. ishing recreational area for the entire “There is no doubt that Esther’s good relacommunity of Kiryat Bialik as well as the tionship with her classmates contributed to her neighboring towns of the Western Galifast absorption and her immediate attachment lee. It boasts sprawling lawns with sitting [to Kiryat Bialik],” recalled Dr. Rafi Wertheim, areas, walking paths, and leisure facilities former mayor of Kiryat Bialik, who went to Ingrid and Anton Bigman. for children and adults that are inclusive school with Ingrid. The same sentiment was echoed by 17 of Esther’s classmates who attended the park’s to visitors with and without disabilities. “After 75 years, Kiryat Bialik is blessed with the first park dedication ceremony. According to one of Ingrid’s relatives, the years she spent in Kiryat Bialik were “among the most since its establishment,” said Mayor Eli Dukorski. “It will be a central focus of activities for children, youth and adults, probeautiful of her life.” When she was in the 12th grade, Ingrid and her mother viding them with pathways, seating and picnic areas and a moved to Miami in search of greater economic opportuni- host of leisure and fitness facilities.” Hundreds of people gathered for the dedication of the ty—life was quite difficult during the early period of Israel’s statehood—but “a warm corner was left in her heart for Kiryat park, including Ingrid’s family from the U.S. and Israel (led by Peter Friedman and Moshe Kovac, respectively), Ingrid’s Bialik which was never forgotten,” said Dr. Wertheim. In 1967 Ingrid married Anton Bigman, to whom she was former Kiryat Bialik classmates (among them Dr. Wertheim), introduced through a mutual friend. The Bigmans are remem- and current residents of the town. After Mayor Dukorski formally inaugurated the park, the bered for their dedication to helping others, both personally and professionally. Ingrid was a teacher for children with dis- Friedmans planted trees in memory of their late relatives and abilities and Anton was an attorney who did a great deal of a group of schoolchildren gave a moving performance. “Together with JNF, we have worked hard to fulfill the pro bono work. A devoted wife, Ingrid took care of Anton for will of Ingrid Bigman, in her blessed memory,” said Mayor 13 years after he suffered a stroke. Ingrid passed away on November 28, 2004, Anton on Dukorski. “We look forward to continuing to watch the resiFebruary 15, 2006. In their will, the couple expressed their dents of Kiryat Bialik delight in the park.”

Northeast Zone Out & About With

JNF’S Major Donors   Greater New York Zone

Eli and Gisele Ben Dor (Century Club) attended a dedication ceremony for the Ben Dor Park in Sansana, a community in the Negev.

(L-R) Larry Monkarsh (Herzl Society), Ellis Landau, and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman.

(L-R) Board members and Century Club members Honie Berko and Shirley Amdur at the Tree of Life™ Award Dinner.

(L-R) JNFuture Colorado co-chairs Carla Kutnick and Rena Gardenswartz, Gene Kay (Century Club), chair of the Mountain States Region, and Roberta Witkow, campaign executive, at JNFuture’s “Don’t Let the Lights Go Out” salon.

(L-R) Edward Blank (World Chairman’s Council), JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson, Jerome Belson (World Chairman’s Council), and Ronald S. Lauder, JNF chairman of the board.

NPR journalist Linda Gradstein spoke at the Women’s Campaign for Israel 2010 kick-off event. Circle of Sapphire member Marlene Maier gave an overview of JNF’s activities in Israel. (L-R) Marlene Maier, Connie Walish, and Yael Halevi.

(L-R) Michael P. Feinman, Greater NY Zone director, Jeffrey E. Levine (World Chairman’s Council), president emeritus, and Sidney R. Banon (President’s Council), Greater NY board president.

(L-R) Amir Halevi, Rudi Koppl, Linda Gradstein and Greg Sterling (Century Club) at the kickoff event, hosted by Rudi and his wife Annette.

(L-R) Vegas board president Larry Monkarsh (Herzl Society), first vice president Bob Dubin (President’s Council), and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman at the 5th annual JNF Las Vegas golf tournament.

(L-R) Jerusalem Post journalist Herb Keinon, Barbara Gordon and her husband Peter Kane (Herzl Society) at a gathering in Berkeley, CA.

(L-R) Lynn Norton Robins, Colonel (Res.) Sharon Davidovich, Sid Goldfarb, and Naomi Vilko (Sapphire Society) at a JNF parlor meeting about water.

