By: Anna Kos

I would like to start by saying JNF University and JNF Canada extends our utmost support to all the communities and universities who have recently been targeted  with anti-Semitic hate crimes. Know that we are with you shoulder-to-shoulder and hand-in-hand, we are behind you – now and always.

Over the last two weeks, JNF Canada has had two missions travelling the country and visiting our projects. The first mission being members of our Leadership board and the other being my amazing colleagues from back “home.”  It was wonderful reuniting with my friends and seeing how pumped they are after visiting the projects they worked so hard to bring to fruition.
With the grim news of the CNN report that was released this week, I think it is important for us to keep in perspective why we do the work that we do. Why we work in the non-profit sector and why we volunteer our time.

Yesterday, one of my best friends asked me to join her for a gathering of Jews from Lublin, Poland. My family is not from this city, but being a sucker for all things Polish, there was no question that I would join.
The event took place at the Museum of Rishon LeZion. I honestly had no expectations of the museum.
About 10 minutes into the private tour of the museum, I was surprised to learn very important facts in regards to this nation’s history.
The city being inhabited in 1882 is where nation’s flag was first sewn/designed and more importantly it was where the first stanza of the poem “Hatikva” was read by Naftali Herz Imber.
This poem was adopted by the First Zionist Congress as the anthem in 1897 and till this day is Israel’s national anthem. As Polish-Canadian (now Israeli) – I was standing in a city full of history.

Going to museums like the one I visited yesterday reminds me of our strong connection to the land of Israel. It also reminds me why organizations like the JNF are so vital in what Israel is today.
As Jews, we have been holding on to “hope” for centuries and we will continue to do so. Hope for peace among our borders. Hope for the safety of Jews living abroad. Hope for the freedom of religion. Hope that there will be an end to hate.
I think that because we continue to hold onto “hope” – it allows us not to lose our resolve.

We see that as a Jewish nation we are stronger. We won’t be silent.

Seeing my friends from Canada – I am proud to be part of the JNF Family. The determination our lay leaders have to make a change and do good – is admirable. To me, they are the hope that no matter what comes our way – we will be stronger. To all our board members and volunteers, I thank you – by coming to Israel and supporting the projects that you do, you are doing more for the Jewish people than you can ever imagine.