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Israel Scholarship Education Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, International, Judaism, Religion, Scholarships, Scholarships & Student Financial Aid

Mission: To empower extraordinary individuals of underserved backgrounds and top academic merit to reach their highest leadership potential, igniting positive change in Israeli society

Results: 11,000 graduates, including Knesset members, college presidents, scientists and engineers, heads of hospitals, physicians, legal experts, architects, and founders of major NGOs. 50,000 at-risk youth have been inspired to improve their grades, stay in school and graduate. ISEF has been the leading proponent of increasing access to higher education as the key to narrowing Israel's wide social and economic gaps.

Target demographics: Educate and empower thousands of youths growing up in Israel's periphery, populated mainly by immigrants. ISEF discovers "diamonds in the rough" and nurtures them to achieve their full potential. ISEF provides generous scholarships and wraparound support programs to more than 400 students on Israeli campuses, and reaches thousands of at-risk teens through Bridge to College and other education projects in the community.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 428 scholarship students, BA to PhD, and more than 3,000 at-risk youth all over Israel

Geographic areas served: Israel

Programs: "Science Builds the Nation" Program - STEM scholarships in partnership with the Prime Minister's Office; Generous scholarship aid at all degree levels (BA to PhD and postdoc);, "Safety net" programs (academic assistance, emergency funds, counseling); Social networking with fellow ISEF scholars, to foster a sense of belonging and group identity; Leadership skills training, both theoretical and hands-on practical; Yvonne and Barry Cohen Book Fund projects; Alfred and Hanina Shasha Endowment programs; Luna and Selim Benardete Bridge to College Fund programs; Other education outreach projects in underserved immigrant communities.

Community Stories

46 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 eyaakobi

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was an ISEF scholar for 6 years and for me, ISEF is more than just a scholarship. It is a family. You know that if you have a problem, they will help. This includes academic and personal problems as well as financial. In the U.S., ISEF's support was even more important. Firstly, because studies and life there are so much more expensive and secondly because, being Israeli, it was hard for me to be away from friends and family.

Ravit S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

ISEF's generous support has enabled me to fulfill a dream and a professional aspiration. Thanks to ISEF I was able to commit my post-doctoral research in one of world's most prestigious institutes in my field, Material Science. As a mother for a beautiful three year old girl, it was a significant financial challenge to move to California but ISEF's support made this dream possible. It is also very important to mention that throughout the post-doc period the ISEF team provided me outstanding assistance and support, and I am truly thankful to for that.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I feel a great debt of gratitude to the ISEF family and the incredible Nina Weiner for the unimaginable support. ISEF supported me through my studies abroad. Without their generous support, I could not make my dreams come true.

One of the most challenging aspects of raising scholarships for studies has been the need to justify my choices(to study cinema abroad) to many funders who seem to believe that culture and creativity are the prerogatives only of those who can afford it.

I can only say what I believe, which is that those for whom culture and creativity are seen as unessential luxuries, those whose voices thus go unheard and unheeded, are precisely those for whom the chance to speak is nothing short of an essential necessity.

When I got to ISEF I didn't need to explain any of this, it was clear from day one, that I matter. Beyond the financial support, the most important thing ISEF staff(highlighting the extremely kind and supportive director of student affairs- Adi Helfer), ISEF board(in particular: Nina Weiner, Carlos Benaim, Avi Abergel) and my fellow students gave me is much-needed encouragement in this journey,they've been for me my home away from home. I'm grateful to have all of them in my life.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've been with ISEF since my undergraduate studies through my postdoc now. It is a warm and welcoming family! They literally do an amazing job without a lot of hype and PR.
I learn so many things about myself, my country, social justice and so on in their rich programs. I defiantly recommend other to be involved with this organization.

Michel M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is my 2nd year at ISEF's scholarship abroad program, this foundation has made a tremendous impact on my life as a student, giving me the assistance i need in order to complete my studies as a MD. I'm proud to be a part of this program and foundation which represents a vision that i totally believe in and identify with.

