Current AVF Grantees

2019 Amitim Grantees:

In 2019, we held a special grant cycle for Israeli Amitim.  Both North American and Israeli alumni participated in reviewing and selecting the grantees.


Maor Albeck (Amitei Bronfman ’06) – Responsible marriage.  A campaign that encourages couples, before marriage, to recognize the legal, social, and political implications of their wedding and to choose the nature of their marriage with awareness.

Yahel Halevi (Amitei Bronfman ’17) – Bridges.  On May 16, 2019, at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, a fascinating and innovative event will take place: “Bridges – In what way?”  An event of cultural abundance, it will be presented to an audience through a series of short lectures and an exhibition.

Rotem Kaplinsky (Amitei Bronfman ’02) – MeToo.  Creating and distributing a graphic icon that means "Stop - you're sexually harassing me!”

Rotem Kliger (Amitei Bronfman ’12) – Noa Tanu’a.  A survey aimed at finding a consensus around transportation questions on the Sabbath.

Ester Meir Hurwitz (Amitei Bronfman ’02) - Vedibarta: Getting to know the ‘other’ in the class.  An app that will be a repository of high school students from different populations in Israel who are meant to meet the ‘other’ to discuss issues of identity, even when there is no possibility of meeting face to face.

Yarden Mendelson (Amitei Bronfman ’03) – The Movement for Public Psychology.  A movement to form a coalition of organizations that will lead a national solution to change the face of public psychology in Israel.

Alex Riff (Amitei Bronfman ’03) – Documentary web series – Between Cyprus and Tel Aviv.  A glimpse into the absurdity of the “1.5” generation who cannot get married in Israel. How is it possible that, 30 years after immigration, many still have to marry in Cyprus?  A project from the Cultural Brigade House.

Assaf Shachar (Amitei Bronfman ’99) – “Beit Reshet” Music Center.  Establishing a music center as part of a therapeutic diagnostic framework for at-risk boys and girls.  It will provide an opportunity for at-risk youth in Ashdod to create and dream.

Michael Veig (Amitei Bronfman ’09) - Do you want to cross the sea? (a film).  The story of Noraldin Musa, a leader in the asylum community in Israel, who is looking for a home in the world.  A unique and close look at the journey of separation, the uprooting of the roots that grew in Israel, and their planting in Canada.


2017 - 2018 Grantees:

Yigal Avrahami (Amitei Bronfman '00) - Training educators how to deal with LGBT phobia among students and educators. The goal of this project is for the Choshen (Hebrew acronym for Educate and Change) organization to reach more educators and provide them with the necessary tools to deal with LGBT phobia among students and educators in Israel. We will strive to reach at least 100 educators, who through their classroom or groups will be able to distribute content to 3,000 children and adolescents.

Evyatar Bar Lev (Amitei Bronfman '16) - Program for the Development of Urban Youth Involvement - Jerusalem Group. This project will bring together a diverse group of 10th and 11th-graders (religious and secular; Jews, Muslims, and Christians) who attend the schools in the Ginot Ha'Ir Community Administration in Jerusalem to create positive norms of discussion and learning, and a desire to change reality and bring “the tribes” together.

Maor Elback (Amitei Bronfman '06) - The use of social media in the fight against divorce refusal and "Agunot". The goal of this project is to renew the website, operate a Facebook page and Twitter account, set up a blog, and publish a regular newsletter for the Mavoy Satum (“Dead End") organization, helping women who are refused a divorce and Aginut.

Irit Faingold (Amitei Bronfman ‘06) - Translating the report "It’s No Place for Children" into Tigrinya. The Levinsky Garden Library organization has produced a report that documents the voices of the children of "Neve Shaanan" neighborhood, one of Tel Aviv's most neglected. The report deals with the children's perception of traveling to Israel, the neighborhood's violence and neglect, as well as their ambitions and dreams for the future, and includes quotes from dozens of interviews with children ages 13-17. The next stage requires that we translate the report to the Afroasiatic language of Tigrinya, to ensure that their voices and points of view are heard by their parents and adult neighbors.

Daniel Herman (Amitei Bronfman ‘06) - "0202- Points of View from Jerusalem" will translate information from Arab, Haredi, and Zionist media outlets in Jerusalem on Facebook, in order to pave the way for an understanding between the different parts of the city. For more info, watch their intro video and visit

Becki Marcus ('15) 

Building Relationships: Islam and Judaism (BRIJ) brings together 5th-graders from The Jewish Community Day School and the Islamic School of Rhode Island to Brown University’s campus for dynamic inter-religious learning experience. Crafted in close collaboration with the faculty of the Islamic and Jewish day schools, our interactive curriculum centers on the shared concept of tzedakah in Hebrew and sadaqah in Arabic, both roughly translating to charity. From what we learn in the classroom, we channel our shared religious values into direct action as the students and families of the two schools work together to support local organizations in Rhode Island. 


