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  • Writer's pictureJodi Samuels

Nefesh B’Nefesh awards twelve projects by olim with grants and support

as seen in the Jerusalem Post


Nefesh B'Nefesh announced its twelve finalists for the 2019  “Initiative for Zionist Innovation” (IZI) prize, which rewards English speaking immigrants for their initiatives to support the expat community and enables them to pursue their creative ideas.

The IZI is awarded in conjunction with the Steinmetz Herskovitz Family Fund and supports the projects through mentorship, networking assistance, seed funding and logistical support. Candidates, which include social, sports and religion-focused innovators, were chosen by a special committee consisting of community leaders, Nefesh B’Nefesh staff and members of the Steinmetz Herskovitz Family Fund.

“We are thrilled to award this year’s grants to an exceptional group of olim who are focused on empowering their peers and effecting change within their own communities,” said Rabbi Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “We received a broad range of creative submissions and it is truly inspiring to see so many olim driven to create positive changes on their immediate surroundings as well as on a national level.”

Marty Herskovitz, Oleh and Philanthropist, said “The Steinmetz Herskovitz fund is very encouraged by the enthusiastic response to the IZI initiative. Given the resources, Nefesh B'Nefesh Olim can significantly improve their communities. And by strengthening their communities, we believe, the entire Israeli society will benefit. We are committed to this initiative for the long term and are looking forward to our continued cooperation with Nefesh B'Nefesh on this initiative.”

IZI's candidates: 

Eden Adler - Olim in Tech Hackathon, a volunteer-led community geared towards empowering and connecting olim who work or want to work in hi-tech. 

Rebecca Jennings - Therapeutic Studio, whose mission is to bring additional mental health resources to the English-speaking community in Haifa via art therapy. 

Becky Kupchan Berkman - Be'erot Beit Midrash, which provides a variety of high-level Jewish study opportunities in English to the Anglo community in Be’er Sheva and surrounding areas throughout the Negev. 

David Lasday - Community Lacrosse Clinics. Israel National Lacrosse Team Men's and Women's players, ranked 7th and 6th in the world respectively, will host introduction lacrosse clinics for olim in several cities across Israel. 

Louie Miller - Baseball in Northern Israel, which currently has 160 registered players, from second graders to grown adults, and boys and girls from different ethnic and financial backgrounds. 

Kathy Poodiack - Thrivacious Peer Connection Program, a community of English-speaking women touched by cancer in Israel, who inspire each other to heal and fulfill their dreams.

Menucha Saitowitz - Kochav Darom Community, aimed towards families with young children living in Be’er Sheva searching for a feeling of connection and warmth that comes from belonging to a close-knit community. 

Jodi Samuels - Dine & Date, an initiative of Jewish International Connection (JIC), is designed to build community and foster personal connections among young professional olim by bringing small groups together.

Sam Sank - Inter Aliyah Club, created three years ago as an all-olim soccer club in Israel, currently participating in its 3rd year in Liga Gimel (5th Division) of Israeli soccer, with the ultimate goal of reaching the Premier League.

Sylvie Schapira - Big Clean, a volunteer initiative, formed by olim to tackle a culture of people dropping trash in their town, Zichron Ya’akov. 

Mia Schon - The Mosaic Project, which is based on the idea of uniting neighborhoods and communities, integrating olim Chadashim into the ideation, creation, and installation of three new mosaic works in Tel Aviv.

Bryan VanDoorninck - FC one-two, a language club which practices language acquisition through soccer.


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