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The Zuckerman Post-Doctoral Scholarship Program at TAU Calls for Applications
2/7/2017

American Friends of Tel Aviv University has announced a call for applications for the Zuckerman Postdoctoral Scholars Program, an initiative designed to support future generations of leaders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the US and Israel and foster greater research collaboration between the two countries.

The program enables the highest achieving postdoctoral researchers from the US to collaborate with leading scientists at Israel's top research institutions: Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, Technion and the Weizmann Institute.

"Tel Aviv University looks forward to welcoming the next cohort of post-doctoral students," said Prof. Joseph Klafter, President of TAU. "It is an honor to partner in this collaborative effort as we cultivate the next generation of STEM leaders. The students that participate in the program are exposed to some of the best resources and scientific leaders, and we look forward to seeing the groundbreaking work that comes from this year's scholars."

Upon completion of their research, Zuckerman postdocs have the opportunity to accept faculty positions at top American universities, weaving a network of academic collaboration and goodwill that will greatly benefit US-Israeli scientific cooperation.

Candidates for the Zuckerman STEM Leadership Program are selected based on their academic and research achievements, as well as personal merit and leadership qualities. Four postdoctoral scholarships will be awarded per participating university for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Submissions are due by March 1, 2017. For guidelines and application information, click here.

The first cohort of 14 Zuckerman Scholars began with the 2016–2017 academic year. By exposing American post-doctoral researchers to Israel's cutting-edge research culture, the program is expected to raise a generation of academic, scientific and industry leaders infused with a unique spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Amarel Green Joins AFTAU as Director of Development, Silicon Valley
11/30/2016

Corporate attorney brings more than a decade of experience with technology industry to new position

Photo: Amarel GreenAmarel Green, a corporate attorney and a former Operations Coordinator of the Israeli Air Force, has joined American Friends of Tel Aviv University (AFTAU) as Director of Development, Silicon Valley.

Amarel has more than ten years of experience in the tech industry. She has held positions with leading Silicon Valley and Israeli law firms, specializing in restructurings, financings, and mergers + acquisitions.

"I'm very much looking forward to representing Tel Aviv University in Silicon Valley," Green says. "The university has played a major role in building Israel's reputation as the 'Start-up Nation.' Our goal is to expand on the school's and its alumni's already formidable success in technology-related businesses."

"Amarel will be a great asset to our west coast development team," says AFTAU President & CEO Gail Reiss. "Her enthusiasm and network will be terrific additions to our professional group in California."

Before joining AFTAU, Amarel was General Counsel of eWave Group, an international provider of IT solutions, with a portfolio of nine companies. Prior to that, she held the position of Senior Legal Counsel and Secretary of Clal Finance, the financial arm of Clal Insurance, part of Israel's IDB Group.

With the Israeli Air Force, Amarel served as an Operations Coordinator of an F-16 combat squadron. In that position, she managed pilot activities for the Operations Center and handled multiple highly sensitive security tasks.

Amarel earned her LL.B degree from the Academic College of Law in Ramat Gan, a branch of Hebrew University, graduating magna cum laude in 2001. Fluent in English, Hebrew and French, and conversational in Spanish, she is married to Ido Green, is a mother of two boys and lives in Los Altos, CA, where she is very involved with Silicon Valley's Jewish community.

American Friends of Tel Aviv University Launches #TAUgives on November 29
11/18/2016

"Giving Tuesday" initiative enables PhD students from Ram Fishman Lab to provide hands-on sustainability training to farmers in India, Ethiopia and Nepal

American Friends of Tel Aviv University today announced the launch of an international #GivingTuesday initiative that enables PhD students to improve the implementation of sustainable agricultural techniques in India, Ethiopia, Nepal and other developing countries. The initiative can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Dr. Ram Fishman created his Lab for Sustainable Development at Tel Aviv University to bring Israel's entrepreneurial drive and unique ability to do more with less to the developing world. The goal: to assist program implementers — governments and/or NGOs — have the knowledge and tools they need to take maximum advantage of proven agricultural practices that conserve energy, water, natural resources and public health.

The new social media campaign — called #TAUgives — draws upon Israel's broadening international reputation as a sustainability superpower. In 2012, The Jerusalem Post reported: "Israel's ability to do more with less and successes in sustainable development have brought international recognition, causing a number of UN and international figures to describe Israel as a 'sustainability superpower.'"

The new social media campaign focuses on farming technologies that offer the greatest promise of boosting economic development within local communities. TAU students are studying and evaluating existing programs to determine what works and what doesn't and why. The following examples demonstrate ways that dedicated PhD students from Tel Aviv University are leveraging Israel's expertise in sustainability to promote conservation-minded agriculture in India, Ethiopia and Nepal.

ETHIOPIA: Shira's in the field in Ethiopia,
when you're stuck in traffic

Shira Bukchin is evaluating a carefully screened group of Ethiopian farmers to determine the communications techniques that will in turn promote sustainable farming practices. She strategically selects farmers who are members of active social networks — and have demonstrated a high comfort level in communicating new agricultural methods to their fellow farmers. The initiative works in coordination with the Ethiopian Agricultural office and an Israeli NGO, in hopes that the most-effective techniques can potentially be adopted nation-wide. Shira noted that there is a cultural issue. Many have difficulty trusting the people — community members, as well as government and NGO appointees — trying to train them in new methods. By examining the social networks, Shira is suggesting customized networks and communication tools that help promote widespread adoption of sustainable practices.

INDIA: Yoav's in the field in India,
when you're waiting on the subway platform

Yoav Rothler is working with Indian government officials to help farmers in arid regions of the country adopt Israeli drip irrigation technologies that have proven to create a reliable and sustainable source of water. He was stunned to witness farmers drive tractors over expensive irrigation systems, because no one told them they shouldn't. Yoav found that many local farmers simply failed to understand the best way to benefit from existing and new irrigation systems and initiatives. He is working with government officials to develop a training program that not only fills this knowledge gap, but also teaches farmers how they can improve soil quality.

NEPAL: Maya's in the field in Nepal,
when you're sitting on the tarmac

Maya Oren is the first researcher to study the impact of a unique Israeli training program called "Learn and Earn," which teaches young Nepalese farmers — primarily subsistence farmers — about Israeli agricultural technologies. While earning a salary, farmers from Nepal spend a year working with Israeli farmers to learn advanced agricultural methods. Through their intensive exposure to Israeli farming techniques, participants learn methods and skills they can bring back to the Nepalese landscape. Maya was particularly excited to witness Nepalese farmers return home and proceed to set up drip irrigation and greenhouses on their farms. The "Learn and Earn" internship program is a cooperation between a Nepali Small Farmers (Sana Kisan) Bank, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and local Israeli training centers.


Dr. Fishman's Lab is a unique collaboration that brings Israel's outstanding students and technological know-how to developing countries, providing pioneering field studies and sustainable interventions to areas in the world that need them the most. The Lab partners with academics and students across all disciplines to ensure that Israeli innovations in water, health, agriculture and energy reach their full potential in protecting environmentally at-risk communities.

"Our students are making a major impact on the communities where they work," said Ram Fishman. "I am proud of the progress our projects have made so far, and I look forward to what is in store for both our dedicated students and for the programs they are evaluating."

"Ram's lab embodies the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of Tel Aviv University," said Gail Reiss, President and CEO, American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Far from the classroom, these deeply committed students are out there in the field, ensuring that the best of Israeli innovation and technology delivers a serious, practical and sustainable impact in developing lands. We are proud to support their important work this Giving Tuesday."

For more information or to support The Ram Fishman Lab at Tel Aviv University this Giving Tuesday, please visit: http://www.aftau.org/TAUgives. (Please note: this site will not be active until Thursday, November 24th.)

AFTAU to Celebrate Opening of The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History at Annual Gala Dinner
11/7/2016

Philanthropist, financier and investor Michael Steinhardt to be honored; prominent humanitarians Charles Bronfman and Lynn Schusterman to serve as co-chairs

American Friends of Tel Aviv University will celebrate the opening of the new Steinhardt Museum of Natural History at Tel Aviv University, the first and only center for natural history research and outreach in the Middle East, at its 2016 Annual Gala on December 7, 2016, at 4 World Trade Center in New York City. The dinner gala will honor Michael Steinhardt, philanthropist, financier, investor and one of the founding patrons behind Birthright Israel, whose vision and unwavering commitment made the museum possible.

Charles Bronfman and Lynn Schusterman, who joined Mr. Steinhardt in providing founding gifts to Birthright Israel, will serve as the event co-chairs. Mr. Bronfman is chairman of Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies Inc. and founder of the Charles Bronfman Prize, which honors individuals for their exceptional humanitarian contributions. Mrs. Schusterman is the founder of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, which provides philanthropic support to the Jewish community.

"I believe that the five million plus specimens that will be in the museum on opening day are already a dynamic record of Israel's biodiversity and the history and evolution of humankind in the Middle East," said Michael Steinhardt. "It has been my privilege to work with Prof. Tamar Dayan and her team at TAU to help build this special home for them in Tel Aviv."

"I have successfully partnered with Charles and Lynn in the past in hopes to change the way Jewish young adults see Israel, and I am honored they are joining me in this new endeavor," Mr. Steinhardt added. "Through the museum, we have the opportunity to ensure that scientists, researchers and people of all stripes who are interested in preserving the past to better understand the future will have a place to observe and study that history for themselves."

Prof. Tamar Dayan, chair of the Steinhardt Museum, will join attendees at the Annual Gala to commemorate the museum's opening and Mr. Steinhardt's contributions.

"Michael has a profound sense of the role of higher education in society and a great love for animals and nature," said Dayan, who approached Mr. Steinhardt more than ten years ago to ask for his support of the museum. "I knew he was the ideal person to bring our shared vision to life and recognize the value it would bring to Israel. Michael is much more than a philanthropist in this project; he is a key partner."

The Steinhardt Museum, set to open in the summer of 2017, is "uniquely positioned to make fundamental contributions to the biological and human processes that linked Africa with the rest of the world," according to Stanford University Prof. Dr. Marcus Feldman, a member of the Steinhardt Museum International Scientific Advisory Board.

"Israel is the crossroads at which all plants, animals and humans moved from Africa to Europe and Asia. It is the only place in the world where you can see this historical depth," he added. "In 10 or 20 years, the Steinhardt Museum will become a major world center for the study of biological systematics, evolution, paleo-ecology and paleo-anthropology."

"The Steinhardt Museum is now a magnificent reality because of the intellectual curiosity and generosity of Michael Steinhardt," said Gail Reiss, President & CEO of American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "We hope and believe that, in addition to being a great research institution, the museum will become a tourist destination on par with Tel Aviv itself. Its exotic ark design and neighborhood — part of the TAU Nature Campus, which includes the Botanical Gardens and the I. Meier Segals Garden for Zoological Research — will make TAU a wonderful day trip for children and adults alike."

The Steinhardt Museum at Tel Aviv University

The Steinhardt Museum will form the centerpiece of the largest and most comprehensive center in Israel for biodiversity research, education and conservation. Operating under the auspices of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, it will serve as an important resource for thousands of Israeli and international visitors and researchers each year.

The unique design of the building, covering more than 100,000 square feet and built by architect Michal Kimmel-Eshkelot, was inspired by Noah's Ark, a fitting tribute to the natural history collections it will house. The building will include galleries and exhibition halls to display some of the collections' five million specimens.

"Our collections will be used to engage those who hail from backgrounds in science, nature and conservation who will work to identify current trends of the ecosystem," said Alon Sapan, director of the Steinhardt Museum. "We look forward to having some of the brightest and most intellectual minds gather at The Steinhardt to complete compelling and essential research."

Michael Steinhardt, Philanthropist

Michael H. Steinhardt is a legendary money manager turned philanthropist who is dedicated to creating a renaissance in American Jewish life. After he graduated from the Wharton School of Business in 1960, Mr. Steinhardt began his financial career as a research associate, staff writer and securities analyst. In 1967 he formed his own hedge fund company, Steinhardt Partners L.P., where he made his fortune in one of the most spectacular careers in the history of Wall Street.

In 1995, Michael Steinhardt stunned the financial world by announcing that he would close his lucrative hedge fund to devote his time and fortune to the causes of the Jewish world. Mr. Steinhardt directs his Jewish philanthropic activities through The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life which he chairs.

Mr. Steinhardt co-founded Birthright Israel and continues to be a major supporter to this day. He serves as co-chair of the Areivim Philanthropic Group and supports the development of Hebrew Language Charter Schools, Hillel at the University of Pennsylvania, NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, the University of Pennsylvania, TAU, and the Israel Museum.

In 2001, Mr. Steinhardt published his memoirs, No Bull: My Life In and Out of the Markets.

Chinese Officials and Academics Visit TAU to Explore Food Safety
6/28/2016

TAU partners with Peking University and OSI Group to host weeklong conference on food safety issues and solutions

Experts predict the world population will increase by two billion people by 2050. Feeding these people is one of the most critical challenges facing policymakers today. How do we reduce food consumption, optimize food production, and reduce waste?

Twenty leading Chinese academics and government officials took part in a unique weeklong conference on food security issues and solutions at Tel Aviv University from May 22-27, 2016. The Food Safety through Innovation Israel-China Collaboration and Technological Exchange Program was organized under the auspices of a new collaboration between TAU's Manna Center Program for Food Safety and Security and Peking University's School of Modern Agriculture, the Lahav Executive Education Program at the TAU Coller School of Management, and the OSI Group, a world leader in providing quality products and custom solutions for the food industry.

The conference featured symposiums and lectures on food safety and security issues, meetings with Israeli government officials and food security experts, and tours of agricultural corporations that are developing innovative solutions to current and future food security challenges.

The Chinese delegates had the opportunity to visit Netafim, a global leader in smart drip and micro-irrigation solutions; a meat-processing plant; and the Agricultural Research Organization, the research arm of Israel's Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry. They also attended lectures and enjoyed exclusive tours of important Israeli landmarks.

Israel: A destination for policymakers

"Israel is a very much a desired destination for policymakers," said Steven Lavin, the Vice Chairman of the OSI Group. "It's famous for its technology and innovation and its ability to build a modern state. After I heard [Dean of Life Sciences Prof.] Daniel Chamovitz's talks on food security, TAU was a natural choice for this partnership."

Prof. Chamovitz, founder of the Manna Program for Food Safety at TAU, spent a significant part of the last year establishing collaborations on food safety between Peking University, Waifang Municipality, and TAU, raising awareness in China of TAU's expertise in the area of agricultural technology and innovation and food safety policies.

"One of the goals of this joint program is to educate Chinese officials and leading academics about Israeli innovation and food security and involve them in projects that will further our shared interests," said Prof. Chamovitz. "The OSI Group helped identify high-level participants in China — the head of the Chinese Meat Association, the dean and faculty of China's Agriculture University, and other officials — and underwrote this conference. None of the participants had ever been to Israel before, so they are leaving as new 'ambassadors.'"

An Israeli/Chinese partnership

"We face a lot of challenges in our industry," said Lu Denver, Vice President and CFO of OSI China. "China is home to the world's largest population and a growing middle class. People are looking for quality food and safety now, and regulators and industry are working together to get aligned with government initiatives. Our new partnership with TAU offers a good combination — regulators, scientists, and industry leaders. We hope to learn more about food safety management and reap important connections. Israel has a great reputation for agriculture and technology."

According to Ding Ying, Director of Corporate Communications at OSI China, there are already plans to send delegations to Israel on an annual basis. "Israel has the most advanced food safety practices and philosophies and technologies," she said. "China shares a historic connection with the Jewish people, a very good foundation, and this trip has only strengthened ties. By learning from one another, we help make a better world."

"The delegates were ecstatic," said Prof. Nir Ohad, Director of the Manna Program on Food Safety. "The experts, the topics, and the learning tours made a great impact."

Photo caption: The Chinese delegation poses in front of TAU's Cymbalista Synagogue and Jewish Heritage Center.

Tel Aviv University Awards UN Chief Highest Honor
6/27/2016

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon receives George S. Wise Medal for peace efforts and condemnation of anti-Semitism

Photo: Joseph Klafter and Ban Ki-moonTel Aviv University has awarded outgoing Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon its highest honor, the George S. Wise Medal, "in recognition of his long and distinguished career as an international diplomat and statesman; his respected leadership of the United Nations over the past nine years, during which time he championed major global issues and advanced important reforms; his courageous condemnation of anti-Semitism, racism, and terrorism in all their forms; and his committed endeavors to facilitate peaceful solutions to ongoing humanitarian and geopolitical crises throughout the Middle East, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter opened the June 27, 2016, ceremony in TAU's Jaglom Auditorium by welcoming the Secretary-General and accompanying UN delegates, including Danny Danon, Israel's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and TAU Rector Prof. Yaron Oz.

"Mr. Secretary-General, you have been a tenacious supporter of global bridge-building," Prof. Klafter said. "You have spoken up for the things that matter — freedom, equality, and education. You have spoken against censorship and extremism. We are proud and privileged to honor you today with the George S. Wise Medal."

"I am delighted to visit TAU, and deeply honored to receive the George S. Wise Medal from this prestigious academic forum," Ban responded. "This recognition symbolizes common goals of our institutions: progress, prosperity, and peace. I accept it in the name of all the women and men of the UN working to advance peace, development, and human rights around the world and around the clock."

"Start up peace, understanding, and reconciliation," UN leader says

"The biggest war being waged today does not involve guns or tanks or fighter jets," Ban continued. "The biggest confrontation is the battle for minds. Do not allow the extremists on either side to further fuel the conflict. Palestinians and Israeli leaders must stand firm against terror, violence, and incitement. We need innovative thinking and action to tear down the walls of mistrust. I urge the Start-up Nation to help us all start up peace, start up understanding, start up reconciliation for a better world.

"Universities are a place of dreams, and there is nothing greater or nobler than the dream of peace. Let us work for it together for the future of Israelis and Palestinians and your shared destiny on this shared land and our shared planet," Ban concluded.

TAU's contributions to global development showcased

Following Ban's speech, the audience was welcomed to The Innovation and Research Symposium, showcasing the contributions of Israel and TAU to the global sustainable development agenda. Speakers discussed TAU's breakthrough innovations in food safety, wastewater technology, cancer therapeutics, and Israel's shift to the "cyber market."

"TAU is particularly poised to contribute to the 2030 Development Agenda launched by the UN last year," Prof. Klafter said. "We have research, teaching, and outreach programs in all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals aimed at achieving a vastly improved world. Our newly launched Boris Mints Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions to Global Challenges is targeting energy, food security, and social inequality. And through our Porter School of Environmental Studies, Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, and other units, TAU operates the largest and most comprehensive center for environmental and biodiversity studies at any university anywhere."

Photo caption, left to right: TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter and Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon. Photo credit: Israel Hadari.

 

Tel Aviv University and New York University Establish New Partnership for International Academic Collaboration
6/24/2016

New collaborative research program will promote joint activities in chemistry, physics, material science, and engineering

Image: NYU logoTel Aviv University (TAU) announced the establishment of a new international partnership with New York University (NYU) to promote academic collaboration in the fields of chemistry, physics, material science, and engineering, further building on the close relationship between the two top universities.

The collaborative partnership will promote joint activities between TAU's Departments of Chemistry and Physics and NYU's Departments of Chemistry, Physics and Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. The program will include the exchange of faculty and post-doctoral research associates, exchange of graduate students and undergraduate internships, collaborative scientific research, and joint symposia and workshops.

An agreement was signed by Prof. Raanan Rein, Vice President of TAU, and Prof. Paul Horn, Senior Vice Provost for Research at NYU. Rein called the agreement another milestone in the expansion of TAU's scope of international research, in particularly with NYU.

"We are proud to announce the consistent growth of academic ties between two internationally renowned universities," said Prof. Rein. "The majority of the faculties at TAU now collaborate with their counterparts at NYU, in one way or another. It is a source of great satisfaction for us to see our two scholarly communities jointly promoting international research initiatives in all disciplines."

Prof. Horn said, "We're pleased to sign this agreement with TAU. I am confident that it will be the basis for exciting and productive new collaborations between science departments at both universities."

In 2013 NYU established its Global Research Institute at TAU, which continues to operate at full steam. Through the Institute, TAU hosts NYU faculty, researchers, and graduate students who are conducting their own research in Israel, or participating in research programs or collaborative work with TAU researchers and other Israel-based academics.

TAU's academic cooperation with NYU includes providing laboratory science instruction for students at NYU Tel Aviv, NYU's study abroad site in Israel.

"The new partnership reaffirms that science has no borders," Prof. Rein added. "Universities should serve as a bridge for dialogue, and academics from different communities can work together to make an impact and can create an atmosphere that fosters the free exchange of ideas."

TAU Innovation Conference Spotlights Student Ingenuity
6/22/2016

Budding innovators showcase inventions at gathering attended by investors, entrepreneurs from around the world

More than 5,500 entrepreneurs, investors, and students from Israel and around the world attended the highly anticipated TAU Innovation Conference on June 6-8 for a series of seminars, tech talks, and startup contests hosted jointly by Tel Aviv University and StarTAU, the university's entrepreneurship center.

"I'm really delighted to be here today," said US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro at the opening VIP reception. "This conference offers unique insight into the Israeli start-up community, which is driven by sheer talent and the unique ability to think outside the box. The US and Israel are natural business partners, and the US is the best possible springboard for Israeli companies seeking a large commercial presence."

The conference provided young entrepreneurs in the startup ecosystem with a unique opportunity to forge constructive and lucrative ties with industry leaders and investors. The kick-off VIP Worldwide Innovation Cocktail Reception included ambassadors from more than 30 countries and stressed international collaborations and growth opportunities in the innovation and entrepreneurship fields.

Other events included seminars on fundraising, public relations, Initial Public Offerings, and growth marketing held at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange; an evening of tech talks held at bars all along Tel Aviv's trendy Rothschild Boulevard; and the Tel Aviv Startup Challenge, a day of marketplace pitches.

Young entrepreneurs take center stage

The Business Entrepreneurial Experience (BEE) student competition was the highlight of the conference. BEE is a six-month acceleration program for TAU students run by StarTAU. It enabled 35 young entrepreneurs to conceive and develop their own startup projects.

There were eight teams, comprised of students from such diverse academic backgrounds as computer programming, engineering, marketing, business, economics, law, philosophy, art, and history. Each team had its own industry mentor and worked with senior managers, venture capital chairmen, and accelerator directors during the program. The teams presented their final products at the conference.

"Nothing is more satisfying than seeing a group of 35 bright students turn into 35 entrepreneurs and knowing that you took part in that process," said Tal Goshen-Gottstein, BEE program manager and head of student relations at StarTAU.

The winner of this year's BEE contest was the Souconna shower attachment, which promises a personalized shower experience afforded by different fragrances, flavors, and mineral compositions. The device dispenses minerals from the Dead Sea to pamper skin, aloe vera to treat sunburn, and scents to delight bath-reluctant children. The team, led by fourth-year TAU economics and philosophy student Tal Peleg, CEO and CFO of Souconna, and TAU communication master's student Noa Yang, CMO of Souconna, has filed a provisional patent for the product.

"Some people relate to the spa experience and others to the gym experience," said Peleg. "But almost everyone showers, so that is universal. Over the next few months we intend to draw up a business plan and follow promising leads to raise money.

"I learned so much from my mentor in the BEE program and from this experience," Peleg added.

Photo caption: Participants in the Business Entrepreneurial Experience (BEE) student competition.

IDEAS Los Angeles Announces Acclaimed Israeli Actress Ayelet Zurer as Closing Keynote Speaker
6/1/2016

Second annual conference hosted by AFTAU will explore Zurer's perspective on how digital advances are changing the movie and television business

Photo: Ayelet ZurerThe second annual IDEAS Los Angeles Conference, a two-day event focusing on the future of digital technology in media, entertainment, lifestyle and health, today announced that Ayelet Zurer, one of Israel's most acclaimed actresses, will be the closing keynote speaker on June 16, 2016. The segment, titled "In Conversation with International Movie Star Ayelet Zurer," will feature a candid discussion with Mrs. Zurer about the ways in which digital technology is impacting the film and television business.

IDEAS LA (Israel, Digital, Entrepreneurs, Arts, and Science) is hosted by American Friends of Tel Aviv University, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Israel's largest institution of higher learning. Hundreds of global industry leaders, including a select group of speakers, panelists and moderators, will gather at IDEAS LA to discuss the world's most exciting innovations and how rapidly knowledge, products and business are emerging out of each of these categories.

"We are delighted that Ayelet Zurer has agreed to be the closing keynote speaker for IDEAS Los Angeles, which will bring hundreds of dynamic thought-leaders together from the world's most innovative cities," said David Dorfman, Executive Director of IDEAS Los Angeles. "Ayelet will offer her unique perspective as a renowned Israeli actress who made the transition to Hollywood, while witnessing firsthand the way that technology is changing the business models. This will be a keynote address that attendees and influencers won't want to miss."

Partnering with dozens of corporations, private businesses, community organizations, institutes of higher learning and media outlets to present the annual global conference, IDEAS LA brings together three of the most successful entrepreneurial ecosystems in the world — Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv — including entrepreneurs, policy makers, investors and influencers, in addition to studio heads, movie and television producers, healthcare providers, doctors, university professors and more.

Ayelet Zurer was born in Tel Aviv and first garnered the attention of Hollywood when she was cast by Steven Spielberg in her first English-speaking role, as Eric Bana's character's wife in the Oscar®-nominated film Munich. Since arriving in the United States, Zurer has starred in several studio films including Sony Pictures' Vantage Point with Dennis Quaid and William Hurt; Samuel Goldwyn's Fugitive Pieces opposite Stephen Dillane; Paul Schrader's Adam Resurrected opposite Jeff Goldblum and Willem Dafoe; Ron Howard's Angels and Demons opposite Tom Hanks; Darling Companion, a Lawrence Kasdan ensemble cast featuring Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline; Warner Bros.' Man of Steel opposite Russell Crowe; and Last Days in the Desert opposite Ewan McGregor. She is also awaiting the release of The Last Knights by the Japanese director Kazuaki Kiriya opposite Clive Owen and the reimagined Ben-Hur directed by Timur Bekmambetov and starring opposite Jack Huston.

She recently won the Gold Nymph Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series at the 54th Festival of Television of Monte-Carlo for her role in the series Hostages. Ayelet won the Israeli Film and TV Academy Award for her lead performance in Nina's Tragedies. She also received nominations for her work in the features Only Dogs Run Free, The Dybbuk from the Holy Apple Field, Desperado and Rutenberg. She won the Haifa International Film Festival critic award and was awarded a star on Haifa's "film boulevard" for her international and local achievements. Zurer also won the Israeli Television Academy Award for her lead performance in In Treatment, a highly acclaimed television series that has been adapted by HBO for American television. She is also a writer and an illustrator of two adult books, Shorts and the best seller Badolina by Gabi Nitzan.

This year's impressive list of speakers at the IDEAS conference includes entrepreneurs, investors, studio heads, movie and television producers, healthcare providers, doctors and university professors, who will be taking to stage to discuss the world's most exciting innovations. Some highlights include:

  • Marc Graboff, President of Global Business & Legal Affairs for Production Management & Studios, Discovery Communications, Inc.
  • Alon Shtruzman, CEO, Keshet International
  • Liz Plank, Senior Producer & Correspondent, Vox.com
  • Hillary Frey, Executive Editor, Fusion TV
  • Lia Kislev, CEO, Wishi
  • Caspar Von Winterfeldt, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Baron VR
  • Yael Hanein, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Tel Aviv University
  • Oron Afek, CEO, BookMD
  • Mette Dyrberg, Founder, MyMee
  • Brennan Spiegel, Director of Health Services Research, Cedar-Sinai Health System
  • Harry Nelson, Founder & Managing Partner of Nelson Hardiman
  • Maayan Cohen, CEO & Co-Founder, Hello Heart
  • Dr. Uri Nevo, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Tel Aviv University
  • Indu Subayia, Co-Founder, Health 2.0
  • Valerian Bennet, Founder & CEO, PopChest
  • Mike Townsend, Co-Founder & COO, HomeHero

Last year's inaugural IDEAS conference attracted more than 700 attendees, from company heads to budding filmmakers and techies, and featured dozens of TEDTalk-style lectures, panel discussions, workshops and digital startup presentations.

To purchase tickets or for more information, please visit: www.ideaslosangeles.com

IDEAS Los Angeles is a project by AFTAU in partnership with dozens of corporations, private businesses, community organizations, institutes of higher learning and media outlets to create a space where global business leaders, futurists, studio heads, movie and television producers, healthcare providers, doctors, thought leaders, entrepreneurs and Tel Aviv University administrators, professors and alumni can come together and share ideas. IDEAS wants to inspire people to think deeper and more broadly by engaging with inventors and innovators tackling some of the most exciting challenges in the world today.

IDEAS Los Angeles Announces New Interactive Features for June Conference
4/21/2016

Second annual conference hosted by AFTAU will include an outdoor demo lab, digital graffiti wall, virtual reality immersion and an international DJ

Logo: IDEASThe second annual IDEAS Los Angeles Conference, a two-day event focusing on the future of digital technology in media, entertainment, lifestyle and health, today announced a series of new interactive features for the upcoming conference on June 15-16, 2016, at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA. Additional interactive and festival-like highlights will be announced in the coming months.

IDEAS LA (Israel, Digital, Entrepreneurs, Arts and Science) is hosted by American Friends of Tel Aviv University, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Israel's largest institution of higher learning. Hundreds of global industry leaders, including a select group of speakers, panelists and moderators, will gather at IDEAS LA to discuss the world's most exciting innovations and how rapidly knowledge, products and business are emerging out of each of these categories.

The interactive features will include:

Outdoor Network Lounge — 5500 sq. ft. trussed structure with sun sails featuring:

  • 16 start-up demo labs
  • Fusion TV interactive brand activation around the 2016 Presidential elections
  • Custom built coffee house
  • International DJ
  • Lounge seating with wifi
  • Live streaming of main stage and second stage presentations

Interactive Tech Lobby presenting:

  • Digital graffiti wall
  • Full length selfie mirror
  • Virtual reality immersion experiences including:
    • Movie clips
    • A Tel Aviv Night Club
    • NASA/Fusion TV trip to Mars
  • Media Wall with sponsored content and live streaming
  • Café and recharging stations

Workshop Lounge with Eight Intensive Seminars, including:

  • "Funding Strategies in the Digital Health Space"
  • "Driving Business Innovation through Technology"
  • "What Every Entrepreneur Should Know About IP Protection"
  • "Strategies for Growth"
  • "Productivity Tools for Start-ups"
  • "People Don't Buy Your Product, They Buy Your Story"
  • "Content & ____ Are King?"
  • "Financial Fundamentals for Entrepreneurs"

IDEAS Genius Bar:

  • Live audience interactive session with start-ups
  • This limited capacity program (max. 150 people) offers start-ups an opportunity to present their company's biggest challenge and gives audience a chance to provide strategic counsel.

Partnering with dozens of corporations, private businesses, community organizations, institutes of higher learning and media outlets to present the annual global conference, IDEAS LA brings together three of the most successful entrepreneurial ecosystems in the world — Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv — including entrepreneurs, policy makers, investors and influencers, in addition to studio heads, movie and television producers, healthcare providers, doctors, university professors and more.

Last year's inaugural conference attracted more than 700 attendees, from company heads to budding filmmakers and techies, and featured dozens of TED Talk-style lectures, panel discussions, workshops and digital startup presentations.

To purchase tickets or for more information, please visit: www.ideaslosangeles.com

IDEAS Los Angeles is a project by American Friends of Tel Aviv University in partnership with dozens of corporations, private businesses, community organizations, institutes of higher learning and media outlets to create a space where global business leaders, futurists, studio heads, movie and television producers, healthcare providers, doctors, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, Tel Aviv University administrators professors, and alumni can come together and share ideas. IDEAS wants to inspire people to think deeper and more broadly by engaging with inventors and innovators tackling some of the most exciting challenges in the world today.

IDEAS Los Angeles Conference Announces Initial Speaker Lineup
4/12/2016

Second annual conference to unite global industry leaders from Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv on June 15-16 in Santa Monica

Logo: IDEASThe second annual IDEAS Los Angeles Conference, a two-day event focusing on the future of digital technology in media, entertainment, lifestyle and health, today announced its initial lineup of speakers and startups for the upcoming conference on June 15-16, 2016, at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA. Additional presenters and keynote speakers will be announced in the coming months.

IDEAS LA (Israel, Digital, Entrepreneurs, Arts and Science) is hosted by American Friends of Tel Aviv University, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Israel's largest institution of higher learning.

This year's impressive list of speakers includes entrepreneurs, investors, studio heads, movie and television producers, healthcare providers, doctors and university professors, who will be taking to stage to discuss the world's most exciting innovations.

Bringing together three of the world's most entrepreneurial ecosystems — Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv — the conference will feature dozens of TED Talk-style lectures, panel discussions, workshops and digital startup presentations, as well as opportunities to network with global leaders, innovators and investors across industries.

The initial lineup of featured speakers includes:

  • Adam Becker, Founder & CEO, Egg Stage
  • Adam Mendler, CEO, The Veloz Group
  • Alexis Madrigal, Editor in Chief, Fusion TV
  • Alicia Menendez, Anchor & Special Correspondent, Fusion TV
  • Alon Shtruzman, CEO, Keshet International
  • Andrew Wallenstein, Co-Editor-in-Chief, Variety
  • Audrey Melnik, Founder, Funnel Ventures
  • Billy Shaw Susanto, Co-Founder & CEO, Pundit
  • Brendan Farrell, Founder, How Loud Inc.
  • Dr. Bonnie Feldman, Principal, Dr Bonnie 360
  • Dr. Brennan Spiegel, Director of Health Services Research, Cedars-Sinai Health System
  • Brian MacMahon, Head Honcho, Expert Dojo
  • Caitlin Thompson, Director of Content, Acast
  • Caspar Van Winterfeldt, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Baron VR
  • Chris Aston, Co-Founder & COO, Pundit
  • Dave Whelan, Managing Director, Bespoke Business Strategy Inc.
  • Rabbi David Wolpe, Chief Rabbi, Sinai Temple
  • Edmond Banayan, Founder & Editor, iHealthcare Perspectives
  • Fern Langham, Co-Founder, Amplify Effect
  • Gene Gurkoff, Founder & CEO, Charity Miles
  • George Eleftheriou, Co-Founder & CEO, Feel
  • Gilad Neumann, CEO, DogTV
  • Haris Tsirmpas, Co-Founder & CTO, Feel
  • Harry Nelson, Founder & Managing Partner, Nelson Hardiman
  • Heather Rees, Founder, Amplify Effect
  • Hillary Frey, Executive Editor, Fusion TV
  • Indu Subaiya, Co-Founder, Health 2.0
  • James Poole, Co-Founder & CTO, PopChest
  • Jessica Naziri, Tech Contributor, USA Today
  • John Bates, Principal, Executive Speaking Success
  • Jordan Mendler, CTO, The Veloz Group
  • Dr. Julian Henley, Co-Founder, HealOra
  • Prof. Joseph Klafter, President, Tel Aviv University
  • Karen Allen, Karen Allen Consulting
  • Katherine Lehr, VP of Operations, POLITICO
  • Klaus Badelt, Co-Founder, Kinonation
  • Lia Kislev, CEO, Wishi
  • Liz Plank, Senior Producer & Correspondent, Vox.com
  • Marc Graboff, President of Global Business & Legal Affairs for Production, Discovery Communications, Inc.
  • Mayaan Cohen, CEO, Hello Heart
  • Mette Dyrberg, Founder, MyMee
  • Mike Stone, CEO & Founder, MakersKit
  • Miriam Illions, Co-Founder & CMO, Hometalk
  • Moe Mernick, Head of Business Development, Hometalk
  • Neal Kaufman, Chief Medical Officer, Canary Health
  • Nick Desai, Founder & CEO, Heal
  • Oren Gavriely, CEO, BeatMed
  • Oron Afek, CEO, BookMD
  • Rob Rader, General Counsel, Ovation TV
  • Robert Watson, President, NantHealth
  • Roey Tsemah, Founder, Whitestone music
  • Ron Levi, Chief Content Officer, DogTV
  • Ryan Foland, Director, Blackstone LaunchPad at UCI
  • Seth Shapiro, CEO, New Amsterdam Media
  • Steve Baltin, Host, Riffing With on Hulu
  • Steve Bradbury, Principal, Vlocity Digital
  • Valerian Bennet, Founder & CEO, PopChest
  • Dr. Uri Nevo, Dept. of BioMedical Engineering, Tel Aviv University
  • Prof. Yair Bar Haim, School of Psychological Sciences, Tel Aviv University
  • Prof. Yael Hanien, Head of Nano Lab, Tel Aviv University

The initial lineup of featured start-ups includes:

  • Amplify Effect
  • Beatmed
  • CharityMiles
  • DinTV
  • EggStage
  • Heal
  • Healora
  • Hometalk
  • How Loud
  • Kinonation
  • MakersKit
  • PopChest
  • Pundit
  • Sentio Solutions
  • Whitestone Music

For more information or to purchase tickets to the IDEAS LA conference, please visit www.ideaslosangeles.com.

IDEAS Los Angeles is a project by Tel Aviv University-American Friends in partnership with dozens of corporations, private businesses, community organizations, institutes of higher learning and media outlets to create a space where global business leaders, futurists, studio heads, movie and television producers, healthcare providers, doctors, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, Tel Aviv University administrators, professors and alumni can come together and share ideas. IDEAS wants to inspire people to think deeper and more broadly by engaging with inventors and innovators tackling some of the most exciting challenges in the world today.

Second Annual IDEAS Los Angeles Conference Set for June 2016
3/2/2016

American Friends of Tel Aviv University hosts annual conference uniting global industry leaders from Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv

Logo: IDEASAmerican Friends of Tel Aviv University, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Israel's largest institution of higher learning, has announced its second annual IDEAS Los Angeles Conference, focusing on the future of digital technology in media, entertainment, lifestyle and health, to be held on June 15-16, 2016, at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA.

Hundreds of global industry leaders, including a select group of speakers, panelists and moderators, will gather at IDEAS LA (Israel, Digital, Entrepreneurs, Arts and Science) to discuss the world's most exciting innovations and how rapidly knowledge, products and business are emerging out of each of these categories.

"We are thrilled to bring together dynamic thought-leaders and startups from the world's most innovative cities, offering engaging presentations and networking opportunities that attendees will not want to miss," said David Dorfman, Executive Director of IDEAS Los Angeles. "IDEAS Los Angeles offers a unique gathering of ideas in a fun and interactive setting that is sure to inspire all of us to think deeply and more creatively as we look at the future of digital technology."

Partnering with dozens of corporations, private businesses, community organizations, institutes of higher learning and media outlets to present the annual global conference, IDEAS LA brings together three of the most successful entrepreneurial ecosystems in the world — Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv — including entrepreneurs, policy makers, investors and influencers, in addition to studio heads, movie and television producers, healthcare providers, doctors, university professors and more.

Last year's inaugural conference attracted more than 700 attendees, from company heads to budding filmmakers and techies, and featured dozens of TED Talk-style lectures, panel discussions, workshops and digital startup presentations.

The multi-faceted, two-day conference will allow attendees to create their own itinerary of renowned speaker presentations while offering the opportunity to network with entrepreneurs, innovators and investors across industries.

To purchase tickets or for more information, please visit: www.ideaslosangeles.com.

IDEAS Los Angeles is a project by AFTAU in partnership with dozens of corporations, private businesses, community organizations, institutes of higher learning and media outlets to create a space where global business leaders, futurists, studio heads, movie and television producers, healthcare providers, doctors, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, Tel Aviv University administrators, professors and alumni can come together and share ideas. IDEAS wants to inspire people to think deeper and more broadly by engaging with inventors and innovators tackling some of the most exciting challenges in the world today.

2016 Dan David Prize Winners Announced
3/1/2016

Three $1 million awards to be presented at TAU in May

Tel Aviv University has announced the winners of the 2016 Dan David Prize, which annually bestows three awards of $1 million each. The announcement of the winners was made in February by TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter, chairman of the Dan David Prize Board of Directors, and Prof. Itamar Rabinovich, Chairman of the Dan David Foundation.

The prizes are granted for "proven, exceptional and distinct excellence in the sciences, arts, and humanities that have made an outstanding contribution to humanity." The laureates, who donate 10% of their prize money towards doctoral and postdoctoral TAU scholarships, will be honored at a ceremony in May during the annual TAU Board of Governors conference.

The Dan David Prize, named for international businessman and philanthropist Dan David, maintains its global headquarters at TAU. Each year, the International Board chooses one field within each of three time dimensions: Past (highlighting fields that expand knowledge of former times), Present (recognizing achievements that shape and enrich contemporary society), and Future (focusing on breakthroughs that hold great promise for the improvement of our world). Following a review process by independent Review Committees comprised of renowned scholars and professionals, the International Board then chooses the laureates for each field.

The 2016 Dan David Prize laureates are:

Past Time Dimension — Social History — New Directions

Prof. Inga Clendinnen is an outstanding historian focusing on social history and the history of cultural encounters in the early modern period. Her innovative work has a transnational perspective and examines populations in situations of extreme violence. Prof. Clendinnen's studies on the oppression of the Maya, on the Aztecs and on the Holocaust, have used the craft of the anthropologist to describe violence's cultural origin, conduct and consequences.

Prof. Arlette Farge has expanded the meaning of social history and changed it. She engaged in women's history, urban history, and the history of crime and its policing and control, as well as the history of literacy. Focusing on the margins of society, such as the poor, small artisans, women and children and petty criminals, not only as social groups, but also as individuals, she redefined the craft of social historians and their uses of their sources and archives.

