PHOENIX, Nov. 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Over 1,300 leaders, philanthropists, and students gathered in the Grand Canyon State for Jewish National Fund's (JNF-USA) annual National Conference. The dedicated supporters of the 117-year-old organization learned about and discussed the key issues of the day over a powerful and impactful weekend.
Speakers emphasized Jewish National Fund's critical work in Israel. Marlee Matlin recounted her first trip to Israel this year where she was inspired by Jewish National Fund's work with Special in Uniform; Dr. Deborah E. Lipstadt led a discussion on the harrowing reality of Holocaust denial which was eerily timely and relevant; Bari Weiss changed her topic to speak about Tree of Life, her home synagogue where she became a Bat Mitzvah. "We will build a Jewish people and a Jewish state that are not only safe and resilient, but self-aware, meaningful, generative, humane, joyful, and life-affirming," said Weiss.
Water and environmental experts from Israel and the U.S. addressed the next steps being taken to confront and mitigate today's global water challenges during the session "Israel's Water Challenges and Opportunities."
On Saturday morning, JNF recognized the horrendous attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh with a moment of silence. "Jewish National Fund-USA mourns with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh and the Tree of Life Synagogue that suffered the tragic and horrific act of terrorism Saturday morning during Shabbat services. This episode of mass violence leaves us devastated and heartbroken," said Conference Co-Chairs Toni Dusik and Marc Kelman.
Conference attendees left feeling reenergized and excited for all the upcoming initiatives and projects that Jewish National Fund is embarking upon in the coming year. One such project is a state-of-the-art culinary institute in Israel's Upper Eastern Galilee. The culinary institute, expected to open in the fall of 2019, will be the first of its kind in the Middle East.
"This year's National Conference surpassed my expectations as we had a fantastic, energetic turn out with 1/3 of our participants under the age of 40," said Jewish National Fund President Dr. Sol Lizerbram. "It was a privilege to particularly spotlight the building we are leading in Northern Israel that will bring thousands of new jobs and residents to the Upper Eastern Galilee along with much needed infrastructure."
Jewish National Fund's 2019 National Conference will take place in Washington, D.C. September 13-16. For more information and to register, please visit jnf.org/nc.
SOURCE Jewish National Fund