ISEF scholars at Shamoon College of Engineering

Because Israel's single greatest natural resource is the minds of its young people. ISEF opens the doors to higher education for more than 400 promising young Israelis from underserved and immigrant communities throughout Israel. Learn More


The acclaimed 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 Circles of Empowerment on Amazon. All proceeds benefit ISEF.


During a recent lecture and visit with students in ISEF’s Leadership Development Program, ISEF alumna, MK Meirav Ben-Ari, shared a heartwarming story about the powerful role ISEF continues to play in her life.




ISEF alumnus, Dr. Naphtaly Shem-Tov's book, Acco Festival: Between Celebration and Confrontation, chronicles the history of the Acco Festival for Other Israeli Theater from 1980-2012.

This well-received work provides an insightful history of a cultural institution, which has brought together acclaimed directors and actors, fringe artists, and local Jewish and Arab residents for more than 40 years.

Dr. Shem-Tov is a senior lecturer in the Department of Literature, Language and the Arts at The Open University of Israel.

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2013 Benefit Dinner

ISEF’s 36th Anniversary celebration at the iconic Plaza Hotel on May 7th made for a truly memorable evening, honoring ISEF’s esteemed board member and longtime supporter, businessman and philanthropist David E.R. Dangoor, President of the American Sephardi Federation.
More than 270 guests attended the event, which also cherished the memory of two of ISEF’s founding members, Sonny Gindi z”l and Abraham E. Cohen z”l, who passed away last year.  President Nina Weiner praised Mr. Gindi’s role as ISEF’s first Chairman and gave a touching tribute to “Barry” Cohen, presenting his children – Yvette Pomerantz, Denise Cohen, and Daniel Cohen – with a beautiful handcrafted Bible. “This is a small token of our gratitude to the ‘Yvonne and Barry Cohen Book Fund’ your mother created in 1991,” Nina said. “This book fund has helped so many children escape their surroundings and join the wonderful world of books, ideas, and dreams. We will never forget the countless times your parents opened their home and their hearts to our students.”
Honoree David Dangoor also paid tribute to Barry’s memory, presenting ISEF International Fellow Ziv Kirshner with the Inaugural Barry Cohen Award for his pursuit of a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.
The dynamic Josh Einiger of ABC-Eyewitness News emceed the event, while Sonny Gindi’s son, Jack Gindi, lent his energy and enthusiasm for ISEF as the evening’s auctioneer, leading an extremely successful live auction.
The evening came to a close with an unforgettable performance by teen singing sensation and America’s Got Talent semifinalist Edon Pinchot, who had the audience dancing in their seats.



Bridge to College

Through the Luna and Selim Benardete Bridge to College Fund, young scholars are trained in leadership and serve as mentors, tutors and role models for young Israelis in their home communities.

The program targets high school students in the distressed area of Nesher, who show clear potential for college, but need financial assistance, along with help to develop self-confidence, pass their matriculation exams and gain admission to higher education.

Read more about the program

Student Testimonials

ISEF Alum & Nesher Mayor Speaks at Bridge to College Fund Event

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Lily and Edmund Safra

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