ISEF Anniversary Celebration at the Plaza

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!


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -




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!

Read 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.

Special Events

“An Evening for ISEF” February 27, 2013

Nearly 100 guests gathered for a special benefit at the home of Albert and Nancy Nasser, hosted by Esther Bier, Michelle Maleh and Sally Shalom.
“An Evening for ISEF” featured the dazzling work of artist Ron Agam and a mind bending performance by real-life mentalist, Marc Salem. Guests also enjoyed an exclusive Chinese Auction with over a dozen prizes and packages, benefiting ISEF scholarships.
In 36 years, The ISEF Foundation has awarded over 19,500 academic scholarships to promising young minds from Israel’s most disadvantaged communities.
Guests had the opportunity to meet some of ISEF’s outstanding International FellowsDr. Moshe Elkabets recently began his new post doctoral position as an Associate Scientist for Memorial Sloane- Kettering Cancer Center and Dr. Meital Balamas Cohen is pursuing her own post doctoral research at Columbia University’s Political Science Department. Our Fellows shared their incredible journeys, made possible by ISEF’s support – from Israel’s peripheral immigrant communities to the world’s top academic institutions.
ISEF President Nina Weiner spoke about the early days of the organization and the overwhelming achievements of its scholars and graduates over the last 36 years.

no images were found

International Fellows Cocktail Reception with Steven Emerson January 27, 2013

ISEF’s International Fellows, board members and patrons came together at the Congregation Edmond J. Safra synagogue in Manhattan for a special reception and discussion by terrorism expert Steven Emerson.

ISEF International Fellows are Israel’s top scholars, pursuing doctoral and post-doctoral research in the world’s top academic institutions including Harvard, Cambridge, and Columbia. The highlight of the evening was an eye-opening talk by journalist and best selling author Steven Emerson, on terrorism in a high-tech age and the challenges to Israel and the United States.

no images were found

Wine Reception and Special Screening of “A Late Quartet” November 5, 2012

Nearly 100 of ISEF’s supporters and friends joined us for a special screening of  “A Late Quartet,” Monday, November 5th at the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.

Our guests enjoyed a pre-film cocktail hour at the home of our dear friend and acclaimed artist, Tamar Hirschl Snyder, whose work can also be seen at

“A Late Quartet” director and writer Yaron Zilberman provided the audience with an inside look into the making of his spectacular film, starring Academy Award winners Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken.

Proceeds from ISEF events directly benefit the young Israelis we support through scholarships, leadership training, internship opportunities, tutoring and college preparatory programs for children and youth.


35th Anniversary Benefit Dinner in Israel June 6, 2012 at Hilton Hotel, Tel Aviv

On Tuesday, June 6th, nearly 300 guests came out to celebrate ISEF’s 35th anniversary in Israel, honoring Lily Safra along with twelve exceptional ISEF alums, the newest inductees to the Edmond J. Safra ISEF Alumni Society.

Among the notable inductees were businessmen Eyal Edry and Eli Elezra,  Beersheba Labor Court Judge Yosef Yosefi; Prof. Avi Levi, president of the Hemdat Hadarom Academic College and Prof. Yehuda Hadad, president of the Sami Shamoon Academic College of Engineering. Click to learn more about our incredible honorees and their contributions to Israeli society.

Guest of Honor Lily Safra, who serves as chairwoman of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation and honorary chairwoman of ISEF, spoke highly of the organization’s impact on the State of Israel.

“ISEF scholars are the  very best that Israel has to offer, and it is a privilege to be able to support  them.

Over 35 years I have watched in admiration as so many  talented young men and women have reached the height of their chosen fields,  embodying my husband Edmond’s values: Hard work, professional integrity and a  duty to help others.”

Held at the beautiful Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv, this milestone event and the achievements of the evening’s award winners garnered national media attention. Check out these photos from the event as featured in Sunday’s edition of Israel’s leading national newspaper, Maariv:

Photos: 1. Sara Sela with Shira and Jay Ruderman 2. Guest of Honor and ISEF co-founder Lily Safra 3. ISEF President Nina Weiner with ISEF-NY Executive Director Janice G. Stolar 4. Professor Amnon Rubinstein 5. Prominent businessman Alfred Akirov 6. Eli Elezra, ISEF alumnus and recipient of the Edmond J. Safra Alumni Society Award.

no images were found

2012 Benefit Dinner at The Plaza Celebrating ISEF’s 35th Anniversary May 1, 2012

2011 International Fellows Seminar and Cocktail Reception with acclaimed author and Professor Andre Aciman November 6, 2011

no images were found

3rd Annual Sukkot Benefit with Investigative Journalist Joel Mowbray October 18, 2011

no images were found

Dessert Reception at the home of Israel’s Consul General Ido Aharoni March 2, 2011

no images were found

2nd Annual Sukkot Benefit with Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal September 28, 2010

no images were found







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

Sign up for ISEF Emails

Lily and Edmund Safra

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