Young Professionals Create JNFuture in Israel Chapter!
To find out more about JNFuture Israel, become a supporter, or to join the leadership team, visit facebook.com/JNFuture, or contact Jessica Schapiro at firstname.lastname@example.org
Describing the importance of JNFuture to new olim (immigrants), Moshe Hayim Polacco, 29, an oleh from Genoa, Italy, said, “JNFuture, and the Am Yisrael Foundation, have shown me that real Zionism begins upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport, and that taking action allows me to be a modern day pioneer.” JNFuture Israel gives young professionals a fresh approach to Zionist action and the land through monthly day trips, demonstrations, and lectures highlighting JNF’s work across the country. The group’s launch event brought 50 young adults—sabras (native Israelis) and new olim—for a day of exploration in the Galilee. The group toured the Atlit Detention Center, which has been recently renovated thanks to the help of JNF, visited the artist’s colony of Ein Hod, and the newly opened JNF Ein Hod Memorial Park. They ended the day with a picnic lunch in the Carmel Forest while hearing about the reforestation efforts from one of Israel’s top scientists who led the response to the fire disaster of 2010. Since the Galilee trip, the group has traveled to Southern Israel to visit the new community of Halutza and help recipients of JNF’s Young Farmers Incubator program harvest eggplants. Solomon describes these trips as evidence of “our energy and commitment to civil society, which is what Israel urgently needs right now.” In addition to the monthly activities, JNFuture Israel serves as the ‘home away from home’ for all JNFuture global members when they are visiting Israel. Solomon, originally from Birmingham, Alabama, encourages all JNFuture members to “think of us as your family when you are here in Israel, as there is always a place for you Natalie Solomon in our community.” She added that JNFuture Israel seeks “to partner with young Jewish communities around the world to move the needle within Israeli society, and work together to advance civic participation amongst Israeli youth.” Polacco, the Italian oleh, echoed the same sentiment, and said, “Israel is only this amazing because of the incredible people who came before me to build it, and now I have the blessing and responsibility to do the same for the next generation through JNFuture Israel.” n
Young leaders tend to be agents of change. Members of JNFuture are no different. They are a cohort of highimpact young Jewish people living in the Diaspora who are willing to commit their time, leadership, talents, and resources to strengthen Israel through the lens of Jewish National Fund. But what happens when these same young leaders live in the Holy Land? You get the newest chapter of JNFuture— on a mission not only to see how JNF is transforming Israeli society and the land, but living JNF. “We are the kibbutz galuyot (gathering of Israel) that JNF talks about,” said Natalie Solomon, who together with Jay Shultz founded JNFuture Israel last March. “Many Jay Shultz people come to Israel to be pioneers. They want to build something, to change the country. If Nefesh B’Nefesh is JNF’s aliyah arm, we are its klita (acclimation) arm. JNF is a powerful part of our ability to engage in modern pioneering.” Guided by the same mission of its U.S. counterpart—to promote environmental consciousness and the active involvement of future Jewish community leaders for a safe and prosperous Israel—JNFuture Israel is proud to bring this well-established young leadership brand to Israeli society. A partnership between JNF and the Am Yisrael Foundation, an organization that serves as an umbrella nonprofit managing multiple community-based leadership initiatives to engage young adults, JNFuture Israel is now enlisting this “want-to-serve” young community, age 23-35, with opportunities for roll-up-your-sleeves Zionist action around the country. Shultz, the president of the Am Yisrael Foundation and a serial entrepreneur from New Jersey, spent years building young Jewish community life in New York before moving to Tel Aviv 10 years ago. He believes that JNFuture Israel is a perfect fit for the more than 50,000 members of his TLV Internationals community, a group of young professionals that form a unified platform for action for the benefit of Tel Aviv and Israel. “Today is the easiest time in history to be a Jew living in the land of Israel,” said Shultz. “We cannot forget that Israel is still only a few days old in the life of a country. There are millions of fundamental vacuums that still need to be filled. Every Jew’s help is key to making this amazing country into the ideal nation we know it can become.”