Home > Not Just Trees- Hadassah & JNF

Not Just Trees- Hadassah & JNF

by Barbara Sofer, Jerusalem Netletter  

Our own Barbara Goldstein, Deputy Director of Hadassah Offices in Israel, was reminiscing about her first collection for JNF. She went door to door, even to the convent on her street in New Jersey, where she got good donations from the nuns. The money she collected went to reclaim the land and plant trees. "The person who sent me out told me that the first donation I had to make was my own. I was nine years old. What money did I have? He said I should give the 50 cents from my allowance, so I did. It was a lesson I learned in life, always to be the first to give."

Many of the philanthropists and Jewish leaders I've interviewed over the years have said that the image of their financially-challenged mothers putting coins in the Blue Box taught them the importance of donations and supporting Israel. With the recent tragic fire in the Carmel Forest, we are even more aware of what hard work went into the Jewish people's reclaiming the land and planting tree by tree over the barren landscape. Reforesting Israel is one of the great ecology success stories of modern life.  

Hadassah continues to be the largest organizational supporter of JNF. The fire engine we donated in the Second Lebanon War worked hard to fight the fire. Recently, our Young Judaea Year Course participants raised money and brought gifts of small electronics and sports equipment to the kids at the Yemin Orde Youth Village whose village was damaged in the blaze.  

Year Courser Shira Berman, 18, from Atlanta, said: "We went out to the Jerusalem boardwalk area, carrying signs, musical instruments and cookies, and started collecting money from passers by. Luckily for us, there was a show that night so there was a big crowd and we managed to raise NIS 8,000. When we gave the money to Yemin Orde, I felt tremendous satisfaction because I saw how much they needed it. It was also sad to see all the destruction. It was clear they needed more help; restoring the village will require much more work."

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