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Transcript of interview with Shawn Willis by Barbara Tabach, May 5, 2017






Shawn Willis (1972 - ) grew up in a culturally diverse area outside of Detroit, Michigan. She has made Las Vegas her home since 2004. Since moving to Nevada, she ?acknowledged? her Judaism and built a robust network within the Jewish community as an entrepreneur and tireless leader. From 2015 ? 2017, she held the position of Director of the Jewish National Fund of Las Vegas. The Jewish National Fund is a worldwide organization that was founded in 1901 to meet the strategic challenges of building in Israel and developing the infrastructure for ecology, special needs and heritage preservation. Among the local initiatives that Shawn led was a program on water conservation. In this oral history, Shawn candidly speaks of being a convert to Judaism. She also shares how she introduced herself into the Las Vegas community in a vibrant way through her marketing expertise and business. Shawn currently serves on the UNLV Foundation?s President?s Associates Council and is an active person in the Las Vegas community. Shawn is a graduate of University of Detroit Mercy.

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Shawn Willis oral history interview, 2017 May 05. OH-03182. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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AN INTERVIEW WITH SHAWN WILLIS An Oral History Conducted by Barbara Tabach Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ?Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2014 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV ? University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Interviewers: Barbara Tabach, Claytee D. White Editors and Project Assistants: Maggie Lopes, Amanda Hammar iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader?s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews with permission of the narrator. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas iv PREFACE Shawn Willis (1972 - ) grew up in a culturally diverse area outside of Detroit, Michigan. She has made Las Vegas her home since 2004. Since moving to Nevada, she ?acknowledged? her Judaism and built a robust network within the Jewish community as an entrepreneur and tireless leader. From 2015 ? 2017, she held the position of Director of the Jewish National Fund of Las Vegas. The Jewish National Fund is a worldwide organization that was founded in 1901 to meet the strategic challenges of building in Israel and developing the infrastructure for ecology, special needs and heritage preservation. Among the local initiatives that Shawn led was a program on water conservation. v In this oral history, Shawn candidly speaks of being a convert to Judaism. She also shares how she introduced herself into the Las Vegas community in a vibrant way through her marketing expertise and business. Shawn currently serves on the UNLV Foundation?s President?s Associates Council and is an active person in the Las Vegas community. Shawn is a graduate of University of Detroit Mercy. vi TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Shawn Willis May 5, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Barbara Tabach Preface??????????????????????????????????..iv Talks about being from Michigan and the 2004 visit that made her decide to call sunny Las Vegas home; her background in marketing and sales; starting her first business in music promotions at age 15; emerging artists she worked Detroit events for, Aaliyah, KISS, Sean Paul, Snoop Dogg, Kid Rock, Eminem. Mentions the influence of Little Rascals television show had on her; her religious foundation before embracing Judaism and the complex multi-ethnic neighborhood that she grew up in?????????????????????????...??.???.1 ? 6 Attended University of Detroit Mercy; religious course and her search; Las Vegas not being her ?plan? for a move; picking up a Jewish Reporter newspaper; moving to Las Vegas by 2004; critical next steps to her conversion, as she calls it ?acknowledgement? of her Jewishness; introduction to Congregation Ner Tamid and instructor Ayelit Blit???????????????....6 ? 10 Her brother (Dale Forte) move to Las Vegas; what does being minority mean and other identifiers; her multi-ethnic heritage; how she views her personal identification as a Jew. In 2015, became a local director of Jewish National Fund [JNF]; her business Market-Wise365. Talks about Abraham; Solomon; her Hebrew name of Rivka; history and mission of JNF with water preservation; event she organized with Pat Mulroy and Nathan Allen as moderators; mentions Cindy Ortega and others she met through the Water Authority; Brian Greenspun; Shelley Berkley; Cirque du Soleil?s One Drop program; AIPAC, IAC, JCC????????????..11 ? 18 Explains that she has resigned and starting a new marketing firm called Aliyah Media, promoting businesses in both Israel and the United States, specifically in Nevada, goal to launch fall of 2017. Discusses being of color and Jewish, not the stereotype most are accustom to. Mentions Gregory Stocklan, Paul Murad, Janet Wellish, Shelley Berkley, Don Schlesinger, Melanie Bash and Autism Speaks fundraising.????????????????????????????.19 ? 27 vii Thoughts about interfaith marriages, those who convert, extent of her Judaic knowledge and understanding reaches into the orthodox; mentions Rabbi Yitzchak Wyne; her membership participation at the reform synagogue Congregation Ner Tamid.??????????.27 ? 