Day 10 : Trailblazers

The ceremonial lighting of twelve torches, one for each of the Tribes of Israel. Every year a dozen Israeli citizens, who made a significant or outstanding social contribution in a selected area, are invited to light the torches. This year, 14 were chosen by the committee. Read about them below.



Inspiration\ Hash-ra-ah\ הַשְׁרָאָה



Each beacon-lighter finishes his or her speech with 3 words: “Letif’eret Medinat Yisrael” which means “To the glory of the State of Israel”.

Congratulations to those selected this year to light the torch!

Rabbanit Malka Piotrkowsky, teaches women Talmud, a field traditionally reserved for men. She lives in Tekoa, where secular and religious families live together. “She has exceptional knowledge and proficiency in halakhic issues, works to strengthen women’s status and to find solutions to the problems of women refused a religious divorce,” the committee noted. 

Alice Miller was chosen for her struggle for gender equality in the Israel Defense Forces. In 1994, when her her application to join a pilot’s course was refused on grounds that women could not serve in combat positions, she petitioned the High Court of Justice against the Defense Ministry and won. As a result, the panel said, “Numerous training courses and combat options were opened to women.”

Pvt. Dan Korkowsky is a member of the Israeli Defense Forces Special Intelligence Unit 9900, known as Ro’im Rahok (“Seeing Far”). The Unit is composed of soldiers who are on the autism spectrum. Korkowsky has rare intelligence-gathering abilities, and the committee wrote that "his success led to the expansion of the unit." 

Rami Levi, owner of a supermarket chain and cellphone network, was chosen because his “bold initiative forced Israel’s large supermarket chains to lower prices ... and compete in a way that benefits customers. He proved that "it’s possible to combine a socially conscious world view and economic success,” the committee said. 

Lucy Aharish, a journalist and television presenter, is the only Arab beacon-lighter. Aharish, who grew up in Dimona and was educated in Jewish schools, “represents and advances social pluralism and positions calling for coexistence in our country,” the committee said. 

Dr. Danny Gold, developer of the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system. The committee noted that the system was more than 90 percent successful during Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s seven-week summer 2014 war with Hamas.

Or Assouline, a high-school student and CEO of a development firm for young entrepreneurs, who is participating in a special biomedical engineering program. She is researching a method for delivering the active ingredients in drugs through the blood-brain barrier. 

Sima Shein has served as head of the Mossad’s research desk, the highest intelligence position ever held by a woman. Shein has also served in various posts on the National Security Council and as Head of the Iran desk in the Strategic Affairs Ministry.

Rafi Mehudar, a mechanical engineer and hydraulics expert, was a developer of drip irrigation, “an agricultural breakthrough in Israel and abroad,” said the committee.

Gal Lusky is the founder and manager of Israel Flying Aid, which works to save lives and provide humanitarian relief in regions plagued by war, epidemics, starvation and natural disasters worldwide. 

Marta Weinstock-Rosin, developer of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Last year she received the Israel Prize for Medicine for her work.

Avihu Medina was chosen for “his important contribution to Israeli culture and Hebrew song. His songs have become an inalienable part of Hebrew culture.”

Dr. Gabriel Idan, an engineer who developed tiny cameras that patients can swallow, easing the diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal problems.


Ehud Shabtai, a software engineer and one of the developers of the Waze navigation app. The application is used daily by millions of drivers in 120 countries. 

  • Angela Krozy - Masada

  • Neal Green - Dead Sea

  • Robert Hurwitz - Maccabi Games

  • Matt Kaplan - Masada

  • Lynn Green - Tel Aviv

  • Gerson Kaplan - Ba'had

  • Janet and Richard Schreibstein - Jerusalem

  • Emily Kader - Kinneret

Purchase Olive Oil Made in Israel

Maryland importer Israeli Harvest imports organic olive oil from Makura Farm located in the Carmel region close to the home of the Howard County Federation's Israel Shlicha, Carmel Nitsani. Israeli Harvest will deliver olive oil orders to the Federation office when the oil arrives in April and will contribute 15% of proceeds to the federation. Order online here.


This project was compiled by Carmel Nitsani,

Jewish Federation of Howard County 2014-15 Shlicha