NETANYA, ISRAEL — The Israel Lacrosse Association has honored Seth Mahler and Moran Sasson, naming them the winners of the Mort and Judi Beroza Award for Man and Woman of the Year in recognition of their outstanding individual contributions to the development of lacrosse in Israel in 2017.
Mahler, who has been a member of the men’s national program since its’ inception in 2012, has made a sustainable and meaningful impact in his various roles with the Israel Lacrosse Association. He has resided up-and-down the coast since making Aliyah in 2013, and is directly responsible for the establishment of Israel’s first youth lacrosse programs in the city of Ashkelon. Seth served as head coach for the blue-and-white’s debut U-19 men’s national team — composed of mostly homegrown Israeli players — at the FIL U-19 Men’s World Championships in 2016. As a player, he has been a stalwart for the men’s national team; this year alone, he won a gold medal at the 2017 European Box Lacrosse Championships in Finland, captained the expansion Herzliya LC in the Israel Premier Lacrosse League, and earned a roster spot for the blue-and-white’s historic World Championship team which will compete on home soil in 2018. Seth also led organizational efforts on several programs, including the IPLL, Israel Lacrosse’s Winter Service Trip, and the Daniel & Wendy Kraft Lacrosse Scholarship. He is currently leading several new projects for the organization, including internship opportunities for summer 2018, and steering the launch of an MCLA program at IDC Herzliya.
“Seth balances his responsibilities as a national team athlete, coach and administrator with skill and care,” said Scott Neiss, Israel Lacrosse’s executive director. “He is a pioneer for us in every sense, setting the bar high and paving new ground with both passion and nonchalance. His commitment to our program and our mission is unparalleled. We’re so lucky to have him.”
Sasson, a native Israeli from the city of Netanya, was integral to the launch of the Barak Netanya LC program in 2013. Today, the club is arguably Israel’s strongest, with native Israeli U-19 players coaching their younger peers at the U-11 and U-15 level. The “Bolts” have produced national team athletes at the U-19 and now the men’s level, and Sasson’s groundwork and relationships in the city were essential to producing the successful bid to host the 2018 FIL World Lacrosse Championships. Over the last year, Sasson has served as Israel’s lead international representative to the Federation of International Lacrosse and the European Lacrosse Federation. She was also directly responsible for Team Israel’s debut entry in the Maccabiah Games, as well as the Association’s requirements and communications with Maccabi World Union in preperation for inclusion of lacrosse in the Games. A student at Wingate Institute, Sasson is leading efforts to organize liaisons for 50 visiting teams. While her responsibilities with the Association are wide-ranging, Sasson is most endeared for her embracing nature, as she regularly welcomes Israel Lacrosse coaches and staff into her home for Shabbat dinners and holidays.
“Moran is driven by her passion to build and nurture community,” said David Lasday, Israel Lacrosse’s COO. “She is committed to excellence in everything she does, and pushes those around her to adhere to the same standards. She is fearless in the face of new responsibilities, not afraid to learn new things, and always looking for ways to improve our organization. Her imprint will forever be felt on Barak Netanya LC from the Program Directors, youth players, and those she inspired to become coaches.”
The Israel Lacrosse Man and Woman of the Year Award is named for the late Mort and Judi Beroza, whose contributions to the sport, their family, and their community in Hempstead and Long Island as a whole are immeasurable. The parents of Bill Beroza, who has served as head coach of Israel’s World Team since 2012, Mort and Judi have been a mainstay for Long Island Lacrosse Club for over 34 years, attending every game, scrimmage and practice in support of the team and history of the club. Mort, a WWII Veteran who was awarded the Purple Heart, as well as The Legion of Honor Award by the Chapel of the Four Chaplains, has been involved in the sport on Long Island since 1978. His and Judi’s support for the Long Island Lacrosse Club — financially, emotionally and physically — extended well beyond the norm, as Judi was well known for helping sew and repair uniforms, launder clothes as well as chauffer and host athletes at their home for meals before and after games.
The Beroza family support and generosity extended to create a pair of scholarships for students at Hofstra University, which still exist in perpetuity, as well as the LI Metropolitan Lacrosse Hall of Fame Dinner, the Greenport Shootout, New York Saints games, and many other regional lacrosse initiatives. Mort was serving as the Baldwin-Hempstead Post 312 Commander of the Jewish War Veterans of the USA, as well as the Nassau-Suffolk District Council Deputy Chaplain at the time of his death. Judi previously served as National President of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Jewish War Veterans of the USA.
Mort and Judi, who were active members of Hempstead’s Temple Beth Israel for over 60 years, exemplify the passion for the sport of lacrosse, as well as the commitment to service, family, and community – values on which the Israel Lacrosse Association is based.
2017: Seth Mahler, Moran Sasson
2016: Jim Gottlieb, Nancy Berkowitz
2015: Brad MacArthur, Emily Brodsky
2014: Rob Berkenblit, Julia Szafman
2013: Matt Glaser, Katie Mazer