ISEF scholars at Shamoon College of Engineering

ISEF Success Stories

In June, ISEF doctoral student Shula Molla, and ISEF alumnus Yoav Lalom received the first annual Sami Michael Prize awarded to individuals whose work promotes an egalitarian and just society in Israel.

Shula Molla, a Jerusalem educator who chairs the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jewry, was recognized for her work to combat discrimination against the Ethiopian community, and for her leadership and service as a role model, particularly for the younger generation.

Award judges noted that Yoav Lalom was honored for his “unswerving commitment and courage in his struggle to eradicate discrimination in the Haredi educational system on ethnic grounds, and to ensure full implementation of the principle of equality in Israel’s educational system.”

The Sami Michael Prize is awarded by the Sami Michael Foundation. The ceremony was held in Haifa, in the presence of Sami Michael and Mayor Yona Yahav.


ISEF scholar Shiran Ayoubi,  a graduate student in law and political science at Bar-Ilan University (second from right), was awarded the Judge Edmond Levy Prize for Academic and Social Excellence from ISEF on June 8, 2017, at the Tel Aviv Bar Association in the presence of Israel’s legal elite.

Speakers included Supreme Court President Miriam Naor; Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked; Sima Levy (wife of the late Supreme Court judge; ISEF alumni Guy Busy (attorney, member of ISEF-Israel’s Executive Committee), Prof. Yifat Bitton (Striks School of Law, College of Management), Prof. Nir Kedar (Head of Sapir Law School), and Dr. Karin Carmit Yefet (Professor, University of Haifa School of Law); Mrs. Dorit Beinish, former Supreme Court President, Prof. Effi Naveh, and members of the Prize Committee.


ISEF alumna, Prof. Rivka (Riki) Savaya (far right), of Tel Aviv University’s Bob Shapell School of Social Work, has been named winner of the Israel Social Workers’ Union Prize.  Prof. Savaya was recognized for her work to translate her research findings into actual field practice, over many years of close collaboration with the social welfare authorities in Tel Aviv-Jaffa.

Under Prof. Savaya’s guidance, the city’s social welfare programs now employ intervention strategies whose effectiveness has been proven by solid research,  thereby benefiting many thousands of city residents in need. Prof. Savaya previously served on ISEF’s Executive Committee.

“It’s always nice to be recognized, but even nicer when the praise comes from one’s colleagues,” Prof. Savaya remarked.

Prof. Savaya received the award at a Knesset ceremony to mark Social Work Day, in the presence of Labor and Welfare Minister  Chaim Katz, Histadrut Chairman Avi Nissenkorn, Social Workers’ Union chair Tsafra Dawik, and MKs Orly Levi-Abekassis and Shuli Mualem-Refaeli.


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.

Shelly 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 in 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.


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


ISEF alumna, Dr. Shirin Elhaik Goldman is the recipient of the Outstanding Scientific Research Award from the Association of Psychiatric Biology, for her study of Shirin Elhaik Goldmanhigh-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.


ISEF alumna, Dr. Karin Carmit Yefet, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Haifa, received the Cheshin Young Karin-Carmit-Yefet-B&W.jpg ARResearcher Award. 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, asher-bashiriorganized 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. An 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.”