Because Israel's single greatest natural resource is the minds of its young. ISEF opens the doors of higher education for more than 400 promising young....

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ISEF International Fellow Dr. Yitsik Biton was awarded the 2016 Young Investigator Award by the American College of Cardiology for his postdoctoral heart research at the University of Rochester. Yitsik will be joining Harvard Medical School this fall as a cardiac fellow!

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6 ISEF MA Students at the University of Haifa raised funds and launched an after-school program for at-risk girls from distressed neighborhoods and impoverished single-parent families. Without support services, adolescent girls face a real danger of dropping out of school.

This new safe space provides 24 at-risk girls with a weekly program that teaches valuable life skills, provides positive role models and mentors, and familiarizes them with college life as well as professional and cultural opportunities.

“I never dreamed that just a couple of hours a week could be so life-changing.”


ISEF’s 39th Anniversary Benefit Dinner

Close to 300 supporters of ISEF’s work to provide higher education to gifted young Israelis from immigrant and underserved communities gathered at New York’s Grand Hyatt on June 7th to celebrate ISEF’s 39th Anniversary. The event, which raised major new funds for ISEF’s scholarship and leadership development programs, honored renowned scientist and philanthropist Dr. Jean de Gunzburg and paid tribute to ISEF Lifetime Achievement Award winners Judy and Norris Wolff. 

Nina Weiner, Terry and Jean de Bunzburg, Chairman Carlos Benaim
Dr. de Gunzburg, outgoing Chairman of World ORT,  was given ISEF’s International Leadership Award for his dedication to bringing modern technology to underserved schools in Israel’s periphery. He spoke eloquently about the importance of education and about ISEF’s invaluable contributions to Israel and the world.
Norris and Judy Wolff were honored for their long-standing devotion to championing ISEF’s cause, and for opening their home to dozens of ISEF scholars.

The event also attracted major corporate support, with EY receiving special recognition for its leadership role.

ISEF Chairman Carlos Benaim noted ISEF’s remarkable success in nurturing its students: fully 90-95% graduate, despite underprivileged backgrounds, and 30% continue for advanced degrees. “We are small in size but enormous in impact,” he stated.
ISEF Alumnus and Board Member Avi Abergel led a successful auction of ISEF scholarships and projects, featuring moving personal stories from ISEF’s brilliant Ph.D. and postdoctoral fellows, now conducting groundbreaking medical and scientific research at top universities in the United States. One student, M.D./Ph.D. candidate Yoni Reuven, flew in from Israel to share his journey, from birth in Ethiopia to pursuing advanced medical training at Ben-Gurion University with ISEF’s support.

The event was emceed by Josh Einiger of ABC-Eyewitness News and included a touching tribute by Treasurer Joseph M. Rose to ISEF’s founding board member Walter H. Weiner z”l who passed away in May.

This truly memorable evening will enable ISEF to support hundreds of bright young students in the coming year, and underwrite a dozen ISEF-sponsored education programs that reach several thousand youngsters across Israel’s most vulnerable communities.

Click for more photos from ISEF’s 39th Anniversary Benefit Dinner!

Learn more about ISEF’s impact in our new video!

Newest Highlights and Success Stories

Liav Orgad Book CoverISEF alumnus Dr. Liav Orgad released his first book this fall. The Cultural Defense of Nations: A Liberal Theory of Majority Rights,” was published by Oxford University Press and met with critical acclaim for its insightful analysis of immigration and its effect on modern nations. Liav is a Faculty Fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and Associate Professor of Law at IDC Herzliya.

Dr. Inbal Rachmin, whose groundbreaking discovery of protein’s ability to combat heart Inbal Rachmin Awarddisease and breast cancer has garnered international acclaim, continues her cutting-edge heart research as an ISEF International Fellow at Harvard University Medical School. Inbal grew up in Jerusalem, one of six children. When she was just 16, she lost her mother to breast cancer, which inspired her medical studies. Inbal is pictured here receiving an award of excellence from The Israel Heart Society.

Haim_Suchowski_300dpiFormer ISEF International Fellow Dr. Haim Suchowski (UC-Berkeley) joined the Physics Faculty at Tel Aviv University, where he opened his own lab this summer with a generous grant from the European Research Council. His research is revolutionizing the depth and speed with which scientists can see into space.

Ziona Tagאייסףana, ISEF alumna and Law graduate of Bar Ilan University, became the first Ethiopian-Israeli to be accepted to the prestigious Israeli Supreme Court internship program.  She is pictured here receiving the 2015 Edmond Levy Outstanding Law Scholars Award from Mrs. Levy, ISEF President Nina Weiner, and ISEF Alumnus Prof. Nir Kedar, Dean of Sapir College Law School in Sderot (far right).

Commitment to Community

For over 20 years, The ISEF Foundation has been committed to the development of Ethiopian-Israeli physicians, teachers, and leaders. 7% of ISEF’s scholars hail from Ethiopian immigrant families – far more than their proportion in Israeli society (1.6%) and at the universities (only 0.5%).
Ethiopian-Israeli Vino Tarafa shares his incredible ISEF journey in this new video (English subtitles):

Making Headlines


The newly published memoir by ISEF President Nina Weiner shares the joys and challenges of building The ISEF Foundation and the exciting life journey which led her to that purpose.

"Weiner writes with great zest and a clear eyed devotion to facts and to the harsh realities of life that awaited displaced Jews from the Middle East upon their arrival in Israel." - Andre Aciman, author of Out of Egypt

Click to purchase book on Amazon, proceeds benefit ISEF

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Lily and Edmund Safra

ISEF was founded in 1977 by Edmond J. Safra z"l, Lily Safra and Nina Weiner.


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