Tuesday, June 26, 2018

From Hawaii to Yerucham: Don Wong on why he works to develop Israel's desert

Don Wong, third from right, with friends on Ride for Yerucham 2018. The first time Wong visited Yerucham,
he was struck by the residents' pioneering spirit.
Ride for Yerucham 2018, a four-day mountain biking trip through the desert of southern Israel, took place at one of the top seven spots in the world for mountain biking. Among those cycling through the Negev in March to raise money for the fast-growing little town southeast of Be'er Sheva was Don Wong, a retired management consultant from Kaneohe, Hawaii, and a member of the Jewish National Fund's Yerucham's Task Force since last year.

Don, an evangelical Christian with a background in public health, first visited Israel in 2001 on a Bible teaching tour. He started planting trees through JNF, and felt his connection to Israel strengthen even more after he and his wife Vivien, a retired radiologist, joined the JNF Doctors for Israel Tour in 2014 (Vivien will return to Israel in October to teach radiology residents at the Galilee Medical Center.) We spoke to Don about his passion for Israel and his involvement with JNF and Yerucham. Here are his answers, lightly edited.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Desert days in Israel on JNF trip remind student that water is life

Student Owen Harrison participated in JNF's latest Caravan for Democracy trip.

Owen Harrison, a student at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, participated in JNF's Caravan for Democracy Student Leadership Mission, a 10-day, fully subsidized trip to Israel for non-Jewish student leaders who've never been.

By Owen Harrison

For most of my life, I've had the privilege of never to having to worry about water -- where it’s coming from, or if it will run out. However, that luxury has begun to change for many people. There's a growing water crisis: People living in South Africa are currently allotted 6 gallons of water a day; to put that into perspective, the average American uses between 80-100 gallons of water daily. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Joe Adler, an immigrant’s story

By Joe Adler

Some come to America to escape oppression, others because of lack of opportunity and hunger. Most, however, are drawn to our country’s promise of a better tomorrow, not just for themselves, but, more importantly, for their children. For me, it was my mother's idea... 

I arrived in the United States at age 15, unaccompanied, after a two-week voyage on board the trans-Atlantic Israeli Zim Lines cruise ship SS Zion, in June, 1957.

My story, however, began 16 years earlier, in 1941, when my parents, Olga and Aaron Adler, escaped Hungary on board the Darien II, the very last refugee ship out of Europe.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Multicultural agriculture school in Israel plants seeds of hope, diplomacy

The author, Ron, right, with his new friend Mohammad, at AICAT.

By Ron Werner

What would you say if you walked into a classroom in a remotely populated region of southern Israel to find the room filled with students from Africa and Southeast Asia learning and loving Israel? The majority of the students come from countries that don't have diplomatic relations with Israel; so, if you hadn't seen it with your own eyes, you might not have believed it. This is hope, this is the future. This is AICAT: The Arava International Center for Agricultural Training.  

A few weeks ago I visited AICAT, and it was easily one of the most amazing places I have ever seen.

Monday, May 28, 2018

U.S. Navy couple Marchel and Alice Tevelson generous in life, legacy

The Tevelsons, Alice and Marchel

Alice J. Tevelson and Marchel Charles Tevelson of La Mesa, California, shared a great love for each other and the life they created together. 

Married in 1957, Alice gave up her teaching career to become a Navy wife. Charlie, as he was known to his family, was a graduate of Temple University and a decorated commander in the U.S. Navy, serving in World War II and Vietnam. Charlie served in the U.S. maritime and naval forces on active duty and as a civilian for a total of 54 years. In 1972, while on active duty and having completed several decorated combat tours, Charlie became director of the Navy’s worldwide humanitarian mission, Project Handclasp. He held this position as both an active duty commander and civilian director until 2006.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Under the acacia tree: Celebrating a rite of passage in Israel's Arava

Photo: Tamir Eytan
The bat mitzvah girl, Alexia, in the Central Arava.
By Barbara Bader

In 2013, my husband Abe and I were talking about taking our first trip to Israel. He remembered, as a child, collecting donations for Jewish National Fund, using the blue box. I did some research, called our Long Island, N.Y. branch of JNF, and thus began our relationship. During that trip, on the Spirit of Israel Mission in April 2014, we visited the usual amazing places: the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the modern city of Tel Aviv, the beautiful Galilee. As wonderful as this was, nothing pulled at our heartstrings the way our visit to the Arava region did!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Garden of Peace dedicated at LOTEM's Ecological Park

By Lynne Merriam

This past year, we dedicated the Garden of Peace at LOTEM's site in Emek HaShalom, the Valley of Peace. I wanted this Garden to honor my husband, Fred Merriam, who exemplifies being a man of peace. Fred and I have been to Israel many times. Now that we are part of the Jewish National Fund Disabilities Task Force, we have felt an even greater connection to Eretz Yisrael.