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JNF celebrates the power of women


Jewish National Fund is celebrating Women’s Month in March and highlighting the remarkable women who have taken on leadership roles within the organization. JNF Women’s Month coincides with National Women’s History Month, as well as International Women’s Day, which has been observed since the early 1900s.

Throughout the month of March, JNF is hosting over 30 events across the country to bring women together to share their personal stories and highlight the important work that Jewish National Fund accomplishes through the women who give their time and financial support to the nonprofit. Thanks to the generous donations of Theresa Lungwitz of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Polly Levine of Paradise Valley, Ariz., donations to JNF’s Women for Israel campaign from March 8th to March 31, 2018, will be matched up to a total of $1,000,000.

“Women raise money with their heart,” said JNFuture National Chair Stephanie Kelman of Portland, Oreg. “I’m not saying men don’t, but women are able to reach other women on a more emotional level and relate to some of the issues that we’re working toward a bit more personally. Jewish National Fund is going to be a ‘women-run’ organization in the next 20 years, for sure.”

This year alone, the number of women on JNF’s national board doubled and more women are stepping up to fill roles on local boards and committees. Almost half of the leadership positions at Jewish National Fund across the U.S. are held by women—including 22 national board members and 19 local board presidents and 150 task force members.

“In 2013, women contributed a little more than $11 million to our annual campaign,” said JNF’s National Vice President of Women for Israel and San Diego Board President Myra Chack Fleischer. “In just four short years, that number has ballooned to more than $22 million—an incredible 100 percent increase.”

In 1999, Jewish National Fund’s Women for Israel was founded with the creation of the Sapphire Society under the leadership of Terry L. Katz, of Philadelphia, Pa. In less than two decades, JNF’s Women for Israel has become a powerhouse within the organization with over 50,000 donors across the country contributing more than 25 percent of the dollars raised each year to improve the quality of life in Israel for all who call it home. In fact, one of JNF’s largest and most successful initiatives started out as an idea that was developed through Women for Israel.

“The town of Zukim in the Arava [located in the Negev Desert] was a brainchild of JNF women,” said JNF’s National President of Women for Israel Nina Paul of Cincinnati, Ohio. “Where there were once only sand dunes a new community has developed that is both entrepreneurial and a great tourist destination. That vision helped to inspire JNF’s Blueprint Negev campaign to develop the Negev and bring to life Ben Gurion’s dream.”

Jewish National Fund Women for Israel is a dynamic group of female philanthropists who share a passion for building a prosperous future for the land and people of Israel. Through this society, women connect with each other on many levels—professional, emotional and ideological—with the common goal of changing lives in Israel and supporting the ongoing development of the Jewish homeland.

Throughout March, JNF’s website, blog, and social media channels will call attention to the incredible women involved with the organization. Follow along using the hashtag #JNFWomen. To learn more about Jewish National Fund’s Women for Israel, please visit jnf.org/women.


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