Friday, January 20, 2017

Israel 'not black and white and simple,' Caravan for Democracy student concludes

This year's crop of rock-star students on JNF's Caravan for Democracy trip. 
The Caravan for Democracy Student Leadership Mission is a 10-day, fully subsidized trip to Israel for non-Jewish student leaders who have never been there. The unique educational program gives participants the opportunity to explore Israel by meeting with political, cultural, and community leaders from diverse backgrounds and faiths. Here, a reflection on this year's CFD trip by a Michigan State University senior.

By Micaela Procopio

Sunday, January 8th, I woke up to the news that four IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers had been killed in Jerusalem in a place very near where I had stood less than a week ago. The entire 10 days I spent in Israel with 33 other student leaders I did not feel threatened or unsafe at all. Israel was normal. Israel is beautiful. 

When I was notified of my acceptance into JNF's Caravan for Democracy, I thought I had a pretty solid view of what Israel was and a fair understanding of the conflict. I feel more confused now. I think that's the right answer. Israel is not black and white and simple. It's gray and complex.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

My Arava Story: Myanmar farmer finds career, and love, in the desert

Htawshae Lum Hkawng in his element. He credits his time studying at AICAT in Israel with giving him 
the tools for farming success. 

We're taking time to focus on stories from the beautiful Arava, Israel's southern desert. Residents of the Central Arava face many challenges, including the harsh climate, large distance between communities, and lack of accessibility to resources available in urban centers. JNF has partnered with the Central Arava Regional Council as part of our Blueprint Negev campaign to make the Negev habitable to the next generation of Israel's residents. 

By Htawshae Lum Hkawng

I am from Myanmar. From 2011-2012 I came to Israel and studied in the agriculture diploma program at AICAT (Arava International Center for Agriculture Training). It was a truly amazing experience. I learned how to farm from square one: planting, pruning, feeding, sterilizing, irrigating, and cleaning until harvesting; packaging, cleaning, and maintaining the farm under the greenhouses and net houses. The program's model of combining classroom theory with practical work on the farm has given me the tools I need to go on and become a successful farmer.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Arava Story: A Kenyan agriculture student's 'extraordinary' new life

We're taking time to focus on the beauty of the Arava, Israel's southern desert. Residents of the Central Arava face many challenges, including the harsh climate, large distance between communities, and lack of accessibility to resources available in urban centers. JNF has partnered with the Central Arava Regional Council as part of our Blueprint Negev campaign to make the Negev habitable to the next generation of Israel's residents. 

Here, a personal narrative from a Kenyan student at the Arava International Center for Agriculture and Training (AICAT). He details the surprises and pleasures of his new life in Israel's south.

By Kenneth Kiplang'at Chepkwony

I recently graduated from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Kenya, and I'm currently pursuing a postgraduate diploma at the Arava International Center for Agriculture and Training. I came to Israel in August 2016 as one of the beneficiaries of an internship program that has seen the admission of 100 Kenyan students at AICAT. The objective is to expose individuals like me to the sophisticated agricultural technologies attached to the Arava. I hail from an agricultural family that relies solely on natural rainfall. Sadly, such traditional approaches have hindered local communities from growing food sufficiently. This inspired me to apply to AICAT. I have a deep desire to apply the knowledge I will amass in the Arava to influence my country folk positively.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Meet a JNF Leader: Adam Zlotnick, firefighting hero

Adam Zlotnick, left, and Daniel Shapiro, current U.S. ambassador to Israel. 

Adam Zlotnick is the crowning example of practicing what one preaches. Not only is the New Hampshire resident a member of the JNF New England board of directors, having been involved for over 10 years (his wife Christina is an active Sapphire member) but Adam is a proud participant of EVP- Emergency Volunteers Project

Friday, December 30, 2016

In the JNF kitchen: Cauliflower latkes from the Arava

All latked out yet? We have the perfect antidote -- cauliflower latkes from the Central Arava Regional CouncilThe Arava is a key focus of JNF's Blueprint Negev initiative, which aims to bring communities to Israel's south, away from the congested, highly priced center of the country.

The Central Arava is a wonderful place to visit, live, raise a family -- and run a farm! What residents in the area lack in natural resources, they make up for in ingenious agricultural solutions. All year round, the tastiest peppers, artichokes, melons, and cucumbers come out of the Central Arava.

Miami bat mitzvah girl brings cheer to IDF soldiers with disabilities

Tanya, second from right, stands with Special in Uniform director Tiran Attia (far left), along with family members and Special in Uniform soldiers at the beautiful dedication event. 
Today we bring you a story of a generous bat mitzvah celebrant who helped raise money for Special in Uniform in honor of her milestone birthday. Special in Uniform is a partner in JNF's efforts to ensure no member of Israeli society is left behind, as part of the Task Force on Disabilities. 

At a special ceremony at an Israel Defense Forces base in Israel, 12-year-old bat mitzvah girl Tanya Andrusier of Bal Harbour, Florida, gave 250 backpacks to soldiers with disabilities. Tanya was inspired by the soldiers of Special in Uniform and decided to do something special for them in honor of her bat mitzvah by using her talent as an artist.

Friday, December 23, 2016

In the JNF kitchen: Bulgarian beet carrot mozzarella latkes

This recipe of the week, an interesting twist on the holiday classic, comes from our partner Nefesh B'Nefesh. They are crafted by Chef Zissie, an American olah who made the move to Israel with NBN, and who's a great example of somebody who successfully transferred and rebuilt her independent career from the U.S. in Israel, taking her new environment into account. You can read her story here on the Nefesh B'Nefesh blog.