30 Travel to Israel when with Jewish National Fund; value of the experience in better understanding; Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Water Technology Conference; Dr. Lipchin.. Explains JNF?s program called Caravan for Democracy for non-Jewish student; experience of Fabian Donate?????31 ? 37 Describes her involvement with UNLV, President?s Association and development/fundraising; mentions Carrie Ahlborn; more about her brother Dale. Talks about friendships, Randi Sarno, Lisa Henry, recent travels to Israel for her new business, Debra Cohen, working on CNT?s gala. Spiritual feelings and dynamic women and feminism. Mentions Ruth E. Hedges and crowdfunding??????????????????????????????..37 ? 48 viii 1 This is Barbara Tabach. Today is May 5, 2017. I'm sitting in my office with Shawn Willis. Shawn, spell your name for us. Sure. It's S-H-A-W-N; that's Shawn. Last name is Willis, W-I-L-L-I-S. I like to say it's the unisex version of Shawn, not the male Irish version. There you go. We were kind of commiserating about how you came to live in Las Vegas. Tell me that story again. Number one, the sunshine. I come from Michigan. I'm from Farmington Hills and Southfield, Michigan; I claim them both. My parents [Victoria Willis and Isaac Babcock] were divorced, so it's both. But in Michigan there's normally an overcast three hundred days of the year. I came out here in the dead of winter and there was a clear sky, so much sunshine, and it clearly affected the mood of everyone around. That was in 2004 and that was the first time that I had come out for a non-business related reason; therefore, I was not on the Strip. I was in the real neighborhoods with real people of Las Vegas?went to the grocery store, Target, etc?which were the biggest things to me; going into a store, seeing the real people and coming out to see the sun shining. So I say, how can you have a bad day in Las Vegas? How can you not be productive? You can have a bad moment, but not a whole bad day because the sun is shining. I agree with that. Yes. The sunshine is the reason I moved here. Everything else, I had to figure out how to keep me here. And you did. Yes, I did. What kind of work were you doing before you moved to Las Vegas? So always marketing. My full background is in sales and marketing. I actually started my first 2 business at fifteen; I did promotions and marketing for the music industry. I promoted parties and I promoted first-time artists who were coming out. Maybe they had a release party or just something and they needed to connect to the market; mostly high school and college kids. Oh, wow. Anybody that we would know about? There was an artist and she actually passed away. I did work with her when she was a child. Her name was Aaliyah. Before Destiny's Child became what we know of Destiny's Child?it's a grooming process that they go through?so I did work with them. They were about eight years old at the time. Oh, this is my most favorite part. I was able to do an event with KISS. Really? Yes. That was very memorable. Snoop Dogg was just getting signed. We did an event with him. I'm trying to think of some others that you could remember that have stayed relevant over time. Oh, here's two big ones. So the greatest part was really Eminem before Eminem became popular and before he even had a record deal. We promoted parties and events for him and with him. After he became sort of popular, we still worked with him. If you can remember the movie "8 Mile?" Yes. In the movie he showed him doing free-style events and it was a constant thing. That was Monday nights? And that take place in? In Detroit. Those were actually real events and parties that we promoted. So I was a part of promotional teams for that. That's pretty cool. It's very cool. And Kid Rock and Sean Paul?when they're going through early, early phases, 3 they have a PR team. When we hear about them or when the public hears about them, they've already been through a grooming process. They've gone through things for about five to seven years before they actually become popular. So starting so young and touching all these personalities, what kind of impact did that have on you personally? I have to give credit to The Little Rascals because they impacted me. I watched The Little Rascals as a kid, so somehow there was a connection. I wanted to put on shows and I wanted to bring people together. We did things at school, but I wanted to do things where you actually bought tickets. I don't know where it came from, but for some reason I always wanted to give money away. People would buy tickets and then we have money that we can donate. Now, I know the terms, but as a child it was like, oh, I want to put on a party; I want to give money away. So The Little Rascals helped me see how that can be done. At seven years old I remember asking my mother, "Okay, let me do this; let's do this," and she told me, "No." So then, I don't know if it's my personality that no to me is just a maybe; I just have to figure out how it's important to you. So I went back and by eight years old I had a different presentation for the same question I asked at seven, and she still said, "No." But by nine I came back with the same question, I had a different presentation and I also had even added on all of the information so she didn't have to do any work, finding out how much it will cost to rent a hall, finding out how much it would cost to have things printed, because I would call places in my