My Jewish National Fund Story

During the Summer of 2016, my daughter Mia (8 at the time) and I planned a summer adventure in Jerusalem. We had planned to visit the Knesset and were invited to the Knesset dining room by our friend Minister of Science, Ofir Akunis and his Chief of International Relations at the time, Nadav Douani. I had the opportunity to meet Ambassador Michael Oren who had just been promoted to Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.
When told that I was active in Jewish National Fund, Ambassador Oren suggested to me to speak with Jewish National Fund CEO, Russell Robinson, to not forget the North of Israel in our efforts and not forget the City of Metula (an area that needed help).
What followed was a typical Jewish National Fund Story, I called Russell and became a member of Jewish National Fund Go North East Taskforce and quickly following became the Chair working with an amazing JNF professional team and group of donors.
I returned to Israel late Summer 2017 with Mia and we were encouraged by Russell Robinson to “touch the earth” and look at opportunities for us to transform a region as Jewish National Fund has done in its history and most recently in Beersheva. For someone who likes to look at nature (but not to interact with it) and who refers to camping as a hotel with out turn down service, this became an interesting journey.
In truth, it was life changing. Life changing for my Mia to interact with donors both Jewish and non-Jewish all with a commitment to building Israel. Life changing for me and our group to meet a group of Israeli’s committed to turning around the decline in population in the Region and build new housing & industry. Our trip to the Region as well solidified to the community our commitment to them and to improving the lives of residents. The Jewish National Fund team has been working hard over the past year and a half building our projects to transform a Region.
In 2019, we are poised for great things. Working with Lior Sercarz (the world’s leading spice maker), we will open our initial phase of The International Culinary Institute (ICI) at Kibbutz Gonen near Kiryat Shmona later this year. ICI will be the finest Culinary Institute in the world when complete. It is important in so many ways; bringing people together across cultures with food while bringing industry to the Region. It will be a degree granting institution in partnership with Tel Hai College focusing on farm to table training while providing business tools for success. I love the fact that despite owning a restaurant and Chairing an effort focused on food, I could easily be a contestant on the World’s Worst Cooks. I look forward to enrolling myself in the Institute!
Working with Erel Margalit’s in 2020 development team, we will bring Beit Asher to life which will be a state of the art food technology center. Jewish National Fund will be transforming the Region to a Culinary power house. We will also be changing lives working with the community to build the first new homes in over 30 years. Jewish National Fund is also taking a leadership role in creating a medical center long over due to provided needed health care to the communities in the north.
We will also visit Metula the site of a range of terror tunnels uncovered by the IDF. We stand strong with the community and demonstrate our commitment to the safety of Israelis.
When I return to Israel in just a month, I return to see friends and honor our commitment to them. I look forward to seeing my friend Ofir Yezekheli now Vice Mayor of Kiryat Shmona and my dear friend Erez Moshe, General Manager of the Galilion Hotel setting a standard for hospitality in the Region. I look forward to spending a week with committed donors, professionals, our famous Lior and of course our leader, Russell Robinson.
While my Mia admonishes me for not allowing her to miss school this trip, she will join me in Israel again this Summer. As we grow a Region, we demonstrate to our children the priority of Israel. Please look for my journey as it unfolds and please think about joining me back home in Los Angeles and with our team across the country as we transform a Region of Israel with the uniqueness that only Jewish National Fund can make happen.

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