The Blue Box

Photo: KKL-JNF's Photo Archive

For dozens of years, the Blue Box served as a fund raiser in every Diaspora home and every Jewish institution in Israel and abroad: A cherished, popular means to realize the Zionist vision of establishing a state for the Jewish people.

Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL) was established on December 29, 1901 (9 Tevet 5562) at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel. To raise funds for it, Haim Kleinman, a bank clerk from Nadvorna, Galicia, soon placed a box in his office and sent off a letter to Die Welt, the Zionist newspaper in Vienna, notifying it accordingly:

"In keeping with the saying, 'bit and bitty fill the kitty' and following the Congress resolution on KKL's founding, I put together an 'Erez Israel box', stuck the words 'National Fund' on it and placed it in a prominent spot in my office. The results, given the extent of the experiment so far, have been astonishing. I suggest that like-minded people, and particularly all Zionist officials, collect contributions to KKL in this way."

Stories from the Blue Box...

Read about the journeys of different Blue Boxes from around the world!

The Blue Box: More Than a Fundraising Device

The funds raised through the Blue Box (the "pushke," as it was widely known) were an instrument to redeeming the land in Eretz Israel on which the Jewish home was to arise. But the Blue Box was more than just a fundraising device. From the beginning, it was an important educational vehicle spreading the Zionist word and forging the bond between the Jewish People and their ancient homeland.

The Blue Box has changed form many times over the years, and often wasn't even blue. It is a symbol. A symbol of KKL-JNF and its efforts to develop the land of Israel, plant forests, create parks, prepare soil for agriculture and settlement, carve out new roads and build water reservoirs – A symbol of connectedness with the land.

For many people, KKL-JNF's Blue Box is inseparable from their childhood memories. Blue Boxes were placed in every classroom, into which every Friday small coins were dropped. For several decades the Blue Box raised funds for environmental goals, though over time its status whittled away until it disappeared from the Israeli scene. The Blue Box was reinstated after the Second Lebanon War. Giant Blue Boxes designed by the finest Israeli artists were exhibited on Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard where the public was invited to contribute to rehabilitating Israel's northern forests which had been destroyed in the war. Isrotel Hotels also took part in the effort with a large donation and awarded a tree planting certificate to every guest in each of its hotels.

The Blue Box Collection

A collection of KKL-JNF Blue Boxes is presented in our Educational Center and Museum in Tel-Aviv.

Visit the KKL-JNF Educational Center and Museum

KKL-JNF Blue Boxes are available for a nominal contribution. If you are interested in obtaining one, please contact your local KKL-JNF office.