You and I will change the world

Alon Zimel and Debbie Chitiz presented awards to two outstanding students at Telfed’s Annual Scholarship Ceremony, in memory of Major Dor Zimel z”l and Lieutenant Yaron Chitiz z”l

“It will be tough for us but it doesn’t matter. You and I will change the world.” These words from iconic Israeli musician Arik Einstein z”l resonated at Telfed’s recent Annual Scholarship Ceremony. 425 students received Telfed scholarships during the 2023-2024 academic year through PRAS community service scholarships, need-based scholarships and SASI – South Africans Studying in Israel. 

In her address to the students, Telfed Scholarship Committee Chairman Shely Cohen thanked the students, among them reservists, for continuing with remarkable resilience despite the incomprehensible challenges. Shely introduced two awards dedicated in memory of Major Dor Zimel z”l and Lieutenant Yaron Chitiz z”l.

PRAS is Telfed’s community service scholarship programme. Students perform two hours of community service a week to help Olim integrate into Israeli society. At the PRAS opening event in December, Dor Zimel (one of five PRAS student co-ordinators) arrived in uniform, taking a short break from his unit in the North to support his students. ‘Dor fell in battle just before Pesach, and it is unbelievable that he isn’t here today,’ said Shely. When asked what character trait best exemplified him, Dor’s family answered: ‘perseverance and commitment’. ‘Dor committed to big things – to the survival of Israel (he served in the IDF reserves almost without a break), to his family and fiancé, to his studies, and to Telfed.’ The Dor Zimel Award for Commitment and Perseverance was awarded to Michael Illouz, who volunteers with
a young Oleh with special needs. 

At the PRAS opening event, the community was reeling from the pain of the tragic death of Yaron Chitiz while fighting in Gaza. “In a world of limp handshakes, Yaron was a bear hug,’ said Shely. ‘He didn’t just belong to a community – he made communities wherever he went… radiating warmth and drawing people together.’ The Yaron Chitiz Award for Outstanding Community Service was awarded to Noam Goldberg, who volunteers at Bayit Balev, an old age home in Jerusalem. 

Telfed CEO Dorron Kline paid tribute to a former colleague, Shula Rubinow. Shula never had children of her own; instead ‘she had hundreds of children – the Olim she dedicated herself to helping. I was one of her children,’ said Dorron. ‘Shula personally helped about 13 000 Olim during her time at Telfed,’ said Naama Or, Shula’s niece. ‘To perpetuate her legacy and a lifetime dedication to helping Olim, the Rubinow family has chosen to support Telfed’s scholarship programme.’

This year, thanks to the generosity of our benevolent donors, Telfed granted over NIS 2,000,000 in scholarships. As an organisation and community, we are proud to empower our youth and to show our immense gratitude to this generation of heroes. They have proven, beyond doubt, their exceptionalism and their ability ‘to change the world’. 

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