Telfed has joined forces with The Eric and Sheila Samson Foundation, to offer a pioneering programme providing significant support (needs-based study and accommodation bursaries) to South African youth looking to study in Israel in English.
Telfed, the representative body of SA Jewry in Israel, has been working on affiliation agreements with leading Israeli Universities to be able to offer different levels of assistance to South African students, in addition to a broad range of support services (including Aliyah/Klita advice, employment guidance and housing stipends).
The SASI (South Africans Studying in Israel) programme already has 15 students registered, with an additional nine enrolling for the Engineering Degree at Tel Aviv University. Also on the burner is an innovative and revolutionary new development spearheaded by Telfed which would pave the way for international students to study Medicine in English in Israel at exemplary Universities. Recognising that the future of our community lies in our youth, one of the primary goals is to encourage communal involvement, through seminars facilitated by prominent leaders in the community, and the inclusion of a volunteering opportunity in the 3rd year of studies.
These plans, as they come to fruition, provide an expansion of academic choices to SA youth who have the skills and dedication to excel, but lack the financial ability. Supporting SA students is one of many Telfed tenets.
Just last month, over 400 students received awards in front of their peers, friends and members of the Telfed Staff and Scholarships Committee at the organisation’s public bursary ceremony in Tel Aviv.
Juilliard-trained clarinetist and Telfed Scholarship Department Administrator, Merav Fisher, mesmerised the audience before the Head of the Scholarship Department, Dana Levy Tavor opened the evening, inviting CEO Dorron Kline who congratulated the students and shared with them Telfed’s mission and raison d’être, to promote the quality of life of Southern Africans in Israel and to support their participation in and contribution to Israeli Society.
Guest Speaker Avner Stepak (board member of Meitav Dash, one of the leading Investment Houses in Israel) engaged the audience with his fantastic sense of humour and shared valuable career advice with the students.
Batya Shmukler, Vice Chair and Head of the ESP (Endowments, Scholarships, PRAS) committee, noted that Telfed’s ability to assist these youngsters “is solely thanks to the generosity, encouragement and endorsement of a network of friends and donors, including (most notably) The Stanley and Zea Lewis Fund, The Graham and Rhona Beck Fund (RA), The Meyer Hirsch Goldschmidt Fund, The Eric and Sheila Samson Fund and The Doone SA Charitable Trust”. She also spoke about the PRAS Student Volunteer Programme: “By paying it forward”, said Batya, “you contribute to others in society and in the South African community. You uphold the values Telfed has embodied over the last 70 years, since its inception”.
Telfed Scholarships were presented, in memory Susan Sharon (z’l) who passed away in 2016, to the five student coordinators who assist with the national implementation of the volunteering programme.
Maish Isaacson, Telfed’s chairman, closed the evening with good wishes for continued cooperation between Telfed, its partners, friends and the community. Students collected their scholarships and were fortunate to meet with representatives of the benefactors like Lauren Gez-Krawitz who attended the ceremony and presented students with the ‘Philip and Michele Krawitz Bursary Awards’ (in her parents’ name). In the words of Nelson Mandela, “a good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination, but when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.”