Prof. Catherine Hall has had a signal impact on social history in two fields: gender history and the history of empires. Prof. Hall, who was actively involved in the women's liberation movement in the 1970s, is one of the pioneers of gender history. She redefined the relationship between gender and family, and the manner in which gendered identities shaped ethnicity, religion and class. Her studies of slavery and abolition have pointed at the depth and scope of the legacies of slavery in societies across the globe.

Present Time Dimension — Combatting Poverty

Prof. Sir Anthony Atkinson is a world leading scholar on poverty and equality, concerned with issues of social justice and the design of public policy. His work has focused on rich countries and he has been deeply involved in policy discussion in both Britain and Europe.

Prof. François Bourguignon is a world leading scholar on poverty and equality. His work is global, analyzing poverty and equality within rich and poor countries. He has consistently argued for a better understanding and study of equality and for combining growth, equality and poverty into a single thread.

Prof. James Heckman, in his work on early childhood development, promotes the importance of early childhood education, nurture and wellbeing. His findings fundamentally refocus policy attention, claim wide generality and will influence the discussion of global poverty worldwide.

Future Time Dimension — Nanoscience

Prof. Paul Alivisatos is considered one of the founders of nanoscience. He pioneered the development of the fundamental building blocks of nanotechnology. Alivisatos and his team first synthesized semiconductor nanocrystals for use as fluorescent probes. His biological quantum dots enabled color-coded identification of multiple cell structures for many biomedical applications.

Prof. Chad Mirkin is a highly recognized chemist who pioneered the development of methods for controlling the architecture of nanomolecules and nanomaterials and utilizing such structures in the development of analytical tools that can be used in areas of chemical and biological sensing, lithography and optics. These innovations have changed our fundamental thinking about how to synthesize and manipulate nano structures, and have resulted in processes and devices that have significantly impacted human lives.

Prof. Sir John Pendry has brought about a most significant advance in electromagnetism through his concept and designs of a new class of materials, metamaterials, which have led to the manufacturing of lenses that beat the diffraction limit, and cloaks to render objects invisible. He made an equally remarkable contribution by his discovery of the "perfect lens" whose resolution is limited only by perfection of manufacture and not by the wavelength.

Past Dan David Prize winners include US Vice President Al Gore, film directors Joel and Ethan Coen, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and genome pioneer Prof. Eric Lander. For more information on the Dan David Prize and this year's laureates, visit http://www.dandavidprize.org.

AFTAU National Chairman Richard Sincere Wins 2015 NAPFA Special Achievement Award
10/27/2015

Sincere & Co. President recognized for service to the mutual funds industry

Richard SincereAt its Fall Conference, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) announced that Richard Sincere is the winner of the 2015 NAPFA Special Achievement Award.

Mr. Sincere is President of Sincere & Co., a third-party marketing company representing mutual funds to Registered Investment Advisors. Mr. Sincere is also the national chairman of American Friends of Tel Aviv University and on the International Board of Governors of Tel Aviv University, as well as other charity and financial boards.

"We are proud to recognize Richard with this award today," said Geoffrey Brown, NAPFA CEO. "He embodies the spirit of NAPFA's core values and culture. His willingness to offer help, his ability to form long-term professional relationships, his patience, and his support of our community make Richard a clear choice for this award."

The NAPFA Special Achievement Award is presented to recognize a person that has made a significant contribution to the advancement of the practice of Fee-Only financial planning and advising. Their contribution may be a single act or a cumulative performance. The significance is measured by the positive impact this individual has had on practitioners, consumers or the profession as a whole.

Mr. Sincere has made a meaningful impact on NAPFA by providing trusted counsel for many years. His bimonthly columns in the NAPFA Advisor provided NAPFA members with thoughtful and supportive advice. He has also been instrumental in his support of NAPFA’s educational programs. His support has helped facilitate the professional development of countless NAPFA affiliated financial advisors.

TAU Alumnus Kicks Off Partnership to Combat California’s Drought Crisis
10/15/2015

Aaron Tartakovsky celebrates green tech alliance at Google's Israeli headquarters in Tel Aviv

Photo: Aaron TartakovskyTel Aviv University alumnus and co-founder of the Epic CleanTec startup Aaron Tartakovsky joined more than 100 leading business executives, investors, and policymakers from Israel and California for the kickoff of the Israel-California Green-Tech Partnership that took place at Google's Israeli headquarters in Tel Aviv this week.

Tartakovsky, who earned a Master's degree in Political Science with a specialization in Security and Diplomacy at TAU, serves on the founding steering committee of the partnership, which seeks to combat California's drought crisis. California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency because of the crisis, and 18 months ago he and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a memorandum of understanding to foster economic collaboration and industrial research addressing water scarcity and conservation, among other issues.

The partnership strengthens thought leadership, business, investment, entrepreneurship, and trade relations between the business communities of California and Israel. Green-tech areas of focus may also include energy, electric vehicles, green building, and climate issues.

"The new partnership is the perfect vehicle to inspire a bi-national exchange of ideas, technologies, and a brand new vision for our global future," Tartakovsky says. "Here at Epic Clean-Tec, we have combined groundbreaking Israeli science with expert American engineering to redefine so-called 'wastewater.' The future we envision for the planet is one in which wastewater is not waste at all, but rather a new basis for productivity, sustainability, and regeneration."

The partnership plans to launch a new blog, Israel-icon Valley, which will cover cutting-edge green-tech innovation at the intersection of Israel and Silicon Valley. Other representatives of the steering committee include figures from UC Berkeley School of Law, Google, and the Milken Innovation Center.

For more on the initiative, visit the Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/Business-and-Innovation/Environment/Israel-California-initiative-to-combat-water-scarcity-424992

TAU Deepens Ties with Cornell Law School
9/11/2015

2015 Events include a remembrance of Cornell Prof. Theodore Eisenberg and a conference on law, economy, and inequality

Prof. Theodore EisenbergTAU's Buchmann Faculty of Law continues to deepen its ties with Cornell Law School, consistently ranked among the top ten law schools in the US. The Faculty enjoys a program of reciprocal professorial visits, a thriving student exchange program, and a tradition of cooperation in hosting academic conferences of the highest caliber.

This year, the Faculty is involved in two additional conferences with a strong Cornell connection. The first was the Theodore Eisenberg Empirical Legal Studies Conference and Memorial Event, held on June 1-3, 2015, in honor and memory of Prof. Theodore Eisenberg, the Henry Allen Mark Professor of Law and Adjunct Professor of Statistical Sciences at Cornell University Law School. As the founding father of quantitative legal research and the founder of the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Prof. Eisenberg changed legal discourse worldwide. In the last five years of his life, he devoted extensive research efforts to the Israeli legal system, and his studies were welcomed by the Israeli legal community and by the Israeli Supreme Court. The conference was organized by the Cegla Center for Interdisciplinary Research of Law and Cornell Law School, and hosted Prof. Eisenberg's friends and colleagues from around the world.

The second event is a conference on Law, Economy, and Inequality, to be held in New York in December 2015. The conference will deal with the fallout of the 2008 financial crisis and recession, and with the heightened role of inequality in current economic and philosophical discourse. The conference aims to bring lawyers, policy analysts, philosophers, and social scientists into fruitful dialogue on the nature, significance, and best collective responses to increasing inequality in advanced capitalist societies. Participants from Tel Aviv, Cornell, Yale, Duke, and Columbia will be on hand to discuss these issues critically.

Past conferences included Empirical Legal Studies, held at TAU in 2013; Public/Private: Beyond Distinctions? held at Cornell in 2012; and The Future of Legal Theory, held at TAU in 2010.

Two TAU Students Win Top Prize at European Debating Championship
8/27/2015

Stav Singer and Iddan Golomb defeat teams from Ben-Gurion, Technion, and Hebrew U

Tel Aviv University students Stav Singer and Iddan Golomb brought home a gold trophy from the European Universities Debating Championship that took place in Vienna early this month.

More than 700 students from all over Europe participated in the debating competition, vying for prizes in two language categories — English as a first language (EFL) and English as a second language (ESL). Singer and Golomb were declared champions in the latter category.

Six Israeli teams made it into the final rounds of the ESL tournament: Three teams from TAU, a team from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, a team from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and a team from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

TAU students Dan Lahav and Ayal Hayut-Man also made their way to the grand finals of the EFL category, a rare achievement for non-native English-speaking teams.

"The competition at the European debating championship was an incredible experience. I have no appropriate words to describe the excitement we felt when we were on stage during the final [debate] and the whole auditorium cheered for us," Singer said. "We had the privilege to represent our university and the State of Israel at one of the largest student events in Europe today."

"It's great to be part of such a community as the European Debating League, that welcomes all and that enables us as Israelis to express ourselves and discuss a myriad of topics and issues that are so important to our lives," said Ohad Davidow, chairman of the Israeli University Debate League.

For more, read the story in the Jerusalem Post: "Israeli university debaters take European championship by storm"

George S. Wise Foundation Funds Three New Chairs and Scholarship Fund at TAU
7/7/2015

New awards will support scientific researchers and Jewish studies

The George S. Wise Foundation and Tel Aviv University have announced the establishment of three new named chairs and a new scholarship fund at the university. The foundation, originally established to support underprivileged students at the university, is named for the philanthropist and first president of TAU, who served in that capacity from 1963 to 1971.

The three chairs are:

The George S. Wise Chair in Life Sciences in the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences. The first incumbent of this chair is Prof. Hillel Fromm, a professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Ecology of Plants.

The Ruhama Rosenberg Chair for the Study of Jewish History in the Chaim Rosenberg School of Jewish Studies. The first incumbent of this chair is Prof. Motti Golani, chair of the International Israel Studies Program at TAU.

The George S. Wise Chair in Physics and Astronomy in the School of Physics and Astronomy and in association with the Florence and George S. Wise Observatory. The first incumbent of this chair is Prof. Dan Maoz, professor of Physics and Astronomy at TAU, member of the Astrophysics Department in the Sackler School of Physics and Astronomy, and director of the Wise Observatory.

At the same time, the foundation established the Florence Rosenberg Wise and Naomi Rosenberg Sarlin Scholarship Fund for needy students enrolled in the Chaim Rosenberg School of Jewish Studies at TAU.

TAU Student Takes First Prize at Broadcom Foundation University Research Competition
6/10/2015

Graduate student project best in field of 12 international universities

Broadcom Co-Founder and

Chairman Henry Samueli,

Benjamin Klein,

Broadcom Foundation President

Paula Golden, and Broadcom

President Scott A. McGregor

Tel Aviv University graduate student Benjamin Klein won first place at the fourth annual Broadcom Foundation University Research Program on June 4 in Irvine, California. His project, "From Image to Text and Back Using Deep Learning," was awarded with an unrestricted cash prize of $10,000.

"We applaud the Broadcom Foundation's ongoing work to encourage student excellence and promote closer ties between industry and academia," said Prof. Joseph Klafter, President of Tel Aviv University. "This latest award also reinforces the alliance between Broadcom and the creativity, innovation, and quality of science and technology in Israel and at TAU."

"For the second year in a row, TAU graduate students have taken top honors in the Broadcom Foundation University Research Competition — last year with the silver and this year with the gold," added Paula Golden, President and Executive Director of Broadcom Foundation and Director of Community Affairs at Broadcom Corporation. "The consistent excellence in quality and depth of research by TAU graduate students is indicative of the university's status as a world-class center of innovation."

Sharing insight and innovation

Klein, who was among finalists from 12 universities, shared insights into his engineering research and how its future application will contribute to advancement of society. More than 400 distinguished Broadcom engineers judged the finalists on a three-minute presentation with a single slide and a four-hour poster session where they demonstrated the scientific rigor, technological sophistication, and innovation of their work.

Henry Samueli, Broadcom Corporation's co-founder and chairman of the board, spearheaded the competition to celebrate both academic excellence and social awareness by graduate students whose engineering innovations will yield unlimited benefits to society at large.

Broadcom Foundation's mission is to advance education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by funding research, recognizing scholarship, and increasing opportunity. The goal of the University Research Competition is to encourage young researchers throughout the world to become the next generation of great innovators in electrical engineering and related fields.

The competition strengthens the already strong link between TAU and international partners like the Broadcom Foundation. Broadcom Vice President Dr. Shlomo Markel also serves as the Chairman of the Board of RAMOT, TAU's technology transfer organization.

TAU Places Fourth in Leading U.S. Aircraft Design Contest
5/27/2015

TAU students design, fabricate, and demonstrate capabilities of unmanned, electric-powered airplane

A student team from Tel Aviv University beat 96 contenders from universities around the world to place fourth in the 19th annual American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Design/Build/Fly competition, the leading collegiate aircraft design contest in the world. AIAA is the world's largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession.

The contest, hosted by Raytheon Missile Systems in April at TIMPA Field in Tucson, Arizona, tested the ability of student-designed unmanned airplanes to execute three flight missions and one ground mission using remote delivery and drop systems. Each team submitted a written report of 60 pages, and overall scores incorporated written report scores, total mission scores, and rated aircraft costs. First place went to the University of Ljubljana, second to University of California Irvine, and third to Georgia Tech University.

Prof. Shlomo Tzach and Prof. Eli Kats of TAU's School of Mechanical Engineering supervised the team, which was led by engineering student Elad Ventura and included TAU students David Mishan, Yair Shimron, Mor Keshet, Barak Koren, Nadav Kaniewicz, Leonid Epstein, Ofir Altman, and Gil Avrahami. Last year, TAU's delegation came in 15th in the Design/Build/Fly contest.

From the lab to the real world

"There were teams from MIT and from the U.S. Air Force Academy with much larger budgets and presumably more expertise, but we came in way ahead," said Ventura. "This is no small achievement.

"We must have spent more than 2,000 hours in the lab over seven months creating a remote-controlled unmanned airplane for this competition," Ventura continued. "The fact that we came in fourth out of 100 international contenders — and that we didn't fail in any of the scoring criteria, which only 13 teams managed to do — is a huge achievement. We also took first place in the most challenging mission — to carry a payload of five pounds and to fly three rounds in the shortest amount of time."

"Israel is very significant in the field of drones, and it is very important to have Israeli participation in such a competition," said Mishan. "Our entry drew a lot of attention, because it had the smallest wingspan and overall size, and its fuselage was most aerodynamic."

"We hope that our success will draw interest and, with this interest, funding for future competitions," Ventura concluded. "We want to turn this experience into a standing tradition at TAU."

This is only the second year in which a TAU team has participated; in contrast, a team from Technion University only reached eighth place after many years of participating in the contest.

Chief Minister of Maharashtra, India Visits TAU
5/26/2015

Memorandum of understanding signed for further research and academic collaboration

Prof. Joseph Klafter and Devendra Gangadharrao Fadnavis
Prof. Joseph Klafter and Devendra Gangadharrao Fadnavis

In a milestone for strengthening ties between Tel Aviv University and Indian centers of research, the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Maharashta, Devendra Gangadharrao Fadnavis, visited TAU last month.

During the visit, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for academic and research collaboration was signed between TAU and the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS) in Mumbai, the capital of Maharashta. Founded in 1981, NMIMS is one of the top ten business schools in India and recently expanded to include programs in engineering, technology, pharmacology, architecture, and education.

The MOU was signed by TAU Vice President Raanan Rein and Dr. Sharad Y. Mhaiskar, Dean of the Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management at Engineering at NMIMS. It builds on existing ties between TAU's Faculty of Management and NMIMS, which has included visits by TAU MBA students to NMIMS as part of their study program and a recent visit to NMIMS by TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter and Vice President Rein.

New opportunities for cooperation

At the ceremony, Prof. Klafter offered an overview of TAU's research activities, noting that the fields of cancer and Alzheimer's drug development, super-wheat, cyber security, high-capacity batteries, and water reclaiming technologies, among others, held "tremendous opportunity for cooperation with Indian companies, especially in Maharashtra."

Prof. Klafter noted that as a matter of policy, TAU had "shifted eastward," recognizing India's emergence as a global powerhouse as a source of important partnership in many fields. "TAU is eager to share its knowledge and expertise and we see this agreement as a knowledge bridge that connects between our two countries and brings mutual benefits to both our peoples."

Prof. Klafter also described some of the many areas of cooperation between TAU and India, including the India-Israel Forum organized by TAU, a highly successful partnering of officials entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and academics from both countries which takes place in India and Israel. He acknowledged the Indian conglomerate Tata Industries' leading investment in the $23.5 million Momentum Fund at Ramot, TAU's technology transfer company, noting that the fund is helping to feed innovation and collaboration.

Maharashtra as a global financial center

In his address, Chief Minister Fadnavis noted that Mumbai is a global investment and financial center. "It is important to attract Israeli investments to our state. Israel has technology, Israel has brains, Israel has innovation, and India has the urge to collaborate," he said. He confirmed a huge opportunity for collaboration between Maharashtra and Israel in the fields of agriculture, information and communications technology, and defense manufacturing.

Acknowledging the important role played by universities in Israel in boosting local economies, Mr. Fadnavis announced that he was offering to set up an Indo-Israel Industrial Park in Maharashtra, saying the collaboration will help take bilateral ties between India and Israel to "the next level, besides creating a wonderful ecosystem for the community at large."

Unique Exposure for Middle School Scientists
5/18/2015

Broadcom Foundation and AFTAU provide rare opportunity for Israeli students

This year, the Broadcom Foundation-supported Broadcom MASTERS® International program once again provided a rare opportunity for collaboration between middle-school-age scientists and engineers from around the world, bringing together students from 16 countries who share a passion for STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. And American Friends of Tel Aviv University (AFTAU), an official sponsor of the program, facilitated the opportunity for two Israeli students to participate in this experience of a lifetime.

Ilay Pecker, 13, of Rishon Iezion and Ori Shaham, 12, of Modiin received essential travel and visa support from AFTAU, permitting them to participate as Broadcom MASTERS Delegates and Official Observers at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), the largest high school science fair competition in the world, being held this month in Pittsburgh, PA. They joined delegates from Australia, China, India, Ireland, and 11 other countries around the world.

All-expense-paid inspiration for middle school students

Paula Golden and Ori Shaham
Paula Golden and Ori Shaham

The Broadcom MASTERS® program supports middle school students who demonstrate interest and aptitude in STEM subjects, inspiring them to stay with math, science, and engineering throughout high school and beyond.

Through an all-expense paid trip to the Intel ISEF Fair, students have a rare opportunity to visit Carnegie Mellon University, engage with Broadcom engineers and employees and STEM professionals, observe the projects of high school students who share their enthusiasms, and participate in special events designed to foster team-building and leadership skills.

"Ilay and Ori are superb delegates representing Israel, and the Broadcom MASTERS International gives them a great opportunity to explore their passions as young scientists and engineers, thanks to the new partnership with Tel Aviv University," says Paula Golden, the President and Executive Director of the Broadcom Foundation.

Finding potential through passion

The Broadcom MASTERS® International program seeks to inspire enthusiasm for STEM subjects through project-based learning, embedding science, engineering, and education by allowing students to choose subjects that leverage their own curiosity and interests, says Golden. "This is a paradigm shift, an approach shared by the Broadcom Foundation, the Broadcom Corporation, and Tel Aviv University itself. It allows the students to find their own potential through something they love."

For his "Drop the Drops" project, Ori Shaham invented an eye-dropper bottle with a concave mirror that allows easier application of eye medication. In "Spirulina algae — The Food of the Future?" Ilay Pecker studied the effects of various environmental conditions on Spirulina growth, believing that the high nutritional value of the algae may be vital in the fight against world hunger.

The program also strengthens the already strong link between Tel Aviv University and international partners like the Broadcom Foundation. Broadcom Vice President Dr. Shlomo Markel also serves as the Chairman of the Board of RAMOT, Tel Aviv University's technology transfer organization.

Tel Aviv University's Innovation Day to Celebrate Israel's Startup Ecosystem
5/4/2015

TAU's largest-ever international conference expected to draw 3,500 investors, industry leaders, diplomats, and academics

Tel Aviv University's third annual TAU Innovation Day, led by StarTAU, TAU's entrepreneurship center, and RAMOT, the university's technology transfer company, will be held on Sunday, May 10th, 2015. One of Israel's premier startup conferences, the four-day event — featuring a series of exhibitions, a startup competition, and lectures by prominent speakers from around the world — will spotlight Israel's dynamic startup community and budding network of entrepreneurs and investors.

An estimated 3,500 investors, diplomats, industry leaders, students, and academics are expected to attend the largest Innovation Day yet, with presentations by more than 50 startups.

The focus of this year's conference is "Trends 2015: New Directions, New Spirits, New Inventions." It will showcase new trends expected to radically change the world business climate in 2015, from global marketing, investing, and research to new and innovative technology such as wearable tech. As part of the Tel Aviv Startup Challenge, start-up visionaries will pitch their ideas throughout the day in front of a panel of judges and an event crowd, competing for top prizes and recognition.

At the TAU Research Exhibition, some of the most interesting technologies developed by TAU researchers will be on display. At Startup Avenue, entry to which will be free of charge, dozens of different companies, entrepreneurs, start ups, public-sector programs, and multinational R&D centers will present their new products and network with guests.

The conference is a celebration of Israel's innovative eco-system, according to conference organizers at TAU, which boasts the greatest number of global alumni who are startup and serial entrepreneurs of any university or college in Israel.

Tel Aviv University ranks ninth in the world for attracting American venture capital, according to Pitchbook — more than $1 billion between 2009 and 2014.

Tel Aviv University on the Forefront of Nepal Disaster Relief
4/30/2015

TAU's Prof. Kobi Peleg is coordinating Israel's massive humanitarian mission in Nepal

Prof. Kobi PelegProf. Kobi Peleg, director of executive and international master's programs in Emergency and Disaster Management at Tel Aviv University's School of Public Health, is doing what he does best — this time in earthquake-stricken Nepal.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake last Saturday devastated large swathes of the Himalayan nation, killing over 6,000 people and leaving thousands more wounded and in need of shelter and food. The aid team Israel immediately sent to the earthquake-battered nation is the largest in manpower of any international aid mission.

An international disaster management expert, Prof. Peleg is working as part of the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team, which coordinates the activity of the hundreds of overseas organizations — including the Israeli humanitarian mission — who are providing rescue and medical aid and other forms of emergency assistance.

UNDAC's responsibility is to assess urgent needs and help the Nepalese government respond efficiently to the disaster. Col. (res.) Gili Shenhar, Academic Coordinator of TAU's International Program in Emergency and Disaster Management, is also in Nepal coordinating the 260-strong Israel Defense Forces medical mission.

Prof. Peleg is no stranger to humanitarian and medical missions, having held command positions at Israeli field hospitals in Haiti in 2010, in Rwanda in 1995, and in the 1988 Armenian earthquake. Following the 2013 typhoon in the Philippines, Prof. Peleg coordinated the efforts of the Israeli delegation and agencies including the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the Philippines Ministry of Health, and local medical authorities.

Northwestern, Tel Aviv Universities Forge New Ties in First Joint Workshop
4/21/2015

The collaboration, featuring projects from engineering and exact sciences, jumpstarts new partnerships between the universities

Prof. Joseph Klafter and the Hon. Roey Gilad
Prof. Joseph Klafter and the Hon. Roey Gilad

Building on and strengthening close scientific and engineering partnerships, the Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering of Tel Aviv University (TAU) and the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science of Northwestern University (NU) held their first interdisciplinary workshop at TAU on February 22-25, 2015. The workshop, which focused on semiconductors, electronic materials, thin films, and photonic materials, was part of a broader long-term initiative between the recently founded Department of Materials Science and Engineering at TAU and its NU counterpart.

TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter enthusiastically endorsed the initiative at a gathering hosted by the Honorable Roey Gilad, Consul General of Israel to the Midwest, in Chicago last week. The February conference had drawn internationally acclaimed experimentalists, computational materials scientists, and theoreticians from both universities. There were lively debates regarding new applications for the high-technology, nanotechnology, energy, biomedical, information, communication, and defense industries.

The workshop, organized by Prof. Noam Eliaz of TAU and Prof. David N. Seidman of NU, consisted of scientific presentations, tutorials, poster presentations by graduate and postdoctoral students, and a guided tour of Jerusalem. "With just 15 professors from NU and 17 professors from TAU, it was possible to produce exciting and dynamic interactions," said Prof. Eliaz. "This workshop demonstrated the strong engineering and scientific research programs at TAU and will trigger more scientific collaborations between the universities."

A second workshop has been scheduled for 2016 and will be held at Northwestern University.

The workshop was supported by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the Israel Department of Defense, the Pazy foundation, and the Israel Ministry of Science, Technology and Space, in addition to generous funding from both universities.

Harnessing Israeli Innovation for Sustainable Growth in Africa
4/14/2015

TAU program connects Israeli entrepreneurs with local partners in Kenya to deliver tech farming solutions

Despite vast swaths of uncultivated arable land and an abundance of natural resources, Africa is home to 75 percent of the world’s poorest countries. That's why sustainable growth on the continent has been the focus of major aid organizations — including USAID and the World Bank — for decades.

An annual program launched by Tel Aviv University's Pears Program for Global Innovation is harnessing Israeli technology and innovation to create practical solutions on the ground in Africa. This year's Pears Challenge for Innovation and International Development is focused on small farmers in Kenya, addressing challenges in the supply chains for small farms.

"At the Pears Program, we are working towards the goal of making Israel an important source of innovative solutions for the developing world," said Pears Program Director Dr. Aliza Belman Inbal. "The power of the private sector is so much greater today than that of the public sector, and Israel is a hub of expertise in agriculture, water treatment, renewable energy, and information and communication technology. We're leveraging this enormous power for tangible change."

"Giving back" to society and the world

Israel is already well known throughout Africa as a leader in agriculture, making it easier to establish productive collaborations with local partners.

Nearly 100 applicants, most of them experienced business people and entrepreneurs interested in "giving back" to society, applied to be one of the 18 participants eventually selected for the annual program. In the course of the eight-month Challenge, entrepreneurs submit ideas, participate in brainstorming sessions exploring challenges and opportunities, study different business models for emerging markets, participate in "hackathons," and connect with government, aid agency, and agriculture partners in Africa.

This year's entrepreneurs with the most promising development solutions will then journey to Kenya to further test and develop their ideas and to network with Kenyan agritech entrepreneurs. After returning, participants will have access to grants and to advisory and networking support for as long as it takes to transform their ideas into successful ventures.

Partnerships for innovation

"There are over a dozen accelerators and incubators in Nairobi," said Dr. Inbal. "Our specific objective is to develop sound connections between entrepreneurs and innovators in Israel and Kenya to develop appropriate tech solutions for the needs of small farmers there.

"Kenyans bring to the table a deeper understanding of the needs and attributes of the local market, and Israelis bring business and technology management experience to the table," Dr. Inbal continued. "This is a truly unique synergy. There isn't anything remotely like our project anywhere. We invite participants with real experience in entrepreneurship and innovation to use their skills to have real impact on the lives of the global poor. We are teaching people how to listen to the needs of local partners. No one at Pears takes one look at a Kenyan farm and just says, 'Oh yeah, I know how to fix this.'"

Every year, the theme and focus of the Challenge change. Last year's program winners were Israeli creators of a "mini-farm" able to grow vegetables anywhere with a self-sustaining internal loop of energy and nutrition. Next year, the Challenge will focus on medical technologies.

Israel is #3 in World for U.S. Patent Registrations
4/9/2015

TAU research a leading contributor to high global innovation standing

Israeli companies and institutions, including Tel Aviv University, registered 3,555 U.S. patents in 2014, an increase of around 21 percent over the previous year, according to a new study from Israel's largest business information group, BDICoface. This positioned Israel third in the world in terms of U.S.-registered patents, the study says. Only Japan and Taiwan outranked Israel, which was ahead of South Korea, Switzerland, Sweden, and Finland on the list.

The leading Israeli-based companies in the field were local branches of American firms such as Intel and IBM. Among all academic institutions in the world filing patents in the U.S, TAU ranked sixth, leading Israel's Weizmann Institute, the Technion, and Hebrew University.

"The past year showed that Israeli innovation is not only winning international recognition and goodwill, but it also continues its research and development in big technology companies, startups, and universities in full force," said Tehila Yanai, a BDICoface managing partner.

For more, visit i24 News:
"Israel is third in world with U.S.-registered patents: Study"

Steve Tisch Makes Transformative $10M Gift to TAU’s Renowned Department of Film and Television
3/5/2015

Philanthropist and filmmaker's gift will elevate Department to School status, further accelerate Israel's influence in film and TV industry

Steve TischTel Aviv University (TAU) has announced a $10 million donation from philanthropist and Academy Award-winning film producer Steve Tisch that will transform the university's world-renowned Department of Film and Television. The donation comes amidst a boom in the Israeli film and television industry driven by creative visionaries, including a disproportionate number of TAU alumni, and will help fuel its continued growth across the globe. With the expansion, the prestigious Department will become a full school named "The Steve Tisch School of Film and Television" at Tel Aviv University.

The major investment will help attract and expand top level talent, boost the capacity to offer scholarships, provide new state-of-the-art equipment and building renovations, enhance curriculums, and bring international collaborations. Tisch's donation and name will also bring Hollywood know-how and increased visibility to the department, currently ranked among the top 15 international film schools, and help further cement Israel's growing reputation as "Hollywood on the Mediterranean."

"The ability to tell stories is critical to increasing dialogue and understanding, something the world is certainly in need of," said Steve Tisch. "Tel Aviv University is at the forefront of nurturing and growing creative, talented and diverse voices from across Israel and the region. I'm very pleased to support their efforts and honored by their recognition."

Joseph Pitchhadze, Steve Tisch, and Yaron Bloch
Joseph Pitchhadze, senior academic faculty member, Steve Tisch, and Yaron Bloch, head of the Steve Tisch Film School

As Israel's leading institution of film and television studies, the Department of Film and Television has educated and raised several generations of filmmakers and film scholars who are renowned for their crucial impact on the Israeli cultural arena and the country's film and television industry, including Oscar-nominated directors Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir), Yaron Shani (Ajami) and Dror Moreh (The Gatekeepers).

"Steve Tisch's commitment to the film school is a tremendous vote of confidence in the talent of our students and faculty members," said President of Tel Aviv University Joseph Klafter. "The new Steve Tisch School of Film and Television will not only enhance academic training and knowledge in the discipline, but will also strengthen Israel's influence on the cinematic arts globally," Prof. Klafter said.

Emerging as a major powerhouse in the film and TV industry, Israel's recent successes include works by graduates of the department, such as Hagai Levi's new Golden Globe-winning drama The Affair (which followed his Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series In Treatment), Gideon Raff's award-winning Homeland, and student Oscar-winner Hadas Ayalon's Paris on the Water.

"TAU's Department of Film and Television provided me with the tools, knowledge and resources to tell my stories, along with an environment to grow, which helped me get where I am today," said Gideon Raff. "The donation from Mr. Tisch is a milestone in Israel's film and TV industry that will have a lasting impact, providing aspiring students with even more support to achieve their dreams and share their creative stories with the world."

"We are now in the midst of major changes in the aesthetics of moving images and in the ways in which films and television programs are made, distributed, and consumed," said Yaron Bloch, Head of the Department of Film and Television at TAU. "Our students, graduates, and faculty are at the forefront of these trends and are exploring emerging possibilities in their artistic work and academic research. Steve Tisch's contribution will make it possible to extend their impact and success both locally and internationally."

"The film and TV industry in Israel is without a doubt booming, and this donation will help further bring Israel to the forefront of world cinema," said Katriel Schory, executive director of the Israel Film Fund. "We have a gift of tremendous creative energy in this country and the universities in Israel are playing a tremendous role in bringing this energy out from talented students. Most of the leading writers and directors who have had great success over the last ten years are graduates from the local film schools, including TAU's Department of Film and Television, and these funds will help take us to an even higher level."

"As a graduate of the Tel Aviv University Department of Film and Television, it is an honor to have taken part in this fruitful relationship between Mr. Tisch and TAU," said Ambassador Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York. "I consider it a privilege to have been able to introduce Steve Tisch to my alma mater. I wish to express our deep gratitude and appreciation for Mr. Tisch's generosity. This donation will position the TAU film and television school right where it should be: a world class bastion of creativity."

"We're very appreciative of this transformative gift from Steve, whose vision, offering aspiring storytellers a world-class education, is in line with TAU's commitment to breed industry leaders and scholars in every field," said Gail Reiss, President/CEO of American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "This gift from an internationally recognized, Oscar-winning producer, is a historic milestone for TAU in the United States. It will be instrumental in increasing the new School's visibility and stature, making it a global magnet for film and television."

Steve Tisch: Filmmaker, philanthropist and leader

Tisch is a partner at Escape Artists Productions and is Co-Owner, Chairman and Executive Vice President of the New York Football Giants, the only person with both an Academy Award and a Super Bowl ring. He received his Academy Award as a producer of Forrest Gump, which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1994, and has received two Super Bowl rings as Chairman of the Giants.

For more than three decades, Tisch has successfully produced compelling stories in film and television, from the critically acclaimed television movie The Burning Bed to Risky Business, the sleeper hit that helped launch Tom Cruise's career. Other notable films include The Pursuit of Happyness, The Weather Man, The Taking of Pelham 123, The Back-Up Plan, Hope Springs, American History X, Snatch, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and The Equalizer.

Tisch has long been a leader in the philanthropic sector and generously contributes his time and resources to a variety of organizations. On May 29, 2014, at a White House summit, President Barack Obama announced Steve's transformative gift to the department of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine for the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program. Steve is also on the Board of Trustees of The Geffen Theatre in Los Angeles, The Sundance Institute, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Cancer Center at Duke University. He is the naming benefactor of the sports and fitness center at his alma mater, Tufts University.

In 2014, Tisch served as the first honorary chair of the Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival at TAU, long ranked among the top three student film festivals in the world. Established in 1986 by students from the Department of Film and Television, the prestigious Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival is now the largest in the world.

Wikipedia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales Among 2015 Dan David Prize Winners
2/13/2015

Three $1 million awards to be presented at Tel Aviv University in May

Photo: Jimmy Wales. Photo credit: Niccolò Caranti
Jimmy Wales.
Photo: Niccolò Caranti

Jimmy Wales, co-founder of the ubiquitous online encyclopedia Wikipedia, is among the winners of the 2015 Dan David Prize, which annually bestows three awards of $1 million each. The announcement of the winners was made on February 10 by Tel Aviv University President Prof. Joseph Klafter, chairman of the Dan David Prize Board of Directors, and Prof. Itamar Rabinovich, Chairman of the Dan David Foundation.

The prizes are granted for "proven, exceptional and distinct excellence in the sciences, arts, and humanities that have made an outstanding contribution to humanity." The laureates, who donate 10% of their prize money towards doctoral and postdoctoral Tel Aviv University scholarships, will be honored at a ceremony on May 17, 2015, during the annual TAU Board of Governors conference.

The Dan David Prize, named for international businessman and philanthropist Dan David, maintains its global headquarters at TAU. Each year, the International Board chooses one field within each of three time dimensions: Past (highlighting fields that expand knowledge of former times), Present (recognizing achievements that shape and enrich contemporary society), and Future (focusing on breakthroughs that hold great promise for the improvement of our world). Following a review process by independent Review Committees comprised of renowned scholars and professionals, the International Board then chooses the laureates for each field.

The 2015 Dan David Prize laureates are:

Present — in the field of "The Information Revolution": Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is utilized by nearly all Internet users to access information. Wales has stated that his motivation for launching Wikipedia was to create a world in which every person "is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge."

Past — in the field of "Historians and Their Sources": Prof. Peter R. Brown, Rollins Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University, and Prof. Alessandro Portelli of University of Rome La Sapienza will share the prize. Prof. Brown is a historian studying the late antiquity period whose "groundbreaking studies have reshaped the way we understand social and cultural change," the prize committee said. Prof. Portelli is considered one of the greatest practitioners of oral history, whose "studies of the interaction between private and collective memory have challenged the way we understand recording the past," according to the panel of judges.

Future — in the field of "Biomechanics": Dr. Cyrus Chothia, Prof. David Haussler, and Prof. Michael Waterman, a 2011 recipient of a TAU honorary doctorate, will share the prize. Dr. Chothia, an emeritus scientist at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology and emeritus fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, pioneered the understanding of the relationships between protein sequence, structure, function, and interaction. Prof. Haussler, a professor of biomolecular engineering and director of the Genomics Institute at University of California, Santa Cruz, helped assemble the first draft of the human genome sequence and leads the development of the UCSC Genome Browser used worldwide for interpreting genome sequences. Prof. Waterman holds an Endowed Associates Chair in Biological Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Southern California, where he made seminal and influential contributions to biological sequence analysis.

Past Dan David Prize winners include US Vice President Al Gore, film directors Joel and Ethan Coen, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and genome pioneer Prof. Eric Lander. For more information on the Dan David Prize and this year's laureates, visit http://www.dandavidprize.org.

Dr. Morton H. Levitt and Cynthia Levitt Endow Scholarship for Medical Education at TAU
1/15/2015

Florida philanthropists expand a family legacy of support for TAU

Dr. Morton H. and Cynthia LevittWith a generous commitment of more than $2.8 million, Dr. Morton H. Levitt and Cynthia Levitt have established the Dr. Morton H. Levitt and Cynthia Levitt Endowed Scholarship for Medical Education at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University.

Morton Levitt, MD, professor of Clinical Biomedical Science, former chair of the Integrated Medical Science Department, and former Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at Florida Atlantic University's Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, is a board-certified pathologist. He is recognized nationally for his expertise in medical and pathology education, advocacy, and medical policy and governance. His professional career includes service in the National Cancer Institute's Carcinogenesis Bioassay Testing Program, service as a hospital executive and chief medical officer, and more than 20 years in the United States Air Force.

The Levitt scholarship continues a familial legacy of support for the Sackler Faculty of Medicine that includes Dr. Levitt's parents, their families, and his great-uncle, Harry C. Bernard. "I am very proud to be a member of the Levitt family — a family that taught me from an early age that charity, philanthropy, and service were the true measure of a person's success," he says.

Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine is the largest medical and research training complex in Israel, serving two million people annually. It comprises 1,400 affiliated doctors, including some 1,000 teachers, in preclinical departments and affiliated clinical departments and institutes in seven major medical centers, six psychiatric hospitals, and a large rehabilitation center. It developed the Sackler Medical School New York State/American Program, Israel's first and only medical school program accredited in North America, widely considered to be the premier example of successful cultural and academic cooperation in the field.

Shaoul Family Fund for Visiting Scholars and Fellows Will Expand International Academic Collaboration for TAU
1/13/2015

New York philanthropists create innovative fund to foster international exchange opportunities

Dr. Michael Shaoul and Dr. Nirit Weiss Shaoul
Dr. Michael Shaoul and
Dr. Nirit Weiss Shaoul

Dr. Nirit Weiss Shaoul and Dr. Michael Shaoul have established a fund to enable Tel Aviv University to extend its network of international exchange and collaboration, providing a significant resource to help counteract the threat of isolation of Israeli academia from the Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS).

The Nirit and Michael Shaoul Fund for Visiting Scholars and Fellows is a multi-year commitment to encourage global faculty exchanges and joint scientific and cultural collaborations across academic disciplines. Although the BDS movement has not yet achieved its goal of isolating Israel's universities, some American and European institutions have quietly opted to cease funding expenses related to collaboration and faculty exchange.

"Nirit and I are alarmed by the increasing cultural marginalization of Israel," Shaoul says. "We view this isolation as the second most serious threat to the country, after security, with the universities on the front lines. That's why we created this seed fund — to which we hope others will contribute — to help stem the effects of marginalization.

"It is critical to prevent the isolation of Israel's academic community, and to keep broad international ties intact. We view this as an important step in a significant struggle: As we have seen in the past, cultural isolation is a precursor to the deterioration of a country's quality of life and its very legitimacy, and if we do nothing to resist this process, we will be horrified at the results in a decade's time. We also believe that those academics who visit Israel are much more likely to develop an informed and balanced view of the situation, which can then be represented within their faculties upon their return."

A proactive reaction

The initiative will be inaugurated at the annual Tel Aviv University Board of Governors Meeting in May 2015. Administered by a review committee to be established by TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter, funding will supplement university resources for expenses and honoraria related to speaking engagements and visiting professorships across the campus. Recipients will be designated Nirit and Michael Shaoul Fellows.

Michael Shaoul is Chairman and CEO of Marketfield Asset Management, helping formulate top-down macro insights that inform the firm's investment decisions. His views on a variety of topics are featured frequently in the financial media. He serves as Treasurer of American Friends of Tel Aviv University and is a member of the University's Board of Governors.

Dr. Nirit Weiss is a neurosurgeon at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. Her practice specializes in treating complex disorders of the brain and spine, treating severe chronic pain syndromes, and performing craniofacial reconstructions in adults and children. She has authored dozens of peer-reviewed articles and textbook chapters detailing cutting-edge treatments of pain, degenerative disease, and tumors. The couple reside in New York City with their children.

Defending the international academy

The creation of the Shaoul Fund illustrates the core importance of the "global knowledge" principle for TAU and other major research institutions in Israel.

TAU President Klafter, a vocal leader in denouncing the movement, says, "The universities generate Israel's most important natural resource — human capital. Without outstanding universities and the graduates and ideas they produce, we would not be the start-up nation we are all so justifiably proud of." TAU's faculty members and students, he notes, represent all faiths and ethnicities, and include students from more than 60 countries.

