Marks Foundation grant recipients, together with representatives of the Marks family and of KKL-JNF.
(photo credit: DENNIS ZINN/KKL-JNF)
An important but widely unknown side of KKL-JNF activity was highlighted at the Herman and Paula Marks Foundation Ceremony at the ORT Bialik Education Center on Thursday, November 22, 2018, where grants were presented to 10 talented students with autism spectrum disorders, and to 4 support organizations that help people on the ASD spectrum.
The ceremony opened with an uplifting musical performance by the “Voices of ORT Bialik” group, which is comprised of youngsters on the spectrum who study at the ORT Bialik High School, and were received with thunderous applause. KKL JNF’s Elisha Mizrahi welcomed the guests and said that he was especially honored to be part of this event because it shows yet another humanistic side of KKL-JNF.
“We are known for planting forests and fighting climate change. Not many people know that we also support social issues and invest in promising students and in a host of others who require our support. We are proud to be part of this wonderful enterprise made possible by the benefactors, Dr. Herman and Paula Marks, who lived in Germany and requested that a foundation be set up in Israel in their name, and be administered by KKL-JNF, to grant scholarships to people with special needs and organizations that help the socially and physically challenged.”
Assaf Markovitch gave thanks on behalf of the individuals who were named to receive grants.
“Although I am used to the stage I am very nervous. This is a special occasion. I am on the autistic spectrum. I am a musician and a composer. I have a degree from the Music Academy in Jerusalem. I am currently studying towards a postgraduate degree and a teacher’s certificate. I also teach in my spare time. I know that you who are normal have no idea what someone on the ASD spectrum goes through. I am working with a young man on the spectrum who we thought could play the piano. For 6 months there was no communication and no music. Suddenly that changed and now he plays and understands. I did not give up on him because in the past there were those who did not give up on me.”
Meet the grantees of these life-changing scholarships