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.


ISEF Israel's annual Shabbat Leadership Conference, March 24-25, 2017, welcomed 400 young ISEF scholars along with ISEF alumni for interactive study sessions, relationship-building activities and commemoration of ISEF’s innumerable accomplishments in developing Israel's intellectual capital spanning four decades.




From earning prestigious awards and top appointments, to publishing research, film premiers and leading international conferences, ISEF scholars and alumni are inspiring the next generation of Israel's leaders. Read More

Archive: ISEF's success stories!

ISEF Success Stories

ISEF/Hebrew University Ph.D. scholar Shelly Engdaw Vanda, was awarded the 2017 Nira Shenhar Prize for Excellence for research on risk perception and protection of social workers in relation to Ethiopian-Israeli children in distressed communities.  She signed a contract last year for the publication of her Master’s thesis.

Originally from Ethiopia, Shelly moved to Israel at age five. She has worked for the Tel Aviv Municipality Shellyin several different capacities, including helping families in distress and different projects that support the Ethiopian community.

She lives in Beer Sheva with her husband and two-year-old daughter.

ISEF alumna, Dr. Karin Carmit Yefet, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Haifa, received the Cheshin Young Researcher Karin-Carmit-Yefet-B&W.jpg ARAward.

The annual prize, bestowed by The Hebrew University, recognizes academic excellence in law, particularly for research that contributes to the development of law in Israel and the advancement of society.

The award is considered second only to the Israel Prize in the field of legal research.


Dr. Asher Bashiri, ISEF alumnus and Director of Maternity C at the Soroka University Medical Center in Beer Sheva, organized and served as president of the Second Annual World Congress on Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL), January 19-22, 2017, in Cannes, France. The event drew hundreds of leaders in the field from countries across the globe.

Aasher-bashirin RPL expert, Dr. Bashiri organized the first RPL symposium in 2016. He has been running the clinic in Beer Sheva for nearly 16 years, and has built a unique database, which includes information on more than 1,000 patients with varying clinical issues.   Full Story


Nesher’s Mayor, Avi Binamo, was among the guest speakers at ISEF’s Selim and Luna Benardete Bridge to College Fund kick-off event for 2017. Tenth graders and their ISEF tutors attended the workshop held at the Nesher Nesher 1Community Center on January 1st.  They were joined by the program’s high school juniors and seniors.

Mayor Binamo urged students to maximize the resources given to them, and said, “ISEF is one of the most important organizations in Israel, one that contributed to my personal and professional achievements and to that of many of my fellow ISEF alumni, who are leaders in medicine, law, public administration and the private sector.”


The Night of Fools, directed by ISEF alumnus Rami Kimchi, made its debut on April 2, 2017, at the New York Sephardic Film Festival.Rami Kimchi Film

The film reveals the little-known story of Algeria’s mostly Jewish underground movement during WWII. With only 400 volunteers versus the Vichy garrison of 25,000 troops, the underground succeeded in taking control of Algiers for one night, before handing the city over the Americans, who arrive via an amphibious landing the next morning.


Shirin Elhaik GoldmanDr. Shirin Elhaik Goldman is the recipient of the Outstanding Scientific Research Award from the Association of Psychiatric Biology, for her study of high-fat diets, the cerebral blood barrier and Alzheimer’s disease.

She is a postdoctoral researcher at The Joseph Sagol Neuroscience Center at Sheba – Tel Ha Shomer Hospital.


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.