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7th Annual JNF Water and Wine Community Reception
By Stephen E. Lipken
The Seventh Annual Jewish National Fund (JNF) Water and Wine Community Reception was held at Westchester Reform Temple, Scarsdale, on Thursday, December 5th attended by approximately 150 citizens from Westchester and outlying communities, sponsored by Brenda, Michael Benn, Rachel, Jason Halperin and Ruth Raisfeld.
Keynote Speaker was Israeli-American News 12 journalist and TV Host Michelle Divon. A special treat was an All-Israel Wine Tasting event by Skyview Wines, Riverdale, NY (www.skyviewwine.com).
Welcoming JNF and the community, WRT Rabbi Jonathan Blake began, “This week’s Torah parashah ‘Vayeitzei,’ (and [Jacob] left) begins with Jacob far from home, for the first time in his life. Having no place to sleep, he pulls he pulls out a rock which becomes a pillow where he lays his head.
“Jacob dreams of a ladder with its foot in the earth and rungs ascending to the heavens, with messengers of G-d going up and down the ladder…
“Before Jacob went to sleep, he saw it as a barren desert. When Jacob awakes, he says, ‘G-d is in this place.’ By the time he wakes up he realizes he is on holy ground. He is transformed and the land transformed. JNF is in the businesses of transforming the land and making dreams come true.”
A JNF video delineated “Nefesh B’ Nefesh,” an independent nonprofit organization established in 2002 by Tony Gelbart and Rabbi Yehoshua Fass in 2002 to reinvigorate Aliyah (immigration) from English-speaking countries, facilitating the successful integration of olim (immigrants) to Israel, plus high school Semester Abroad in Israel.
JNF Future member Michael Mintz mentioned that JNF provided 900 homes throughout the Negev, medical trauma centers, fire trucks to smaller communities, bomb shelters and infrared cameras to Sderot to help firefighters rescue people in burning buildings, ignited by rocket attacks.
It was especially noted that JNF provided Sderot children with a fortified bombproof underground playground.