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"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

What? JNF auctioning off Playboy prize

Posted by challahbackgirl on September 16, 2007

Jewish National Fund

Cross-posted from CBDYAG

It’s not often that news articles leave me shocked and speechless, but last week’s JTA article about the Jewish National Fund teaming up with Playboy did. While the shock slowly wears off, I do have a few things to say and questions. Now I’ve been a big fan of JNF, who are best known for planting trees in Israel. They we’re incorporated into my environmentally themed bat mitzvah years ago and something I’ve kept tabs on since. That being said when this JTA article popped up in Google reader it caught my attention. I’ll let you read it before I say anything more, just follow the jump.

JNF auctioning off Playboy prize

Published: 09/12/2007
The Jewish National Fund is turning to the Playboy brand name to help raise funds.

JNF sent out a mass e-mail this month announcing it would be auctioning off a one-year subscription to Playboy and an all-expenses-paid trip to a VIP party at the legendary mansion of the magazine’s founder, Hugh Hefner, in Holmby Hills, Calif.

The Playboy package received top billing in the promotional e-mail, but JNF said it is only one of dozens of items to be auctioned and would not be the focus of the event.

JNF’s director of marketing, Linda Wegner said the VIP invite was an “anonymously donated gift.”

Deborah Meyer, the executive director of Moving Tradition, an organization that helps young women become bat mitzvah, questioned the JNF’s decision to embrace Playboy. “You have to wonder what they are thinking about who are the members of the Jewish community and what message they think they are sending not just to young women, but to men, about Jewish values and what is appropriate in the year 5767,” she said.

JNF officials dismissed such criticism, noting that other charities have offered similar prizes in recent years.

“If people don’t want to bid on it, they won’t,” said Anita Jacobs, the director of the JNF’s Greater New York branch, which is organizing the auction. “This is America.”

For the the full story see this JTA article which includes a pictures of Hefner and playmates .

This seemed like a bit of an odd pairing, why playboy and the related industry are big money makers, most people don’t make big public statements about their connection to it. To their close friends and partners yes, but I find it hard to think that the highest bidder could make it out of the spot even just the auction item made the spot light.

While money is money, is this the new image of environmental advance? I echo Meyer’s remark; who do they think they are attracting or targeting? But I’m really curious about this anonymous donor who presented the whole idea to JNF, JNF to their credit didn’t seek Playboy out (according to the article). The auction is taking place on Oct 11, in Manhattan, at the first “JNF Sports Bonanza,” and attendees must be 21 to attend. Either way, best of luck to JNF with the auction, they’re still a great cause, even when making poor income choices.

Closer home environmentalism and raising funds are taking a different path. For a week in October Congregation Beth David is holding an electronic recycling event to help keep the planet green. That’s right, CBD wants your old gadets and gizmo’s, to make a little money. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you again closer to the event and with more information. CBD has also recently launched their Shuk to Shul: Congregation Beth David’s Shopping Affiliate Program, where you can follow links to online stores that will send a little $$ CBD’s way if you shop with them.


2 Responses to “What? JNF auctioning off Playboy prize”

  1. chutzpaleh said

    My favorite is the last line of the JTA piece:

    “Asked if she thought Playboy objectifies women, Jacobs replied: ‘No, not at all.'”

  2. JNF apparently got enough back-lash to remove the trip to “the mansion” from their auction, see the JTA article

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