The 2016-17 Scholar, Mia Gray has just returned and sent this to the Foundation:

Dear Sam, Marsha, and everyone at the Yoni Jesner Foundation,

I have just returned home after 11 months in Israel, which I can honestly say changed my life. I owe this to you.

It's difficult to summarize this past year because so much of it is beyond words. From the friends I made to the places I traveled, the experiences I had and the things I learned.

Every day brought a new adventure, and in this I found meaning. I explored my Zionism with the conclusion that after university I am going to make aliyah; I also furthered my Judaism, and my beliefs were strengthened and entrenched throughout the year.

But most of all, while I was in Israel, I grew. I left England as a teenager, and returned an adult, sure of myself and all that I stand for. This year I gained more than I ever imagined I would, and my horizons have expanded, so I now feel ready to navigate whatever life throws at me.

My programme felt tailor-made for me, and I found my place within it. From learning in Midrasha, the intensity of Marva, the challenge of Shvil Yisrael, it was beyond my wildest dreams.

Returning home, I realise that life goes back to normal, and it can never compare to what I just experienced, but it's not over really, it's never over really, because it's seared into my heart and memories forever.

It's no secret that without the Yoni Jesner Scholarship, I wouldn't have been able to go on my gap year. You made all the above possible, and while it's so difficult to show you my gratitude in one email, I hope that you understand that you didn't just give me a year, you gave me a lifetime. My decisions for the future were made off the back of this year, and my personality has shaped around it. You've given me my best friends, my strengthened religion, and a worlds-worth of memories. In short, you helped change my life for the better.

I can't thank you enough, and you should know that I'm forever indebted to you.

With all my gratitude,

Mia Gray

Press Release For YJA 2017

Community Organisations Join Chief Rabbi To Congratulate Yoni Jesner Award Recipients

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis stood before a packed auditorium and told the crowd how humbled he was by the thousands of hours of good deeds collectively achieved by every winner of the Yoni Jesner Awards 2017; the acts of kindness award for 11-13 year olds, powered through JLGB’s evolve initiative.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis said:

“Being kind and volunteering is just not a policy to have in life but rather something that genuinely flows from your hearts and that is why the Yoni Jesner Awards are so precious within our community. It was so moving for me to hear Marsha Gladstone’s address to see members of the Jesner family here this evening, and to recognize the connection with JLGB.”

Since the launch of the Yoni Jesner Awards in 2014, over 2000 young people have contributed a phenomenal 25,000 hours of volunteering for charities and good causes across the UK, with 17 schools and youth groups taking part nationally.

Powered by JLGB, in partnership with the Yoni Jesner Foundation, the award honours the memory of Yoni Jesner, a passionate volunteer from Glasgow who was tragically killed in a bus bomb in Tel Aviv in 2002, at just 19 years of age. This October marks 15 years since Yoni’s death, so it is especially poignant that Yoni’s twin nieces, Chloe and Leora Jesner, the first in the next generation of Jesners, participated in the award this year. Following in their uncle’s footsteps both girls went the extra mile completing not only the 20 hour award but also the 50 hour plus award.

Chloe and Leora are among the hundreds of young people who have completed the Yoni Jesner award and other national achievement awards through evolve, JLGB’s youth volunteering and skills initiative. The evolve digital platform allows young people to search for youth friendly volunteering opportunities in their local area that matches their skills and interests, in addition to tracking their achievements all in one place. As young people progress through the school years they can record their volunteering experiences on evolve and complete other nationally recognised awards and accreditations,including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, vInspired awards and Open College Network accreditations.

To mark the 15th anniversary new branding was unveiled to represent the Yoni Jesner Award and its new digital and interactive look. The simple but extremely recognisable re-appropriated peace sign uses the 2 raised fingers to symbolise the achievement of 20 hours while subtly incorporating a Y and J to encourage participation and create a vibrant, modern and youthful aesthetic.

Marsha Gladstone, the mother of Yoni, who set up the Yoni Jesner Foundation, said:

“You are giving your own time, and you’re giving with your heart, and those hours of time and that caring from the heart are more precious than anything. That is why I am so proud of you, and so proud to associate Yoni’s name with this project, because this way of giving is truly what Yoni was all about. It’s a particularly special and meaningful year for us as a family, with Leora and Chloe being the very first of my grandchildren to do the Yoni Jesner Award. This year is also extra special because we are introducing our new Yoni Jesner Foundation branding, it’s amazing how such a simple logo can convey so much.”

