Rank and File

Two Israeli Students Named as Rhodes Scholars

Plus, David Zwebner reveals Ashkelon's secret South African history, and nominations now being accepted for two prestigious awards for immigrants

Ronit Zwebner next to a street sign indicating Ashkelon's South African roots.
Nir Jacobovich/Digiman

TWO ISRAELIS NAMED AS RHODES SCHOLARS: Two Israelis have been named as recipients of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, including American-Israeli Anat Peled, who is currently studying at Stanford University. “In my career educating aspiring leaders, I stress that it’s not the prestigious awards that are important in and of themselves,” Anat’s mother, Dr. Alisa Rubin, told Haaretz. “Rather, it’s important to regard them as a means to broader goals,” added Rubin, who hails from Newton, Massachusetts. “Anat sought out a liberal arts education that she grew up hearing about and went off to Stanford after her IDF service not knowing even one person there. She loves to write and found a true passion for political journalism.” Anat, who was born in Boston before being brought to Israel at age 1, will pursue a M.Phil degree in intellectual history at the University of Oxford, England. The other Israeli recipient is Bar-Ilan University student Lev Cosijns.

ASHKELON’S SECRET HISTORY: When Johannesburg-native David Zwebner was doing his bachelor’s degree in Ashkelon, he asked locals why there were streets named for places in South Africa. “Nobody knew the history,” he told Haaretz. It turned out South African Israelis didn’t know either. So Zwebner made it his business to find out and discovered that South Africa’s Jewish community had funded, built and managed “a most attractive city they called Afridar” — which eventually “expanded and became known as a suburb of Ashkelon.” In celebration of the 70th anniversary of South African Jewry’s contribution to Ashkelon, which started with a $1.3 million donation, Telfed, the South African Zionist Federation, is hosting a weekend at Ashkelon’s Leonardo Hotel next Friday through Sunday. The weekend includes guided tours provided by the municipality, showing off local sites and featuring prominent South African-Israelis like veteran educator Avraham Infeld. To register, call 03-511-0000.

NOMINATION SEASON FOR IMMIGRANTS: Immigrant support organization Nefesh B’Nefesh has opened its nominating season for two separate honors. The Initiative for Zionist Innovation grants will go to immigrants “improving Israeli society through community initiatives,” while the Sylvan Adams Bonei Zion Prize will recognize “outstanding English-speaking olim who have made meaningful and lasting contributions” to Israel, according to the NGO. “We believe that, together with Nefesh B’Nefesh, we can enable our grant recipients to create new models of community structure that will enrich Israeli society for many years to come,” said Marty Herskovitz, an immigrant originally from West Hempstead, New York, representing the Steinmetz Herskovitz Family Fund (which runs the initiative with NbN). The Bonei Zion Prize is adding a new Global Impact category for individuals creating meaningful change. For more info on the grants, for which the application deadline is January 1, or the prize, for which the nomination deadline is January 15, visit the Nefesh B'Nefesh website.

Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.

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