Zusman-JDC Prize recognizes team effort in bringing about social change

The prize granted $75,000 to three teams responsible for helping communities within Israel advance in society.

 Iris Stern Levy and Shehadeh Abu Smith. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Iris Stern Levy and Shehadeh Abu Smith.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Zusman-Joint Distribution Committee Prize, a significant award in the world of social services, was granted to three winners earlier this February.
The prize granted $75,000 to three teams responsible for helping communities within Israel advance in society.
“The JDC, as the center for social development in Israel, is developing innovative pilots that will become the country’s social services. The Zusman Prize, awarded for the 15th year, is an important means of supporting, promoting innovation and excellence in the field of social services in Israel,” said Director-General of the JDC-Israel Sigal Shelach.
Hamichlala, or The College – led by Iris Stern Levy and Tal Hamoi Granot – provides professional career training for women leading up to preparing for job interviews and writing resumes. The organization also creates a space for the women to acquire skills in new fields, while teachers assist in breaking stigmas and creating social solidarity.
Other prize-winners include the Desert Stars’ team, which works to address the challenges of Bedouin society in the Negev by developing a new generation of leadership that will drive social and economic change among the tribes and clans in the Negev and in Israeli society as a whole.
The organization has developed a series of educational programs for youth aged 14 to 30, aimed at “empower[ing] mission-driven young people to realize their individual and collective potential as change-making leaders,” according to the organization’s website.
In addition, the staff of the Eretz-Ir organization also won the prize for dealing with sustainability and urbanism, working to create change in the urban fabric of Beersheba, and spreading the communal lifestyle to residents of the city in order to expand to other communities.
The joint effort of these three teams led to the success and eventual recognition of the social development program, earlier this week.
The Zusman award was named after Leonor and Larry Zusman, who maintained close ties with Israel and contributed immensely to social projects here. The three-part team, continues to carry the torch for the Zusman family.

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.