Monday, May 16, 2011

12th Grader Wins Flatow Scholarship

On April 9th, 1995, 20 year-old Alisa Flatow was killed in a terrorist attack outside of Kfar Darom during a year of study abroad in Israel.  To preserve her memory and to enable others to do what she had been doing when her life was tragically cut short, the Alisa Flatow Scholarship Fund was created to provide scholarships "on a limited and competitive basis" for full time religious study in Israel to students "showing academic promise in their religious studies."

In each of the past three years, only five such scholarships have been awarded from a pool of over 250 applicants nationwide.  Yet in each of the past three years, one of those five winners has been a student from our high school.

We are most proud to announce that this year Mendel Osdoba has been awarded the Alisa Flatow Scholarship. Undoubtedly a major factor in the decision was the powerful essay which Mendel wrote about what the ability to spend a year in Israel would mean to him. Here is just a brief a citation:

Learning Torah in Israel after high school has always been a dream of mine; learning in Eretz Hakodesh would also fulfill one of my father’s deepest wishes. I vividly remember the somberness and solemnity that enveloped all who stood in the airport hangar as my father’s body was loaded onto the airplane. The entire community, especially my family, though faced with the painful task of saying goodbye to a beloved husband, father, and friend, understood that my father’s final resting place was exactly where he longed to be. My head spun as fast as the plane’s propellers from the turbulence I had just encountered, yet I was calmed by the fact that my father was on a voyage to the place he coveted most, the land of Israel. Attending yeshiva in the Holy Land would not only make it possible for me to visit my father’s grave for the very first time, but moreover it would allow me with the good fortune of connecting to him on an elevated spiritual level. I fervently believe that going to Israel next year would help bring closure to the childhood tragedy that has permeated my life since I was eight years old.  

You can find the essay in its entirety here.  It is well worth reading.

Mazal tov to Mendel and we look forward to hearing great things from him next year and for many years to come!

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