Books of Honor

Photograph: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

KKL-JNF Books of Honor

The tradition of keeping records in the Golden Book began on August 1903, when the first volume was presented to the members of the Sixth Zionist Congress in Basel. The fist donor was Binyamin Ze'ev Herzl, who was offered the honor of being the first person mentioned in the book, but chose to bestow this honor upon Zvi Hermann Schapira, who was the first to suggest the idea of founding the Jewish National Fund. Herzl's name was inscribed on the second page.
Bestowing the greatest honor upon of donors was the idea of Yona Kremenetzky, who was the first chairman of KKL-JNF between 1902 and 1907. Since then, almost 200 volumes of the books of honor were created, with the most important volumes known as The Golden Books.

Among the names inscribed in the Golden Book are Baron Edmund de Rothschild, poet Shaul Tchernichovsky, minister Moses Montefiore and Zionist leader Menachem Ussishkin, who led KKL-JNF between 1923 and 1942.

To read the KKL-JNF Golden Books is to take a voyage through the history of the Jewish people. They contain what is probably the biggest collection of names in Zionist history. They preserve the memory of ruined communities and the names of Israeli and diaspora leaders, of Jewish Zionist families, of those who fought for Israeli freedom and of people who just wanted to take part in the building of the Jewish state.
On September 2022, KKL-JNF opened the grand Hall of Books of Honor at the National Institutions House in Jerusalem. Visitors can see the Golden Books, turn their pages through a virtual system, and learn of their history through advanced interactive tools. The books themselves are not available for physical browsing, and are preserved in glass cases that display their ornamented bindings, with each display equipped with a monitor that allows virtual browsing.

KKL-JNF invites you to become a part of the voyage! Inscribe yourself or your loved ones in the KKL-JNF books of honor, a memorable gift that will contribute to the future of Israel and the Jewish people. In addition to inscription in the Golden Book, to commemorate important milestones throughout your life, KKL-JNF also offers inscription in the Children's Book, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Book of Marriages.

Photograph: KKL-JNF Photo ArchivePhotograph: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

Examples of Inscriptions in the Books of Honor:

For inscription in the books of honor, contact us at:
Phone: 02-6583825

The Art of Writing in the Golden Books

Writing in the Golden Books is done by a Sofer – an expert calligrapher of the Hebrew alphabet.
In the Jewish tradition, Hebrew calligraphy is used as a gateway to sacredness. Bible books, Tefillin and Mezuzahs are always written by a Sofer.

KKL-JNF considers everything related to Israeli soil as sacred. Therefore, every inscription in the Golden Book is done by an expert calligrapher, a tradition that bestows the proper honor upon the donors.
An example of Book of Honor CaligraphyAn example of Book of Honor Caligraphy

Binding the Golden Books

The bindings of the Golden Books, made of leather and copper, are an art form in its own right. The greatest artists and artisans have added ornaments of silver and copper that often portrayed important historical events to the bindings. The 26 bindings that are on display today are a mini-museum documenting the history of Israeli art.
A few examples of the historical stories told through the bindings:
The binding of the first volume from 1903 presents a sun rising above a field surrounded by a frame of stalks of grain and grapevines – a symbol of the new era in the life of the people who return to their land.

The binding of the second volume (1913-1922) was designed by the students and teachers of Bezalel – the first Israeli art school. The major subject is a farmer who plows his land with two bulls. The binding contains silver threads, gems, and illustration of biblical scenes related to agriculture. At the top of the binding is an illustration of the historical buildings purchased by KKL-JNF used by Bezalel in its early years.

The binding of the fourth volume, released on 1927, marked the 25th anniversary of KKL-JNF. The binding shows a map of the land of Israel, without the Negev desert, whose lands were not purchased yet. The map is ornamented with copper symbols of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

The binding of the sixth volume (1939-1942), published during World War II, is particularly touching, showing the landscape of the land of Israel behind a partially open gate. The binding both symbolizes the limitations on Jewish immigration to Israel and delivers a message that the gate will never close.
No less touching is the binding of the ninth volume, from the time of Israel's War of Independence, which simply shows the map of the young state. On the 24th volume (1997-1998), the binding celebrates the 3,000 anniversary of Jerusalem. It shows Jerusalem at the feet of the mountains, and on the background is wall of stone symbolizing the building of the city.