Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The magic that is life in the Arava desert: One family's story

Tania with her husband and son. 
Residents of the Central Arava face many challenges, including the harsh desert climate, the large distance between communities, and the 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 story from Tania Pons-Allon, who works for the Central Arava Regional Council. The council's jurisdiction covers more than 370,000 acres -- approximately 6 percent of Israel’s total land mass -- but is inhabited by just 3,300 people scattered throughout seven communities. 

By Tania Pons-Allon

It was summer, and we packed our small Tel Aviv apartment into a moving van and drove south. I was caressing a nine-month-pregnant belly as my husband drove fast in atypical speed for route No. 6, while sirens went off on the radio every couple of songs. The decision was clear to us both. After 10 years in the center of Israel, we were returning home. We are both Arava natives, and we always knew we wanted our children to grow up like we did: with a sense of freedom, tranquility, and simplicity.

Friday, June 24, 2016

In the JNF Kitchen: Kohlrabi carpaccio

The #RecipeoftheWeek, Kohlrabi carpaccio, comes from Aluma, a Galilean bistro owned by Alaa Sweetat in Maalot-Tarshicha. The town is a joint Jewish-Arab municipality, where the Buza ice cream shop is also located, situated in the Western Galilee region, a key focus of the JNF Go North development initiative.

Friday, June 17, 2016

In the JNF Kitchen: Delicious Moroccan-style carrot salad

Looking for side dishes for your BBQ or summer picnic? Try our #RecipeOfTheWeek, a delicious Moroccan carrot salad flavored with garlic, paprika, and cilantro. This recipe is brought to us by Shula Amar, who emigrated to Israel in 1959 from Morocco with her parents and four brothers. Shula was raised and still lives in Yerucham, a Negev town rich in culinary traditions imported by Jews from Morocco and the Middle East. Yerucham is also a focus of JNF's Blueprint Negev initiative.

An awe-inspiring tenth trip to Israel, this time as a JNFuture volunteer

Steve Postal, JNFuture Volunteer Vacation
The author threshes wheat at LOTEM's ecological farm during his JNFuture Volunteer Vacation in Israel.  

JNFuture Volunteer Vacation brings Jewish young adults to Israel for a week to volunteer and tour the country. Here, Steve Postal of Washington D.C., who participated in the JVV, that ended earlier this month, shares his impressions of the experience. The next JNFuture Volunteer Vacation takes place from December 25 of this year though January 1, 2017. It's not too early to plan ahead!  

By Steve Postal 

To quote the great Israeli rock band Mashina, אין מקום אחר, there is no other place

This was my tenth trip to Israel (my second with JNF), but unique for me because it focused on the north.

The north's stunning beauty left me in awe. The grottos of Rosh Hanikra; Israel’s first accessible nature trail in Nachal Hashofet (in partnership with LOTEM-Making Nature Accessible); and the lush green hills of the Western Galilee complimented the eclectic rooftops of Jerusalem’s Old City and the white sand beaches of Tel Aviv we saw later on the tour. We stayed in the beautiful Kibbutz NirEtzion, with a night sky so crisp you could see three planets at once (Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn). Yes, this was verified by a smartphone app!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Power of Women spotlight on Susan Farber: How a JNF mission changed my life

Susan rides a Segway in Israel with JNF!
Throughout May, we celebrated the amazing women that make JNF what it is -- within Israel and outside. We continue our Power of Women series with Susan Farber, who describes the profound impact JNF has had on her life since she got involved less than two years ago.

By Susan Farber 

I'm 59 years old, a Chicago native who has lived in Phoenix for the last 31 years. I am married to Steven, a physician, and together we have raised three wonderful children. Until recently, I worked full-time running Steven’s medical practice. Now that my children are grown and out of the house, I have gotten more involved in my community. Full disclosure: Until fairly recently, I thought of JNF as the tree people; I remember the blue and white boxes at Hebrew school. I had nothing against trees, but felt my efforts were better placed in other organizations in my Jewish community.

Friday, June 10, 2016

In the JNF Kitchen: Shavuot savory cheese quiche from northern Israel

cheese quiche shavuot

Shavuot, the holiday that commemorates the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people, begins Saturday, June 11 at sundown. Tradition holds, for several reasons, that we eat dairy food over the chag, appropriately bestowing Shavuot with the nickname "the cheesecake holiday."

Friday, June 3, 2016

In the JNF Kitchen: Super delicious (and super easy) mango mousse

This #RecipeOfTheWeek comes to us from the Central Arava, where it's the beginning of mango season! What better way to celebrate than to whip a delicious Mango mousse? The Arava is a key focus of JNF's Blueprint Negev initiative, which aims to bring communities to Israel's south, away from the congested and highly priced center of the country.