TAU's Constantiner Prize Awarded to First Hebrew College of Education Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Distinguished prize recognizes teacher's college with strong Jewish values
Prof. Lea Kacen, Caren Constantiner, Arturo Constantiner, Prof, Rafi Nachmias, and TAU Rector Prof. Aron Shai
This year's prestigious Dr. Jaime Constantiner Prize in Jewish Education, given annually by Tel Aviv University during its international Board of Governors Meeting, was awarded to Levinsky College — the first institution to provide teacher training in Hebrew in Israel.
The college, celebrating its centennial year, was recognized for its high-caliber teaching, academics, and programs; its pioneering role in teachers' education in Israel; its use of technology in the classroom in order to prepare students for the digital age; its success in reaching out to students across the Diaspora; and its commitment to preserving Jewish identity and continuity, upholding Jewish and universal values.
Prof. Lea Kacen, president of Levinsky College, received the award in the presence of Dr. Arturo and Caren Constantiner, their daughter Claudia, TAU Rector Prof. Aron Shai, and Prof. Rafi Nachmias, Head of the Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education. The prize honors the late Dr. Jaime Constantiner, Arturo's father, for his contributions to TAU, Jewish education throughout the world, and his leadership as Vice Chair of the Board of Governors.
A constant friendship
The Constantiner–Sourasky family's decades-long commitment has produced a number of major university projects. Tel Aviv University's Central Library is named for grandfather Elias Sourasky, who received an honorary doctorate from TAU in 1971. His son-in-law, Jaime Constantiner, was a leader in the movement to spread Jewish education throughout the diaspora, and served as Vice Chair of TAU's Board of Governors; he was made an honorary doctor in 1980. Jaime's wife, Joan Constantiner, played an important role in spreading Jewish culture throughout Latin America.
To honor their parents, their five sons — Roberto, Arturo, Victor, Teodoro z'l, and Leon — contributed to the School of Education, naming it The Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education. The Constantiner brothers are actively involved with the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov), and continue to build on their family's passionate legacy of support for Jewish continuity and Jewish identity. In recognition of his efforts, Tel Aviv University awarded Arturo Constantiner an honorary doctorate in 2004.
At the ceremony, both Arturo Constantiner and Prof. Nachmias spoke about the continuity of the award. "It's such a pleasure to be here and to see these familiar faces," said Constantiner, thanking the guests for attending. "We have found a great friend in Arturo," Prof. Nachmias noted. "You and your brothers have been very supportive of the 120 students at the School of Education during the past ten years, and their graduation was made possible because of you."
Exploring Jewish identity
Thanking the Constantiner family and Tel Aviv University for the prize, Prof. Kacen said that Levinsky College, established in the Neve Tzedek neighborhood of Tel Aviv in 1912, was dedicated to academic excellence, lifelong learning, and fulfilling the needs of a multicultural society. "New perspectives of Jewish thought, Israeli history and culture, and Jewish identity and peoplehood are central to our discourse," she said. Now located in Ramat Aviv and operating a program in Eilat, the college serves 5,000 students.
With a focus on inclusivity, Levinsky College acts as a bridge between secular Jews and the Orthodox community, and also welcomes non-Jewish students who desire to learn more about Jewish culture. It offers a variety of special projects, including a program for Ultra-Orthodox women in Jerusalem that provides training for a career as a music teacher.
As it moves into its second century, the college plans to continue diversifying its offerings with events including conferences, cultural evenings, and more academic programming. "We hope to keep celebrating Jewish education for many years to come," Prof. Kacen said.