"Through the Nirit and Michael Shaoul Fund for Visiting Scholars and Fellows, TAU will be able to continue forging new academic research relationships, and to reinforce its hundreds of existing relationships — the lifeblood of all world-class institutions," Prof. Klafter says.

Alpha Omega Honors Members at Annual Meeting at TAU
1/7/2015

Chairman Dr. Marc Rothman hails fraternity's "incredible synergy of action through partnership"

Jon & Stevi Gurkoff and Bobbi & Dr. Marc Rothman
Jon & Stevi Gurkoff and
Bobbi & Dr. Marc Rothman

The Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity held its annual convention for alumni from chapters around the world at Tel Aviv University's Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine at the end of December 2014. Alpha Omega is the oldest international dental organization and the oldest Jewish medical organization in the world.

Usually held in the United States, the decision to hold the annual gathering at TAU was made in honor of the official opening of the Rothstein-Williamowsky Post-Graduate Clinics at the school. The state-of-the-art facilities are already serving Tel Aviv's families and providing sophisticated training for tomorrow's dental specialists.

The $2.7 million campaign to fund the clinics was a joint initiative of Alpha Omega and American Friends of Tel Aviv University, co-chaired by Dr. Marc Rothman, chairman of the Alpha Omega Foundation and a member of AFTAU's Board of Directors, and Steven William Kess, Vice President for Global Professional Relations at Henry Schein, Inc. The clinics were named in honor of two inspirational leaders who have long championed TAU's dental school — Dr. Ben A. Williamowsky, a member of AFTAU's Board of Directors, TAU's Board of Governors, and former International President of Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity, and the late Ralph Rothstein.

At the convention, Prof. Ilana Eli, former head of the Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine, spoke at a ceremony inaugurating glass pillars lining the entrance, honoring Alpha Omega leaders from North America. Prof. Eli, who led the school's revitalization after years of financial crisis, said, "These pillars are a labor of love. Every pillar bears the name of a person who contributed with love, and we want to recognize them."

Dr. Rothman also spoke at the ceremony, saying, "This is an incredible synergy of action through partnership. All of you, friends and family, created this synergy out of love, love of what we are doing and love of what we have already accomplished."

During a tour of the clinics themselves, AFTAU's National Chairman Jon Gurkoff said, "I'm preaching to the choir, because those of you who are here, and those who wanted to be here but couldn't, already know how important your presence is. It enables you to see and touch what you built. But we need to add more members to the choir. We need to bring more dentists to Israel to introduce them to the work being done here. We want it to become personal for them, too."

In Memoriam: Guilford Glazer (1921-2014)
12/29/2014

Diane Pregerson and Guilford Glazer
Diane Pregerson Glazer
and Guilford Glazer

Guilford Glazer, prominent American real estate developer, international philanthropist, and passionate champion of Israel, passed away on December 23, 2014, in Beverly Hills after a prolonged illness.

We have lost a cherished, longtime friend. We mourn his passing and grieve for Diane Pregerson Glazer, his beloved wife of nearly half a century.

Guil was a visionary and a singularly committed friend of the State of Israel, becoming actively involved in 1946. A native of Tennessee, he hosted statesmen David Ben Gurion, Teddy Kollek, and Golda Meir at the Knoxville home of his dear mother, Ida. Later, he and Diane became close friends with Moshe Dayan and Itzhak Rabin. Together, the Glazers were ardent and active advocates for peace in the Middle East.

A forefather of AFTAU

Guil was a founding member of American Friends of Tel Aviv University, and his influence and dedication are evident across the campus. With the support of the friends he enlisted, he founded The Institute for Strategic Studies (now the INSS) with General Aharon Yariv in 1977, and co-founded The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.

In recent years, Guil and Diane also created and supported initiatives for Alzheimer's research, a Workshop for Chinese Scholars, doctoral fellowships for Chinese student exchanges and Jewish Studies, and the editing and publication of Zvi Pregerson's memoirs, among other projects. In recognition of his leadership, TAU awarded Guil an Honorary Fellowship.

Wide-ranging philanthropy and activism

The Glazers' philanthropic leadership and generosity extended far beyond TAU, founding significant schools and departments at other universities in Israel, America, and China, and supporting humanitarian and Jewish causes throughout the Southern California community.

Politically active as an independent, Guil was long involved with the RAND think tank. He initiated and funded the Glazer-RAND Plan, developed as the basis for a two-state approach to regional peace, which was presented to leaders of the European Union and the United States.

"We in the Tel Aviv University family will profoundly feel his absence," said longtime friend Rosalie Lurie, AFTAU's Western Region Senior Director. "He pushed and prodded us, and was always wise and ahead of the pack. He fought hard to orchestrate peace in the Middle East, and never gave up. A proponent of the study of business, he would always say, 'If people have something to lose, then they are less likely to fight. You have to try. Do you have anything better to offer?' And he would smile knowingly."

Pragmatism coupled with vision

Born in Knoxville in 1921, Guil studied Engineering and Metallurgy at George Washington University and the University of Louisville. After Navy service during WWII, he took over his father's welding business and turned it into the Glazer Steel Corporation.

In 1960, he moved the main corporate offices to Beverly Hills, CA, where the company developed, owned, and operated major properties, among them the second largest mall in the US, Del Amo Fashion Center. At its peak, the Glazer organization owned and operated buildings with more than nine million square feet of office, industrial, and retail space.

Guilford Glazer is survived by Diane, his children Erika and Emerson, and five grandchildren.

His loss will be deeply felt around the world.


Guilford Glazer was honored as one of "The Four Wise Men" of Southern California Jewish philanthropy on June 20, 2013. See the video tribute:

Temasek Pledges $5M to TAU Technology Research
12/16/2014

Singapore firm enters into strategic agreement with TAU technology transfer company Ramot

Logo: TemasekSingapore-based investment company Temasek has agreed to fund new technologies emerging from research at Tel Aviv University, TAU's technology transfer company Ramot reported last month.

With a net portfolio valued at $223 billion, Temasek has entered into a strategic agreement with Ramot to invest $5 million in its Momentum Fund, which advances promising breakthrough technologies in a wide range of fields, including engineering and exact sciences, environment and clean technology, pharmaceuticals, and health care. The firm's portfolio covers a broad spectrum of sectors: financial services; transportation, logistics and industrials; telecommunications, media and technology; life sciences, consumer and real estate; and energy and resources.

Together with India's Tata Industries, the Temasek pledge brings investments in the Momentum Fund to a total of $23.5 million, exceeding earlier projections of $20 million. Committees comprising global domain experts and Tata and Temasek representatives will be responsible for selecting technologies with the most commercial potential for further development and translation into attractive licensing opportunities for Ramot.

Commenting on the agreement, TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter said, "We are extremely proud that Temasek, a world-leading investment company, has selected TAU, along with Tata, as a partner. With support from both, TAU aims to develop groundbreaking advanced technologies that have the potential to positively impact communities across the world in many areas."

Ramot CEO Shlomo Nimrodi said, "I am extremely pleased and proud that the Ramot and TAU teams were able to exceed the initial $20 million goal we set for ourselves."

For more, read the story on CNBC.com: http://www.cnbc.com/id/102191112

Jennifer Young Joins AFTAU as National Director of Planned Giving
12/8/2014

Development officer brings more than 15 years of experience in major gift planning

Jennifer YoungJennifer Young, a respected non-profit professional with expertise in scientific, educational, and Jewish community fundraising, has joined American Friends of Tel Aviv University. In the new post of National Director of Planned Giving, she offers a valuable resource for individuals, foundations, and financial professionals on behalf of Israel's leading institution of higher learning.

Her career includes extensive work for the Smithsonian Institution, the Pacific Aviation Museum, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

"I'm looking forward to expanding and elevating the planned giving program at AFTAU to further the exciting future of Tel Aviv University," Young says. "I'll be working with the organization to enhance the use of gift plans such as charitable bequests, charitable gift annuities, and gifts of life insurance and retirement plan assets."

She will be based in AFTAU's New York City headquarters.

"Jennifer has a rare ability to make sophisticated concepts easy to understand," says AFTAU President & CEO Gail Reiss, "as well as a carefully tailored and creative approach to individual planning. That's an exceptional combination of skills."

Young began her development career at the Smithsonian, later leading the strategic advancement of a NASA-funded project for the Mars Exploration Rover missions. She also laid the groundwork for a $500 million capital campaign at the University of Delaware, where her office functioned as a key clearinghouse for gifts of complex assets.

In her work at the Pacific Aviation Museum (which joined the USS Arizona Memorial in 2006), Young was brought in to manage the development transformation team during the museum's early phases, establishing a major Pearl Harbor, HI, attraction. She has led institutional advancement for several Jewish Federations and has managed development activities for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington's $185 million endowment.

She also serves as president of a private foundation, providing merit-based educational scholarships to help economically-challenged, highly-motivated students who wish to "give back" to their communities, acquiring the skills and experience needed to achieve success.

She earned an MA from Carnegie Mellon University's School of Public Policy and Management, holds a Certificate in Financial Planning, and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).

Tel Aviv, Tsinghua Universities’ Joint Research Center Holds First Conference in Beijing
11/26/2014

Israeli–Chinese collaborative research projects showcased at XIN Center Autumn 2014 Open Forum

Distinguished scholars from Tel Aviv University and Tsinghua University joined entrepreneurs, investors, and government and industry leaders from China and Israel at the first forum of the XIN Center, the joint TAU-Tsinghua research center, held on October 23-25 at Tsinghua's campus in Beijing.

A three-day conference series, The Tsinghua University and Tel Aviv University XIN Center 2014 Autumn Open Forum was the center's first event since its establishment in May. Tsinghua University President Chen Jining, who attended the conference, said that China's booming economy and huge market potential provided a broad platform for cooperation between TAU and Tsinghua.

"I believe that the hard work of the XIN Center team and their supporters is bound to produce outstanding scientists, entrepreneurs, and successful investors," said Chen Jining.

The XIN Center is dedicated to training scientific innovators from both schools and focuses on nanotechnology, renewable energy, and biotech. The seeds for the XIN Center were planted in September 2013, when TAU President Joseph Klafter and Tsinghua University president Chen Jining signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing. The two universities hope that the center, in addition to nurturing creativity among students and researchers and expanding cooperation between academia and the industry, will enhance the Chinese-Israeli contribution to scientific and technological progress worldwide and create an international hub for innovation.

Yuval Kupitz, co-manager of the XIN Center and Head of International Collaborations at TAU's Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, said the Autumn Forum provided a welcome opportunity to introduce TAU and Tsinghua students and researchers well as showcase their collaborative research efforts.

The next scheduled event, the Xin Center Winter School on Nano-Photonics, will take place at TAU in February 2015. Oriented towards graduate students, post doctorate students, and young researchers interested in the fundamentals of nano-photonics, it promises state-of-the-art training by internationally-renowned scientists.

Academic Colloquium Kicks Off Sincere Family Program Linking Wisconsin and Tel Aviv
11/19/2014

Chicago philanthropists inaugurate unique joint program in Middle Eastern and Jewish studies

Richard Sincere
Richard Sincere

With the participation of academic delegations from both institutions, the inaugural colloquium of an innovative new program joining the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University (TAU) and the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (CJS) was held on the TAU campus on November 10, 2014.

The five-year collaborative program is the brainchild of TAU Board of Governors member Richard Sincere and his wife, Debra. Sincere is an alumnus of both institutions and Secretary of the Board of Directors of American Friends of Tel Aviv University (AFTAU).

The program is designed to support academic cooperation, joint conferences and publications, and scholarly exchange programs in the fields of Jewish, Israel, and Middle East studies. The specific research focus of the collaborative work will be "The Role of Religion in the Public Sphere — The Contemporary Middle East." The colloquium's first round of presentations on the subject by both groups included talks on women in the Arab Spring revolution and the Internet as a platform for public expression.

At the inauguration, Sincere said that he and Debra believe in investing in projects that can "make a difference. We established this program out of a belief that pooling the resources of both institutions could result in innovative research and projects than can help change the world.

The TAU component of the project, recently inaugurated as the Debra and Richard Sincere Tel Aviv University Project in Middle Eastern Studies, will award generous funding towards scholarships for TAU PhD students.

Forging a partnership path

Uzi Rabi, Duygu Atlas, Esther Webman, Richard Sincere, and Simone SchweberProf. Uzi Rabi, Duygu Atlas, Dr. Esther Webman, Richard Sincere, and Prof. Simone Schweber

"The Sinceres' program is a wonderful model for American Friends who have 'twin passions' in their lives," said Gail Reiss, President & CEO of AFTAU. "It's a way to enthusiastically support TAU in conjunction with a US alma mater they also care deeply about — and strengthen both institutions at the same time. I hope we'll see many more exciting occasions like this one."

In his remarks, Prof. Uzi Rabi, Director of the Dayan Center, said, "This robust multi-year program wouldn't have been possible without the vision and generosity of Debra and Richard Sincere. It represents a major vote of confidence in the Dayan Center and reinforces the standing of TAU as a major global center of expertise in the field of Middle East studies."

Prof. Simone Schweber, Director of the Mosse/Weinstein Center and head of the Wisconsin delegation, said, "This is the beginning of a wonderful partnership and we are looking forward to having more faculty and students visiting here. Richard believes in offbeat projects that can get great results and this program embodies the hope, optimism, and joy of working together despite the great differences in our academic makeup and geographic locations."

TAU Vice President of Resource and Development Amos Elad emphasized that TAU is proud of its international connections with many top universities, and that the Dayan Center–Wisconsin program promises to produce excellent results.

Dayan Center master's student Ben Mendales thanked the Sinceres for providing "us students with a tremendous opportunity to hear cutting edge scholarship in our fields and for helping us find our own personal directions as we embark on academic careers."

Eritrean Refugees Graduate from TAU Medical Interpreting Course
10/22/2014

United Nations-supported program assists and empowers community of asylum seekers

Prof. Galia SabarLast month, sixteen Eritrean refugees in Israel completed a medical interpreting course created by Prof. Galia Sabar of Tel Aviv University's African Studies Department. Eight of the asylum-seeking graduates have already joined the Israeli health system as medical translators.

"Language barriers are acute between Eritrean asylum seekers and medical personnel in Israel, leading to mistrust, hostility and the inability or difficulty to provide quality health care," said Prof. Sabar. "We wanted to empower Eritrean asylum seekers by providing them with excellent professional training that would not only enable them to thrive as individuals in Israel, but would also assist a large segment of the Eritrean community."

The four-month course, supported by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, was launched in collaboration with Dr. Shiri Tenenbaum, Head of the Social Clinic at Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, and medical interpreting expert Dr. Michal Schuster. It covered various principles behind medical translation from English to the Tigrinya language, and dealt with, among other topics, the human body and doctor-patient communication.

Empowering an immigrant community

According to Prof. Sabar, many of the 50,000 Eritrean asylum seekers in Israel can't speak English or Hebrew and therefore have no way of describing their symptoms to Israeli doctors, leaving them in dire straits. "These 16 men and women, all Eritreans seeking asylum in Israel, can now seek work in this very valued and appreciated profession, either in Israel or anywhere else in the world," said Prof. Sabar. "For many of them, this course represents the first time they were treated as subjects rather than objects, as agents of change rather than passive people seeking help.

"By providing the participants with vocational training they can use anywhere in the world, TAU also provides a tremendous starting point for a better future," Prof. Sabar added. "This course is a testament to TAU's commitment to combining excellent research and social responsibility."

Eden Winick Aaronson Joins AFTAU as Philadelphia Area Coordinator
10/8/2014

Development professional brings more than 15 years of experience in Jewish community development

Eden Winick Aaronson, a highly experienced development executive with "a passion for all things Israel," has joined American Friends of Tel Aviv University. In the newly-created post of Philadelphia Area Coordinator, she will spearhead AFTAU's area office, expanding the university's presence, programming, and network of supporters across the Delaware Valley. Her career includes extensive work for Israel Bonds, Ben Gurion University, and Jewish Heritage Programs.

"Philadelphia has such an impressive culture of leadership and giving. Our community is full of creative and generous philanthropists committed to Israel and to the global expansion of knowledge," Aaronson said. "I'm thrilled to be the one taking the lead in our area. TAU is a cutting-edge university, brimming with the innovation Israel is famous for.

"In fact, out of all the universities in the world, TAU was just ranked ninth for producing entrepreneurs that attract the most American venture capital, beating out Yale, Princeton, and Columbia. TAU always impresses, and I am grateful to be the person to bring it into Philly," she said. Aaronson will regularly introduce some of the university's most sought-after researchers, professors, and entrepreneurs to the area, bringing news of the most current advances and scholarship from the campus.

"We're delighted that Philadelphians can now be 'addressed and impressed' by TAU's academic all-stars," says Gail Reiss, AFTAU's President & CEO. "It's a privilege we had only been able to offer in other areas of the country before now. I'm certain the community will embrace them — and be embraced right back. And we're very fortunate that Eden has such a robust background, steeped in the Jewish community and in education."

Aaronson is a graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary and Columbia University, and the proud daughter of a lifelong Jewish community professional.

New TAU Materials Science and Engineering Department Poised for Global Leadership
9/16/2014

In just one year, its cutting-edge multidisciplinary science and technology already recognized around the world

The discipline of materials science and engineering deals with the relationship between preparation methods, structure, properties, and applications of all types of materials. It's experiencing an upsurge because modern society is highly dependent on advanced materials for miniature micro-electronic components, aviation turbine engines, energy production systems, and more.

A leader in global scientific research, last year Tel Aviv University established its Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering. Since then, the young department has produced trail-blazing research and outstanding achievements recognized around the world.

"We aim to achieve the highest international level of research in materials science and engineering, and to be a nucleus of interdisciplinary knowledge in the field," said Prof. Noam Eliaz, head of the new department. "We are building an infrastructure of knowledge and R&D services for Israeli industry, security, and governmental organizations, with our trained engineers leading the next technological breakthroughs. As the only such department in the center of Israel, we will fill a strategic need."

A world leader in new technologies

"The department's international advisory board includes 11 renowned scientists, all laureates of prestigious awards, including the Nobel and Wolf prizes," said Prof. Eliaz. "The board will ensure that the department stands at the cutting edge of science and technology, and that our degrees carry international value and repute."

Prof. Eliaz notes that the field of materials science is attracting increased attention and is poised to pay a major role in future technology, including nanotechnologies and bioinformatics. "Materials science will be a growth engine in the global economy, with a decisive impact on quality of life, health, security, and the environment," he said.

Established in August 2013, TAU's Department of Materials Science and Engineering comprises courses and research advisers from across several faculties, including Engineering, Exact Sciences, and Life Sciences. The young department will also offer a unique combined BSc degree in Materials Science and Engineering and in Chemistry, developed in close collaboration with the Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Chemistry, in the 2014-15 academic year.

In addition to core faculty members, the new department features an additional 11 affiliated faculty members from the School of Electrical Engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Chemistry, Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Physics, and the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences.

TAU Team Takes Gold at International Math Olympics
9/8/2014

Israeli students ace annual contest against 73 groups representing universities around the world

For the first time ever, an Israeli mathematics team has won first prize in the International Mathematics Competition organized by the University College London and American University in Bulgaria, held this year in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, from July 29 to August 4. The team, consisting of four Tel Aviv University and two Technion math students, received 355 points — 38 more than the second-place group, Eötvös Loránd of Budapest.

The high-level competition has been held annually for the last 20 years. This year's competition pitted 73 teams of university students from around the world against each other to solve problems in algebra, real and complex analysis, geometry, and combinatorics (a branch of mathematics concerning finite discrete structures).

Israel's team of six earned the gold medal, followed by silver medalists from Budapest and bronze medalists from Moscow University. Their coach, Lev Radzivilovsky, is an algorithm developer.

Though the competition is geared to students who have finished at least one year of college-level studies, half of the Israeli delegation had only just finished their senior year of high school. Almost all were veterans of previous international math Olympiads. The winners were TAU students Yoav Krauz, Tom Kalvari, Omri Nissan Solan, and Amotz Oppenheim; and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology students Nitzan Tur and Guy Raveh. At last year's competition, Solan won an individual gold medal; Tur, Kalvari, and Oppenheim won individual silver medals; and Krauz won a bronze.

For more, read the story in Israel21c:
"Israeli math whizzes win int'l Olympiad"

International Undergrads and Grads Take Active Role in TAU Research at Biological and Neuroscience Laboratories
9/4/2014

New summer program trains students from around the world

Karen Avraham
Prof. Karen Avraham

This summer, participants in Tel Aviv University's newly established Biological and Neuro Sciences Summer Program, an eight-week program for exceptional undergraduate and graduate students from the U.S., Canada, Germany, and India, experienced science first-hand by becoming an active member of a TAU research group. More than 30 different laboratories specializing in unique research projects took part in the program, founded by Prof. Karen Avraham, Vice Dean of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine, and Prof. Uri Ashery, Director of the Sagol School of Neuroscience. The program was coordinated jointly with Maureen Meyer, Director of the university's International Office.

Summer session students were assigned to a biological or neuroscience laboratory, or a theoretical research project under the supervision of an experienced scientist. Participants included undergraduate students who had completed at least one year of study and graduate or medical students studying for a degree relevant to the research discipline.


2014 Summer Program participants

"I have been hosting international students in my laboratory for the past 17 summers," said Prof. Avraham. "It's a very useful way to learn about research and receive training important for a scientific research career or medical school. After taking on students informally for so many years, I thought it was high time to launch a formal program. In this way, other laboratories could enjoy the opportunity of hosting an international student."

Applicants had to demonstrate a high level of academic achievement during their undergraduate degree and the potential to undertake postgraduate studies (M.Sc., Ph.D. or M.D.). A high proficiency in English was also required.

According to Prof. Avraham, the students in the session played an important and active role in research projects at the university. "We often have small scientific projects which, through the students' efforts, can turn into larger projects for a graduate student or post-doctoral fellow," said Prof. Avraham. "And given that the TAU mission is to educate, the program gives us the opportunity to teach more students about the wonderful world of research and science in general. Through the program, the international community is also exposed to how strong and competitive the research is at our laboratories."

TAU Offers Scholarships to Students in Army
7/30/2014

TAU to subsidize tuition of students serving in reserves in Operation Protective Edge

Prof. Joseph KlafterTel Aviv University President Prof. Joseph Klafter announced over the weekend that the university would subsidize the annual tuition of hundreds of TAU students called up for reserve duty in the fighting in the Gaza Strip. Prof. Klafter said the scholarships would be funded by private donors and friends of the university: "Tel Aviv University has contributed and continues to contribute greatly to national security," he wrote in a statement to the university community.

Prof. Klafter expressed his appreciation for the students who left their studies in the middle to serve in Operation Protective Edge, saying the scholarships were intended to help them make up missed class time and exams and encourage them in their future studies.

"Students and graduates of the university are contributing to Israel's security apparatus, taking up positions throughout the entire chain of command. Many university researchers have also been awarded the Israel Security Prize for safeguarding the country's security," Prof. Klafter concluded.

Prof. Klafter concluded by expressing his heartfelt wish for all of the students and Israel Defense Forces soldiers to return home safely as soon as possible.

To make a contribution to the scholarship fund, click here.

TAU Tort Law Expert Wins Prestigious EMET Prize
7/29/2014

Prof. Ariel Porat honored for social science research

Prof. Ariel Porat of Tel Aviv University's Buchmann Faculty of Law has been awarded the prestigious EMET Prize for Art, Science, and Culture for 2014 for his social science research.

The EMET Prize is an annual prize given for excellence in academic and professional achievements in science, arts, and culture which have far-reaching influence on Israeli society. The distinguished prizes, awarded in a total amount of $1 million annually, are sponsored by the A.M.N. Foundation for the Advancement of Science, Art and Culture in Israel, under the auspices of the Prime Minister's Office.

He has also been appointed a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

"It is nice to receive such recognition in my own country," said Prof. Porat. "It took many years of hard work."

Prof. Porat, currently the Alain Poher Professor of Law at TAU and the Fischel-Neil Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, has written extensively on subjects relating to tort law, contract law, and economic analysis of law. In addition to four books, he has published over 70 articles, which have appeared in such leading law journals as The Yale Law Journal. His work has also had significant bearing on the rulings of the Supreme Court of Israel.

Prof. Porat has also been a Visiting Professor at the University of Berkeley, Columbia University, New York University, and the University of Virginia.

From 1997 to 2002, Prof. Porat served as Director of TAU's Cegla Center for Interdisciplinary Research of the Law. He also founded the top legal journal Theoretical Inquiries in Law and served as its editor in chief from 1999 to 2003.

Between 2002-2006, Prof. Porat served as Dean of TAU's Faculty of Law. During his tenure, he initiated a special admissions program for outstanding students from the peripheral areas of Israel. The program has since been adopted by all other TAU faculties.

Prof. Porat is a member of the American Law Institute, a former board member of the American Law and Economics Association, and a former president of the Israeli Law and Economics Association.

Wise Observatory at TAU Gains a Meaningful Gift
7/17/2014

Israel's second largest telescope dedicated in memory of Jay Baum Rich by his son, Mike Rich

There is no better therapy than taking positive action. This is exactly why American benefactor and UCLA researcher Dr. Michael Rich wanted so deeply to dedicate to the memory of his late father a special gift, a novel and powerful astronomical telescope, to the country that inspired Jay to remain strong when he felt that the rest of the world wanted him to be weak.

The telescope was unveiled recently at Tel Aviv University's Florence and George Wise Observatory in Mitzpe Ramon at a ceremony that included Wise Observatory Director Prof. Dan Maoz of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Physics and Astronomy, TAU Director-General Mordehai Kohn, and TAU Vice Rector Prof. Dina Prialnik. Along with Dr. Rich's donation, this latest addition to the observatory was made possible by generous gifts from Prof. Mike Shara of the American Museum of Natural History, New York, and Ezra Druker of Tel Aviv.

The Jay Baum Rich Telescope has a 28-inch primary mirror, making it the second largest telescope in Israel, and it can take images as deep as telescopes five times larger. Astronomers are able to submit instructions for a night's observing (executed automatically) without being present at the observatory, as is done for the Hubble Space Telescope. The telescope will be used to study distant supernovae, the search for planets beyond our solar system, and the study of galaxies. It is expected that many TAU PhD students will use the telescope as well.

Love for Israel

Growing up in Saginaw, Michigan, Jay Baum Rich faced anti-Semitism at a young age. He felt that it was his duty to teach his children to remember their Jewish heritage, and to never forget where they came from.

Jay was a family man full of energy and determination. His love of art, music, and knowledge was contagious, and inspired his son's love of science and teaching at UCLA's Astronomy Department.

"My father and I visited Israel in 1972, before the Yom Kippur War," recounted Rich. "One vision I have burned in my memory was that it was easy to see the borders. Israel had planted trees everywhere, while the land outside the border was barren." It was then that he understood his father's love for Israel, Rich said.

Housing the telescope

The Jay Baum Rich telescope is housed in a special dome at the observatory. "The TAU staff at the Wise Observatory contributed hundreds of person-hours to build the dome and get everything to perform at a professional level," stressed Rich. "Without their expertise, and also the tireless efforts of former Wise Director, Dr. Noah Brosch, this project simply would not have happened.

"This is a great achievement for Tel Aviv University and its astronomy department. It doubles the power of the Wise Observatory facilities," Rich said.

Rich looked forward to the possibility of Israel's inclusion in the European Southern Observatory, which would give the Israeli astronomical community access to some of the world's most powerful facilities, including the world's largest telescope planned for Chile.

"I have confidence that the young people whose careers begin here at the Wise Observatory will indeed reach their dreams," Rich concluded.

Update from the President
7/14/2014

Prof. Joseph Klafter about the facts on the ground in Tel Aviv

Prof. Joseph KlafterDear Friends and Alumni,

First, I want to thank our friends around the world for sending messages of solidarity — they warm our hearts and bolster our spirits.

While media reports focus on chaos and destruction, I would like to share with you the realities of our lives here in the Tel Aviv area and at the University. We hear air raid sirens 2-3 times a day and take shelter each time for 10 minutes. Loud booms can be heard throughout the entire central region — proof that Iron Dome, created and directed by TAU engineering and management alumnus Dr. Danny Gold, has once again intercepted Gaza rockets.

Yes, the situation is stressful but everyone is showing tremendous fortitude. We feel strong and united.

Along with missiles, Hamas and other groups are attacking Israel with thousands of hostile cyber strikes — dozens on the University alone. Our researchers and graduates in cyber security are at the forefront of keeping military and civilian systems protected. This is just one area among many at the University that contribute to Israel's resilience and technological edge.

Still Looking Outward, Too

We are also carrying on with teaching and research that improves the world. A poster child for this important work is our first Manna Summer Program in Food Safety and Security. One hundred students are attending the two-week program from 13 countries. What's inspiring and heartening is that, despite the security situation, these students (and most others in our international summer programs) are staying the course. For example, food technologist Rhitah Nabirye, 25 years old and from Uganda, is gaining wider perspectives on energy, economics and policy making that she can apply to urban farming back home. Angela Siele, a 26-year-old Cornell University student from Kenya, intends to set up a women's empowerment program in small scale agriculture in Tanzania, and Kristin Bruce, 26, is learning about global aspects of food and water security that she'll be taking back to the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Pictured from left: Kristin, Angela and Rhitah.

Kristin told us that "when the sirens first went off, I was a little scared but the staff at the dorms immediately ushered us into the shelters and gave us information on how to conduct ourselves. The communication network here at TAU is amazing."

Giving "Happy Campers" New Meaning

Along with taking care of its own students, TAU has made its libraries and their staff available to young people from the South of Israel. TAU students are volunteering with children from hard-hit southern cities. We're also welcoming groups of kids for "fun days" along with our regular day campers at the Elite Sports Center and on campus. The children are doing all their regular activities but are doing them safely, next to Home Front-approved shelters.

No one knows when this dangerous period will end, but we are not letting it disrupt our lives or our University mission. Meanwhile, I applaud the Tel Aviv University community, the many soldiers and reservists called to action, the people of Israel, and supporters around the world, who are standing together as one, resolutely and courageously.

Yours sincerely,
Yossi

TAU Physicist Elected to Oldest, Most Elite Learned Society in the United States
6/26/2014

Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob joins distinguished membership of the American Philosophical Society

Tel Aviv University physicist Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob has been elected to the American Philosophical Society — the oldest learned society in the United States — the only non-American among the 33 new members.

Prof. Ben-Jacob is a professor of physics and astronomy and holds the Maguy-Glass Chair in Physics of Complex Systems at the Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Physics and Astronomy and the Sagol School of Neuroscience at TAU. He is also adjunct professor of biochemistry and cell biology at Rice University's Senior Investigator Center for Theoretical Biological Physics (CTBP).

Founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin, the society boasts past members including Charles Darwin, Alexander Graham Bell, Louis Pasteur, and Albert Einstein, as well as American Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. The society is very small and through its entire history has had fewer than 5,500 members in all. It currently has fewer than 1,000 members in all fields of sciences, humanities, and the arts, with only five other international members in physics, making Prof. Ben-Jacob number six.

"This is a great honor," said Prof. Ben-Jacob. "But it is important for me to say that in my case, like that of many others, my personal achievements are the result of cooperation with others. I had the good fortune to work with brilliant scientists, to guide excellent post-doctorates and advise brilliant dedicated and creative students. I also enjoyed cooperating on philosophical ideas with Prof. Alfred Tauber, without whose encouragement and financial support through the Tauber Family Foundation I could not have reached the achievements for which I was selected. My pioneering research has struggled to receive funding from common research funds.

"The more I learn about the American Philosophical Society, the more surprised I am and the more honored I feel to have been elected," he continued.

Ben-Jacob is one of the world's leading experts in biocomplexity, the theory of self-organization and pattern formation in open systems. Ben-Jacob's honors and contributions to science include the 1986 Landau Research Prize, the 1996 Siegle Research Prize of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and the 2013 Weizmann Prize in Exact Sciences. Ben-Jacob is former president of the Israel Physical Society and chairs the Israel Ministry of Education's Advisory Council of High School Physics Education.

VentureBeat report: Israel and China sign $300M deal to spur nanotech-computer science innovation
6/24/2014

TAU and Tsinghua University in Beijing sign a $300 million deal that will see an exchange of PhD students from Israel and China.

Published in VentureBeat, June 23, 2014

Israel and China are now BFFs — at least when it comes to the subjects of nanotechnology, computer science, and other high-tech fields.

Two prominent tech universities from both countries — Tel Aviv University and Tsinghua University in Beijing — recently signed a $300 million deal that will see an exchange of Ph.D students from Israel and China. And eventually, satellite offices on both campuses.

Leaders from both schools see this deal as more than just an expensive exchange of top-shelf talent.

While nanotechnology will be one of the primary focuses initially, Tel Aviv University president Joseph Klafter sees the newly minted relationship as a way for students to collaborate and eventually launch IT-centric startups of their own.

"The Chinese are looking for partners in order to excel their innovation process," Klafter told VentureBeat in a Monday sitdown. "They will be the next generation of researchers and innovators."

The deal marks the largest such exchange in the history of the two countries and has profound implications for global tech innovation. Israel produces some of the best developers in the world, and China does, too. The deal also shows Chinese interest in tapping the tech know-how of the Holy Land, with its tiny population of 7.9 million, that many refer to as "startup nation."

Initially, seven graduate students from Tel Aviv University and 14 graduate students from Tsinghua University will take part on the exchange. Part of the $300 million, according to the studious Klafter, will go toward designing prototypes and connecting the academic sector to the broader business world and to commercialize joint projects.

The $300 million initiative is called Xin, which is Mandarin for heart or mind. Klafter has exceptionally ambitious plans for Xin, as do his Chinese counterparts. Nanotech cooperation is high on the list of priorities, followed by medical apps and environmental subjects. IT research will then join in.

So far, this effort has raised $100 million, with the cash coming primarily from the private sector, sans governments. Construction will also take place on the campuses of both schools to house the program. There is no downside to the deal, Klafter said, noting that Tsinghua University is called the "MIT of China" while Tel Aviv University has the best computer science program in Israel.

"We will now have an academic presence in China. There are lots of fellowships and faculty in the cooperation. The Chinese are looking for different types of cooperation, and they wanted the innovative side," Klafter said. "Lawyers from both sides have already fine-toothed the deal, and intellectual property right exchanges have been signed. The deal has created a lot of noise," he said.

While Klafter and his Chinese colleagues hope to raise the rest of the dough soon, the focused university chief pictures a win-win for both sides. He eventually sees Israeli tech ideas turned into startups and making money in Beijing, and sees the same for Chinese participation.

"The focus is on everything, from startups to basic research," he said.

Klafter smiled and put his iPhone back into his pocket on his way to yet another meeting in the Valley before flying home to Tel Aviv.

"Anything that leads to an idea," he said of the deal. "Scientists run the world."

Cornerstone Is Laid for the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate Center at the TAU Business School
6/22/2014

Business Wire founder calls the extensive center his way of "betting on the kids of the future"

At a sweeping building site on the university's award-winning campus, the cornerstone for the new Lorry I. Lokey Graduate Center at The Tel Aviv University Business School was laid on May 18, 2014.

Lokey, the noted San Francisco philanthropist and founder of Business Wire, wielded a spade to enthusiastic applause from a distinguished gathering at the groundbreaking ceremony on the final day of TAU's annual Board of Governors meeting.

The new 53,820-square-foot center will house five research institutions, a state-of-the-art, 300-seat auditorium fully equipped with media and presentation systems, and offices for all graduate programs, 20 tenure-track faculty and 30 administrative staff, as well as lounge and refreshment areas. The center will be a major transformation for TAU's Recanati Business School, currently housed in a 75,000-square-foot building serving 1,200 undergraduates, 2,160 master's students, and 70 Ph.D. candidates.

Guests at the groundbreaking ceremony included TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter, Dean of the Faculty of Management Prof. Asher Tishler, Vice Dean Prof. Moshe Zviran, Chairman of TAU's Executive Council Dr. Giora Yaron, and Mr. Lokey's partner Joanne E. Harrington. American Friends of Tel Aviv University were represented in numbers, including National Chairman Jon Gurkoff and President & CEO Gail Reiss.

A champion of education

"What a thrill to make an investment," said Lokey, who serves on Tel Aviv University's Board of Governors. "Those of us giving grants are really betting on the kids of the future — we want them to do better than we did. Through Tel Aviv University, we are just getting better and better."

Lokey's charitable nature is in his DNA: even during the Depression, his parents continued to give to organizations they supported. By his late 20s, Lokey already was giving away 10 percent of his income, starting with gifts to his local temple and to Stanford University, from which he holds a B.A. in Journalism. To this day, he still donates to the elementary school he attended.

"It is a privilege to give," says Lokey. He has donated $702.5 million throughout his lifetime — virtually 98 percent of his net worth — with the bulk of it going to educational institutions. "Without people giving grants, we'd never make it. I'm just thrilled to be a part of it all."

During his visit to Israel, Lokey escorted three University of Oregon research professors to Tel Aviv University, Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva, Weizmann Institute in Rehovat, and Technion Institute in Haifa. They met peer-level scientists at each institution.

An impact on Israel

At the ceremony, President Klafter thanked Lokey both for his benevolence and his singular worldview.

"Lorry, you are a great philanthropist who has given substantially of your wealth for the benefit of others. It is a great vote of confidence in our excellence that you have chosen to make Tel Aviv University a recipient. We are deeply thankful to have you as a partner in this important project, through which your love of Israel will gain concrete shape and form, and will have a lasting impact on the state's economy and society."

Honored with countless awards, Lokey is annually ranked with the top U.S. philanthropists. A native of Oregon, he moved to San Francisco in 1952. In 1961, he established the media relations firm Business Wire, which he sold to Berkshire Hathaway in 2006.

Sincere Family Gift Creates Unique Academic Bridge Between TAU and University of Wisconsin
6/21/2014

Chicago philanthropists Debra and Richard Sincere establish scholarship project in Middle Eastern Studies at TAU

The Debra and Richard Sincere Tel Aviv University Project in Middle Eastern Studies was officially initiated at a ceremony on May 15th, during Tel Aviv University's annual Board of Governors Meeting. The innovative project will award substantial scholarships to outstanding doctoral students at Tel Aviv University's top-rated think tank, The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. The gift will also support joint academic activities with the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, including research seminars and conferences, faculty and student exchanges, and, in the future, co-taught on-line courses.

Mr. Sincere, Chairman and CEO of the third party marketing and distribution firm Sincere & Co., LLC, is an alumnus of both institutions. He is a member of Tel Aviv University's Board of Governors and of TAU's Recanati Business School Faculty Board of Directors, and is Secretary of American Friends of Tel Aviv University's Board of Directors. Many members of the American delegation to the Board of Governors Meeting were among the distinguished guests on hand to applaud the unveiling at the Moshe Dayan Center Library, including AFTAU's Chairman Jon Gurkoff and President & CEO Gail Reiss.

Director of the Moshe Dayan Center Prof. Uzi Rabi addressed the crowd, saying, "I want to deeply thank Richard and Debra for their immense contribution. I believe this will pave the way for lasting cooperation between Tel Aviv University and Richard's alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, Madison."

A goal realized

"As a 20-year-old college student," Richard Sincere told the guests, "I saw a building being donated and thought: I want to be able to do that. Well, perhaps not so big today, but the point is — all of us can change the world." To that end, the innovative Debra and Richard Sincere Project can serve as a model for other philanthropists who wish to support and connect two universities on different continents.

"Tel Aviv University and University of Wisconsin, Madison have two of the best history departments in the world," Sincere added. "We are dedicated to getting scholars from both sides together." And he urged the two students who will receive the first scholarships — one from the United States and one from Turkey — to "Keep on making a difference."

Jon Gurkoff shared a few details about his valued friend and colleague. "Richard's life was changed by his experience at TAU as an overseas student," he explained. "No one has more enthusiasm for Israel. He just arrives in Tel Aviv and lights up. His enthusiasm is boundless for everything he does, and he’s a true leader. He really — 'sincerely' — wants to make a difference."

Making a great institution greater

University Vice President Prof. Raanan Rein raised a glass in a toast of thanks. "The Sinceres' gift is a major of vote of confidence for the Moshe Dayan Center — one of the top such research hubs in the world," he said. "It's not only about our experts, but also our up-and-coming researchers: A key part of sustaining and expanding the Moshe Dayan Center's efforts is by nurturing the next generations of experts. Toward this end, a significant portion of the Sinceres' donation will go toward graduate students here in Middle Eastern Studies at TAU, helping them with their tuition and making the road toward doctoral studies easier."

Gail Reiss summed up the Sinceres' project, calling it "a fresh kind of academic symbiosis in the community of global thought-leaders. I hope many more will follow Debra and Richard's example."

TAU Grad Student Wins Second Place at Broadcom Foundation Competition for “Extraordinary Research”
6/17/2014

Shir Landau Feibish recognized for research on detecting "zero-day" cyberattacks

Shir Landau Feibish, a doctoral student at Tel Aviv University's Blavatnik School of Computer Science, was awarded second place and $5,000 at the third annual Broadcom Foundation University Research Competition on June 4th, sponsored by the Broadcom Foundation, a non-profit charged with advancing education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Landau Feibish was recognized for her study, "Automated Signature Extraction for High Volume Attacks," co-authored by Prof. Yehuda Afek of TAU's School of Computer Sciences and Prof. Anat Bremler-Barr of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.

The subject of the study, the "double heavy hitters algorithm," was presented last October at the annual Symposium on Architectures for Networking and Communications Systems conference in California and published in IEEE Xplore. According to Landau Feibish, the algorithm is capable of finding even the smallest set of cyberclues or footprints (known as "signatures") required to detect attacks that may currently slip under the radar. The sophisticated algorithm provides a tool for zero-day attack signature extraction that makes the Internet safer and blocks Distributed Denial of Service attacks not otherwise mitigated. It can be used in a variety of applications including DNA sequence analysis and file similarity testing.

