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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish National Fund’

African-American Converts Make Aliyah to Israel

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

“We will be a part of something so big—it is unthinkable to me,” Tracie Beavers said three-quarters of the way through a nearly 12-hour flight last week.

The Columbus, Ohio, mother of three was on her way to Israel, making aliyah with the support of the Nefesh B’Nefesh (NBN) agency.

Tracie’s journey is an unlikely one that began about a decade ago, peaking in 2013 and triumphing when she boarded the plane to Israel. Tracie and her husband Aaron are both African-American converts to Judaism. Their long-winding path to the Jewish homeland began a generation ago with Aaron Beavers’ father, who “changed his lifestyle” when he discovered Torah, said Tracie.

Aaron’s father infused in him a love of yiddishkeit, though he never converted his wife or children. Aaron Beavers was raised Christian, but nearly two decades later, he came to the same conclusion as his father—that Torah is truth.

In 2009, Aaron and Tracie decided they wanted to be Jewish. In 2013, they completed their conversion. They pro-ceeded converted their oldest children—Anayah, 8, and Gabrielle, 6. Chanan, 2, was born into the Jewish faith.

About a year ago, the family decided the next step was moving to Israel.

“If you believe something, you should do it as much as you possibly can. You should be as close to it as you can,” Aaron Beavers told JNS.org.

The family has moved to Bat Hefer, a community in the Sharon plain, east of the central Israeli city of Netanya. Aaron said he plans to be a plumber. Tracie will continue to stay at home with the children. A former member of the U.S. National Guard, she said she now hopes to volunteer for the Israel Defense Forces.

The members of the Beavers family were just a handful of the 221 diverse faces—all newly minted immigrants in the Jewish state—aboard the NBN charter flight on the El Al airline that took off from New York City’s John F. Ken-nedy International Airport on July 12. It was the 53rd charter flight in NBN’s history. Other organizational partners behind the flight included Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, and JNF-USA.

NBN’s co-founder, Rabbi Joshua Fass, told the group prior to takeoff, “Returning to Zion is like dreaming. … It is a diverse group of Jews coming together for a common dream.” The other co-founder, Tony Gelbart, said each aliyah flight is as exciting as the next.

“For these olim (immigrants to Israel), it is their first time,” he said.

Aboard the plane were a four-month-old baby and a 90-year-old bubbie, as well as two sets of three-generation families. In total, there were 32 families and 95 children. NBN has helped more than 45,000 olim get to Israel since its founding in 2001.

The 90-year-old bubbie was Sue Friedman, grandmother of Rachel Azaria, a member of the Israeli Knesset for the Kulanu party. Friedman said she has wanted to move to Israel since she left Germany at the age of 13, years before the Nazis annihilated 6 million Jews during the Holocaust. She spent many years raising a family in Riverdale, N.Y., but infused in all of her children a love of the Jewish state. She is being embraced in Israel by 27 great-grandchildren.

“I am ready,” she told JNS.org. Friedman is now residing in an independent living facility in Ra’anana.

While there were mixed emotions in the air as families boarded the flight in New York, leaving loved ones behind in America and feeling unsure of what exactly the future holds in Israel, there was nothing but joy upon landing.

JNF Plans to Build 3,000 Homes on Land It Owns in Tel Aviv Area

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

The Jewish National Fund (JNF) plans to build up to 3,000 residential units on land it owns in the greater Tel Aviv area.

TheJewishPress.com reported here last week that the JNF owns land worth approximately $1.75 billion.

It plans to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the new project following an approval of the new policy last month.

No timetable has been announced, Globes reported, but building on its own land will save the cost and bureaucracy of having to deal with Israel Land Authority tenders.

However, it will have to apply for building permits on land where there are no existing apartments or which needs to be re-zoned, meaning it could be years before final approval is received.

The bureaucratic procedures may be shorter than usual because the plan has been coordinated with the government, which has promised that it will ease the housing shortage in the metropolitan Tel Aviv region.

Charter ‘Aliyah’ Flight to Land in Israel Tuesday with 221 New ‘Olim’

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

Minister Ze’ev Elkin will welcome 221 new immigrants from the United States and Canada at Ben Gurion Airport on Tuesday., one year after Operation Protective Edge.

The flight, organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh in cooperation with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency and JNF-USA, will carry 32 families and 53 singles from 14 states, the District of Columbia and four Canadian provinces.

Among the Olim are 95 children – 49 girls and 46 boys – who are immigrating with their parents. About one-fourth of the Olim arriving on the flight have decided to settle in Israel’s periphery as part of the “Go North and Go South” programs.

During 2015, more than 4,000 new immigrants are expected to make Aliyah from North America, and half of them will arrive ii the summer.

JNF Owns Land Worth $1.75 Billion

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

The value of the Jewish National Fund’s land in 2013 was $1.75 billion (6.7 billion shekels), Globes reported Wednesday.

Known in Hebrew as Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael, JNF’s total assets are $3.25 billion, including the land, whose value in 2014 grew by another $350 million. The JNF sold land for $600 million in 2014 and collected another $21 million in donations.