Neil Martin OBE, JLGB Chief Executive said:

“I think these inspirational young people who have achieved the award show our entire community the power of Yoni’s values and that our future is very much safe in their hands. We look forward to supporting them on to the next step in their evolve journey by taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. We are truly grateful to the Yoni Jesner Foundation for their partnership, which keeps the memory of Yoni Jesner alive and inspires thousands of young people to do more and give more.”

During the evening, Sam Clifford, Director of the Yoni Jesner Foundation, announced this year’s Yoni Jesner Scholar as Rachel Cooklin. The award will enable the 18-year-old head girl from Yavneh College in Borehamwood to spend a year in Israel, before heading to Birmingham University to study history.

Next year’s Yoni Jesner Awards will launch after Sukkot. If you or your child is in school years 7 or 8, now is a great time to sign up at

YJF 15th Anniversary London Friends Event.


YJF 15th StD

To purchase tickets online for the YJF 15th Anniversary London Friends Event, please click here.

YJF 15th Anniversary Glasgow Lecture

Guest Speaker, Professor David Purdie.




To purchase tickets online for the YJF 15th Anniversary Glasgow Lecture, please click here.


YJF 15th Anniversary Glasgow Lecture.


YJF 15th Anniversary Glasgow Ticket

To purchase tickets online for the YJF 15th Anniversary Glasgow Lecture, please click here. If you would prefer to buy a ticket from one of our sellers, please email Sam - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To find out more about our Guest Speaker, Professor David Purdie, please click here

To advertise in our YJF 15th Anniversary Brochure, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - the deadline is 26th July.

Harry Levitus Has Been Awarded the Glasgow Jewish Rep Council's Yoni Jesner Award.

David Levitus

The Glasgow Rep Council has awarded this year's Yoni Jesner Award to Harry Levitus, who has already demonstrated his involvement in our community through his being awarded the Dr IK Cosgrove prize at Hutchie for community service, and by being a member of JLGB, FZY and Habonim.

Harry has chosen to spend his exchange year at IDC in Herzliya because Israel is of great importance in his life. He has shown that he cares greatly about his community, that he wants to be involved. I believe that it’s young people like him who will play a vital role in the future of our British Jewish community.

We know he will have a wonderful time in Israel this coming year and will return to this country inspired and full of enthusiasm, ready to continue his involvement, becoming one of the new leaders and role models this country so desperately needs, using his experience to inspire others throughout his adult life.

Pictured Harry's father, David Levitus receiving the Award on his behalf.

YJF 15th Anniversary Events.

Logos 02 Light BlueYoni was tragically killed on 19th September 2002 in a bus bombing in Israel.  Throughout 2017-18 the Yoni Jesner Foundation will be marking this anniversary with several events:

To get involved or to host your own event, please email Sam - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Maccabi Fun Run 2017 - Run, Jog Walk for YJF.

Last year, the Yoni Jesner Foundation took part in the Maccabi GB Community Fun Run for the first time. We had a team of 80 runners, walkers, scooters and babies in buggies who raised £12,000 for the Yoni Jesner Foundation - an incredible amount which helped us continue inspiring young people to do more and care more using Yoni's legacy in 2016-17.

As with everything else, a year goes very quickly and we are now starting to think about the Maccabi GB Community Fun Run which this year takes place on Sunday 11th June.

Would you like to be one of the YJF #runningforYoni team this year? 2017 is the 15th year since we lost Yoni and we really hope we can raise lots of money to secure the next 15 years of the Yoni Jesner Foundation.

Run, walk, hop, skip or dance your way around one of three distances - 1km, 5km or 10km. There is also a free Family Fun Zone and Health & Wellbeing Hub including treatment and taster sessions and lots of other activities for all. It's a really fab, fun day for all ages!

For more information about the Fun Run and to sign up, please click here.

If you have any questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or give her a call on 07980 646 146.

Warm regards


Marsha Gladstone

HRH The Prince of Wales visit to Yavneh College.

On 1st February 2017, HRH The Prince of Wales spent the morning at Yavneh College in Hertfordshire on a visit designed to showcase the phenomenal amount of social action taking place at the school and across the community. The Yoni Jesner Awards, in partnership with JLGB, were proud to be part of the wider showcase of JLGB's social action programmes and awards across school years 7-13.

