There is no chicken-and-egg quandary as to the origin of my connection to Israel and then Jewish National Fund. My grandmothers’ stories of “a return to Zion” and dropping quarters into JNF’s blue boxes set me on a course to passionately care about the young state and to eventually assume the role of executive director of JNF Atlanta.

I visited Israel at a young age and spent two years there as a student, social worker and girlfriend to the man who is now my husband. It was then that I evolved from a visitor looking in on Israel to a partner in building the country.

Beth Gluck

Israel connects me to my past, enriches my life and is the platform from which I work to ensure a future for the Jewish people. She offers me the chance to live a Jewish life in a state of opportunity and vision. While Jewish history is laden with fear, Israel exudes energy, accomplishment, change, challenge and vision. I am in awe of the opportunity before me to be an active player in all this energy!

Israel is where I choose to leave my greatest impact on our imperfect world, and while I will not finish the task before me, I will continue to take advantage of the luck of my lifetime to live through the development of a Jewish country to call home.

See all the reflections on Israel’s meaning on this special anniversary.