"Security is like electronic warfare. They get smarter and we have to get smarter with them," said Landau Feibish. "The only way to identify the signature of the new attackers is to devise new technology that would automatically review huge amounts of data in real time and find common patterns that the human eye would easily miss."

Nurturing young STEM stars

Landau Feibish was among 12 student finalists from 11 universities competing in a poster session at the opening reception of the annual Technical Conference of the Broadcom Corporation, a global leader and innovator in semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications.

"This competition, spearheaded by Broadcom's co-founder, Henry Samueli, celebrates academic excellence and social awareness among students who perform extraordinary research at the doctoral level," said Paula Golden, Executive Director of the Broadcom Foundation. "The intellectual power of the finalists, who come from universities across the world, is profound and we are honored to have them compete on the eve of Broadcom's Technical Conference."

The finalists, selected by Broadcom Foundation's STEM University Select Committee, shared insights into their engineering projects and future applications of their research. More than 400 distinguished Broadcom engineers judged the entries on scientific rigor, technological sophistication, innovation, and presentation. The top three winners were awarded cash prizes of $10,000, $5,000, and $2,500 respectively.

"I am honored to win, and I think that this competition provided me with new understanding about the impact university research has on industry. It was really overwhelming to see the interest people had in this project," said Landau Feibish. "On a personal note, I was proud to represent Tel Aviv University. Being the only woman and the only mother in the competition left me with a strong belief that we need to make an effort to increase the number of women in the computer sciences and the entire engineering community."

The goal of the University Research Competition is to honor and encourage young researchers to become the next generation of great innovators in electrical engineering and related fields.

"I especially want to thank my supervisor, Prof. Yehuda Afek, and also Prof. Anat Bremler-Barr," said Landau Feibish. "This grant will be very significant in allowing us to pursue our research in various directions. We are currently exploring ways of improving these results further and perhaps finding ways in which similar methods could be used to mitigate other types of attacks as well."

Rothstein-Williamowsky Post-Graduate Clinics Are Inaugurated at TAU's Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine
5/27/2014

State-of-the-art facilities will serve Tel Aviv's families and provide advanced training for dental specialists


The Advanced Care Clinic
is officially opened

A dream became reality on May 18th when The Rothstein-Williamowsky Post-Graduate Clinics were inaugurated at Tel Aviv University's Maurice and Gabriela Goldschelger School of Dental Medicine on May 18th.

The ceremony, held during the university's annual Board of Governors Meeting, marked the official opening of the new Advanced Care Clinic, and a Special Care Clinic is expected to break ground by the end of the year. Together, they will provide a much-needed, quality care center for disadvantaged and disabled patients in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, and provide sophisticated training for tomorrow's dental professionals.

The $2.7 million campaign to fund the clinics is a joint initiative of the Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity and American Friends of Tel Aviv University, co-chaired by Dr. Marc Rothman, chairman of the Alpha Omega Foundation and a member of AFTAU's Board of Directors, and Steven William Kess, Vice President for Global Professional Relations at Henry Schein, Inc. The clinics are named in honor of two inspirational leaders who have long championed TAU's dental school — the late Ralph Rothstein and Dr. Ben A. Williamowsky, a member of AFTAU's Board of Directors, TAU's Board of Governors, and former International President of Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity.

Fueled by passion


Dr. Ben Williamowsky and
School of Dental Medicine Head
Prof. Ilana Eli

Celebrating at the well-attended ceremony were Prof. Ilana Eli, head of the Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine, who has led the school's remarkable revitalization after several years of financial crisis; TAU Vice President Prof. Raanan Rein; AFTAU's National Chairman Jon Gurkoff, and President & CEO Gail Reiss.

Dr. Williamowsky told the guests, "It has been a long journey. Our story started with a phone call from [the late TAU Governor and Honorary Fellow Dr.] Sonny Lefcoe to build a second Israeli dental school. I said, 'Okay, on two conditions — you involve Alpha Omega and my friend Ralph Rothstein,' who then owned the largest dental lab in the world.

"I love the people who have stuck with us all this time," he continued. "Gail Reiss packs more punch than anyone I have ever met, and we have never enjoyed more support from TAU's administration than today. I keep President Joseph Klafter's words close to my heart: 'The dental school is open, and it will stay open forever.'"

Dr. Marc Rothman
Dr. Marc Rothman

Dr. Rothman, who calls Dr. Williamowsky a "second father," spoke of the profound effects the clinics will have. He recalled, "I was told never to devalue what one does, whether it be opening the chest of someone for heart surgery or taking out a tooth, because in that moment, it is the most important thing in that person's life.

"I now understand that these important moments in time have the great power to add more to the collective happiness of the world than anything else, and that is the ability to give someone an opportunity to say thank you. These clinics will do that thousands and thousands of times, over and over again — providing care for the needy and those with physical and emotional disabilities. It will be a shining light in the Middle East," he said.

Committed partners

Finkelstein Garden at the
Dental Clinics

"None of this would have been possible without the passion and generosity of the Alpha Omega International Fraternity," said Prof. Rein. "Alpha Omega — the driving force for establishing the Dental School of Tel Aviv University — has been unwavering in its support for the school's revival and growth."

Addressing Dr. Williamowsky, he said, "You have proved time and time again just how passionate you are about education and health. You have demonstrated all the values that we hold dear at TAU — vision, dedication, and furthering knowledge in the service of society.'" Tel Aviv University conferred an honorary fellowship on Dr. Williamowsky in 1999.

At the conclusion of the initiative — aptly called the Join Us! Campaign — the names of significant donors will be etched on a series of classic stone pillars at the entrance to the School of Dental Medicine.

Dr. Ernest Baden Recognized for Advancing Medical Research at TAU
5/25/2014

Noted Florida philanthropist "feels at home at TAU"


Prof. Yoseph A. Mekori and
Dr. Ernest Baden

Dr. Ernest Baden, a distinguished intellectual and oral and general anatomic pathologist with a subspecialty in surgical head and neck pathology, was honored for his generous support for the advancement of medical research at a May 18th ceremony at Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine during TAU's annual Board of Governors meeting.

The Pompano Beach, FL, resident, will establish the Dr. Ernest Baden Institute of Head and Neck Pathology, as well as the Dr. Jane R. Baden Endowed Research Fund for Molecular Research to Elucidate the Etiology and Pathogenesis of Alzheimer's Disease in honor of his mother, who died of the disease. His gift will benefit both the School of Medicine and TAU's Sagol School of Neuroscience.

Among the notables on hand to applaud the unveiling of a plaque recognizing Dr. Baden were medical pathologists from the Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine Dean Prof. Yoseph A. Mekori, and a number of leading Alzheimer's disease researchers. Many members of the American delegation to the annual meeting were in attendance, including American Friends of Tel Aviv University National Chairman Jon Gurkoff, President & CEO Gail Reiss, and Southeast Region Consultant Joel S. Friedman.

A perfect nexus


Dr. Ernest Baden and
Joel S. Friedman

Addressing the guests, Prof. Mekori said, "As an expert pathologist, Dr. Baden was quite precise about where the resources should go. I want to convey my deep gratitude for his very important contribution to Alzheimer's research, and to the study of head and neck pathology."

While in Israel — a trip that encompassed his first visit to the city of Tel Aviv — Dr. Baden delivered two lectures: "The Spectrum of Lesions, Benign and Malignant Neoplasms of the Head and Neck Caused by the Human Papilloma Virus," delivered at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center on May 13, 2014, was attended by staff pathologists and residents. "The Differential Diagnosis of Oral Ulcers," delivered in the Department of Oral Pathology and Oral Medicine, Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine, Tel Aviv University, on May 14, 2014, was attended by undergraduate dental students, residents, and faculty members of the department.

Friedman noted that Dr. Baden has spent a lifetime teaching. "His great passion is medicine," he said, "and he feels a strong affinity for global Jewry. This contribution is an ideal legacy, melding his love of education, medicine, and the Jewish people."

A bohemian perspective

At the ceremony, Dr. Baden spoke of his experiences fleeing from the Nazis during WWII. Leaving Marseille, France on May 15, 1941, on the S.S. Wyoming with his parents sailing to Fort De France, Martinique, where another ship was going to take the family to their final destination of Montevideo, Uruguay. The S.S. Wyoming, without informing its passengers and already past Gibraltar and in the international waters of the Atlantic Ocean, was instead ordered to change its course and sail to Casablanca, French Morocco. All foreign Jewish passengers were arrested and interned in concentration camps, even though they had valid exit permits to leave France and valid visas to enter various countries. He and his parents were interned first in Oued Zem and later in Sidi El Ayashi, French concentration camps in Morocco.

Following studies at the University of Algiers and Paris, Dr. Baden went on to earn his DDS degree from New York University and a medical degree from the University of Geneva, graduating with the distinction of summa cum laude and becoming a physician with board certification in pathology. "I am really a bohemian; I've lived la vie boheme," he said. "I started my medical career in the Near East, first studying dentistry and literature at the University of Algiers and Paris. I have studied and taught at three universities in the course of my career and directed a clinic in oral medicine.

"And now I have discovered TAU, one of the leading medical research institutions in the Middle East. I find the intellect of the faculty and the student body impressive — and I have never in my life received such a generous reception. I feel at home here."

That made his decision to advance research at TAU an obvious choice, he said. "Immortality is a philosophical and religious concept having many interpretations," he told the guests. "My view is a pragmatic one, namely ensuring the continuation of a successful and rewarding career educating dental and medical students, training future specialists, and supporting medical research in head and neck pathology, my field of expertise and interest. The elimination of poverty and unemployment, can only be achieved by education in all fields of human endeavors."

Dr. Ben Williamowsky, a member of TAU's Board of Governors and AFTAU's Board of Directors, said after the ceremony, "Dr. Baden is a dentist, a physician, and a philanthropist who is an all-around wonderful person. We're lucky to have him in the TAU family."

Tel Aviv and Tsinghua Universities Launch $300 Million XIN Research Center
5/21/2014

Unprecedented collaboration will initially focus on nanotechnology


Prof. Joseph Klafter, Madame Liu Yandong, and Prof. Chen Jining

XIN, the new joint research center of Tel Aviv University and Beijing's Tsinghua University, was officially opened at a ceremony held at Tel Aviv University on Tuesday, May 20th. The agreement to launch the $300 million center for graduate students of both universities was signed by Tsinghua University President Prof. Chen Jining and Tel Aviv University President Prof. Joseph Klafter. Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China Madame Liu Yandong, XIN founding directors Tsinghua Prof. Zheng Quanshui and Prof. Yael Hanein, head of TAU's Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, as well as leading business figures and scientists from both countries, were present at the ceremony.

Based at both universities, the XIN ("new" in Mandarin Chinese) program will initially focus on nanotechnology cooperation, particularly with medical and optics applications, but will later expand to other areas, such as raw materials, water treatment, and environmental issues. A third of the total funding for the project has already been raised from private and government sources.

"It's an unprecedented agreement in size and scope," Prof. Klafter noted. "It was built from the bottom up because it started with our scientists meeting and falling in love with each other."

"We have collaborations with many other universities around the world, but this is the first that is so in-depth and innovative," Prof. Chen commented.

Expanding an international partnership

Seven graduate students from TAU and 14 graduate students from Tsinghua have been recruited for the initial year of studies. Part of the XIN budget will be used to design prototypes, connect academics to the business world, and commercialize products of joint research.

"TAU's ties with China began in 1995, during the early days of official relations between our two countries," Prof. Klafter told guests at the inauguration. "We opened a Department of East Asian Studies, Israel's first Confucius Institute, and exchange programs in the Chinese language, Jewish Studies, Middle Eastern studies, and architecture. Since then, connections have expanded and flourished, and today Tel Aviv University has agreements with 30 Chinese institutions across the spectrum of sciences and humanities. But the jewel in the crown is the agreement we are signing today with the prestigious Tsinghua University, in the presence of Vice Premier Liu and senior dignitaries."

"Higher education across the globe is changing rapidly, and universities are exerting a new impact on the economy and society," Prof. Chen later said at the launch. "The aim of the XIN center is to cultivate the innovators and entrepreneurs of the future."

Before the official signing of the agreement, a letter from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was read aloud. "The establishment of the XIN center is a major milestone in the cooperative relationship between China and Israel, which continues to expand to our mutual benefit," he wrote. "I wish you great success, and I look forward to seeing the fruit of the XIN center, and its scientific and cultural impact on both countries."

Trade between Israel and China has been steadily growing, reaching $8.4 billion last year, compared with $6.7 billion in 2010, according to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics.

Prime Minister Bestows 2014 "Innovation Prize" on Appleseed Academy in Ceremony at TAU
5/20/2014

PM Netanyahu recognizes TAU's "environment for innovation"


In an impressive ceremony at Tel Aviv University on May 19th during the university's annual Board of Governors Meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu awarded the fourth annual Prime Minister's Initiatives and Innovation Prize to Dafna Lifshitz, CEO of Appleseeds Academy. The grassroots organization will receive NIS 80,000 ($23,000) to further its efforts to provide technological training to disadvantaged populations — notably Bedouin, Druze, and ultra-Orthodox women — and integrate them into mainstream Israeli society.

The Innovation Prize, as it is commonly known, was born in 2010 out of the prime minister's personal conviction that "the future belongs to those who innovate" and that "only through innovation can we find better solutions to the most challenging problems." Recipients of the annual prize can be either commercial businesses or non-profit organizations. This year, the Prime Minister also bestowed honorable mentions on four other entities, each of whom will receive NIS 30,000 ($8,660) to further their innovative work.

The 2014 Innovation Prize selection committee included Dr. Giora Yaron, Chairman of Tel Aviv University's Executive Council, TAU's commercialization entity, Ramot, and co-chairman of the board at Itamar Medical; Prof. Eugene Kandel, head of the National Economic Council; Tammy Hauspeter, adviser to the Prime Minister; Intel Israel general manager Maxine Fassberg; Prof. Dafna Schwartz of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; Dr. Harry Yuklea of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology; and Start-Up Nation co-author Saul Singer.

A breakneck pace

"Thanks to Tel Aviv University for hosting us," said PM Netanyahu. "To the winners and their families tonight, this is our excitement — not yours — because you are providing the innovative solutions to Israel's problems.

"The future belongs to those who innovate. It allows us to include weaker elements of society and also allows us as a nation, as a country, to provide services that are constantly improving. The speed of innovation in Israel is breakneck — centers like Tel Aviv University, of such focused intellectual energy, nurture it; our security situation demands it; our business environment and free market encourage it; and lastly, everything is 'in the neighbourhood,' close by — all of the relevant players are easily able to meet and make things work. These factors together create precisely the right environment for innovation."

"We are trying to help bridge the gap," said Ms. Lifshitz upon receiving her prize. "Appleseed Academy trains women who subsequently each train 800 other women. After undergoing training, these women are for all intents and purposes able to integrate into Israeli society — half of our graduates find high-quality employment within six months and 65 percent of our graduates end up serving in elite technological units of the army. By investing NIS 40,000 ($11,500) in each woman, the country gets back in savings NIS 500,000 ($144,300). By providing technological tools and the development of life skills, we can provide equal opportunities to Israel's socially disadvantaged communities," she said.

Honorable mentions

In the not-for-profit category, Ayala Tal-El received an honorable mention for her organization Israel AV, which works with deaf and hard-of-hearing children, and seeks to integrate them in mainstream schools with the aid of innovative therapies and technology. "Statistics show that those who use our strategies can do anything," said Ms. Tal-El. "Our objective is for any parent whose child was diagnosed as hard of hearing be able to access our clinics."

Three commercial businesses also received honorable mentions. Zeev Birger, founder of Top-It-Up, was honored for innovative vision in developing floating modular covers for reservoirs to minimize evaporation and improve water quality. "I heard the commercial — 'Israel is drying up' — and I started seeking solutions to save water," said Mr. Birger at the ceremony. "I saw that through my method, evaporation decreased by 90%. If we manage to cover all of Israel's reservoirs, we might be able to double our water supply in Israel."

Amihai Miron, co-founder and CEO of User1st, which provides accessible versions of websites for users with a wide range of physical disabilities, and Ziv Dubinsky, founder of Metabolic Robots, which developed an automated poultry feeding system that significantly increases efficiency and profitability as well as improves the quality of food in Israel were also recognized.

In his closing remarks, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "Soon there won't be a distinction between high tech and low tech. Food, water, air, energy — everything is becoming technologized. The future belongs to those who innovate. We want to build on our traditions to seize the future, and we welcome your partnership."

$1 Million Dan David Prizes Awarded to Distinguished Scientists and Scholars
5/20/2014

Profs. Saul Friedlander and Marvin Minsky among laureates in Past, Present, and Future categories


Saul Friedlander


Marvin Minsky

In a grand ceremony on May 18, during Tel Aviv University's 2014 Board of Governors annual meeting, prestigious Dan David Prizes were awarded to seven scientists and intellectuals before an audience of prominent political, business, philanthropic, and academic figures from around the world. Among this years' laureates were Prof. Saul Friedlander, one of the world's preeminent Holocaust historians, incumbent of UCLA's 1939 Club Chair in Holocaust Studies, and a former TAU professor; and Prof. Marvin Minsky, one of the founders of the field of artificial intelligence and professor of media arts and sciences, and of electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The prize, one of the most lucrative in the academic world, is endowed by the Dan David Foundation and has been administered by Tel Aviv University every year since its inception in 2002. The Dan David International Board each year chooses different fields of study for Past, Present, and Future categories, and a review committee of scholars and professionals select laureates who have made outstanding contributions. All Dan David Laureates donate 10% of their $1 million award to a fund for outstanding doctoral and post-doctoral candidates.

Of mind and memory

This year, the Past category was dedicated to "History and Memory"; the Present to "Combatting Memory Loss"; and the Future to "Artificial Intelligence, the Digital Mind." In his opening remarks at the ceremony, TAU President Joseph Klafter said, "We are paying tribute tonight to some of the world's greatest academic leaders in the study of the mind. Their insights on history and memory; combating memory loss; and artificial intelligence have generated entirely new ways of understanding how the mind works and how it influences past, present, and future realities."

PAST:

Prof. Friedlander authored the definitive work Nazi-Germany and the Jews 1933-1945, initiating a sustained debate over the proper periodization of Nazi history, the extent to which the Holocaust and the history of the Third Reich should be considered exceptional, and the ways in which victims' experiences ought to be integrated within the overall narrative of the Holocaust. Prof. Friedlander shared the Past category prize with two co-recipients. Krysztof Czyzewski, a renowned Polish publisher, writer and theater director, public intellectual, and social activist was recognized for the integration of the history of "borderless peoples" into Poland's past, present, and future. The third recipient of the prize was Pierre Nora, a French public intellectual and publisher, who established the historiographic interpretive category "Les lieux de mémoire" ("Sites of Memory"), about the intricate connections and oppositions between history, public use of the past, and centrality of memory in a media-saturated world. At the ceremony, Prof. Friedlander spoke on behalf of the three recipients: "The past is a foreign country, a boundless domain. ... Notwithstanding our differences, all three of us wish to get closer to the heart of that country."

PRESENT:

Three scientists shared the $1 million award. Prof. John A. Hardy of University College London, a molecular geneticist, was the first to discover the mutation in the gene coding for the amyloid protein, which plays a primary role in Alzheimer's neurodegeneration. Prof. Peter St. George-Hyslop of Cambridge University and the University of Toronto, and also a molecular geneticist, identified the "pathway," or initial event, leading to the death of nerve cells causing brain damage in Alzheimer's patients. Prof. Brenda Milner of McGill University spent a lifetime identifying the existence of different types of learning and memory, all of which depend on distinct areas of the brain; her pioneering research has paved the way for modern learning and memory research.

FUTURE:

Hailed by the Dan David Foundation as "one of the most influential intellectuals of the twentieth century," Prof. Marvin Minsky, scientist and philosopher, was among the founders of multiple related disciplines: artificial intelligence, robotics, computation, learning, cognition, philosophy, and optics. Accepting his award, Prof. Minsky thanked the Dan David Foundation and spoke about his confidence in the resourcefulness of human beings. "We'll find ways of putting our minds in machines and then make back-up copies and live forever. After all, there is no reason we should stand for dying," he said. "There are bad futures and good science fiction-type futures, and I vote for the latter."

An imagined argument

This year marks the third ceremony since the passing of the award's founder and champion, Dan David. At the ceremony, his son, Ariel David, spoke about how interested his father would have been in the topic of memory, which one can depend on to "crop up when you least expect it." Recently, at a bookstore, David came across a book he imagined would have grabbed his father's attention because it explored a period he had lived through. "Suddenly I was flooded with memories of my father ... of the fights I used to have over him tearing very heavy books in half — a cruel fate for a book." It was this imagined argument that brought home for David yet another purpose of this year's ceremony, which by virtue of being held, keeps his father's memory alive.

TAU Awards Honorary Doctorates to Seven Influential Intellectuals Encompassing Five Continents
5/19/2014

Former President of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso is recognized for promoting peace and human rights


TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter
and former President of Brazil
Fernando Henrique Cardoso

In a lively ceremony during Tel Aviv University's annual Board of Governors Meeting, the university conferred its most distinguished award — the degree of Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa — on former President of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso and six outstanding leaders from diverse disciplines. The recipients were individually honored for professional and social contributions in science, innovation, business, philanthropy, social activism, and the arts, as well as for their abiding support of the State of Israel, at the May 15th event.

"It is my delight to see you here again at Tel Aviv University," said Prof. Jacob Frenkel, the Chairman of JPMorgan Chase International who serves as Chairman of TAU's Board of Governors, "an institution that fosters inclusivity of people of all ethnicities and nationalities." This is the place where "one embraces the idea that things can and should be better," he said to prolonged applause in the filled-to-capacity auditorium.

Prof. Frenkel singled out former President Cardoso among other honorary degree recipients and thanked him in Portuguese for his efforts to "transform Brazil into a modern democracy." In the ceremony, President Cardoso was recognized for his accomplishments as a "respected national leader, intellectual, scholar and statesman" as well as "his ongoing endeavors to leverage his international renown to promote peace and human rights; and his warm friendship toward the State of Israel."

Delivering a response on behalf of all the honorees, President Cardoso said, "Today is a celebration of knowledge, responsibility, creativity, and innovation. On behalf of my fellow recipients, I thank you for the honor bestowed."

A colorful, global ceremony


Honorary doctorate recipient
Ronnie Chan and
mentalist Lior Suchard

Additional honorees recognized for their prominent and positive roles were Ronnie Chan, of Hong Kong, an entrepreneur and philanthropist who has steadfastly promoted Sino-Israel relations; Paulina Luisa Mizrahi de Deutsch, of Argentina, for her inspiring and engaged leadership role in Argentina’s Jewish community; Prof. David Sankoff, of Canada, for his accomplishments in computational biology and the evolution of the genome; and Prof. Paul Zimmet, Australia, for his contribution to medical progress as a foremost expert in diabetes mellitus. Two Israelis were honored: Agi Mishol for her "standing as one of Israel's most prominent and best-loved poets," and Gil Shwed, a technology pioneer who founded Check Point Software, the world leader in data protection.

The university also bestowed an Honorary Fellowship on the Cameri Theater of Tel Aviv for "its singular contribution, over seven decades, to enhancing Israeli culture and the cultural life of Tel Aviv. The ceremony featured musical interludes by Cameri performers, and the audience was riveted by a performance by renowned mentalist Lior Suchard, whose mind-reading feats have been showcased on television broadcasts around the world.

Celebrating a remarkable group


Performers from Tel Aviv's
Cameri Theatre

"I do not believe we have ever had five continents represented at this annual event," said Tel Aviv University President Yossi Klafter. "This global scope is not by coincidence. From decade to decade, year to year, Tel Aviv University has extended its international reach and standing, connecting Israel and tens of thousands of the world's scientists, scholars, and students; the university and Diaspora Jewry, especially through our Friends Associations in 21 countries; and the wider Tel Aviv University community and international figures and organizations — a number of whom, a remarkable few, are here on this stage tonight.

"Let us salute our recipients' world-encompassing vision, which we so identify with at Tel Aviv University, and which guides us like a brilliantly shining beacon in everything we do," said Prof. Klafter.

The list of TAU's previous degree recipients is a virtual global Who's Who of the past 60 years. Statesmen include David Ben Gurion, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, Golda Meir, Ronald Reagan, Henry Kissinger, and Yitzhak Rabin. Recipients in the arts include Leonard Bernstein, Marc Chagall, Eugene Ionesco, Henry Moore, Santiago Calatrava, Margaret Atwood, the Coen Brothers, and Franco Zeffirelli. In the world of business and finance, recipients include Armand Hammer, Laurence Tisch, Sheldon Adelson, Martin Witman, and Michael Steinhardt. Scientists and scholars include Bernard Lewis, Eric Lander, Edward Teller, Miriam Adelson, and Elie Wiesel.

TAU and Northwestern University Become "Sister Universities"
4/7/2014

Agreement calls for unprecedented academic cooperation


Seated from left:
TAU Rector Aron Shai and Northwestern Pr

ovost Prof. Dan Linzer.
Standing from left:
Prof. Joseph Klafter, Prof. Morton O. Schapiro, Ms. Devora Grynspan, and TAU Vice President Raanan Rein

Tel Aviv University has signed an agreement with Northwestern University declaring the two institutions "sister universities," TAU announced on April 2. The academic cooperation pact was made official during a visit to the Tel Aviv campus by a delegation of top Northwestern officials led by Northwestern President Prof. Morton Schapiro.

New joint programs with TAU's Sackler School of Medicine, Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, and the Department of Film and Television at the David and Yolanda Katz Faculty of the Arts will complement current programs linking Northwestern with TAU's Recanati Business School and Buchmann Faculty of Law. The two institutions will expand their academic cooperation to include joint programs, collaborative research projects, combined seminars, and workshops, and shared guidelines for graduate degrees and student and faculty exchanges. Students will also be able to apply for joint programs in public health, law, and technology, in addition to joint study programs for dual academic degrees in business management and law.

Prof. Schapiro said he hoped the agreement would lead to a deeper academic relationship between the two universities. "The purpose of having such a large delegation in Israel is to strengthen academic cooperation between the two universities," Prof. Schapiro said, praising the "high level of research" at TAU.

Tel Aviv University President Prof. Joseph Klafter thanked his counterpart for "determinedly and energetically standing with Israel" against attempts by academic organizations to boycott Israeli educational institutions for political reasons. Prof. Raanan Rein, vice president of TAU, said that the visit was an important element in the "strategy for the globalization of the university," home to the largest number of international academic programs in Israel.

For more, read the Jerusalem Post article:
http://www.jpost.com/National-News/TAU-Northwestern-sign-academic-cooperation-agreement-to-become-sister-universities-347354

In Memoriam: Avraham Yaski, Founding Father of Israeli Architecture
4/1/2014

Israel Prize laureate and TAU visionary dies at 86

Prof. Avraham YaskiProf. Avraham Yaski, Israel Prize laureate and founder of Tel Aviv University's School of Architecture, passed away last Friday at the age of 86.

Prof. Yaski won the Israel Prize in 1982 for his contribution to Israeli architecture. In 1994, he established TAU's School of Architecture, where he served as department head until 1998.

"One cannot speak of architecture in Israel without mentioning Avraham Yaski," said Amit Dovkin, a close friend and publicist for Moore Yaski Sivan Architects, the architectural firm Prof. Yaski founded in 1965, which is today the largest in Israel. Leaving a prominent imprint on Tel Aviv's skyline, including the iconic Azrieli Center skyscrapers, Prof. Yaski was widely considered the founding father of modern architecture in Israel.

Prof. Yaski had a hand in sculpting Tel Aviv's landscape, d

esigning iconic landmarks including Tel Aviv's City Hall, Rabin Square, Africa-Israel Tower, Opera Tower, Matkal Tower, and Police Headquarters, as well as prominent malls, hospitals, office buildings, and residential towers. Though his later buildings focused on the use of glass in modern towers, he regarded his early work, "the gray years," referring to the exposed concrete buildings of early Tel Aviv, as the best period of his life.

All three of Prof. Yaski's three sons, Yaakov, Shaul, and Yuval, followed in their father's footsteps and became architects.

Prof. Yaski's funeral was held at Tel Aviv's Kiryat Shaul Cemetery on Sunday.

For more, see The Jerusalem Post article:
http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Israeli-archictect-and-Israel-Prize-laureate-Professor-Avraham-Yaski-passed-away-on-Friday-at-the-age-of-87-346799

Award-winning Producer Steve Tisch Will Chair Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival at TAU
3/31/2014

Top-ranked student festival, the world's largest, will showcase 250 short film from 40 countries

Steve TischSteve Tisch, one of the most successful producers in the motion picture industry, will chair the 16th Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival at Tel Aviv University from May 31 to June 7, 2014. He brings Hollywood know-how and increased visibility to the festival, long ranked as one of the top three in the world by the International Association of Film and Television Schools.

Tisch is a partner at Escape Artists Productions and is the Chairman and Executive Vice President of the New York Football Giants,the only person with both an Academy Award and a Super Bowl ring. He received his Academy Award as a producer of Forrest Gump, which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1994, and has received two Super Bowl rings as Chairman of the Giants, who defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI.

"Our students will have the privilege of learning from Mr. Tisch, a role model of accomplishment and an internationally recognized figure in the film industry," notes Prof. Joseph Klafter, President of Tel Aviv University.

Established in 1986 by students from Tel Aviv University's renowned Department of Film & Television, the Tel Aviv International Student Film Festival is now the largest in the world. Beginning this year, the previously biannual festival will be held every year, with permanent funding from the Municipality of Tel Aviv, the Israel Film Council, and Tel Aviv University.

A launching pad for young auteurs

The festival is an important venue for screening and promoting a rarefied category of student-produced films that blaze new trails in cinema and culture. Produced by more than 100 student volunteers, it showcases promising young directors from over 40 countries.

Members of the festival's judging panels and its special guests regularly include luminaries of world cinema. Past judges and speakers include actors Richard Gere, Marcello Mastroianni, Erland Josephson, and Sarah Polley; directors Robert Wise, Jim Sheridan, Chantal Akerman, Paul Schrader, Giuseppe Tornatore, Theo Angelopoulos, Emir Kusturica, Hicham Ayouch, Paolo Sorrentino, and Ari Folman; and producers Arnon Milchan, Roger Corman, Jan Harlan, Ori Inbar, and Nick Frazer.

Past festival winners include young filmmakers already making names in the industry: Thomas Vinterberg, Dover Kosashvili, Francois Ozon, Alan Taylor, Jasper W. Nielsen, and Nir Bergman.

Led this year by student directors Talia Bernstein and Roni Shamiss, The 16th Film Festival is comprised of three parts: the International Forum showcases a panorama of cinema from around the world; the Israeli Competition presents the works of Israel's next generation of filmmakers; and the Mediterranean Competition screens films from neighboring countries, serving as a unique forum for shaping future trends in Middle Eastern film and television.

A filmmaker and much more

Steve Tisch brings a remarkable track record to his role as the first Chairman of the festival. Three decades ago he helped launch Tom Cruise's career with the sleeper hit, Risky Business, and his credits with Escape Artists include The Pursuit of Happyness, The Weather Man, Seven Pounds, Knowing, The Taking of Pelham 123, The Back-Up Plan, and Hope Springs. Tisch has three films scheduled for release this year: Sex Tape, directed by Jake Kasdan and starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, opens July 2014; The Equalizer, directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington, opens September 2014; and The Business Trip, directed by Ken Scott and starring Vince Vaughn, opens in March, 2015.

Tisch has been involved with the New York Giants since his father, Preston Robert Tisch, purchased 50 percent of the franchise in 1991. In 2005, Steve was named Executive Vice President, and with the passing of his father, he assumed the additional title of Chairman. Steve worked closely with John Mara, President & CEO of the Giants, on the planning and construction of MetLife Stadium, completed in the spring of 2010 and ranked as the number one grossing stadium in the world in 2012. Tisch and Mara were named Best NFL Owners by Forbes in 2011. Steve also helped win the successful bid to bring Super Bowl XLVIII to MetLife Stadium in February 2014.

He has long been a leader in the philanthropic sector and generously contributes his time and resources to a variety of organizations including The Epilepsy Foundation, Women's Cancer Research Foundation and The Simon Wiesenthal Center. He is on the Board of Trustees of The Geffen Theatre in Los Angeles, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Cancer Center at Duke University. He is the naming benefactor of the new sports and fitness center at his alma mater, Tufts University.

This year’s impresarios

Tel Aviv International Student Film FestivalDirectors Talia Bernstein and Roni Shamiss are leading the corps of student volunteers who are already working on this year's event. "Mr. Tisch embodies the spirit of the festival — dynamic, progressive, and creatively adventurous," they say.

Talia Bernstein, 28, completed a BA in Literature and Philosophy before studying for her MFA at Tel Aviv University's Department of Film and Television. She has worked in the film industry — directing, production and distribution — throughout her higher education, and was a line producer at the last festival.

Roni Shamiss, 27, became involved in media and film even earlier, in high school, then served as a director of the media center at the Israeli Air Force Aviation Academy. While earning a BA from TAU's Department of Film and Television, she worked as a video clip director, producer and editor, and was a production manager at the last festival.

The Knesset Comes Calling
3/25/2014

When it comes to sustainable, green construction, Israel's government looks to TAU

Members of the Knesset's management team recently visited Tel Aviv University's new environmentally-friendly LEED Platinum building, slated to open in mid-May, the Jerusalem Post reports. Knesset director-general Ronen Plot, who met with Prof. Arie Nesher, architect and professional director of TAU's Porter School for Environmental Studies, said he was eager to pursue environmental collaboration with TAU, particularly with regard to a new, more environmentally sustainable Knesset building.

Praising Porter School leaders for accomplishing a vision in sustainability, Plot said, "I have no doubt that we need to cooperate with you, because the knowledge exists here."

Nesher showed Knesset staffers the wide range of energy-saving mechanisms in the new building, from solar-thermal air conditioning systems to room lighting that utilized strategic window proximity. The building, located about 700 meters from the university's train station, also features a spaceship-like conference room called The Capsule. Learn more about the "Capsule Building"

"Our elevator produces electricity," Nesher said on the tour. "I hope that

the elevators in the Knesset will produce electricity one day." He said that he hoped this building would serve as a living model for green construction.

Construction of the new building was financed by Dame Shirley Porter, former lord mayor of Westminster and leader of the Westminster City Council, whose Porter Foundation provided the initial funds for the Porter School of Environmental Studies.

For more, see the Jerusalem Post story:
http://www.jpost.com/Enviro-Tech/Green-Knesset-team-Tel-Aviv-Porter-School-explore-environmental-collaboration-opportunities-345448

TAU's Prof. Israel Finkelstein Receives Prestigious Delalande-Guérineau Prize
3/5/2014

Archaeologist honored for most important publication in field of Orientalism

The Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in Paris has awarded Prof. Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University the prestigious Delalande-Guérineau Prize for his book Le Royaume Biblique Oublié (The Forgotten Kingdom) (Paris, 2013). The prize, which honors exemplary works in Orientalism, has been awarded every other year since the nineteenth century.


Prof. Israel Finkelstein

Prof. Finkelstein, of TAU's Jacob M. Alkow Department of Archeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures, is one of the world's foremost biblical archaeologists. Notably, he has challenged attempts by others in this field to approach biblical narratives uncritically. A proponent of "low chronology," Prof. Finkelstein supports the archaeological reconstruction of history that shifts the traditional chronology of Levantine monuments forward by approximately one hundred years. He also argues that much of the Bible was written between 7th-5th century BCE and reflects the theology and ideology of the authors more than those of the times described in the texts.

"Receiving this prize is a great honor. A scholar is always happy to know that his/her work is acknowledged and appreciated," said Prof. Finkelstein. "This prize has boosted my resolve to devote a future book to the other kingdom — Judah."

A prolific writer, he has authored many well-known titles, including The Bible Unearthed (2001, with Neil Asher Silberman), which explores the archaeology of Israel and its relationship to the origins of the Hebrew bible.

Prof. Finkelstein has been a full tenured professor at TAU since 1992, and has also taught at the University of Chicago, the Sorbonne, and other leading universities. Prof. Finkelstein has conducted several well-known field projects, including excavations at biblical Shiloh and the celebrated Megiddo site. The Delalande-Guérineau Prize joins a long list of honors Prof. Finkelstein has received, including the internationally acclaimed Dan David Prize in 2005.

Pulitzer Prize Historian Saul Friedlander and MIT Visionary Martin Minsky Among 2014 Dan David Prize Winners
2/19/2014

Three $1 million awards to be presented at TAU in May

Pulitzer Prize-winning Holocaust historian Prof. Saul Friedlander and artificial intelligence pioneer Prof. Marvin Minsky are among the winners of
 the 2014 Dan David Prize, which annually bestows three awards of $1 million each. The prizes are granted for "proven, exceptional and distinct excellence in the sciences, arts and humanities that have made an outstanding contribution to humanity."

The laureates, who donate 10% of their prize money towards 20 doctoral and postdoctoral Tel Aviv University scholarships, will be honored at a ceremony at the university on May 18, 2014. Prof. Friedlander, Prof. Minsky, and other participants and international dignitaries are scheduled to attend the ceremony.

The Dan David Prize is named after international businessman and philanthropist Dan David with international headquarters located at Tel Aviv University. Each year, the International Board chooses one field within each of the three time dimensions of Past (highlighting fields that expand knowledge of former times), Present (recognizing achievements that shape and enrich contemporary society), and Future (focusing on breakthroughs that hold great promise for the improvement of our world). Following a review process by independent Review Committees comprised of renowned scholars and professionals, the International Board then chooses the laureates for each field.

The 2014 Dan David Prize laureates are:

Past — in the field of "History and Memory": Prof. Saul Friedlander of UCLA, Polish writer and social activist Krzysztof Czyzewsk, and French historian Pierre Nora. Prof. Friedlander is credited with initiating a sustained debate over the proper interpretation of Nazi history and the extent to which the Holocaust and the history of the Third Reich should be considered exceptional. Prof. Friedlander taught at Tel Aviv University for 20 years, before joining UCLA full time in the late 1990s, and he won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction for The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945. Krzysztof Czyzewski is a Polish writer and social activist dedicated to the integration of the complicated Polish past within Poland's vibrant civil society; and Pierre Nora the French historian and intellectual who established the concept of "Les Lieux de Memoire" ("Sites of Memory"), at the heart of discussions of the centrality of memory in a media-saturated society.

Present — in the field of "Combating Memory Loss":Prof. John A. Hardy, of University College, London, England; Prof. Peter St. George-Hyslop, of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge, England, and the Tanz-Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of Toronto; and Prof. Brenda Milner, of the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University. Prof. Hardy discovered a mutation in the gene coding for the amyloid protein, which plays a key role in neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer's disease. Prof. George-Hyslop was awarded the prize for uncovering key mutations in proteins involved in the early onset of Alzheimer's disease. Prof. Milner's work has demonstrated different kinds of learning and memory, each dependant on a separate system of the brain; her studies have paved the way for ground-breaking memory research.

Future — in the field of "Artificial Intelligence, the Digital Mind": Prof. Marvin Minsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is one of the founders of the field of artificial intelligence. A graduate of Harvard and Princeton, Prof. Minsky joined MIT in 1958, co-founding the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory a year later. His book The Society of Mind (1985) is considered the most influential study of the diversity of mechanisms interacting in intelligence and thought. A professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, Prof. Minsky has played a significant role defining the field of artificial intelligence and mentoring generations of scholars.

For more information on the Dan David Prize and this year's laureates, visit the Web site for the awards:
http://www.dandavidprize.org

TAU Scientists Honored for Cutting-Edge Proposals in Melanoma Research
2/18/2014

Two research teams receive prestigious Team Science Awards from US Melanoma Research Alliance

Tel Aviv University researchers won two out of three prestigious melanoma research awards granted this year by The Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) and The Saban Family Foundation. The Team Science Awards are the centerpiece of the MRA research fund, which seeks to promote transformational melanoma research for swift clinical implementation.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. For their cross-disciplinary melanoma research proposals, two teams of TAU scientists and doctors received a total of $1.35 million. Leading the teams are Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine's Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and head of TAU's Cancer Angiogenesis and Nanomedicine Laboratory; and Dr. Gal Markel, of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine's Department of Microbiology and Clinical Immunology and head of the research laboratory at TAU's Ella Institute for the Treatment and Research of Melanoma and Skin Cancer at Sheba Medical Center.

How cancer cells move to the brain

Prof. Satchi-Fainaro and her colleagues — Dr. Neta Erez of theSackler Faculty's Department of Pathology, and Prof. Zvi Ram, head of the Department of Neurosurgery at Tel Aviv Medical Center — received $900,000 for a proposal that explores how melanoma cells form metastases in distant organs, especially the brain. Prof. Satchi-Fainaro and her multidisciplinary team are working to identify the precise pro-metastatic factors secreted from astrocytes, special brain cells, which may constitute "druggable targets" for future nanotherapies.

"The whole field of nanomedicines for cancer is based on the fact that nanometric-size drugs (around 10-200 nanometers) are too large to leak out from normal blood vessels and harm healthy organs," said Prof. Satchi-Fainaro. "On the other hand, tumor blood vessels are incredibly leaky, so the nanomedicines can selectively exit from those blood vessels and accumulate at the tumor mass. Once at the tumor site, the new nanomedicines can inhibit the cross-talk between the melanoma cells and the brain microenvironment. We hope that our novel approach for co-targeting melanoma cells and astrocytes will pave the road for new clinical interventions."

