The legacy Zionist organization Jewish National Fund organizes professional groups to help with its fundraising. “An annual contribution of $1,000 or more allows you join this exclusive group,” reads the information for Lawyers for Israel Society of Jewish National Fund, on the JNF website.
Five years ago, the JNF approached Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, of Congregation B’nai Tzedek in Potomac and a long-time JNF supporter, to become the first national chair for Rabbis for Israel.
“It’s always exciting to be on the ground and help organize something,” said Weinblatt, who stepped down from the role last month. “[The group] gives the rabbis the chance to learn about [JNF’s] programs.”
The Rabbis for Israel program is designed for rabbis who want to have more educational opportunities and create stronger connections with other rabbis. It also provides members with advice for organizing congregation trips to Israel
Rabbis for Israel now has about 100 members. They include Rabbi Gary Pokras, of Temple Beth Ami; Rabbi Lyle Fishman, of Ohr Kodesh Congregation; and Rabbi David Kalender, of Congregation Olam Tikvah.
JNF CEO Russell Robinson said the foundation hired Weinblatt because he is “a great lover of Israel. He has a great personality and a great knowledge base. He’s been a consistent on-going advocate of JNF.”
In December, Rabbi Craig Axler, of Temple Isaiah in Fulton, became the new chair.