President Reuven Rivlin.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A wide variety of social activist individuals and groups were recipients of this year’s President’s Prize for Volunteerism, whose annual awards ceremony took place on Wednesday evening at the President’s Residence.
The prize is given to individuals, associations, and organizations that have distinguished themselves by improving the quality of life for others in areas of health, education, and social welfare.
This year’s winners: • British-born Lisa Cohen, the single mother of three, decided after both her mother and sister fell ill with breast cancer that it was because they had been insufficiently informed. This led her in 2009 to establish Bracha, which aims to create greater awareness of breast cancer and what can be done to reduce the possibility of being afflicted.
• Single mothers have often had a hard time in the Arab community, but things have improved since the establishment in Sakhnin in 2009 of the Forum for Single Mothers.
At the forum, widows and divorcees work hand in hand with the local social welfare authorities. The Forum has made a significant contribution toward advancing the status of women • Aliplit – a Hebrew acronym for Citizens on behalf of Refugee Children has established a kindergarten and provides assistance for infants and their families. Its volunteers are primarily students, young people doing national service and immigrants from Ethiopia and former Soviet countries.
• Ismail Abu Abli, who is only 18 years old, is dedicated to helping the needy in the Beduin community. He lives in the northern Negev and uses modern technology to help the Beduin and also coaches Beduin schoolchildren.
• Rabbi Israel Dahan has devoted his life to providing equal educational opportunities for children with special needs, primarily but not only for children from the haredi community. He works in close collaboration with parents.
• Tebeka is the association for Justice, Equality and Social Empowerment for Ethiopian Israelis. It has been working since 2000 to integrate Israelis of Ethiopian heritage into mainstream society.
• A’ada Kamal has worked tirelessly for the advancement of the status of women in the Druse community and is also engaged in promoting coexistence in Israeli society.
• Hamutal Rosen is ensuring future volunteerism by providing second-hand educational materials which can be purchased on a points basis by volunteering in the community.
The accumulation of points enables the purchase and simultaneously inculcates the value of giving of oneself to the community.
• Despite the controversial status of euthanasia in Judaism, there are many in Israel who believe that every human being has the right to decide on matters related to his or her body. Bina Dibon is one such person and has worked for many years lobbying the powers-that-be to enact legislation that will enable people who want to die with dignity, to be able to do so.
• The Association of Families of Victims of Murder was founded in 1998 by Ora Berez, whose daughter was brutally murdered. The association provides support and counseling for bereaved families, helps memorialize the dead, and works to educate against violence.
• Awad el-Khouri of Ramle comes from a very troubled part of Israel with a mixed community and a history of violence. He has been working toward unity, peace, and the eradication of violence in his multi-cultural city.
• Rabbi Moshe Schlesinger encourages and supports couples with fertility problems and points them in the direction of medical experts who may be able to help them.