A disarmament proposal for tumor cells

The MRA granted its second Team Science Award of $450,000 to Dr. Gal Markel and his team — Dr. Tamar Geiger of TAU'sSackler Faculty of Medicine's Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, and Dr. Noam Shomron, director of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine's Functional Genomics Laboratory. The focus of their study is to discover the mechanisms that allow tumors to evade the immune system, then to disarm those mechanisms, making the tumor susceptible to the patient's own immune response.

"Immunotherapy, which has existed for decades, has had slim success rates in melanoma treatment. But now, after new insights and developments over the last 10 years, it has become a hot topic everyone is discussing," said Dr. Markel. "We are focused on the immunology of melanoma — how the immune system reacts to melanoma cells, how melanoma evades the immune system, and defining key processes."

Dr. Markel's team is working directly with melanoma patients who are treated with immunotherapy. "We are taking advantage of our years of unique clinical work, bringing it to the bench for a cutting-edge multi-faceted discovery process," Dr. Markel says.

To date, the MRA, which is the largest private funder of melanoma research, has awarded more than $51 million worldwide to advance prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Based in Washington, DC, the alliance's ultimate goal is to find a cure by funding the most promising melanoma research worldwide that will accelerate progress and improve outcomes for patients and all who are at risk.

Israel Prize Awarded to Influential TAU Historian for Study of Sparta and Ancient Greek Migration
2/12/2014

Prof. Irad Malkin wins Israel's top honor

Prof. Irad Malkin, an expert in Classics at Tel Aviv University's Department of History, has been awarded the 2014 Israel Prize in the field of General History. The prize will be awarded in Jerusalem on the eve of Israel's Independence Day in May 2014.

In awarding the prize, the Israel Prize Committee cited Prof. Malkin's extensive research on the ancient Spartans, which led to his positioning Sparta as a maritime power, his greatest achievement. The committee also commended him for his significant contribution to research on Greek migration and settlement.

Education Minister Shai Piron praised Prof. Malkin for his innovative cross-disciplinary research methods and groundbreaking contributions to historical methodology, including his theory of "networks." In his recently published book, A Small Greek World: Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean, Prof. Malkin examines how and why decentralized city states and trading stations — from the Black Sea to the Western Mediterranean — connected to establish the social and cultural network known today as Ancient Greece.

With this award, Tel Aviv University can boast 76 recipients of the Israel Prize — often characterized as "Israel's Nobel" — given every year by the State of Israel to those who have displayed excellence in their fields of study or made a strong contribution to Israeli culture. Another TAU faculty member in Classics field, Prof. Benjamin Isaac, also won the Israel Prize in 2008.

Migration in the Mediterranean

Prof. Malkin is the co-director of TAU's Center for Mediterranean Civilizations project and incumbent of the Maxwell Cummings Family Chair for the Study of Mediterranean History and Culture. In 1982, after completing his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, Prof. Malkin began teaching at Tel Aviv University, where he became a full tenured professor in 1996. In 1991, he was accepted as a fellow at Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies.

Prof. Malkin has had a major impact on students in Israel and abroad, initiating and leading conferences and academic societies in France, Germany, and Israel, and guest lecturing at leading universities around the world. In 1986, Prof. Malkin co-founded the academic journal Mediterranean Historical Review, which is published biannually and covers ancient, medieval, early modern, and contemporary history of the Mediterranean basin. The Review reaches 30,000 researchers at 1,600 libraries internationally and many thousands more online. Prof. Malkin has published 12 books and several dozen articles.

Prof. Malkin is currently at work on a comprehensive history of migration and settlement in the Mediterranean by the Sea Peoples, the Philistines, the Greeks, the Etruscans and the Phoenicians.

Canadian Prime Minister Awarded TAU Honorary Doctorate
1/28/2014

University's highest honor conferred on Stephen Harper during state visit to Israel

Concluding a four-day state visit to Israel, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was awarded an honorary doctorate — Tel Aviv University's most distinguished honor — during a ceremony at the university's Bar-Shira Auditorium last week. Harper was recognized "for his efforts to advance higher education; for his open and fundamental support of the State of Israel both as a private individual and as Prime Minister of Canada; and for his active and brave participation in the struggle against anti-Semitism and other forms of extremism."

Bestowing the award on Prime Minister Harper were TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter, TAU Rector Aron Shai, and TAU Governor and Honorary Doctor David J. Azrieli. During the ceremony, Klafter called Harper "one of the most remarkable friends of Israel, of scientific cooperation, and of democracy."

Accepting the degree, Harper noted that TAU was the first academic institution in the world to offer him an honorary doctorate after he became prime minister. "I want to accept it on behalf of the entire Canadian Jewish community who has merited this award a million times," he told the audience.

"Israel is a great example to the world," Harper says

Addressing the Knesset on January 20, 2014, Harper said, "I believe the story of Israel is a great example to the world. It is a story, essentially, of a people whose response to suffering has been to move beyond resentment and build a most extraordinary society, a vibrant democracy, a freedom-loving country with an independent and rights-affirming judiciary, an innovative, world-leading 'start-up' nation. You have taken the collective memory of death and persecution to build an optimistic, forward-looking land — one that so values life, you will sometimes release a thousand criminals and terrorists, to save one of your own.

"In the democratic family of nations, Israel represents values which our government takes as articles of faith, and principles to drive our national life. And therefore, through fire and water, Canada will stand with you."

Harper joins a long list of statesmen and politicans who have received honorary doctorates from TAU, including David Ben Gurion, Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, Golda Meir, Angela Merkel, Yitzhak Rabin, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher.

Read more about the ceremony in this israel21c.com coverage:
http://israel21c.org/news/tau-awards-honorary-doctorate-to-canadian-prime-minister-stephen-harper/

AFTAU Hosts Gala Dinner Honoring Wall Street Legend and Visionary Philanthropist Harvey Krueger
12/5/2013

High profile fundraiser features Jacob Frenkel, Jon Gurkoff, Joseph Klafter, Dr. Giora Yaron, and a special tribute by NY State Senator Liz Krueger

American Friends of Tel Aviv University celebrated passionate pioneer Harvey M. Krueger, credited with almost single-handedly opening the international capital markets for Israeli securities, with an elegant, fabulous December 4 dinner at the renowned Pierre Hotel in New York. In a rare off-campus ceremony, Krueger received Tel Aviv University's most distinguished honor, Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa.

The Dinner Chairs — Professor Jacob A. Frenkel, Chairman of JP Morgan Chase International and Chairman of TAU's Board of Governors; Dr. Giora Yaron, one of the founding fathers of the Israeli high-tech industry and Chairman of TAU's Executive Council; Professor Joseph Klafter, President of TAU; and Jon Gurkoff, Chairman of AFTAU — offered warm toasts. New York State Senator Liz Krueger, Harvey Krueger's middle daughter, also paid special tribute to her father.

"There's no better friend of Israel and higher education than Harvey," said Gail Reiss, President & CEO of AFTAU. "He's the leaders' leader — and his passion for advancing TAU's mission as a way of investing in Israel is just irresistible. It's an honor for us to celebrate him and thank him for the gift of his great friendship."

Krueger is Vice Chairman of Barclays Capital and widely regarded as a Wall Street legend. A highly experienced investor in Israeli companies, he is a passionate supporter of the State of Israel, a visionary philanthropist, and a champion of higher education. He holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a B.A. from Columbia College. He and his wife Connie have given their time and effort to many institutions, including Barnard College, Columbia University, Hebrew University and, most recently, Tel Aviv University.

"Harvey Krueger is a true leader in international finance and philanthropy. For many decades he has been a strong supporter of the State of Israel, of higher education, and in particular of Tel Aviv University. His devotion, dedication and energy are an inspiration to everyone around him," said Dr. Jacob A. Frenkel, Chairman of JP Morgan Chase International and Chairman of TAU's Board of Governors. "American Friends of Tel Aviv University's Gala Dinner is a wonderful occasion bringing together many who have benefitted from his expertise and generosity for a richly deserved tribute to this special man."

The event raised more than $600,000 to benefit The Harvey M. Krueger Fellowships in the Humanities, which will provide tuition for exceptionally promising doctoral and post-doctoral candidates at Tel Aviv University in the fields of Archaeology, History, Mediterranean Studies, Jewish Studies, Inter-Religious Studies and Philosophy.

Krueger's esteem in Israel was evident in the toasts from Ambassador Ron Prosor, permanent representative of Israel to the United Nations, and The Honorable Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York.

TAU Professor Coordinates Israel Defense Forces' Aid in Devastated Philippines
12/3/2013

Prof. Kobi Peleg, a veteran of disaster management, supervises compassionate medical aid for typhoon survivors

Prof. Kobi Peleg of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine led a team of Israeli soldiers bringing medical aid to the central Philippines last month in the wake of the massive typhoon that killed more than 5,000 people.

Members of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Medical Corps and Home Front Command set up a field hospital in the city of Bogo on Cebu Island and treated thousands of people between November 13 and 28. Prof. Peleg, director of TAU's executive and international master's programs in emergency disaster management at the Sackler Faculty's School of Public Health, coordinated the team's work with other organizations offering aid, including the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the Philippines Health Ministry, and local medical authorities.

Prof. Peleg is one of four UN national emergency managers in Israel. "The public sees those providing treatment at the hospitals as angels, and it's not difficult to see why," he wrote in a memo from the field. "The medical staff's commitment is wholehearted. They provide treatment, perform surgery, deliver babies, and carry out complex tasks from dawn till dusk."

Prof. Peleg is also the director of the Israel National Center for Trauma & Emergency Medicine Research at the Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research at the TAU-affiliated Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.

Healing amidst hopelessness

The 148-soldier Israeli team arrived in northern Cebu under the command of Col. Ramtin Sabat, who heads the IDF Search and Rescue Unit, to find the area devastated. Houses were destroyed or missing roofs, trees were uprooted, and public infrastructure had collapsed. The local population of about 230,000 people, including the city of Bogo with some 80,000 inhabitants, was without electricity in temperatures reaching 90 degrees with more than 85 percent humidity.

Bringing in generators, food water, and medical equipment, including operating theatres and X-ray and intensive care machines, the Israeli team treated more than 1,700 patients in the first week alone. About 60 members of the Israeli team were medical personnel. A local woman named Audrin Antigua gratefully named her newborn son Israel after delivering him at the field hospital.

When patients could not be treated at the field hospital or local hospital, Prof. Peleg arranged evacuation and admission to Cebo's central hospital, about a three-hour drive away. He coordinated cases with the provincial health minister, who repeatedly said she had never seen such a caring approach to every patient as that of the Israeli medical team. Prof. Peleg also worked closely with other Israeli and Jewish organizations in Cebu, like the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. In one case a family did not have the money to pay to have a deadly tumor removed from their 2-year-old daughter's eye, so Prof. Peleg appealed to the JDC for a donation, which the organization provided.

"The little girl will shortly be undergoing surgery in the big city, and we hope that — as a result — one more young life will be saved for a relatively small sum," wrote Prof. Peleg. "This is just one of many examples."

A global effort

To ensure the local people were in good hands when the Israeli team left, Prof. Peleg helped coordinate an orderly transition with American, German-Austrian, and Japanese organizations that now operate the field hospital. Prof. Peleg previously held command positions at Israeli field hospitals at the 1988 Armenian earthquake, in Rwanda in 1995, and in Haiti in 2010.

"The dedication of your soldiers shows that you are committed to tikkun olam ['repairing the world']," Philippine Ambassador to Israel Generoso Calonge said in Hebrew at a welcoming ceremony for the returning soldiers. "Thank you. We will not forget this."

In Memoriam: Dov Lautman
12/2/2013

Dov Lautman (1937-2013)

The Tel Aviv University family has lost a magnificent friend.

Israeli industrialist Dov Lautman, Chairman of TAU's Executive Council from 2001 to 2009, died on November 23 in Israel.

Dov was the founder and chairman of Delta Galil Industries, the first traditional industry in Israel to become a global manufacturer. By the time he sold his shares in 2007, the company ranked among the largest underwear manufacturers in the world. Through its cooperative ventures with Jordan and Egypt, it was regarded as a "bridge to peace," and Dov served as Prime Minister Yizhak Rabin's special envoy for economic development and foreign investment.

The country honored him in 2007 with an Israel Prize, its highest award, recognizing his lifetime contribution to Israeli society.

More than a just brilliant business man, Dov was a passionate Zionist and extremely active philanthropist. He and his late wife Rachel focused their giving on education, closing social gaps, and advocacy for Jewish-Arab coexistence.

At Tel Aviv University, the Lautmans' involvement was generous and far-reaching, including the establishment of the Lautman Fund, the Dov Lautman Unit for Science Oriented Youth, and the Adi Lautman Interdisciplinary Program for Outstanding Students. TAU honored him with an honorary doctorate in 2007, the President's Award in 2006, and the Ramniceanu Prize in Economics in 2001.

We mourn his loss along with Americans and Israelis across the social and political spectrum. "Lautman was among those who laid the foundations of modern Israeli industry and the pioneers of moving to the track of advanced technology and export," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, praising Lautman for advancing education as a national priority.

President Shimon Peres, who considered Lautman a good friend, praised his generosity and devotion to service. "It is with deep sorrow that I part from Dovik," he said, using an endearing nickname for Dov. "We had a deep and natural friendship and a partnership of ideas and vision. The state of Israel in its entirety knew to cherish him in life, and now let us all remember Dovik Lautman with deep respect for his enormous contribution and glorious legacy."

Broadcom Foundation Establishes Cyber-Authentication Research Fund at TAU
11/26/2013

The first fund of its kind outside the US, effort seeks breakthrough solutions to combat cyber threats

The Broadcom Foundation has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Tel Aviv University to establish a two-year program to promote multidisciplinary research toward a new generation of authentication methods. In the presence of Dr. Henry Samueli, Chairman of the Board of the Broadcom Corporation, and Prof. Joseph Klafter, President of Tel Aviv University, the agreement was signed on November 22, 2013.

According to the agreement, the Broadcom Foundation donation will establish a research fund for TAU scientists that will focus on finding breakthrough solutions for cyber threats. The aim is to develop a new generation of authentication methods, enabling more secure interaction between users and their digital environment — smartphones, e-banking, and e-health devices — and future technologies such as smart watches, connected cars, and wearable devices.

The Broadcom Foundation says that this two-year research program is the first of its kind outside of the United States.

A single authentication system to address all needs

"The new program will combine researchers from the Broadcom Foundation and students and senior researchers from TAU to develop a single authentication system that can identify those entering all types of systems, from bank accounts and medical files, to sensitive security facilities," said Prof. Klafter. "The new authentication system will be secure against break-ins. The entire project presents a challenge in both the hardware and software aspects of the research."

"This new, unique program will enable us to forge a deeper alliance with academia and with the proven creativity, innovation and quality of Israeli science and technology," said Dr. Samueli.

Broadcom Foundation was founded to inspire and enable young people around the world to enter careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through partnerships with local schools, colleges, universities, and non-profit organizations. The Foundation's mission is to advance science education by funding research, recognizing scholarship and increasing opportunity.

Learning the Secrets of the "Innovation Nation"
11/21/2013

Cybersecurity professionals, TAU software engineers, and student entrepreneurs welcome AFTAU's mission

Tel Aviv is a powerful engine of Israeli innovation — and it depends on Tel Aviv University for fuel, as our Discover TAU: Campus and Beyond mission participants learned. They had the opportunity to meet with TAU graduates at the forefront of today's high-tech industry and leaders of TAU organizations nurturing the technologies of tomorrow.

"We saw that Tel Aviv University isn't just a school, but an integral part of the country," said Murray Zucker, regional medical director of UnitedHealthcare and a member of AFTAU's Board of Directors. "The people we met are producing the apps that will be on our next smartphones."

How TAU powers Google

Google's offices in Tel Aviv and Haifa are packed with TAU graduates. Sonny Ben-Shimon and Yossi Richter, who hold doctorates from TAU's Blavatnik School of Computer Science, work at the chic Tel Aviv headquarters. Following a tour of the offices' stunning views, indoor orange trees, and countless espresso and snack bars, the group sat down with the software engineers to hear about their work.

Google Israel has developed some of the Internet giant's most-used software. "Live Suggest" guides your Googling by guessing what you're looking for as you're typing. "Live Results" presents information about things like weather reports, stock quotes, or dictionary words in a neat package above the usual list of links. And "Google Trends" lets you see and compare the popularity of search terms across time and location. All three projects were done entirely in Israel.

Ben-Shimon and Richter credit their TAU education for the skills and confidence to succeed at Google. Even the famously challenging Google interview was a breeze after years of problem solving with TAU computer scientists, they said.

Inspiring innovation

Tel Aviv University also has its own startup incubator, StarTAU, the first in Israel. Founded in 2009, the nonprofit center provides lectures, conventions, courses, and workshops to Israel's aspiring entrepreneurs, with a focus on TAU students and alumni. StarTAU has worked with thousands of students in various business fields, including Internet ventures, bio-tech development, mobile applications, and patent licensing. Oren Simanian, StarTAU's founder and chief executive, told the group that there is no better place to start a business.

"The TAU campus is filled with talent and located in the entrepreneurial heart of Israel," said Simanian, a TAU alumnus himself. "The startup founders are on Rothschild Boulevard, the investment capital is in Herzliya, and the corporations are in Ramat Hahayal, all within 15 minutes of TAU."

Rimmy Kim, a StarTAU intern from Seoul, South Korea, said that while her country is famous for its rapid economic growth and national champions — like Samsung, Hyundai, and LG — it lacks Israel's entrepreneurial magic. Her goal, she said, is to take a little home with her. Gal Antman, a fourth year medical student at TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine, talked about his early-stage startup, provisionally called Linkhome, which allows apartment residents to connect to their neighbors and manage their building together. A pilot is planned for the TAU dorms.

Securing new frontiers

TAU is also an innovator when it comes to cybersecurity. The group was treated to a special presentation on the subject by TAU's Yuval Neeman Workshop for Science, Technology, and Security. Established in 2002 in collaboration with TAU's School of Government and Public Policy at Harold Hartogand Security Studies Program, the workshop is a platform for discussion and research on security issues, particularly related to space and cyberspace. Ram Levi, a senior researcher at the workshop and cybersecurity advisor to the government, told the Discover TAU group about the workshop's multidisciplinary approach and wide influence, which extends to leading think tanks, governments, and the United Nations.

Israel needs to transition from "Startup Nation" to "Cyber Nation," according to Rami Efrati, head of the civilian division of Israel's National Cyber Bureau. By cultivating a cyber ecosystem — harnessing academia, the army, human capital, and industry — Israel can turn the threat posed by cyberspace into an economic opportunity, he said. With his help, the government is helping by financing promising local companies and attracting foreign giants.

Michal Blumenstyk-Braverman, a graduate of TAU's Recanati School of Business Management and a founder and the general manager of American "big data" company EMC's security division,discussed the increasing sophistication of cybercrime. Since individuals can no longer secure themselves, businesses and governments have to do it, she said. As a manager, she trained former Israeli intelligence agents to use big data and analytics to find cybercriminals rather than terrorists.

The chief executive and founder of mobile security company Skycure, a mobile security company, Adi Sharabani talked about his experience volunteering with high school students in Ramat Gan. It's important to put students in situations where they have to push themselves to overcome new challenges, he said. As in business, he said, the key is for them to fail and keep trying.

Menny Barzilay, a member of the workshop's senior forum and head of the IT Audit department at Bank Hapoalim, Israel's biggest bank, warned that the line between the real and virtual worlds is blurring. As a result, computer geeks are increasingly replacing soldiers and policemen as providers of security. For the good geeks to stay ahead of the bad ones, you need a mix of entrepreneurs, companies willing to be early adopters, and courageous consultants, he said. Fortunately, he noted, Israel is a small country, where everyone is willing to work together.

French President Francois Hollande Visits TAU
11/21/2013

A new scientific collaboration between France and Israel is announced

French President Francois Hollande visited Tel Aviv University during his recent state visit and spoke to a large gathering of the French-speaking community in Israel. He met with Prof. Joseph Klafter, the president of TAU, and Prof. Francois Heilbronn, president of the French Friends of Tel Aviv University. The two men presented President Hollande with a unique gift: a signed first edition of a book written by former French Prime Minister Léon Blum.

President Hollande spoke at TAU's Miriam and Adolfo Smolarz Auditorium at the initiative of the French Friends of TAU. In his speech, he said TAU students "should be proud of this excellent academic institution" and noted that the university has one of the largest and most active departments of French language and culture in Israel.

To advance scientific collaboration between France and Israel, a representative of the French Foreign Ministry will be appointed, he said.

Forging economic bonds

President Hollande was accompanied on his Israel trip by a delegation from MEDEF, the largest union of employers in France, with over 750,000 member firms. The delegation explored projects showcasing Israeli innovation in science and technology.

In his greetings to the delegation, Prof. Francois Heilbronn hailed Israel as "the promised land of innovation, and of scientific, academic and economic success." He noted that TAU was at the forefront of the fields of nanotechnology, information technology, cyber security, medical research, and environmental sciences.

"The French Friends that I represent dedicate themselves to developing partnerships between TAU and French universities," said Heilbronn, noting that nine students from Paris' prestigious Sciences Po university are currently studying at TAU, while 14 TAU students are at Sciences Po.

The visit of the MEDEF delegation was followed by a second delegation representing 60 hi-tech companies from France. After hearing presentations by Shlomo Nimrodi, CEO of TAU's technology transfer company, Ramot, and Prof. Gad Ariav and Prof. Moshe Zviran of TAU's Faculty of Management—Leon Recanati Graduate School of Business Administration, the hi-tech delegation visited the laboratories of leading TAU researchers in geophysics, life sciences and biotechnology, nanoscience and nanotechnology, mechanical engineering, and environmental sciences.

TAU Part of Team Launching Global Human Brain Project
11/13/2013

TAU data-mining experts join top scientists in Switzerland to kick off ambitious neuroscience project

Between October 6 and 11, 2013, Tel Aviv University researchers participated in the kickoff in Switzerland of the Human Brain Project, a decade-long global initiative to leverage human intelligence and computing power to better understand the human brain. They joined neuroscientists, doctors, computer scientists, roboticists, and other scientists and professionals from more than 80 research institutions in Europe and around the world at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) to refine the project's aims and celebrate its start. A major goal of the project is to create a simulation of the brain using supercomputers. The European Union is providing an estimated budget of 1.2 billion euros for the effort, one of two large scientific research initiatives the EU deemed to have visionary and socially beneficial effects.

The researchers – Dr. Mira Marcus-Kalish, TAU’s Director of International Research Affairs, and Prof. Yoav Binjamini of TAU's Department of Statistics, Sagol School of Neuroscience, and Edmond J. Safra Center for Bioinformatics — are part of a team contributing to the project on behalf of TAU.

"Many of the world's most accomplished researchers came together to launch this visionary project," says Dr. Marcus-Kalish, a principal investigator for the project and leader of the TAU group. "Our focus is to use TAU's unique expertise and all available knowhow to bring the benefits of the technological advances to the citizens who are supporting us."

TAU brings big ideas to life

The Human Brain Project is dedicated to advancing neuroscience, medicine, and computing technology. Participating researchers hope to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of brain function, new ways to detect and treat brain disease, and devise more powerful electronics.

The project, headed by Israeli neurologist Prof. Henry Markram of the EPFL, is divided into six research platforms and 13 sub-projects dedicated to everything from gathering data on mouse brains to exploring the ethics of brain research. The subprojects are further divided into hundreds of individual tasks.

The TAU group is responsible for the medical data analysis task within the "Medical Informatics Platform." Dr. Marcus-Kalish is a data-modeling specialist, and Prof. Binjamini is an Israel prize laureate and a sought-after expert in statistical modeling and analysis and clinical trials. Along with other top TAU scientists, they are aggregating and analyzing clinical data and recruiting hospitals to participate in the project. By making use of existing tools and developing new ones, they hope to identify patterns and trends in data taken from dozens of hospitals — including clinical tests, medical imaging, genetic data, and physiological tests — that can be used to predict, prevent, and treat neurological disease. A data-mining algorithm the researchers previously developed and a new method for clinical trials pioneered by Prof. Binjamini will play parts in their work.

An essential task

"I think our role in the Human Brain Project is among the most important," says Dr. Marcus-Kalish, who helped develop the project's medical focus. "We will be trying to improve human well-being through the understanding of neurodegenerative brain diseases. With the world getting older, this is more essential to society than ever."

The Human Brain Project is harnessing talent from leading universities, companies, and research institutions. Partners include the University of Oxford, Yale University, IBM, and Germany's Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, one of the largest interdisciplinary research centers in Europe.

American Friends Take All-Access Tour of Israel
11/12/2013

Discover TAU: Campus and Beyond mission provides an insider's view from TAU's best and brightest

Enthusiastic travellers from across the United States spent a jam-packed week seeing Israel through the lens of Tel Aviv University, from October 20 to 25, 2013. TAU faculty all-stars, students, and graduates gave the second-annual Discover TAU: Campus and Beyond mission an up-close view of innovation nation – from the Negev Desert to the Golan Heights.

Crisscrossing the country by plane, private bus, and helicopter, the group got unique access to sites including Israel’s Supreme Court, Google Tel Aviv, and TAU’s Nano Center, and enjoyed activities such as an architectural tour of Tel Aviv, boutique wine and chocolate tastings, and a bike ride along the Syrian border. As AFTAU Board of Directors Chairman Jon Gurkoff and Secretary Richard Sincere – both also members of TAU’s Board of Governors – intended when they dreamed up the trip, the group gained an appreciation of the essential role TAU plays in Israeli society and the country’s stature.

"The trip really had something for everyone,” said AFTAU President Gail Reiss. "Alumni, Israelis, first time visitors who have a place in their heart for TAU – everyone was inspired by things they hadn’t seen or realized before.”

Pushing the boundaries of cyberspace

 Tel Aviv University is a major player in Israel’s surging hi-tech industry. The group toured Google’s swanky offices in downtown Tel Aviv and heard about the groundbreaking work TAU graduates are doing there, then learned how TAU nurtures hi-tech startups through StarTAU, the on-campus entrepreneurship center. Oren Simanian, StarTAU’s CEO and a TAU graduate, told the group about the nonprofit organization’s work providing courses, events, and professional consultations to students and alumni interested in launching businesses. The Discover TAU group also learned about the dark side of technology during a special seminar on cybersecurity. Leading figures in the cyber world, from government advisors to startup founders, outlined the growing threats posed by cybercrime, cyberterrorism, and cyberwarfare.

"I thought I knew Israel,” said Yacov Levy, an Israeli member of the group, who directs Signature Bank, the New York subsidiary of Bank Hapoalim. “But on this trip, I saw a new Israel. People don't just think about the conflict anymore. They're outward looking, and there's room for dreams and imagination.”

Pillars of the community

Messy and dynamic, Israeli society can be hard to wrap your head around. The group got help from Tel Aviv University professors at the forefront of their respective fields. Prof. Dina Porat of TAU’s Department of Jewish History, the chief historian of Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center, discussed the shifting understanding of the Holocaust in Israeli society. And at Israel’s sparkling Jerusalem-stone High Court of Justice, Justice Daphne Barak-Erez talked about how serving as dean of TAU’s Buchmann Faculty of Law prepared her for her current job.

During a morning at TAU’s Department of Film and Television, the group learned about TAU’s central role in Israel’s internationally respected film industry. TAU graduates and part-time teachers Yaron Shani, director of the Academy Award-nominated crime drama “Ajami,” and Arnon Goldfinger, director of the multiple-award-winning documentary “The Flat,” gave the group a behind-the-scenes look at how they make their films.

Other activities included touring Tel Aviv’s elegant Bauhaus architecture, stargazing from the Middle East’s only astronomic observatory, wandering Jerusalem’s ancient water cisterns, experiencing life on the edge of Gaza, riding electric bikes along the Syrian border, and tasting boutique chocolate and wine at kibbutzim in the Golan Heights.

“Seeing all the amazing energy and creativity here renewed my faith that Israel has a great future,” said Carole Levy, a Massachusetts schoolteacher.

Big ideas in action

TAU’s best and brightest also gave the group a close-up look at the intellectual activity on campus. At TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, medical researchers showed the group their labs and discussed their groundbreaking multidisciplinary work in the fields of nanomedicine, stem cells, and bioethics. Shlomo Nimrodi explained how Ramot, the technology transfer company he heads at TAU, helps shepherd scientific breakthroughs through the “valley of death” between the laboratory and the international market. The Buchmann-Mehta School of Music showcased its world-class musicians, putting on a private performance for the group.

The group got a taste of  student life as members of TAU’s world-champion student Debating Society went head-to-head on the subject of allowing the government to monitor our email. They also visited the new Student City dormitories, which will eventually house 1,600 students, and chatted with Maureen Meyer, the director of TAU International, about the rapidly expanding English language programming for overseas students.

“I used to tell people that Israel is the Holy Land,” said Dr. Bruce Dezube, a medical oncologist in Boston. “Now I’m going to go back and tell them about the innovation nation. And Tel Aviv University is really a big part of that.”

Israel Must Reverse Brain Drain, Says TAU President
10/15/2013

Prof. Joseph Klafter says that more funds for higher education will improve student-faculty ratio

For every 100 Israeli scholars in the United States, there are only 29 in Israel itself, according to a new report from the non-profit Taub Center for Social Policy Studies. And these are figures that need to change, Tel Aviv University President Prof. Joseph Klafter told the Jerusalem Post in an October 14 interview.

"What brain drain means is that the number of researchers produced by the higher education system is higher than the number of positions we have in academia and in the industry," he said. “If we had more funds in higher education, there is no doubt that additional positions would be open and part of the brains would be able to regained. But without more funds to correct the student-faculty ratio, I don't see how this problem can be solved."

Prof. Klafter spoke to the Jersualem Post as the 2013-14 academic year started in Israel. This year, TAU will open new study tracks in disciplines such as brain sciences, biomedicine, cyber technology, and marine biotechnology, as well as strengthen its international relationships with cooperation agreements recently signed with Chinese universities. "The whole academic world is moving in the global direction. Globalization or internationalization are key words here," he noted.

Read the full interview in The Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/National-News/TAU-President-Without-more-funds-to-higher-education-Israel-cant-solve-brain-drain-328702

TAU Sackler Professor Wins Nobel Prize
10/8/2013

Prof. Francois Englert, a longtime fellow at TAU's Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Physics and Astronomy, has received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on subatomic particles

On Tuesday, October 8, Tel Aviv University-affiliated professor Francois Englert was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his theory of how particles acquire mass, a theory recently confirmed by the discovery of the "God particle."

"I'm very, very happy to have the recognition of this extraordinary award," Prof. Englert, a Belgian Jew and Holocaust survivor whose wife is Israeli, told reporters in a telephone press conference following the announcement of the award.

"The school of physics at Tel Aviv University is Prof. Englert's academic home in Israel," says Prof. Shimon Yankielowicz of TAU's Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Physics and Astronomy. "He frequently visits our school and collaborates with our faculty. We are thrilled that his profound contribution to physics is being honored."

A professor emeritus at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, Prof. Englert has been affiliated with TAU's Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Physics and Astronomy since 1984 and is a Raymond and Beverly Sackler Senior Professor by Special Appointment at TAU through 2015. The Sackler program brings leading international scientists and scholars from a variety of academic fields to research and teach at TAU.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the 2013 prize to Prof. Englert jointly with Prof. Emeritus Peter W. Higgs of the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. A theory the two men independently proposed in 1964 has since become a central part of the Standard Model of particle physics, which describes how the world is constructed.

The elusive "God particle"

According to the Standard Model, everything, from flowers and people to stars and planets, consists of just a few building blocks: matter particles. These particles are governed by forces mediated by force particles that make sure everything works as it should. The entire model rests on the existence of the Higgs boson, or God particle, which originates from an invisible field that fills up all space. Even when the universe seems empty the field is there. Without it, we would not exist, because it is from contact with the field that particles acquire mass. The laureates' theory describes this process.

On July 4, 2012, at the CERN laboratory for particle physics, the theory was confirmed by the discovery of a Higgs particle. CERN's particle collider, the Large Hadron Collider, is probably the largest and the most complex machine ever constructed by humans. Two research groups of some 3,000 scientists each managed to extract the Higgs particle from billions of particle collisions.

TAU Launches Online Courses with Academic Credit
9/30/2013

Archaeology, biology, and history MOOCs offered in its first Internet-based curriculum

This fall, Tel Aviv University will become one of the first institutions of higher education in the world to allow students to take its courses through an online provider for academic credit.

Starting in October, TAU will introduce three courses developed with leading global education company Coursera to its regular curriculum. Through the 2013-2014 school year, the pilot program will include courses on the history of Jerusalem, plant biology, and the history of the modern Middle East, all taught by some of TAU's most renowned and popular professors.

Popularly known as MOOCs — massive open online courses — all Coursera courses are open to the public. TAU is taking the next step — awarding academic credit to its own students for these courses. In addition to completing the course online, enrolled students will be required to take proctored final exams on campus and pay normal tuition fees. Each course is worth two general academic credits.

"This initiative reflects TAU's ongoing commitment to innovation in teaching and greater global outreach," says TAU Vice President Prof. Raanan Rein.

A global reach

Coursera works with more than 80 universities and organizations including top American universities like Columbia, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale to offer online courses to nearly five million students around the world. The courses cover topics in academic fields such as the humanities, medicine, biology, the social sciences, mathematics, and computer science. At the heart of each course is a series of video lectures between 90 minutes and two hours long. The lectures are broken into segments and enhanced with graphics and frequent quizzes. Quizzes and homework assignments on Coursera are administered through the website's identity verification system and graded by peer-review. Reading materials are provided or available for purchase through the website.

TAU's Business Development Corporation and the individual professors worked jointly with Coursera to create the courses. They will provide TAU students with a flexible and personalized way to learn, while opening some of TAU's best research and education to a much broader audience.

New from TAU

"The Fall and Rise of Jerusalem" covers the wild century-long period of Jewish history from the fall of the Kingdom of Judah to the return of the exiled elites from Babylon. The course, taught by Prof. Oded Lipschits, director of TAU's The Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology at The Jacob M. Alkow Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern ultures, provides a comprehensive survey and analysis of the era based on the Bible, archaeological research, and Babylonian and Egyptian texts. Leading scholars from around the world will make appearances as guest lecturers.

"I've devoted my career to studying this turbulent and seminal era of Jewish history," says Prof. Lipschits. "It's thrilling to be able to share my work with a broader audience and to engage our students in what I think is a more effective way."

"What a Plant Knows" is an innovative multidisciplinary exploration of how plants experience the world — from the colors they "see" to the sensations they "feel." Taught by Prof. Daniel Chamovitz, the director of TAU's Manna Center for Plant Biosciences at the Department of Molecular Biology and Ecology of Plants, the course is rooted in historical studies and cutting edge science.

"The Emergence of the Modern Middle East" discusses the history of the region from the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I to the present. The course is taught by Prof. Asher Susser, renowned Senior Research Fellow at and former director of TAU's Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. After dealing with issues like Ottoman and Western legacies in the Arab world, Arab nationalism, religion and state, Islamist politics, and the Arab-Israeli conflict, the course concludes with an in-depth analysis of the "Arab Spring" by placing it in historical context.

TAU students register for these courses through the university registrar. For everyone else, they're just a mouse-click away at https://www.coursera.org/telaviv.

In Memoriam: Shalom Yoran
9/25/2013

Steadfast friend of TAU remembered for his bravery and commitment to Holocaust research

Tel Aviv University has lost one of its most cherished friends.

Shalom Yoran, a distinguished member of the Board of Directors of American Friends of Tel Aviv University for more than 25 years and a member of the university's Board of Governors, passed away on September 9, 2013, at the age of 88. He is survived by his wife of nearly six decades, Varda, an accomplished sculptor whose works Tai Chi and Shoah and Revival grace the TAU campus.

His early life was both traumatic and heroic. In 1941, the Germans invaded the Soviet-occupied area of Poland to which his family had fled, and his parents were killed. He, his brothers, and several friends built a bunker in the woods where they survived the first winter. They later joined several partisan groups, and participated in blowing up German supply and communication lines. In his memoir, Shalom wrote hauntingly of the virulent anti-Semitism he encountered, even among the partisans, as well as the extraordinary courage displayed by Jewish resistance fighters.

Shalom leaves an indelible legacy for the university through both his example and his generosity. At TAU, he and Varda endowed an annual scholarship fund in the name of his parents for research in the history of European Jewry, and founded an institute for research of the human genome. In 1997, the TAU Fund for Higher Education conferred the "Flame of Truth" award on him for his lifetime achievements in defiance of the perpetrators of the Holocaust and as an acclaimed author and chronicler of Jewish resistance to the Nazis through his 1996 book The Defiant: A True Story of Escape, Survival & Resistance (St. Martin's Press). His friend Elie Wiesel praised him for his significant Holocaust commemoration activities supporting museums and exhibitions, and serving on major committees.

A year later, Shalom received TAU's highest recognition, an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree, and in 2011, American Friends honored Shalom and Varda with The Chairman's Award, a tribute to their inspiring example. In presenting the award, AFTAU's then-Chairman William F. Cohen called them "role models for all the members of this organization."

Varda Yoran received an honorary fellowship at TAU in 2004 recognizing her involvement in the arts, her work as a sculptor, and her partnership with her husband in initiating important projects at the university in biological research, Jewish studies, and the arts. Through these achievements and his generosity, Shalom will continue to serve as an inspiration for young men and women at TAU and around the world. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, Dafna and Yaelle, and two grandsons.

Read the New York Times obituary:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/17/world/europe/shalom-yoran-jewish-resistance-fighter-dies-at-88.html

New Paths to the East
9/18/2013

TAU signs groundbreaking agreements with two Chinese universities

In China this week, Tel Aviv University President Prof. Joseph Klafter signed agreements with two leading Asian universities to further academic collaboration in the areas of scientific and technological research and contemporary Israel studies. Both Chinese universities rank among the top five colleges and universities in the nation.

In a statement, Prof. Klafter said that the agreements reflect "the considerable esteem in which the Chinese hold Israeli innovation and the high academic standards of Tel Aviv University." The new agreements are a result of several visits by Chinese delegations to the Tel Aviv campus, part of TAU's continuing effort to globalize its research and training.

The XIN Center at Tsinghua University

On September 10, 2013, Prof. Klafter and Prof. Chen Jining, President of Tsinghua University, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of a joint research facility to be known as the XIN Center. Named for the Chinese word for "new," XIN will advance interdisciplinary and international scientific and technical innovation, provide optimal conditions for creativity, and promote activity in scientific fields that impact society in China, Israel, and around the world.

As part of the XIN project, an investment fund will be established to finance ventures initiated by XIN Fellows. Investors in the 100 million Chinese yuan ($16 million USD) fund will include the government of Beijing and alumni from Tsinghua University.

The chief scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Economy, Avi Hasson, hailed the agreement, noting that XIN will serve as an excellent model for multifaceted collaboration between academic institutions and industry. "I want to congratulate all parties involved and wish upon them a fruitful and successful collaboration," Hasson said.

The Israel Center at Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Prof. Klafter also signed an agreement with the Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) to promote contemporary Israel studies through the TAU-SJTU Israel Center, the first of its kind in China. The center will provide Chinese and international students with the knowledge and critical skills needed to understand contemporary Israeli affairs, with a focus on politics, history, law, economy, and culture.

Through the auspices of the Israel Center, TAU and SJTU will exchange faculty and students, pursue joint research, and host activities on both campuses. At the same time, the center will serve as a think tank for policy recommendations to further Sino-Israeli relations and China's Middle East policies.

In Memoriam: Dina Ettinger
8/15/2013

With late husband Yona, a seminal figure in Tel Aviv University's history

We have lost a dear and valued friend.

Dina Ettinger, longtime member of the American Friends' Board of Directors and of Tel Aviv University's Board of Governors, passed away on August 10th in Tel Aviv.

She and her late husband Yona, a former Vice Chairman of TAU's Board of Governors, were seminal figures in the university's history. Deeply committed to the study and understanding of all aspects of Middle Eastern life and culture, they created the Yona and Dina Ettinger Chair in Contemporary History of the Middle East, the first incumbent of which was Prof. Itamar Rabinovich, who subsequently served as president of the university.

The Ettingers' enthusiasm for the university was clearly contained in their DNA — we are proud to claim their daughter Tamar Rudich as a member of our Board of Directors.

In memory of Yona, Dina and Tamar established Ettinger Hall in the Isaac and Rosa Gilman Building of Humanities, a gracious legacy for students in the Faculty of Humanities.

Dina remained actively involved in university life after her husband's passing, and in 1999, the university conferred its most distinguished award on her, an honorary doctorate. A patron of the arts, she also supported and served on the Board of the Israeli and American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Dina's sweetness and warmth will be greatly missed by her American Friends and the entire Tel Aviv University family.

TAU Ranked Among Best Producers of Startups
8/1/2013

TAU graduates among the most successful in the world at securing American fudning for new companies, according to new data

Tel Aviv University ranks among a handful of elite universities that turn out entrepreneurs capable of launching startup companies, data publicly available on the Internet shows.

In a list of the 16 universities that produce the most founders of venture-capital funded startups headquartered in the US, TAU is 15th, just below Princeton University and tied with Duke University. It is the only non-American university on the list — with 21 graduates.

