Photo Credit: Nefesh B'Nefesh
Nefesh B'Nefesh bestowed its Maor Prize to ten outstanding young Olim for their contributions to strengthen the State of Israel during the Iron Swords War.

Ten exceptional young Olim from English-speaking countries have been acknowledged for their remarkable contributions to fortifying the State of Israel during Operation Iron Swords. Last Thursday, at their Jerusalem campus, Nefesh B’Nefesh bestowed the Maor Youth Prize, celebrating these young Olim who have not only left an indelible mark on the Jewish state but also serve as beacons of inspiration within their local communities.

The Maor Youth Prize, established last year to recognize the impactful endeavors of young Olim in Israel, attracted applications from numerous individuals hailing from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, and the US. The selection process involved a discerning panel of esteemed committee members.


Noa Chen, Miya Tal, Eden Leah, and Yoni Anders (11-15): The four siblings made Aliyah from London and now live in Modi’in. Since the beginning of the war, they took it upon themselves to help supply food for hungry soldiers. As such, they’ve been cooking and ordering food, making sandwiches, and acquiring protein bars, helmets, sanitary supplies, vests, boots, and blankets. To do so, they’ve set up a network of cooks, suppliers, sponsors, and drivers. They also worked to ensure that every soldier had a tzitzit and started by organizing tzitzit-tying in their home.

Ora Weinstein (17): Made Aliyah from East Brunswick, NJ and now lives in Maale Adumim. Leveraging her leadership role as a counselor in Bnei Akiva, when the Iron Swords war began, Weinstein jumped into action by driving to a nearby factory in Mishor Adumim, where she folded uniforms for hospital workers. She also initiated an afternoon program where mothers whose husbands were in the army could bring their young children. There, she arranged face painting, and toys and coordinated the logistics including arranging for security for an armed guard and getting approvals from the municipality. She also arranged lunch for 400 soldiers, set up a day-long activity for kids and adults with special needs, and regularly baked challah on Fridays, and delivered them to army bases. 

Shayna Katzman (18): Made Aliyah from Toronto to live in Zichron Yaakov. Katzman made Aliyah during the Covid-19 pandemic and since the war broke out, helped evacuees staying in hotels – especially children with special needs – and packaged food for soldiers.

Ariela Marmour (18): Made Aliyah from Maplewood, NJ and now resides in Mitzpe Netofa. A counselor in Bnei Akiva and Oz, Marmour has been organizing, cooking, collecting essential equipment for soldiers, and delivering the supplies. Back home, she helped run the youth program for children when school was out of session due to the war.

Chaya Ne’eman (13): Made Aliyah from the UK and now resides in Netanya. Since the war began, she raised funds for lone soldiers by creating and selling greeting cards and making jewelry, and giving the proceeds to charity. She also assisted her family with hosting an evening of song and solidarity and walks the dog for a family from Kibbutz Be’eri regularly.

Aderet Eisen (16): Made Aliyah from Los Angeles and has since made Ramat Beit Shemesh her home. A counselor in Ezra, she cooked and packaged meals for soldiers and babysat for those in reserves. She also spread the message of solidarity by creating signs advocating for unity around his neighborhood, organized a Hafrashat Challah event in honor of soldiers, refugees, and the hostages, volunteered at farms, worked with Christian youth who came to Israel with Israel365, and helped run a carnival for refugee families in Jerusalem. 

Liran Nathan (16): Made Aliyah to Raanana from South Africa. A gabai at a youth minyan at his local synagogue, Nathan is also a Bnei Akiva counselor and volunteers for MADA. He also ran the largest distribution center in Raanana where he worked with drivers and other volunteers who helped soldiers from the Hermon in the North to Eilat in the South. The center sent out over 6 trucks, 4 trailers, an ambulance, 200 cars, and 4,500 boxes of food, clothes, hygiene products, and combat equipment. 

“As we revel in the spirit of Chanukah, we draw inspiration from these resilient young Olim who have triumphed over the challenges of assimilating into new communities, schools, and social circles following Aliyah. Simultaneously, they have chosen to channel their focus outward, becoming rays of light and hope for the broader Israeli community,” remarked Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh.

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