Eli Gaventa

Avishai Marcus

My name is Avishai Marcus. I am a student at Hasmonean taking A Levels in Politics, Biology and Sociology. Following my year of learning at Yeshivat HaKotel with Bnei Akiva Torani, I plan to study International Relations and Politics at university.

I feel incredibly fortunate to have been selected as one of the two Yoni Jesner Scholars for 2018-19. It has been an absolute privilege to learn about Yoni and his amazing achievements. Yoni had a clear understanding of his values and then put relentless effort, energy (and good humour) into actualising them. Yoni was at the heart of the community and had the community in his heart. Although proudly Orthodox, Yoni’s sense of community was outward looking, inclusive and welcoming – this is one of many aspects of Yoni that deeply resonates with me and which I aspire to emulate (although he set the bar phenomenally high!!).

I am sgan (Deputy) at Edgware Bnei Akiva and appreciate the chance to give back to the Movement I have attended since the age of 7.

I enjoy playing football regularly and I have been associated with Maccabi Football for the past 10 years as a player and as a coach. The young teams represent the full range of Anglo-Jewry and I am profoundly aware that for some of these children, Maccabi football is their sole connection to it.

My other passion is photography, both the skill and the art of it – and in addition to ‘smachot,’ I like to use my photography to cover charity events, community projects and Jewish educational visits.

I am so grateful to the Yoni Jesner Foundation for this opportunity and will do all I can to perpetuate his remarkable legacy. Thank you.


Rabbi Barry Lerer, Barnet United Synagogue

I am proud to nominate Avishai to be considered for the Yoni Jesner scholarship. It is not just what Avishai does that is so impressive, but it is the manner in which he conducts himself that makes him so special. 

On a social level Avishai has always happily mixed with a wide range of people with differing outlooks and it is clear that he is considered to be a real friend on whom they can depend. Despite his ability to connect with diverse groups, Avishai knows who he is and is and has always held steadfast to his own values and is always prepared to respectfully voice these. He is both respected and liked by his friends and has a wonderful ability to engage with others.

On an academic level Avishai has an impressive work ethic. I found him to be a deep thinker, someone who can cut through layers of a given problem and get to the heart of the matter. A student who would perhaps have been described as an ‘average student’ in Year 7 has propelled himself into a high performing student through hard work, calm disposition and resilience to persevere. For his efforts and achievements in Year 11 Jewish Studies, he won the JS effort/achievement award.

On a community level, Avishai has the community and ‘giving back to it,’ as a priority. He is described as a natural leader and is liked and respected. Avishai has the ability to connect with everyone he meets and inoffensively gets their buy in. There is a real humility and decency that underscores his interactions. Avishai also gives back to the community through his own talents namely in football, where he has worked with young teams as a coach via Macabbi for several years and as a photographer taking photos at Jewish charity events.

My real pride has been in watching Avishai grow in his commitment and love for his religion culminating in him being offered a place at Yeshivat Hakotel with Torani, Bnei Akiva. Although proudly modern orthodox, Avishai is genuinely non-judgemental, open minded enough to listen to those who hold views different to his own, patient, respectful and tolerant, qualities that I feel are well matched to those which permeated the life of the late Yoni Jesner. I therefore feel that Avishai would be a worthy Yoni Jesner Scholar and I am excited to see the impactful contribution that he will make to Anglo-Jewry in the coming years. 

Read Avishai's Blog