Thursday, December 21, 2017

JNF Staff Spotlight: Kate Samuels takes Israel to Jews in small towns

Kate, far left, with JNF lay leaders at the National Conference in Florida this November.
"I don't follow college sports." The dinner table fell silent. It became increasingly clear that my vast knowledge on Israel would not help me here. College football was THE religion in this small town, and I had just declared I wasn't a part of it.

That was my first experience in a small-town Jewish community. Growing up in Connecticut, I gave little thought to what it meant to be Jewish or have Jewish friends. And college football was definitely not a religion where I came from. 

After my first trip to a small Jewish community in the south, I became fascinated and intrigued by those who CHOSE to live in a small town and maintain their commitment to Israel and Judaism. Being Jewish in a small Jewish community requires dedication and commitment. Throughout my years of working in small communities, I have met tremendous individuals who are working day in and day out to ensure a strong Jewish future for their children. And it's not easy for them.  

Monday, December 4, 2017

Why Connecticut license plates give me a surge of Jewish pride

Blue, white, and tin -- just like JNF pushkes.
By Bob Alper 

I've always found Connecticut license plates to be especially attractive.

I have no particular connection to Connecticut. I grew up in Rhode Island, and for the past 30 years have lived in the loveliest of all states, Vermont.

It's the colors of those Connecticut plates -- the unique blue and white -- that always, happily, remind me of Israel. And there’s another reason behind my fondness for the plates, something I realized only recently.