Peter Fischer (Century Club, right) presented Makor member Bob Benedon (President’s Council) with two plaques in recognition of his leadership and success in the 2009 31 Days in May campaign.

(L-R) Joe Wolfson, Philadelphia board president and chair of the President’s Council, David Kutner, consul general of the Mid-Atlantic region, and Russell F. Robinson, JNF CEO, at the 2009 National Conference in Philadelphia.

(L-R) Rob Zuritsky (President’s Council), co-chair of the National Conference and past Philadelphia board president, keynote speaker Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S., and Alan Dabrow (Century Club), co-chair of the conference and first national VP.

  Mid-Atlantic Zone

(L-R) Bob Dubin (President’s Council), tournament co-chair Lara Stone (Sapphire Society), and Merav Berko at the golf tournament.


Joined by family and friends from around the world, Lew Schepps (World Chairman’s Council) and Geraldine Kory (Century Club, President’s Council) dedicated the J. Lew Schepps Recognition Center at the Be’er Sheva River Park.

(L-R) Northeast Zone director Joel Leibowitz (Century Club, President’s Council), Susan Gutman (Century Club, President’s Council), and Northern NJ board president Ben Gutmann (Century Club, President’s Council) at JNF’s National Conference in Philadelphia.

(L-R) Kristin Karp, Michael Karp (Century Club), and Andy Karp at the National Conference.

(L-R) Bernice Seiden (Herzl Society), Naomi Amsterdam (Sapphire Society), and Sara and Nelson Fishman (Century Club) at a major donor thank-you event at the Israeli Embassy.

Nelson and Sara Fishman (Century Club).

(L-R) Kenneth Krupsky (President’s Council), Maryland regional president Jonathan Fishman (President’s Council), and DC regional director Stuart Diamant-Cohen.

(L-R) Longtime Be’er Sheva supporter Dr. Samuel Halperin (Century Club) and Itai Freeman, project manager of the Be’er Sheva River Park.

(L-R) Maryland board member Dr. Jim Chisum, Mid-Atlantic major gifts chair Ellen Rosenberg, and Mid-Atlantic Zone chair Andrew P. Klein (World Chairman’s Council).

(L-R) Sapphire Society members Naomi Amsterdam, Karen Fellner, Susan Levene, Rita Stein, Lynn Kapiloff, Diane Scar, and Ellen Rosenberg.

(L-R) Paul Frommer (President’s Council), Karen Fellner (Sapphire Society), Maryland board member Dr. Jim Chisum, Susan Levene (Sapphire Society), Dr. Irv Taylor (World Chairman’s Council), and Baruch Fellner (President’s Council) celebrated a year of success for the Mid-Atlantic Zone.

(L-R) Sapphire Society members Ellen Kelman and Natalie Eisenberg, Women’s Alliance chair for the Western Zone, at the 2009 Tree of Life™ Award Dinner in Scottsdale, AZ.

  Southern Zone

(L-R) Sapphire Society members Ann Zinman, Carol Ford Freidkin, national Sapphire Society chair, and Sharyn Spillman at the Tree of Life™ Dinner, which benefited the Aleh Negev rehabilitative village.

(L-R) Arizona regional president Bruce Goldberg (Herzl Society) and his wife Barbara (Sapphire Society) attended the Saturday evening reception at the National Conference with fellow Arizonans Steve Freidkin and Carol Ford Freidkin, national Sapphire Society chair.

(L-R) JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson and Abe Schear (Herzl Society) at a dinner reception hosted by Abe and his wife Linda at their home in Atlanta. More than 60 guests gathered for an exclusive briefing from Robinson on the political, environmental, and economic impact of JNF projects in the Negev.

(L-R) Newlyweds Mechal (Perl) and Isaac Antebi (Herzl Society) at the dinner reception at the Schear home. Mechal is co-chair of the Women’s Alliance in Atlanta.

(L-R) Robert Port and Michael Alterman (Herzl Society), whose family is the major sponsor of the annual Sam P. Alterman JNF Memorial Golf Tournament, at the reception.

JNF’s Major Donors

JNF’s Major Donors


  Western Zone

Cathy and Steve Sutton (Herzl Society), executive director of The Tolerance Education Program, Inc, at Gesher Le Torah Synagogue in Alpharetta, GA, listened to the briefing by JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson.

Rita Stein (Sapphire Society) and Dr. Chet Stein (President’s Council) promoted their upcoming Bird Watching & Nature Photography Mission.

Delaware president Jerry Grossman and Naomi Amsterdam (Sapphire Society).

