LA Couple Awarded for “Embracing the Jewish Tradition of Kindness Through the Generations”
For Dr. David and Professor Mojgan York of Los Angeles, philanthropy and charitable work have become a passion that has brought them close to many organizations in both the US and Israel. It was for this reason that they were chosen by the ILAI Fund of Modiin Israel to receive the “Donating Angel Annual Award” which recognizes philanthropic leadership on behalf of the children of Israel.
The ILAI fund, which was founded by Albert and Yael Shaltiel, today provides medical equipment and therapy for over 500 Israeli children who lack the financial resources to provide for themselves. The children are often part of single parent homes, typically under greater financial pressure to provide for their children in need. The fund was created after the Shaltiels were blessed with a child, Ilai, after years of struggling with fertility and seeing the needs of so many desperate children.
In presenting to the award to the Yorks, Mr. Shaltiel spoke emotionally saying, “My wife and I were deeply moved by how both David and Mojgan practice philanthropy that is motivated not just by giving of funds but also by literally investing their emotional support for those in need. This is a family which truly loves Israel and its people and serve as an inspiration to us as an organization and certainly to the countless children who have benefited from their kindness.”
Mojgan, a psychologist and marriage therapist and senior professor at UCLA said that she was moved by how the ILAI fund prioritizes the needs of children. “In our own small family, our children are our world and their joys and challenges have always been our joys and challenges. I therefore was able to empathize with the pain and heartache that I know must be experienced by those parents and children of Israel and we knew that the ILAI fund deserved our support.”
“The ILAI Fund’s mission offered our family a sense of peace and hope,” Mojgan continued. “We were comforted to know that there are good souls who are motivated by clearly defined purposes of spreading kindness and sharing. This Fund does what so many of us wish we could do personally; to physically and emotionally help so many children in desperate conditions and allow their families to overcome the enormous pain and trauma that comes with serious illness.”
“As a psychologist, my professional mission is to hold on to hope for those who can’t do it for themselves and to create room for joy and insight into their lives. Indeed that is what I wish for the children of the ILAI Fund as well…For them to hold onto the hope which is the ultimate belief in their young hearts that despite the challenges, the world is good, life is good and blessings abound.”
Dr. David York is a the son of a prominent rabbi and religious leader in Isfahan in Iran, whose life was devoted to strengthening the Jewish community and preserving the ancient traditions beneath what was a brutal and oppressive regime for Iranian Jewry.
Albert Shaltiel, who fled Iran following the regime change says he remembers David’s father, Rabbi Shimon Yadgaran. “He was a knowledgeable teacher who performed thousands of circumcisions and weddings. During the revolutionary turmoil in Iran, Rabbi Shimon helped save countless Jewish lives with his wisdom, bravery and selfless efforts and it is very clear that this tradition of caring for others has been passed down to his children which makes them such worthy recipients of this award.”
Mr. Shaltiel also thanked the Fund’s president Mr. Ben Nahmadi for making the original introduction to the York’s. The family said that they were dedicating the award in honor if their children, Michael, Jonathan and Eliana and in loving memory of their patriarch, Rabbi Mala Shimon Yadgaran.
“Jewish tradition is all about transferring our good deeds from one generation to another and the York family has proven that this is an attribute which they hold truly dear,” Albert said. “It warms our hearts that it is the children of Israel who are able to benefit from this tradition and they owe this family so much.”
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