Rena Yehuda Newman ('15) - House of Jacob/People Israel: A Trans & Jewish Zine. Rena Yehuda Newman (they/them) will publish the second edition of "House of Jacob/People Israel," a personal collection of poems, fragments, drawings, and reflections on the intersection of being both a young Jew and a non-binary, transgender person. Focusing on the beauty and struggle of paradoxical-yet-intertwined identities, "House of Jacob/People Israel" seeks to open up conversations about gender in Jewish spaces and highlight otherness through Jewishness. If you or your organizaition would like to receive a copy of "House of Jacob/People Israel," contact Rena Yehuda at

Sammy Potter ('17) 

The Day of Hope. The first annual Day of Hope featured seven Maine leaders (from the Mayor of Portland to Maine’s most famous musician to Maine’s leader in entrepreneurship) at Yarmouth High School to share stories about hope from their jobs and lives: where they find hope and how they use it to make a positive impact.


Sari Schlesinger Marsha (Amitei Bronfman ‘08) - Renewing the Old. Last year, the project organized four meetings between students of the Reform and Conservative rabbinate and students attending yeshivot, involving more than 200 participants, This year we are expanding the program. We have established a program for students for the rabbinate from the liberal movements to study in depth about core issues of religious Zionism and have more meaningful and in-depth dialogues. The ultimate goal of the project is to break down the barriers within the Jewish people by focusing on a common infrastructure and creating familiarity.

Tom Shai (Amitei Bronfman ‘99) - Urban Community Permaculture Course. This project will create a sustainabilty-focused group of 12-20 environmental activists from at least two different communities in the city of Rehovot, leading to a series of meetings that will develop concrete initiatives to change residential buildings, including the kindergarten and the adjacent synagogue. Thus far we have managed to hold every event with another community (e.g. Ethiopians, ultra-Orthodox, students), and we want all the leaders from the events to form a single group that will speak about what is required for a sustainable life and environment.

Aviva Simenish (Amitei Bronfman ‘02)

You-Her Beauty - a unique journey project. You-Her Beauty is a meeting on the beauty of the culture of the Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jewish) community, from its establishment until today. Participants will experience the culture, cuisine, art, traditional dress, and music of the community. We will hear a living, breathing testimony from my mother, Ruth, beginning with when she left her village in Ethiopia, carrying her baby girl on her back, and continuing with her long journey through the deserts of Sudan, losing all hope until her realization of the "Return to Zion." I have heard my mother’s story every Shabbat, when she recalls her son whom she lost on the journey. His name was Sanbate - “Shabbat”. One of my goals is to let my mother tell her fascinating story; perhaps it will heal the wounds that have opened in her heart, and in the hearts of so many in this community.

Shira Telushkin ('08) - Within the Eighteen Minutes is a Jewish advice column for anyone navigating a Jewish situation about which they are unsure. For thousands of years, Judaism has been rolling through time and space, picking up everything in its path. That means that, today, we’ve inherited a tradition with a complicated and often confusing mix of rituals, identity markers, red lines, and ways to practice. The peculiarities and particularities of the diverse Jewish world have tripped up many well-meaning Jews and non-Jews, and my proposed project creates a Jewish advice column that can get very different types of Jews having a shared conversations about communal norms, and help decode Judaism for everybody else.

Gabriella Wallk ('17) - TakeOff is a free tutoring app that virtually matches Chicago teens at underfunded high schools with collegiate volunteer tutors. Like an online dating site, students and volunteers input preferences— subject area, level, and availability. Then, students select profiles from TakeOff’s generated matches and contact tutors via in-app texting and video chatting, with split screen capabilities for displaying work. TakeOff’s tutor community includes Chicago-based university and high school volunteers interested in a service learning opportunity. The app includes a breadth of school subjects and mentoring for career interests, extracurricular opportunities, and the college process. By employing technology, TakeOff bridges the gap in human tutoring capital across the “two Chicagos,” addressing educational inequity and expanding quality educational resources.

Abraham Waserstein ('16) - Princeton University Intercollegiate Moot Beit Din Competition and Shabbaton. The incredible aspect of Moot Beit Din is that it illustrates to students the applicability of ancient Jewish laws and teachings in dealing with present-day issues. By offering a shabbaton style experience, a collegiate Moot Beit Din would offer students within the entire spectrum of religiosity and Jewish knowledge the possibility to meaningfully interact with Judaism in a way that can be applicable in their everyday lives. The competitive style of Moot Beit Din as well as its structure as a weekend event where Jewish students have an opportunity to meet each other is a spectacular way to foster a future generation of Jewish people who are engaged with and excited about the Jewish heritage.

Karen Zasloff ('91) - "Right of Admission Reserved" is a shadow puppet performance about post-apartheid South Africa through the eyes of an American visitor. My project goal is to reflect through experimentation with the art form of puppetry, the complexities of people trying to overcome social barriers — walls that keep them in and keep them out — to form a dynamic community. In working in a metaphorical dreamlike way, and suggesting through the manipulation of puppets, the role of external, entrenched controls in society, I am asking how art can transform thought. (Click here to see clips from a work-in-progress performance at Cape Town.)