Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Jack Fleischer: Sportswriter, JFK and Truman colleague, JNF all-star

Jack Fleischer with Harry S. Truman.
Jack Fleischer may perhaps be best known as the person who coined the phrase "and now to honor America" that we hear so often before the playing of our national anthem at sporting events, but he's also remembered for his commitment to Israel through his support of Jewish National Fund. Proceeds of the many charitable gift annuities he established with JNF were used to plant a forest in Israel in honor of his parents, Matilda and Julius Fleischer.

Fleischer, who was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and passed away on July 21, 2015, in Palm Beach, was an ardent supporter of Israel, a JNF annuitant, and a member of World Chairman's Council, a society reserved for donors whose lifetime gifts total $1 million.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Beyond BDS: College activist has passionate plea for pro-Israel adults

Hayley (right) on her campus.
By Hayley Nagelberg, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign class of 2019

I have always cared about Israel, and I have spent the past four years actively advocating for Israel through political means and campus-based activism. I have learned an incredible amount about the Middle East, and I have been trained to present myself professionally and speak in front of crowds large and small. I now know more legal terminology and persuasive rhetoric than I thought possible. I can make my points eloquently and with impact. 

And yet, while I consider myself to be an effective and passionate advocate for Israel, I'm convinced something has been getting lost in translation between pro-Israel college students and the pro-Israel adult world.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Autism no barrier for my son's beautiful bar mitzvah at the Western Wall

Bar mitzvah of boy with autism at Western Wall
The author (center, holding Torah) with his son Gershon on his left, celebrating Gershon's bar mitzvah at the Western Wall.

By Yossi Kahana, director, JNF Task Force on Disabilities

Thousands of families from Israel and around the world have celebrated bar mitzvahs at the Western Wall, the Jewish world's most important place of prayer. Each week, the Western Wall plaza fills with joyous, emotional families who have arrived to celebrate their sons' bar mitzvahs at the site, the source of Jewish inspiration and yearning for centuries, and a symbol of the fortitude and strength of the State of Israel.

In a special ambiance of unity and holiness, a young bar mitzvah boy and his family have an unforgettable experience as a new link is created in the eternal chain of generations -- that of Jewish families in particular and the Jewish people as a whole. It's no surprise several generations of the same family have celebrated their sons' bar mitzvahs in this way.

Thirteen years ago, my family and I started marching on our own special journey when our son Gershon was born and diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Last month, we also arrived to the wall to celebrate our Gershon's bar mitzvah. With Gershon, it's hard for me to say "bar mitzvah" because he is not yet ready for the responsibilities of the Torah's commandments, and we don't really know when he will be. Yet it was a special day. Emotional, but special.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Jack Rose got scholarship help as a kid, now pays it forward in Israel

Jack Rose of Maryland (left), with JNF-Green Horizons liaison
Ido Reichman-Eisikovisits and Joel Friedlander of Delaware. 

When Jack Rose was growing up in his native New York City, he never could have imagined the life he'd lead as a philanthropist and leader in the Jewish community. 

Jack was raised by a loving single mother who worked multiple jobs to put food on the table. Thanks to a scholarship provided by his local Jewish social services organization, Jack and his sister got to discover and experience the outdoors at a summer camp -- an opportunity that left a lasting impact on him. As an adult, Jack became a talented engineer and worked his way up the corporate ladder through hard work and long hours, eventually building a professional reputation for himself and always exploring ways to give back.