adult?I thought I had an adult voice?and I would ask these questions. I overheard my mom?my mom was in real estate. My dad and my mom were in real estate. So I would hear them talk business over the phone. So I knew how to call and ask, "So for this particular date, what will this be?" 4 Anyway, I learned how to make presentations that there was no reason for you to say no because I've addressed every question or every concern that you had when you told me no the first time. Now I have come back and here are all the answers. So at nine my mom actually helped?my mom and dad, but my mom was more at home?so she helped me put together my first event at nine years old. So you learned to overcome objections early on. Absolutely. So ?no? never has made me afraid. I think that's what helped me become so good at starting the business and at a young age talking to adults. I imagine I drove my teachers crazy because I did strive to always have A?s and if I had questions...And I never stopped asking questions. I attribute that to my Jewish soul, which probably is going to go into another... Since you bring that up, I'm going to assume you were not raised Jewish. No. So talk about that. What were you raised? I come from a home of?my mom was raised Lutheran; my dad was raised Catholic. My father's mother was actually Hindu, but she converted to Catholicism. But neither one of them had religious practice at home. They strongly believed in God and they felt that it was important for me to have a foundation where the belief was in God, but they did not impose any of their objectives or anything. However, the foundation they gave me was Lutheran. I went to a Lutheran private school because it was a good school, but there was the problem because naturally whatever I was or whatever spoke to me did not fit into a Lutheran teaching. In Lutheran school, the academics were wonderful; that's why they kept me in that 5 school. But every Wednesday we had church. I have questions. I have questions. And I don't agree, so I then question. I'm respectful, but I have questions. In Christianity the common thing is to believe. So I would get in trouble actually at school because of my questions. It would probably drive them nuts. Again, I can imagine, if a child has questions, after a while an adult is like, okay, enough with the questions. But it is common to just answer the questions with just believe. I would get in trouble at school, but I would get home, and even if the teachers talked to my parents, they would only ask ?was I respectful.? So as long as I was respectful, there was nothing they could take from me. My parents were good donors of the school, so they didn't kick me out of the school?nor did I stop asking questions, and my parents never gave me answers. So my whole life was just to ask questions. It was frustrating sometimes. So this is a continuation. Now, in my neighborhood?and I call this a true blessing?I grew up in Farmington Hills and in Southfield; that's Oakland County, Michigan; that's just outside of Detroit, Michigan. I grew up in a neighborhood of a lot of first-generation Americans. I had almost every religion in my neighborhood and the families were close. We were the real melting pot and I really thought that's how the world was. We shared food. We shared cultural things. All the kids played together. We learned a lot. Well, after I grew up I look back?I know the families were from Macedonia, Azerbaijan. We had families from Asia, Iran, Iraq, and South Africa. Therefore, we had Christian, Muslim, and Jewish in harmony. We had American Jewish families and an Israeli Jewish family, which are different, but we had one family who did not associate with us. A Jewish Hasidic family who was actually the only family actually that we didn't know. I didn't even know they were Jewish and I just learned that they were Jewish as I became an adult and 6 then looking back. But the exposure that I first had with the Israeli Jewish family was remarkable and then the rest was reading. When I came to the understanding that, one, Jesus?I understood that Jesus was of a faith that believed in one God, which was Jewish. When you dig deeper into the Bible and understanding?and, again, just researching; that's in my nature?and just researching further and further and understanding that a lot of the practices and the traditions and the things that you learn in Christianity came from the Jewish traditions that Jesus led because he was a rabbi. So that was my first personal connection and I felt like I found the answers that I was looking for. Rabbi [Sanford] Akselrad reminds us that when we pray we're speaking to God, but when we're learning, researching, God is speaking to us. That experience really was such a spiritual experience and that understanding helped now lead me into my college years. So I had this understanding, which was personal and private because I didn't really tell anyone out loud. I just felt like, aha, I have answers; I know who I am; I know what I am. I didn't really think that I could acknowledge it because, one, I am not born this way; I'm different and it sounds a little crazy because maybe I don't look like everyone; I don't know, but it's my own personal thing. But I'll follow my parents' lead; if I'm ever blessed with children I won't impose, but the foundation I'll give my children will be the foundation of Judaism. So this was my plan. College, the first year of college: I went to University of Detroit Mercy, which