We’re not the WZC – You should get to know us

At JNF-USA, we don’t have time to engage in negative energy. We are the doers and there’s far too much at stake to focus on finger-pointing

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have chosen Jewish National Fund-USA (JNF-USA) as their voice in Israel because of our transparency, lay leadership involvement, corporate integrity, and the fact that our focus has remained on people, not politics. 

Nothing in the philanthropic world repels donors more than the scourge of political infighting, backroom deals, and petty disagreements.

At JNF-USA, our movement is about the people on the streets of Sderot, Akko, Kiryat Shmona, and Be’er Sheva. Get to know us and you’ll get to know them.

Much has been said and reported about the election of the chairs of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL-JNF) (a separate organization from JNF-USA), the Jewish Agency, and the World Zionist Congress (WZC), a process JNF-USA is not involved with – and neither are 90% of Israeli or American Jews – who remain unengaged from, and unaware of the process.

Can you imagine what so many of our Jewish ancestors would have given to live in the modern, flourishing State of Israel – a place for Jewish people everywhere? 

From Moses to Maimonides, Hillel to Herzl, so many of our People’s luminaries never knew what it was like to realize our millennia-old dream of returning to our ancestral soil and rebuilding our home together. 

In this golden age of Jewish self-determination, as members of the Zionist movement, let’s remember that there is so much more that unites us than divides us. 

While there are ways for each of us to chart our own ideological paths, there is a way to do it that’s respectful of others and reflective of our common values – a philosophical approach not reflected by certain archaic organizations that fight to sit at the monetary buffet table.

All of the good work Zionist organizations have strived towards is now at risk because of a growing group of career political activists who are voices of negativity and finger-pointers – and who bring no positive plans or vision to the table.

As a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization, JNF-USA is an independent entity with an independent Board of Directors with the authority to make independent decisions – backed by good governance and donor involvement.

Other Jewish movements, such as the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox Movements sit at the table of the World Zionist Congress and therefore have a vote, and power.

JNF-USA is on the ground in Israel where we run our own operations and offices staffed by our own employees in order to support the people of Israel in the Negev and Galilee and maximize your philanthropic investments.

Ninety-five percent of Jewish people don’t know what the World Zionist Congress is or does – and I’m not sure if that organization has the will or motivation to tell them.

We should welcome robust debate within our institutions, however, let us fight over the important issues such as how best we can inspire and excite the next generation of Jewish leaders to remain engaged and connected to the land and people of Israel. 

At JNF-USA, we don’t have time to engage in negative energy. We are the doers and there’s far too much at stake to focus on finger-pointing.

Get to know us and you will know how you can work together with Israel’s pioneers in the Negev and Galilee to create a brighter future for our children and grandchildren together.

Get to know us and you will see that our conversations are not in the halls of the Knesset, rather, they take place directly and together with the people of Israel.

It’s a conversation we’re having with 51,000 Israelis with disabilities whom we support

It’s a conversation we’re having with the 1,500 job seekers we help through our Lauder Employment Center.

It’s a conversation we’re having with Israel’s firefighters that we provide lifesaving firefighting equipment to.

And it’s a conversation we’re having with tens of thousands of Jewish youth across the United States through our college programming and American semester abroad High School in Israel experience that creates the spark that ignites their lifelong connection to the land and people of Israel and Jewish people everywhere. An achievement further validated by the fact that our fastest-growing donor demographic is our JNFuture 22-40-year-old division.

Our movement of thousands of passionate lay leaders and donors will continue to carry out our strategic vision as we bring more and more doers together every day. If you want to be part of a positive story, join us and see how you can write the next chapter in our People’s enthralling history.

Please feel free to contact me anytime at ceo@jnf.org.

 Russell F. Robinson is Chief Executive Officer of Jewish National Fund-USA.

About the Author
Russell F. Robinson is JNF’s chief executive officer. Under his leadership, JNF has developed successful far-reaching programs that play a significant role in the quality of life for all Israelis, such as community development, environmental work, sustainable development of the Negev, and solutions for Israel’s water crisis.
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