Florida Zone

Russell and Fran Selevan (World Chairman’s Council) at JNF’s National Conference in Philadelphia.

(L-R) Lt. Col. (Res.) Ronnie Porat and Anne and Harry Grandis (Century Club) at a JNF luncheon in Naples.

Alisa and Ernest Kretzmer (Century Club) at wine and cheese event hosted by Edie and David Chaifetz.

Len and Helen Glaser (Herzl Society) with regional director Uri Smajovits (center) at a parlor meeting featuring special guest speaker Lt. Col. (Res.) Ronnie Porat.

(L-R) Sapphire Society members Brenda Johnston of Sarasota, FL and Susan Turner of St. Petersburg, FL at a dedication in their honor at Israel’s American Independence Park.

More than 500 people attended JNF’s National Conference this year, including 20 Chicagoans who joined in the Philadelphia festivities. (L-R) Yael Septee Kane, JNF chief development officer, Joe Wolfson, Philadelphia board president and recruitment chair for the conference, Susan Sacks (President’s Council), Chicago board member Lori Dekalo, and Chicago regional director Rick Kruger.

(L-R) Chicago regional president Rob Mintz (President’s Council), Sara Mintz, and Mayor David Bouskila of Sderot at a meet and greet in Chicago.

The 2009 President’s Council Mission to Moscow and Israel was a great success enjoyed by several participants from the Chicago region, including Harold Kaplan (Century Club) and Sharon and Richard Kaplan (President’s Council). (L-R) Richard Kaplan, Sderot Mayor David Bouskila, and Sharon Kaplan.

(L-R) John and Eileen Barrett (Century Club, President’s Council), past Tree of Life™ Award recipients, and The Honorable Susan J. Dlott (World Chairman’s Council, Full Circle of Sapphire) at Cincinnati’s award dinner this year honoring Father Michael J. Graham, S.J.

(L-R) James M. Anderson, president/ CEO of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Tree of Life™ Award recipient Father Michael J. Graham, S.J., president of Xavier University, and Stanley Chesley (World Chairman’s Council), JNF national president. Proceeds from the dinner benefited a hydrotherapy pool at Aleh Negev.


JNF’s Major Donors

JNF’s Major Donors

(L-R) Gerald Schwartz, Miami-Dade board member and planned giving chair, and Broward board member Myron Stayman (President’s Council) kick off the Miami-Dade 2010 campaign at Bar Rosso Restaurant & Vinoteca in Aventura.

  Midwest Zone

25 (L-R) Hillel Tobias, CEO of Kibbutz Yahel, Jack Freeman (World Chairman’s Council), who has funded the development of a park at the kibbutz, Ron Bernstein, JNF emissary, and David Rasmussen, son-in-law of Jack Freeman. The group met for a briefing on the progress of the park, which will be named in Freeman’s honor.

(L-R) Broward board member Myron Stayman (President’s Council), regional director Laura F. Sherry, board president Beckie Fischer (Sapphire Society), Ralph Campbell, and Barbara Mautner (Century Club, President’s Council) at the Ft. Lauderdale Tower Club for the Tree of Life™ committee kick-off event.

The Palm Beach board of directors met at the office of Shutts & Bowen in West Palm Beach. (L-R) Florida Zone director Glen D. Schwartz, Israel emissary Ronnie Porat, Mort Fishman, Sheila Wilensky (Century Club, Sapphire Society), and special guest Kenneth Segel (President’s Council), president of the Capital District board.

Edith Stein (President’s Council) and South Palm Beach board member Martin Stein (President’s Council) at the Broward/Palm Beach regional office’s mezuzah hanging ceremony.

(L-R) Michael Zimmerman (President’s Council), South Palm Beach board member and education chair Cantor Elaine Shapiro (President’s Council, Sapphire Society), Lynn Silber (Century Club, President’s Council), and national board member and Palm Beach VP of major gifts Art Silber (Century Club, President’s Council) at JNF’s National Conference in Philadelphia.

(L-R) Barbara Mautner (Century Club, President’s Council), South Florida JNFuture chair and Miami-Dade event chair Joshua Berkowitz, and Broward board member Craig Feldman at the Tree of Life™ committee kick-off event in Ft. Lauderdale.

(L-R) Special events co-chairs Eddie and Nina Paul (Presidents Council, Sapphire Society), dinner co-chair and major donor Ron Solomon, and dinner co-chairs Patti Schneider and Randy Miller at the Tree of Life™ Award Dinner.

