Friday, January 27, 2017

After everything was taken away, this legacy donor focused on giving

Margot and her husband, John, a customer at her workplace Macy's who persistently tried to get her phone number. 
Margot Cohn was born in the fortress town of Torun, Poland (then occupied Germany) in 1913. Her story is one of tragedy and heroism, as her family endured the brutality of the Holocaust. During Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass), which occurred in Germany on November 9th and 10th of 1938, Margot's father was killed. Luckily, her brother escaped the night before and she and her mother managed to escape when Margot selflessly insisted her mother get on a train set to leave the area, in her place, thus ensuring her mother's survival.

Monday, January 23, 2017

My Arava Story: Israel gives Nigerian farmer tools to fight food crisis



We're focusing on stories from the beautiful Arava, Israel's southern desert. Residents of the Central Arava face many challenges, including the harsh climate, large distance between communities, and lack of accessibility to resources available in urban centers. JNF has partnered with the Central Arava Regional Council as part of our Blueprint Negev campaign to make the Negev habitable to the next generation of Israel's residents. 

Here, reflections from a pupil at the Arava International Center for Agriculture and Training (AICAT), where students from around the world learn advanced agricultural practices they then take back to their home countries.   

By Endurance P. Ojo

My interest in agriculture isn't necessarily a story of passion since childhood. Rather, it stems from my experience with my father on his farm in Nigeria and my continuous study in a quest to increase crop productivity there. Also, I look to a Science Daily article published in April 2014 featuring a statement by Professor Fred Davies (a senior adviser to the USAID at that time) on the relationship between agriculture and increasing world population. That article changed my life forever. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Israel 'not black and white and simple,' Caravan for Democracy student concludes

This year's crop of rock-star students on JNF's Caravan for Democracy trip. 
The Caravan for Democracy Student Leadership Mission is a 10-day, fully subsidized trip to Israel for non-Jewish student leaders who have never been there. The unique educational program gives participants the opportunity to 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 Michigan State University senior.

By Micaela Procopio

Sunday, January 8th, I woke up to the news that four IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers had been killed in Jerusalem in a place very near where I had stood less than a week ago. The entire 10 days I spent in Israel with 33 other student leaders I did not feel threatened or unsafe at all. Israel was normal. Israel is beautiful. 

When I was notified of my acceptance into JNF's Caravan for Democracy, I thought I had a pretty solid view of what Israel was and a fair understanding of the conflict. I feel more confused now. I think that's the right answer. Israel is not black and white and simple. It's gray and complex.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

My Arava Story: Myanmar farmer finds career, and love, in the desert

Htawshae Lum Hkawng in his element. He credits his time studying at AICAT in Israel with giving him 
the tools for farming success. 

We're taking time to focus on stories from the beautiful Arava, Israel's southern desert. Residents of the Central Arava face many challenges, including the harsh climate, large distance between communities, and lack of accessibility to resources available in urban centers. JNF has partnered with the Central Arava Regional Council as part of our Blueprint Negev campaign to make the Negev habitable to the next generation of Israel's residents. 

By Htawshae Lum Hkawng

I am from Myanmar. From 2011-2012 I came to Israel and studied in the agriculture diploma program at AICAT (Arava International Center for Agriculture Training). It was a truly amazing experience. I learned how to farm from square one: planting, pruning, feeding, sterilizing, irrigating, and cleaning until harvesting; packaging, cleaning, and maintaining the farm under the greenhouses and net houses. The program's model of combining classroom theory with practical work on the farm has given me the tools I need to go on and become a successful farmer.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Arava Story: A Kenyan agriculture student's 'extraordinary' new life


We're taking time to focus on the beauty of the Arava, Israel's southern desert. Residents of the Central Arava face many challenges, including the harsh climate, large distance between communities, and lack of accessibility to resources available in urban centers. JNF has partnered with the Central Arava Regional Council as part of our Blueprint Negev campaign to make the Negev habitable to the next generation of Israel's residents. 

Here, a personal narrative from a Kenyan student at the Arava International Center for Agriculture and Training (AICAT). He details the surprises and pleasures of his new life in Israel's south.

By Kenneth Kiplang'at Chepkwony

I recently graduated from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Kenya, and I'm currently pursuing a postgraduate diploma at the Arava International Center for Agriculture and Training. I came to Israel in August 2016 as one of the beneficiaries of an internship program that has seen the admission of 100 Kenyan students at AICAT. The objective is to expose individuals like me to the sophisticated agricultural technologies attached to the Arava. I hail from an agricultural family that relies solely on natural rainfall. Sadly, such traditional approaches have hindered local communities from growing food sufficiently. This inspired me to apply to AICAT. I have a deep desire to apply the knowledge I will amass in the Arava to influence my country folk positively.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Meet a JNF Leader: Adam Zlotnick, firefighting hero

Adam Zlotnick, left, and Daniel Shapiro, current U.S. ambassador to Israel. 

Adam Zlotnick is the crowning example of practicing what one preaches. Not only is the New Hampshire resident a member of the JNF New England board of directors, having been involved for over 10 years (his wife Christina is an active Sapphire member) but Adam is a proud participant of EVP- Emergency Volunteers Project