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Science education goes higher in the Galilee

[27 Mar 14] The Academic Center for Youth at Tel Hai College celebrated last week the inauguration of the Carasso Science Building, a new facility with four science labs that will be added to the existing two labs.

The ceremony was attended by the Carasso family, which supported the project alongside Rashi and the Ministry of Education.

Since the Center opened five years ago, the number of high school students taking part in its activities grew from 400 to 8,000. Among them 2,000 are involved in in-depth study programs and research projects. This remarkable success has led to the creation of two other science centers for youth – at the Kinneret and Tzfat academic colleges – through a regional initiative to advance science education in the eastern Galilee.

A dedicated center for science-oriented youth in the South

[24 Mar 14] The partners in the Jusidman Science Center for Youth at Ben-Gurion University laid yesterday the cornerstone for the building, which is expected to be completed by October 2015.

JSCY is a joint initiative of the Rashi Foundation, the Ministry of Education and the Municipality of Be'er Sheva that was realized thanks to the generous contribution of the Jusidman family (Keren Daniel) and the University's enthusiastic support.

The center will be built in a strategic location on campus, between the main entrance and the central square, which reflects its role as a portal between the community and the world of higher education. It will include engineering and life sciences laboratories, classrooms, an auditorium and spaces for informal study and interaction between youth, university students and faculty. With first-rate physical facilities and staff, it will serve as a leading model for the involvement of academic institutes in advancing STEM education at school.

Connecting through technology

[16 Mar 14] The robotics team of Yeruham, which is supported by Rashi, has been active for 5 years and won awards in the national and international FIRST competition. This year, they decided to help the group in the Bedouin town of Kuseife.

As part of this unique cooperation, the youth from Yeruham joined their neighbors in community projects they initiated, cleaning the cemetery in Kuseife and introducing kindergarten children to technology and robots.

In the recent national competition (March 4-5), the Kuseife team won the Rookie Inspiration Award, and the Yeruham team with the Regional Chairman's Award will compete in the international championship in the US in April.

The captains of both teams describe the experience in a yent article (in Hebrew).

New director for Ma'ase

[19 Jan 14] A new Director for Ma'ase Association: Yossi Malka (right) will replace Miki Nevo, who was appointed as Senior VP for R&D and Entrepreneurship in the Rashi Foundation.

Yossi has served until recently of CEO of Tel Hai Academic College; before that he worked in various frameworks in the social-educational field, both in nonprofit organizations and in the public sector.

Ma'ase Association, a subsidiary of Rashi, operates volunteering programs as a tool for promoting equal opportunity and leadership among young people in the periphery. It was established in 2004 by Miki Nevo, who received an honorary doctorate from Tel Aviv University in 2012 for this initiative.

Cyber skills program enters its 4th year

[13 Jan 14] The Minister of Defense and the IDF Chief of Staff attended the official opening of the Magshimim program's fourth year, addressing more than 400 participants and their parents. (photo: Oded Peretz)

Magshimim is designed to identify talented high school students in the northern and southern periphery and trains them to become cyber experts in the IDF, and eventually to lead the high-tech industry in Israel.

The program began in August 2010 with 64 participants; following a two-year pilot it was adopted by the Defense Ministry as a national program supported by the Ministry of Education and the National Cyber Bureau.

Reclaiming lives in the desert

[5 Dec 13] Desert Spirit Village, the first therapeutic community in southern Israel for recovering drug addicts, held this week its first graduation ceremony. The event was attended by representatives of the Welfare Ministry, the Israel Anti-Drug Authority, the Ramat Negev Regional Council and the Rashi Foundation.

The Village has been operating for three years, and 35 men and women have completed its program successfully so far. One of them spoke at the ceremony and said: "All my life I have been trapped inside myself, without faith, without hope and without meaning. Coming here made me feel for the first time that I am not alone in this boat."

The graduates are leading now independent, drug-free lives, applying the tools they acquired during their stay. Some of them keep coming to the village to share their experience with others taking the same road.

In the pictures:
A warm hug from the Village's doctor
Proudly wearing the garduates' medallion

The Power of Partnership

[2 Dec 13] As part of this year's General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America in Jerusalem, there were sessions of "FedTalks" focusing on different topics, among them Israel and Philanthropy

Ronit Segelman, VP for Partnerships at the Rashi Foundation, was one of the speakers at the session titled: "Israeli Philanthropy Breaks New Ground". Here is a link to her 7-minute talk on Rashi's approach to Philanthropy through Partnership.

