Scholarship in Israel pays tribute to prominent Rotarian
Kenny Greidinger and his wife, Dahlia (left), are greeted at the 1962 RI Convention in Los Angeles. Rotary Images
Each year, the Moshe Greidinger District Scholarship Fund invites Rotary clubs and districts worldwide to propose candidates for a year of postgraduate study in Israel.
The fund, administered by District 2490, was established by Rotarian Kenny Greidinger in 1967 as a tribute to his father, whose Rotary connections played a critical role in the family's safety during World War II.
Greidinger was 17 years old when his family embarked on a grueling 17-day boat ride to Durban, South Africa, in 1941. The British government had just issued an emergency evacuation of its citizens from Palestine, and Greidinger's family, who had immigrated there from the United Kingdom in the early 1930s, was among the evacuees.
After arriving in South Africa, however, the family was denied entry because Greidinger's niece and nephew had been born in Palestine and therefore were not British citizens. Facing an exhausting and dangerous return trip through submarine-infested waters, Greidinger's father, Moshe, requested a meeting with the director of immigration.
Moshe, a charter member of the Rotary Club of Jaffa-Tel Aviv, Palestine, was wearing his Rotary pin that day, which was noticed by the immigration director, who sported one on his own jacket. The two men formed an instant bond, Greidinger recalls, and the director allowed the boat to come ashore. He later helped the two children obtain British citizenship.
"I was so impressed by the influence Rotary carries internationally," says Greidinger, a member of the Rotary Club of Haifa, Israel, since 1951. "We were incredibly relieved to find out the immigration director was a Rotarian. Without the Rotary tie, we would have had to go back."
Greidinger says his father, a prominent businessman, consistently devoted his time and energy to public service and charity.
"He was truly a Rotarian by nature, with a deep conviction of Service Above Self," he says.
Greidinger served as district governor in 1966-67, when he set up the scholarship fund, which covers tuition, board, and lodging while recipients study in Israel. Students may choose from a wide selection of universities and institutes, in fields including agriculture, history, medicine, music, industrial engineering, and international relations.
The ultimate goal of the scholarship, says Greidinger, is to give the winners the tools to enrich themselves academically while introducing them to Israeli culture.
For information on how your club can nominate a candidate, contact Greidinger by e-mail or phone: 972-4-9116888.