The report also reveals that JNF has a staff of 950 employees, whose collective salaries are $81 million, almost half of $170 million it spent on land development and forestry.

Large Forest Fire Near Tzur Hadassah

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Six firefighter crews have been sent in to fight a forest fire in the Begin Forest near the town of Tzur Hadassah, just outside of Jerusalem.

A high-voltage power line that crossed over the forest fell down, igniting the blaze in a difficult to reach area.

Six fire fighter crews from Beit Shemesh, 2 firefighting airplanes, and firefighters from the JNF and the Electric Company are battling the fire.

Due to the location the fire is proving difficult to fight, but nearby residents are not in danger.

Helsinki Environmental ‘World Village’ Bans Jewish National Fund

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

The Finnish “World Village festival emphasizing the environment has banned the participation of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), the largest environmental organization in Israel. The Finnish government feigned it was powerless to interfere in the boycott and told the Israeli Ambassador to Helsinki that it has no say in the matter because the “Maailma Kylässä” festival is a “private event.”

Dan Ashbel, the Israeli ambassador to Finland, said:

I wonder how this scandalous decision is consistent with values such as eco-friendliness, fairness, tolerance, and the desire for peace. I wonder if the rest of the organizations in the festival are required to stand up to the same criteria.”

However, the Finnish government’s security forces were able to convince the World Village to ban the Freedom of Speech village, warning that an exhibition supporting the freedom of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine to publish cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed might cause violence.

The JNF has planted 240 million trees since 1901, and Israel is one of only two countries in the world that registered a net increase in the number of trees at the beginning of the 21st century.

It can be assumed that the organizers do the World Village were celebrating Boycott Israel when deciding to ban the JNF, which also has donated 3,000 trees to the Palestinian Authority for its new city of Rawabi north of Ramallah.

The World Village organizers figure that the environment is better off without a pro-environment organization, which is Jewish, and without a free speech environment that might upset Muslims.

World Zionist Congress Elections: Time is Running Out

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Have you voted yet in the World Zionist Congress elections? Did you know there is an election happening now, and it ends on April 30?

Okay; step back. What is the World Zionist Congress, why is there an election for it now, and who is running? And then, don’t forget to vote.

WORLD ZIONIST CONGRESS

The WZC was founded by Theodore Herzl in 1897. His idea was to create a legislative body of informed and interested Jewish organizations to make determinations for the Jewish people with the hope of helping to re-establish the Jewish State.

Now that there is, once again, a Jewish State, the WZC meets every five years to discuss and debate issues vital to the Jewish people, such as Jewish identity, security, civil society in Israel, anti-Semitism, and the Jewish State enterprise.

In addition to general policy discussions, the WZC exerts substantial control over significant assets owned by the three major Jewish institutions. It is in this way that parties with a strong voice in the WZC are able to have some control over how the substantial funds of these organizations are spent.

The Jewish National Fund, which controls approximately 13 percent of Israel’s land is one branch over which the WZC has influence.

The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), which is currently headed by Natan Scharansky, is also under the purview of the WZC. JAFI deals with immigration to Israel and absorption of new olim, and influences education about Zionism.

The third institution over which the WZC has some level of control is the World Zionist Organization. The WZC helps the WZO decide how to allocate funds and assists in the formulation of WZO policies.

PARTIES RUNNING

The WZC has a total of 500 members. The majority – 190 members – comes from Israel. The United States is entitled to 145 WZC members and the remainder of the diaspora is permitted 165 representatives.

There are currently 11 parties running slates for the WZC in the U.S.

Those parties run the spectrum, from those who believe Israel was given by God and every inch of the biblical homeland belongs to the Jewish people, to those who support the immediate creation of a Palestinian State regardless of the harm to the current Jewish State.

It is essential that anyone voting reads the platform and looks at the slate of individuals running for each slate. Some of the party names do not necessarily correspond with the true nature of the parties.

WHO CAN VOTE AND HOW?

In order to vote in the U.S. elections for the WZC, you first have to register. If you are 18 years old, live in the United States and accept what is called the “Jerusalem Program,” chances are you are entitled to vote in the U.S. WZC election, which is run by the American Zionist Movement.

The Jerusalem Program encapsulates the belief that Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, that Zionism led to the (re)establishment of Israel, which is understood to be a Jewish, Zionist, democratic and secure state and is the expression of the common responsibilities of the Jewish people for its continuity and future. Zionism assumes the centrality of the State of Israel and of Jerusalem, its capital.

According to the Jerusalem Program, Zionism asserts that Israel is rooted in the vision of the prophets, and that it strives for peace and to contribute to the betterment of the world. Zionism seeks to foster Jewish spiritual and cultural values and nourishes mutual Jewish responsibility, where the rights of Jews as individuals and as a nation are defended, and where everyone strives to erase all forms of anti-Semitism. “Finally, settling the country is an expression of practical Zionism.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/world-zionist-congress-elections-time-is-running-out/2015/04/21/

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