Friday, December 30, 2016

In the JNF Kitchen: Cauliflower latkes from the Arava

All latked out yet? We have the perfect antidote -- cauliflower latkes from the Central Arava Regional CouncilThe Arava is a key focus of JNF's Blueprint Negev initiative, which aims to bring communities to Israel's south, away from the congested, highly priced center of the country.

The Central Arava is a wonderful place to visit, live, raise a family -- and run a farm! What residents in the area lack in natural resources, they make up for in ingenious agricultural solutions. All year round, the tastiest peppers, artichokes, melons, and cucumbers come out of the Central Arava.

Miami bat mitzvah girl brings cheer to IDF soldiers with disabilities

Tanya, second from right, stands with Special in Uniform director Tiran Attia (far left), along with family members and Special in Uniform soldiers at the beautiful dedication event. 
Today we bring you a story of a generous bat mitzvah celebrant who helped raise money for Special in Uniform in honor of her milestone birthday. Special in Uniform is a partner in JNF's efforts to ensure no member of Israeli society is left behind, as part of the Task Force on Disabilities. 

At a special ceremony at an Israel Defense Forces base in Israel, 12-year-old bat mitzvah girl Tanya Andrusier of Bal Harbour, Florida, gave 250 backpacks to soldiers with disabilities. Tanya was inspired by the soldiers of Special in Uniform and decided to do something special for them in honor of her bat mitzvah by using her talent as an artist.

Friday, December 23, 2016

In the JNF Kitchen: Bulgarian beet carrot mozzarella latkes

This recipe of the week, an interesting twist on the holiday classic, comes from our partner Nefesh B'Nefesh. They are crafted by Chef Zissie, an American olah who made the move to Israel with NBN, and who's a great example of somebody who successfully transferred and rebuilt her independent career from the U.S. in Israel, taking her new environment into account. You can read her story here on the Nefesh B'Nefesh blog. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Meet a JNF Leader: T Lungwitz, lover of Israel, and Arabian horses

We recently sat down with Jewish National Fund lay leader T Lungwitz, a member of JNF's Negev Society, Century Council, Circle of Sapphire and JNF Arizona's newly founded board of trustees. T has an incredible resume, dedicating her life to caring for others first as a nurse and currently as CEO of Thema Health Services, a large home health, hospice, and palliative care company. She's also a lover of horses, owning Royal T Arabians, a company dedicated to raising and breeding Arabian horses, some of the most admired in the world. Read on to hear from this impressive member of the JNF family. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

In the JNF kitchen: Lentil soup

The recipe of the week, a hearty lentil soup, is the quintessential winter dish with a Mediterranean twist, sure to warm your home and your body. It's brought to us by Hagit Lidror, one of the people making Western Galilee a foodie and wine-enthusiast paradise. The region is a key development area of JNF's Go North initiative. 

Hagit's creations, healthy and focused on quality ingredients, are representative of Israeli cuisine in its freshness and simplicity. Hagit teaches Cooking Workshops based on healthy vegetarian cuisine at her home facing the magical Clil landscape overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Friday, December 2, 2016

In the JNF kitchen: Stuffed mushrooms from the Galilee

This week's recipe is brought to you by Tamar & Gefen, a bed and breakfast in Israel's Western Galilee. Tucked away among oak trees, olive trees, and grapevines, these accommodations are anything but ordinary, with a boutique winery, a wine cultural center, and a tasting room on the premises. The simplicity and magic of the past combine with the comfort and luxuries of the present amid the sounds of silence, the fragrance of the forest, and the taste of great wine. Imagine yourself taking in all these beauties while indulging in stuffed mushrooms from Tamar & Gefen. They're simple to make but taste restaurant-quality. Make them as an appetizer for your next party, or as a weeknight meal alongside a simple salad. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A firefighter's report from the front lines battling Israel's massive blazes

Brave firefighters working to calm the blazes. 

Stories of bravery and strength have begun pouring in following the fires that devastated Israel over the past week. Here, Udi Gal, a Jerusalem firefighter, tells JNF Impact about his experience.

By Udi Gal

Fear is not something that exists in our lexicon. We have had a rough week of fighting fires while dealing with difficult weather conditions, very dry air and strong winds causing the fires to flare up and spread within minutes. I salute and am proud of our firefighters who worked days and nights almost without rest, with great professionalism and courage to minimize the damage and ensure that everyone can return home safely. They risked their lives to save residents, animals, forests, and houses.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A JNF first: The much-needed Carmel Ridge Fire Station

From left: Marni Kriss, Commissioner Shachar Ayalon, and Ron Kriss. 

