The Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 1995 in memory of Helyn B. Reich, wife of founding AZM President Seymour D. Reich. Reich scholarships are awarded each fall and spring to a limited number of American students who have chosen to study at one of several designated Israeli universities or post-college long-term programs in Israel. The scholarship seeks to recognize candidates who have demonstrated academic excellence, pro-Israel activity in their personal lives, and a dedicated commitment to future involvement with the Jewish and Zionist community in the United States.
The American Zionist Movement is pleased to announce the winners of the Spring 2019 Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship. The recipients are accomplished young Americans Zionists dedicated to AZM’s mission, who are thrilled to be spending the next year living and immersing themselves in Israel.
Sarrah Bechor will be attending Tel Aviv University’s Overseas program for the fall semester. During her time in Israel, she hopes to research her undergraduate thesis topic on Jews in Far East Asia and their political, ideological and perceptual relations with Israel. A rising junior at Queens College’s Honor College with a major in political science, Sarrah is interested in Israeli politics and has been active in pro-Israel rallies in New York.
“I can trace back my desire to study in Israel to what has long been a dream of mine: to continue my study and further my knowledge — in the Jewish state itself – of the much-contested politics in Israel as well as the realities for the Jewish people throughout history and in the modern day.”
Nira Lois Lee will study at University of Haifa’s Honors Program in Peace and Conflict Resolution. She grew up with a strong Zionist and Jewish background, participating in Zionist rallies with her father, the rabbi at Arizona State University. She went on to be very active in the pro-Israel community and Hillel at American University, serving as a CAMERA fellow and spending a spring break at Moscow Hillel strategizing with Russian students how to advocate for Israel as Diaspora Jews. Last winter, she volunteered at Akko’s Weitzman School, repairing damage from rockets in the North.
“I’ve heard professors and peers condemn Israel as a ‘terrorist state.’ I’ve approached the world map on campus to see Israel desecrated. I see fabricated material used to spread hate… I may be fighting an uphill battle, but with education and authentic perspective, I will be equipped to lead that fight at my university, and also in my future career.”
Avital Okrent will attend medical school at the Ben Gurion University Medical School for International Health. Her practice of Zionism has included two years in the IDF, serving a youth instructor and a drill instructor to drawing Diaspora youth to Israel activism, IDF service and aliyah. Her passion for medicine comes from her father, a physician, who tragically was irreversibly brain-damaged in a car accident when Avital was 5. Avital’s decision to attend medical school in Israel demonstrates her commitment to combining her two callings: Zionism and medicine.
“A great mission in Israel is to provide the advancements in research, art, healthcare, and many other fields to make a positive impact on the rest of the world, and I want my future to serve these ideals… I know that my commitment to both medicine and Zionism can combine, enabling me to achieve my life’s ambition of helping people and advancing our state.”
– Avital Okrent