Aimee Guttman (Sapphire Society) and Ian Guttman (Herzl Society).

The Northern Ohio Region recognized the leadership of Mort Weisberg with the 2009 Tree of Life™ Award. More than 500 people attended the award dinner, which benefited the Sderot indoor recreation center. (L-R) Century Club members Sydell Miller, Mort Weisberg, Kimberly Clos, and Phil Zeiky.

(L-R) Century Club members Albert and Audrey Ratner, Mort Weisberg, and Kimberly Clos.

  New England Zone

(L-R) Palm Beach board president Irving Wiseman (Century Club, President’s Council) and Ronnie Porat, JNF Israel emissary, at a meeting of the Palm Beach board of directors.

(L-R) Chairman of the board Jeffrey Davis (Century Club), Makor member Michael Blank (Century Club), VP of campaign Todd Patkin (World Chairman’s Council), Brigadier General Effie Eitam, Boston president Robert Cohan (Herzl Society), New England president Lawrence Cohen (Century Club), and Sapphire Society president emeritus Karen Ferber (Century Club).

(L-R) Century Club members Norm Millstein and Mort Weisberg.

At the first meeting of the Michigan board of directors for the 2010 campaign, outgoing president Jim Hiller handed the gavel to incoming president Dr. Leora Bar-Levav. Hiller also accepted a plaque in appreciation of his leadership and years of service to JNF. (L-R) Dr. Leora Bar Levav, Jim Hiller (World Chairman’s Council), and Midwest Zone president Hannan Lis (Century Club).

  Los Angeles Zone

New England Sapphire Society president Amy Parsons (Century Club, center) proudly bestowed sapphire necklaces to president emeritus Karen Ferber (Century Club, left) and Yadira Patkin (World Chairman’s Council, right). Amy, Karen and Yadira are Circle of Sapphire donors, signifying their lifetime membership.

Back: (L-R) Boston president Robert Cohan, JNF chairman of the board Ronald Lauder, Judith Sydney (Sapphire Society), JNF CEO Russell F. Robinson, and New England Zone director Sharon Freedman. Front: (L-R) Norman Greenberg, Woman’s Alliance chair Judi Elovitz Greenberg (Sapphire Society), Michael and Patricia Blank (Century Club), and national treasurer and Rhode Island president Michael Lederman (Century Club).

The Sapphire Society hosted Colonel (Res.) Sharon Davidovich for an update on the JNF Parsons Water Fund’s work to alleviate the water crisis in Israel. (L-R) Woman’s Alliance chair Judi Elovitz Greenberg (Sapphire Society), Sapphire Society president emeritus Karen Ferber, Elaine Elovitz (Sapphire Society, President’s Council), Rachel Chafetz (Sapphire Society), and event host Amy Parsons (Century Club), president of the Sapphire Society in Boston.

(L-R) Sandy Davis (Century Club, Sapphire Society), Makor member Michael Blank (President’s Council), board member Nancie Segel (President’s Council), and Capital District president and Makor member Kenneth Segel (President’s Council) at the major donor event at the 2009 National Conference in Philadelphia.

(L-R) Michigan regional director Yaron Iram presented Neal Zalenko with a plaque recognizing his contribution towards the Ha’Solelim Reservoir, a Michigan community project. Zalenko served as Michigan board president in the late 1990’s.

Western PA board member Ed Goldston (Century Club) made fundraising calls for JNF at the Green Sunday cell phone-a-thon at Hillel JUC.

(L-R) Anita Chudnow (World Chairman’s Council) and her son Daniel attended the Wisconsin annual banquet honoring community activists. JNF national president Stanley Chesley, the featured speaker, acknowledged the Chudnow family’s multi-million dollar contribution towards the development of Timna Valley National Park.

(L-R) Munsey Mandel, a longtime volunteer at the JNF Wisconsin office, welcomed Eileen Chudnow (Sapphire Society) to the annual banquet.

JNF thanked the LA and Valley Sapphire Society members for their support at a luncheon featuring Shahar Azani, consul for culture, media and public affairs, who offered insight into Israel-Africa relations based on his experience at his last embassy post in Nairobi, Kenya. (L-R) Dr. Judith Zweig (Sapphire Society), Consul Shahar Azani, and Makor member and mission chair Alyse Golden Berkley (Sapphire Society).

(L-R) LA Zone director Abby Levis, Sherry Burdorf (Sapphire Society), and Selma Alpert.