The numbers on US-based startups and their funders come from CrunchBase, the online database behind the popular TechCrunch technology business websites. They were analyzed and published by blogger Max Woolf of Minimaxir, who covers startups, technology and blogging with a statistical bent.

TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter welcomed the findings, saying, "They are a testament to the innovation and entrepreneurship that permeates TAU culture."

Stanford University tops the Minimaxir list with 193 startups to its name; while Harvard University is a distant second with 120. After TAU, the highest ranked Israeli university is the Technion Institute of Technology at 27th, followed by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at 67th, according to a TAU analysis of the data.

On another list, published as part of the same Minimaxir story, TAU ranks an impressive fourth place among US-based companies in the average venture-capital funding won by graduates in the all-important first round. TAU graduates that secure such funding reportedly get an average of $5.5 million at this stage, more than graduates of Harvard or Stanford Universities. Ahead of TAU on the list are Carnegie Mellon University, Princeton University and the University of California, Los Angeles. Venture capital is funding provided to startup companies.

Companies founded by TAU graduates also ranked among the American elite in total venture-capital funding raised — attracting $882 million overall (16th place) and $227 million (14th place) in the first round, according to TAU's analysis.

"There is a general spirit that exists on campus that provides the right atmosphere for such achievements," said Prof. David Mendalevich of TAU's School of Electrical Engineering, who has helped start companies that have raised more than $50 million from around the world and works to connect the university and its students to commercial opportunities. "Partially it is our location, but partially it is that we give students the tools they need to come up with good ideas and go on to establish their own companies."

Notable companies with TAU-graduate founders included in the data are Waze (bought by American Internet giant Google in June for over $1 billion), 5min Media, Kontera, Palo Alto Networks and Contendo. The many startups that are not headquartered in the U.S. are not represented.

Of the 28 TAU graduates included in the data, 10 studied at the School of Mathematical Sciences or the Blavatnik School of Computer Science, both of which are among the top 30 schools in the world in their respective fields. Eight of the graduates have degrees in business or management, five have degrees in engineering, three have degrees in economics, two have degrees in philosophy and two have degrees in life sciences. History, physics and law degrees were each held by one the graduates. Nine of the graduates studied in multidisciplinary programs, emphasizing the broad academic "toolkit" TAU encourages its students to acquire as part of their studies.

StarTAU, Tel Aviv University's entrepreneurship center, has been contributing to TAU's startup culture since 2009. The biggest Israeli nonprofit organization of its kind, it has provided individual guidance to more than 200 young entrepreneurs and courses and seminars to more than 2,000. Chief executive and founder, Oren Simanian, expects TAU to only rise in the rankings.

"We're working every day to create the buzz you feel on campus," he said." And that's only going to grow in coming years."

For more information on the rankings, see the Haaretz story:
http://www.haaretz.com/business/1.538955


TAU Professor Tapped to Head Israel's Central Bank
7/31/2013

Longtime economics professor Leo Leiderman has been nominated as the governor of the Bank of Israel

Prof. Leo Leiderman of Tel Aviv University was nominated on Wednesday as the next governor of the Bank of Israel.

Leiderman — the chief economist at Bank Hapoalim, Israel's largest private bank — is a longtime professor and former chairman at The Eitan Berglas School of Economics at TAU.

"I am excited to get back to the Bank of Israel, and I will work to help Israel's economy in the challenges it faces," he said in a statement.

Leiderman's nomination, by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid, still has to be confirmed by the Turkel Committee, which vets all senior civil service appointments.

In the early 2000s, Leiderman served as head of emerging markets research at Deutsche Bank. He spent most of the 1990s at the Bank of Israel as head of the research division and senior advisor to the governor and to the monetary department.

Born in Argentina, Leiderman made aliyah at the age of 17. He earned an undergraduate degree in economics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago. His doctoral thesis on macroeconomics was written under the guidance of Nobel Laureate Professor Robert Lucas.

Leiderman specializes in inflation targeting, exchange rate regimes, dollarization and capital inflows to emerging market economies. He supported the steep interest rate cuts enacted by the Bank of Israel at the outset of the global financial crisis but has said in the past few years that rates are too low.

For more on the nomination, see the CNBC story:
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100928629


A Conversation with Dr. Stephen Lazar
7/18/2013

The Executive Dean reflects on the groundbreaking Sackler New York State/American Medical Program

Accredited by New York State and open to students from across the U.S. and Canada, Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine New York State/American Program has set the academic and professional standard for international medical schools across the globe. But for program founder Dr. Raymond Sackler, Executive Dean Dr. Stephen Lazar, and the rest of the New York team, there is a very personal connection with students and graduates as well.

What inspired the creation of the New York State/American Program?

In 1976, Dr. Sackler and his two brothers dreamed of funding a program that would benefit both Israel and the United States. American students would travel to Israel, gain another perspective, get a wonderful medical education, and come home as ambassadors for Israel.

They reached out to benefactors from all over the U.S. who believed in their vision, and they later became advisors on the program's Board. When the office was establiahed in New York, they selected deans from NYU, Columbia, Cornell, Mount Sinai and Einstein medical schools to serve as volunteers and advisors to the program on a day-to day-basis. Many of the people involved then are still involved today, including me and Dr. Barry Stimmel, the Vice-Chairman of our Board, so this program can boast a 37 year continuous history.

When the program first opened, of course, it was designed strictly for students from New York State, but eventually, it grew to reach all across the U.S. and Canada.

What's been the impact of the program?

The Sackler Medical School New York State/American Program is widely considered to be the premier example of successful cultural and educational cooperation. When students apply to the program, they work with our New York office, and have access to all of the federal loan programs available to medical students in the United States. The New York and Tel Aviv offices are in daily contact, by phone and in person. It's a true partnership. And the program benefits from this strong international spirit.

I think that the prestige of our graduates has greatly increased the number of applications that we receive for the program, and the quality of our students continues to rise to the point where we are very competitive with American medical schools. Many of our students have been accepted to schools in America, but are choosing to join the TAU program instead.

We've become more successful than anyone could have imagined, and we now served as a model for new programs opening all over the world.

What makes you passionate about the program?

I am emotionally involved because as a group, the students are so happy with this program and the faculty is so supportive that we truly are a family — and you don't find that in many medical schools. Everybody knows everybody by first name, and they all care about one another. We have many alumni who continue to volunteer, assisting our students not only financially but academically, and as advisors for residency programs.

What makes the program so special?

Not only do Sackler students get a first class medical education, they also have the opportunity to envelop themselves in the wonderful Israeli culture. Many come back with a deep understanding of Israeli culture and a love for the people.

Professionally, so many our alumni go on to have notable careers. When the first class graduated in 1981, they were unknown to American hospitals. Now, 37 years later, these same hospitals seek out Sackler graduates because their overall performance is outstanding. When hospitals look for the best applicants among students, they routinely include the New York State/American Program.

And our alumni are thrilled with their experience. We've actually graduated the children of some of our earlier graduates — so we're into the second generation!

Do graduates stay involved?

We have a vibrant alumni association that organizes periodic reunions in New York, and now we're organizing reunions throughout the United States. Our graduates volunteer for the program, helping students academically and mentoring them through the residency application process, and even serve on the Board or as interviewers for applicants throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Many of our alumni also contribute financially to the program. Dr. Raymond and Beverly Sackler, who continue to be very active participants, have among other things established the Dr. Raymond and Beverly Sackler Alumni Scholarship Fund, which matches dollar for dollar any contributions our alumni make to a maximum of one million dollars over a five year period.

Going forward, how will you prepare students for the medical landscape of the future?

Residencies are becoming more difficult to obtain because more medical schools in the U.S. are either opening or expanding — so an increasing number of people will be applying for the same number of residencies.

To continue to get the finest residencies in America, our students will have to be at the top of their game. That's why we continually update our curriculum to reflect the cutting-edge of modern medicine — and with our students' characteristically hard work, we have no doubt they will continue to succeed.


An Intellectual Feast
7/16/2013

TAU Board of Governors Meeting symposia, conferences, and roundtables offer ideas for the future of Israel and the world

Continuity and the value of future generations figured prominently in the 2013 Board of Governors meeting at Tel Aviv University. Supporters from around the world were offered an array of thought-provoking events featuring top academics and industry insiders. Focused on the future of Israel and the world at large, these discussions assessed the modern world's challenges in economics, cybersecurity, and medicine, offering solutions for a better tomorrow:

The Israeli Economy: Grappling with the Tough Questions, led by Board of Governors Chairman Prof. Joseph Frenkel and featuring Dr. Karnit Flug, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Israel, and Prof. Leonardo Leiderman of the Berglas School of Economics and Chief Economic Advisor for Bank Hapoalim.

Israeli Cyber Security Innovation Showcase, featuring speeches by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Chairman of the Executive Council of TAU and of Ramot Dr. Giora Yaron, and Rami Efrati, Head of the Civilian Sector Division at the Israeli National Cyber Bureau.

Nature vs. Culture: Modern Debates in Light of Classical Thought, celebrating 2013 Dan David Laureate Prof. Sir Geoffrey Lloyd and including lectures by Prof. Chava Jablonka of the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Prof. Amotz Zahavi of the Department of Zoology, and Dr. Daniel Dor of the Department of Communications.

Challenges for Preventative Medicine in the 21st Century, with 2013 Dan David Laureates Prof. Esther Duflo and Prof. Alfred Summer, as well as Prof. Dani Cohen, Head of TAU's School of Public Health.

Turning challenge into opportunity

Speaking at the symposium on the Israeli economy, Prof. Frenkel noted that the speakers would be addressing "how to change present challenges into opportunities." Noting the current demographic threats to Israel's future — including a growing percentage of Ultra-Orthodox citizens who traditionally do not participate in the workforce — Dr. Flug recommended a more comprehensive education and increased vocational training to bolster the labor market of tomorrow.

Discussing cybersecurity, Prime Minister Netanyahu called the field "complicated" but noted that it had "great potential." Despite growing cybersecurity threats from Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah, he said that Israel has the ability to build a "digital Iron Dome." Prof. Frenkel agreed with this sentiment, saying that "Israel's advantage comes with innovative research, connected to our universities – especially TAU."

Recognized as the world's leading expert in the history of ancient science, Prof. Sir Lloyd shared his belief that new ideas in medicine and debates on the nature of humanity could be informed by the work of the ancients. Profs. Sommer and Duflo also demonstrated how their varied backgrounds — ophthalmology and economics respectively — could help safeguard the future of humanity, specifically by advancing preventive medicine in the developing world. Noting that preventive medicine has an essential role in improving health across the globe, Dr. Harvey Fineberg of the Dan David selection committee noted that both laureates are "leaders in reducing the incidence of disease."


TAU Boots Up Cyber Curriculum
7/15/2013

TAU introduces Israel's first interdisciplinary cyber-studies track

The digital world is getting bigger every day, and the skills necessary to negotiate it have never been more in demand. Now, Tel Aviv University is embracing this 21st-century reality with the introduction this fall of Israel's first interdisciplinary cyber-studies tracks.

University President Prof. Joseph Klafter announced the new cyber courses, emphasizing the very latest in cutting-edge technologies and practices,  in June 2013 at the International Cyber Security Conference of the Yuval Neeman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security, held on the university campus and attended by Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Two tracks, multiple disciplines

Starting this fall, the university will offer two specialized academic tracks dedicated to cyber issues: one focused on science and technology and the other on the cyber environment at large. The science-and-technology courses will include internships in electrical engineering, computer science, and information technology in industrial engineering. The general courses will be offered as part of the curriculum for undergraduates studying humanities, social sciences, and law. For example, one class might examine legal aspects of cyberspace regulation, while another would expose students to the technical aspects of the field, such as data encryption.

The tracks will bring together students from humanities, social sciences, law, exact sciences, and engineering departments to study and discuss the latest developments in cyberspace and cyber warfare. Initial courses will address critical subjects ranging from laws regulating cyberspace to network protocols and encryption. The history, culture, management, and privacy concerns of cyberspace will also be covered. A unique yearlong workshop will take a multi-disciplinary approach to the subject.

TAU will leverage its uniquely visionary interdisciplinary approach and comprehensive academic infrastructure in implementing the tracks, said Prof. Yaron Oz, dean of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences.


"Student City" Project Will Provide Affordable Housing for Thousands
6/28/2013

American delegation gets "bird's eye view" of TAU's state-of-the-art housing complex

The American delegation to the 2013 Tel Aviv University Board of Governors meeting got a first-hand look at the progress of the university's most ambitious building project to date — the "Student City." Located on the southwest tip of the campus campus, the complex covers nearly a quarter mile and includes eight residential towers, accommodating more than 1,500 students.

The tour included a roof-top viewing and a meet-and-greet with the project's architect, Ilan Lekner. He told the American friends that the project — which has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold status — was designed to strengthen the connection between the university and the dynamic city of Tel Aviv. On one side, the complex will be connected to the gate that leads to the engineering complex on campus; the other opens directly into the vibrant city of Tel Aviv.

Bringing a campus to life

With the first group of residents set to move in this October, the complex "fills a great need among TAU students," said Lekner. Until now, TAU has not had nearly enough residential spaces to meet the demands of both international students and Israeli students from outside Tel Aviv. The lack of affordable housing in the city has been cited as a barrier to becoming a TAU student.

In designing Student City, Lekner and his colleagues thought extensively about the daily needs of the students. The complex includes several different kinds of residential units — studio and shared apartments for undergraduates; family suites for married graduate students and young faculty; and accommodation for visiting faculty and students.

At the center of Student City will be the Goldreich Family Quad, generously donated by Jona and Doretta Goldrich. The cornerstone of public life in Student City, the square will feature shops, cafes, gardens, promenades, recreational facilities including a student club, and day care facilities for staff and students.


Are We "Anti-Philosophical"?
6/28/2013

Dan David Laureate Leon Wieseltier joins roundtable discussion on intellectuals and power in the modern world

Tel Aviv University hosted an intriguing roundtable on intellectuals and power on June 10 as part of its annual Board of Governors meeting. The panel, moderated by former TAU president Prof. Itamar Rabinovich, included Leon Wieseltier, featured literary editor of The New Republic, philosopher Prof. Michel Serres and Middle Eastern expert Prof. Shimon Shamir of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies. Wieseltier and Serres were among this year's Dan David Prize laureates.

Noting that "ideas have a powerful influence on our lives as individuals and as a society," Prof. Rabinovich said that the event was an opportunity for the laureates to share their knowledge with the public, and to encourage the type of dialogue that characterizes a healthy intellectual life.

Tackling questions that challenge society today, the panellists offered new perspectives on the connections between intellectuals, power and politics; the role of the intellectual in modern society; and the intellectual response to changing present-day realities and future, including the increasing importance of technology.

A check on power

Wieseltier opened the discussion by speaking about the American "founding fathers," including Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, whom he described as "political philosophers of the first rank." Yet, in a break with these intellectual roots, the US is currently one of the most "anti-philosophical places that has ever existed," he argued, pointing to the American emphasis on pragmatism.

Currently, he said, American public life is experiencing a "very strange moment," in which the political realm is "characterized by a paradox of intensely held ideologies on one hand, and the absence of any real devotion to first principles on the other." Due to these extreme ideologies, radicals are setting the tone for political discussion, he warned. Wieseltier believes that intellectuals have the responsibility to "draw truth to power" by challenging the government when warranted and helping to develop policy.

Citing the debate surrounding the war with Iraq, Wieseltier said that the intellectual situation was complicated, because no position is ever free from consequences. For example, a pacifist stance could be perceived as satisfaction with the perpetuation of power of Saddam Hussein, one of the cruellest men in the Middle East. "There was never the case of a position on Iraq that left you a morally pure person," he added.

Prof. Shamir added perspectives on Egyptian politics to the discussion, noting that throughout the 20th century intellectuals had a significant impact. It was the intellectual community that began to re-examine and expose the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt's President from 1956 until his death. And it was young intellectuals, he argued, who propelled the protests in Tahrir Square at the start of the Arab spring, though the revolution was eventually hijacked by others.

Standing up for knowledge

Prof. Serres said that one of the most significant roles of the intellectual was to try to understand the communities around them, which are now shaped by new technologies. Philosophers need to invent new ideas to understand this new situation, he urged, noting that, with specific reference to the internet, we need to survey the quality of information and all its errors before we can understand how it should be assessed.

Arguing that new technologies could "reduce all knowledge to information," Wiesltier said that technology represented the "greatest assault on human attention and reason that was ever devised." Speaking specifically of the phenomenon of crowd-sourcing, in which services, ideas, or content are solicited from a large online community, he argued that the internet has created a new type of "digital mob" that the intellectual should stand against.


Distinguished Constantiner Education Prize Awarded to the Summer Shlichim Program for Jewish Camping
6/28/2013

Jewish Agency program encourages connection between Israeli and Diaspora Jews

On June 6, this year's Dr. Jaime Constantiner Prize in Jewish Education was awarded to the Summer Shilichim Program for Jewish Camping, a program of the Jewish Agency for Israel. The ceremony, attended by members of the Constantiner family — including Dr. Jaime Constantiner's sons Dr. Arturo and Victor Constantiner, Arturo's wife Caren, their son Steven, and daughter-in-law Samantha — university officials, students, and professors and guests from around the globe, took place as part of 2013's Tel Aviv University Board of Governors meeting.

In operation for almost 50 years, the Summer Shilichim program sends young Israelis to more than 200 Jewish day and residential camps throughout the Diaspora. Its mission is to send Israeli emissaries bringing Israeli and Jewish spirit and culture to Jewish summer camps and strengthen ties among Jewish youth globally — a goal that was close to Dr. Constantiner's heart.

Offer Isseroff, Director of the Shlichim and Israel Fellows Unit, accepted the prize on behalf of the program. The award is presented each year to an organization that works to bring Jewish traditions and texts into the 21st century to honor the late Dr. Constantiner for his dedication to Jewish education in the Diaspora.

Building a cultural bridge

The Summer Shilichim program was recognized for its pivotal role in reinforcing Jewish identity among Disapora youth. Israeli emissaries, who pass through an intensive screening and training program, educate campers and staff alike about Israel —its culture, history and people — as well as Jewish life. Through this program, the next generation of Jewish youth in the Diaspora have the opportunity to bond with the Israeli people, heritage, and homeland.

Israeli participants, in turn, learn about Jewish life in the Diaspora in Jewish communities throughout the world.


The Tauber Initiative: The Road to Success
6/26/2013

Social programs empower Ethiopian youth to build a brighter future

Facing astonishing hurdles as an immigrant population, the Ethiopian community in Israel has been slow to assimilate. With only 20 percent attending university, education rates remain low, and many live in poverty.

Seeing the potential for a better future for Ethiopian youth in Israel, Joel D. Tauber, Chairman Emeritus of American Friends of Tel Aviv University and the recipient of a TAU Honorary Doctorate, was inspired to collaborate with TAU in the development of the Tauber Initiative — a wide-ranging educational enrichment program for Ethiopian students, continuing from middle school into their university years, inspiring and enabling them to obtain a higher education. Headquartered on the TAU campus, the program ran in cooperation with the Student Involvement Unit and Social Welfare Unit of the Ruth and Allen Zigeler Student Services Divison and the Dov Lautman Unit for Science Oriented Youth at the Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education.

During an emotion-filled meeting of the 2013 TAU Board of Governors, program administrators, teachers, volunteers, and participants gathered to speak to Joel Tauber about their experiences and discuss their ambitions for the future. Rachel Workne, now studying occupational therapy at TAU, could complete Israel's university entrance examinations only with the help of the Tauber Initiative, she said.

Once she entered university, Tauber Initiative funds helped her to overcome the economic disparity between herself and her peers. "Because of the program, I was able to manage my own finances" and make attending classes and studying a top priority, said Workne, whose mother works for minimum wage to keep her large family afloat.

Zehave Myharat and Escadar Takala, high school students living in the city of Bnei Barak just outside of Tel Aviv, said that when they moved to Israel from Ethiopia, they were far behind the other children in their class.  They struggled to get through their mathematics courses and considered dropping out. But their tutors — TAU students — encouraged them to stay in their classes and helped them to achieve high grades. Today, both girls are finishing high school with a specialization in biomedicine.

Fostering cultural pride

Rachel Warshavsky, head of TAU's Student Involvement Unit, and Eliyah Maharat, responsible for the Tauber students at TAU, say that the Tauber Initiative has given young Ethiopian students more than academic and financial backing. "This program has helped the students because they have somebody behind them, saying 'we know you can do it.' It gives them a lot of motivation. The students who have this kind of encouragement are far more likely to cultivate their dreams," said Maharat.

One of the main topics of the meeting was fostering a sense of self worth in the students, on both personal and cultural levels. Malva Merom-Shelom, a TAU graduate student who teaches Ethiopian youth, said that in her classroom, the most significant advances have been made through encouraging students to find role models in their own communities, teaching them about their own culture, and providing an integrated learning experience. "Seeing Ethiopian students and students from other backgrounds learn about Ethiopian culture together is an amazing opportunity," she said.

Tauber takes this message of cultural value as a given, believing that communicating the worth of this community to the wider public is a crucial element of the continuing success of the program. Society must acknowledge their value before Ethiopians can obtain better employment opportunities and more, he said.

Building a bigger vision

Now Tauber aims to take the lessons learned from TAU's program and expand them to impact a larger percentage of the Ethiopian community. Beyond providing top-notch academic support, he feels that a broader continuum of support — including collaboration with the Israeli Defence Forces to ensure better experiences for Ethiopian soldiers, as well as providing career mentorship to help Ethiopians break into the job market — will lead to their true integration into Israeli society.

This expanded program would be backed by global fundraising efforts, Tauber says, based on the successful model TAU has created. While there are many groups and programs that work to support the Ethiopian community, TAU's Tauber Initiative has seen unparalleled results. Based on field research and developed in consultation with partners and professionals in education, the TAU program works hand-in-hand with students to continuously improve and evolve. "Our program can be used as a model for other programs, helping to upgrade quality, fill in social and educational gaps, and coordinate programming," said Tauber.

Though thrilled that the grassroots initiative has impacted the lives of more than 500 young Ethiopians, even more people will be helped through multiplying the program through the participation of other universities and NGO's. Tauber hopes that the movement he initiated will become large enough to have a more dramatic effect on society over time.


Annual Gandel Symposium Highlights Fight for Freedom and Independence
6/25/2013

Expert panel discusses ongoing revolution in the Middle East

On June 9, Tel Aviv University hosted the distinguished Gandel Symposium — always a much anticipated highlight of the annual Board of Governors meeting — which each year provides up-to-the moment insights into ever-changing Middle East geopolitics. It is generously supported by Australian Friend John Gandel.

Moderated by Prof. Uzi Rabi, the Head of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, the panel included Danny Ayalon, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States and former Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel; Prof. Itamar Rabinovich of TAU, New York University, the Brookings Institution, and former Israeli ambassador to the United States; and Prof. Shimon Shamir, former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt.

This year's discussion focused on current conflicts within the individual Arab states, including the civil war raging in Syria and the continued instability in Egypt. Noting that experts do not yet know "how the cards will fall," Prof. Rabi told the audience that cultures in the Middle East are now struggling to redefine themselves. "The paradigms of yesterday can be found in the dust bins of history," he concluded.

Division and conflict

According to Ayalon, political disintegration is currently gripping the Middle East. He predicts a growth of independent nations, possibly deriving from groups currently living under minority regimes, such as those in Syria and Iran. In the coming decade, he believes there will be little cooperation between Arab countries, which are currently being torn apart by internal crisis.

Syria in particular, embroiled in a bloody civil war, is under the world's microscope. Arab countries and world powers alike are watching closely, believing that the outcome could have a significant impact on Middle Eastern and global politics. "Syria is the country that will determine the future of the Arab Spring" on a more local scale, said Prof. Rabinovich. From a more global perspective, the war in Syria has been compared to the Spanish civil war in the 1930's, considered by many historians a precursor to the Second World War.

With the Syrian regime backed by Russia, China, and Iran, and the Syrian protestors supported by the US and Saudi Arabia, this war is a "dangerous regional and international game," he added, wherein each different country is looking out for its own political interest. Prof. Rabinovich pointed to Iran's Revolutionary Guard as the actual managers of the war and the members of the Hezbollah as the primary fighters on the side of the regime. On the international stage, there is a "hungry" Putin and a "reluctant" Obama, he said, predicting that this civil war will likely continue for many years to come.

Egypt, too, is watched for continuous signs of unrest. Though Mubarak was ousted with considerable ease, the revolution was hijacked — first by the military, then by the Islamists. Egypt under Morsi has problems of its own, including ongoing riots, a police department under siege, and issues between Muslims and the Copt minority.

"Egypt doesn't have the finances to ensure the stability of the country," said Prof. Shamir, "and 40% of food is imported. Commodities have gotten more and more expensive. People are starting to think that life was better under Mubarak," adding that government approval ratings have plummeted from 70% to 30-40%. With the judicial body leaning against the current leadership and the military unwilling to contain riots, rebellion could rise again.

Finding steady ground

In terms of what these changes mean for Israel, the experts said that previous peace agreements are on noticeably shaky ground. For example, agreements with Syria may be breached, said Ayalon, requiring Israel to enhance security on borders that have been relatively quiet for years. And while Morsi has so far upheld the terms of the agreement between Israel and Egypt, there is no contact between the governments and the Israeli embassy in Cairo has been evacuated, Prof. Shamir noted.

Panelists said that Israel must recognize its own limitations — such as acknowledging that it cannot interfere in Syria and Lebanon — and turn instead to internal issues, such as regulating the relationship between religion and state, mitigating the growing gap between the "haves and have-nots," and building trust with the Palestinians to bring that conflict to a conclusion with a two-state solution, Ayalon counselled.

Israel should seize this moment to develop technologically. This could help to secure the country's future, Ayalon believes. Israel is now a tech capital, with fruitful cross-pollination between academy, industry, and innovators, he said, pointing out that the country has more research and development centers than any other in the region. "The currency for the future is technology, and this will be very important to international relations. Countries will seek our advice because we have something to come to the table with," he concluded.


New International Students' Hub Is Inaugurated in the Name of the Clifton-Passaic Jewish Federation
6/20/2013

Stunning new "meet-up" spot is the scene of American Friends' sunset reception

On June 8, guests of the American delegation to the 2013 Board of Governors meeting gathered at AFTAU's annual sunset cocktail party to applaud the newly inaugurated Tel Aviv University International Student Terrace, generously supported by the Jewish Federation of Greater Clifton-Passaic New Jersey.

Among the guests in attendance were AFTAU Chairman Jon Gurkoff, AFTAU Chairman Emeritus William F. Cohen, AFTAU President & CEO Gail Reiss, TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter, Chairman of TAU's Board of Governors Prof. Jacob A. Frenkel, and Dr. Giora Yaron, Chairman of the Executive Council and of Ramot, TAU's technology transfer arm.

The terrace, which is centrally located on TAU's beautiful Ramat Aviv campus and overlooks some of the University's most impressive landmarks, will serve as a focal point of international student life and provide a space for the international students to interact with the entire campus, said Gurkoff at the event. "There was a need for the international students to be a part of the campus – to be drawn to the campus. It's really going to serve a purpose," he told the guests. "As a past president of the federation, it means a lot to me to be able to go back to Clifton, New Jersey, and tell them, 'You guys did great.'"

After the party, guests moved across the campus for a festive concert of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 performed by TAU's outstanding Buchmann-Mehta School of Music Symphony Orchestra, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Adolfo and Miriam Smolarz Auditorium.

Honoring a federation's legacy

After thanking Gail Reiss for the idea of hosting the party on the recently renovated terrace, Gurkoff, who was chairman of the Clifton Federation 25 years ago, spoke about the deep connection between TAU and the federation, which has since become a part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Clifton-Passiac New Jersey.

Many Clifton Federation philanthropic leaders were heavily involved with TAU over the years, said Gurkoff. The enthusiasm of Lester Evans, an early and passionate supporter of the university, inspired many members of the federation — including Mel Taub, Bobby Topchik, Alan Hoffstein, B.I. Cohen, and Bill Cohen. "All of these people are past chairmen of AFTAU, all served on the Board of Governors of TAU — all from this midsize Jewish Federation," Gurkoff noted.

Now, the TAU International Student Terrace stands as a tribute to their philanthropic efforts and the overwhelming Federation support throughout the years.

Enhancing student life

Maureen Meyer Adiri, Head of TAU International, was in attendance to welcome everyone to the new terrace. "Every year, we have about 1,400 international students here on campus. But until now, they didn't have a place that they could gather with each other and the Israeli students to build a community," she said. The Clifton-Passaic Federation gift will help create a truly international campus.

At the party, three American students were invited to share their experience of studying at TAU. Adam Azoff, an International Masters student in Security and Diplomacy, believes that the terrace will bring together all the International programs. "I know how much everyone here means to the University, so I'm really thankful to all of you for making our student experience so memorable and amazing," he said.

Azoff and Shoshana Abrams, who is earning an International Masters in Mediation and Conflict Resolution and hopes to work on American policy regarding Israel and Palestine, noted the credentials of her professors, many of whom have participated in the negotiation process and have contributed to shaping Middle Eastern politics. Emily Shain, part of the new International BA in Liberal Arts program, said that she was sure she'd made the right choice in coming to TAU straight out of high school. "I really feel I will be getting a well-rounded education, as well as have the chance to meet people from around the world that I never would have otherwise. Our common denominator is that we all chose to come to Israel."

"It's obvious the selection process is quite excellent — you can see from these three students that the university knows what it is doing when it hands out acceptances," said Bill Cohen, giving heartfelt thanks to the guests for their support of TAU. "Many times I've been asked why I support this university. Yes, I love the state of Israel. Yes, I love my people. But there are 30,000 plus reasons out there why I support this University — and three of them are here tonight."


Tiny Medical Nanosystems = Huge Impact
6/19/2013

Honorary Doctorate recipient Prof. Robert S. Langer leads an eye-opening Board of Governors symposium

Smaller than the width of a human hair, nanoparticles are a major focus in medical research because of their ability to travel through the blood stream and gain entrance into cells. That makes them a cutting-edge tool in medical imaging, diagnostics, targeted drug delivery, and the development of new drug therapies.

On June 6, attendees of Tel Aviv University's Board of Governors annual meeting got the inside story on the next generation of medical care from a superstar in the discipline. Renowned biomedical engineer and 2013 TAU Honorary Doctorate recipient Prof. Robert S. Langer offered an overview of the enormous potential of nanomedicine during a special symposium titled "Medical Nanosystems: New Solutions to Stubborn Challenges," held to celebrate 10 years of research at TAU's interdisciplinary Marian Gertner Institute for Medical Nanosystems.

View the symposium

Prof. Langer, who is also a laureate of Israel's prestigious Dan David Prize, is one of the world's foremost experts in biotechnology, specializing in drug delivery systems and tissue engineering. Welcoming the audience, Prof. Yael Hanein, head of TAU's Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, noted that "no other person has contributed as much to the field as Prof. Langer."

From the lab to the world

At the conference, TAU President Prof. Yossi Klafter stressed that TAU is dedicated to translating academic research in nanotechnology into workable solutions for the real world. He said that the school's wide-ranging and cross-disciplinary projects are only a taste of TAU's growing research in the field of nanoscience, calling it a "priority area" and "particular strength" of the university.

TAU experts also shared their innovative research in the field of nanomedicine. Prof. Dan Peer of TAU's Department of Cell Research and Immunology and Scientific Director of a research consortium dedicated to nanomedicine and personalized theranostics presented his work on treatment and disease management for cancer and inflammation. Dr. Inna Slutsky of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine spoke about her groundbreaking work on uncovering the dynamics of synapses to illuminate the progression of Alzheimer's Disease. Dr. Tal Dvir of the Department of Biotechnology lectured on the engineering of heart tissue for repair post-heart attack.

Dr. Giora Yaron, Chairman of Ramot, TAU's technology transfer arm, told the audience he was confident that Israel — and TAU — will play a major role in the future of nanomedicine, adding that the "nano revolution" has long-term significance for the scientific world, pushing therapeutics to a whole new level.


$1 Million Dan David Prizes Awarded to Renowned Academics and Intellectuals
6/18/2013

Honors awarded in the Past, Present and Future Dimensions at Tel Aviv University

In a June 11th ceremony during the 2013 Board of Governors meeting at Tel Aviv University, the prestigious Dan David Prize was awarded to five noted academics, scientists, and intellectuals in the presence of prominent political, business, philanthropic, and academic figures from around the world. Among this year's laureates were Americans Leon Wieseltier, noted intellectual, philosopher, and Literary Editor of The New Republic, and Prof. Alfred Sommer, Professor of Epidemiology and International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

View the 2013 Dan David Prize ceremony

The prize, one of the richest in the academic world, is endowed by the Dan David Foundation and has been administered by TAU since its inception in 2002. Each year the Dan David International Board chooses one field of study in each time dimension — Past, Present, and Future — and a review committee comprised of scholars and professionals selects laureates who have made an outstanding and proven contribution to humanity. Three $1 million prizes are then awarded to the laureates in each of the time dimensions.

Celebrating different perspectives

This year, the prize for the "Past Dimension" was given in the area of Classics, the Modern Legacy of the Ancient World; the "Present Dimension" for Ideas, Public Intellectuals, and Contemporary Philosophers; and the "Future Dimension" was awarded in the field of Preventive Medicine. This year's laureates are:

Past:

Prof. Sir Geoffrey Lloyd, Senior Scholar in Residence at the Needham Research Institute at the University of Cambridge, England. Regarded as the greatest living scholar of the history of ancient science, Prof. Sir Lloyd has demonstrated how Greek science is a product of Greek society, and has uncovered the great diversity of Greek scientific practices. Recently, he has turned to the comparative study of Chinese and Greek science.

Present:

Leon Wieseltier, a renowned writer and thinker who engages the central issues of our time and sets the standard for serious cultural discussion in the United States, and Prof. Michel Serres, Professor of Philosophy at Clermont-Ferrand, Vincennes, Paris and Professor of the History of Science at Stanford University, one of France's most gifted and original thinkers and renowned for his explorations of the parallel developments of scientific, philosophical, and literary trends, shared the prize.

Future:

Prof. Esther Duflo, Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at MIT, who combines rigorous analytic methods and strong, randomized study design to puncture preconceptions and produce reliable measures of effects to develop strategies related to the alleviation of poverty, which deals directly with the prevention of disease, and Prof. Alfred Sommer, known for his striking discovery that vitamin A supplementation has the power to save children's lives, shared the prize.

Accepting their respective awards, the laureates thanked the Dan David Foundation and spoke about the importance of continuously challenging dominant paradigms and embracing "out-of-the-box" thinking. "An intellectual's work is never done," Wieseltier said, adding that the application of philosophy to politics was crucial to a democratic and open society. He urged that nothing should be "exempt from reason or criticism."

Prof. Sommer noted the wisdom of allocating a prize to preventive medicine, which is too often overlooked within the medical field. "After all, when preventive medicine is successful, nothing happens. And when nothing happens, nobody notices," he said.

The legacy of a mentor

This year marks the second ceremony since the passing of the award's founder and champion, Dan David. TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter recalled David referring often to his own mentor, who gave him a loan to start his first business. This touching gesture "shaped David's relationship with TAU," Prof. Klafter said. Through his generosity, David continues to "mentor young minds and help dozens of young researchers every year." This year's laureates are "mentors in their own right," he added.

Dan David's son, Ariel David, spoke about his father's omnivorous passion for knowledge, which he worked to impart to his young son. While taking bike trips together, he said, he and his father shared stories of the Napoleonic period or discussed how to calculate the speed and distance they had travelled together.

David's lifelong quest to encourage curiosity in the younger generation is kept alive by the "Name Your Hero" contest, an essay competition in which high school students from all over the country are encouraged to propose candidates or fields to be honored by the Dan David Prize; and the Scholarship Program, in which Dan David laureates donate 10% of their award to a scholarship fund for outstanding doctoral and post-doctoral candidates.


Four Exceptional Americans Are Awarded Honorary Doctorates
6/17/2013

TAU confers its highest honor on Leonard Blavatnik and Profs. Robert S. Langer, Carla Shatz, Ray Jackendoff

In a festive ceremony on June 9 during its annual Board of Governors meeting, Tel Aviv University conferred its highest honor — the degree of Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa — on four outstanding American friends of the university and Israel, all leaders in their field. This year's nine recipients include notable scientists and academics, business leaders, philanthropists and social activists and cultural icons.

View the 2013 Honorary Doctorate ceremony

Self-made American businessman Leonard Blavatnik, a long time friend of TAU and the state of Israel, was honored for his remarkable accomplishments in the worlds of business and philanthropy. He was recognized for his entrepreneurial prowess in founding and expanding Access Industries; his outstanding generosity in advancing social, educational, Jewish and cultural causes across the globe; his support of and deep commitment to Israel as an investor and benefactor; his active promotion of higher education and research at leading institutions including Harvard University, Oxford University and New York University; and his support of Tel Aviv University, in particular the School of Computer Science, which bears his name.

Widely acknowledged as the world's foremost nanomedical scientist, Prof. Robert S. Langer was honored for groundbreaking discoveries that have changed the landscape of the pharma, chemical, biotech and medical device industries; his pioneering of new biomedical techniques including non-invasive drug delivery and engineered blood vessels; advancing links between academia and industry; nurturing the new generation of nanoscientists; and his continued ties with Israel and fruitful collaborations with TAU.

Fellow scientist Prof. Carla Shatz, a leading neurobiologist and the first female Chair of the Harvard Department of Neurobiology, was recognized for her diverse interdisciplinary approach and innovative research in early brain development and neuroplasticity and her work in advancing the role of women in the sciences.

Eminent linguist and philosopher Prof. Ray Jackendoff was honored for his contribution to linguistic theory, including authoring canonical works; the transformation of the discipline into an interdisciplinary field; and his deep connection to the State of Israel, as both friend and visiting professor.

A tradition of achievement

The remaining honorees include achievers from wide-ranging disciplines around the world. They are entrepreneur Jeremy Coller (UK); media industry leader Maurice Levy (France); social activist Judith Yovel Recanati (Israel); businessman Guillermo Swerdlin (Mexico/Israel); and actress Miriam Zohar-Galblum (Israel).

TAU's previous degree recipients represent a virtual global Who's Who of thought and action icons. Statesmen include David Ben Gurion, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, Golda Meir, Ronald Reagan, Henry Kissinger and Yitzhak Rabin. Recipients in the arts include Leonard Bernstein, Marc Chagall, Eugene Ionesco, Henry Moore, Santiago Calatrava, Margaret Atwood, the Coen Brothers and Franco Zeffirelli. In the world of business and finance, recipients include Armand Hammer, Laurence Tisch, Sheldon Adelson, Martin Witman and Michael Steinhardt. Scientists and scholars include Bernard Lewis, Eric Lander, Edward Teller, Miriam Adelson and Elie Wiesel.

"TAU is proud to be affiliated with this year's recipients and welcome such exceptional achievers into its global family," said Prof. Joseph Frenkel, recently elected Chairman of the Board of Governors. In the 50 years since he studied at TAU, he has watched the institution grow into a "global hub of groundbreaking research and teaching, an association that fills me with pride, energy and the feeling that I am doing something right."

Prof. Frenkel called upon the audience to serve as ambassadors for the "one and only Tel Aviv University, to advance the next generation and our national aspirations, and help us and our children live in a better world."

Expanding the future

At the ceremony, TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter praised the participants for their impact on their respective fields, citing the more than 800 patents Prof. Langer has generated for new medical devices and drugs, and Judith Yovel Recanati's helping more than 130,000 victims of trauma to rebuild their lives.

"Having impact, having this kind of dramatic, forceful, transformational effect defines our 10 honorees tonight," he told the audience. "Whether in private business or public life, in the sciences or the arts, at Tel Aviv University or the world at large, these distinguished individuals have had a tremendous impact and influence on their fields, their communities and on society."

But more significantly, Prof. Klafter stressed, the honorees are bound together by their dedication to having a lasting impact on today's youth. "As leaders, teachers, mentors, caregivers and donors, they are encouraging and shaping the next generation, and leaving a lasting legacy."


India's Tata Industries Invests $5 Million in Tel Aviv University Technology Fund
6/4/2013

Conglomorate will fund commercialization of research breakthroughs

In April, Tata Industries, India's largest conglomerate, and Ramot, the technology transfer arm of Tel Aviv University, signed a memorandum of understanding to fund the generation of commercialization-ready technologies through Ramot's Technology Innovation Momentum fund. The company has committed $5 million of the projected $20 million goal for the fund.

Tata, which had annual revenues of over $100 billion in 2012, over half of which derived from international operations and subsidiaries, was drawn to invest in TAU because of the university's interdisciplinary capabilities and its track record of developing marketable technologies, such as data storage algorithms used in SanDisk flash drives.

Ramot Chairman Dr. Giora Yaron says, "Their experts will be working with our scientists to guide the science to develop innovative products." Dr. Yaron is considered one of the founding fathers of the high-tech industry in Israel, and has an extensive record of technological and professional leadership and successful entrepreneurship. The startups he established literally laid the infrastructure for the Israeli high-tech industry. Some of these companies, such as PentaCom, P-Cube and Qumranet were later sold to huge international companies.

With this investment, Tata will have the option to commercialize breakthroughs developed through the fund at TAU, permitting the company to engage more deeply and broadly with Israeli research and innovation, notes K.R.S. Jamwal, the executive of Tata Industries. "It allows us to show our commitment and shows that we're keenly interested in doing more."

Ramot CEO Shlomo Nimrodi believes that this partnership represents an opportunity to grow Ramot's income by hundreds of millions of dollars, which will be reinvested into the university. For every dollar in royalties, 20 cents will be invested in research labs, with 40 cents going to the scientists themselves.

