Jewish National Fund re-establishes a presence in Detroit.
HARRY KIRS BAUM
inus a local office and
the overhead, the Jewish
National Fund is making
a renewed local presence
in the Detroit area.
After a top-down
reassessment in 1996, the
national office created a
hub-and-spoke system, said
Rick Krosnick, director of
JNF's Northbrook, Ill.-
based Midwest zone, which
"The real question was
the priorities of the organi-
zation and how much
money's being allocated
domestically versus programs
in Israel," he said before the first wel-
come meeting of the new local 25-
member board on Oct. 14 in the
Farmington Hills home of Hannan and
Lisa Lis. "We [also] realized that you
don't have to have an office in a com-
munity- to be active."
JNF USA has one mission, Krosnick
said — to raise money from the
American Jewish community to send
to Israel to help environmental con-
cerns and land-and-water development
— and to do it as cost efficiently as
This fiscal year (Sept. 30), Krosnick
said, JNF will realize a 10 percent
increase in its campaign, with 10 fewer
offices than in 1997.
"Though we physically
closed the Detroit office,
we're bringing in nearly as
71 much revenue from the
I Michigan Jewish population
s today as we were two years
ago when we had an office,"
7" :: : he said.
7 "We have 7,000 donors in
-7 ' Michigan today. We want to
do better, and it has to hap-
pen with leadership and an
Detroit region president Bruce Israel
of Sylvan Lake, said, 'A lot of people in
our peer group don't necessarily know
the Jewish National Fund. My hope is
to raise the community's awareness, get
the involvement back, get people excit-
ed about it and most importan4 get
people to feel a sense they walk out of a
[future] meeting with the feeling that
you're actually doing something."
With 450,000 donors nationally,
JNF hasn't turned its back on the
amcha (your people) campaign with
the blue boxes, Krosnick said.
"But a decision was made to try the
best we can to develop major gifts for
the organization. Raising $18 with a
tzedakah box is very expensive in
regards to cost. We have to reach out to
the donor who can give us a $10,000
Shunon Tal, Israel's water commission-
er since July 2000, spoke of the needs
of the region's residents.
"Today, we're using a long-term mas-
ter plan based on a sustainable
approach to serve us, our children and
grandchildren — not only talking
about the quantity but the quality as
well," he said.
The desalinization plant near
Ashkelon that will produce drinking
water for more than 1 million citizens
is under construction, and will be
completed by the end of 2004 at a cost
of $250 million. Seven more similar
plants must be built to keep up with
the region's expanding population, he
"Within the next 20 years, the Israeli
and the Palestinian population will be
over 25 million people," he said. "We
will need 5 billion cubic meters a year
to supply them — more than double
the resources we have now."
Politics aside, Israel maintains a good
relationship with the Palestinians and
Jordanians in water issues. A joint
committee meets regularly to discuss
water problems, he said.
"When Israel entered the West Bank
in 1967, only 10 percent of the Arab
citizens had access to water supply sys-
tems. Today, almost 90 percent have
access because Israel is doing a lot of
things to operate and maintain all the
Israel must also invest in reservoirs
— at a cost of $1 million to $5 mil-
lion — to store the sewage effluence to
irrigate cultivated land, he said.
The first JNF Detroit regional event
will be Green Sunday, a phone-a-thon
volunteer fund-raiser planned for Nov.
Right: Fifth graderJosh Palan of Hebrew Day
School tests the water.
Far Right: Hebrew Day School fifth-grader
Motem Halevy gathers water.
Michigan at the Clinton River watershed.
The individual in charge of this major
international project is Ed Moyer, whose
work is based in Lansing. He has been very
helpful to Hebrew Day School and teacher
Carol Gannon in planning this educational
project that integrates the dual aspects of the
Michael Cohen, a Hebrew Day School
parent who works at Pfizer got his company
to donate test tubes needed for this experi-