ASB Four-peat: Q&A with Deborah Karmel

For more information on JNF’s Alternative Break programs, visit

For more information call 888-343-5957 and tell them you’re with JNF.

Why are you going on ASB for four years running?

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ASB offers a unique experience in Israel unlike any other program I’ve been on. The purpose of ASB is to physically give back to Israel—to the land and to the people—and to participate in the overall mitzvah of tikkun olam. The fist year I went on ASB, in 2007, I felt that I had finally given a part of me to Israel, improved it, and made a lasting good impression on the Israelis I worked with. To me, this trumps any other experience. With each year’s ASB, I have fallen in love with the land of Israel more and more and I am constantly driven to return to do it all over again. I met incredible people along the way—other Americans who have the same passion for Israel and tikkun olam, new olim to Israel, Jews who have jumpstarted agricultural and environmental organizations in Israel, and of course, the hard workers of JNF. For all of these reasons and more, I am returning for my 4th and final year— final because I am planning to make aliyah in 2010. When did you decide to make aliyah?

I believe that I’ve always been meant to make aliyah. My parents are both American, but they met in Israel while they were volunteering on Kibbutz Sdot Yam. Influenced by their Israel experiences and Zionism, they raised me and my brother in a home mixed with traditional Conservative and Zionistic values. With every visit to Israel, my decision to make aliyah has become strengthened. I want to live in Israel to be challenged, I want to work hard, I want to be a part of the majority, I want to hear “Shabbat shalom” on Friday

afternoons, I want to say poh (here) instead of sham (there) on Chanukah. This is my dream that will soon become my reality. How much did ASB influence your decision?

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Blogging from Campus

Session Depart Return April ‘10 April 13 June 8 Summer 1 June 15 August 3 Summer 2 June 27 August 13 Eastern Europe June 20 June 28 (join Summer 2) September ‘10 Sept. 14 November 9 December ‘10 Nov. 30 January 25, 2011

By Chaim Fischgrund

Hot off the Presses: Yossi Katz’s first book is published!

Each week, AMHSI headmaster and executive director Chaim Fischgrund offers a glimpse into the trips, activities, and lessons that make up the High School in Israel experience on his blog. Check out an average week in the life at AMHSI below and visit to read more and subscribe! Today we discussed the relationship between Jews and Romans leading up to the Bar Kochba Revolt. We began in the Hirbet Midras caves in the Bet Gubrin area, where the students crawled through tunnels and underground mines built by the rebels as they prepared for guerrilla warfare. The results of this revolt, just 60 years after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple, forced many Jews to leave Israel and, in many ways, ushered in the Middle Ages. Monday: We began studying the Middle Ages period and the Jewish communities that emerged in the Diaspora. The group also learned about the rise of Christianity and Islam and the impact these civilizations had on world history. Tuesday: Our tiyul (trip) today was to Belvoir, a Crusader fortress built in the 12th century, where the students learned why the Crusaders came to Israel, what they did, and how they collapsed so quickly. Much of the lesson was spent re-enacting how the fortress was attacked. The students also learned about the impact the Crusaders had on Jewish history, both in Israel and in Europe. In fact, the 400 years starting with the Crusades in 1096 and ending with the expulsion from Spain in 1492 were the most brutal in Jewish history, leading many Jews to search for meaningful answers. For some, those answers were found in Tzfat, where a community of mystics developed the Kabbalah. On our visit to this ancient city, we stopped at the synagogues where the mystics developed their unique lifestyle, as well as the cemetery where famous rabbis, Talmudic scholars and mystics are buried. The students were introduced to many concepts of Kabbalah and its significance to Jewish history and met with a


local artist who combines prayer, Jewish mysticism, and contemporary art in his unique work. Between Belvoir and Tzfat, the group stopped at the hot springs of Hamat Gader for lunch and a swim. Used since the Roman period, the springs are located in a beautiful area at the foot of the Golan Heights. After dinner in Afulah, we returned to campus. Wednesday: Today we focused on another aspect of life in the Middle Ages: kehilla, or community. Our purpose was to show the students how institutions developed by the community have sustained Jewish life in the past, a concept that is still relevant today. To witness a community institution in action, the students went to Yad LeKashish, or Lifeline to the Old. This fascinating tzedakah project enabled them to understand how a traditional community functions. From there they visited Hazon Yeshaya, an organization that operates soup kitchens in Israel. Founded in 1997 by a successful businessman from New York who was helped as a poor refugee from North Africa by soup kitchens in France, Hazon Yeshaya has grown to a nationwide network of three central kitchens serving more than 200,000 hot meals every month at 38 locations in Israel. The students had an opportunity to work in the kitchen, serve food, and pack boxes. After some free time in the Shuk Machaneh Yehudah, one of the picturesque open-air markets in Jerusalem, the day ended with a music session, where the students learned about the roles that music and dance play in the religious life of some Jewish groups, in particular the Chasidic movement.