Talia Meital S.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is the story of how ISEF created a new future for me and my family. The support if ISEF has been life changing for me. I was the first in my family to reach higher education, as both of my parents come from poor Jewish religious Mizrahi families. My family also had to deal with my brother serious injury and mental trauma while protecting families near Gaza. When I was offered to leave the master program and start direct track to PhD, I was so confused having on one hand a dreamy opportunity but in the other huge fear that I wouldn't be able to pay and to finance myself. The period of my PhD was a long economic struggle that made my husband I wait and wait until we were able to start a family. At certain point of my PhD, I had no money to collect the data and then ISEF reached out, and saved my doctoral dissertation by supporting me financially for three months to get the data together. Three years later I won a competitive scholarship to proceed to post doc at UC Berkeley. At some point, and while packing our lives to move to the US, the university officials postponed our arrival since I had to come with a certain amount of funding, and the awards wasn’t enough. At the same time I also applied for ISEF post doc program, and ISEF actually saved my post doc by adding the exact amount of funding needed. This funding also helps us with enrolling our baby daughter to preschool, making it much more effective for me to work with the best scholars in my field here at UCB. Without ISEF support I just wouldn’t have completed my PhD nor would I start my post doc. This foundation is the most important and life influential for young hard working students who wish to make this world a better place for the other young people who encounter similar barriers. I will never be able to thank ISEF enough for their support exactly at the time needed. Yours, Talia Tayri

2 Shelly S.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Coming from a less privileged background in Israel has posed financial challenges in fulfilling my academic aspirations throughout the years. My parents, descendants of Sephardic Jews who have less than a High School diploma, could not provide me with financial assistance. By awarding me a scholarship, ISEF has lightened my financial burden, and without a doubt, it plays a key role in achieving my educational dreams. I am forever grateful for that. Currently, I am a PhD Candidate in law at Harvard Law School, researching about one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today. A technology called "CRISPR" has produced great interest globally due to the insights it would yield regarding fundamental biological processes and its potential impact on human health and well-being. However, with these opportunities come significant legal and ethical challenges. My research dissertation will be a starting point for addressing some of the fundamental challenges the topic raises. As a first-generation student in higher education in my family, I have now the privilege to pursue a position that can make a groundbreaking contribution in the future and all thanks to ISEF’s help and faith in me.

3 Nofar E.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Nofar Edri, I graduated from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, with a degree in emergency medicine.
I am currently pursuing a medical degree at the Medical University of Silesia in Poland.
Recently I have been granted a doctorate scholarship from the ISEF foundation thus covering my tuition fees.
Isef has become an important part of my life. Without Isef's help, everything would have been so much harder and my dream would have stayed far away.
I'm very honored to be a member of the “Isef” family, looking forward to help others pursuing their dreams, as Isef just did to me.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Yamit Cohen
University of Haifa
Studying Law

ISEF has allowed me to realize my dream and finish law school with honors. I think that without the foundation, I would not be able to withstand the economic pressure to be able to complete my studies satisfactorily.
Beyond the foundation’s financial support, which I am forever grateful for, the organization has helped me shape my personality, allowed me to express and believe in myself and my abilities.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have received a scholarship from ISEF. However, it didn't come just with money, but also with a supportive environment and amazing people to be involved with.
I recommend anyone who can to apply for this scholarship. Worth much more than the money it gives.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

ISEF supported me through my very first steps in the university all the way to my post-doctoral research. Their support was incredibly valuable to me and helped me steer my life to fascinating fields of knowledge and science I could never dream of growing up. Thank you for believing in the young generation of Israel!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

To me, ISEF is a place where we learn how to work toward creating a better world. The organization helped me reevaluate how I look at society and understand that all of our actions have meaning.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Etty Schirgauker
Sapir College
Management and Human Resources

When I began my ISEF journey, I never imagined I’d benefit so much from this foundation. In the last three years, I learned a lot about society, about giving and accepting those who are different. I met wonderful people and friends for life. In the past year, I became a coordinator for three amazing projects at ISEF, which developed my personal and professional career. I was able to do this in tandem with graduating cum laude, working and raising a child. I’m appreciative for every moment of my time with ISEF which allowed me to be part of something incredible.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The ISEF Foundation was for me a home in academia and a source of personal and social empowerment during my studies at the Hebrew University in the 1990s. In ISEF I met people from a background similar to mine, with whom I shared personal experiences and conducted discussions on social, economic and educational issues, I connected to my roots and to my identity and took part in a leadership and social involvement program that greatly empowered me and help my personal and professional development. The friendships and personal and professional networking that I have acquired in ISEF accompany me and help me till this very day.

1 eyaakobi

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was an ISEF scholar for 6 years and for me, ISEF is more than just a scholarship. It is a family. You know that if you have a problem, they will help. This includes academic and personal problems as well as financial. In the U.S., ISEF's support was even more important. Firstly, because studies and life there are so much more expensive and secondly because, being Israeli, it was hard for me to be away from friends and family.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Eitan Yaakobi and I have been supported by ISEF for more than 5 years. On top of the financial support which helped me a lot during my studies, ISEF serves as a family for me. The tremendous help I received from ISEF for any tiny problem I had encountered with is hard to describe with just words. On top of everything, I always knew that ISEF believes in me and supports me to achieve my goals and dreams!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My Name is Menny and I have been supported by ISEF for 6 years in which I conducted my graduate and postdoctoral studies in pure mathematics.

