"This conversation would never be taking place if it weren't for my aunt, Goldie Rutenberg," says Sam Maslansky
when I call him in his
New Jersey home to discuss his
extraordinary commitment and dedication to Jewish National Fund
. Sam Maslansky was born in Brooklyn, and served in the Marine Corps.He worked as a technical writer for most of his life.Sam is also the newest member of JNF's World Chairman's Council, reserved for supporters of the highest level of commitment-those who have given $1 million or more over their lifetime.Sam
had been a supporter of JNF's
work for many years, but it was through the foundation he
established for his
Aunt Goldie that he
was able to make such a sizeable contribution.
The full name of the foundation is The Goldie Rutenberg and Parents Shayna River and Juda Rutenberg and the Rutenberg Family Foundation
, and it was established by Sam
in the mid-90's at Goldie's request.
A longtime supporter of JNF
, Goldie asked Sam
to establish the foundation to ensure that her
charitable giving-in particular her
support of JNF-would endure after her
death.Sam serves as President of the foundation; other members of his family serve on the Board of Directors.
At Goldie's request, Sam
office in New Jersey to purchase $100,000 worth of trees in Israel.Northeastern Zone Director Joel L. Leibowitz met with Sam
, and together they decided that the money might be better spent going towards the water crisis in Israel.
...As it happened, JNF was taking a mission to Israel a few months later, and Sam decided to join the group and see for himself what the foundation's gift could accomplish.
, the trip was life altering.He
hadn't been to Israel since the early 1960's and was amazed at the changes that had occurred-changes that had been brought about in large part through the work of Jewish National Fund
"I remember, back in those days, in the northern region of Israel, how bad the hills were," says Sam
."Barren-occasionally a little tree here or there, but mostly just covered in rocks.When I returned, I could hardly believe my eyes-the hills were just covered with trees.In fact, the area reminded me of the Catskill Mountains!Not at all what I expected."Sam
also saw the reservoirs JNF
has constructed, and the community and family farms that are benefiting as a result.He saw the amazing work JNF has done at Timna Park-work made possible through the contribution of Avrum Chudnow, a fellow member of the World Chairman's Council.
It was an emotional trip for all who participated, but especially for Sam
.Throughout the trip, he
constantly thought to himself, "Goldie, what would you think of this?I'm here because of you."As the mission neared its final days, Sam
made the decision to commit $1 million to JNF
's efforts to fight the water crisis in Israel.
All of us in the JNF
family-as well as our brothers and sisters in Israel-owe Sam, Goldie, and their entire family a debt of gratitude.