Thursday: We studied the transition to the modern period in Europe and its impact on the Jewish people in Europe and Israel. The discussions focused on new challenges to the traditional society and the variety of Jewish streams that emerged. Much of this material is in preparation for the study of Zionism, which will be the theme of next week’s lessons and tiyulim.

Some of you may know Yossi Katz as a renowned AMHSI educator; others may recall him as the former Israeli National Boxing Champion. Now, Yossi has added author to his impressive resume. “A Voice Called – Stories of Jewish Heroism” is a collage of role models and inspiring history makers. It features 32 chapters of Jewish heroes, some famous—like Theodor Herzl, Rachel the Poetess, Hannah Senesh, and Menachem Begin—and others unsung—including AMHSI alumni Brian Bebchick, Adam Bier, and Michael Levin, and AMHSI educator David Sprung. The stories shed light on Jewish history and inspire the reader to live in the present with pride and dignity and to help build a better future. Pre-order your discounted copy today at

Lapid AMHSI is proud to be a founding member of Lapid, the coalition for high school-age programs in Israel. Built on the concept that a strong relationship with Israel begins with a meaningful Israel educational experience, Lapid works to raise awareness of and increase participation in quality high school Israel programs. In addition, it lobbies for recognition and financial and institutional support on par with university-age programs. Founded in 2008 and co-chaired by Dan Krakow of Young Judea and Gideon Shavit of AMHSI, Lapid now features more than 20 member organizations that have collectively brought over half a million teenagers to Israel and continue to impact their lives. For more information or to join Lapid, visit


ASB has absolutely had an influence on my decision, but all my experiences have contributed; I cannot imagine my life without any of them. But of all, ASB has been the most humbling and selfless; I go there for others, not for me. Working side by side with Americans and Israelis, everyone hailing from different backgrounds but all for one common purpose, there is simply nothing like it. I don’t want my volunteering to end. Even once I make aliyah I hope to continue having an active role with JNF.

DIRECTV customers have enjoyed a wide range of Jewish-themed programming on JLTV, America’s first 24-hour, full-time Jewish-themed television network. Broadcasting on DIRECTV channel 366 to over 18 million subscribers, the largest single audience, JLTV now reaches a greater and more diverse viewership across the country. JLTV’s programs cover a wide range of genres, from news, religion, travel, lifestyle, entertainment, and education, offering a Jewish perspective on everyday issues. Air, Land and Sea explores exotic locales like Fiji for a glimpse of Jewish life around the globe, as well as featuring stunning areas of Israel. Discover lifestyle tips on home décor, healthy cooking and earth-friendly practices on Better Living with Laura Klein. Stay current every hour on the latest news stories from around the world thanks to JLTV bureaus in New York, Los Angeles, Jerusalem, London, and Moscow with On the Hour. Learn about Judaism and its different denominations with School Judaica, new Jewish musical artists with JLTV Jams, and campus life across America with On Campus. DIRECTV’s move to incorporate Jewish programming into its broadcast schedule points to the growing interest in Jewish culture and history among subscribers. With its original programming, as well as feature and documentary films, JLTV aims to raise awareness and understanding of Jewish culture and history, appealing to Jewish and non-Jewish audiences alike. Don’t miss all the excellent programming that JLTV has to offer! Start enjoying it today.

Since June 2009,

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 made an impact on over 20,000 students. To learn more, visit

Alexander muss high school in israel

We sat down with Deborah Karmel before she participated in JNF’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) volunteer trip for the fourth time to find out what drives her devotion to the program and how it has changed her. The 22-year-old recently graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a BA in Judaic Studies.

Alexander muss high school in israel

Jewish Programming on a TV Near You

Now a 2 1s t c entury p io n e e r b u il d s h is new Ho m e in Z u q im , a town in t h e A rava e s t a b l is hed by J NF ’s S a pp h ir e S o c ie t y in 19 9 9

B'Yachad Winter 2010  
B'Yachad Winter 2010  

JNF: Then and Now, the Winter 2010 issue of the Jewish National Fund newsletter