New Biennial Review 2012-2013
Read a report on our activity over the last two years here
Coming to the table

[10 Nov 13] We are pleased to announce that Ma'ase, Rashi's subsidiary specializing in volunteering and young leadership programs, was chosen to participate in the Ministry of Education's Tri-sector Task Table.

The Task Table is part of the Ministry's effort of to examine its connections and collaborations with NGO's, philanthropic foundations and businesses. Half of the 32 members are government representatives and the other half represent second- and third-sector organizations that are involved in funding, developing and operating programs in the education system.

The Campus comes to Be'er Sheva

[7 Nov 13] Senior representatives of the Defense Ministry and the IDF Intelligence Corps joined the management of Rashi and the Adelis Foundation in yesterday's cornerstone ceremony of the Campus for Pre-Army Intelligence Studies in Be'er Sheva.

The campus is planned as an advanced training center where different courses are offered to high school graduates prior to their enlistment in the Intelligence Corps. Its construction is managed by Rashi and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

The project is a joint initiative of the Defense Ministry and the IDF Intelligence Branch, Rashi and the Municipality of Be'er Sheva, and part of the national plan of moving IDF bases to the Negev, which presents a golden opportunity for regional growth. As the Director General of the Defense Ministry said at the ceremony: "this is not just a transfer of facilities and people to the Negev; but its enrichment with human capital of exceptional quality."

Rivka Buchris (right), Director of the Adelis Foundation, lays the cornerstone with the Chairman and President of Rashi, an Intelligence Branch representative and the Mayor of Be'er Sheva

Adelis, their home

[6 Nov 13] The Ben Shemen Youth Village celebrated this week the completion of a new dormitory building that will serve as a home away from home for 36 children in 7th-8th grade.

Built with a generous grant by the Adelis Foundation and under Rashi's management, the new dormitory has 12 bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, a dining hall and kitchenette, and spaces for study and for leisure-time activity.

The Adelis Foundation was established by Andre Deloro (who passes away recently), a successful entrepreneur who dedicated most of his fortune to philanthropy. The foundation works for the benefit of the Jewish people in Israel and abroad in different fields: education and higher education, academic research, medicine, culture and more.

A good start

[4 Nov 13] More than 40 physicians from all over the country are attending an innovative course in community-oriented developmental and behavioral pediatrics. The course is designed to provide pediatricians working in community clinics with knowledge and practical tools for dealing with common childhood problems such as sleep and eating disorders, bed-wetting and so on.

When facing such problems, pediatricians often have to rely on "gut feeling", because their professional knowledge is based mainly on hospital-oriented training. At the end of the 7-month course, the participants will be able to identify and evaluate a wide range of developmental problems, advise the parents and refer the children to expert diagnosis and treatment as necessary.

The course is offered by the Goshen Project in partnership with Rashi. Goshen is a joint initiative of the Hadassah Children's Hospital, the Israel Pediatric Association and Ambulatory Pediatric Association (IAPA), the Health Ministry and HMOs, which aims to redefine community pediatrics by developing training programs, opening specialized clinics, promoting research and increasing awareness to the importance of early prevention and intervention.

A special place in the Galilee

[9 Sep 13] Ma'arag Café at Kfar Vradim invites visitors to the Galilee to enjoy a kosher dairy meal in a pastoral atmosphere, and at the same time help the integration of special-needs people in the community.

Ma'arag is unique center offering creative and productive employment for special-needs people, along with social interaction on an equal basis with the general population. It was initiated by Kochav Hatzafon Association and built with the support of Rashi and other partners.

The café employs disabled people and all its income goes towards their welfare. A gallery within the coffee shop displays and sells arts and crafts items made by the participants of Ma'arag programs as well as by local artists.

Watch a video about Ma'arag (in Hebrew)

The matriculation challenge

[3 Sep 13] We are proud to applaud Nissim Cohen, Director of the Yeholot Association, who is included in The Marker Magazine's feature "100 most influential people in Israel 2013" thanks to the remarkable success of the Association's matriculation programs.

While many of the influential people belong to the "crony capitalism club", Nissim was chosen among those who challenge dysfunctional systems with their work, and therefore have a beneficial impact on Israel's economy and society – philanthropists, NGO directors, social activists and others.

In Tafnit "Start", the flagship program of Yeholot, 65% of last year's graduates gained a matriculation diploma. When these students entered the 3-year program, their grade average was under 50. A joint initiative with the Ministry of Education that began this year will expand the program gradually to dozens more schools in the periphery.

Milestone at Soroka

[1 Sep 13] The Soroka Medical Center inaugurated last week the Saban Pediatric Clinics Complex, another milestone in the development of its pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology services.

