Monday, April 27, 2015

Gratitude for a life-saving rescue in the Arava desert

Several years ago, the Jewish National Fund purchased a rescue vehicle for the 90-person volunteer Arava Search & Rescue Team, which fields hundreds of emergency calls per year related to emergencies in the arid desert region. To get a sense of the life-saving work the unit does around such crises as missing persons, heatstroke, and scorpion bites, read the below thank-you note to unit head Elad Seker from the Bar Lev family, which recently got into big trouble on a hike in the Arava and was rescued by the team.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

'The lives of these kids will live on': Boy's touching tribute to children of the Holocaust

A young Max Levin, with parents Bud and Judy, in front of the B'nai Mitzvah Remembrance Wall in Jerusalem’s American Independence Park in 2006.

When 12-year-old Max Levin was looking for a meaningful way to celebrate his upcoming bar mitzvah, he decided on a project in Israel that did more than simply mark his "coming of age" ceremony. His decision in 2006 created a unique link between today's teens and their peers who died in the Holocaust before ever reaching that special milestone. 

“I used to come to Israel every year with my parents, partly because of my dad’s work, but mostly because our family is very Zionistic," said Max, today 22 and a paratrooper and officer in the Israel Defense Forces. His father, Bud Levin, is Jewish National Fund vice president, Negev and Galil and oversees organizational efforts in the southern and northern regions of Israel.  

“That year, we came searching for a bar mitzvah project and considered many options. Eventually we looked at the Golden Books of Honor that JNF keeps at its offices in Jerusalem,” Levin said, recalling the volumes that over the years have documented donations to the organization and that by now contain more than 200,000 inscriptions.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Passover recipe special, part 2! My grandmother Hannah’s pickled cucumbers

Michal Ansky, a well-known Israeli media personality and foodie, believes that "everyone brings their memories and defines themselves by the foods they eat." Here, she shares with us her grandmother's pickle recipe, a Passover favorite.

Passover recipe special! Salmon cakes with tropical-fruit salsa

Croquettes are cute and elegant for your starter course. They’re also wonderfully light and refreshing. The tropical salsa is a combination of fresh pineapple, mango, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice -- the perfect complement to the richness of the salmon. The balance of sweet and savory flavors instantly pleases the palate. This is a starter with zing!

Friday, March 27, 2015

JNF photography mission yields beautiful Israel pastiche

Photo: Chet Stein
An ibex and its calf, spotted in Ein Gedi. 

Retired periodontist and avowed photographer Chet Stein, a JNF major-gifts chair for the DC region and a member of Makor, co-chaired the JNF photography mission earlier this month. Here, he shares impressions of the experience, as well as some of his photos.  

On the Jewish National Fund's recent Israel Through a Photographic Lens mission, nine of us from around the country had a unique opportunity to expand our photographic horizons. Our goal for the mission was to expose participants to the diverse beauty of Israel as well as the wonderful work of the JNF. If the stunning photos that resulted are any indication, I think we succeeded handily.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Once a soldier in Iraq, now a JNF staffer: One man's story

During a tour of Camp Victory in Iraq, Matthew Gabe sits in a throne in one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces. 

By Matthew Gabe 

I'm a senior campaign executive with the Jewish National Fund in San Francisco. But this isn't the first time I've worked in the Jewish community. After practicing law for several years, I made a career change in 2006 and accepted a position with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

In May of 2007, while working at AIPAC, and with less than two weeks notice, I was recalled to active duty with the United States Navy. I am proud to have served my country in Iraq as a Jewish soldier. I still keep my dog tags, which list my religion as Jewish, next to my bed.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Shamir Drilling Project: Making water flow from an ancient aquifer

Shamir Drilling Project
Photo: KKL-JNF

By Leiba Chaya David

Israel, located in one of the driest regions in the world, is in a perpetual state of water crisis.  Historically, water has often been a cause of great dispute -- as in the biblical case of Isaac and the Philistine shepherds arguing over well ownership. In the thousands of years since that particular conflict, water scarcity in the region has been exacerbated by rapidly growing populations, ambitious development plans, and prolonged periods of drought. The current annual deficit in Israel's renewable water resources is almost 131 billion gallons.

Though the picture seems grim, Israelis have an international reputation for pioneering innovative solutions to the water challenge. On a quiet hillside in the northeastern Galilee, for example, a group of hydrologists and farmers are reaching back into the past to guarantee a viable source of water for future generations. The Shamir project, a partnership between the Israeli government, the Upper Galilee and Golan Heights Water Associations, and Jewish National Fund’s Parsons Water Fund (through the generous donation of Dr. Evelyn G. Lipper and the EGL Charitable Foundation), is drawing unprecedented amounts of water from a 5,000-year-old (according to carbon dating) artesian aquifer.