Build the Future of Israel

San Diego couple’s donation lifts education standards and builds schools on Israel’s social periphery

SAN DIEGO, CA – The 50-year old Rogozin Sci-Tech school has been given a new lease on life with a total investment of $1 million, a substantial part of which was a donation by Marlene and Barry Berelowitz of the Southern California city which was  matched with a donation from the Israel Ministry of Education. The couple decided to give their gift after visiting the charter school in the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Gat, 35 miles south of Tel Aviv. The gift was given over a three-year period as part of the Israel Sci-Tech Schools Periphery Project, which focuses on rehabilitating some of the country’s most impoverished schools. From re-training teachers to building new laboratories, and re-focusing on practical science and technology based curriculum, the program has already changed the lives of hundreds of inner-city Israeli children.

In 2011, the Rogozin Sci-Tech school academic record was the lowest in Kiryat Gat, with 62 percent Matriculation (Ministry of Education Graduation Test)  rate.  Today, it is considered the best school in the city with significantly increased enrollment and a Matriculation rate that has risen to 80 percent.

The success of the program has led the Berlowitzes to commit to a further investment to revitalize The Zeil Sci-Tech high school in Lod (matched by the government).  The funds will be spent on renovating the entire school, building state-of-the-art computer and science laboratories, teacher training and a total refocus of the curriculum to highlight science and technology.

The Berelowitzes also decided recently to invest $237,500 to upgrade the laboratories at the Singlovsky Sci-Tech school in Tel Aviv with a matched grant from the Tel Aviv Municipality and Israel Sci-Tech Network.

The Berelowitzes have previouslysupported Yad Shapiro Sci-Tech school in Tel Aviv, enabling them to build an auditorium and to substantially upgrade some of the school’s workshops and other technological facilities. The Tel Aviv municipality and Israel Sci-Tech Network contributed an additional amount.

The Israel Sci-Tech Schools Network’s Periphery Project matches private donors, industry leaders and the government with 50 struggling schools across Israel. By dramatically improving education, the project stands to open doors to academic achievements, employment and community empowerment. The initiative is set to double the number of students who study technology and the sciences by raising graduation rates and increasing student volunteer activities in the communities.

Barry Berelowitz commented on why he chose to invest in Israeli education: “We learned the facts and then took action. The countries with the highest number of students in science and technology have the highest GDP and the lowest unemployment rates. The Israel Sci-Tech network prepares students for Israel’s military and industrial sector, which is technology based. Additionally, most of the students at the schools I have helped come from very poor homes and Israel Sci-Tech Schools Network plays a crucial role in breaking the circle of poverty.”

Director-General of Israel Sci-Tech Schools Zvi Peleg said, “Through training teachers, implementing a different culture, upgrading labs and bringing a new spirit to school, we can move schools ahead. We achieve all this without changing the teaching staff, and equip students with knowledge and skills relevant in today’s high tech world. Within three years, each Periphery Initiative school will be transformed into a high-performance learning center, and each school will follow our proven educational formula – science and technology paired with values and volunteering.”

The Berelowitzes immigrated to San Diego more than three decades ago from their native South Africa. They have a long-lasting relationship with the Israel Sci-Tech Schools network dating from 1976 and a deep connection to building and shaping Israel’s future by investing in education projects that will impact the country for generations. Barry Berelowitz is the owner of a boutique San Diego accounting firm.

The Israel Sci-Tech Schools Network is dedicated to supporting its 207 institutions and 100,000 students that represent the largest independent network of science and technology educational institutions in Israel. Today, the network is proud to have more than 500,000 alumni coming from the Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian, Druze and Bedouin communities in Israel.  Many have gone on to become senior leaders in the military, high tech entrepreneurs, as well as some of the top engineers and scientists in Israel.