About the Ray of Hope Award

“One Person’s Candle is Light for Many”

The Ray of Hope Award honors inspirational, motivational and exceptional members of the community. The recipients are dedicated to improving the lives of young people in the United States, Israel and worldwide.

Our honorees are truly a “Ray of Hope” for at-risk youth and we celebrate the change that they create.

Previous Recipients

2020 recipient – Alon Futterman

Alon Futterman, is a dynamic social entrepreneur who has founded and directed some of the most innovative initiatives in Israel. Alon has been honored as one of Globes Magazine’s most promising and influential Israelis in their “40 under 40” list as well, as by the Yediot Aharonot newspaper as one of Israel’s most inspirational “People of the State”. Alon’s accomplishments span the worlds of entrepreneurship, government, politics, public education, international partnerships, and aviation non-profits.

2020 recipient – Susan Saltz

Susan Saltz CEO of New Light Media, President of the Gary Saltz Foundation, and a dedicated philanthropist. Among her many other endeavors, Susan serves on the Board of Directors of several organizations that advocated for education reform and the protection of children’s rights.

In addition to the incredible work Susan does in the community, she is an award winning documentary producer and the associate producer of the feature film “HER MAJESTY”. She is the mother of two wonderful sons, who have brought her deeper understanding of childhood needs and rights.

2004 recipient – Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, Z”L

Rabbi Eckstein founded the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. The objectives of the organization were to support Jews in need of financial help. It promotes emigration of Jews to Israel, and supported poor soldiers in the Israeli military.


Newsweek listed him in the Top 50 Most Influential Rabbis in America.


2003 recipient – Marla Bennett, Z”L

Marla was killed on, July 31, 2002, when a terrorist attack ripped apart Hebrew University’s cafeteria. Marla was a special person whose warmth and enthusiasm deeply touched the lives of everyone she came in contact with. She has inspired so many people with her love of Jewish learning and Israel.


1999 recipient – Gil Shwed

Gil is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cyber Threat Alliance. He is considered the inventor of the modern firewall and authored several patents. He founded Check Point, which develops cybersecurity software.


1992 recipient – Joan and Sanford I. Weill

Joan and Sanford are the first people to be honored by ELEM. Sandford is an American banker, financier and philanthropist. He is a former Chief Executive and Chairman of Citigroup. Philanthropy has been a large part of their lives over the last three decades and is something they are deeply passionate about and enjoy doing together.