Over 460 scholarships were awarded to students at Telfed’s annual scholarship ceremony, held at Bar-Ilan University on 28 March. In her opening address, Telfed Chairman Batya Shmukler said: ‘We don’t often get a chance to meet all of the students that we assist in a single event. This evening helps us to appreciate the magnitude of what we are doing and we are incredibly proud to be able to assist so many students.’
Telfed offers three scholarship programmes.
The first is PRAS: a volunteering scholarship programme whereby recipients volunteer with children with special needs, the elderly or new olim (assisting with language acquisition and as a big brother or sister for younger olim as they integrate). The second scholarship programme assists students who prove financial need while the third scholarship, SASI (South Africans Studying in Israel), takes the form of a housing grant that affords South African students an opportunity to attend world-class Israeli universities, study in English or Hebrew without having to make Aliyah. By giving students a taste for life in Israel, SASI is often a precursor to Aliyah.
Telfed CEO Dorron Kline explained the diverse services that Telfed offers to Southern African and Australian olim, in addition to the scholarship programmes. These all-encompassing services showcase Telfed’s raison d’être — to support Southern African and Australian olim as they establish themselves in Israel so that, in time, they will make meaningful contributions to Israeli society. At the Ceremony, Shelly Cohen, Head of Telfed’s Endowments, Scholarships and PRAS (ESP) Committee spoke of the foresight and generosity of the donors ‘without whom we literally would not be here tonight.’
Over 460 scholarships, amounting to approximately 2 million shekels, were awarded for the 2018-19 academic year and Shelly articulated the importance of gratitude. Adding to this, Prof. Moshe Lewenstein, Bar-Ilan University Deputy President, said to the students: ‘this will be an event that you will remember. Cherish it.’ Prof. Lewenstein spoke of the importance of olim to the University, highlighting that ‘Bar-Ilan University is home to many more olim than any other university in Israel.’
Simone Pikas, Telfed’s Scholarship coordinator, introduced talented musician, Maya Isac stating that ‘it is not a real celebration if music isn’t involved.’ Maya (the daughter of South African olim) shared her connection to Telfed with the audience. Maya’s siblings were former recipients of Telfed scholarships. Her magical performance was followed by a captivating talk by Michael Dickson, CEO of StandWithUs. Michael shared an important message with the students, many of whom were unaware of challenges facing Jewish and pro-Israel students on South African University campuses. He spoke to the students about personal influence in an era where important messages can be spread through social media.
An enlightening, inspiring and heart-warming evening concluded with the distribution of the 460 scholarships.