This article was originally featured in the 2019-20 Annual Report.
When Nurit and Rich Robin decided to send their daughters Eliana (Class of 2019), Yonit (Class of 2019) and Maya (Class of 2020) to Milken, they made a choice to prioritize a quality Jewish education. They also sought a way to imbue their children with the same love of Israel that first brought them together. As Rich recalls, “when we chose Milken, we recognized that the Tiferet semester in Israel program was a gift we wanted to give our children and it is what really distinguished Milken from all of the other good schools in the area.”
The daughter of an Israeli mother, Nurit grew up in New Orleans but spent significant time as a child in Israel. It was during her junior year abroad at Hebrew University in Jerusalem that she formed a more adult connection to the land – and also when she met Rich, who had moved to Israel from the US after college to join the Israel Defense Forces and had recently completed his service.
“Israel is a critical part of our Jewish identity, and we are proud Zionists,” Nurit says. “But even more importantly, we believe in the power of an excellent Jewish education to impact the future generation of young Jews.”
At Milken, Nurit and Rich work to accomplish both goals: advancing Jewish education and strengthening Jewish kids’ attachment to Israel. Through a contribution to Milken Community School’s Scholarship Fund to benefit Tiferet, they support a landmark program that empowers many Milken 10th graders to spend a semester at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel and experience their history firsthand.
The Jewish National Fund, who owns the Muss School, has generously agreed to match endowment donations dollar for dollar for Tiferet up to $5 MM. “The Jewish National Fund has made a unique investment in our community,” Nurit says. “Because after many years of partnership between Alexander Muss and Milken, JNF understands that by investing in Milken and our incredible students, they are investing in the future leadership of the Jewish community.” This past Spring, additional families including Milken grandparents have contributed a combined $2.7 MM in endowment funds directed to ensure the Tiferet program.
“When you walk the land, you come to love Israel in a way that cannot be achieved in a traditional classroom,” Nurit says. “Rich and I both had experiences in our lives that allowed us to connect to Israel physically, intellectually and emotionally. Israel is a complex country that illustrates the resilience of the Jewish people. To understand your people and your history is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. We wanted to help more students at Milken have such an opportunity.”
As it helps students develop their Jewish identities, Rich notes, Tiferet also equips them with essential tools for life beyond high school. “Kids who go on Tiferet return with a greater maturity and sense of self. The independence, group thinking and problem solving that are part of the program – and part of life in Israel – are all good preparation for kids who will be leaving home for college in a couple years,” he says.
Rich, an insurance company executive, and Nurit, a full-time parent who is trained as an attorney, feel grateful to be in a position to invest in Tiferet and in Milken. “If you want to help produce the next generation of literate and thoughtful Jews, and you have the ability to make a difference, we think the dividends are immeasurable,” Nurit says. “We have already seen several Milken families step up in a significant way to support this endowment effort, and we look forward to having more join us!”