June 15, 2008 / 12 Sivan 5768
“Atidim is giving me an incredible opportunity to get ahead. I am the only one in my family who is going to college, and I would not have been able to do this without the support of the people at Atidim.”
Mishel Mamman (28) was born and raised in Kiryat Shmona – a small community on Israel’s northern border. His father, a firefighter, was killed in a tragic accident when Mishel was in third grade. Mishel’s mother struggled to raise Mishel and his eight siblings on her own.
As a result of his personal emotional distress, and his familial situation, Mishel did not make any effort to succeed in school. But as he mature Mishel began to plan toward his future and, as an exceptionally bright boy, he turned his life around. He worked hard and was accepted to an elite combat unit in the Israeli army.
Once discharged from the army, Mishel entered a college preparatory program at the Technion – Israel’s Institute of Technology. His dream was to become a mechanical engineer – a demanding and difficult course of study and career. However, Mishel did not know how he would afford the tuition for these studies. When he heard about the Jewish Agency for Israel sponsored Atidim for Industry and Business Sector program he immediately applied, and was accepted.
Through Atidim, Mishel receives a full tuition scholarship, living expenses, tutoring and a laptop computer. He is able to concentrate on his studies without worrying about money. And more importantly, he has been “adopted” by Israel’s Military Industry, where he works as an intern, has a mentor, and is guaranteed a job upon graduation.
“The people at Atidim are like family to me,” says Mishel. “They believe in me and have given me so much. In turn, I am so motivated to give back to society and to succeed.” Mishel has been identified as a leader among the Atidim students, recognizing the importance of applying yourself and making a difference for yourself and others.
“Atidim is the best program I’ve seen in a long time,” says Eitan Wertheimer, one of Israel’s industrial giants and Chairman of the International Board of Friends of Atidim. “We have a well-defined target audience of outstanding students from outlying areas who have academic ability but limited financial resources, and no access to the hub of Israel’s thriving industry and business.”
During Israel’s Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006, Mishel was recruited for emergency reserve duty and spent 33 days fighting in Lebanon. His reserve responsibilities did not allow him to work during the summer, to earn money to cover his living expenses during the year. Through the Israel Emergency Campaign, supported by UJC and Federations throughout North America, Mishel received critical financial assistance given to discharged soldiers and students studying in the war-torn North—support that augmented his Atidim scholarship and allowed Mishel to continue his studies with out interruption.
To learn more about Atidim and other students like Mishel, who are all leading the way toward a better tomorrow, click here.
Please join the Jewish Agency in ensuring that talented young people from lower socio-economic areas are able to receive a higher education, finance their studies and serve in their communities as leaders to further strengthen and develop the potential in these areas. Donate here.