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.

Click for more about ISEF's success stories!

2016 Benefit Dinner

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

(L-R) President Nina Weiner, Terry de Gunzburg & Honoree Dr. Jean de Gunzburg, 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.
Honorees Judy and Norris Wolff

Honorees Judy and Norris Wolff

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 student Yoni Reuven stresses the importance of education for Ethiopian-Israelis

ISEF student Yoni Reuven stresses the importance of education for Ethiopian-Israelis

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.

Check out pictures from ISEF’s 39th Anniversary Benefit Dinner:

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.