Oct 17, 2019  By Laura Salzer  Category: Education,

I'm proud to mentor the next generation of leaders to stand tall for Israel

Life has an interesting way of showing us what we find important. Little did I know my son's decision to move to Israel, volunteer in the Israel Defense Forces, and become an Israeli citizen in 2014 would have such a drastic impact on my own life.

Until that point, I thought I knew a lot about Israel. I was taught about the country in religious school and visited and read about Israel over the years. Then, I joined Jewish National Fund, and my eyes were opened to all the innovative projects the organization spearheads for all Israelis. 

I learned about the real Israel, the people, the land, the history, and our future. For me, being a part of JNF has felt like working toward a master’s degree in Israel studies: It's such a transformative and fulfilling learning experience -- one I feel compelled to tell others about and encourage to take on themselves.

I am a strong advocate for education. It is vital to know our collective history so that in the future we can continue to protect and develop the land of Israel. As a member of JNF's Women for Israel, I am able to support, educate, and mentor the next generation about the importance of Zionism and Israel.

Thanks to the women's campaign and the support of other like-minded women, I became the Women for Israel Chair of JNF's Alexander Muss High School in Israel. Since 1972, AMHSI-JNF has educated over 30,000 high school students, and since merging with JNF in 2013, it has become the premier semester abroad college-prep program for high school students. Nowhere else do our children learn over 4,000-plus years of Jewish and Israeli history at the place where it happened, all while enhancing their college applications, resumes, and general studies.

With education and engagement as key priorities, JNF ensures young people are knowledgeable, prideful, and committed to Jewish life and Israel. From elementary school to college and beyond, JNF's educational programming -- the Israel Continuum -- is a game-changer, and the only organization committed to this life process.

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JNF offers opportunities and trips to Israel for college student leaders to become more knowledgeable about the country and better able to combat the strident anti-Israel environment they may encounter on campus. JNF provides the skills and tools to face those challenges, as well as the ability to speak proudly of Israel and celebrate its contributions to the world.

There's simply no other Zionist organization in the country with such an education plan for the next generation of Jewish leaders. Each mission to Israel produces a new cadre of Israel advocates. As a mentor, it is a gift to be able to pass along the insights, experiences, and information I have gained from Jewish National Fund and the women's campaign. Join me and make a difference.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of B'Yachad. Click here to read the rest of the issue.