LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Avraham Infeld, President Emeritus of Hillel – The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life
Avraham Infeld, President Emeritus of Hillel – the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life – has invested a lifetime building Jewish Identity and strengthening the State of Israel. Avraham is the founder and director of a succession of innovative educational institutions. In May, 2012, Avraham was elected Chairman of the Board of the Hillels of Israel. He served in this office until July, 2018.
In 1970, Avraham founded Melitz, a non-profit educational service institution that fosters Jewish identity rooted in a pluralistic understanding of Jewish life and the centrality of Israel. He stood at the helm of Melitz for 30 years. He also served as chairman of Arevim; founding chairman of the San Francisco Federation’s Amuta in Israel; and chairman of the Board of Israel Experience Ltd., an independent company created by the Jewish Agency.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s, concurrently with the above, Avraham was also Director General of both Gesher Educational Affiliates, the Shalom Hartman Institute and served a three year tour of duty in London as Director of the Jewish Agency’s Youth Department for English speaking Europe.
With the advent of Birthright, Avraham served as its first International Director, and led the Planning Process which created one of the most successful and formative educational programs in the Jewish world. In 2003, Avraham was appointed President and International Director of Hillel – Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, and served in that capacity until September, 2006, when he returned to Israel to assume the Presidency of the Chais Family Foundation, until it was forced to close in December 2008, due to a massive fraud on Wall Street.
He continues to serve as President Emeritus of Hillel International, and as mentor on Tikkun Olam and the Jewish People to the Reut Institute in Tel Aviv.
Avraham is the author of “A Passion for a People” published November, 2017.
A native of South Africa, Avraham immigrated to Israel in 1959. He is married to Ellen Cohen Infeld, originally from Woodbridge, N.J., and they share four children, 16 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University in Bible and Jewish History, and of Tel Aviv University’s Law School. In 2005, he was awarded the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s prestigious Samuel Rothberg Prize for Jewish Education, the first specialist in informal Jewish Education to be so honored. He was awarded honorary doctorates by Muhlenberg College in May 2006 and from Hebrew Union College in 2012, for his contribution to the field of education.
Avraham made Aliyah in 1959 from South Africa.