It will also contribute towards bridging the gap between academic work and marketable innovation. Working with Tata will help TAU to develop the things that the market needs, and ensure that there is a commercialization partner available. In return, the fact that research is happening within an academic setting rather than a corporate R&D lab means that projects with longer time scales will have the time and space to develop, he adds.

For the full story on Tata's Investment in Ramot, see the Jerusalem Post story:
http://www.jpost.com/Business/Business-News/Indias-Tata-makes-1st-big-Israeli-investment-in-TAU-311451

For an interview with Ramot CEO Shlomo Nimrodi on the Technology Innovation Momentum fund, see the Business Standard interview:
http://www.business-standard.com/article/management/we-are-capable-of-providing-good-projects-for-commercial-use-shlomo-nimrodi-113050100788_1.html


In Memoriam: Robert J. Topchik
5/28/2013

Past President of American Friends of Tel Aviv University remembered for generosity, counsel, and loyalty

American Friends of Tel Aviv University mourns the passing of
 86, formerly of Passaic, NJ, and Clifton, NJ, who passed away peacefully in his home in Boca Raton, Florida, on Wednesday, May 22, 2013, surrounded by his wife Phyllis and children. Bobby served as the president of American Friends of Tel Aviv University from 1993 to 2001; and for many more years as a member of the Tel Aviv University International Board of Governors. His support for the University continued far beyond those official titles.

In 2011, Bobby and Phyllis opened their warm, beautiful home to introduce the then new TAU President Yossi Klafter to the South Florida Jewish community. The Phyllis and Robert Topchick Scholarship Fund for Post-graduate Studies personally reaches scores of Israeli students, changing the lives of young men and women who will go on to change the world. Bobby’s $1,000,000 Book Campaign restocked the school's library during difficult financial times.

"Bobby was a close family friend for many, many years," according to American Friends of Tel Aviv University National Chairman Jon Gurkoff. "He was always ready and willing to help raise money for TAU. And he was a generous and loyal friend to so many of us who are following in his great footsteps."

Bob, known to many of his friends as "Tippy" or "Toppy," was a spectacular athlete, best known as a football player for the University of Pennsylvania, where he met Phyllis.

In addition to his wife, Phyllis, Bobby is survived by his children, Meryl and husband, Richard Ringle; David; Alan and wife, Yazz, and John Topchik; and five wonderful grandchildren, Eric, Samantha, Hugh, Caroline, and Ethan.

Bobby's wise counsel, loyalty and warm friendship will be sorely missed by all who knew him.


New York University to Establish Research Institute at TAU
5/7/2013

Collaboration to draw on strengths of two universities

New York University (NYU) and Tel Aviv University have announced an agreement to establish an NYU research institute at TAU. The two universities, both situated in their respective countries' cultural and financial capitals, are committed to supporting research that draws on the strengths and global outlook of both institutions.

Tel Aviv is one of a select group of locations chosen for NYU'S network of research centers established through their Provost's Global Research Initiative (GRI) program. Other research centers are housed at NYU sites in Berlin, Florence, London, Prague, and Shanghai. The new NYU institute at TAU will house NYU researchers and graduate students who will be involved in research programs in Israel or in collaborative activities with TAU scientists and scholars.

In signing the agreement on behalf of Tel Aviv University, TAU Vice President Prof. Raanan Rein said that the establishment of the institute signifies yet another milestone in expanding the scope of TAU's global academic collaborations. In this context, TAU has recently signed several new agreements with foreign universities, including Monash University in Australia, Free University of Berlin, and the University of Maryland.


From Tel Aviv to Ohio for a World-Class Education in Pediatrics
4/30/2013

TAU students rotate into Cincinnati Children's Hospital for an eye-opening learning experience

Understanding how medicine is practiced all over the world can have an enormous impact on medical students. It provides a broader and more sophisticated perspective as they build their careers, says Dr. Ariel Munitz of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine.

Now Dr. Munitz has developed an innovative exchange program with the Cincinnati Children's Hospital (CCH) to give Sackler's students a head-start. A new faculty recruit who completed his post-doctoral fellowship at CCH, Dr. Munitz hopes to give Israeli participants an inside look at a leading hospital and provide the experience of how a top medical system functions in the United States. Students spend a total of four weeks in the US, including one rotation in general medicine and another in a specialty. There are also activities and lectures designed to expand their educational and hands-on experiences.

The competition to snag a place in the program is fierce, says Dr. Munitz, who co-directs the initiative with Prof. Karen Avraham and Dean Yossi Mekori. The search committee looks for more than top academics. Candidates must also act as ambassadors of TAU and Israel, show a long-term interest in pediatrics, and give back to the community through volunteer work.

Dr. Munitz believes that the program will foster closer collaboration between the two institutions. "Every year there will be at least four alumni from this program. They will remember their experience, and as physicians and researchers, continue their interaction with Cincinnati Children's Hospital," he hopes.

Learning from leaders

This winter, the second group of Sackler students participated in the exchange. All agree that they were inspired by their experience at a cutting-edge institution. Hadas Katz-Dana, who has been considering a career in pediatrics from the time she entered medical school, says that she was keen to apply to the program so she could get an up-close look at life and work in a top US hospital.

Due to its worldwide reputation, CCH is a pilgrimage site for children and families with difficult and rare diseases. "In two weeks, I saw more there than I could see in Israel in months," Katz-Dana explains. "The doctors allowed us to enter the labs and surgeries so we could be involved in every step of the treatment process. And we saw more diverse populations, both medically and culturally, than we get to see here."

Yoel Gofin calls the program an "opportunity to see medicine in its optimal state." CCH doctors have more time to spend with patients and their families, relating to them on a personal level, he says. The experience made him more appreciative of strengths of the medical system at home, too. "It also made me proud of the Israeli system where everyone gets the same treatment, even though we don't have a lot of funds. You don't have to ask people what kind of insurance they have."

With support and friendship

Not only were the students embraced by the hospital staff, but they received a warm welcome from the Jewish community in Cincinnati. For Nadav Kugler, this was one of the highlights of his journey. The students were invited to Shabbat dinner by a different family every week. "It was really nice to have a home-like experience," he says.

And Kugler says he has another reason to be thankful. As a full-time medical student, he also works as a computer programmer to pay for his tuition and living expenses. A program like this would have been out of his reach if not for the support of Keith and Karen Spero of Edwards, Colorado, who first met Kugler on a trip to TAU. After hearing about his circumstances, the couple generously decided to sponsor his trip.

"During our recent AFTAU trip to Israel, my wife and I were very impressed with the TAU campus as well as with the TAU students and faculty that we met," says Keith Spero. "We had lunch with Nadav and were struck by the level of his maturity, his work ethic, his sincerity, and his passion for becoming a pediatrician to help the children of his country. He told us about the exchange program with Cincinnati Children's Hospital and we wanted to help fund this opportunity for him."

"I was touched by their support, involvement, and interest in my story," Kugler says. "It was more than a gift — it was a tangible contribution to my education and my future." He says that his time in Cincinnati has encouraged him to select pediatrics as a specialty. He hopes to return to the US after graduating to complete a fellowship at a children's hospital — and Cincinnati Children's Hospital is a top choice, he reports.


TAU Researcher Honored for Innovative Work on Gauge and Gravity Theories
4/25/2013

Prof. Shimon Yankielowicz awarded esteemed Weizmann Prize

Prof. Shimon Yankielowicz of Tel Aviv University's School of Physics and Astronomy and former rector of the school was awarded the 2013 Weizmann Prize in Exact Sciences. The distinguished prize, designed to encourage and stimulate research in the natural sciences, is awarded yearly by the municipality of Tel Aviv in memory of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, former president of the World Zionist Organization and the first president of Israel.

The goal of Prof. Yankielowicz's field of research is to understand the physics of the most elementary particles from which matter is built, all the basic forces (including gravity) between them, and to build a unified quantum theory of all the fundamental particles and the basic laws of nature. An expert in quantum field theories, in particular gauge theories, and in string theory, Prof. Yankielowicz is being honored for his unique and novel contributions to quantum gauge and super-symmetric field theories, to string theory, and for his most influential works on the duality between gauge and gravity theories.

The prize was established in 1944 and has been awarded to leading Israeli scientists ever since. This year's prize will be awarded at a ceremony in November, presided over by Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and the selection jury.


Henry Kissinger Is Featured Speaker at TAU's Hartog School Reception in New York
4/23/2013

Annual seminar commemorates Labor party founder Gad Ya'acobi, an expert in public policy, political economy, and diplomacy

Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, the legendary US Secretary of State, offered a thought-provoking talk on "Israel and the Rise of Asia" at a private reception in Manhattan on April 11, presented by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. The centerpiece of the Fourth Annual Seminar of Tel Aviv University's Harold Hartog School of Government and Policy, the address commemorated the memory of Gad Ya'acobi, one of the founders of the Israeli Labor Party.

The evening was hosted by Stanley M. Bergman, Chair of the International Advisory Board of the Hartog School, his wife Marion, also a member of the International Advisory Board of the Hartog School, Tal Sadeh, Head of the Hartog School, and Esther Bachrach-Yaacobi, member of the International Advisory Board of the Harold Hartog School.Guests from the United States, Canada, Africa, and Israel attended, including the Hon. Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York; the Hon. Kenneth Taylor, Canadian Ambassador to Iran in 1977-1980; the Hon. Amiram Magid, Ambassador of Israel to the Caribbean States and Special Political Advisor to the Israeli Mission at the United Nations; the Hon. Shlomi Kofman, Deputy Consul General of Israel in New York; the Hon. Obiageli (Oby) Ezekwesili, former Vice President of the World Bank and former Nigerian Minister of Education; and Prof. Jacob Frenkel, Chairman of Tel Aviv University's Board of Governors.

"We are pleased to celebrate the Hartog School, a true gem of an institution that serves as a policy incubator and the premier training ground for future leaders in Israel and on the world stage," said Mr. Bergman. "It was a true privilege to be joined by the Honorable Dr. Henry Kissinger, one of the most esteemed statesmen of our time and a man who epitomizes the type of public servant that the Hartog School seeks to produce."

Mr. Bergman is Chairman of the Board and CEO of Henry Schein, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSIC), the world's largest provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, medical and animal health practitioners. The Bergman family actively supports organizations fostering the arts, higher education, cultural diversity and grassroots health care and sustainable entrepreneurial economic development initiatives in the United States, Africa and other developing regions of the world.

Honoring an influential statesman

Established in 2000, the Hartog School is dedicated to improving governance in Israel, preparing students for leadership in public service, serving as a leading public policy think tank, encouraging multidisciplinary research into governance and related issues, and bridging the academic and policy communities.

Gad Ya'acobi (1935-2007) was one of the founders of the Israeli Labor party, first elected to the Israeli parliament in 1969 and serving as a Knesset member for 23 years. During the 1970s and 1980s he also served as Transportation Minister, Minister of Economy and Planning, and Minister of Communications. As Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations (1992-96), he helped establish diplomatic relations between Israel and 27 states, many of them in Asia. The author of more than twenty books, Ya'acobi was a graduate in economics and political science of Tel Aviv University and Harvard's international seminar, and was a member of TAU's Executive Committee.


Multidisciplinary Research on Physics of "Living Systems" Earns Prestigious Prize
4/10/2013

TAU Professor Eshel Ben-Jacob awarded Weizmann Prize in Exact Sciences

Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob of Tel Aviv University's Department of Physics and Astronomy has been awarded the 2013 Weizmann Prize in Exact Sciences. The distinguished prize, designed to encourage and stimulate research in the natural sciences, is awarded yearly by the municipality of Tel Aviv in memory of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, former president of the World Zionist Organization and the first president of Israel.

The award will be presented in November at a ceremony attended by Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, the prize jury, and several former laureates. Among the latter are many of the prominent scientists of Israel, including Nobel Prize-winning chemists Prof. Avrahm Hershko and Prof. Dan Shechtman.

Prof. Ben-Jacob will receive the prize for his innovative application of physical methods to the study of biological communities such as bacteria colonies, neural networks, and tumors, said the prize jury. They also noted that Prof. Ben-Jacob's "out-of-the-box" and "innovative" thinking contributed to the establishment of a new discipline.

Honored by the commendation of his work, Prof. Ben-Jacob says that he is most gratified by the jury's recognition of these novel multidisciplinary studies.


TAU International Students Make the Regional Finals of the Clinton Initiative's $1 Million Hult Prize
3/20/2013

Students embrace social entrepreneurship to tackle the global food crisis

Three teams from TAU International — Tel Aviv University's extensive English-language degree programs — competed in the Regional Finals of the Hult Prize, a collaborative initiative between Hult International Business School and the Global Clinton Initiative. The selected team members are all enrolled in International Master's programs: Conflict Resolution and Mediation, Environmental Studies, and the Sofaer International MBA.

Called a "start-up accelerator for social good," the prize is designed to encourage students in the field of social entrepreneurship, and has been named "one of the top five ideas changing the world" by President Bill Clinton and Time magazine. Each year's winner receives $1,000,000 in funding to launch a sustainable social venture.

"The Hult Prize is thrilled that Tel Aviv University has joined the initiative with three teams selected for the finals," said Dr. Stephen Hodges, president of the Hult International Business School. This year's competition had a record breaking number of applications from over 350 colleges and universities spanning 150 countries worldwide. Hult International Business School, which hosts the competition annually, is the world's largest graduate business school, with seven campuses spanning five countries, including the United States, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, England, and China.

Tackling global hunger

In recent years, the Hult Prize has tackled some of the world's toughest challenges, including education, energy, housing, and water. For the 2013 Prize, President Clinton personally selected the challenge: the global food crisis. Nearly one billion people in the world – and nearly one out of every four children — are hungry. Though our global economy produces enough food each year to feed everyone, more than one-third of the food generated for human consumption is lost or wasted. Participants were asked to propose a social enterprise with the ability to significantly mitigate the food crisis by 2018, focusing on Africa, India, and South America. They were encouraged to approach this challenge through multiple lenses, such as distribution, manufacturing, production, and technology.

Sabrina Souss, an Argentinean student from the Sofaer IMBA who competed with students from TAU's Porter School of Environmental Studies, said that she was drawn to study at TAU because she believes it offers the perfect mix of challenging academics and a rich personal experience. Participating in the competition has not only been a highlight of her TAU International education, but has sparked a long-term interest in the emerging field of social entrepreneurship.

"The fact that we were building a business, and not an NGO, was an eye-opener. We had to approach the problem from a different angle," she says. "Our approach was to build a network of small local businesses in the slums, creating a global platform for NGOs already working in the field and encouraging local entrepreneurship in areas that address food security." To prepare for the competition, Souss and her teammates spent months learning about potential partner organizations, including NGOs and technical developers and engineers in Israel.

Following the regional finals in Boston, San Francisco, London, Dubai, and Shanghai, one winning team from each host city will move into a summer business incubator, where participants will receive mentorship and have the opportunity to plan strategically as they create prototypes and prepare to launch their social business. The final round will be hosted at the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, presided over by President Clinton.

"Tel Aviv University is proud to have had 15 of its international graduate students participate in this important competition," said Prof. Raanan Rein, Vice President of TAU. "We believe that these diverse groups combined TAU's strong academics and Israel's entrepreneurial spirit to find creative solutions to the issue of food security."

The teams were supported by the Manna Center for Plant Biosciences at TAU.

The TAU International team members are:

  • From the Conflict Resolution and Mediation Program, competing in London: Hun Jang Cho (South Korea), Alexis Karlin (USA), Ella Fuksbrauner (Columbia), Caroline Culliere (France), and Alexandra Stein (USA).
  • From the Porter School of Environmental Studies Program, competing in San Francisco: Ori Mayer (USA), Alejandro Pomerantz (Argentina), Sabrina Souss (Argentina), Scalet Pesch (Germany), and Joshua Victor (India).
  • From the Sofaer International MBA, competing in Boston: Benjamin Ratz (Sweden), Ariel Jassan (Argentina), Lauren Joseph (USA), Boaz Gavish (Israel), and Kyle Giddens (Canada).

Global Leaders in Women's Rights Advocacy Converge at TAU
3/18/2013

National Council of Jewish Women hosts gathering of Israeli, American progressive women leaders

As part of their recent mission — "The Road to Tomorrow: Women Leading Change" — the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) brought women leaders from across the United States together on the Tel Aviv University campus in February, 2013. A highlight of the trip, they participated in a session with Israeli advocates who are working to protect and advance the rights of women, children and families across the country.

The tour, which celebrated NCJW's 65 years of commitment to Israel, introduced American progressive women leaders to the unique challenges facing Israeli women and the work of women's rights organizations in a variety of fields — including politics, advocacy, policy-making and more. This trip was sponsored in collaboration with the Israel Action Network.

Prof. Hannah Naveh, Dean of the David and Yolanda Katz Faculty of the Arts and the original founder of The NCJW Women and Gender Studies Program at TAU, welcomed the participants and commended the ongoing partnership between NCJW and the university. Since opening its doors 14 years ago, the program has changed the landscape of Women and Gender Studies in Israel, becoming the first degree program of its kind in the Middle East and giving students an academic basis from which to approach women's issues.

"What the NCJW has done for us is unimaginable — their endowment enabled us to become a significant academic program, and empowered us to speak loud and clear on campus and outside of it" she said, noting that the program has grown to include both undergraduate and graduate students. Consistent with the aims of NCJW, the mission of the Women and Gender Studies program is to "build bridges between academia and the grassroots movements" and "work to make sure that women are never left out of the decision-making room," she added.

Banding together for a common mission

During the conference, mission participants were introduced to the leaders of a number of the organizations behind the collaborative initiative of Shutafot. This newly formed partnership among seven of Israel's leading feminist groups focuses on ensuring gender justice and economic and employment equality in Israel, and responding to these issues in real-time.

Hamutal Gouri, Director of the Daphna Fund, thanked the mission for "coming to this crazy and wonderful place that we call home," and called the coming together of the organizations under the umbrella of Shutafot a "collaborative effort on the ground".  Some of the aims of the organization include preserving the rights of low income women, female economic empowerment, helping women who are victims of violence and helping women get employment skills and training for entry into the workforce.

The concept came together organically, said Barbara Swirski from the Adva Center. Amidst two events in Israel that the media was attempting to suppress — the sexual assault conviction of a former president of Israel, and the attempt to raise the female retirement age without addressing employment concerns for older women — the organizations that comprise Shutafot realized they needed to ban together to ensure that such issues were could no longer be hidden in the darkness.

Mission participants also heard from Galit Desheh, Executive Director of the Israel Women's Network and Director Shula Keshet from Achoti — a Mizrahi feminist movement that focuses on fair trade and the economy — whose organizations are also founding members of Shutafot. Representatives from Itach-Maaki, women lawyers for social justice, also attended to present their plan to ensure the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which calls for the full and equal participation of women in peace and security initiatives.


TAU International Spearheads Unique Gap Year Program
2/25/2013

TAU and BBYO Beyond partner to offer an unforgettable year for pre-college students

Tel Aviv University and BBYO Beyond have teamed to create a unique gap year program for non-Israeli students. Opening this fall, the new program combines a specially designed academic curriculum with meaningful community service opportunities, offering unparalleled exposure to Israeli history, culture and society. It's a well-rounded experience that adds substance to the participants' time abroad, says Maureen Meyer Adiri, Director of TAU International, providing a "first taste" of college life and emphasizing leadership and development.

In the first half of the year, participants live and study on the TAU campus. The curriculum includes intensive Hebrew language study, a dedicated Israel Studies course covering everything from history to topography, and the opportunity to sit in on classes offered by the TAU International Study Abroad Program. For the second part of the year, designed to help participants make a social impact, students travel throughout the country and complete a community service component in either Jerusalem or Ethiopia.

Students can choose either a five or nine month program, and elect to engage in specialty programming that includes an Israel Defence Forces Basic Training program, Magen David Adom paramedic courses, kibbutz volunteer programs, and activities in cultural fields including culinary, art, and photography. The program also offers optional European trips to Italy, Spain and Poland.

Not only will participants immerse themselves in Israeli culture and make a valuable social contribution, they will also enhance the potency of their college applications at the same time, says Meyer Adiri. "This program is a major boost to the CV of any college-bound student. Such experience is a way to distinguish themselves from their peers, demonstrating independence, international experience and the maturity to take on University level studies."

For many participants, the gap year program will be a first introduction to Israel, and of course, to Tel Aviv University, notes Meyer Adiri, revealing the possibilities that lie outside their home country.  These include TAU's impressive roster of 15 international degree programs at both the Bachelor's and Master's levels.

For more information on TAU International, visit:
http://international.tau.ac.il/

For more information on the TAU and BBYO Beyond Gap Year Program, visit:
http://beyondyear.org/


New Republic Editor Leon Wieseltier and British Historian Sir Geoffrey Lloyd Among Recipients of 2013 Dan David Prize
2/20/2013

Three $1 million awards to be presented in June at TAU

American intellectual and literary editor of The New Republic Leon Wieseltier, University of Cambridge historian Prof. Sir Geoffrey Lloyd, and preventative medicine specialists Prof. Esther Duflo and Dr. Alfred Sommer are among the winners of the 2013 Dan David Prize, which annually awards three prizes of $1 million each. The prizes are granted for “proven, exceptional and distinct excellence in the sciences, arts and humanities that have made an outstanding contribution to humanity.”

The laureates, who donate 10% of their prize money towards 20 doctoral and postdoctoral Tel Aviv University scholarships, will be honored at a ceremony at the university on June 9, 2013 during the University’s International Board of Governors Meeting from June 6-10.

The Dan David Prize is named for the late international businessman and philanthropist Dan David.  Its international headquarters are located at Tel Aviv University. Each year the International Board chooses one field within the three time dimensions of Past (highlighting fields that expand knowledge of former times), Present (recognizing achievements that shape and enrich contemporary society) and Future (focusing on breakthroughs that hold great promise for the improvement of our world). Following a review process by independent Review Committees comprised of renowned scholars and professionals, the International Board then chooses the laureates for each field.

The 2013 Dan David Prize laureates are:

Past — In the field of “Classics, the Modern Legacy of the Ancient World”: Prof. Sir Geoffrey Lloyd of the Needham Research Institute and the University of Cambridge, for his work on the subject of Greek science as a major field in the history of classical philosophy, illuminating the roots of modern science.

Present — Sharing the prize in the field of “Ideas, Public Intellectuals and Contemporary Philosophers”: Prof. Michel Serres of Stanford University and Université de Paris, one of the most important modern French philosophers, for his intimate knowledge of the western tradition in philosophy and science and for his discussion of a vast range of current questions, and Mr. Leon Wieseltier, American intellectual and philosopher and Literary Editor of The New Republic, a foremost writer and thinker who confronts and engages with central issues of our times, setting the standard for serious cultural discussion in the United States.

Future — Sharing the prize in the field of “Preventative Medicine”: Prof. Esther Duflo, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an economist noted for her work on social conditions and strategies related to the alleviation of poverty which deals directly with prevention of disease; and Dr. Alfred Sommer of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health for his unexpected and striking discovery in demonstrating that vitamin A has the power to save children's lives.

The Dan David Prize, the culmination of the philanthropic effort of the late businessman Dan David, has been headquartered at Tel Aviv University since its establishment in 2000. "Very important to the prize is the underlying philosophy. It's an idea that recognizes the importance of the time dimension and the interplay between time dimensions, past present and future," says Prof. Itamar Rabinovich, Chairman of the Dan David Foundation. "Dan David's family – his widow Gabriella and his son Ariel – my colleagues on the foundation and I are delighted by the smooth and effective collaboration between Tel Aviv University and by the excellent fashion in which the prize is managed and administered here. I'm looking forward to many more years of such collaboration and such great choices."

Watch the video announcement of this year’s laureates here:
http://www.dandavidprize.org/media-events/press-releases/487-laureates-announced-2013

For more information on the Dan David Prize and this year’s laureates, visit the Web site for the awards:
http://www.dandavidprize.org

 


TAU Inaugurates Historian Bernard Lewis' Personal Collection of Middle Eastern Scholarship
1/31/2013

Unmatched archive from an illustrious career finds a permanent home at TAU

Friends, family, and scholars gathered on January 20 on the Tel Aviv University campus to celebrate the inauguration of the Professor Bernard Lewis Collection, housed at the Sourasky Central Library. Comprised of approximately 18,000 items, including rare books in multiple languages, journals, documents, and letters, the archive holds the personal collections of preeminent Middle East historian Prof. Bernard Lewis, acquired over the course of his distinguished career.

The ceremony reflected the close relationship between Prof. Lewis and TAU, which has flourished for the past four decades. TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter thanked Prof. Lewis for the magnificent gift, noting that it would continue his legacy for many generations of scholars and students. "Through it, your name and your immense influence on the field and on Tel Aviv University will live on for many more generations," he told the historian.

Beyond its contribution to the stature of TAU's Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies as a leader in Middle Eastern scholarship, Prof. Itamar Rabinovitch, former Ambassador of Israel to the United States and former President of TAU, said that the importance of the collection lies in offering students access to specialized materials, encouraging them to engage with print in this digital age. Dana Raz, the MA student who is working to catalogue and process the collection, expressed her admiration for the richness of the archives, saying that her daily involvement with the materials has served to increase her curiosity and hunger for knowledge.

Quoting from his recently published memoir Notes on a Century, Prof. Lewis reflected warmly on his "rewarding and interesting career," filled by his prolific writings, stimulating debates, and cherished friends and family. "I have been particularly fortunate in the way that you have honored me today," he thanked the crowd.

Celebrating a teacher, mentor, and friend

The intimate gathering spoke of the influence of Bernard Lewis on the TAU campus, said Prof. Klafter, "the teacher and friend who the University welcomed for more than 30 years." Since traveling to TAU for a conference in 1971, Prof. Lewis has visited the Dayan Center annually, offering popular lecture series, mentoring students, and connecting with colleagues. In 1989, he established the Jenny and Harry Lewis Program in the Humanities, named in memory of his parents.

American Friends of Tel Aviv University President & CEO Gail Reiss also attended the ceremony. "The academic importance of this gift is obvious," she said, "but the inauguration had the wonderful feeling of a family affair. The admiration, respect, and friendship that the Dayan Center's professors and students feel for Bernard Lewis was unmistakable." Prof. Lewis was recently the guest of honor at a gala dinner in New York held by American Friends of Tel Aviv University, at which former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and other dignitaries lauded the historian's career.

According to Prof. Rabinovitch, TAU has been like a second home to Prof. Lewis, who remained at the University even as Israel was being attacked by Saddam Hussein's missiles in 1991 — a show of deep commitment to the country and school.

"I know he cherished the weeks at TAU and in Israel," Prof. Rabinovitch said at the ceremony. "Three generations of students have now benefitted from his wisdom, knowledge, warmth, and personal friendship." Though never a student of Prof. Lewis himself, he credited Prof. Lewis for teaching him much of what he knows, and reflected on their 40 year friendship, which included "long conversations on the Middle East, Israel, and any subject under the sun."


Prof. Jacob Frenkel Assumes Chairmanship of TAU's Board of Governors
1/17/2013

Internationally-renowned economist and banker returns to serve Tel Aviv University

Prof. Jacob Frenkel, Chairman of JPMorgan Chase International and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Group of Thirty (G-30), the private, nonprofit Consultative Group on International Economic and Monetary Affairs, assumed the chairmanship of Tel Aviv University's international Board of Governors on January 1, 2013.

"I am delighted to accept this prestigious position and would like to express thanks and appreciation to the Board of Governors for giving me the opportunity to serve this fine University," Prof. Frenkel said on the occasion of his election. "I am looking forward to meeting the challenges ahead." He succeeds Harvey M. Krueger, Vice Chairman of Barclays Capital.

Having served two terms as the Governor of the Bank of Israel, Prof. Frenkel is credited with reducing inflation in Israel and achieving price stability, liberalizing Israel's financial markets, removing foreign exchange controls, and integrating the Israeli economy into the global financial system. Previously he was the Economic Counsellor and Director of Research at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Prof. Frenkel is a member of the world's leading economic research and advisory bodies, and has received many decorations, honorary degrees and awards including the Czech Karel Englis Prize in Economics, the (Gran Cruz) Order de Mayo al Merito decoration from the Government of Argentina, the (Cavaliere di Gran Croce) Order of Merit decoration from the Republic of Italy and the YIVO Lifetime Achievement Award.

A deep connection

In a New Year greeting to fellow Governors, Prof. Frenkel noted his long history with Tel Aviv University.

"Fifty years ago I embarked on my undergraduate studies in a red brick building among the scrubby dunes of Ramat Aviv," he wrote. "Known today as the Trubowicz Building, it was the first and only structure on what would soon become the Tel Aviv University campus. Later on in the early 1970s, when I returned to the campus for my first stint as a faculty member, Tel Aviv University was still small and young.

"We have come a long way. Tel Aviv University has evolved into an internationally-recognized center of excellence. Our faculty and students are the best in the country. Our graduates have shaped and advanced Israel's industry, business, governance, education, law, culture and much more."

He urged the Governors to aspire for "a strong, influential and triumphant" university despite current geopolitical and economic uncertainties that pose challenges for the State of Israel and its higher education system. "I'm convinced that there is no limit to what we can achieve working together," he said. He also extended "special, heartfelt thanks and appreciation" to the outgoing Chairman, Harvey M. Krueger, for his "exceptional leadership and outstanding contribution."

A laureate of the 2002 Israel Prize in Economics and recipient of Tel Aviv University's Hugo Ramniceanu Prize for Economics, Prof. Frenkel has served on the faculty of TAU's Eitan Berglas School of Economics as the Gerald and Vera Weisfeld Professor of the Economics of Peace and International Relations. He was also on the faculty of the University of Chicago as the David Rockefeller Professor of International Economics.

In welcoming the appointment, President of Tel Aviv University Prof. Joseph Klafter expressed his firm belief that Prof. Frenkel, who is recognized for his outstanding achievements in the national and international arena, will "greatly contribute to the further development of the University."


In Memoriam: Florence Rosenberg Wise
1/15/2013

AFTAU board member's 100 years were a celebration of Israel, education, and the arts

We mourn the passing of our friend Florence Rosenberg Wise, a member of Tel Aviv University's International Board of Governors and American Friends of Tel Aviv University's Board of Directors, on Friday, January 11, 2013, in Miami Beach, FL at the age of 100.

Mrs. Wise was a passionate supporter of Israel, as was her late husband Dr. George S. Wise, Tel Aviv University's first president and chancellor. They worked together as a dynamic team to support the state of Israel and — from its earliest years — Tel Aviv University. The couple were both honored with the university's most distinguished recognition, the degree of Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa, in 1972.

Witty, smart, gracious, and generous, Mrs. Wise was also an accomplished artist who graduated from New York University with a degree in Fine Arts, and was subsequently appointed an Associate Professor there. Among her students were several well-known modern painters, including Larry Rivers. An avant garde film she produced about art is in the collections of the Smithsonian Museum.

A splendid legacy

Tel Aviv University houses multiple buildings, faculties, and chairs named for both Florence and George Wise and her late father, Chaim Rosenberg, including the Florence and George Wise Observatory and the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences. During Dr. Wise's eight years as TAU president, Mrs. Wise helped expand the campus from one building to 26; from two faculties to nine; and from 1,200 students to 11,000. Following her husband's death in 1987, Mrs. Wise continued to serve as a tireless fundraiser and substantial donor herself.

Last year, on the occasion of Mrs. Wise's 100th birthday, TAU President Joseph Klafter toasted her: "Florence advanced her husband's dream of developing TAU into Israel's largest university, supporting many university projects generously. The biggest one, the George S. Wise Senate Building, was dedicated in 1999, and the thoroughfare leading up to it was renamed 'Dr. George S. Wise Street' by the municipality of Tel Aviv.

"After Dr. Wise's passing, Florence continued to advance his dream. Just as the Wise Building is in the heart of our campus, Tel Aviv University remains in the heart of Florence Wise," he said.

She is survived by her nephew, Dr. Jonathan Sarlin of New York, his wife, Yosefa, their children Ehud and Avital, and the entire family.


TAU Faculty and Students Share Their Experience of Life Within Missile Range
1/3/2013

America's Jewish Council for Public Affairs hears about living under rocket fire

On the heels of "Operation Pillar of Defense," the recent confrontation between Israel and Gaza, the annual leadership mission of the US-based Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) visited the Tel Aviv University campus in December. There, faculty and students within Gaza's missile range shard their experiences of life under rocket fire, saying that although the intensity of conflict may fluctuate, the missiles never truly stop — even for an official cease fire.

Maayan Brodsky, an MA student from the Department of History who grew up on a kibbutz mere miles from the Gaza border, said that missile attacks have become a part of daily life in the last decade. "You hear about it in the media when it gets intense, but it's there all the time, reminding us that we don't get any rest," he said of the constant barrage. "We seem to be living in huge shelters. Every house has a safe room, every school has been rebuilt."

The message was not lost on JCPA members, who pledged support for Israelis living under these difficult conditions. "We have come here to learn — and we will go back to tell our communities and our political representatives that there are real people behind these stories," said Larry Gold, Chair of the JCPA.

As the representative voice of the American Jewish community, the JCPA leads a yearly mission to Israel in order to further the organization's goals of safeguarding Jewish rights in the US and around the world, advocating for the security of the state of Israel, and promoting a socially just society with harmony between peoples of different religions, ethnicities, races and more.

A hard reality

When rocket fire is heavy in her hometown of Beer Sheva, says Lital Nahmias, an MA student at the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, the flow of daily life is altered. Schools close down, the streets are empty, and it's difficult to get food. "It took my mom over two hours to do something as simple as make dinner, because she was running to the shelter and back," she added.

Sad though it is, Nahmias told the mission participants that eventually, missiles become part of the status quo. Her worst memories of the bombings are from her time studying in Sderot in 2005. "We sat in class and every half hour we had an alarm. The first time, you rush to the lobby; the second, you move to a fortified wall; and by the third, you just stay and keep learning," she recalls. "Until one day, a bomb fell directly on a student. I can't get the shouting and crying out of my head."

It's a reality that hits home for TAU students and staff members. During November's escalation, PhD student Gonen Raveh of the Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education experienced a direct hit to his home in Timorim, and the University is mourning the loss of Lieutenant (res.) Boris Yarmolnik, an outstanding physics student, who was killed in the line of duty.

Prof. David Andelman, head of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler School of Physics and Astronomy shared his sorrow for the loss of a young, promising student who had his whole life ahead of him. "This is the reality in our country, where people such as Boris give of their time for the safety of us all while also juggling their studies and work."

Taking a psychological toll

During the operation, the Iron Dome, a technological marvel designed and implemented by a team that included TAU-trained engineer Dr. Danny Gold, intercepted approximately 90 percent of rocket fire directed at Israel. But while cutting-edge technology undoubtedly saves lives, it cannot shield the public from the psychological impact of Hamas' expanding missile range.

The Hamas rockets aren't very accurate, says Brodsky, "but in terms of instilling fear, they do the job," changing the way people go about their daily lives.

It wasn't until she saw the conflict through her children's perspective that Prof. Noga Kronfeld-Schor of the Department of Zoology understood the full impact. After arriving in Australia for a sabbatical in 2009, her children heard a sheep horn — and immediately sought cover. "I told them there was no war there, and we didn't need to find shelter. My seven-year-old asked if we could stay forever," she remembers.

For the week of the 2012 operation, they were too afraid to be far from the shelter, meaning simple activities like bath time and playing outdoors were often off limits. "Growing up as a child in danger is horrible," she shared with the participants, noting that having a family in such an environment is a "huge responsibility, and raises questions on how and where we should live."


A Greenhouse of Creativity for the Filmmakers of Tomorrow
12/4/2012

American Friends learn why TAU's Department of Film and Television grads are having global impact

The only degree-granting film program in Israel, Tel Aviv University's Department of Film and Television is one of the world's most distinguished. Films by students and alumni garner Oscar nominations, and are regular award-winners at major international film festivals including Cannes, Sundance, and Berlin.

At a private breakfast, guests of the "Discover TAU: Campus and Beyond" mission saw for themselves why TAU's faculty, students and alumni are among the world's leading filmmakers — known for their passion, creativity, honesty and wit. Prof. Hannah Naveh, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, calls the Department the "main attraction" of her Faculty. "This is the age of the visual, the age of the moving image. Film is how young people want to express themselves," she told the group.

The Department's top priority is to encourage students to exercise their creativity. Yaron Shani, an Oscar-nominated director, TAU alumnus, and new faculty member, credited the Department for supporting him in the development of the unorthodox technique that shaped his critically acclaimed film, Ajami. Using non-actors working without a script, Shani was able to bring an unflinchingly honest form of drama to the screen. No other film school, he said, would have given him the same freedom.

Now, as a teacher, Shani helps his students embrace who they are. "I'm overwhelmed by the work of the students, which shows so much creativity and maturity," he said. And working at the Department as a teacher rather than a student is helping him to grow as an artist as well. "It's like a greenhouse. I'm flourishing and bursting with energy here."

Prof. Michal Aviad, also a faculty member and award-winning filmmaker, agreed that connecting with young filmmakers is a vastly rewarding benefit of teaching at TAU. "It's a great opportunity to meet with the filmmakers and audiences of tomorrow. They help to shape my taste," she said.

During the breakfast, mission participants had the opportunity to preview work and participate in a Q&A about Israeli cinema and craft of filmmaking. The work Israel is producing, the speakers agreed, is shaped by its particular realities — including smaller budgets and the social diversity produced by immigration and ongoing political strife.

"Part of being a filmmaker in this country is being part of the struggle and challenging the different realities. You have something to say — and the responsibility to say it," said Prof. Aviad.


Examining Truth and Justice at Israel's Supreme Court
12/3/2012

American Friends mission gets the inside story on law and order in the Jewish state

During a visit to Israel's magnificent Supreme Court building, guests of the "Discover TAU: Campus and Beyond" mission were invited into the privileged chambers of the Supreme Court justices by their newest member — Justice Daphne Barak-Erez, former Dean of the Buchmann Faculty of Law at Tel Aviv University.

In a private discussion centered on Israel's judicial system, Justice Barak-Erez said that staying faithful to the principles of truth and justice can present challenges as unique as the country itself.

"Sitting where I do today, I see the challenges the justice system faces as akin to those of the state. We are both a Jewish and a democratic state. Our constitutional law follows in the footsteps of British law, but doesn't appear in one formal document," she told the group. "This means that there is more flexibility — but that nothing is absolutely certain."

It's what makes the rulings of the Supreme Court — which every day must decide what is considered constitutional — especially poignant, she said.

Justice Barak-Erez, who first took the Supreme Court bench in May, 2012, assured participants that her connection to Tel Aviv University will always remain strong. "TAU is my second home. I started as a student at TAU's Faculty of Law at 18, and it has been a part of my life for almost 30 years. I truly believe it is the best law school in Israel because of the quality of the faculty and students, who are leaders in the legal field."


Incubating Innovation: Google Israel and StarTAU
11/30/2012

American Friends get an inside look at the cutting-edge of the "Innovation Nation"

Renowned as a powerhouse of R&D, Israeli innovation has captured the world's imagination. Visitors flock to the "start-up nation" for just a glimpse of the phenomenon at work — but "Discover TAU: Campus and Beyond" travellers saw much more.

Prof. Yossi Matias, managing director of Google's Research & Development center in Israel and a Tel Aviv University faculty member, invited the group for a briefing at the global business leader’s Tel Aviv office. Now one of the fastest growing centers of Google, the six-year-old R&D center has played a crucial role in developing new technologies for applications including gmail, search, and data transfer.

Google measures success by impact, Prof. Matias says what products they launch, how they aid Google users, and how important they become to the company's overall product offerings. "The talent here is important, as well as the education level, culture, and industrial experience. Our innovative Israeli culture is a great match for Google," he told the group, explaining the company’s decision to open a center in Israel.

While the corporate culture of Google is global, meaning that Israel's offices offer up the same creative workspace and employee satisfaction rates that the company’s headquarters is famous for, Prof. Matias supports interactions with the community at large, including projects to digitize the Dead Sea Scrolls, create an online community and museum experience for Yad Vashem, and create collaborations with Israeli academia — including TAU — for research, grant programs and student internships.

Creating STARs

TAU nurtures innovation directly, too — through StarTAU, a targeted program to foster an “ecosystem of entrepreneurship” on campus. A non-profit organization, StarTAU provides workshops and training courses, events and professional consultations for aspiring young entrepreneurs, students and alumni alike. Equally valuable, it offers all-important connections to industry contacts who can move projects into development.

"Our program helps to accelerate and encourage new entrepreneurs, providing support for them to develop their projects and business skills," said Elad Cohen Toren, one of the organizers of the program.

Mission participants enjoyed sitting in on a session as students presented their business ventures. Marc Singer, founding partner and advisor at Singer Xenos Wealth Management, said that the program could be an integral part of the students' future success. As an investor familiar with the challenges that entrepreneurs face, he called start-ups an "integral" part of the Israeli psyche: "If they can get this experience at TAU, they will be two years ahead" when they enter the business world, he said.


A Unique View of Expanding Social Action in Israel
11/29/2012

Top Israeli politicians share views on policy in private briefings with American Friends

Although the pursuit of peace and security often dominates Israeli political news, members of AFTAU's "Discover TAU: Campus and Beyond" mission were intrigued to learn about the country's burgeoning interest in social policies.

Two private briefings — with Member of Knesset Dr. Nachman Shai and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai — explored the fight for equal rights through the lens of country-wide protests against vast socioeconomic gaps, and the trend for young Israelis to turn to countries abroad for more promising prospects.

