Penny S. Tee with Russell Robinson JNF, CEO

The 2020 Jewish National Fund’s Virtual Conference Closing Ceremony Heralded Peace

Penny S. Tee Article

~Shabbat Shalom~

Imagine all the people

Living life in

Peace, שלום, سلام

I have been attending the 2020 Jewish National Fund (JNF) Virtual Conference all week. It was a different type of event than normal since they chose to be virtual in these times of COVID-19. Nonetheless, it was as educational as always, and being online allowed for so many more people to attend and be able to hear about the wonders of Israel.

I have been updating you with brief Facebook posts, and I want to continue to savor what I learned in the enlightening sessions, so I’ll be sharing the details with my readers in the weeks ahead. I hope you will enjoy them and share with friends. From how Israel was able to develop and grow cities like Be’er Sheva to become the Capital of the Negev, to the impressive technological advancements in agriculture and preserving water, to acts of tikkun olam (repairing the world) by the Arava International Center for Agricultural Training (AICAT) teaching over 20,000 students from developing countries their advanced agricultural techniques. These are just a few of the topics covered.

The JNF has been a partner in every step of the way―even before Israel was a state! They have been dedicated to building Eretz Yisrael from the ground up for 119 years. There was so much that impressed me and put a smile on my face. JNF has always been there, providing the expertise and funding to make Israel great.

During the JNF 2020 Closing Session we listened to beautiful voices singing the classic song “Od Yavod Shalom Aleynu” “Peace will come upon us, yet”:

עוד יבוא שלום עלינו                  In Hebrew: Shalom Peace will soon be upon us

ועל כולם!

סלאאם, עלינו ועל כל העולם      In Arabic: Salaam Peace, In Hebrew: Upon us and upon the whole world

The song has always been poignant for me, as a wish for Peace for all of the Middle East since it uses the words Peace in Hebrew (Shalom) and Arabic (Salaam). And when the conference closed and I turned on the news, it happened. Did the heavens hear their plea? Israel and Sudan have agreed to normalize relations! Amen. What a way to end the conference. I could not be happier. For me, Peace (I always capitalize Peace, it is too important) is always the goal.

This really bookended the conference for me and made me think of my journey. Our  family had been in Israel for my son’s bar mitzvah present, in the summer of 2014― when the Palestinian missiles began firing. It would become Operation Protective Edge. Running to bomb shelters got my attention.

I had always cared about Israel from the time I was in Hebrew school and put coins in the JNF tin can pushke (charity container), but I was here safe in the United States and Israel was over there. Life gets in the way. Not until our family tasted the bitter fear for our lives did I wake up to what Israel faces daily. May God protect them.

Even currently and for months now, and during the conference this week, Palestinian missiles continued to be shot into Israel. Thank God for Iron Dome! Two days ago, another Hamas terror tunnel was discovered along the Gaza border.

The realization made me want to do something for Israel―especially work on Peace. Thus my book, “BLASTED from COMPLACENCY: A Journey from Terror to Transformation in Israel,” my alliance with JNF, and becoming a speaker for the JNF Speakers Bureau. Our goals to support Israel are the same, JNF is my mispochah (family).

I would like to personally thank the JNF, CEO Russell Robinson (he was kind enough to read my book and write a testimonial for it) and all who help in countless ways to ensure that Israel flourishes. God willing, next year in Israel at the 2021 Jewish National Fund Conference October 10-14, 2021.  Am Yisrael Chai!

May you live in Peace, שלום, سلام.

I invite you to Join Me on My Journey…

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