The Blue Box

For decades the Blue Box was a common fixture in Jewish homes and institutions in around the world. As an embodiment of the Zionist vision of self determination for Jews in their ancestral homeland, the simple collection box became a unifying symbol of hope. While the Blue Box has largely given way to online donations, it remains a Jewish cultural icon still today.

It was 1902, and the Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) had been established only a few months before. To raise funds for it, one Haim Kleinman, an inspired bank clerk from Nadvorna, Galicia, placed a collection box in his office. In a letter sent to the Vienna-based Zionist newspaper Die Welt, he suggested that others do the same: 

 

"In keeping with the saying, 'bit and bitty, fill the kitty' and following the Congress resolution on the Jewish National Fund'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.