Wednesday, March 28, 2018

In the JNF Kitchen: Passover macaroons + halva = 'halvaroons'


This recipe of the week comes to us from La Boite, a biscuits and spices shop in New York City owned by Israeli chef and spice blender Lior Lev Sercarz. 

Lior and La Boite have gained international fame for mixing spices in a unique way and selling some of the world's rarest blends. Lior opened his culinary superstore after traveling and studying around the globe, and he dreams of establishing a cooking school in Israel's north along with JNF. Lior was one of our first guests on the JNF podcast, IsraelCast. You can hear more about his journey on that episode.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Women's History Month: Working to have it all in Israel's Negev desert



Menucha Saitowitz, partnerships coordinator at Eretz-Ir.
We're celebrating Women's History Month all March long by sharing stories of the amazing women who make up Jewish National Fund! In addition, we're matching all donations up to a total $1 million during this time. Learn more: jnf.org/women

For cities in Israel's Negev to prosper and grow, young adults and families must see cities there as viable, desirable places to live, with ample opportunities for employment, high quality of life, and upward mobility. Jewish National Fund works with local residents to propel education and economic change from the bottom up, motivating new populations to settle in cities that now offer opportunities that match the crowded Tel Aviv-Haifa-Jerusalem corridor. Eretz-Ir is a local organization that helps us achieve these goals.  

By Menucha Saitowitz

As Eretz-Ir’s English-language grant writer, I regularly sit down with our entrepreneurs and social-change leaders to hear about what's going on in the field. A few months ago, I was catching up with Ilana Kwartin, director of entrepreneurship for Eretz-Ir, who had just celebrated the opening of "SifriHub," a shared work-space for residents of her small community called Eliav. The launch featured a panel of local business owners about entrepreneurship in the region. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Women's History Month: My task force to transform Israel's north

Gina, second from right, on last summer's Kiryat Shmona & Upper Eastern Galilee Task Force Mission.
We're celebrating Women's History Month all March long by sharing stories of the amazing women who make up Jewish National Fund! In addition, we're matching all donations up to a total $1 million during this time. Learn more: jnf.org/women

By Gina Raphael

My story with Jewish National Fund's Kiryat Shmona & Upper Eastern Galilee Task Force displays JNF at its finest. During the summer of 2016, I was at the Knesset with my good friend Nadav Douani, who is chief of staff for Science Minister Ofir Akunis. Nadav asked if I would like to visit the Knesset members' dining room and meet politician and former Israel ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren. It was truly special to meet him, and when Nadav told him I was very involved with JNF, Michael Oren said, "Please remind Russell Robinson (JNF CEO) of all the work we need to do in Metulla." 

So, I called Russell from Jerusalem and he said we have much to do for our Go North initiative and we are going to put you on our Upper Eastern Galilee Task Force with Dr. Melinda Wolf.

Women's History Month: Fighting to save Israel's past is personal

Hannah Senesh, an Israeli woman hero.

We're celebrating Women's History Month all March long by sharing stories of the amazing women who make up Jewish National Fund. In addition, we're matching all donations up to a total of $1 million during this time. Learn more: jnf.org/women

By Noa Gefen

I am honored to serve as executive vice chairman of the Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites (SPIHS) and couldn't imagine working anywhere else. After graduating with a masters in organizational psychology, I worked in human resources for 15 years. But after my father's passing in 2008, I knew that my future resided elsewhere. 

The Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites was founded in 1984 to preserve, restore, and share historical sites related to Israel’s pathway to independence. Since 1984, SPIHS, with support from Jewish National Fund, has preserved more than 170 heritage sites around the country and opened them to the public as museums and visitor centers. These sites attract millions of guests each year, including schoolchildren, soldiers, families, and tourists, and provide SPIHS with the unique and wonderful opportunity to share the stories of the brave men and women who helped make the dream of Israel into a reality. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Women's History Month: JNF Staff Spotlight on activist Molly Goldberg



We're celebrating Women's History Month all March long by sharing stories of the amazing women that make up Jewish National Fund! In addition, we are matching all donations up to a total of $1 million during this time. Learn more: jnf.org/women

By Molly Goldberg, JNF campaign executive, Ohio Valley

Growing up in Detroit, I was surrounded by a large Jewish community. Three days a week my dad would load my brother and I in his truck, put Meatloaf or Rod Stewart on the stereo, and drive us to Hebrew school. It was in Hebrew school where I began to learn the importance of community and gained my social justice lens on the world. 

I felt a strong sense of injustice growing up as I learned more and more about the history of the Jewish people. Temple taught me the values of taking care of others, being kind, and doing good deeds, which manifested itself in different ways throughout my life: from going door to door as a 10-year-old with a petition demanding the ice cream truck be allowed to come to my neighborhood, to college, when I learned about the unfairness of the death penalty and began my work as a human rights activist.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Women's History Month: Israel trip teaches student to think for herself



The Caravan for Democracy Student Leadership Mission is a 10-day, fully subsidized trip to Israel for non-Jewish student leaders who've never been. The unique educational program, which took place this year from Dec. 27 - Jan. 7, lets participants explore Israel by meeting with political, cultural, and community leaders from diverse backgrounds and faiths. Here, a reflection on this year's CFD trip by a University of Pennsylvania student.

We're also celebrating Women's History Month all March long by sharing stories of the amazing women that make up Jewish National Fund! In addition, we are matching all donations up to $1M during this time. Learn more: jnf.org/women

By Michelle Lyu

I'm a third-year undergraduate student studying statistics. I've never taken an international relations course, barely know what qualifies as political science, and have interacted with Islam, Christianity, and Judaism only superficially.

None of this precludes a profound understanding of the Israel-Palestine conflict, but I'd had little contact with the issue beyond the superficial before coming to Israel. Without the foundation of these guiding frameworks, I struggled to even begin formulating a cogent opinion on the conflict before going on Caravan for Democracy. Because of my limited comprehension that began with news headlines and ended at conversations at the dinner table with my housemates, I felt pressured to espouse the views my closest friends held with conviction.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

91-year-old veteran and great-grandpa wins Israel trip for Tu BiShvat



Gordon Mellish might just have a new favorite holiday.  

The 91-year old great-grandfather and WWII veteran from Clemmens, North Carolina, won the JNF Tu BiShvat Sweepstakes in celebration of the Jewish New Year for Trees.

Mellish is a retiree of the Martin Marietta Co. who also worked as a sewage treatment supervisor in Toledo, Ohio. He bought $2,000 worth of trees during the sweepstakes and said he supports Israel through Jewish National Fund regularly because he looks at Israel as a "flowering oasis."