is a Catholic college. So prior to high school, (I) never really had the talk about religion or things anymore because I left the private school, and the high school that I went to was Cass Technical High School. I went there. My mother actually graduated from there. It was in downtown Detroit, but it was a school you had to get accepted into. John DeLorean, Diana Ross, Lily 7 Tomlin, and Ellyn Burstyn are some of the famous people who actually went there. So there wasn't any more talks about religion or anything but my career and network. College, I chose to go to University of Detroit Mercy (Uof D) because my whole life plan was to become a lawyer. Research and presentation I thought fit and I was groomed to become a lawyer. Well, first thing, you have to take a religious course, and I thought, here we go again; they're going to try to convert me; they're going to try to convert me into Christianity; it's not my beliefs. I don't know it, but my last experience was in Lutheran school. Now, okay. But University of Detroit Mercy had a great program that led you into the law program. It was an easy transition. I'm like, this is what I want, so I have to experience this. Okay, I'll just hold strong. I won't ask my questions this time. I'll just get through this course. But the course turned out to not be about imposing. It really was an education about all different religions and it opened me up so much more and it really solidified what I had understood?now I'm seeing it openly, and the challenges and the knowledge that I had earned over the few years, it was great to be able to now express them and ask and exercise those values. So it went from spiritual to intellectual and an openness. So that's college experience. But I still didn't know that I could become Jewish unless I got married. I didn't talk about it and I didn't ask. So you had never shared this search that was going on with your parents? I shared my search, but I didn't share the discovery with anyone. So years go by, life and careers. Somehow I came to Las Vegas and it's a desert. I think this is all relevant, too. My whole plan?again, plan?was to move to New York, but that never happened and I ended up in a desert in Las Vegas. Then this is where the real experience began. So I had the spiritual questioning, I had the intellectual answers, but now to be able to experience came from 8 Las Vegas. If you can remember the words, I keep saying plan, and moving to Las Vegas was the first thing that was not planned. You may have heard the saying that, yes, you can have plans, but God has a plan. I feel that this was the plan. So I moved here in 2004. I remember picking up a Jewish Reporter; it was a newspaper that was in the community. Again, this was my own personal experience. It wasn't anything for me to talk to anyone about. I remember back then too, our generation, you didn't talk about religion or politics; so therefore, there wasn't a lot of discussion about religion. I picked up a Jewish Reporter. I always looked forward to getting them. I felt connected, my own personal world. I did not know that some of the first people who I had met in Las Vegas were Jewish. Oh, really? I didn't know that because we didn't talk about religion, but we connected. There were people that I met who were from New York. There were people that I met who were from Russia. We just connected, still good friends now. Again, so I moved here in 2004. I wasn't working. I moved here just for the sunshine. So the planner in you really made a big break and jumped into Las Vegas without a job. Without a job, without a plan. I knew the one person who invited me here, but we weren't friends. So when I moved here, it wasn't like I called her and we hung out. We were basically two different worlds. She was really just a catalyst and I feel like she was used to bring me here. Since then we've become friends, the last five years, but I've been here for thirteen years. I didn't know anyone. So I had some money and I also had my investment still, so, therefore, I was okay to just explore. I tried to get to know people in the community. I would go to anything I could find. The Jewish Reporter was my home activity, and then for places to go, I 9 would pick up the Las Vegas Weekly and just go to as many different networking and social events. The big thing for me, I always had a camera. I always had a camera strapped to me. So I would take pictures everywhere I would go with people and then send them a message later. That was how I got to know a lot of people and maybe connected and created this network. So by 2006, I was here and I started exploring more of the professional world and I brought my marketing company and started doing more marketing here. I met my boyfriend at the time, Gregory Stocklan, who grew up in Boston. He is Jewish. He grew up conservative, very proud to be politically Jewish, but not so much religious. I actually didn't know he was Jewish at first. But I have to give him credit because, as much as I kept things inward, he included me, allowing me to experience Judaism from his perspective?and these were his exact words?because we had date night and he said, "Okay, for this date night we can't eat bread." But he didn't know what I already knew, because I knew it was Passover. Then I thought, oh, this is great because I'm going to experience what I've read and it's on a personal level and it's from someone else's perspective who is not necessarily religious, but they're very