7 immigrants awarded Nefesh B’Nefesh prize for major contributions to Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Seven immigrants to Israel from English-speaking countries have been recognized for making major contributions to their adopted state.

On Tuesday, Nefesh B’Nefesh announced its 2017 Sylvan Adams Bonei Zion Prize winners, which are awarded to English-speaking immigrants. The prizes from Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization that helps Diaspora Jews make aliyah, will be awarded at an official ceremony at the Knesset at the end of June.

The honorees are Benjamin Corn, head of the Institute of Radiotherapy at Ichilov Hospital, in science and medicine; Beth Steinberg, director and co-founder of ShutafInclusion Programs and  artistic director and co-founder of Theater in the Rough, in community and nonprofit; Rabbi Chaim Brovender, founder and rosh yeshiva of WebYeshiva.org, in education; Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor and a professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, in Israel advocacy, and Yoram Raanan, a contemporary Jewish artist, in culture, art and sports.

In addition, Lifetime Achievement Awards are going to Alice Shalvi for decades of inspiring contributions in shaping the status of women in Israel through education and advocacy, and Eliezer Jaffe for his accomplishments in nonprofit and philanthropic giving, raising awareness and support for Israeli citizens in need.

A Young Leadership Prize also was awarded to Capt. Libby Weiss, head of the Social Media Department in the Israel Defense Forces’ Spokespersons Unit, and to Scott Neiss, founder and executive director of the Israel Lacrosse Association.

Hundreds of immigrants from English-speaking countries – including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States — were nominated for the prize. The prize “recognizes outstanding Anglo olim who have helped Israel in a meaningful way by encapsulating the spirit of modern-day Zionism and contributing in significant ways towards the State of Israel,” Nefesh B’Nefesh said in a statement.

The panel of judges included  Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi,  the Israeli military’s former chief of staff; Colette Avital, an Israeli diplomat; David Gerstein, an internationally renowned painter and sculptor; Barbara Goldstein, the deputy executive director of Hadassah in Israel; Yonatan Halevy, director general of Shaare Zedek Medical Center; Efraim Halevy , former director of the Mossad; Gabriela Shalev, president of the Higher Academic Council and dean of the law school at Ono Academic College; Rabbi Berel Wein, founder and director of The Destiny Foundation, and Yael Arad, the first Israeli to win an Olympic medal.

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