ELEM org. for at-risk Israeli youth, holds Ray of Hope virtual gala

ELEM is Israel's leading non-profit serving at-risk Israeli youth regardless of their identity or background.

Alon Futterman, CEO of TALMA, and Ms. Nava Barak, President of Elem Israel. (photo credit: IDO MAHATZRI)
Alon Futterman, CEO of TALMA, and Ms. Nava Barak, President of Elem Israel.
(photo credit: IDO MAHATZRI)
The Friends of ELEM USA, a support organization for ELEM, an association for at-risk youth in Israel, held their Ray of Hope 2020 Virtual Benefit early Wednesday morning, with hundreds of Jewish supporters in attendance. 
Many Jewish altruists were honored and presented with awards for their social impact work with children, including Rachel Bloom, creator of the Emmy Award winning Crazy Ex-Girlfriend series, who was presented with the "LifeSaver Award." 
The star of the night, however, was Alon Futterman, CEO of Israel's national English excellence program TALMA, who was presented with the "Ray of Hope Award" for his pioneering activity in the field of education, and his dedication over the years to promoting excellence and equal opportunities in Israeli education. 
"I am excited to receive the award. It is a great privilege for me, mainly because the choice was made by people who dedicate their lives to promoting at-risk youth in Israel. I dedicate the award to my family, [to] teachers who shape the reality on the ground, for the children of ELEM and for the supporters of our organizations that allow everything to exist," Futterman said.
An additional award was given to Susan Saltz, producer and social activist for the rights of the child.
ELEM is Israel's leading non-profit serving at-risk Israeli youth regardless of their identity or background, including Jews, Christians, Muslims, Arabs, Bedouins, Ethiopians, immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and the LGBT community, according to their website. More than 2,000 volunteers and 280 professionals help youth affected by domestic abuse, substance abuse, neglect, bullying, homelessness and prostitution. 
ELEM's annual gala was held virtually this year in the spirit of the coronavirus and was marked "Hats off to Heroes."
The event was hosted by esteemed Israeli actor Tomer Kapon, perhaps known best for his role in the internationally acclaimed TV series Fauda
“The annual gala event is one of the key anchors in our activities. ELEM USA is responsible for fundraising in North America so that we can continue to support the organization's vital work in the country that helps thousands of at-risk youth in Israel," said Lenore Ruben, President of ELEM USA.
"The purpose of the event is to increase awareness of the organization among Americans and Israelis in the United States, and to encourage their participation in the effort during the corona crisis and their support of the organization's sacred work in Israel."
 
THE GALA was held with the participation of heads of ELEM USA, including the organization's founder, Ms. Ann Bialkin, and Ms. Lanor Ruben, president of the US division of the organization. From Israel was association president Ms. Nava Barak, and Ms. Inbal Dor Karbel, the association's CEO, who were all joined by hundreds of partners and supporters from all over the world.
Ruben said that “the annual gala event is one of the key anchors in our activities. ELEM USA is responsible for fundraising in North America so that we can continue to support the organization's vital work in the country that helps thousands of at-risk youth in Israel. The purpose of the event is to increase awareness of the organization among Americans and Israelis in the United States, and to encourage their participation in the effort during the corona crisis and their support of the organization's sacred work in Israel.
"The organization activities are especially important this year, in the shadow of the corona, in which ELEM came out to help thousands of youth, young men and women in Israel who suffered from hardships and emergencies that worsened and escalated during the crisis."
The Gala included a performance by singer and actress Diana Golby, winner of a Kokhav Nolad (A Star is Born) reality television show searching for talented new vocalists, and former ELEM girl. Additionally, a performance was given by winner of Israel's Idol program, exciting entertainment by world-renowned illusionist and mentalist Alex Voz, who has been famous for appearing before celebrities such as Paul McCartney, Seth Myers, Steve Martin and more.