Nefesh B'Nefesh To Award $10,000 Prizes Recognizing High-Achieving Immigrants to Israel

Food Bank Chairman and Solar Energy Pioneer Among Winners

By JTA

Published January 13, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A food bank chairman, a solar energy pioneer and the creator of the “Dry Bones” comic strip are among the first winners of a Nefesh B’Nefesh prize recognizing immigrants to Israel.

More than 200 immigrants from English-speaking countries were nominated for the Bonei Zion Prize, which was awarded in five categories as well as for lifetime achievement. The recipients hailed originally from the United States.

Each of the winners will receive a $10,000 prize at a ceremony soon in Jerusalem.

Joseph Gitler, who made aliyah in 2000, won in the Community and Non-Profit category for his work as founder and chairman of Leket Israel, a national food bank that provides food for more than 140,000 people weekly.

The founder and chancellor of the women’s learning center Matan, Malke Bina, received the award in the Education category. Bina, who was one of the first educators in Israel to teach Talmud and Jewish law to female students, made aliyah in 1971. The recipient for Entrepreneurship and Technology was Yosef Abramowitz, the CEO and a co-founder of Energiya Global Capital as well as a co-founder of the Arava Power Company. Abramowitz, whom Nefesh B’Nefesh dubbed “Israel’s premier solar energy pioneer,” made aliyah in 2006.

Jeffery Hausdorff, the recipient in the Science and Medicine category, left a faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School in 2000 to make aliyah and is now a professor at Tel Aviv University and director of the Neurodynamics and Gait Research Laboratory at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. Hausdorff has contributed to research in neuroscience and aging in Israel and worldwide. Yaakov Kirschen, creator of the popular “Dry Bones” comic strip, received the prize in the Culture, Sports and Arts category. Kirschen made aliyah in 1972.

Lt. Nira Lee, head of hasbara at the headquarters of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, or COGAT, received the prize in the IDF and National Service Young Leadership category. The Arizona native has served in the Israel Defense Forces for three years; she made aliyah in 2010. Lee received the President’s Citation of Excellence in 2013.

The Lifetime Achievement winner was Shimon Glick, a professor and dean emeritus of the health sciences faculty at Ben Gurion University. He made aliyah in 1974 to help found the university’s faculty of medicine.

“We hope that accentuating the achievements of Anglo olim will serve as a catalyst to inspire others to make aliyah as well as highlight the achievements of these olim who are helping to make a difference to our homeland,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, the executive director and a co-founder of Nefesh B’Nefesh, in a statement.

The panel of judges included retired Lt. -Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, former chief of staff for the Israel Defense Forces; Dr. David Breakstone, vice chairman of the World Zionist Organization; David Gerstein, a prominent painter and sculptor; Rabbi Berel Wein, founder and director of The Destiny Foundation; Yehuda Avner, an author and a former diplomat and prime ministerial adviser; and Barbara Goldstein, the deputy executive director of Hadassah in Israel.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.