The new complex contains 22 clinics specializing in every field of pediatric medicine, which treat over 30,000 children annually. Thanks to its unique design and state-of-the-art equipment, it allows patients and their families to benefit from better treatment in a child-friendly environment.

The inauguration event was attended by Cheryl and Haim Saban, who provided the funding for the pediatric clinics together with the Goodman Family Foundation and Rashi. The Saban Family Foundation has invested in recent years some $16 million in the Pediatric Medical Center and Women's and Maternity Hospital at Soroka, while Rashi supervised the implementation of the projects on its behalf.

In the pictures (from top):
Cheryl and Haim Saban opening the Pediatric Clinics Complex

The Saban Pediatric Medical Center, completed in 2008


The Hive branches out

[28 Aug 13] TheHive by Gvahim – a technological incubator targeting new immigrants – opened a second branch in Ashdod following the success of the first one in Tel Aviv, which has supported 28 start-up initiatives (60 entrepreneurs) in two years.

In his speech at the opening ceremony, Gvahim's director Mickael Bensadoun promised the entrepreneurs that Gvahim will do all it can to make them succeed, and asked them to give in their turn by hiring other Olim once they are established.

The first round of the program in Ashdod includes 14 promising ventures in different fields, among them:

  • A revolutionary irrigation controller that precisely regulates the depth of irrigation and can save up to 75% of the water and up to 40% of the fertilizer being used.
  • A new, more efficient type of aircraft with vertical take-off and landing capability, which may replace the helicopter and take a substantial market share from airplanes.
  • A platform connecting transport providers with passengers planning long-distance trips and willing to share the transportation fee.
  • An app for mobile devices, designed to simplify online grocery shopping and allow users to save money by price comparison, while giving real-time advice for healthier choices based on personal preferences.


Anchor and life savers

[26 Aug 13] Every summer, a group of volunteers complete their pre-army service year at the Community Anchor Youth Village and another group takes their place.

The father of one of the participants, expressing his impressions from his daughter's year as a volunteer, described it as a "human laboratory that brought together young people who are worlds apart".

"Alongside the dedicated staff, the [Community Anchor] village relies also on the volunteers who act as big brothers and sisters to the youth… they work with the teenagers from midday to midnight, and then continue working to prepare special activities for them.

"In sharp contrast with their high school experience, the volunteers find themselves accompanying the youngsters to the courthouse, the emergency room or the welfare department, and sometimes even to their parents' home… mostly they try to build the youths' self-confidence, give them a real chance to realize
their inner ability".

Read the full story (in Hebrew)

Starting the revolution

[23 July 13] The Gvahim Association held last week a special event to sum up a successful joint venture with the Ministry of Absorption to help highly-skilled Olim find suitable employment.

In the 6-month pilot, the Ministry supported four rounds of the placement program that included 122 participants from 22 countries. Nearly 70% of them are already working in positions that match their qualifications. And this is just the beginning!

Gvahim Director Mickael Bensadoun urged the Ministry of Absorption to continue the partnership: "Without government support, Gvahim can help hundreds of Olim in a year; together with the Ministry we can reach thousands, who will transform Israel's future with their talents. I hope that this evening marks the start of the Brain Gain revolution."

Read about the event on the Gvahim website

The Minister of Absorption MK Sofa Landver with Gvahim Chairman Ze'ev Bielsky

Everyone can in Beit Jann

[21 July 13] A remarkable achievement in Beit Jann: 100% matriculation success.

All 188 high school graduates in the Druze village passed the matriculation exams this year, and over 80% of them are expected to get a matriculation diploma that allows admission to academic studies.

A significant part of this achievement can be attributed to the matriculation programs operated by the Yeholot Association: 33 of the graduates studied in the Tafnit Start class, and 36 more took part in the Tafnit Last Hurdle program. Before the introduction of these interventions, the matriculation rate at the school was only 64.3%.

In the picture: The head of the Beit Jann Local Council gives a certificate of appreciation to the pedagogic instructor on behalf of Yeholot

A lesson for life

[18 June 13] Congratulations to Yaffa Halevi, math teacher and coordinator of the Tafnit Start program at a high school in Bat Yam, who is among the 6 winners of this year's Distinguished Teacher award.

Tafnit Start, operated by the Yeholot ("abilities") Association, targets students who were on the verge of dropout at the end of 9th grade, and helps them to graduate high school with a matriculation certificate.

When interviewed after getting the award, Yaffa expressed the basic principle of the program when talking about her students: "Don't call them 'difficult' or 'problematic'; they are challenging, and the challenge is what we're here for. They are remarkable students with many abilities, and the real problem is that these have not been discovered".

