TAU's Constantiner Prize Awarded to Israel's Tichon Hadash High School Monday, June 22, 2009
Prestigious prize goes to pioneer in Jewish heritage education
TAU Rector Dany Leviatan presents the award
Tichon Hadash principal Haya Shoham accepts the award
The 2009 Dr. Jaime Constantiner Prize in Jewish Education, awarded annually by Tel Aviv University, was presented to the Tichon Hadash High School of Tel Aviv, one of the first schools to introduce Jewish heritage education to secular classrooms in Israel.
Bestowed during the University's annual Board of Governors meeting, the award is given to honor the late Dr. Jaime Constantiner for his contributions to Jewish education in the Diaspora, mainly in Latin America. This year it was presented by Dany Leviatan, the rector of Tel Aviv University, at the Malka Brender Hall of Justice, Trubowicz Building of Law.
Among the honored guests in attendance were Dr. Constantiner's grandson, Steven Constantiner, a number of Tel Aviv University Board of Governors members, and students, teachers and administrative staff from the Tichon Hadash school.
Across the generations
American Friend Arturo Constantiner, the son of Dr. Jaime Constantiner, is a supporter of Israel and Tel Aviv University — both core elements of a vibrant familial legacy. 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 his grandfather, Elias Sourasky, whom TAU awarded an honorary doctorate in 1971. His father, 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 by TAU in 1980. His mother, Joan Constantiner, played an important role in spreading Jewish culture throughout Latin America.
To honor their parents, the Constantiner brothers — Roberto, Arturo, Victor, Teodoro, 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 2004, Arturo received the University's highest award — an honorary doctorate degree — in recognition of his achievements and dedication.
A model for Jewish learning
Presenting the award to the TichonHadash High School this year, Leviatan quoted from the prize certificate, noting that the award was given "in recognition of the school's outstanding achievements in introducing Jewish heritage and culture topics to its mainly secular pupils and their families; its incorporation of an innovative Hebrew culture program into all aspects of school life; its fostering of ties between Israeli youngsters and Diaspora Jewry; and its serving as a model for other schools in Israel."
Prior to the inauguration of their program 15 years ago, said Haya Shoham, principal of Tichon Hadash, there was virtually no Jewish education in Israel's secular schools. With Jerusalem's Shalom Hartman institute, the school built a curriculum based on the Tanach, which was then adapted in a number of schools in the region. The prize money awarded with the certificate will go towards the purchase of books about Judaism for the school library, she said.