KIRYAT GAT, ISRAEL — Israel Lacrosse is pleased to announce that the first Cordish Family Lacrosse Scholarships have been awarded to Kobi Vaknin and Oz Samucha.
The Cordish Family Lacrosse Scholarship was established to support the integration of lacrosse into the physical education curriculum throughout Israel. The grant, provided by the Cordish Family Foundation, will be awarded annually to two Israeli college students who are studying to become physical education instructors. By directly introducing lacrosse to future teachers, the sport will gain and maintain greater exposure in physical education classes in schools and communities throughout Israel.
After a thorough application process, which included interviews and required high marks on tests and in school, Samucha and Vaknin will begin receiving financial support towards their tuition as well as reimbursement for ground transportation expenses from their school to volunteer opportunities at lacrosse practices, games and tournaments.
Samucha, 26, a native of Kiryat Gat, is currently enrolled at Kaye Academic College of Education in Beer Sheva studying to teach physical education. He served in the Israel Defense Forces as a specialized tank driver. In high school Samucha earned Wingate Camp MVP and competed on the Israel National Basketball Team. Oz is currently serving as head coach of the “Kangaroos” youth teams at his alma mater, Rogozin School.
Vaknin, 27, attended Tihon Hadash School in Kiryat Gat before serving in the Israel Defense Forces in the 646 Paratroopers Brigade. He is currently studying in pursuit of a degree in physical education at Givat Washington Academic College, which is located near Kvutzat Yavne. Kobi is currently serving as head coach of the “Camels” youth team at Tihon Hadash.
Samucha and Vaknin will forge new ground as the first students to take Hebrew-language lacrosse coaching and referee certification classes in addition to their core physical education curriculums. The recipients will also be paired with American athletes living in Israel to conduct volunteer hours and gain hands-on experience in promoting and teaching lacrosse in schools and on the practice field.
“We are extremely grateful to the Cordish Family for their generous contribution and continued support. This may seem like a small step but in our pursuit to grow lacrosse and integrate the sport into the country’s culture, the involvement of native-born Israelis is a major accomplishment and of utmost importance,” said David Lasday, Israel Lacrosse’s Director of Youth Development. “The introduction of this scholarship, which will encourage Israelis to learn about and get involved with lacrosse, is actually monumental and essential for our organization’s success.”
About The Cordish Family Foundation
The Cordish Family Foundation, Inc. is the private family foundation of the Cordish family of Baltimore, Maryland, who are also the founders of The Cordish Companies of Baltimore. It pursues a range of philanthropic giving, with a particular focus on established programs that serve at-risk youth and education.