Yaffa Halevi (third from right) with the other award-winning teachers

Cyber whiz kids

[16 June 13] High school students taking part in the Magshimim cyber expertise program demonstrated their skills to President Shimon Peres, who responded: "you are a threat to those who threaten us – I am proud of you."

The President met the youngsters after speaking at the International Cyber Security Conference of the Yuval Ne’eman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security at Tel Aviv University. In his speech, Mr. Peres stressed the importance of investing in science education for Israel's future.

The annual conference is attended by senior figures in the cyber industry, startup companies, academics, representatives of militaries and security agencies, who discuss methods and technologies for dealing with cyber-security challenges.

Read about Magshimim in the CSM story "Israel accelerates cyber security know-how as early as 10th grade"

Photo: Mark Neiman, Government Press Office


New chair for Yahdav

[13 June 13] Dr. Esther Luzzatto, a board member of the Yahdav Association, was appointed as chairperson.

Dr. Luzzatto holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Ben-Gurion University and is a partner in the patent attorneys firm Luzzatto & Luzzatto. Among her many public service activities, she is a member of the Negev High-Tech Center and the Economy Forum of The Negev, serves as Deputy President of the Alumni Association of the Ben-Gurion University and chairs the Friends of the Sinfonietta Orchestra of Beer-Sheva


Treating sexual abuse

[26 May 13] A conference marking the transfer of the treatment centers for victims of sexual abuse to the responsibility of the Welfare Ministry was held on June 10.

Through partnership between the National Insurance Institute, Rashi and the Welfare Ministry, the initiative created a nationwide network of centers offering therapy to children and youth who were sexually abused.

The conference summarized the knowledge that was gained through the initiative and presented the findings of the evaluation study that examined the activity over the past three years.
Read the executive summary here

Young Physicists

[1 May 13] "All the papers were at a high level, and several can be submitted to science journals" – says Prof. Mark Geller, one of the judges in the Young Physicists competition. "I was also impressed with the students' answers and with their discussions with the judges."

The competition, an initiative of the Education Ministry (Southern Region) and the Ilan Ramon Physics Center for Youth at Ben Gurion University, expanded In its second year to include students from other science centers supported by Rashi throughout Israel.

More than 50 12th grade students who excel in physics took part in the competition. Of the 24 finalists, 9 won awards in three categories – 3 boys and 6 girls. Among the winners there were 5 from southern localities: Be'er Sheva, Kiryat Gat (2), Netivot and the Bedouin town of Hura.

The Ilan Ramon Center offers guidance to high school students in carrying out high-level research projects, and its activity has led to a significant increase in the number of students in the South who choose to study physics for matriculation.

In the picture: Hannan Alsana from Hura, 2nd place in theoretical physics

Passing the torch

[18 Apr 13] New chairmen to head two of Rashi's subsidiary associations: Ze'ev Bielski was appointed as chairman of Gvahim and Jimmy Pinto will serve as chairman of Darca.

Ze'ev Bielski, who chaired the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization and served as mayor of Ra'anana, will take the place of Yair Shamir as chairman of Gvahim, now that Shamir has been elected to the Knesset and nominated as Minister of Agriculture in the new government.

The newly elected chairman of the Darca Association is Jimmy Pinto, CEO of Edmond de Rothschild Investment Services and President of the Association of Foreign Banks in Israel; he replaces Elie Elalouf, who retired recently from the Rashi Foundation after an 18-year term as Director General.

The members of the Executive Committees and the Directors of Gvahim and Darca thanked the outgoing chairmen for their valuable contribution in leading both organizations to remarkable success in their work for the benefit of Israeli society.

We are confident that headed by the new chairmen, the two associations will build their professional and organizational capabilities and reach new heights of achievement.

Ze'ev Bielski (right) and Yair Shamir at the meeting of the executive committee of Gvahim

Obama and Rashi

[11 Apr 13] We are pleased to share with you an anecdote connected to Rashi's activity from the recent visit to Israel of US President Barack Obama.

During a meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres, children singing in Hebrew, Arabic and English performed "Tomorrow" from the musical Annie. One of them was Nicole, a high school student from Be'er Sheva who studies at the Ilan Ramon Physics Center for Youth and was chosen to represent educational excellence in Israel.

Watch the video

The Negev heads science education

[4 July 13] We are happy to announce the opening of the Carasso Science Park in Be'er Sheva.
The President of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, who was the guest of honor in the inauguration ceremony, said in his specch: "This is a festive occasion, a pleasure to see the unique combination of history, architectural spleandor and educational vision."

Watch a video of the opening ceremony

Read more in our special newsletter

Read the Jerusalem Post story featuring the Park

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