proud. So I have to give him credit for my next step. The next step was to do a little more research on how I could make this official, what I like to call ?My Jewish Acknowledgement,? to acknowledge my Jewish soul, because some rabbis say that if you become, quote-unquote, become Jewish, you have always had a Jewish soul and it just has returned home. I don't even like to give the term to convert or convert or conversion, because I felt like that was more of that process when I was a kid. I choose to call it acknowledgement. So I took some time and I started researching the acknowledgement process. I was sitting one day waiting for Greg to come and take me to dinner for date night. A friend of mine called and said, "What are you doing?" I said, "I'm waiting for Greg." And I said, 10 "But for some reason I just feel like I need to go to a temple." Well, this friend that I didn't even know was Jewish said, "Hey, you should look into a reform synagogue and there's actually Congregation Ner Tamid right near you." Wow, really great. So I Googled it. God bless Google. I Googled reform, Ner Tamid. It was not even two miles away. I called them?something else not planned?I called and I was just going to ask a question, how do you...? And Karen...I can't think of Karen's last name. Karen was Rabbi's assistant, at the time. She answered the phone?They had just opened, too. So it was in 2008. They opened in 2007. Before I could get two words out?because I don't know what words to say; I was surprised someone answered because it was late actually, too?I said, "Well, I'm interested in understanding more?" She cut me off and she said, "We have a class, Taste of Judaism. We have a conversion class." In two seconds I was signed up for something; I didn't even know what I was signed for, but I was to come in tomorrow, the next day. I came into the conversion class and, Barbara, it felt so good. I was in a room of students who for whatever reason were coming to their Judaism. Ayelit Blit was my instructor. She was also the author of my favorite column in the Jewish Reporter, entitled Living It Jewish. Interesting, my brother, who was in high school at the time, was having trouble in school; he?s twenty-one years younger than I am, and is currently a student here at UNLV. He is a smart kid. He was double promoted before; he is such a smart kid. However, the troubles that he was having, I attributed to the face that he was quiet and shy and could not ask questions. So I kept pushing him, "Why can't you ask questions? Ask questions. You have to ask questions." So the human side that I loved about this ?conversion class? was that it made me understand my brother. It was the first time that I had ever been in a situation where I was afraid to ask a question or I couldn't ask a question and I was a little nervous. It was probably the first 11 time in my life I was a little nervous. I was never nervous the first day of school in any school, any job, any whatever. I was nervous. I was excited. I sat there. I went class after class. I couldn't ask a question and now, I understood my brother. So it brought out just a human element that as uncomfortable as it was I think was so important. I went to three classes before I told anyone. The first person I told was my dad. I said, "I have decided to live my Jewish life." Not even knowing my interest before, my dad just said, "Wonderful. Now you have found a place for your beliefs. And what I know about Judaism is that it is positive and progressive and I know that you will be happy and harmonious." My father's wisest words to me were ?always to surround yourself with people of your kind.? We define ?your kind? as nothing to do with your gender, your age, your religion; it is the core, the type of person that you are. I wasn't allowed to say black and white as a child. I wasn't allowed to describe people as black and white or ---?African American??technically those titles are not so accurate. Yes, we talked about that. Yes. I had to describe the person, a core. So how did you describe yourself? At that time or in life? In life, in general. Well, it's so hard filling out an application because I don't know what to put. Yes, because they have this laundry list of self-identifiers, which gets longer and longer. Exactly. Well, here is the thing. I learned the color chart that that's black. And you're pointing at your purse which is the color black. I'm pointing at my purse, my shoes. So that's two different colors. So that doesn't make it 12 accurate and I was just taught to be accurate. The second thing is my background, my family, my grandmother on my dad's side was Malaysian. I do have African, but I don't know where. Then Choctaw Indian, African and Caucasian from my mom?s side. Five generations in America. So I don't know how that is African American and it becomes American. If you look at the history of everyone in American, we all have a colorful background...So when people ask the question, nationality? Well, nationality means your nation and nation would be American. If it's ethnicity, then I don't know. It's hard because you can't list everything. Now, if you ask race, we're human. So that is a conflict because in conversation it is hard because most people say the same things to make it easy. I do not conform. I do have a struggle. Again, even like the word convert or conversion, or even Jew by choice, for me is not as prominent because God gave us choice; even if someone was born from a Jewish