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