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Shira Zamir
National Education Coordinator
Jewish National Fund
212-879-9305 ext. 269
szamir@jnf.org

Blue Box Bob Goes to School: JNF Launches New Education Program

Blue Box Bob March 30, 2005—New York, NY--Jewish National Fund is introducing Blue Box Bob, a new multi-component education program for Jewish day, afternoon and Sunday schools.  The program, now in its pilot year, includes Blue Box Bob visiting students in grades Pre-K through 4 across the country.  To date, 91 U.S. schools are registered for the program.

“JNF has recognized a great need to instill the Zionist dream into new generations of youth,” said Robert Levine, JNF Vice President for Education, “and to instill in them pride in the achievements of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents in the building of a Jewish homeland. It is JNF's hope that the Blue Bob Program will ‘transform’ these children into ‘Lovers and Workers for Zion.’”

Offered at no cost to schools, the Blue Box Bob Program is designed to use stories and innovative education materials to foster themes such as Nation Building, Partnership/Connection to Israel, and Active Responsibility/Tzedakah.  Registered schools will be provided with Blue Boxes and educational materials thematically based on Israeli history and tailored for each grade level. 

The JNF Blue Box, or charity box, is a signature symbol of Jewish National Fund. In the first half of the 20th century, every coin deposited in the JNF Blue Box made the giver a partner in the creation of the State of Israel. Coins collected from JNF Blue Boxes distributed around the world were used to purchase the land JNF currently owns in the land of Israel. Today the JNF Blue Box is a symbol of the bond between man and country, a link between the Jewish people and the land, a symbol of Jewish continuity.

Each school participating in the Blue Box Bob Program will set a monetary goal and designate a general project category to fund—Blue for water, Green for trees, and Brown for land.  JNF volunteers dressed as Blue Box Bob will visit the schools three times a year to distribute Blue Boxes, tell stories and hand out prizes.

The educational materials include "transformers," colorful sheets that fit around the Blue Box.  Each transformer (3 per year, with a different set for each grade, for a total of 15) represents a different figure in Israeli history, such as Theodor Herzl, a Pioneer/Chalutz or a Russian Immigrant.  The transformers also contain educational stories centered on the program's main themes, as well as the JNF projects that have helped to build the nation of Israel in the past 100 years.

“As students progress from Pre-K to 4th grade, the stories on the transformers become more advanced and fit together to form a complete picture, just as all the different parts of Israeli society come together to form a vibrant Jewish State,” says JNF National Education Coordinator Shira Zamir.

The second component of the program includes a school visit by a volunteer dressed as Blue Box Bob.  The volunteer can be a community member or parent from the school, or a member of the JNF Education Committee.  Blue Box Bob will visit the school at Chanukah, Purim and Yom Ha'atzmaut in order to distribute Blue Boxes, tell stories, hand out prizes, and bring the message of the importance of Tzedakah to life.  JNF has prepared a comprehensive volunteer handbook to provide the volunteer with all the information he or she needs to make the visit a success.  At the end of the year, prizes also will be distributed to high-performing students and schools.

To be a Blue Box Bob volunteer, obtain more information on JNF educational initiatives, or to register for the Blue Box Bob program, call 212-879-9305 ext. 269 or email szamir@jnf.org.

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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 165 reservoirs and dams, developed over 250,000 acres of land, created more than 450 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 http://support.jnf.org/.  To contact your local office, please call 888-JNF-0099 or visit http://support.jnf.org/.