The Prince met met 12-year-old twins Chloe and Leora Jesner, who are the first relatives of the late Yoni Jesner to have taken part in the volunteering and leadership scheme set up by his family. Yoni’s mother Marsha Gladstone said: “I told him that the values Yoni lived his life – feeling a responsibility to the community around him – are the values we inculcate through the Awards and that Yavneh and all Jewish schools are imbuing through informal Jewish informal education programmes. If you want the country to run well, you need the youth to grow up with a feeling of responsibility.

Other dignitaries including the Chief Rabbi, the President and Trustees of Yavneh College, Lindsay Levkoff Lynn, Chief Executive Youth United Foundation, Sir Nick Parker, Chair Step Up to Serve, Charlotte Hill, Chief Executive Step Up to Serve and Dame Julia Cleverdon, Founder Step Up to Serve.

To read more about the visit, please click on the following links:


Jewish Chronicle

Jewish News

The Telegraph

Yavneh College

Marsha Gladstone awarded Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation Volunteer of the Year at the JVN Volunteer Awards

Marsha Gladstone was awarded the prestigious Volunteer of the Year Award at the 2016 JVN Volunteer Awards.

Marsha Gladstone said in her acceptance speech: “I wonder how many people are really aware of the huge role volunteers play in making that great success of these organisations possible.”

JVN chairman David Lazarus said: “These awards collectively show that volunteers are truly valued.”

The night was compèred by Lord Daniel Finkelstein and music was provided by acapella group The Four Sons – a band that was formed by 4 young people during their Yoni Jesner Award and has since raised over £10,000.

Read more about the Awards in the JC and the Jewish News.

  • 1

The Jesner Twins: Yoni Jesner Volunteering Awards Inspires The Next Generation

Marsha with her Twin Grandaughters Leora and Chloe Jesner

Marsha Gladstone, flanked by granddaughters, Chloe and Leora Jesner

Leora and Chloe Jesner, the twin nieces of the late Yoni Jesner, mark the beginning of their volunteering journey by starting the Yoni Jesner Volunteering Awards, adding to tens of thousands of hours of good deeds already completed in the name of their uncle. This is especially poignant as Leora and Chloe, aged 12 from Yavneh College are the first immediate family members of Yoni to take part in the award in honour of his memory.

Enrolment for the Yoni Jesner Awards has now launched for this academic year, following inspiring assemblies from Yoni’s mother, Marsha Gladstone at schools all over the country. Yoni Jesner was killed in a suicide bombing on a bus in Israel in 2002. Yoni was an inspirational youth leader and true role-model for many young people, and his drive and determination led him to achieve more in his 19 years than many people do in a lifetime.

This is set to be a record-breaking year for the Yoni Jesner Awards, with over 500 young people already signed up since September. The scheme is managed by evolve, JLGB’s youth volunteering initiative, in partnership with the Yoni Jesner Foundation. Young people in school years 7 and 8 can take part in the award by volunteering as little as 20 hours, making a difference to the community throughout the year. The Yoni Jesner Awards will be launching in Manchester King David, Leeds JFS and Liverpool King David in the coming weeks.

Thanks to evolve, young people can now sign up directly through their chosen synagogue, youth group or charity. To register for the award, discover youth friendly volunteering projects, track hours and keep on target visit


Leora Jesner said, “Last year we went to the ceremony and all we wanted to do was go up on stage and receive the award

Chloe Jesner said, “We are happy hearing the special things that the awards have achieved in our uncle’s name

Marsha Gladstone, Yoni’s mother, grandmother of the Jesner Twins said, “Yoni was a mixture of so many different things. On the one hand he was fun and zingy, had loads of different friends of all ages, backgrounds and religions and really loved people. Yet underneath all that there was a modest, more serious layer, helping others and volunteering in so many different ways.

Neil Martin OBE, JLGB Chief Executive said, “All of us at JLGB are so proud to power the Yoni Jesner Awards through the evolve volunteering and skills initiative. Working together with the Yoni Jesner Foundation we are excited for all the upgrades we have made as we further digitise the award with even more features. Now, for the first time, young people can sign up, not just through their school, but alternatively through the charity they are volunteering at or the youth group or synagogue they belong to, each of whom will be able to view the collective impact their young people have made.”


