TAU Honors its "Founding Father of the Arts"

Ceremony recognizes first Dean of Israel's leading Faculty of Arts

Prof. Moshe Lazar
Prof. Moshe Lazar

Tel Aviv University honored Prof. Moshe Lazar, the driving force behind its renowned Faculty of the Arts, on June 7, 2012, during its annual Board of Governors Meeting. The eminent scholar and researcher in drama and comparative literature was celebrated for founding the Faculty of Arts in 1972, and for his service as its first Dean.

At the event, a certificate was presented to American Friends' Chairman Jon Gurkoff, President & CEO Gail Reiss, and Western Region Senior Director Rosalie Lurie, who will present the certificate to Prof. Lazar at his home in Los Angeles. The ceremony included Prof. Hannah Naveh, the current Dean of the Faculty, and special guest British actress and activist Maureen Lipman, a 2012 Honorary Doctorate recipient.

Hannah Naveh, Nurit Yaari, and others
Dean Hannah Naveh, Prof. Nurit Yaari,
Maureen Lipman, Jon Gurkoff,
Gail Reiss, and Rosalie Lurie

Instrumental in forging a place for the Arts on TAU campus, Prof. Lazar worked to merge the Departments of Theatre Arts, Musicology, and Art History with the already well known Music Academy, which later became the distinguished Buchmann–Mehta School of Music. He also founded the Department of Film and Television, widely acknowledged as the educator of Israel's most accomplished filmmakers. The department remains the only comprehensive film and television university program in the country.

"Establishing the arts under a single academic roof and integrating theoretical and applied studies at all levels of academic instruction has facilitated the training of musicians, actors, directors, stage designers, script-writers and architects," said the Department of Theatre Arts' Prof. Nurit Yaari, who studied under Prof. Lazar. Since its inception, the Faculty has produced numerous prominent alumni including musician Simon Shaheen, singer and actress Bat-Sheva Zeisler and cinematographer and director of the Oscar-nominated film Waltz with Bashir, Ari Folman.

With passion and imagination

Paying homage to her one-time teacher, Prof. Yaari thanked Prof. Lazar for imbuing his students a passion for the arts and for his outstanding imagination, which helped his students strive for excellence in their own scholarship. "Prof. Lazar engaged us in a lifetime of deep involvement and handed down to us a heavy responsibility: our concern was to be not only our own academic careers, but also a dedicated teaching of the arts to Israeli society."

Now a thriving academic faculty named the Yolanda and David Katz Faculty of the Arts, Prof. Naveh noted that it owes much to the pioneering work of Prof. Lazar. His vision, she said. led to the groundbreaking combination of "fine arts and performing arts, with study and research in history, theory, and criticism of all the arts. It is to him we owe the materializing of such a unique and original idea, and it was he that put vision and abstract ideas to the actual hard work in all aspects."

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