Ori Bar David, Dafna Sibony Named Man/Woman of the Year

ASHKELON, ISRAEL – The Israel Lacrosse Association has honored Ori Bar David and Dafna Sibony, 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 2022.

Ori Bar-David has been a staple for Israel Lacrosse and Netanya LC since 2014 and has been a significant force in the development and growth of lacrosse in Israel, helping to establish the sport as a recognized and respected activity within the country.

Bar-David, has several years of experience representing Israel on the international stage, including at the 2016 Men’s U-19 World Championships, 2017 Zombies Cup, 2017 Men’s European Indoor Championships, and the 2018 Men’s World Championships hosted in his hometown of Netanya, Israel. Most recently, he was on the coaching staff of the U-21 National team in Limerick Ireland where he helped lead Team Israel to a 10th-place finish in the world.

Through his efforts, lacrosse has gained popularity and recognition in Israel, with a growing number of players and teams participating in the sport. Bar-David has also helped to foster relationships with international lacrosse organizations and brings a greater level of expertise and resources to the Israeli lacrosse community. His passion for lacrosse and dedication to improving the sport in Israel sets him apart from other players and coaches in the country.

“Ori is one of the hardest workers and his dedication to the growth and development of lacrosse in Israel is unmatched. It takes a lot of effort and passion to promote and build a sport in a new country, and Ori’s commitment to constant development is truly admirable. I hope that his efforts will continue to inspire and encourage others to get involved in lacrosse and help it grow even further in Israel,” says Yaakov Silberlicht, ILA Director of Youth Development.

In the summer of 2023, Ori Bar David will take the field again for team Israel representing the blue-and-white in the Men’s World Championships in San Diego. His continued hard work will be on display in his fifth international tournament competing at the highest level and leading the way as a leader and role model for his teammates.

Dafna Sibony has played a monumental role in growing Lacrosse Sha’ar HaNegev, one of the eight lacrosse clubs in Israel. In 2015, when LSH (Lacrosse Sha’ar HaNegev) was first created, Sibony was instrumental in establishing lacrosse within the regional council of Sha’ar HaNegev. Including drawing prospective players from Moshav’s and Kibutzim through the Negev area.

Dafna receiving her award with ILA staff/coaches

A native of Kibbutz Nir Am, in the south of Israel, Dafna has continued to push the boundaries of lacrosse in schools. As the Head of Sports at Sha’ar HaNegev School, she provided the necessary guidance and resources to create a competitive and accepting culture to learn lacrosse and grow as individuals. Her drive to provide what is best for her students has brought her to the power of lacrosse and the community that has helped turn LSH into one of the most successful clubs in Israel.

Sibony has been essential in securing the necessary resources to create a successful sport club within Israel. She has been intricately involved with providing game/practice fields, uniforms, balls, facilities, and transportation for players across the country to participate with Israel Lacrosse. Through her efforts, LSH has flourished and continues to compete at the highest level across the country, including winning the 2022 Hanukkah Eights tournament. She has continued to put her students in a position to succeed and have access to all the resources they need to develop and grow into great lacrosse players and people.

“Her continued success does not go unnoticed and the success of LSH would not be where they are at it were not for the nonstop effort, passion, and commitment that Dafna Sibony has given over the last eight years. Her dedication to helping lacrosse grow in Sha’ar HaNegev and across the country has been a massive part of why lacrosse has grown exponentially over the years,” says Yaakov Silberlicht, ILA Director of Youth Development.

Her true passion comes from offering the students at Sha’ar HaNegev plenty of opportunities through sports. When she was first introduced to lacrosse, she jumped on the opportunity offered by the new sport and took a chance on helping lacrosse become a staple sport in Sha’ar HaNegev schools. She knew that lacrosse could become a successful sport and over the past eight years the number of her student’s playing lacrosse has continued to grow.

The Beroza family’s 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 and 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.