Nostalgia Sunday – JNF-KKL stamp club
About a week and a half ago, an event took place at the Jewish National Fund House in Tel Aviv that might be termed historic: the revival of the JNF-KKL stamp collectors club.
Most people know that the Jewish National Fund – Keren Kayemet (JNF-KKL) raises funds using the trusty old Blue Box method of coin collection — in addition to Tree Planting Certificates and Soliciting Big Donations. But few today remember that the JNF-KKL also issued and sold stamps which, for a brief period in May 1948, were actually used as postage stamps in the newborn State of Israel.
Here’s what happened the other night, according to Dr. Arie Ben, founder and director of the JNF House museum and educational center. “The [stamp collector] group members, who came from all parts of the country, first visited our museum, which is celebrating 21 years of activity… Attending the gathering was a collector who is a pediatrician by trade, a retired academic from the Weizmann Institute who for years was a plant scientist, and a diplomat from Israel’s foreign service. Another of those present had set up a unique website offering information and collectors items for sale… we were also honored by the presence of a 92-year old collector who showed me a picture of the first meeting of the JNF-KKL collectors club… At the end of the evening, it was decided to revive the legendary ‘JNF-KKL stamp collectors club’, which was first founded in 1937 and held its first gathering in the JNF House meeting room, only days after being founded.”
The stamps hold a special place of honor in JNF-KKL history and the museum has an exhibition of stamps based on Ben’s research into 108 years of the organization’s activity. The JNF House itself, which includes the museum (also known as The Provisional People’s Council & Administration Museum), is a classic example of 20th century Tel Aviv Bauhaus architecture, and is located at 11 Zvi Shapira St., Tel Aviv, walking distance from the Dizengoff Center.
JNF-KKL’s online archive is also a treasure trove for the interested philatelist and include images of artist sketches for the stamps, as well as the stamps themselves. Another great source: the Sol Singer Collection of Philatelic Judaica.