Dec 21, 2023  By Jaqui Schneider  Category: Blueprint Negev,

Bringing Your “Best Life” to Jewish National Fund

I brought my husband, Ken, to the JNF-USA Conference in Boston in 2022 and he FELL IN LOVE with the Special In Uniform (SIU) Band.  We met some of the performers and their families and were completely blown away by their performances and the effect they had on the audience. Then they made a special surprise appearance at our A&E Task Force meeting to thank us for supporting them.

Ken came home thinking of ways to promote the band, Special in Uniform and Jewish National Fund-USA.  He was so full of ideas for great songs they could add to their repertoire.

Fast forward to Israel@75. WOW, another great performance at the Be'er Sheva River Park Celebration. The Special in Uniform Band added some new members, instruments & songs. Again, the connection to the audience was just incredible. People on their feet dancing & singing along. We again made a personal connection to a few of the performers and genuinely appreciated our support.

The last day of the trip was the dinner at Alexander Muss High School in Israel.  We were with Rob & Dorothy Ganz and Marti Eisenberg chatting with 2 of the students, explaining our roles in JNF-USA.  One of them suggested they take us on a private guided tour of the campus. We quickly agreed and off we went to the classrooms, dorms, mess hall, etc. I said, "Three of us are on the Arts and Entertainment Task Force and we helped fund the music room, any chance we could see it?" As we entered, we could hear someone playing the piano.  Meira said " Oh, That's Ellie (Broscow), she spends every extra minute in the music room". Ken asked her about her time at Muss and she explained that her semester was coming to an end, and she was not ready to leave. She shared how amazing her experience has been and she had even written a song about her time at Muss. Ken asked her to sing it for us.  She grabbed a guitar and sang her song (we recorded, of course). Ken has kept in contact with Ellie since then. The title of her song is "Best Life".

Ken and I arranged to meet with the Special in Uniform team while in Israel this past July.  Ken played several songs he's been collecting, including Ellie's song.  THEY LOVED "Best Life"! The lyrics, the music, a great fit for the SIU Band. “Best Life” was ready to go with just a minimal amount of arranging to fit the SIU Band.

Ellie attended the Global Conference in Denver and together with Special In Uniform will performed “Best Life”.  This ties with a nice bow the A&E Task Force, AMHSI, Special In Uniform and the Band.

Finally, I just want to say that I had a realization about the work JNF-USA does.  We plant seeds, sometimes we keep adding more water or fertilizer, we may see some buds right away, eventually full beautiful.  What we don't always see is what is happening underneath it all.  The roots are growing, spreading, forming a network that connects a lot of the various plantings and they make Israel stronger! A young girl from San Francisco spends a semester in Israel. She connects to her homeland, makes friends from all around the US. and is also given the opportunity to explore and develop her musical talents. Wow! and she writes a song...

Jacqui Schneider
President, San Diego Region
Jewish National Fund-USA
A&E Task Force Member