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PRAS News

"CLOSING A CIRCLE" by Steven Klein (Haaretz- for the online version, click HERE)

Telfed, the South African Zionist Federation, handed out over 400 scholarships at its annual ceremony in Tel Aviv on Thursday. While most of the scholarships went to students with financial needs, about 130 received PRAS volunteering scholarships.

“PRAS combines what Telfed does best – assisting students and helping new immigrants,” Merav Fisher, Telfed’s scholarships administrator, told Haaretz. “It pairs students with new olim families or elders who act as a big brother or sister, so it becomes a community service project.”

She noted that over half of the PRAS recipients are new olim or children of South African olim, thus closing a circle when they help other immigrants in need. Fisher, a Juilliard-trained clarinetist from Canberra, performed at the ceremony. Telfed’s Dana Levy Tavor, Dorron Kline and Batya Shmukler all addressed the students.

A poignant interlude was taken to commemorate the life of the late Susan Sharon(z'l), longtime head of the scholarship department, who passed away in 2016.


PRAS STUDENT FOCUS

MEET OUR REGIONAL COORDINATORS!!

Our wonderful 2016/17 PRAS Regional Coordinators: From L-R, Shirin Pogrebensky, Shira Wisemon, Tamar Cohen, Bentzi Rubin, Elisha Babian.

Shira Wisemon - Coordinator for Judea & South Regions 

Age: 21

Birthplace/hometown: Israel, Jerusalem

University: Ariel

Degree: Organizational Psychology

Favourite place in Israel: Mitzpe Ramon and Palmachim Beach

Favourite food: Cheese and Tuna Bagel

Something people might be surprised to know about you: I am a keen photographer

Number of years with the PRAS programme: Two

PRAS volunteering prior to becoming a coordinator: I volunteered with a family of olim with 2 young children.

Favourite memory/experience from your volunteering with PRAS: I helped the 3rd grader with a school project she was finding difficult. Her mother later told me that her daughter received a high grade and positive comments from her teacher. It made me feel good to help her to succeed.

Something you have learned through your experiences with PRAS:  Age is no barrier to volunteering - This year I accepted a mature student to the PRAS program. Despite her own home responsibilities, she has proven to be a very dedicated volunteer and we have received very enthusiastic feedback from her volunteer family.

Your plans for the future: To complete my degree next year and begin working in HR for an organization like Telfed that makes a difference. 

 

Shirin Pogrebensky - Coordinator for Tel Aviv and North Regions

Age: 25

Birthplace/hometown: Moscow, Russia.

University: IDC Herzliya.

Degree: Law

Favourite place in Israel: Netanya, my home.

Favourite food: Beet soup, national Russian soup.

Number of years with the PRAS programme: Three

PRAS volunteering prior to becoming a coordinator:  I volunteered with an older man and also a 10 year old child.

Favourite memory/experience from your volunteering with PRAS: To see the smile on their face especially when they succeed in something with my help.  

Something you have learned through your experiences with PRAS: First of all this is my first experience meeting the South African community, which is amazing and it was my pleasure to get to know them. Second, the more you give, the more you get back.

Your plans for the future: Continue giving and helping whoever I can.

 

Elisha Babian - Coordinator for Jerusalem Region 

Age: 22 

Birthplace/hometown: Tehran,Iran

University: The Hebrew University - Jerusalem

Degree: Medicine

Favourite place in Israel: Haddasah Mountains, the Kotel and Herzelia Beach

Favourite food: Homely food

Something people might be surprised to know about you: I love music, I play piano, guitar, ukulele, and a little bit of violin.

Number of years with the PRAS programme: Four

PRAS volunteering prior to becoming a coordinator:  Olim teenagers

Favourite memory/experience from your volunteering with PRAS:  Eating together with the family I was volunteering with and feeling like I’m home.  Also, at the end of the year I wanted them to have fun so we went water skiing together in TLV.
 

Something you have learned through your experiences with PRAS: Three hours of volunteering a week can light up your whole week, and when you help people who struggle with something, it helps you to deal with your own struggles much better.

When I became a coordinator of the Jerusalem area I also learned that if you really care about other people – you can make a lot of good happen, even if it take a lot of time – good people(and Hashem) will always help.

Your plans for the future:  To continue learning, become a good doctor, learn to play the cello, and finding the one.

Get to know some of our other PRAS Students, past and present:

To read about other featured PRAS students click HERE.

Elisheva Kessel

Aviv Harkov

 

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