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.