Ariela Marmour of Maplewood, 18, and Ora Weinstein of East Brunswick, 17, were honored during a Chanukah candle-lighting ceremony and celebration at the Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah Campus in Jerusalem. They were among 10 young olim (immigrants to Israel) who were recognized for making exceptional contributions to strengthen the state of Israel during the Iron Swords war. Nefesh B’Nefesh presented them with the Maor Youth Prize to honor them for making an impact on the Jewish state and for serving as a guiding lights in their local communities.
Dozens of young olim from English-speaking countries — including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the U.K., and the U.S. — applied for the Maor Youth Prize, which was initiated last year. The recipients were chosen by a panel of committee members.
Ms. Marmour lives in Mitzpe Netofa. A counselor in Bnei Akiva and Oz, she has been organizing, cooking, collecting essential equipment for soldiers, and delivering the supplies. Back home, she has helped run the youth program for children when the war forced the schools to close.
Ms. Weinstein lives in Maale Adumim. Leveraging her leadership role as counselor in Bnei Akiva, when the war began, she drove to a nearby factory in Mishor Adumim and 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 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 challot on Fridays and delivered them to army bases.
“As we celebrated the spirit of Chanukah, we find inspiration in these young olim who have emerged triumphant over the hurdles of acclimating to new communities, schools, and social circles after making aliyah, while at the same time choosing to focus outwards and becoming rays of light and hope for the greater Israeli community,” Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, co-founder and executive director of Nefesh B’Nefesh, said.