Friday, December 27, 2019

Top 5 reasons to join JNF's first ever Negev Adventure Mission to Israel

By Don Wong, Negev Adventure Mission co-chair

Looking for a travel adventure? We have something amazing for the active and non-active alike.
Please tell your family members and friends to save the dates April 21-27, 2020 for fun and adventure in Israel's Negev. Below are the top five reasons to join the Modern Israel Negev Adventure Mission.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Waze, Wix, Outbrain, Trax: Cuz about Israeli innovation, we're rappin' facts

By Max Marine

After growing up in Philadelphia in a conservative Jewish community, 10 years ago (at age 20), I flew to Israel for the first time on Birthright. My uncle handed me a book before I flew: "Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle." As I traveled over the Atlantic reading, I was blown away by all the innovation such a small country had produced with so few resources.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Three things a rabbi learned about JNF on his mission to Israel

The author, center, with other members of the mission.

By Rabbi Jason Fruithandler

I just got back from a JNF-USA mission to Israel. Before attending, I was under the impression JNF-USA planted trees, collected tzedakah money, and occasionally brought a very large map of Israel to my Hebrew school. I always assumed it did more but never had an inkling what. These past few days I have learned so much about JNF-USA. I'd like to share it.

Monday, December 16, 2019

The poetry of Israel: A JNF housing mission, recounted in rhyme

The author, second from right, with other members of JNF's Housing Development Task Force.

By Scott Nadler

We loaded up the van with our luggage,
And our leaders discussed the day's plan.
Traveling south from Ashdod to Sderot,
The housing mission began.

We hit the road bright and early,
It was a 30-minute ride -- 
Zest and excitement filled the air,
Our hearts filled with pride.

There were eight of us volunteering
From different states, all with bravado.
From New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania,
To Arkansas and Colorado.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

What is Chanukah? A reminder that light can transform darkness

Yossi Kahana lights the menorah.
By Yossi Kahana, director, JNF Task Force on Disabilities

Chanukah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime "festival of lights," celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers, and fried foods. Chanukah begins on the eve of Kislev 25 and continues for eight days. This year, the holiday runs from December 22-30.

What we are celebrating again?
In the second century BCE, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who tried to force the people of Israel to accept Greek culture and beliefs instead of mitzvah observance and belief in G‑d. Against all odds, a small band of faithful but poorly armed Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of G‑d.

When they sought to light the Temple's Menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum), they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks. Miraculously, they lit the menorah and the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.