(photo credit: MICHAEL ALVAREZ-PEREYRE/GVAHIM)
Former foreign minister Moshe Arens – who was born in Kaunas, Lithuania but moved as a teenager to New York – will receive a special lifetime achievement award next month during a ceremony at the Knesset honoring exemplary olim, Nefesh B’Nefesh announced on Monday.
Six other immigrants were named as the recipients of this year’s Sylvan Adams Bonei Zion (Builders of Zion) prize by the organization, which promotes aliya in North America and England.
The $10,000 prize, which honors those who have excelled in the fields of science and medicine, education and nonprofit work, national or military service, business, technology and culture, and arts and sport, was established in 2013.
Arens, spent his first years in Lithuania and Latvia before coming to America, served in the US Army and studied at MIT prior to making aliya in 1948 and joining Menachem Begin’s underground Irgun military organization. He subsequently helped to found the Herut party, the forerunner of the Likud. During his distinguished career, he served as both defense and foreign minister, and ambassador to Washington. He has published two books and served as chairman of the Teuza venture capital fund.
Longtime Jerusalem Post cartoonist Yaakov Kirschen, whose daily strip Dry Bones has run in the paper for four decades, won the prize in 2014 for his contributions to Israeli arts and culture. Jerusalem Post columnist and solar energy pioneer Yosef Abramowitz was also recognized that year for his work in the technology sector.
The other winners this year include: Science and Medicine: Prof. Howard (Chaim) Cedar of the Department of Developmental Biology and Cancer Research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Dr. Cedar discovered a layer of “annotation” that marks the genetic text passed down from one’s parents which “marks genes as being either active or silent, and constitutes the cornerstone of human development.”
Entrepreneurship and Technology: Scott R. Tobin is general partner at Battery Ventures, a venture capital firm, who was named to Forbes’s Midas List of top venture capitalists.
Community and Non-Profit: Dr. Rachel Levmore is being honored for her work as the director of the Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project of the International Young Israel Movement and the Jewish Agency for Israel, an initiative which she founded. Her work involves freeing woman who are “chained” in marriages by husbands who refuse to provide the required Hebrew divorce document, known as a “get”.
Education: “Barbara Levin began, in 1976, as principal of the First Traditional School, where pluralistic Jewish subjects were included in the curriculum for children from both secular and observant families.
The school grew from a group of 33 to 300 pupils and served as the prototype for schools that wanted to adopt its unique curriculum. Today, there are 96 schools, 134 nursery classes, and some 35,000 pupils in the TALI educational system,” wrote Nefesh B’Nefesh.
IDF and National Service Young Leadership: Former lone soldier Staff Sgt. Sahar Elbaz served in the Givati Brigade, with which he fought in Gaza, defending his comrades by refusing an order to take cover, and killing four out of five terrorists who attacked his unit.
Culture, Sports and Arts: Estelle Friedman was the longtime producer of the television show More About English before becoming director of production at Israel Educational TV, where she “touched the lives of millions of young people and adults, and contributed to the education of Israelis as well as the creation of a culture of values of Israeli society.”