NBN Announces Bonei Zion Prize Recipients for 2015

This month, we announced the seven winners of our annual Bonei Tzion prize.

Bonei Zion 758 (photo credit: NEFESH B'NEFESH)
Bonei Zion 758
(photo credit: NEFESH B'NEFESH)
 Nefesh B’Nefesh is excited to announce the winners of our second annual Bonei Zion Prize, an award created to recognize outstanding Anglo Olim who have helped Israel in meaningful ways. Nominations rolled in from hundreds of nominees from around the world, and the winners were then chosen by a prestigious selection committee.
The winners will receive their awards at a ceremony in the Knesset in May, recognizing their contributions in a diverse array of fields – from science to education to entrepreneurship. Here is an overview of this year’s winners in the six award categories, in addition to a lifetime achievement award:
Science and Medicine: Professor Charles Sprung, Director of Hadassah Medical Organization’s General Intensive Care Unit, serves an intensivist and clinical-scientist. His principal research interests are devoted to understanding and treating sepsis and ethical issues related to the critically ill. Sprung’s scholarship is demonstrated by approximately 300 papers published in prominent medical journals and obtaining grants from various agencies. As the chairman of multiple organizations he has respectively worked towards accomplishing multiple goals, including: having CCM recognized as a subspecialty; passing and implementing the Dying Patient Act; investigating, exposing and working to improve care Israeli patients receive in the ICU; altering world- wide practices in relation to sepsis, triage and end-of-life care. His internationally recognized contributions are not only his, but also Israel’s.
Entrepreneurship and Technology : Jon Medved, Founder and CEO of OurCrowd.   A high tech venture capitalist, Medved has invested in over 100 Israeli startups and has helped 12 of them reach valuations of over $100 million. As a result, The New York Times listed him one of the 10 most influential Americans who have impacted Israel. Jon Medved, Founder and CEO of OurCrowd, is, according to the Washington Post, “one of Israel’s leading high tech venture capitalists” and was dubbed by the New York Times as one of the top 10 most influential Americans who have impacted Israel. Medved has invested in over 100 Israeli startup companies, helping 12 of them to get to valuations in excess of $100 million USD. He was the co-founder and, until recently, the CEO of Vringo, a leader in mobile social applications which went public in June 2010. Prior to that, he was the founder and general partner of Israel Seed Partners (a $260 million Israeli venture capital fund).
Community and Non-Profit: Rabbi Dr. Seth Farber, Founder and Executive Director of ITIM, which helps Israelis navigate the bureaucracy of religious authorities and has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands. It has over 40,000 monthly web visitors seeking information. More than 3,000 individuals are helped by its advocacy center annually and its educational programs have reached 65,000 students.
Education: Chana Reifman Zweiter, Founding Director of  ,  which focuses on promoting appreciation for diversity as exemplified in its Akko programming where it helps Arab and Jewish students develop understanding of one another. Chana, together with her team of specialists, has introduced the Kaleidoscope approach throughout Israel, on the early childhood, elementary and junior high school levels, helping religious, secular, Arab, native Israeli and new immigrant children to feel comfortable with one another. As the founder of the US-based Yachad program, Chana brings expertise in the field of multiculturalism and democracy, experience with many populations and interpersonal skills that include the openness to collaborate with and learn from others.
Culture, Sports and Arts: Asher Weill, Consultant and Editor for all English publications for Limmud FSU, has been at the forefront of Israel’s cultural and literary life for some 55 years. He has published a wide cross-section of Israeli authors, statesmen and public figures in both Hebrew and English. He was among the founders of the Jerusalem International Book Fair in 1961 and been on its board ever since. Weill created the biennial “Anglo-Israel Colloquium” which gathers Israeli and British leaders on a wide variety of subjects, which has become one of the most influential regular meeting grounds between British and Israeli scholars, senior journalists and public figures. He also co-founded “Siah VaSig”, the Israeli Debating society, which introduced the art of debate and public speaking into schools and universities in Israel and which sends teams to international debating competitions. Additionally, he was Editor in Chief of ‘Ariel: The Israel Review of Arts and Literature’, Director of the Press Division of the WZO and has edited and published multiple Israel/Jewish magazines.
IDF and National Service Young Leadership: Staff Sgt. Asaf Stein, PhD., who’s affectionately referred to by his peers as “Dr. Golani”, is an unusual case even by the standards of lone soldiers (those who immigrate to Israel without their families and enlist in the IDF). Asaf made Aliyah from Alabama at the age of 28, with a prestigious doctorate in hand, and blossoming future in the academic world of medical engineering, which he put on hold in order to become a combat soldier in the IDF’s Golani Brigade. Today, Asaf, now 30, is nearing the end of his army service. His friends and colleagues in Golani laud his positive attitude and his lack of aversion to jobs that others, 10 years his junior, might consider beneath them. Asaf is an inspiration and has truly earned his nickname, “Dr. Golani.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award, was awarded to Tal Brody, Ambassador of Goodwill, State of Israel, has dedicated his life to shaping and impacting Israel through sports. He led Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball to win the European championship in the late 70’s, demonstrating to the entire country that achieving dreams is possible for both a new Oleh and for anyone who tries hard. For a decade later, he captained Maccabi Tel Aviv to new records and championships, resulting in his number and jersey being officially retired and inducted into the Jewish Hall of Fames of America and Israel. Following his retirement, he founded the Bnei Herzliyah sports program which has over 9,000 participants and continued to train, inspire and coach two successive generations of athletes. In addition, he received the Israel Prize – Israel’s highest honor for his excellence in his field and contributing so greatly to Israeli culture. Today, Tal serves as Israel’s first Ambassador of Goodwill and travels around the world sharing Zionistic values through his dedicated Hasbarah efforts.
At Nefesh B’Nefesh, we are always excited to see the remarkable number of Olim who are making a positive impact on The State of Israel. We hope that appreciating and highlighting the achievements of Olim will inspire others to make Aliyah and follow in their inspiring footsteps.