Wednesday, January 29, 2020

At 36, I already know I want my legacy to involve Israel and JNF

The author, Matt Franzblau, in Israel.
By Matt Franzblau

As I stood across from the public notary who was about to stamp my document, I couldn’t help but get a little choked up. 

That's because this document was my last will and testament, and even though I am only 36 years old and in fairly good health, I felt it was important to make the declaration that when I leave this Earth, I will leave something for JNF.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Decades later, Alexander Muss High School in Israel still influences my life in huge ways

The author at Ben Gurion airport years ago.

By Kim Cook Beame 

I attended AMHSI in January 1985 -- 35 years ago this month! I can't believe it was so long ago, because the memories are still so vivid. 

I remember sitting in the hallway of my dorm, Wohl, on that first night. We were all tired and cranky and in shock by the amount of homework we were given right away. But that first night drew us together and we became an instant family -- helping each other, crying with each other, and laughing and sharing all night long. I still say, without a doubt, that my session at HSI was THE BEST time of my entire life! I have been to Israel 15 times, but no trip was as influential, life-changing, academic, or comfortable as my time there with HSI. That's when Israel truly became my home.

Monday, January 20, 2020

As the mom of a son with a disability, Israel's amazing Aleh Negev gave me great comfort

Author (right) with her son, Rod (left)
and Doron Almog.
By Lynne Merriam

Forty eight years ago, my life changed in an instant. I was a masters-level clinical nurse specialist and a school administrator, and in the blink of an eye, my new role was as a mother of a profoundly disabled son.

At the time, not only was there no support group for me, the prognosis was so grim all I could think of was  how I would go on with my life.

The doctors recommended that we put Rod in an institution. I had done an internship in the Missouri State School and Hospital system and the places were grim and the care terrible. I felt my only option was to bring Rod home.

My story has a happy ending. Rod defied the odds and go on to become a college graduate in spite of his disabilities, but I still carry the memories of how scared I was when he was born.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Everything to know about Tu BiShvat, the original Earth Day

By Yossi Kahana 

When is the last time you wished a tree Happy New Year? The 15th day of the month of Shevat on the Hebrew calendar is a great opportunity. It's known as Tu BiShvat, the New Year for Trees. This year, we will celebrate on Monday, February 10, 2020.

Why is Tu BiShvat in the winter? Why celebrate trees when nothing is growing?

The 15th of Shevat is the midpoint between fall and spring. Once half the winter has passed, its strength is weakened, the cold is not as intense, and the budding process begins.

So, yes, it may be smack in the middle of winter, but Tu BiShvat marks a turning point, a time when under all that cold and snow the sap of the trees is rising, readying for spring. 

Friday, December 27, 2019

Top 5 reasons to join JNF's first ever Negev Adventure Mission to Israel

By Don Wong, Negev Adventure Mission co-chair

Looking for a travel adventure? We have something amazing for the active and non-active alike.
Please tell your family members and friends to save the dates April 21-27, 2020 for fun and adventure in Israel's Negev. Below are the top five reasons to join the Modern Israel Negev Adventure Mission.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Waze, Wix, Outbrain, Trax: Cuz about Israeli innovation, we're rappin' facts

By Max Marine

After growing up in Philadelphia in a conservative Jewish community, 10 years ago (at age 20), I flew to Israel for the first time on Birthright. My uncle handed me a book before I flew: "Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle." As I traveled over the Atlantic reading, I was blown away by all the innovation such a small country had produced with so few resources.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Three things a rabbi learned about JNF on his mission to Israel

The author, center, with other members of the mission.

By Rabbi Jason Fruithandler

I just got back from a JNF-USA mission to Israel. Before attending, I was under the impression JNF-USA planted trees, collected tzedakah money, and occasionally brought a very large map of Israel to my Hebrew school. I always assumed it did more but never had an inkling what. These past few days I have learned so much about JNF-USA. I'd like to share it.