I do not know any mathematician in Israel coming from Sephardic background. During my studies, something without noticing it, this fact made me feel that "you don't belong here", " this is not for you", "success in academia is for others".

ISEF support was a vote of confidence in me, in my way, in my deserved place in the academic world. It is like saying “keep going! You have the same rights and possibilities as your colleagues!”.

The gift ISEF gave me is a one that goes into my heart, my self-esteem and pride. But it manifests itself also in many day to day things… For example, we have enough money to give my 8 years old daughter, Alma, harp lessons! Art lessons for my 5 year’s old son, Amitai, and also for the well-being of my wife Dahlia, and our 3 years old Amalia. ISEF scholarship is exactly what bridges the gap between being stress about making hand meet, to feeling that we have enough money to anything that we would like do.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My dream is to become a scholar that can contribute to society in general and Israeli society in particular. ISEF has been helping me to achieve this goal. I would not have been able to pursue doctoral studies at Brandeis University without ISEF’s support. ISEF’s mission to enhance Israel’s well-being is a blessed and important one. It is a mission that I share whole-heartedly.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hello, my name is Eytan Damari. I can only try to express my appreciation towards ISEF foundation by words, but I think what and who I am today, will express it far better. I 28 years old, six years ago I started my medical studies, which without the support of ISEF, I wouldn't be able to start nor will I be able to finish them. These day, I am proud to say I have finish my studies and I am now a medical doctor - only due to the support of ISEF along the year. ISEF is more than a simple organization, the people working in ISEF are truly helpful and understand that the whole is composed of individual persons, and so they act and treat accordingly. From all this huge organization, I have been treated like I am the only person there, always checking on you, supporting in ways beyond required. My degree I owe to ISEF.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a 5th year student, studying abroad in Hungary. From my own experience with ISEF, ISEF is one of the most supporting non-profit organizations i came upon with. They have been there by my side in every aspect, willing to help in times of need keeping thier door always open for others. THANK YOU ISEF FOR EVERYTHING!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dear all, my name is Liran Odeni. I am 30 yrs old and a 5th year medical student at Semmelweis University in Budapest. Ever since I can remember, I knew I wanted to become a doctor but unfortunately in Israel, the available places at the university are extremely limited to a few students every year. In order to study abroad, each year I had to pay a very high price that my parents couldnt afford themselves. ISEF has been supporting me economically and emotionally all the way from the beginning. Through ISEF, a guy with a very low socioeconomic background will graduate next year who plans to contribute to our society by giving proper and equal medical care to all. Without ISEF, I could not do this and I want to say THANK you all for your contribution and support. Liran Odeni

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Hi my name is Liran Odeni a 28 years old from israel. Through ISEF I was able to realize my dream. Without ISEF’s support I would not be where I am today; a 3rd year medical student. Who could believe that someone with a lower socioeconomic background would be able to go to Medical School? To show my gratitude to ISEF, once I complete my studies and establish myself as a doctor I intend to help others achieve their dreams as well.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

One of the burning issues in modern Israeli society is the inequality between those that come from strong socioeconomic backgrounds and those that do not. The one indisputable way of closing gaps within a society is to advance and enable equal opportunity for education for young men and women. This is the International Sepharadic Education Foundation's (ISEF) main goal. Furthermore, ISEF is unique in that it enhances equal opportunity throughout all educational levels, from school to post-doctoral training.

Education is the key to Israel's future and supporting ISEF is supporting the age old vision of an enlightened and just modern Israeli society, a beacon onto the nations. ISEF has played a key role for myself and many others in being able to dedicate oneself to learning and research despite the heavy financial burden of paying for tuition and living expenses on one's own.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Tamir Arviv. For me, ISEF is a place of belonging and empowerment. ISEF has supported me for the past 10 years. From my first steps through the gate of Tel Aviv University to my current PhD studies in the University of Toronto.
I am the first in my family to attend University and I can’t imagine going through my studies without the warm support that I have been receiving from ISEF.

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Tamir Arviv. For me, ISEF is more than just any other scholarship program – It’s a family – a place of belonging and empowerment. ISEF has supported me for the past 8 years. From my first steps through the gate of Tel Aviv University to my current PhD studies in the University of Toronto. I am the first in my family to attend University and I can’t imagine going through my studies without the warm support that I have been receiving from ISEF.