Rank & File: Immigrant Innovators Win Grants

English Speaking Residents Association boosts its Ramat Hasharon branch; new immigrant goes from 'successful married lawyer to homeless divorced digital nomad'

Nefesh B’Nefesh Awards 20 Olim with Initiative for Zionist Innovation Grants
Ben Kelmer

IMMIGRANT INNOVATORS: Nefesh B’Nefesh awarded on Sunday its first Initiative for Zionist Innovation grants, in cooperation with the Jewish National Fund and the family of Avram and Sharon Blumenthal. “The grants will support olim committed to impacting social change or pursuing business innovation in the spirit of Zionism,” the immigrant support organization announced. Winners in the social innovation category included David Baskin, whose Ani Shlishi supports impoverished and at-risk youth; Shlomo Fisherowitz, whose Anglos of South Jerusalem creates a sense of community for active adults over 50; Betty Herman, whose Heveli Kesher supports women and families struggling with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders; Maya Dolgin, whose Bat Kol offers public speaking workshops to teenage girls; and Alona Metz, whose Thrivacious creates a community for women touched by cancer. Other winners were Raphi Danan (LoKali), Raizel Druxman (Desert Glamping Retreat), Shira Margolis (The Quad) and Jay Rosen (The Here and There Club). For the full list, visit:http://www.nbn.org.il/initiative-for-zionist-innovation/

RAMAT HASHARON RISING: ESRA, the English Speaking Residents Association, has turned to one of its former national leaders to revive its Hod Hasharon branch. Hertzel Katz, who was born in South Africa, was the chairman of ESRA and before that the chairman of Telfed. He told Haaretz that the new group would not only host speakers but also help immigrants improve their Hebrew. It would also tutor Israeli schoolchildren and aid people with financial needs. One such program, which Katz’s wife Lola Katz, a qualified English teacher, has been active in is “Let’s Talk,” where English speakers and Hebrew speakers are paired and talk to each other “over a cup of coffee.” The branch’s first meeting will feature a conversation with Jerusalem Report editor Steve Linde, and a new committee will be set up. For more info, call Herzl at (050) 250-1928.

DIGITAL NOMAD: Over the past five years, Sasha Wickenden has transformed, as she puts it, “from a successful married lawyer to a homeless divorced digital nomad.” Yet, she notes, “the first version was really unhappy compared to the second one.” Wickenden, who left Russia in 2012 and has since visited 55 countries, will share her story at Mazeh 9, the Tel Aviv community center for young adults, on Sunday evening. She will discuss how she makes money with her online business while traveling, how she copes with difficult situations and why she chose a minimalist and alcohol-free lifestyle. “Through the years I learned that missing home and friends would in fact make me miss all the opportunities right where I am at the moment,” she recently wrote of her nonstop traveling. “It’s pointless.” For more info visit the Sunsurfers Facebook page.

Rank and File was compiledby Steven Klein.

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