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


ISEF Co-Founder and Honorary Chair Lily Safra received an honorary doctorate from the Technion in 2018 "for her outstanding support of the ISEF program that helped thousands of students throughout Israel, including hundreds within the Technion."



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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Lily Safra

Mrs. Lily Safra, Honorary Chairwoman of ISEF, is a prominent philanthropist who shared this commitment with her husband, Mr. Edmond J. Safra, one of the twentieth century’s most accomplished bankers and ISEF’s visionary founder. LilySafra

Mrs. Safra chairs the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation, which was created by Mr. Safra to support projects related to education, science and medicine, religion, culture, and humanitarian relief.

Mrs. Safra has sustained many worthy projects in memory of her husband in the field of education, including the creation of ISEF’s Edmond J. Safra Scholarships, the Edmond J. Safra Campus at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. In addition, she supports a number of pioneering educational projects for underprivileged Israeli schoolchildren.

Mrs. Safra is a member of the Board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). At the NIH campus near Washington, DC, Mrs. Safra was instrumental in the construction of the Edmond J. Safra Family Lodge for patients and their families battling serious illness. In 2006 she established the Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute for Neuroscience in Natal, Brazil, now that country’s most highly-regarded brain research center. With her leadership, the Edmond J. Safra Foundation endowed the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the largest and most ambitious neuroscience project in Israel. Through her efforts, the construction and ongoing enhancement of the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital at Tel Hashomer, Israel, was made possible, as well as the Edmond and Lily Safra Fine Arts Wing at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Mrs. Safra holds honorary doctorates from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, the University of Haifa, Brandeis University, and Imperial College London. She is an Honorary Fellow of King’s College London and of the Courtauld Institute of Art. She is a Commandeur of France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and Officier de la Légion d’honneur.

Bridge to College

This fund is helping hundreds of at-risk Israeli teens to finish high school and qualify for college.

ISEF pairs each vulnerable teen with an ISEF university student mentor from a similar background. The teens look up to our students--who tutor them in tough subjects, boost their confidence, and show them the way forward to a better future through higher education.

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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.


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.