By Ron Kriss

While JNF has a long history of helping Israel Fire & Rescue Services -- nearly a third of all Israeli fire trucks have been funded by JNF -- we'd never done an actual fire station until two years ago. The tragic Carmel fire in 2010 that claimed the lives of 44 Israelis revealed critical needs, and JNF came forward to help.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

In the JNF kitchen: Simple farm-to-table quiche

Quiche a la Maayan Eilat Palti-Negev. 

This #RecipeOfTheWeek comes from Earth's Promise, a Jewish National Fund partner that promotes urban agriculture to support sustainable growth in Israel's Negev desert.

Maayan Eilat Palti-Negev, a 28-year-old who got her masters degree in social leadership at Ben-Gurion University, spent her school years living in the Gimel neighborhood adjacent to Earth's Promise. She watched the farm develop and thrive and soon became a regular customer. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

In the JNF kitchen: Harel Zeltzer's delicious desert matfuna chicken

Traditional Matfuna chicken prepared in the desert. 

This week's #RecipeOfTheWeek features a dish from Harel Zeltzer, a business owner in the Arava. This story first appeared in the current issue of B'Yachad magazine.

Harel Zeltzer moved to the Arava over 12 years ago to work as a tour guide for one of the area’s largest guest houses. "There’s nothing like the Arava," Zeltzer said. "Over the years I've had the opportunity to introduce the beauty of the region to those who are looking to explore this unique desert."

What started as a business coordinating hiking tours and rappelling excursions quickly evolved to include jeep tours and overnight camping. Leading desert tours is still a large part of Zeltzer’s business -- he still guides large scale groups sometimes numbering hundreds of tourists -- but over the last few years he has added another aspect to his offerings for these visitors: food. 

The future of Israel activism is bright: Alexa Goldstein, 'not no nice Jewish woman'

By Alexa Goldstein

Jewish mothers since the dawn of time have drilled it into their sons' heads that they must find their "Nice Jewish Girl," abbreviated NJG for convenience. 

What is a NJG? A girl who went to Hebrew day school with you or sat next to you at a youth group convention. She held your hand on all 10 days of Birthright. She has chocolat-ey curls, soulful brown eyes, and elegance that reigns supreme during her Dvar Torah at a Hillel Shabbat. But in today’s day and age, the Nice Jewish Girl stereotype is outdated. Even the term "Nice Jewish Girl" no longer applies to the strong, alpha females I surround myself with at every Hillel event. I don’t consider myself a Nice Jewish Girl. I consider myself a Not So Nice Jewish Woman. 

Alexa Goldstein, Israel activist. 
A Not So Nice Jewish Woman, abbreviated NNJW, comes in all shapes and sizes. Her hair can be brown and curly, blond and straight, wavy and red, or pink and shaved at one temple. She loves herself without a stitch of makeup or with smoky eyes and wingtip eyeliner sharper than her sense of humor. 

She doesn't fill conversations with empty chatter, but with topics ranging from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the week’s Torah portion. She can express her worth and communicate her needs, and is comfortable being herself. A NNJW encourages women's empowerment in all aspects of life through friendship and mentor-ship. I talk about what it means to be a NNJW not just to brag about the women in my community but to discuss their roles in the future of Judaism and Israel. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Jewish veterans of honor: Heroic WWII POW remembered by son

As we did for Veterans Day in 2015, we are marking the day this year by sharing stories behind the names on JNF's Wall of Honor at Ammunition Hill. Plaques on the Jerusalem wall pay tribute to Jewish military veterans worldwide who have served their countries. 

Albert I. Rosenblum immigrated to the United States from Russia at age 4. In 1929 he entered the army and was stationed in New York, Honolulu, and Salt Lake City. When he was discharged, Albert opened a grocery and butcher-paper supply business. However, in 1939, as talk in the United States of war grew, Albert decided to go back into the army. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Jewish veterans of honor: Dad and two grandpas get a moving tribute

Ron Werner and his family with their plaques. From left: Ron's brother Michael of Chicago; JNF liaison Yoel Rosby;
Ron's mother, Florence; his father, Robert; Ron; his sister, Beverly Werner Needham, of Boulder, Colo.

