Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Birthright Co-Founder Michael Steinhardt To Light Israel Independence Day Torch

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jewish-American investor and philanthropist Michael Steinhardt has been selected as one of two Diaspora Jews to light an official torch at the state Israel Independence Day ceremony.

Steinhardt, the co-founder and major funder of Taglit-Birthright Israel, will join Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who delivered a prayer at the inauguration of President Donald Trump in January, as the first non-Israelis to light a torch in the ceremony on Mount Herzl scheduled for May 1.

This year’s Yom Haatzmaut theme is the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem.

Another torch lighter with American roots is Rabbanit Chana Henkin, who moved to Israel from the United States in the 1970s with her husband, Yehuda. She founded and serves as the dean of the Nishmat institute, a Jewish learning institution that was one of the first to teach women Talmud and Jewish law. The Henkins’ son Eitam and his wife were killed in an attack on a West Bank road by Palestinian gunmen in October 2015.




Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, and credit to Foward. Have questions? Please email us at

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.