A Cimet Family Gift -- By and For Generations

Sculptures installed at TAU honor artist Ruben Cimet Lerer

The Cimet family with
the sculptures of Ruben Cimet Lerer

In tribute to the life and work of Ruben Cimet Lerer, three of the artist's sculptures were unveiled in their new home at the Elias Sourasky Central Library in a moving ceremony on Tel Aviv University campus on Sunday, November 11. Four generations of Cimet family members and friends were in attendance to celebrate the noted artist, architect and scholar who was also a beloved and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

The thought-provoking pieces — entitled Permanent Quest, Pineapple Tree, and Moving Sail — are a cherished addition to the University's art collection and will be proudly displayed at the Sarita and Noel Werthein Entrance Hall.

"His work was not easily categorized. Instead, his was a vision using multiple voices," said Dr. Adina Cimet-Singer in reference to her father's work. "Not only are they physically layered, but intellectually layered as well," making the sculptures appropriate for "a house of learning, and a library in particular."

Another cause of celebration was the Cimet family's support of a new Yiddish project at the library, which will bolster much needed resources for the University's Yiddish scholars and support the digitization of valuable periodicals. It's an effort that complements TAU's growing involvement in Yiddish scholarship, ensuring that students enrolled in the new Master's in Yiddish Literature have outstanding resources to draw on.

A symbol of family love

Prof. Shoshana Ralsky Cimet,
Dr. Adina Cimet-Singer,
Lic. Avivah Cimet
and architect Sholem Cimet

Mistress of ceremonies Dr. Rosalie Sitman, Head of the Division of Foreign Languages and Director of the Sverdlin Insitute for Latin American History and Culture, said that this was a night embracing love and family. "I extend a welcome to the Cimet family — all the generations that are here today. This is proof of what family love can do," she said. "You have chosen to honor your father's memory by donating these sculptures and collections to TAU, and we are so grateful."

The ceremony included a video commemoration of Ruben Cimet Lerer, focusing on his life history, his family and his work. Dr. Cimet-Singer spoke about the evolution of her father's career and his development as an artist, and Prof. Shoshana Ralsky Cimet, wife of the late Ruben, led a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially unveil the sculptures. Guests were also treated to a musical performance by violinist Dmitry Daniel Askerov, one of the outstanding talents from the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music.

Na'ama Scheftelowitz, Head of the Library, thanked the Cimet family both for choosing the library as the new home for the sculptures and enhancing the library's Yiddish holdings, saying that both would contribute to the richness of the library.

"Your family is so special, and one could not help but see this in the large turnout of guests who came, on a rainy day, to honor you and the memory of Ruben Cimet Lerer," she told the family. "Of course, beyond this event, the truly important outcome is that these beautiful works of art now have a permanent home here for all to enjoy. The Yiddish project, combined with these three sculptures, will serve as a worthy means of perpetuating the memory of Ruben."

Honoring a connection with the Yiddish language

As a new hub of Yiddish scholarship, TAU embodies the Cimet family's connection with this poignant culture and language. It was during the process of choosing sculptures for the library that the Cimet family learned of TAU's Yiddish programming, and a new idea was born — to support a project that would ensure the continuity and quality of Yiddish scholarship at TAU.

"We are a family that has lived and sustained our connection not only with Israel, but with Yiddish as a language and culture," said Dr. Cimet-Singer. "We are ecstatic to know that the University recognizes, with the development of a graduate Yiddish program, the importance of a larger focus for our Jewish cultural heritage." The University's efforts deserve both "praise and support," she added.

Prof. Hana Wirth-Nesher, Head of the Goldreich Family Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture, was on hand to thank the Cimet family for their dedication to helping Yiddish education flourish and to share her hope for the future of Yiddish scholarship. "It's a great period of transition. We have quality students who want to study Yiddish and Yiddish literature," she enthused. "All of us in our generation are committed to translating our love of Yiddish to a younger generation."

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