ASHKELON, ISRAEL – The Israel Lacrosse Association has honored Reuven Dressler and Iris Hahn, 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 2020.
Dr. Dressler has practiced medicine in the United States and Israel for more than a decade and is currently a family physician and clinical director in Ma’ale Adumim, Israel, as well as a reserve medical officer in the Israel Intelligence Corps. In his role as Chief Medical Officer of the Israel Lacrosse Association, he was instrumental in guiding ILA leadership in building successful COVID-19 protocols for the Association’s Gap Year Program and Winter Bubble.
He also served as Chief Medical Officer of the 2018 FIL World Lacrosse Championships, which were held in Netanya, Israel. His previous positions include medical officer in the Israeli Defense Forces, staff physician for the Knesset and medical director and family physician at Ir Ganim Clinic in Jerusalem.
Dr. Dressler spent his undergrad at Yale University, where he also shined as a lacrosse goalie. As a senior in 1994, the netminder received All-America Honorable Mention distinction and was named an Academic All-American to cap off an illustrious collegiate career. He continued his education at Temple University and Johns Hopkins University, earning his doctorate and masters at the universities, respectively. Dr. Dressler returned to the lacrosse field in 2014, playing goalie and serving as co-captain for the Israel men’s national team at Denver’s 2014 FIL World Lacrosse Championships at age 41.
“Our ability to train and ultimately get back to game action in our Winter Bubble rested largely on the back of Reuven’s advisement,” said David Lasday, Israel Lacrosse’s Chief Operating Officer. “We are one of a handful of lacrosse programs internationally that is currently operating. We would not have been able to get back to the field without proper safeguards and easy to understand protocols and we have Reuven to thank for that. It goes without saying that his passion for the sport of lacrosse and for Israel are unmatched.”
Hahn is a teacher at Nof Yam Elementary School in Ashdod, Israel, which has regularly hosted lacrosse clinics since 2015. Hahn and her family have embraced Israel Lacrosse staff, gap year participants and interns, regularly hosting US-born members of the Israel Lacrosse community for meals in her home. Hahn is one of the program’s biggest supporters, showing at tournaments with signs and shirts bearing photos of players and regularly being the loudest person in the crowd. She is also known for vocally supporting Israel Lacrosse coaches who become Lone Soldiers at their Israel Defense Forces ceremonies.
“A lot of people describe Israelis as ‘Sabras’. The word comes from the cactus fruit; spiky, tenacious, with a thick skin on the outside, but sweet on the inside,” said Sarah Meisenberg, Israel Lacrosse’s Director of Women’s Lacrosse. “Iris and her family are all sweet inside andout. Iris has hosted almost everyone that has come through our organization. So many people have had Shabbat at Iris’ and sat at her table for a home made meal made with love; she would even squeeze 20 coaches into her apartment, and sometimes just one or two of us. We want to thank Iris and her family for continuing to support our staff and coaches, many of whom are a long way from their families. We are so lucky for their support, love, and kindness and we would not be the same without the entire Hahn family. She has become our family and has helped us to create a life here in Israel.”
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.
2020: Reuven Dressler, Iris Hahn
2019: Marcelo Burdman, Lielle Assayag
2018: Bill Beroza, Jessie Kraft
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