In 2017, at the age of 11, Ziv Zusman was flipping through B’Yachad magazine, the Jewish National Fund’s publication, and found himself looking at a list of societies for JNF supporters.
“Since our family is a supporter of JNF, he decided to pick a society to be a part of,” said Ziv’s mother, Ula Zusman. “As he looked through the magazine, he realized that there was no society for anyone under 18.”
He got in touch with JNF CEO Russell Robinson and pitched his idea for a society catering to a younger crowd, and several conference calls with the education team later, the Sababa Society was formed.
Ziv’s family’s involvement in JNF spans multiple generations, from his grandmother Lore, who has volunteered four mornings a week for JNF in Australia since 1980, to his father, Michael, who joined the Atlanta board several years ago.
Recently Ziv, a ninth grader at Midtown International School, was recognized as one of two young Atlantans to receive the prestigious Sababa Fellowship.
“Being part of this fellowship is extremely important to me. I am grateful for the opportunities it will provide,” he said. “I am most looking forward to getting to know all the other fellows and getting to learn more about JNF and what it does.”
Ziv is passionate about entrepreneurship and recently attended a weeklong course at Babson College. In his free time, he enjoys playing video games and tennis and is looking forward to playing ultimate Frisbee at MIS in the spring.
Marnie Nadolne, JNF’s Southeast U.S. Israel Programs admissions director, explained that the fellowship is an example of JNF’s investment in Zionist education.
“We are excited to have two (out of 10 in the nation) Sababa Fellows from the Atlanta area,” she said. “The Fellowship offers participants the opportunity to learn more about philanthropy, the reward of community service, and Jewish National Fund’s impact in Israel.”
The fellowship involves participating in last month’s JNF National Conference in Washington, D.C., a series of webinars throughout the year, and ultimately, it concludes with a three-week trip to Israel doing service learning with Roots Israel in July of 2020.
“I am extremely excited to see how the Sababa Society is growing, maturing and developing into what it is today,” Ziv said. “It fills me with pride and happiness to see my idea affecting people and making a difference.”