Friday, August 07, 2020

Hebrew University and Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design students who are recipients of scholarships from the ISEF Foundation are rolling up their sleeves and have begun to renovate and beautify the Givat Gonen School in Katamonim. The Katamonim neighborhood is an area whose residents suffer from a low socioeconomic environment and, on the whole, are disadvantaged. This junior and senior high school has been serving this community in Jerusalem since 1982.

Shay Maalumi, 28, an ISEF student of Accounting Studies at Hebrew University, decided that it was important to give back to the high school he attended. Maalumi thought that if he and his ISEF cohorts could help improve the school’s facilities it would instill pride, belonging, and positive interaction among the diverse student body. The ISEF students have learned from their mentoring and public service seminars that it is key to incorporate the students in the process. Everything in this project is done cooperatively between the ISEF students and the school pupils—joint design, fundraising, selection and purchase of furniture and accessories, and more. Maalimi said, “by involving the Givat Gonen students in the process and upkeep of the school, they will not only develop a vested interest in using and maintaining these spaces, but they will learn respect and responsibility for the place and to each other, something I am thankful to have learned from my involvement with ISEF.”


Children and youth with potential for excellence who live in Israel’s periphery do not have the appropriate support systems that would enable them to realize their potential. In distressed neighborhoods, the ISEF Foundation’s unique approach has been to mentor and support promising young people from Israel’s periphery and advance them in academia while cultivating social leadership and responsibility.

ISEF and Givat Gonen School share values of social justice, commitment to community, education, and equal opportunities serving a diverse society. The Givat Gonin School is guided by a set of principles designed to create a holistic atmosphere that will nurture and strengthen the school’s environment. This supports part of Mayor Barkat’s new vision for the Jerusalem educational system—strengthening schools by making them unique and therefore attracting stronger students from throughout the city.

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By Tomer Samarkandi, Executive Director

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