A Guest Post by AKUS
Over lunch the other day my family debated where we should donate money in the wake of the huge fire that has destroyed so much of Israel’s beautiful forest on Mount Carmel and was responsible for so many deaths. We tend to give small amounts to numerous causes in the hope that some of it will reach the intended recipients, while remaining rather suspicious of the organizational costs which eat up a good percentage of each dollar sent. (I estimate we receive between five and ten letters from various organizations each week asking for money, and in some cases I suspect the endless mailings cost more than the amount we donate).
As we discussed the fire, we decided that there is one Israeli organization that can really point to “results on the ground” – “uvdot b’shetach”, as we say in Israel. That is the JNF – Jewish National Fund, or Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael. The JNF is the organization which can lay claim to the concept of positive “climate change” and making a country greener before anyone had heard of the issue of “global warming”. It continues its efforts to this day as you can see on any visit to Israel.
The funding for the JNF has come from Jewish families – and perhaps non-Jewish families who admire what it has achieved. For decades children at Jewish day schools have been encouraged to bring a few coins to school on Friday to donate to the JNF, dropping the coins into the once ubiquitous “Blue Box”. As Israel grew and prospered, the need seemed less, but children continued to do this as an example and lesson in “tzdakah” – charitable giving – learned by practicing it every Friday.
So for our family – the little Blue Box is back, and that’s where our donations will go – to help reforest the Carmel.