Monday, July 29, 2019

These moments touched me most deeply on JNFuture mission to Israel

The author (top row, in blue shirt, third from left) and other volunteers on the JNFuture Leadership Institute Mission.

By Matt Franzblau

To say my JNFuture Leadership Institute Mission trip this summer was impactful and meaningful would be an understatement. Through a jammed-packed five-day tour filled with meetings, greetings, activities, and introductions, our group, comprised of nearly two dozen young professionals, got a true bird's eye view of Jewish National Fund's operations on the ground in Israel.

From the very first day when we stepped foot onto Ammunition Hill, where JNF's support helped revitalize an important memorial site, to our final meal with Halutza community representative Yedidya Harush, who is now thriving in his new home after having to leave his old one in Gush Katif on the Gaza Strip, our group became more knowledgeable and passionate about the organization we were in Israel to represent. 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Zionist spirit of Halutza pioneers is highlight of JNFuture Israel trip

 Photo: Joshua Robbin Marks
The new JNF-Halutza Medical Center serving the residents of Shlomit.

By Joshua Robbin Marks

The highlight of the action-packed JNFuture Ultimate Israel Experience tour this May was visiting the amazing communities of Halutza in the northwestern Negev. 

Seeing these modern-day Zionist pioneers flourishing right next to Gaza and Egypt was proof of the success of Jewish National Fund's Blueprint Negev initiative to improve the quality of life in southern Israel and attract new residents to the region.

The communities of Shlomit, Bnei Netzarim and Naveh were built for the Gush Katif residents evacuated from Gaza during the 2005 disengagement. These communities are rapidly developing to accommodate more families. We saw new homes, a synagogue, a community center under construction, greenhouses, crop fields, and solar farms. We also went on a tour of a new medical facility and took advantage of new trees recently planted to provide shade from the intense desert heat.