Press Release: New Scholars.
The Yoni Jesner Foundation is delighted to announce our Yoni Jesner Scholars for 2019-20: Nadia Goldman and Zahava Hill.
The Yoni Jesner Scholarship panel were extremely impressed with Nadia’s passionate commitment to her community as well as her intellectual approach to problem solving. When encountering the rising homelessness in Manchester, Nadia (an aspiring lawyer), turned to the law to see what rights homeless people had. Shocked to discover the limits of their protection, Nadia decided that ‘the issue needed a practical response and I created a glove drive for the homeless across Greater Manchester and educated primary school children on the significance of the “Homeless Catastrophe.’ Nadia’s compassion, intellect and engaging personality made our decision to appoint her as one of this year’s scholars very easy.
Zahava is an incredibly thoughtful individual who likes to grapple with and challenge modern dilemmas. We were impressed with her personal journey, her questioning mind and her commitment to both Modern Orthodoxy and Zionism. Her conduct during her interview with the YJ Scholarship panel really engaged us all and we could have carried on talking to her, hearing Zahava’s thoughts and ideas for much longer than the allocated time! Both candidates demonstrated a special kind of activism within their communities and evidence of excellence. Like Yoni, Nadia and Zahava combine a love of humanity, a passion for Judaism and commitment to Israel with an open-minded and tolerant outlook. We wish them both all the success for their coming year in Israel.
My name is Nadia Goldman and I am truly humbled to receive the Yoni Jesner scholarship 2019-2020.
I am currently studying History, English Literature, Philosophy and Ethics at Yavneh High School Manchester, and I am so excited to spend the coming year in Midreshet Harova through Torani in Yerushalayim. Upon my return from Midreshet, I plan to study Law at the University of Birmingham which is largely driven by my intellectual excitement and equally important in my motivation, is my deep personal commitment to help the vulnerable in society. This year I investigated the laws which protect the Homeless during the severe winter weather and after discovering the lack of protective legislations, I realised the issue needed a practical response and created a glove drive for the Homeless across Greater Manchester and educated primary school children on the significance of the “Homeless Catastrophe.” I have always been involved in Bnei Akiva, which has made me feel a deep connection with Yoni sharing the same ideologies. Recently I took on a new project to ensure the continuity of Bnei Akiva in Manchester, an opportunity that allows me to keep giving back to the movement living by Yoni’s principal to “always give.”
Spending a gap year in Yerushalayim will ignite a deep connection with our country allowing me to feel the very pulse of how Israel exists and I look forward to the voluntary work I can do whilst I’m away. Having the ability to live where our ancestors did rather than merely a place to visit and appreciate Israeli culture on an everyday basis is a privilege and I am thankful to be able to live there for the year. After spending a year in Israel, I look forward to sharing my enthusiasm for Judaism and Israel to the wider community.
There is no doubt in my mind that Yoni Jesner possessed an unrivalled sense of altruism, something that I aspire to replicate in my own inter-personal relations. His diligent, selfless, and compassionate nature during his short time with us, motivates me to adopt similar characteristics within my own being.
I feel truly honoured and fortunate to have the opportunity to continue Yoni’s legacy and I am hugely grateful to the Yoni Jesner foundation who enabled me to have this opportunity.
Rabbi Benjy Rickman, King David High School
Her love for humanity is shared in equal measure with a desire to learn more; Nadia’s natural intellect and inquisitive nature has made her an extraordinary individual both in the classroom and the community. Her generosity is made evident by the extensive volunteering such as her work in Soup Kitchens, packaging food for Gift, visiting people in hospital on Shabbat, and visiting the elderly. Her mentality is “makes a difference” the compassion she shows for others, along with her commitment and attitude, allows her to consistently deliver excellence.
I currently attend Hasmonean where I study English Literature, Media Studies, and Politics. Next year I am planning to attend Midreshet Harova on the Bnei Akiva Torani Programme. This will, Be’ezrat Hashem, be followed by completing my national service in Israel, and then making aliyah. I then would ideally like to become a tour guide for Poland trips and Israel tours, enabling me to share my love of Israel and passion for chinuch [education].
During my time in Hasmonean I have been involved with various initiatives centred around topics such as mental health, Israel and feminism. The social action work I have been involved with has included fundraising and raising awareness for the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People). This charity is close to my heart as they aim to support visually impaired people such as myself.
My passions include photography, writing, and film-making. Over the past few years I have developed a small photography business which has enabled me to work with some great charities such as JAMI, JNetics, and PaJes.
Being granted this incredible scholarship means so much to me as learning in the zechut of Yoni, someone who held such meaningful and powerful values, is a constant reminder of why our culture and land is so important to us.
Similarly to Yoni, I too am the youngest sibling in my family, am passionate about Israel and Judaism as well as love being involved with hadracha and youth groups. However, the level of warmth, thoughtfulness and humility displayed by Yoni are traits that not only inspire me but make me so incredibly thankful to have been awarded this amazing scholarship and opportunity in the zechut of Yoni.
Rafi Cohen, Bnei Akiva
I first got to know her as her Madrich on Bnei Akiva Machane and recently had the incredible experience of seeing her in the role of a Madricha, an experience which gave me a huge amount of Nachat! In the intervening years her character and outlook have solidified into a passionate, idealistic, self-motivated, no-nonsense attitude. She is an incredible Madricha, going above and beyond in every area, dedicating time and effort to the Chanichim, covering for others when they were overwhelmed. She has always faced any challenges thrown her way without a word of complaint and with her head held high.