A 17-year old Jewish boy from London who inspired volunteers to complete 22,000 hospital visits has been recognised by Prime Minister Theresa May at 10 Downing Street.
Avi Dubiner, who helped establish the ‘GIFT Shabbat Walk,’ was also praised by the Chief Rabbi, after motivating hundreds of young people in London to visit patients, care home residents or other struggling families.
Dubiner received the Point of Light Award, which recognises “outstanding volunteers” making a change in their community and inspiring others, and now wants to take the ‘Shabbat Walk’ to Israel.
May said: “The scale of the initiative has been truly remarkable… You should be very proud of what you have achieved. I wish you luck with your efforts to establish the project in Israel as it continues to spread around the world.”
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said: “I speak often about the Jewish idea of ‘Achrayut’ – responsibility… Avi Dubiner exemplifies Jewish responsibility and is a most deserving recipient of this prestigious award. Mazal Tov!”
Dubner’s local MP Mike Freer said: “Avi’s hard work is an example to us all and the size to which the organisation has now grown is a testament to his dedication and that of the young people who volunteer.”
Eliezer Gilbert, founder of the Shabbat Walk and representative of associated charity GIFT, said: “We’re delighted for Avi. He has demonstrated exceptional altruism and leadership skills in helping set up ‘The Shabbat Walk’ initiative.
“His ability to influence and activate young volunteers has led to over 750 teenagers volunteering in hospitals, care homes and disadvantaged families across the UK.”
Avi’s parents Bernard and Hannah Dubiner, said: “We are so proud of our son Avi for all that he has achieved and are delighted that the Prime Minister has recognised this.”
Avi said he was “honoured” to be recognised, adding: “I hope that this incredible charity will be the start of something much bigger and better for future generations.”