May 20, 2019

AMIT Event, Friends of Sheba Honors, SSI Visitors

From left: AIGYA Founder and Executive Director Phyllis Folb, Calev Knopf of Valley Torah High School and Rabbi Avrohom Stulberger, dean of Valley Torah High School. Photo courtesy of AIGYA

The recipients of the American Israel Gap Year Association’s (AIGYA) inaugural Rosina Korda Gap Year Scholarship were revealed in surprise ceremonies for each of the three winners this month.

The winners are Leora Lalezari, a student at YULA Girls High School, Calev Knopf of Valley Torah High School and Rory Meyerson of Yeshiva High School of Arizona.

“The joy, fellowship and surprise among the teachers and classmates was apparent during the announcements when AIGYA and Korda family representatives announced the winners,” an AIGYA press release said.

“This scholarship reflects Mrs. Korda’s deep love of Judaism and connection to Israel,” AIGYA founder and Executive Director Phyllis Folb said in the release.

AIGYA, a Los Angeles-based organization that produces the largest Israel gap year fair on the West Coast and the only cross-denominational fair in the country, made the scholarship available to all 2018 fair attendees.

Two winners will take part in in-depth Torah learning and the third will pursue a career and a language-focused Israel gap year program, AIGYA said.

A $5,000 tuition voucher, donated collectively by the extended Korda family, will go toward each of the respective programs the winning students chose to attend.

“As we say at the Passover seder, if AIGYA had only helped us to select a program for my son, it would have been enough for us,” said Charles Meyerson, who traveled with his son, Rory, to the Los Angeles fair from Arizona. “As it turns out, God repaid our efforts in traveling from Arizona many times over with Rory’s win.”

The 2019 AIGYA Israel Gap Year Fair will be held on Nov. 21.


From left: Michael Roklen, Jessica Abo, Dafna Landau, Briana Benaron and Leslie Schapira attended a young professionals event organized by AMIT L.A. NewGen. Photo courtesy of AMIT L.A.NewGen

Young professionals came together on March 5 to support the Israel education network AMIT L.A. NewGen and to spend an evening with journalist and social entrepreneur Jessica Abo.

Nearly 50 people turned out at the Beverly Hills home of Phyllis and Jay Schapira and discussed ways to navigate social media while staying true to one’s self and finding happiness.

 Abo’s new book, “Unfiltered: How To Be as Happy as You Look on Social Media,” highlights the importance of reaching one’s fullest potential through self-empowerment, a key goal of AMIT Children’s work in ensuring the success
of its students across Israel, the organization said.


From left: Thando Mlauzi, Isaac Dayan, Mmamalema Molepo, Jessica Khalili, Justin Feldman and Klaas Mokgomole participated in a pro-Israel speaking tour at UCLA and Santa Monica College.
Photo courtesy StandWithUs

Students Supporting Israel (SSI) at UCLA and Santa Monica College hosted two South African student leaders on April 16 and 18.

Klaas Mokgomole from the University of Witswatersrand in Johannesburg and Mmamalema Molepo from the University of Cape Town believed that Israel was an apartheid state until they traveled to Israel and the West Bank and saw the reality, according to pro-Israel education organization StandWithUs. Both activists now contend that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is lying about Israel.

They appeared in Los Angeles as part of the “Reclaim Your Story” tour, a partnership between Africans for Peace, a collective of independent students, scholars and activists who bring an African lens to the global debate on peace and stability in Africa and beyond, and StandWithUs, an international Israel education organization that believes education is the road to peace. Mokgomole and Molepo interacted with students interested in learning more about their change in attitude to Israel and later spoke to the campus communities.

According to StandWithUs, Justin Feldman, president of SSI at UCLA, and Yitz Shafa, president of SSI at Santa Monica College, agree that Mokgomole and Molepo enlightened the students on what apartheid truly was in South Africa and how Israel is the antithesis of it. They also said the activists’ views, formed through their own personal experiences, are much needed to dispel the misinformation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict being circulated on campuses, especially during April’s “Israeli Apartheid Week.”

From left: Friends of Sheba Medical Center’s 2019 Women of Achievement Luncheon Committee members Melody Pakravan, Carrie Sherman, Sorelle Cohen,
Jennifer Cohen, Marianne Berman, Parvin Djavaheri, Aviva Harari, Ruth Steinberger, Lynn Ziman and DeeDee Sussman. Photo courtesy of Friends of Sheba Medical Center


Friends of Sheba Medical Center held its annual Women of Achievement Luncheon at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills on April 4. 

The luncheon brought together members of the community in support of Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer and benefited the medical center’s new pediatric laser treatment center.

More than 360 guests attended the sold-out event, which opened with a reception and silent auction. CBS 2 and KCAL 9 reporter Brittney Hopper emceed.

The luncheon featured a keynote presentation by professor Josef Haik, director of the National Burn Center at Sheba Medical Center. He spoke about Sheba’s vision for the pediatric laser treatment center — a state-of-the-art facility that will use advanced laser technology to treat severe burn scars that cause physical and emotional pain in children. Advanced research and pediatric laser application also will be taught to all dermatologists and plastic surgeons throughout Sheba Medical Center. The unique combination of

research, treatment and teaching makes the pediatric laser treatment center at Israel’s National Burn Center the first of its kind in the world. 

The luncheon honored two community leaders, Rosalie Zalis and Yafa Hakim. Zalis was presented with the 2019 Women of Achievement Award for leadership in her remarkable career and philanthropic endeavors. Hakim was honored with the 2019 Marjorie Pressman Legacy Award for her longstanding service and dedication to Israel’s hospitals, including Sheba Medical Center.

“It was an honor to hear from professor Haik, who flew in from Israel to speak about Sheba’s incredibly innovative pediatric laser burn treatment center, which has the power to save the lives of children suffering from severe, painful and disfiguring burn scars,” luncheon co-chair Lynn Ziman said. “Thanks to our hardworking luncheon committee and the support of our community, Friends of Sheba is making a significant impact in the lives of thousands of children, not only from Israel but around the world.”

Additional organizers were luncheon co-chair Judy Shapiro, décor chair Beverly Cohen and honorary chair Carrie Sherman. 

“The 2019 Women of Achievement Luncheon highlighted the need for our community’s next generation of leaders to support Israel and Israel’s flagship institutions, such as Sheba Medical Center,” Friends of Sheba Medical Center Executive Director Molly Soboroff said. “As Rosalie Zalis declared, now is the time for future leaders to show up, support Israel and invest in the future of global medicine with Sheba Medical Center.”


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