As we did for Veterans Day in 2015, we are marking the day this year by sharing stories behind the names that appear on JNF's Wall of Honor at Ammunition Hill. Plaques on the Jerusalem wall pay tribute to Jewish military veterans worldwide who have served their countries. Here, Ron Werner arranges a surprise visit for his family to reveal three plaques he dedicated in honor of several members. 

by June Glazer

At first glance, Jerusalem may seem an unlikely place to commemorate Veterans Day. But last week, as Americans were gearing up for the U.S. holiday, one family was in Israel doing just that at Ammunition Hill, the country's memorial to the Six-Day War. As most of the family members were about to learn, this battleground and national heritage site is indeed an appropriate place to observe the holiday, as well as to honor Jewish military men and women who served in any country.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Jewish veterans of honor: Martin Fleischer, champion father-in-law

As we did for Veterans Day in 2015, we are marking the day this year by sharing stories behind the names that appear on JNF's Wall of Honor at Ammunition Hill. Plaques on the Jerusalem wall pay tribute to Jewish military veterans worldwide who have served their countries. Here, Myra Chack Fleischer shares her deep connection to her father-in-law, in whose honor she dedicated a plaque. 

By Myra Chack Fleischer

To talk about my father-in-law, I need to start with my father. My dad was a wonderful man who unfortunately was ill my entire life. He had his first heart attack at age 37 when my oldest brother was six weeks old. My parents bravely went on to have three more children despite my father's continuous heart problems, and I was the fourth born when he was age 44. The odds at that time of him surviving were slim, but he miraculously made it until my first semester in college. He was a funny, wonderful man who could fix anything. The void after he left us was enormous and my mother filled it until I lost her as well 13 years ago.

Friday, November 4, 2016

In the JNF Kitchen: Oxalis soup from an authentic Georgian kitchen

The Oxalis flower, for which this dish is named. 
This week's #RecipeOfTheWeek features a delicious Georgian delicacy found at Shota.

If you're searching for a special culinary experience, look no further than Shota in the Western Galilee. Shota serves Georgian cuisine in a brightly colored restaurant that plays upbeat music and serves dishes steeped in Georgian tradition. On your plate you'll find fresh salads; pastries such as khachapuri filled with meat or cheese; khinkali, or Georgian dumplings; meat and vegetable stews; and Georgian wine, beer, and cocktails.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Grandma with two IDF lone soldiers in family reflects on shared values

Phyllis, far right, and the extended Solomon gang. 

By Phyllis Chancy Solomon

As a member of the Sapphire Society and co-chair of Women for Israel in Central New Jersey, I often think about my journey with JNF and how I got to where I am today. Many people planted the seeds. 
Emma, the bat mitzvah. 

My parents, Ben and Ceil Chancy, were ardent Zionists involved in organizations supporting Israel pre-1948. I remember my mother sewing layettes with her friends for the babies emigrating from Europe to Israel and the joy my mom and dad felt in reaching across the world with their love and compassion. My husband, Herb, had a strong desire to visit Israel and join, work, and support all causes Israeli. He was the driving force that ignited our family's interest. 

And, of course, there's the JNF family, and in particular Vivian Grossman, who walked me through my first JNF trip and continues to provide support and guidance as I take on new responsibilities. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

In the JNF Kitchen: Festive salad with goat cheese bruschetta

Yummy bruschetta from Alto Dairy in Israel's north. Just add salad.

This #RecipeOfTheWeek comes from Ariel Mazan, former kibbutz dairy farmer and owner of Alto Dairy in Israel's Western Galilee. Alto is owned and operated by the Mazan family and inspired by Ariel's Mazan's passion for cheese making. 

As Times of Israel said, "This family-run outfit is 'a little fanatic' about offering goat-only products." In the best possible way, of course. The dairy develops and produces a unique variety of cheese from the finest Galilean goat milk using traditional methods. When visiting Alto, travelers can stop by a boutique store and a coffee bar/restaurant serving a rich dairy menu including breakfast and lunch.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

How well do you know JNF projects in Israel? Take our quiz!

You support Jewish National Fund and the broad scope of work it does in Israel in areas ranging from water conservation, forestation, and cutting-edge agricultural innovation to preserving key historical sites, developing remote desert areas and ensuring an inclusive society for those with special needs. But just how well do you know the many individual projects that make up the JNF tapestry?  

