Monday, April 24, 2017

Bike ride for Negev town of Yerucham blazes trail of desert delight

Riders Joel Reinstein, Geri Shatz and Vivian Wong in Yerucham Lake Park

By Bob Weiss, Yerucham Task Force member

We just completed the first ever Ride for Yerucham and we can’t wait to get started on next year’s event.

The ride from April 2-6, four days of off-road Negev spectacle and a blessed day of spa relaxation, was centered in Yerucham, which I would argue is the most interesting town in the Negev. Each night we stayed in the lovely Desert Iris Hotel, and biked out each day to a different place in the Negev. We were furnished with new mountain bikes and helmets, and had professional guides and support every mile of the way.

Friday, April 21, 2017

In the JNF Kitchen: Traditional shakshuka eggs with special spices

Photo: Christian Leue
This recipe of the week comes to us from La Boite, a biscuits and spice shop in New York City owned by Israeli chef and spice blender Lior Lev Sercarz. Lior and La Boite have gained international fame for mixing spices in a unique way and selling some of the world's rarest blends. Lior opened his culinary superstore after traveling and studying around the globe, and he dreams of establishing a cooking school in Israel's north along with JNF. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

As Passover ends, reflecting on a holiday for befriending others

The author, far right, immediately felt welcomed by JNFuture.

By Cheryl Becker, JNFuture New Jersey member  

In the beginning of the maggid section of the Haggadah, we invite anyone who's hungry to join our Passover seder. One might think this is referring just to poor people who can't afford to purchase food for Passover. But another interpretation is to invite anyone you know who needs companionship. So during Passover it's a mitzvah to give money to the poor and go out of your way to befriend others. Passover is a time to unite, because we are all part of the Jewish people. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

On Passover, the importance of including the invisible fifth son

The author and his son, who's teaching the family that every child has unique abilities.

By Yossi Kahana, director of JNF's Task Force on Disabilities

We open the Seder with an open door, "Ha Lachma Anya": inviting in the hungry, the needy, and the enslaved, offering up the matzah as part of our welcome, a beautiful message offered freely, and inclusively to all. Then we read about the four sons, each representing a different type, a cross section of the Jewish nation. What links the four together, despite their very different personalities and levels of observance, is the fact that they are all an intrinsic part of the Jewish people. At Pesach, we celebrate together with them, as they all join us at the Seder table.

But there is also a fifth son -- one not mentioned in the Haggadah, and not discussed at the Seder, because he is usually not sitting with everyone else.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

JNF Staff Spotlight on Roland Roth: 'My JNF moment happened 80 years ago'


What is my “JNF moment”? Is it possible it was planted 80 years ago?

I think so.

My name is Roland Roth and I am the director for Jewish National Fund in the Pacific Northwest, a territory that covers my home state of Washington, plus Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii. I have been in this position for almost two years and to say I love what I do, what we do, what JNF does… is an understatement.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A love letter to my JNF mission

Members of JNF's board of directors, including the author, on their recent mission to Israel. 

By Geri Shatz

A love letter to my JNF mission. Really? Yes, really.


I love to travel with you, even though you drive me crazy. You plan visits to the sites I want to see, but you act as if we'll never return and cram them in. You take me to the loveliest hotels and don't remind me of that when I complain about the shabbier ones. You begin my days so early I'm unprepared for the weather and end them taking me to communities in the dark. You're patient when I don't hear your instructions and intemperate when the bus driver doesn't.

You always give me too much to eat, but you never point out that no one forces me to eat all the chocolate. You talk too much and I tell you so. You remind me that I do the same. Luckily, you provide liquor when called for.