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JFS scholarships make a difference in students' lives

Jewish Family Service of the Lehigh Valley is proud to award two different scholarship opportunities to local students each year. 

Congratulations to this year’s winners! Cory Lemberg and Yuval Shimoni were awarded the Gaines Family Foundation Prize in Engineering, and Miriam Singer and Eliza Wiener received the Martin Philip Memorial Scholarship in 2021. 

The Martin Philip Memorial Scholarship offers a $1,000 scholarship toward post-high school educational expenses. Jewish high school students residing in the Lehigh Valley who have participated in community service and/or school activities and been accepted to a college, university, community college, yeshiva, vocational or technical school can apply. The scholarship is in memory of Martin Philip, z”l, a past supporter of JFS.

The Gaines Family Foundation Prize in Engineering also offers $1,000 scholarships to local Jewish students who have demonstrated the potential for success in engineering and been accepted into a college or university engineering program.

Lewis and Roberta Gaines were inspired by the existing Martin Philip Memorial scholarship and decided to create one specifically for engineering students to encourage Jewish students to pursue the field of study, like Lewis had at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“We first thought about endowing the engineering scholarships about 10 years ago. I had received a fundraising letter from the MIT Hillel rabbi calling on alumni to increase their financial support (naturally), but also mentioning that the percentage of Jewish students had dropped from around 30% in the 1960’s to less than 10%. Other quantitative career choices in finance were becoming more available and more attractive to Jewish students. While reversing the trend was not likely, I thought at least some local student recognition would be helpful,” explained Lewis.

The Gaineses hope that creating this prize through JFS will have a long-lasting impact on the community.

Roberta, who is a former teacher, said, “It’s really all about the students. We wanted to recognize the kids that succeeded in completing a challenging academic path. High school can be tough for the academically oriented, and the scholarships are designed to both recognize and reward them for their efforts.”

If you know a student graduating in the class of 2022, let them know about the scholarship application process next spring.