ISEF SUCCESS STORIES - ISEF Foundation | Israel Education | Israel Scholarships | Non-Profit | Israel and New York
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



Check out ISEF-Israel's events paying tribute to four decades of educating youth, transforming lives and securing Israel's future!


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ISEF alumna Dr. Karin Carmit Yefet was named "Outstanding Researcher of the Year" by the University of Haifa.

Karin was chosen from among the entire university faculty to receive this prestigious award, and all of us in the ISEF family - students, alumni, and supporters - may take great pride in her achievement!

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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.


We are proud to have helped these alums, along with thousands of other bright young scholars, to overcome incredible odds and watch them grow into true leaders, making a real difference and building a better Israel!


April 26, 2013

The incredible journey of ISEF International Fellow Dr. Moshe Elkabets, from the southern development town of Ofakim to Harvard Medical School, was profiled in a special feature for Israel’s top news publication this month.

An ISEF scholar since 2006, Moshe spent 3 years conducting post-doctoral research at Harvard Medical School’s premier cancer lab. His work towards identifying novel anti-cancer therapies led to the development of clinical therapy trials on aggressive and un-treatable cancers. For the last year, Moshe has been in New York City, continuing his groundbreaking work at the Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, one of the world’s most prestigious cancer research institution.






January 24, 2013

The ISEF Foundation is proud to announce that two leading figures in the Foundation’s work have just been elected to Israel’s 19th Knesset on the Yesh Atid (There Is a Future) ticket headed by Yair Lapid. 

Dr. Adi Koll, 36, rose from a deprived background to earn her J.S.D. (Ph.D. in law) at Columbia University as an ISEF International Fellow.  She then founded “University of the People,” which enables underprivileged Israelis to prepare for entry into degree programs. She is also a prominent activist for causes including health, education, and protecting children from abuse.  She won the Knesset Speaker’s Quality of Life Prize in 2011, and received ISEF’s highest honor – membership in the Edmond J. Safra Society of Alumni – in 2012. Adi will carry ISEF’s mission into the legislative arena – as she says in her election video:  “I believe that the education system holds the key to closing Israel’s societal gaps.”

Shimon Solomon, 43, fled Ethiopia on foot and arrived in Israel in 1980 with his parents and five siblings. Since earning his social work degree at Ben-Gurion University, he has headed numerous organizations to assist Ethiopian Jews and refugees in Israel.  Until recently he was education director at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village for genocide orphans in Rwanda. From 2005 to 2007 he worked at the Israeli Embassy in Addis Ababa.  He is a member of ISEF’s governing association in Israel and continues to serve his country as a major in the IDF reserve paratroops unit. “I’m not here to say, ‘There’s a problem’ – I’m here to help solve it.”


“We are delighted to see these two outstanding leaders achieve national prominence, so they can expand their positive impact on society even further,” said ISEF President Nina Weiner. “These are just two of ISEF’s thousands of outstanding young people who are changing the face of Israel for good, rising out of difficult circumstances to make their mark in every sphere of endeavor. ISEF is developing Israel’s single greatest natural resource – the minds of its young people – and training them to become agents of change. Adi and Shimon embody ISEF’s credo, and its success.”

Dr. Adi Koll Pays It Forward

December 2011

Last month, ISEF alumna Dr. Adi Koll was awarded Israel’s distinguished Knesset Speaker’s Quality of Life Prize.  This national award was granted to just four Israelis for their groundbreaking work to bridge the gaps of inequality in Israeli society.

Adi is the founder and director of Access for All, a unique college preparatory program at Tel Aviv University that opens the doors of higher education for Israel’s most at-risk groups — battered women, ethnic minorities, and troubled youth — people who never imagined themselves going to college.

Dr. Adi Koll was profiled in The Jewish Week when she was an ISEF International Fellow studying for her Ph.D. at Columbia University Law School in 2005.

Eli Elezra Gives Back to Ashkelon Youth

December 2011

On Sunday, December 18th, at Ashkelon Comprehensive High School, a festive ceremony marked the beginning of an exciting new partnership with ISEF alumnus, entrepreneur and lifelong Ashkelon resident Eli Elezra.

Responding to the needs of this peripheral community in Israel’s southern region, recently under rocket attack from Gaza, The Elezra Foundation, in partnership with Perach, has helped to launch ISEF’s Bridge to College project for Ashkelon’s youth.

Thirty-four high school pupils were selected to take part in this project, which ISEF also runs in seven other underserved communities throughout Israel. Seventeen ISEF B.A. scholars will provide our young participants with intensive tutoring and mentoring support to help them do well on their high school matriculation exams and gain admission to a college or university.

In addition to academic enrichment, Bridge to College promotes social awareness through community service initiatives, and develops valuable leadership skills among these young pupils.


Dr. Liav Orgad wins 2011 Gorney Prize in Public Law

December 2011

Earlier in December, the Israeli Association of Public Law awarded the 2011 Gorney Prize for Outstanding Young Scholars in Public Law to ISEF alumnus Dr. Liav Orgad.

ISEF supported Liav throughout his advanced studies, during which he earned an LL.M. from Columbia University and an LL.D. from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Liav’s knowledge and expertise have already won him a seat on Israel’s Advisory Committee on Immigration Policy and the National Security Council.

Today, Liav is teaching law at the Radzyner School of Law, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya.

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.