JNFuture Bringing Israel to the Jersey Shore

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JNFuture, the subsection of the Jewish National Fund that caters to 22- to 40-year-olds, will host its second annual Margate Meets Tel Aviv event on Aug. 20 at Margate’s favorite pachyderm, Lucy the Elephant.

From someone who would know, what’s the easiest way to entice young professionals to come to an event? Tell them there will be food.
JNFuture, the subsection of the Jewish National Fund that caters to 22- to 40-year-olds, will host its second annual Margate Meets Tel Aviv event on Aug. 20 at Margate’s favorite pachyderm, Lucy the Elephant.
The evening will consist of dancing, eating, learning and enjoying a night under the stars.
Last year, the event brought out about 150 people, and the ticket sales for this year’s event have already surpassed last year, said event co-chair Danielle Hankin.
The event started as a way to get JNFuture’s name out into the Philadelphia community and bring people in who would be interested.
And who would pass up a fun night on the beach?
“We had a few small events and wanted to have a larger signature event,” Hankin said, “and we discussed different types of events we could have. We really wanted to do something unique that also reached out to the largest community, and we thought in the summertime in August, there’s a large Jewish community — as well as large community — down at the shore. We looked into a few different venues, and Lucy seemed like an exciting and unique event.”
The space Lucy offers had “more of the Tel Aviv feel” than other bars, restaurants or event spaces, Hankin continued.
“We became excited about that and it worked out well.”
This is the third year — and second active year — that JNFuture, which as a whole started in 2007, has had a chapter in Philadelphia, she added, so this event is a way to continue to gain awareness that it exists and of the work it does in Israel.
“JNF is a little unique as an organization where it’s not necessarily about Jewish people meeting Jewish people and socializing and doing good through that,” she said, “but it’s really about helping Israel grow as a country and building those connections and that knowledge-base. And right now, politically, Israel — I mean always is struggling — but the media has not been too kind to it, so it’s important to have young people from a younger age already building a connection and working with the different projects that JNF is supporting over there.”
Learning more about the work JNF does, and how JNFuture connects to that, is one of the goals for the night.
“Part of it is to raise awareness about our projects all over Israel, JNF has dozens of projects all over,” said JNF Southern New Jersey Director Matan Silberstein.
One of those projects, he said, is Arava International Center for Agricultural Training (AICAT), which provides professional agricultural training to students ranging everywhere from Jordan to Vietnam.
JNFuture has really adopted AICAT as one of the main initiatives that it supports.
“People come in from all over the world to learn modern agriculture techniques and then they go back to their country and they’re able to provide for their families and people, so it’s an Israeli project but it really benefits the whole world,” said Silberstein, who also is in charge of JNFuture Philadelphia.
“One of the goals,” he continued of the Margate event, “is to bring people who love Israel together and who love the mission of JNF together. Another goal is to fundraise for JNF, and in fundraising for JNF, that money is spread across our different projects, like AICAT.”
And, of course, another goal would be to have fun.
“First of all, it’s going to be a really fun night,” he said. “It’s an open bar, on the beach at Lucy the Elephant, Israeli DJ and food. Also it’s a really good opportunity to learn about what JNF does and the important role that we play for both the land and people of Israel.
“Everyone who went last year had an amazing time and they asked for it [this year]. We’re not in the business of turning that down,” he said with a laugh.
For Hankin, she is excited to be able to bring people together from South Jersey and Philadelphia for what she also promises “will be a really fun night.”
“You have people involved in different community groups, as well as people with no affiliation to the Jewish community,” Hankin observed, “but are excited about learning more and sharing the love.”
Preregistration for the event was required by Aug. 17.
Contact: mstern@jewishexponent.com; 215-832-0740

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