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  • Writer's pictureJodi Samuels

Five Olim Honored for Contributions to Israel, Jerusalem and Helping Other Immigrants

As seen in Haaretz on Nov 07, 2019 5:29 PM by Steven Klein

IMMIGRANT GONG: In honor of Yom Ha’aliyah (Israel’s newest official holiday), Jerusalem’s largest Zionist pluralist party, Hitorerut, recognized five immigrants Tuesday for their contributions to Israel, Jerusalem or other immigrants. The winners were Yoni Niemann (Denmark), who works for Gvahim to connect immigrants with Israeli high-tech; Benji Davis (Los Angeles), founder of educational initiative IMPACT Seminars; Jodi Samuels (New York), founder of Jewish International Connection; Alla Klebanov (St. Petersburg, Russia), who runs programs for the elderly; and Samantha Assuli (France), whose Lev Ha-Imahot NGO supports 400 needy families. Nearly 200 people attended the event, co-sponsored by Wine on the Vine, which served fine local wines. The project is directed by Tatiana Hasson (Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts) and is part of the Israel Innovation Fund founded by Adam Bellos (Cincinnati, Ohio). California native Yoni Mann, who heads Hitorerut’s new immigrants department, told Haaretz the group hosted the event to “raise awareness of Yom Ha’aliyah” and “to give proper respect to people contributing to Israeli society.”

BACK IN THE SADDLE: Some 500 riders and volunteers from 12 countries are expected to join next week’s “Wheels of Love” bike ride for ALYN Pediatric Rehabilitation Hospital in Jerusalem. The ride’s humble roots date back to 2000 when nine immigrants from the United Kingdom and North America raised $67,000. This year, the goal is $3 million and six of the original riders are still in the saddle: Geoffrey Freeman, Meir Hassan, Laurence Lebor, Barry Levenfeld, Steve Zerobnick and Chaim Zlotogorski. “The staff there is so dedicated, really impacting people’s lives in a way that few places are able to do,” said Zerobnick, who moved to Israel from Denver in 1980. “That’s what motivates me.” In addition, Dutch Olympic gold medalist Carina Benninga will be participating for the first time. This year’s ride starts in Birya Forest on Sunday and ends at the hospital on Thursday. To donate, visit

2019 5:29 PM


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