Jerusalem, Israel - July 4, 2019 - President Reuven Rivlin presented the President’s Award for Volunteerism for the year 5779 in the gardens at Beit HaNasi, in Jerusalem, Israel on Wednesday evening. The President’s Award for Volunteerism was presented for the 45th time, this year to 12 volunteers and organizations chosen to receive the appreciation of the State of Israel and Israeli society for their volunteerism. The award is an initiative of the Presidency in coordination with the National Council for Volunteering, which aims to develop and promote the spirit of volunteerism and to express appreciation for volunteers.
This year the award was dedicated to organizations and individuals working to make the spirit, culture, and art accessible to a variety of audiences in Israeli society. President Rivlin, Noam Semel chair of the advisory council to the president for the award and Dr. Baruch Levy president of the National Council for Volunteering spoke at the event.
President Rivlin began, "The organizations and volunteers who are receiving the President's Award for Volunteerism this evening not only bring to the fore the rich, wonderful mosaic of Israeli society, they themselves are this mosaic...Every day, every hour, they tell Israel's many stories to all populations, of all varieties. They make sure that all forms of culture are accessible to all groups in Israel, show ultra-Orthodox women art they can relate to, acquaint the younger generation with the stories of Holocaust survivors, make music accessible to children who do not live in the center of the country, make art, culture and literature part of soldiers’ lives. It's clear to me that a soldier who enjoys a good theater performance is a better soldier."
The President thanked the members of the advisory committee and its chairman Noam Semel for the process of selecting the winners. He then thanked the prize winners for their important work in bringing together people and groups in Israeli society.
Recipients of the President's Award for Volunteerism:
* Dr. Nurit Sirkis-Bank is a curator, researcher, and lecturer in Jewish and contemporary art organizing lectures for ultra-Orthodox girls. Dr. Sirkis-Bank who lectures voluntarily in the Haredi sector to advance art education spoke to BJL before the awards ceremony.
* Zichron BeSalon was established in 2011 to make Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day accessible to all sectors of society by creating meaningful encounters in more personal settings for Holocaust survivors and members of the second generation to share their stories. Adi Altshuler accepted the volunteer award.
* The Lior Foundation was founded by theater and television actors Osnat and Shlomo Vishinsky after the death of their son Lior. The Foundation's goal is to bring art and culture closer to IDF soldiers through cultural encounters and events at IDF bases.
* The Music Project was founded by Ran Shimoni to provide equal opportunities in the field of music and to provide musical education for at-risk youth and low-income families.
* The Ben Yehuda Project is a project to preserve Hebrew texts and make them accessible to the general public, as well as exposure of the works to new readers.
* Avivim, the Jewish Music Institute was established with the aim of expanding the boundaries of the musical culture in the Haredi community and bringing back professional, high quality classical and Jewish music.
* David Broza has volunteered for 20 years connecting the worlds of Jews and Arabs through the study of music, organizing meetings between Israeli and Palestinian musicians and artists through dialogue and joint creativity. Broza teaches youth in Shuafat refugee camp and raises resources for "Polyphony" in Nazareth.
* Vladimir and Raisa Kogan are Holocaust survivors who hold lectures and social and leisure evenings on classical music for retirees. The activities take place every month and contribute to enriching the leisure of the elderly population in their city.
* Anat Rothschild, a volunteer since 2006, is a bibliotherapist and group facilitator who initiated a program to encourage reading for children from low socio-economic strata in cooperation with high-tech companies.
* Yuval Sinai is a 12th-grade student who founded the "Special Sound" movement, the first musical youth movement in Israel. A unique project that enables youth with special needs to meet with youth who are not, and shared exposure to the world of music.
* Nimrod Moran volunteered for the IDF with impaired hearing and works with the deaf population. Moran gives lectures and tours at the ‘Invitation to Silence’ workshop at the Children's Museum in Holon and gives lectures and activities for the deaf population in order to ensure they are able to take part in cultural events.
* As'ad Arida is chairman of an organization that trains, educates and rehabilitates children referred by the welfare authorities and the courts, in addition to establishing a first children's village in Hurfeish for children and young people at risk.
Members of the advisory council, former Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron, heads of volunteer organizations, figures from the world of arts and culture and the leadership of the National Council on Volunteerism also attended the event. During the ceremony, one of the winners, David Broza, performed his songs "In My Heart" and "Under the Sky" in collaboration with a chamber ensemble composed of musicians from Nazareth and singers from East Jerusalem.