Olive grove
Olive grove iStock

Members of Rochester, New York's Jewish Community will develop an olive grove in the Lower Galilee hoping to start a new trend among Diaspora Jewish communities.

Next month on September 16, several buses will depart from cities such as Jerusalem, Netanya, and Ra'anana to the Lower Galilee village of Yavniel.

On board the buses will be volunteers who will spend a good part of the day planting olive trees, as well as hearing divrei Torah and speeches, watching an anti-agricultural-terror demonstration by the Israel Dog Unit, and celebrating at a large BBQ.

Among travelers from Jerusalem will be a contingent from Rochester N.Y., led by John and Jane August and Larry and Paulina Kovalsky, the leaders of the Rochester contingent.

After spending the last several years developing modest olive orchards in the Galilee for individual, ideological investors, Joel Yosef Busner and Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel of Buy a Piece of Israel were looking for something to significantly boost interest among Jews in the Diaspora to purchase and develop private land in the Galilee, especially the more abundant and more affordable agricultural land.

Their close friend and investor, patent attorney Howard Zaretsky of Hadera, who still spends significant time in Rochester, brought the idea to John August who had mentioned in the past that he was seeking to fulfill his and his wife's dream of owning land in Israel.

Zaretsky introduced August to Busner and the match was made! After several presentations within the Rochester community, a group of over eighty (80) investors of different size investors was formed. This group, made up only of members of the Rochester Jewish community, have purchased the majority of a large parcel of agricultural land in Yavniel, in the Lower Galilee.

Buy a Piece of Israel will manage the property and begin by developing it into an olive grove. All labor on the property as well as the production of olive oil will be done exclusively by Avoda Ivrit, or Jewish manual labor. Investors will receive income annually from boutique-quality olive oil produced from the olives grown on this land.

By purchasing private land in the Galilee you are not simply 'donating' a tree. You now have a stake in the Land of Israel.

More and more Jews purchasing land in the Galilee is a 'win-win' situation:

  • More Jews buying the land helps stem the tide of Arabs buying the land, strengthening Jewish sovereignty over the region;
  • Avoda Ivrit (Jewish labor) encourages Jews to go back to the pioneering, Zionist roots while increasing Jewish agricultural employment;
  • Instead of simply donating and not being involved, you now own an asset (land in Israel) that will produce a modest income.

Purchasers of land with Jewish laborers can now observe mitzvot (commandments) that they otherwise could not observe:

  • Purchasing land in Eretz Yisrael;
  • Orlah (refraining from fruit during first 3 years after planting);
  • Shmitta (sabbatical year during which work on land is prohibited);
  • Trumot / Maasrot / Leket / Shikcha / Peah (tithes to kohen, levi & poor).

According to Mr. Busner, Director of Buy a Piece of Israel, the best way to connect Diaspora communities with the Land of Israel short of aliya (immigrating to Israel), is to be connected to the land by being an owner of land in Israel. More significantly, this purchase from the members of the relatively modest-sized Rochester N.Y. Jewish community shows us that other communities replicating this project by grouping their investments into large purchases and developments will strengthen the ties between Diaspora communities and the People and Land of Israel, while lowering the pressure of facts on the ground by Arabs and other non-Jews buying up more and more land and claiming the Galilee isn't Jewish, G-d forbid!

There are several dunam left in this parcel in Yavniel that may be purchased now before the official planting date of September 16.

Three units of land including development and 4 years of management are being offered at a discount until the planting date starting as low as $1,500.

To learn more about this amazing project and how you can be part of it go to:


For questions or comments contact: buyapieceofisrael@yahoo.com

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