In the 21st Century the JNF’s education programme focuses on EcoZionism – the availability and awareness of Israel’s technological advances in countering Climate Change and that this if brought to the rest of the world.
We teach Jewish nursery school children about the JNF's projects related to Israel’s water, land and tree conservation. Age-appropriate games are developed and the school principals and teachers are also engaged to sustain the learning. A goal is to make the proud association of the children’s self -esteem with the morality and ethics of Jews and Israel's care for the environment. They are also taught about Israel’s eco-chessed (kindness) environmental interventions in other countries.
The JNF of South Africa works with the scholars in the Jewish day schools and in other schools where there is a contingency of Jewish scholars.
The start of the school year in January in South Africa coincides with the time of Tubishvat, which is the annual celebration in Israel of the renewal of trees. Special programmes from the Keren Kayemet (JNF) Education Department in Israel are implemented in the schools with the assistance of the young, Israeli madrichim (youth guides) who come to serve the Jewish community in South Africa for a year.
The Jewish day schools have eco-committees and the JNF Education Officer engages with the school principals and teachers to bring their attention to the JNF's climate-change projects implemented in Israel as well as in South Africa. The Israeli Keren Kayemet Diaspora Education Department offers updated materials on the website regarding Afforestation, Hydrology and Reverse desertification - useful for South African ecology teachers. The JNF offers interactive environmental programmes with qualified speakers as well as visits to our highly successful eco-intervention projects in South Africa. We foster social consciousness and a deep respect for Israel's outreach via EcoZionism. For example, the JNF Walter Sisulu Environmental Centre in Mamelodi is one of our self-sustaining, post-Apartheid JNF projects implemented for that previously disadvantaged community.
Tubishvat, the celebration of the renewal of trees, is a focal JNF chag (Jewish holiday) and it is the particular time of year when we connect with the shuls offering the Rabbis eco-related biblical, halachic and Talmudic content for use in their sermons. The madrichot who run the shuls’ Shabbat children’s services are also contacted and given TuBishvat materials.