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MTV News to Film JNF’s Alternative Spring Break

Show to Air on March 24, 2007

February 23, 2007 -- New York, NY -- When the 205 participants signed up with Jewish National Fund to spend their spring breaks this year helping rebuild Israel’s northern forests instead of on a beach in Cancun, they did so because they wanted to give back and make a difference. Little did they know they were going to be movie stars. Well, almost.

On March 24 (check for local listing time) MTV News will air its second annual “The Amazing Break,” a 30-minute special highlighting college students who spend their vacation time volunteering for local or international causes. Divided into four segments, one part of the program will showcase JNF’s Alternative Spring Break. An MTV crew is traveling to Israel to film the first group (there are two) as they prune forests, paint bomb shelters, build parks, meet with the residents and foresters who endured last summer’s war, and have a great time.

"When MTV News learned about JNF's Alternative Spring Break in the north," said Andrew Millard, MTV News producer, "we immediately felt that it would be something our audience would want to see. Not only is it newsworthy but we thought it that it offered an interesting perspective on a very complicated part of the world."

JNF’s Alternative Spring Break aims to make the north home again and imprint the participants with a lasting connection to the Jewish State. Participants were responsible for fundraising a minimum of $800 forging a connection of a different sort. To date they have raised more than $200,000. All funds are going towards JNF's Operation Northern Renewal, a 10-year, $400 million campaign that is rebuilding and restoring the ecosystem and communities destroyed by rocket attacks.

Instead of sandy beaches -- the standard spring break fare -- participants will sift through burnt soil. Tans will be acquired but not by lolling in the sun; they'll be earned the hard way, through hours of work. Still, they will experience the time of their lives and create memories and a commitment to last a lifetime by getting their hands dirty rebuilding their homeland.

As a result of this effort, guest houses across the region -- now suffering terrible economic losses from the war -- will be full, forests cleared and replanted, environmental clean-up provided, bomb shelters refurbished, attention paid to the needy population, and parks and recreation sites used by northern residents rebuilt.

This trip will be JNF’s second annual Alternative Spring Break connecting college students to the land and the people of Israel by working in projects benefiting communities. During the inaugural trip last year, students spent time in the Negev and experienced what the early pioneers of Israel experienced: building the land of Israel.

Now, more than 200 students will have the opportunity to perpetuate the legacy of their ancestors. “Our great-grandparents planted these forests,” said Ben Sack, who participated in last year’s Alternative Spring Break and is a senior at the University of Central Florida. “Then what took two generations to mature, was destroyed in a matter of weeks. Now it’s up to my generation to rebuild it. We are the fourth generation of Israel’s builders and our participation is as important today as it was 60-70 years ago.

“As a past participant in JNF’s Alternative Spring Break, I saw first-hand the absolute necessity of developing Israel,” he said. “Now, with this current crisis, that need has grown exponentially. JNF’s Spring Break in the north will help Israel achieve its needs for safety, security and prosperity.”

“The Amazing Break” proves that vacation can be fulfilling and so much fun at the same time. Tune in on March 24.

For more information, visit the website at or call Rebecca Kahn at 212-879-9305 ext. 248.

Caption: On last year's Alternative Spring Break, students worked the land and helped build infrastructure in Negev communities.

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Jewish National Fund is a non-profit organization founded in 1901 to serve as caretaker of the land of Israel, on behalf of its owners—Jewish people everywhere. Over the past century, JNF has planted over 240 million trees, built over 180 reservoirs and dams, developed over 250,000 acres of land, created more than 1,000 parks, provided the infrastructure for 1,000 communities and educated students around the world about Israel and the environment. Today, JNF is putting its century of experience to work with the Blueprint Negev initiative, supporting Israel’s newest generation of pioneers in developing the Negev Desert, Israel’s last frontier. For more information on JNF or to plant trees in Israel, call 1-800-542-TREE (8733) or visit To contact your local office, please call 888-JNF-0099 or visit


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