Ambucycle Dedication

One of Yoni’s friends, Ben Casper decided to honor Yoni by getting friends, family, and other community members to donate a life-saving ambucycle in honor of his memory. Together, they raised over $36,000 to purchase an ambucycle equipped with new emergency medical supplies that will be used by one of United Hatzalah of Israel's volunteer medics.

"Bikey McBikeface" - the United Hatzalah of Israel ambucycle was dedicted in Yoni Jesner's z"l memory  and was declared officially street-ready and off to save lives  two days before Yoni's 14th yahrtzeit)


Marsha Gladstone recently received an email from Avraham Sacks from the Update Team.

Subject: Update: Ambucycle #705

To the wonderful contributors of the Yoni Jesner campaign,

Your ambucycle has been busy saving lives with the help of its dedicated rider, Avi.

Last week, Avi was excited to celebrate his son’s first birthday! He was at a toy store in Central Jerusalem buying a gift when he received an alert from United Hatzalah Command Center. A man had sustained a serious head injury in the Mea Shearim neighborhood. Avi quickly placed his item on the counter and asked the clerk to hold it for him. He then ran outside, hopped on your ambucycle and sped to the scene.

The narrow streets and alleyways of Mea Shearim were backed up with typical midday traffic. Avi weaved deftly through the cars on your nimble ambucycle, arriving in just 90 seconds! He discovered a pedestrian sprawled on the pavement, bleeding from his wounds. In the tumult the man had apparently been knocked over, sending him flying back onto the hard concrete.

Avi applied pressure to the broad gash in the man’s head, in order to stem the hemmhoraging. He cleaned and bandaged the man’s wound and took a thorough set of vital signs. When the ambulance finally arrived, the recovering patient decided to refuse transport, preferring to follow-up instead at a local clinic.

Just a couple of hours later, Avi was called back to Mea Shearim. This time, a young boy was suffering from a severe asthma attack. Avi raced back to the neighborhood and made it to the location in record time!

The 7 year-old boy was wheezing horribly, unable to breathe. The experienced medic immediately administered oxygen and observed as the patient’s body relaxed from the lifesaving treatment. He continued to calm and reassure the little boy and his mother until the ambulance arrived nearly 30 minutes later.

The young mother expressed her profound gratitude for Avi’s prompt arrival and professional care. These thanks are extended to you, the generous donors of ambucycle #705. Thank you for providing Avi with the tools he needs to save lives!




Avraham Sacks

The Update Team
Israelife - United Hatzalah
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Marsha Gladstone recently received asecond email from Avraham Sacks from the Update Team.

Subject: Update: Ambucycle #705

On 27 Aug 2017, at 13:19, United Hatzalah <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> wrote:

To the wonderful contributors of the Yoni Jesner campaign, I just spoke with Avi Press, who rides your lifesaving ambucycle #705. He shared this amazing story with me.

Avi was riding your ambucycle when he received an urgent alert from United Hatzalah Command Center.A young woman was having intense seizures in the Old City, at the entrance to the Muslim Quarter by the Damascus Gate. Though this area can be dangerous at times for Jews, Avi didn't think twice about speeding to the location… somebody needed help! Despite the thick rush hour traffic, the courageous medic was able to reach the location quickly thanks to your nimble ambucycle.

Avi was joined by another United Hatzalah ambucycle medic on the scene. The pair discovered a young woman in her 20s, slipping in and out of consciousness. A quick assessment revealed that her blood sugar levels were dangerously high. There wasn't a second to lose!

The expert medics helped revive the woman as they opened an IV line for quick access to fluids and medications. They continued to provide lifesaving treatment for the woman for nearly 20 minutes until the ICU ambulance arrived. By that time, the woman's seizures had subsided, her blood pressure had stabilized and she was prepped and ready for quick transport to the emergency room.

Avi said that the sight of religious Jewish volunteer medics providing first emergency response for a young Arab woman was particularly meaningful.

Avi's mobility and ability to provide top quality emergency response to all people at all times and all places is only possible thanks to your ambucycle. Thank you for partnering with United Hatzalah to save lives!




Avraham Sacks

The Update Team
Israelife - United Hatzalah
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Watch the video of the dedication.

Ambucycle Dedication YouTube Video