Rank and File

Miles for Smiles fundraiser; Outstanding soldier recognized; MasterChef contestant gets citizenship.

Noff Otmana Ismail, Israeli Arab winner of 'Master Chef'
Noff Otmana Ismail, Israeli Arab winner of 'Master Chef' Oded Karni

THREE GENERATION TREK: This year’s “Miles for Smiles” fundraiser by AKIM-Jerusalem, which provides support for people with intellectual disabilities and their families, will have a special twist: Peter Tobias, a retired lawyer from London who is making his seventh trek, is bringing along his son Daniel, 40, and grandson Gidon, who just celebrated his bar mitzvah. Both are from Modi’in. “This year, we realized we’re all celebrating something, so they’re doing it for the first time.” The 70-kilometer journey across the Gilboa on May 13-15 supports AKIM-Jerusalem; last year’s trek raised NIS 275,000, according to project coordinator Miriam Marcus, who grew up in Bournemouth, England, and later London. To get involved, call Miriam at (052) 300-3421.

PRESIDENTIAL NOTICE: When the family of fallen soldier Benji Hillman established Benji’s Home in Ra’anana, part of their hope was to help other lone soldiers contribute to the state as Benji had. Benji’s Home provides general assistance, a private room, good food and a surrogate family to lone soldiers. One of its residents was recognized for making such a contribution on Independence Day, when Staff Sgt. Noam Peleg of Oak Park, California, went to Jerusalem to meet with President Shimon Peres and receive the President’s Excellence award, which honors outstanding soldiers. “I guess my officers were thrilled with my work and proud of how much I am dedicating myself,” Peleg, a combat soldier and daughter of Israelis, who came to Israel in 2011, told Haaretz Wednesday.

A CHEF AND A CITIZEN: London native Josh Steele, a finalist in the “MasterChef Israel” reality show, was one of 90 new immigrants to gain Israeli citizenship last Wednesday. Thirty arrived the very same day from North America through Nefesh B’Nefesh, while the other 60 changed their status as part of NBN’s Guided Aliyah program. This program allows citizens of Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. already living in Israel to “make aliyah” and receive NBN services. These include financial aid and help with bureaucratic procedures. Steele, a rabbi who spent five years at Jerusalem’s Mir yeshiva, told Haaretz yesterday that in September he was packing his bags when his “14-year-old cousin came up with a plan” to get him to stay in Israel by getting him on “MasterChef.”

Rank and File was compiled
by Steven Klein.
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