This past Sunday was surely one of the great highlights of the Telfed calendar. Some four hundred students accompanied by proud members of their families, Telfed staff, volunteers and well-wishers from the public gathered at the Meyerhoff Auditorium in the plush ZOA building in Tel Aviv for the 2015 Telfed Bursary Ceremony. The atmosphere at the reception was buzzing as students arrived to receive the bursaries that will allow them to achieve their dreams of studying their desired subjects and building themselves a bright future.
Many recipients of Telfed study bursaries would not be able to embark on a course of study without the financial relief the bursary offers. Batya Shmukler, Chairperson of the Education and Scholarships Committee, gave a moving introductory speech in which she reminded us of the words of the late legendary Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Our future as a flourishing and productive society lies in the hands of these young students and others like them and Telfed is proud and excited to offer this great gift to the key-holders of our future.
Some of the bursary recipients are enrolled in the Telfed PRAS Student Mentoring Programme - a hugely popular programme which represents a unique approach to offering financial assistance to students, whilst at the same time creating opportunities for them to repay the good they have received through contributing to the community at large. Telfed PRAS student bursaries are awarded to those students who can commit to doing 94 hours of community service per academic year. The impact these students have on our community and on wider Israeli society is huge. Some act as big brothers or sisters to Oleh children who are struggling to acclimatize or to speak Hebrew, others help families members with special needs or disabilities (offering relief and enjoyment to the children and their families) whilst others volunteer in absorption centres - helping olim from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Dorron Kline, CEO of Telfed, welcomed all the attendees and gave a fascinating and inspiring overview of Telfed as an organisation, explaining the many services it offers to the Southern African and Australian communities in Israel. He emphasized the positive impact Telfed, together with the community it serves, has had on Israeli society. Dorron also showed a clip from the Telfed movie, a moving presentation in which some of the many beneficiaries of Telfed services share their stories. Dave Bloom, Telfed Chairman also spoke to thank everyone who attended and helped to facilitate the student bursary scheme and make the event possible.
Dorron Kline, Telfed CEO, poses with some of the happy students. Photo Credit: Darryl Egnal
The ceremony was also attended by Dan Eli, Director of the Netanya and Sharon region Ministry of Absorption and by Dina Turevsky, Head of Youth Absorption Programmes in the Jewish Agency, both of whom addressed the students.
Guest lecturer and sponsor of the evening, Zvi Stepak from the Meitav Dash Investment House gave a fascinating talk entitled “Preparing yourself for financial independence after university”, which was particularly relevant and appreciated by the students. He also gave some insightful tips based on his own personal experience about choosing a career path in the light of changes in the market.
Chenli Pinchevsky, a young student of South African origin and a recipient of a Telfed student bursary spoke about her life and experiences in Israel, as well as the impact Telfed has had on her life and that of her family.
Susan Sharon (Telfed Aliyah and Klita Advisor), Mel Cohen (TECI Chairman) and Batya Shmukler (Telfed Vice Chair) pose with some of the students. Photo credit: Darryl Egnal
Throughout the proceedings the audience was treated to a number of musical interludes presented by the talented students themselves. Many thanks to Martin Goldstein, Chanan Dvorin, Gal Madmon and Dino Ben Tovim for their sparkling performances which added so much warmth and vibrancy to the evening. Their performances were greeted with enthusiastic rounds of applause.
This evening would not be possible without the incredible support we receive from a special network of friends and supporters and in particular: The Graham and Rhona Beck Foundation - Israel, The Doone SA Charity Foundation, The Stanley and Zea Lewis Family Foundation (Michael Lewis) and The Meyer Hirsch Goldschmidt Foundation (Channel Islands). Special thanks are extended to them for their tremendous support that enables Telfed to touch so many young lives in this productive way.
As the students filed out of the auditorium full of excitement and enthusiasm, Telfed staff and volunteers were on hand to present them their awards and offer them warm wishes for the future – a truly fitting end to a wonderful evening.