WELCOME JEWISH NATIONAL FUND
I IMAGINE myself sitting in on the job interview of Russell Robinson for the position of CEO of Jewish National Fund.
Quite simply, after his interview, the rest of the interviews are cancelled.
He’s that good.
In a world made cynical by hyperbole, Russell’s Robinson’s enthusiasm is . . . enthusiasm.
His love for Israel is . . . love.
It’s as if his words and his complexion were typecast for each other: The words tumble out in plans, dreams, visions and commitments, and his ruddy complexion says: The life juices flow to make them all come true.
The big plan now is a $1 billion, 10-year campaign for a whole host of positive contributions to, well, yes, to Israel, but also to a real relationship between Israel and the Diaspora.
As in, a big boost in alternative spring breaks in Israel for American students.
As in, a big boost in trips to Israel for American high school students.
But I jump way ahead of myself.
To Russell Robinson’s Bar Mitzvah in El Paso, Texas, decades ago.
The key point here is not that someone else believed in him despite the fact that he saw Bar Mitzvah as a release from “prison.”
The key point is: He believed in himself.
This man from typical Hebrew School turn-off is now one of the major turn-ons for Jews around the world. Jews who want to build Israel. Jews who believe in the future of the Jewish people. Jews who are excited to be Jewish and Zionist.
He is a major turn-on for Jews who may not be connected now. Just as at one time, long ago, he wasn’t.
Any Jew can rise to top Jewish leadership.
The rest of this article is available in the IJN's print edition only. Russell Robinson discusses JNF's areas of impact: Zionist Education; Work in Israel; The Galilee; ‘Not a Land of Exiles’; Water; Historical Sites; The ‘New Israel’; The National Conference in Denver.