mother or a father, they could choose to identify and take a course or they could choose not to, or their parents can choose not to give them that exposure; they could also be a Jew by choice. Again, it's the term acknowledgement. You acknowledge and when you acknowledge you evoke an action. So my action has been to...I am involved in the community. I really do go by the principles of tikkun olam, to repair the world, and tzedakah, charity or justice, and then mitzvot. I really have taken a personal oath and I express it and I do it. It brought me from wanting to doing more even. Fom my marketing background, I thought, wow, wouldn't it be great if I could take on a job that I can use my professional skills of marketing and sales, but also combine it with my philanthropic needs in a Jewish world or something for Israel? So I took on a job as Las Vegas Director of Jewish National Fund. 13 What year did that happen? I took that job in October of 2015. I started October first, 2015. What were you doing before that? I had my own business. I actually had taken in an investor. So I had Market-Wise365 and we did sales and marketing, strategic planning, team building. I could help you especially with efficiency analysis, but the whole goal was always to help you maximize your profitability. And it was called Market-Wise? Yes, Market-Wise365. Two words or one word? Market and then hyphen Wise365. I tell you what?the word wise, that's another significant word in there. I believe that when you're a child between the ages of five and nine you have a word that is either whispered to you or you can't get away from, and it's a word that defines you or it will continue to challenge you. The word wise was my word. So what happened in life, what I could always see, for some reason I would get people, anyone that I dated, anyone that I met, friends, common things or whatever, they would share words of wisdom or there were always a situation to exercise wisdom. Considering the stories of the Christian Bible: the person whom I most interesting was King Solomon who was known to be wise. So wise, I always thought was like this strong word that guided me, and that goes back to Judaism, understanding history and applying lessons and sharing, big principle. In Judaism, too, is we learn in order to teach. So it's all tied together. It all ties together absolutely. You epitomize yourself through this story. It's how you came to be who you are. Right. Well, you know what else, too? Connection. The definition of Judaism, the science of 14 connecting all. Abraham was a connector. As I went deeper into that and understanding that, Abraham didn't come from a Jewish mother or father. So again, is he Jewish? Is he a Jew by choice? No, he acknowledged who he is. And then connecting, that's always been a big part. That's why with my Hebrew name being Rivkah, it was so easy to pick because one of my middle names is actually Rebecca and in Hebrew is Rivkah, but the story of Rivkah and the definition of Rivkah actually is to bind. So to bind means to connect. Rivkah didn't just give water to the people; she brought water for the horses. All of this just ties together and there's answers now. And it's layered. And it's layered, yes. It doesn't just stop and it's not just one answer. It's ongoing and it's progressive. Like my dad said, positive and progressive. Right. So then, coming to work for the JNF [Jewish National Fund]?explain what that organization is about. We might as well get that in because I don't have that organization, I don't think, in the project yet. So we need to have that. Interesting. So Jewish National Fund has been around since 1905. It started before Israel was actually formed. It started by Theodor Herzl, who was a Zionist. A lot of people may know the term pushkes [Yiddish word for a can used for charity] or the little blue boxes or tzedakah boxes, he actually started from getting people's extra change, collecting extra change to purchase land with KKL (Keren Kavemeth Le?Israel) in Israel to prepare the land for people to be able to live and grow and be self-sufficient on the land. Since then, JNF reports to have planted approximately 250 million trees. People don't understand the significance of the trees, which were eucalyptus trees at first. The significance is that land that was given to the Jewish people was not land that was really usable. It was swampland; you couldn't really grow anything. 15 Eucalyptus trees helped to absorb the moisture and helped to make the land fertile. So again, preparing the land for people to come is how JNF began. Now, as JNF continues, they do still plant trees, most of which are symbolic and a lot of it is actual physical trees. But they do a lot more. They raise money to donate to other partners who may directly impact the citizens in Israel. The name is Jewish National Fund, but they just don't only support programs for the Jewish people. So it's not religious. They do raise funds for programs that all citizens of a particular area of Israel benefit. Whether it is water?that's one of the major things?they do help fund projects that build water reservoirs and water research and development, water reusable technology. They help fund a program to assist people are making Aliyah (moving to Israel) called Nefesh B'Nefesh. When naming some of my favorite things, too, I'll tell you, water and Nefesh B'Nefesh. Now, JNF is not just in the U.S. I worked for the U.S. chapter, if you will, and I was the L