Take our quiz to find out, and be sure to share your results! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

CEO Russell Robinson on making JPost's list of most influential Jews

JNF CEO Russell Robinson at the Ammunition Hill plaque dedicated to his father, Richard Robinson. 
We were thrilled to see CEO Russell Robinson named one of Jerusalem Post's 50 Most Influential Jews. We asked Russell to share some personal thoughts on this tremendous honor.

By Russell Robinson

I am humbled to have been chosen as No. 26 on the Jerusalem Post's list of 50 Most Influential Jews. I am reminded of a story I heard about Golda Meir, who once responded to a leading volunteer of the Jewish world admitting to feeling humbled: "You are not good enough yet to be humbled." Well I don't know if I am good enough, yet I am humbled.    

The selection came as a surprise: I turned on my computer one day and navigated to JPost (as is my morning ritual) and was shocked to see what was in the news. There it was!

Check out all the ways you can savor Sukkot with JNF

HaShomer HaChadash's annual Sukkot harvest festival.
This Sunday, October 23, the holiday of Sukkot begins at sundown, ushering in a week of festivities in Israel. Here's a comprehensive list of JNF tours, as well as partners open during the week. If you're traveling in Israel, come tiyul and celebrate with us!

Friday, October 7, 2016

In the JNF kitchen: Colorful salad featuring flavors of the Arava desert

After all those rich, complex meals on Rosh Hashanah, this #RecipeOfTheWeek is a nice, simple salad coming to us from the Central Arava Regional CouncilThe Arava is a key focus of JNF's Blueprint Negev initiative, which aims to bring communities to Israel's south, away from the congested, highly priced center of the country.

Friday, September 30, 2016

In the JNF Kitchen: Hagit's sweet challah

Beautiful round challahs just in time for Rosh Hashanah.

The #RecipeoftheWeek is a sweet challah brought to us for Rosh Hashanah by Hagit Stern, founder and owner of Brioche CafĂ©, located in Nahariya in the Western Galilee. The region has become a foodie and wine enthusiast paradise and is a key development area of JNF's Go North initiative. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

From New Jersey to starting anew in Israel's desert: 'The Negev is now'

Merchav Am community center

By Allison Levine Speiser

I actually remember the launch of JNF's Blueprint Negev, which happened while I was still living in New Jersey. It sounded like a nice idea, bringing water supply to Israel's Southern desert and creating infrastructure there, but admittedly, the campaign didn’t mean much to me at the time. 

The Negev was really far away from anything I connected with. I knew it was there, but it was never something I or anyone I knew was focusing on. It wasn't a place I had ever even visited, despite my many previous Israel trips over the years. When my family and I made aliyah in 2009 with Nefesh B’Nefesh, a JNF partner, we knew we wanted to be in the center of the country, nearer to job opportunities and friends. It was a logical move. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Rabbi brings potent religious-diversity encounter back to the Arava desert

Representatives of diverse faiths attend the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs' conference.  

By Rabbi Michael Cohen
Founding faculty member, Arava Institute for Environmental Studies

On a sunny August desert morning, I found myself invited by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs to talk about the Arava Institute's research in solar energy at a conference of "Ancient Traditions Contemporary Realities: A Meeting of Israel-Asia Faith Leaders" in Jerusalem.

There were leaders from the Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Sikh, Shinto, and Taoist religions, as well as a number of rabbis and Jewish scholars. It was a fascinating three-day encounter between Judaism and religions one does not often find itself in contact, much less dialogue, with. And that was exactly the reason the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs convened this gathering. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

In the JNF Kitchen: Chicken and dried fruit with tanzia

The #RecipeoftheWeek is a fabulous dish for Rosh Hashanah: chicken and dried fruit, that is guaranteed to bring you and your guests a sweet New Year. You can bring this chicken dish and its sides to another level, by serving it with tanzia, a kind of onion jam with dried fruit. A few tablespoons immediately upgrade any dish of rice, meat, or chicken.

Friday, September 9, 2016

In the JNF Kitchen: Fall BBQ braised veal spareribs

As fall rolls around and Rosh Hashanah fast approaches, we found inspiration in a deliciously flavorful recipe from Chef Uri Arnon: Fall BBQ braised veal spareribs, our #RecipeoftheWeek.

Chef Uri Arnon owns the restaurant Arnold's, voted one of Israel's 10 best kosher gourmet restaurants, and dedicates his cooking to shattering the myth of "kosher or delicious."