With one third of the Israeli population now below the poverty line and an average of 7.7 years' salary needed to buy a home — compared to 2.9 years' salary in the U.S. — educated and ambitious young Israelis are tempted to live abroad in search of a better quality of life, MK Shai told AFTAU's guests at a private breakfast. To bring about change, the country must pursue lasting peace, and encourage outlying factions, including the ultra orthodox, to shoulder their fair share of the military and economic burden, he said.

"We have unique needs here in Israel, with over 25 percent of the budget going to defense and security. If we don't find a way to end this long-term conflict, there will be increasingly less to spend on things like education and infrastructure," he said, noting that wage-earning Israelis are feeling the pinch, and finding it increasingly difficult to call the country home. It's a trend that must be reversed if Israel is to continue to capitalize on its fabled brain power, Dr. Shai cautioned.

On the local level, Mayor Huldai has long been tackling these issues within one of the country's largest municipalities. While Tel Aviv has blossomed in recent years, become a hub for research and development, culture, education and tourism, it still faces very real social challenges.

Two projects that are close to his heart are providing adequate public transportation and caring for the city's thousands of refugees, combating what he calls "oppressive laws" to do so. "When you speak about public transportation, you speak about accessibility to education, to employment, to life. In equal societies in the world you find efficient public transportation," said Mayor Huldai to the group. In the last few years, the Mayor has worked to introduce a successful bicycle sharing system to the city, and has challenged federal legislation prohibiting public transportation on Saturday.

Many of those needing greater mobility are the thousands of refugees and illegal immigrants who have flooded into the country in the last decade, with large numbers settling in the municipality. Because they are without legal standing, it is forbidden to give them services. But Mayor Huldai, who is also a Board member at Tel Aviv University, has had an active role in setting up clinics and other services for these long-suffering refugees, becoming somewhat of an "outlaw" in the process.

It's a cause that TAU has also taken up with enthusiasm, with researchers and students across the campus — including the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, the School of Psychological Sciences, and the Buchmann Faculty of Law — volunteering their time and expertise to provide services such as speech therapy, psychological aid, open medical clinics, and legal advice to those in need.


Ambassador Daniel Shapiro and Ha'aretz Editor Aluf Benn Discuss the Israeli-American Connection
11/28/2012

American Friends get an intimate look at the relationship between the US and the Jewish state

Long-term allies, Israel and the U.S. have forged many connections in the realms of security, economy, education and more — but all relationships are fluid. During AFTAU's "Discover TAU: Campus and Beyond" mission just days before the American election, pressing questions about the future of Israeli-American relations were on the minds of travellers and speakers alike.

In pre-election polls, the Israeli public overwhelmingly preferred Mitt Romney over Barack Obama for U.S. president, with a widely held belief that Romney would be a greater friend to Israel. But in a private meeting with mission participants, America's Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said definitively that the bond between the two countries will only continue to deepen.

"We stand firmly with Israel in its desire to attain peace, and it is in the interest of the U.S. to maintain a Jewish, democratic state. It benefits our security to have an ally we can count on, and has experience that we don't have," he told the group. Beyond collaborations in terms of military and security technology, which have engendered joint operations and exercises, there are joint developments such as "the Iron Dome," and invaluable shared intelligence on terrorist organizations, and more.

At its core, Ambassador Shapiro said, the relationship between the countries is also "one between two peoples who value education, scientific development, and furthering of our ideals."

Aluf Benn, editor-in-chief of Ha'aretz, the daily newspaper internationally recognized as a sophisticated interpreter of world politics, agreed that the outlook wasn't as grim as the public might think. Expressing his insider's view of Israel's current security situation, he said he believed that the relationship would stand firm — no matter what.

"We don't feel we have a friend at the White House," he said, underscoring the Israeli preference for Romney, but he was confident that both parties remain committed to a two state solution, and share some distrust of the Palestinians. In light of that, plus the turmoil in Syria, the Islamification of Egypt, and the nuclear threat in Iran, Mr. Benn believes that regardless of who is America's president or who takes the helm of political leadership in Israel, Western countries will continue to value their alliance with the only democracy in this turbulent region.

"They may not like Netanyahu, but leaders in the Western world don't have any other friends in the Middle East," he said bluntly.


TAU Stars Shine on Jam-Packed Campus Visit
11/27/2012

AFTAU group experiences broad multidisciplinary achievements at Israel's leading university

Private meetings with Tel Aviv University's top researchers and a chance to interact with outstanding students filled a busy agenda as the "Discover TAU: Campus and Beyond" mission visited the University's beautiful campus.

Prof. Eran Tromer of the Blavatnik School of Computer Science introduced the group to his current research in cyber security. With work that's drawing international attention, he and his fellow researchers are developing technology that can break into any and all technological systems — discovering in the process how to prevent such security breaches.

Prof. Dan Peer of TAU's Department of Cell Research and Immunology specializes in nanomedicine and "theranostics," a new field of therapeutic diagnostics personalized for the individual. As Scientific Director of the new Center for Nano Research and Nano Technology, a groundbreaking consortium of 11 labs, he explained his innovative approach for delivering medicines directly to diseased cells, a stealth attack similar to a "Trojan horse," he said. "It may sound like science fiction, but we are turning fiction into reality."

Dr. Yechiel Elkabetz, a renowned expert in stem cell research at the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, gave guests an inside look at his first-of-its-kind research into the exact instant cells begin to differentiate and turn into nerve cells. Demonstrating the highly advanced microscope in his lab, he explained that his research is the first step toward enabling scientists to manipulate the process of producing only desired nerve cells for the understanding and treatment of brain diseases.

Bringing resonance to these scientific perspectives, Prof. Shai Lavi, Head of the Edmund J. Safra Center for Ethics, illuminated Israel's unique ethical view of stem cell research. He noted that the country is more liberal than many others, even exporting stem cells to countries around the world. Jewish law is very liberal on these matters, he explained, and modern technology is commonly used for conservative purposes.

Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro of TAU's Vascular Biology and Nano Medicine Research Laboratory spoke about her groundbreaking work in breast cancer research. Comparing dormant and progressive tumors in the lab, she and her research team work are finding new ways to target hidden tumors and treat them with pinpoint accuracy. Her oft-stated goal is to turn cancer into a chronic, manageable disease.

Underscoring the richness of the TAU curriculum, the group was treated to a private mini-concert by outstanding violin, piano, voice and cello students at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, handpicked by Israel Philharmonic maestro Zubin Mehta to represent the school. And they had the opportunity to see a sample debate by representatives of the university's prize-winning debate team who impressed with their rhetorical deftness.

At lunch, the group enjoyed candid conversations with students from the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, and TAU International, the university's English language suite of undergrad and graduate courses. TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter spoke about TAU's ever-expanding global outreach, including new TAU International programs, collaborations with topflight North American universities and institutions, and a new focus on Asia. "For two or three years now, we have been looking eastward towards India, Singapore and China, with China providing the most active programs. We have a connection to the city of Nanjing, from which we bring about a thousand executives to TAU every few months to do internships in our businesses," he said.

To round out their multifaceted immersion on campus, the group met with students participating in StarTAU, the university's remarkably successful and innovative incubator for student and alumni entrepreneurs. Through mentorship. funding, classes and seminars, business networking and international connections, StarTAU's focus on innovative startups is a uniquely positioned in the innovation nation.


Behind the Veil
11/26/2012

Insider access to technological and multidisciplinary breakthroughs at an IDF base

The largest air force base in the Israeli Defence Forces, Palmachim is the hub of cutting-edge technology. Home to 20 elite helicopter and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle squadrons, it trains for and executes 50 percent of the Air Force's missions.

It's also the site of life-saving research and environmental work.

Prof. Yossi Leshem, Tel Aviv University's renowned ornithologist, invited guests of AFTAU's "Discover TAU: Campus and Beyond" mission a rare look at this unique base. There, they were introduced to Prof. Leshem's ground-breaking project using high-tech surveillance methods to track migrating birds. Before his system was used, 75 in-air collisions carried a heavy price — the lives of three pilots and $1 million in damages.

Prof. Leshem is also spearheading an initiative that places the welfare of the bases' expansive natural environment, including surrounding wildlife, in the hands of soldiers. Armed with bicycles, soldiers routinely visit the outlying areas of the base to care for their natural surroundings, fostering a greater appreciation for the environment and the animals who share their home.

It's an extension of the strong thread of morality that permeates all activity on the base. Working 24 hours a day to keep the country secure, many soldiers here fly advanced drones through the skies, but their thoughts are never far away from the human lives below.

"Every day we are faced with life or death decisions," explains a member of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle squadron. Situations such as terrorists hiding in civilian homes, or employing schools and apartment buildings as launch sites for rockets are shockingly common, so it's important to confront them with a cool head. If innocent lives will be lost, such strikes are to be aborted — even if rockets could be heading to a civilian area within Israel's borders.

"It's a question of humanity, and we do everything to avoid harm," he says. "We don't do it for the media. We do it to maintain morality."


An All-Access-Pass to Tel Aviv University's Israel
11/14/2012

"Discover TAU: Campus and Beyond" mission showcases research and influence across the country

An intimate group of travellers from across America had rare access to Israel’s leaders and decision-makers during American Friends of Tel Aviv University’s  “Discover TAU: Campus and Beyond” mission from October 28 to November 2, 2012.  The first-of-its-kind trip brought Tel Aviv University to life through private insider visits in academia, politics, business and much more.

Conceived by AFTAU Chairman Jon Gurkoff and Board member Richard Sincere — both members of the university’s Board of Governors — the trip was designed to show the myriad ways TAU, Israel's top research institution, is inextricably woven into the fabric of the country.  Including a private visit at Israel's Supreme Court and special access to the country's largest IDF Air Force base, as well as exclusive meetings with top government officials, business leaders, and TAU's superstar researchers, this trip was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the innovation nation as few visitors ever see it.

Unparalleled access

Though it had been decades since her last visit, Merrie Frankel, Senior Credit Officer and Vice President at Moody's Investors Service, said that it was the trip's outstanding itinerary that attracted her interest. "I knew that if I was going to come back, it would have to be for a trip like this – with access to the top people in their fields," she said.

“Nothing was off-limits,” AFTAU President and CEO Gail Reiss said, with the country's best and brightest stepping out to embrace the AFTAU mission.  Mayor of Tel Aviv Ron Huldai, Member of Knesset Dr. Nachman Shai. and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro gave exclusive briefings on Israel's social, economic and political situations.  A behind-the-scenes tour of the IDF's largest air force base introduced participants to the military's elite Unmanned Aerial Vehicle squadrons.  Prof. Yossi Matias, Managing Director of Google Israel’s Research & Development center and a member of TAU’s faculty, illuminated the innovative world of Israeli R&D at Google Israel's offices in the heart of Tel Aviv.  Filmmaker and TAU teacher Yaron Shani shared the unique vision that led him to create his award-winning, Oscar-nominated film, Ajami.  And Rafi Mehudar, leading Israeli engineer, inventor, and businessman, hosted the participants for dinner at his dazzling home.

Ambassador Shapiro congratulated the group on its unique mission, telling them they were "seeing Israel through the eyes of one if its greatest and most dynamic institutions," and noting that he has drawn on the scholarship of TAU’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies throughout his entire career.

Dr. Shai also applauded the aims of the trip, saying that AFTAU's dedication to furthering Israeli education was a boost to the country at large. "Nothing is more important than education for the state of Israel and the people of Israel," he said, calling education the foundation of Israel's future. "The country and the government have many needs on our agenda, like defense, security and welfare.  [AFTAU's] concentration on education is a contribution to the whole equation."

The world of TAU

Participants enjoyed in-depth meetings on campus, where some of the university's most renowned researchers shared their ground-breaking work. They also had the opportunity to connect with students, enjoying a mock debate by members of TAU's award-winning debate team, and performances by top musicians from TAU’s Buchmann-Mehta School of Music.

But the mission also offered valuable insight into TAU's connection to the country outside the campus gates.  Being able to visit the country and see these linkages first hand, "you absorb them in a different way," noted Keith Spero, a retired trial lawyer.  After a 37-year-long absence from Israel, seeing how the country has grown and prospered is what astonished him the most.  "You read about Israel and you understand that they are on the cutting-edge in many fields, but here we get a chance to actually experience it."

Travellers saw Israel from the chambers of Prof. Daphne Barak-Erez, Israel's newest Supreme Court Justice and former Dean of the TAU law school.  They explored the ruins of Tel Megiddo with world renowned archaeologist Prof. Israel Finkelstein.   And they experienced the birdwatchers' paradise of the Agamon Hula Lake Nature Reserve as seen through the eyes of the "Bird Man," Prof. Yossi Leshem.   From access to experts like these, participants gained an understanding that the University and its researchers are “fundamentally intertwined with the country  — as guardians of its past, protectors of the present, and champions of its future,” Jon Gurkoff said.

Antiquity to cutting-edge industry

From frequent travellers to first time visitors, “Discover TAU: Campus and Beyond” emphasized the richness of Israel’s history as an incubator for its leap to the forefront of innovation in the modern world.  Participants visited the legendary mountain-top fortress of Masada.  They burrowed deep into history as they descended into the tunnels beneath the Western Wall.  And the power of Yad Vashem, the world's leading museum of the Holocaust, stood in dramatic contrast to a rare access look at the country's most advanced drones.

"I think yesterday, under the Western Wall, was one of the most overwhelming experiences in terms of thinking about how many years we're talking about in history – where all these different periods of time fit in, how many cultures intersect at the same place," said Jay Gershman, president of Retirement Visions, LLC and a first-time visitor to the country.

Also experiencing his first trip to Israel, Tim Schlindwein, Managing Principal of Schlindwein Associates, LLC, was drawn to the trip through his interest in global investments. "It's phenomenal. The sense of history is here, and all that's modern is clearly here.  Israel is a small country physically, but it's large in terms of impact," he said.


Israel's Former Foreign Minister and Kadima Party Leader Joins Top TAU Think Tank
10/11/2012

Tzipi Livni will research Israel's international stature at Institute of National Security Studies

Tzipi Livni, former Foreign Minister and head of Israel's Kadima party, has joined the Tel Aviv University faculty as a researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies. In addition to heading up a research project on Israel's international stature, she will also be working closely with other INSS experts, writing articles and organizing conferences.

Her main focus will be the perception of Israel in the United States, Europe and Asia. The work could compliment efforts by the Foreign Ministry, said Livni, who notes that Israel's main challenges abroad are primarily related to governmental policies. The continued Palestinian conflict, which has the biggest impact on Israel's image abroad, is one example where stalled or failing diplomacy has contributed to the isolation of Israel from the rest of the world.

"We all know that the delegitimizing of Israel internationally harms the country and restrains our military operations," Livni said. "The more legitimacy you have, the easier it is to be able to carry out necessary operations. It must be recognized that this is part of Israel's national security." The project will use modern technology and social networks as tools to improve Israel's image.

Though she left politics in May of this year, Livni is still active on the world's political stage, recently meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, CNN's Christiane Amanpour and other top American journalists on a trip to the United States. A spokesperson for the Institute said that "the fact that she chose to join the team at INSS illustrates INSS's position as Israel's premier strategic think tank."

For more on Livni's new TAU appointment, see the Jerusalem Post story:
http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=282009


TAU Lays Cornerstone for the Pouran and Parviz Izak Nazarian Building
10/4/2012

A new world class visitor building is celebrated as "gateway" to university community

On August 19, 2012, the cornerstone of the new Pouran and Parviz Izak Nazarian Building was laid in an official ceremony on the campus of Tel Aviv University. Surrounded by their children, grandchildren and University officials, including President Joseph Klafter, Pouran and Parviz Izak Nazarian were honored for their unwavering commitment to TAU and Israeli society.

The stunning new pyramid structure will house the new Yechiel Ben Zvi Visitors' Pavilion and provide a permanent home for The Citizens' Empowerment Center in Israel (CECI), a non-profit organization which seeks to create a stronger, more stable society through research and education. The building promises to be an essential pillar of the TAU campus and the community at large.

"It will represent our community spirit, our sophisticated campus and our advanced research, teaching and public outreach capabilities," stated President Klafter at the ceremony, praising the generosity of the Nazarian family.

Parviz Izak Nazarian responded, "We are honored to provide a gift to benefit the students of Tel Aviv University, tomorrow's future leaders. It is important to give back to Israel so that the country will remain strong and safeguard Jews everywhere."

Prior to the ceremony, Israeli Home Front Defense Minister, Avi Dichter, presented Parviz Izak Nazarian with the "Ot Ha'Kommemut," a prestigious military medal awarded only to those who had served in Israel's War of Independence, an honor which further highlighted the Nazarian family's valuable contributions to the State of Israel.

Pouran Nazarian commented, "Our love and devotion to Israel knows no bounds. We are thrilled that this beautiful building will be able to enhance the TAU campus and make a positive difference in the life of the university, its students and the community."

Support of education has always been a priority for Parviz Izak Nazarian. Throughout his life, he has maintained strong support of many universities in Israel. In May of 2003, he received a Doctorate of Philosophy Honorary Degree from Tel Aviv University in recognition for his spirit and resourcefulness in transforming himself from a destitute child into a successful entrepreneur, community leader and philanthropist.

In 1997, the Nazarians established The Pouran and Parviz Nazarian Chair for Modern Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University in recognition of the need to better understand Iran and the Islamic regime's influence in the Middle East.

Dora Kadisha, daughter of Pouran and Parviz Nazarian and Executive Director of CECI, shared her belief that the building would serve to inspire community involvement. "For our family, TAU has been a home away from home for many years. We are happy to build a monument that will serve as a permanent location for CECI and will host our research facilities and many important events to promote citizens’ empowerment."

Highlighting social contribution

The Pouran and Parviz Izak Nazarian Building, featuring a striking glass pyramid facade, is located adjacent to the Miriam and Adolfo Smolarz Auditorium. The structure will transform TAU's current Visitors' Facility, serving as the point-of-entry to welcome all guests to the TAU campus. The Visitors' Pavilion inside will include a gallery for exhibitions, highlighting the University's history and research achievements, a 120-seat auditorium hall and a training room for tour guides.

Referring to the building as an icon in the making, President Klafter noted that it would be a "physical symbol for the tremendous contribution of the Nazarian family to Israeli society and advancing the security and prosperity of the country."

Yoram Eldan, the TAU architect who designed the building, commented, "The design of the building was chosen to balance old and new, referring on one hand to the ancient Egyptian pyramids, and on the other hand recalling the contemporary glass pyramid of the Parisian Musee du Louvre."


UN Counter Terrorism Group Names TAU Alumnus Chief Legal Advisor
8/23/2012

Former senior deputy of Israeli AG office to head Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate legal team

Dr. David Scharia, a senior jurist and graduate of Tel Aviv University's Buchmann Faculty of Law, was appointed last month to head the UN Security Council's main anti-terror body, the Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED). He will serve as the senior legal advisor and criminal justice co-ordinator.

Dr. Scharia has had a notable career as a senior deputy in the Supreme Court Division of the Israeli Attorney General’s office, and has represented the state in a number of cases that dealt with the aftermath of terror. He was also the head of the Counter Terrorism Internal Investigations Unity in the Israeli Ministry of Justice and a chairman of the Inter-ministerial Counter Terrorism Committee. For the past six years, he has served as one of CTED's legal experts.

Seen as a response to the UN's perceived anti-Israel bias, Dr. Scharia's appointment is believed to challenge stereotypes of the international body, the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reports. Peter Yeo, executive director of the Better World Campaign dedicated to improving relations between the UN and the United States, offered his congratulations and said that Dr. Scharia has "proven himself to be a leader in international counter terrorism efforts time and time again."

For more on Dr. Scharia's appointment to CTED, see the story as it appeared in the July 18, 2012 issue of Ha'aretz here.


Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami on WNYC Radio
8/22/2012

The Brian Lehrer Show

Click to hear our September 12th honoree and featured speaker interviewed on The Brian Lehrer Show.

 


Reflections
8/21/2012

The TAU Symphony Orchestra remembers the "opportunity of a lifetime" at legendary Carnegie Hall

The culmination of endless hours of preparation, the students of Tel Aviv University's Buchmann-Mehta School of Music's Symphony Orchestra say that stepping out onto the Carnegie Hall Stage was the experience of a lifetime — and a dramatic springboard for their professional careers.

"To enter the hall as a musician was a feeling I can't describe," says Ben Petrover Shiboleth, a Bachelors student who plays the cello and is looking forward to beginning a Masters program in the fall. "To know that you are in the same warm-up rooms and on the same stage as all the big stars who have come before you is something special. It's great preparation for the real world."

The May 2012 concert, conducted by Head of the School Prof. Ze'ev Dorman and featuring works by Mozart and Vivaldi, was the renowned orchestra's debut at Carnegie Hall, and only its second performance in New York City. In 2008, TAU's symphony orchestra was invited to play a special Holocaust Remembrance Day program at the United Nations, led by maestro Zubin Mehta.

Fulfilling a dream

Having hosted most of the legendary classical music artists in the world, Carnegie Hall stands as a professional benchmark in the world of the performing arts. "Since I was a child, I have seen videos of important people performing at Carnegie, and for me it was a dream come true to perform there, especially because I played as a concert master," says violinist Abner Mancini Landim, who hopes to have more opportunities to play at the prestigious venue throughout his career.

The orchestra's scheduled tours and concerts abroad are not only a source of inspiration for the students — who have the chance to walk in the footsteps of their musical heroes — but they also prepare them for the challenges they face in the road ahead. Trumpet player Yael Gat, who "enjoyed every moment" of her time on stage, says she felt like a "player in a large, professional orchestra." That underscored the wisdom of the Music School's approach: preparing for "the major leagues" requires intense focus and discipline.

"This school has given me drive by giving me the opportunity to perform in concerts and productions," says soprano soloist Einat Aronstein. "This experience taught me how to deal with excitement and pressure, and at the end of the day, focus on my singing. It wasn't until after the concert was over that I let myself be overwhelmed by what I had just done — performed at Carnegie Hall!"

A warm AFTAU welcome

Invited to participate in the Carnegie Hall performance after an impressive showing at a concert on TAU campus, Aronstein says that the experience went beyond the concert hall. Whether the students were first-time visitors or frequent travellers to New York, TAU's American Friends went out of their way to make the trip a magical one.

"When we arrived, AFTAU held a BBQ to offer us a warm welcome. They thought of everything to make our stay meaningful — taking us to significant sites, allowing us to explore New York City, and inviting supporters to meet us at special dinners. You can see that the Americans who fund TAU and our program have a love for music and young musicians, and are dedicated to creating new opportunities for us."


TAU Researchers Part of Team of International Scientists to Uncover the "God Particle"
7/25/2012

Higgs boson particle crucial for explaining how the universe was built

Tel Aviv University's Prof. Yaron Oz, dean of TAU's Faculty of Exact Sciences, and Prof. Aharon Levy of TAU's School of Physics and Astronomy were among the theoretical and experimental physicists who made the groundbreaking discovery of a particle known as the Higgs boson or "God particle," a key to understanding how the universe was built. The discovery was made at Geneva's European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) and announced in early July.

First proposed in 1964 by a team of six physicists, including University of Edinburgh Professor Peter Higgs, the particle is said to explain the existence of mass. In particle physics, bosons are one of the two fundamental classes of subatomic particles. The Higgs boson is the final building block, missing until now from the "Standard Model," which describes the structure of matter in the universe. The model is to physicists what the theory of evolution is to biologists.

Albert Einstein would have been "very happy" at the discovery, Prof. Oz noted.

The term "God particle" originated with Prof. Max Lederman, an American experimental physicist who won the Nobel Prize in physics for his work with neutrinos. Prof. Lederman wrote a book using the term, "by which he meant the mysterious particle that's part of everything," Prof. Levy says. "Particle physics aims at understanding what conditions created the Big Bang that created the Universe, to look backwards as much as possible at that event."

Prof. Oz congratulated the group of researchers not only on their scientific achievement but also on their ability to put political considerations aside and work together for the good of humanity. Calling the huge CERN facility "what the UN should be," he said that "everybody is devoted to making the discovery as a team, without any politics or vested interests. I even worked with Iranians there, and there was never a harsh word between us. We all just want to understand. It was has already been proven that the nationals of the world can function together harmoniously for joint targets."

For the full story on the discovery of the Higgs boson particle, see the Jerusalem Post story: http://www.jpost.com/Health/Article.aspx?id=276274.


TAU Research Links Childhood Obesity to Cancer Risk
7/23/2012

New study reveals 50% higher risk of urothelial and colorectal cancers in adulthood

Parents are increasingly conscious of the dangers of childhood obesity. There is a growing recognition of health problems associated with extra pounds, including the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and joint and muscle pain.

New research from Tel Aviv University has revealed another significant reason for children to maintain a healthy weight. Dr. Ari Shamiss and Dr. Adi Leiba of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Sheba Medical Center and his fellow researchers found that obesity in adolescence, defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) in the 85th percentile and above, has a direct link to the incidence of urothelial (bladder and urinary tract) and colorectal cancers in adulthood. According to the American Heart Association, one in three children and teenagers are now considered overweight or obese.

Children above the 84th percentile in BMI have a 1.42% greater chance, representing a 50% higher risk, of developing urothelial or colorectal cancers in adulthood compared to those beneath it, explains Dr. Shamiss, whose research has been published in the journals Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention and Obesity.

Understanding the connection

To examine the relationship between obesity and cancers, the researchers conducted a longitudinal study of a cohort of 1.1 million males in the Israeli Defense Forces. Their health information was gathered by the army, with a follow-up period of 18 years. When they controlled for factors such as year of birth and education, the researchers discovered a clear link between childhood BMI and those who were diagnosed with urothelial or colorectal cancers later in life.

While the researchers have so far uncovered risk in two different types of cancer, Dr. Shamiss believes that further research will reveal connections between childhood obesity and a wide range of other cancers, including pancreatic cancer, which he is currently researching.

These findings show a distinct need for more research in this field, he notes. "We need to examine the questions of whether obesity is a direct risk factor for cancer or a confounding factor for a genetic variation, for example," he explains, pointing out that basic research could help researchers to understand the connection between obesity and cancer on a deeper level.

The role of weight loss

One of the crucial questions, says Dr. Shamiss, is whether or not a successful weight loss attempt can reduce a child's risk of developing urothelial or colorectal cancer in adulthood. Their current sample looks at children who were obese and those who were of normal weight, but does not reveal whether weight loss makes a significant difference.

New research should focus on researching the pathogenetic link between obesity and cancer, and whether losing weight in adulthood could lower the risk, Dr. Shamiss says. Although healthcare professionals are already stressing the importance of preventing childhood obesity, this finding certainly adds to the urgency.


TAU Teams with New York's CA Technologies to Open New Innovation Center
7/16/2012

School and business to collaborate on IT management and cybersecurity issues

Tel Aviv University and CA Technologies, a New York-based IT management software and solutions company, signed an agreement on June 20, 2012, to develop a new Innovation Center on TAU's Israel campus to concentrate on issues central to the field of information and technology, including IT management and cybersecurity.

TAU joins Stony Brook University in New York and the International Institute of Information Technology in India to become the third global Research and Development Center that CA Technologies has established through the framework of its CA University Relations program.

"The goal of the partnership is to provide opportunities for TAU faculty and students to work with CA Technologies experts on research and development, offering our students invaluable work-related experience through internships and other projects," said University President Prof. Joseph Klafter. He noted noted that the hands-on experience the students gain in addressing business and IT problems will supplement their in-class learning and give them marketable skills.

This program is part of CA Technologies' overall commitment to leveraging public and private learning in order to foster a spirit of innovation as part of their company culture, said Chief Executive Officer Bill McCracken. "Through our university partnerships, motivated, hardworking, and energetic students gain an incredible amount of experience that will better prepare them to be future leaders and innovators in the workforce. In turn, we benefit from insights and ideas that can unlock new ways of solving our customers’ challenges, potentially leading to new offerings in the future."


TAU Honors its "Founding Father of the Arts"
7/13/2012

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

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.

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."


ASHA Grant Funds Cutting-Edge AIDS Research at TAU
7/12/2012

USAID funding equips state-of-the-art facility for HIV/AIDS research

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is one of the largest public health crises of our time. According to the Foundation for AIDS Research, more than 34 million people worldwide are currently living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or AIDS, and 3.4 million of them are children under the age of 15.

Now, with generous funding from the American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program, part of the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Tel Aviv University has fully equipped a bio-safety lab dedicated to researching the virus and developing potential therapies, novel diagnostics, and vaccines. Twenty five scientists across 12 departments and two faculties, including the Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences have come together to work on this project.

"ASHA funding has allowed us to build a special facility where we can work with viruses and pathogenic bacteria in a safe manner, using state-of-the-art equipment, while complying with U.S. standards and regulations for this type of research," says Prof. Karen Avraham, the Co-Director of the grant and a U,S.-trained researcher who obtained her undergraduate degree from Washington University, performed post-doctoral training at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland and a sabbatical at the Harvard Medical School.

USAID is a United States-based organization that is dedicated to promoting shared economic prosperity; strengthening democracy and good governance; improving global health, food security, environmental sustainability and education; helping societies prevent and recover from conflicts; and providing humanitarian assistance in the wake of disasters. Its ASHA program works to provide grants to non-profit universities, secondary schools, libraries, and medical centers abroad, providing the benefits of American education and medical care, and promoting good relations with the United States.

Providing the tools for AIDS research

TAU's ASHA grant is already going a long way towards helping us to understand fundamental steps of HIV/AIDS infection, and how it interacts with its host and impacts the populations it affects. "In order to design novel drugs or preventive vaccines we need to understand the mechanisms of this disease — what makes HIV tick," explains Prof. Jonathan Gershoni, Co-Director of the grant, who completed his post-doctoral training at Yale School of Medicine and spent an extended sabbatical at America's National Institutes of Health with Dr. Robert Gallo — co-discoverer of the AIDS virus. "The support from ASHA is making this goal a reality," Gershoni said.

Researchers are currently studying every facet of HIV/AIDS, including how the virus targets specific cells and replicates, each step in the virus life cycle, new opportunities for novel drug development, and understanding the interplay between the virus and its host cell and the immune response it stimulates. The ASHA project also includes research on HIV co-infections with fungal disease and other devastating viral infections such as hepatitis.

In addition to the facility to safely study viruses, ASHA has provided advanced equipment to be used by all the scientists involved in the project. "In order to answer these crucial questions, we need the latest technological tools," says Prof. Gershoni. Nicknamed the "lab without walls" among the researchers, the equipment provided is distributed among all scientists involved in this truly collaborative effort.

Helping those in need

The project embodies many of USAID and ASHA's core values, which seek to aid developing countries with economic and health challenges. Although HIV/AIDS is a worldwide crisis, it takes a particularly heavy toll on Sub-Saharan Africa, a region that encompasses approximately two thirds of the world's HIV-infected population. More than a health concern, HIV/AIDS is causing economic devastation in this already poor region through factors such as ongoing health care costs and a dwindling work force.

Through their work, the team of scientists at TAU aims to care for those in need, using U.S. knowledge and health care standards. Their work is inspired by American institutions, including the National Institutes of Health, using American manufactured equipment, notes Prof. Avraham.


TAU Helps U.S. University Presidents Discover the "Start-Up Nation"
7/12/2012

American university officials visit Israel to promote international academic collaboration

When a delegation of presidents and chancellors from U.S. universities travelled to Israel at the beginning of July, for a conference to explore opportunities for academic and research collaborations with Israeli institutions, Tel Aviv University was a top stop on the itinerary.

The University Presidents' Seminar, sponsored by Project Interchange, an educational institute of the American Jewish Committee, promotes academic ties between Israel and the U.S. by introducing American university officials to Israel's world-class research and educational facilities, demonstrating why this small country has become synonymous with innovation.

During their trip, delegates met with their counterparts at Israeli institutions, business and NGO executives, and academics, and participated in sessions on education, social welfare, ad economic development among others. Highlights included a meeting with venture capitalist Jon Medved, who shared insights into what makes Israel the "Start-Up Nation."

Visiting the home of innovation

Harvey Perlman, chancellor of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln showed a particular interest in agricultural technology, genetic research in plants, and brain biology — all areas in which Israeli innovators excel. The University of Nebraska is currently setting up a brain biology institute like Tel Aviv University's new Sagol School of Neuroscience — a discipline which provides ripe opportunities for collaboration, Perlman says.

"Israel is a leader in technical innovation," said North Carolina State University Chancellor Randy Woodson, a participant on the trip. "Sharing information on the strong ties between higher education and industry will provide meaningful examples for N.C. State's continued efforts to support a strong economy in North Carolina."

The participants were also introduced to the complex issues facing Israel and the region, meeting with senior Israeli government and military officials and community leaders across the political spectrum. They also travelled to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders and visited the city of Sderot to learn what life is like under the threat of daily rocket fire.

For the full story on the University Presidents' Seminar, see the Ynet News story:
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4251908,00.html


TAU's Constantiner Prize Awarded to First Hebrew College of Education
6/27/2012

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.

 


Annual Gandel Symposium Puts the Spotlight on Iran and Egypt
6/27/2012

Distinguished panel of experts confronts toppling dictatorships of the Middle East

The annual Gandel Symposium, supported by Australian John Gandel, is always a highlight of Tel Aviv University's Board of Governors Meeting — and this year's did not disappoint.

Led by Prof. Uzi Rabi, head of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, this year's conference featured a critical analysis of the major issues emerging from the "Arab spring." Meir Dagan, former head of the Mossad, and Prof. Shimon Shamir, former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt and Jordan, joined Rabi in an enlightening discussion focused on two major Middle Eastern powers — Iran and Egypt — and the impact of the tumultuous past year on Israel and the world at large.

A changing reality for Israel

After a series of upheavals that toppled states, new rebel-run regimes, rising Islamism, and widespread fighting over hegemony of the region, we still don't know where the Middle East will end up, Prof. Rabi said frankly. But one thing is certain — there is no going back. And Israel is facing an unprecedented situation where Egypt, Turkey, and Iran could all be defined as anti-Western and anti-Israeli; in the past, at least one of the three was considered friendly to the West at any given time.

"In the midst of this tense and transitional period, we are centering our discussion on Iran and Egypt. The shaping of both of these countries is important to us," Rabi said, referencing the upcoming second presidential elections in Egypt and the next round of nuclear talks with Iran and other world powers.

Struggling for power

According to Dagan and Prof. Shamir, Iran and Egypt are being shaped by power struggles. Iran, long dominant in the region due to its oil wealth, wants to be seen as a leader of the Shia Muslim world. But in a year of financial crisis, poor management, dysfunction within government factions, and a series of sanctions placed on the country by the global community, Iran is struggling with the limitations to its power.

"Iran is under siege from other Arab countries and the U.S., including a conflict with Azerbaijan and Pakistan," said Dagan, noting that many of the state's problems stem from its nuclear project having been revealed to the world. Now, Iran is faced with a tough decision — continue the project or pay the price of acquiring such a weapon. Ultimately, the choice that is made could lead to a decline in Iranian influence or to the current regime's inability to maintain control the country.

Engaged in an internal as well as external power struggle, Egypt is similarly encountering a period of upheaval. Though wide-scale protest from the young citizens of Egypt brought about the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak last year, it also failed to provide an alternative, said Prof. Shamir, leading to a battle for power between the Muslim Brotherhood — an Islamic group that prioritizes Sharia Law and Jihad — and the country’s military leaders.

A once mighty power in the Arab world, "unleashed tribal, regional, religious and ethnic conflicts" are threatening to tear the country apart. Income that once came from tourism and investment is disappearing, and "people are realising that there is less money to distribute," Shamir said, explaining the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming presidential elections.

A tougher Middle East

Calling for a more creative strategy from the Israeli government, Prof. Rabi said Israel was now facing a tougher Middle East than it has in recent years. From fears that the Western powers are being too soft on a hostile Iran to the rising anti-Israeli sentiment in Egypt that could put the two countries' long-standing peace agreement into question, Israel is now on uncertain ground.

Though respecting the effort to maintain calm, Dagan spoke against hiding the realities of the Iranian situation; he encouraged an open dialogue about war and peace as significant for upholding Israel’s democracy. "Such a debate will not hurt the country," he counseled.

Prof. Shamir also warned about future conflict between Israel and Egypt.  He hinted that although the peace might hold, especially in light of lucrative Egyptian-U.S. trade agreements that depend on Egypt's relationship with Israel, it could be a very different peace than was originally negotiated.  "All parties are clear regarding their intention to maintain peace with Israel, but they want to re-negotiate the military terms," he said. "They claim Israelis are violating the peace treaty, and are preparing the ground for a new treaty."

 


The Eternal Question: "How to be a Jew?"
6/26/2012

Illustrious panel of authors and scholars discuss the past, present, and future of Judaism as a culture

Modern Judaism is moving beyond religion and becoming a "culture," providing a pluralistic approach to attract secular youth to Judaism, said Prof. Emerita Shulamit Volkov of Tel Aviv University's Department of History, speaking at a thought-provoking event on June 11 during the 2012 Board of Governors Meeting.

Entitled "Judaism as a Culture," the fascinating discussion on the state of Judaism today in Israel and the Diaspora included Dov Elbaum, author, television host, and director of the BINA Forum for Jewish Thought and Culture; award-winning author Meir Shalev; and Israel Prize Laureate Prof. Emerita Anita Shapira of TAU's Department of Jewish History.

Beginning the panel discussion, Prof. Volkov discussed the evolution of Judaism as a national identity and culture, suggesting it can be best seen through those who are raised in a Jewish lifestyle such as Orthodox, then decide to leave that way of life. Suddenly, "they struggle to define HOW they are Jewish, and are left with a sense of incompletion," she said. This gives rise to one of the most important questions in Judaism — what makes someone Jewish?

The panel members sought to illuminate the idea of being Jewish culturally rather than, as is traditional, religiously. Citing examples of well-known figures, Prof. Shapira talked about David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, and his desire to be a political leader and cultural mentor rather than a religious figure.

Discussing a theme that runs through his works, including the novel The Blue Mountain, Shalev shared the story of his grandfather, one of Israel's pioneers, and the adoption of Zionism as an "almost" religious belief. The pioneers "converted from Judaism to Zionism and Socialism, with the same height of ideology and belief," he said, calling this conversion a method to renew the Jewish connection to the physical earth of Israel.

Furthering the connection between the soil and Jewish culture, Elbaum spoke about his personal experience leaving the Orthodox fold, saying that he now identifies more strongly with the Jewish culture of the Kibbutz. Putting this concept in a broader perspective, he discussed the holiday of Shavuot, which in modern Israel has evolved to be a celebration of the renewal of the soil, prioritizing the connection to the land in Israel. The Orthodox, he said, continue to celebrate the giving of the Torah on this holiday, which he called "one of the most divided festivals in Judaism."

All panelists called for a broader definition of Judaism, and discussed the increasing desire of individuals to re-define their own place in the Jewish world. There is a sincere need to reshape views and identities, concluded Prof. Volkov.

 


TAU Celebrates the Inauguration of Six Major New Projects
6/26/2012

Ceremony honors significant philanthropic initiatives of the past year

A first-ever ceremony celebrating the vision behind the diverse projects created by Tel Aviv University's major benefactors this year was a highlight of the 2012 Board of Governors Meeting. Speaking at the Sunday, June 10th event, TAU President Joseph Klafter noted the excitement of this moment in time, with so many philanthropists investing in the University and its student body.

Six projects were celebrated, each designed to make a unique contribution to the university's future.

The Yehiel Ben-Zvi Visitors Pavillion
Named to honor TAU's late, long-serving and beloved Vice President who was committed to raising the University's stature in Israel and abroad, the pavilion will serve to welcome visitors to the campus. The facilities, which include a large auditorium, an exhibition area, and a refreshments room, will help TAU make all visitors — diplomats, foreign delegations, visiting academics, school groups and more – feel at home. The project is supported by American Friends Dina Ettinger and Tamar Rudich, as well as David Birène, Hanna and Shalom Blustein, Aviva Felber, Bela Gerstel, François Heilbronn, Georg Katcz, Karl-Heinz Kipp, Woolf and Hélène Marmot, David and Shoshana Rabinovici, Loni Silleran Moos, the Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University, the German Friends of Tel Aviv University and the Ben-Zvi family.

The Porter EcoBuilding
A dedicated building for the only graduate school in Israel advancing the research, teaching and sharing of environmental knowledge, the Porter EcoBuilding will significantly raise the bar for green building standards in Israel. Through the leadership of Dame Shirley Porter, the primary benefactor of the Porter School of Environmental Studies, the building has been upgraded to LEED Platinum Status, making it the country's first LEED Platinum Certified building, the highest accreditation of the US Green Building Council.

The Coller Institute of Venture
seeks to further of global venture capitalism by forging a stronger connection between academic research led by Tel Aviv Uniuversity and the real business world. The Institute will foster collaborations between scholars, investors, policymakers, venture capitalists and high-tech professionals. Jeremy Coller, Founder and CIO of Coller Capital, has funded this project.

The Helen Sarah Steyer and Thomas Mark Steyer Scholarship Endowment Fund
will annually support seven outstanding undergraduate students yearly who would have otherwise been unable to afford a world-class higher education. Scholars will receive full tuition and partial living stipends, as well as personalized guidance through the academic process. This fund is supported by the Steyer family.

The Helene Westreich Film and Television Studio
Honoring the philanthropy and passions of their late mother, American Friends of Tel Aviv University Board members William F. Cohen and Gail White funded a, state-of-the-art professional high-definition studio to expand the capabilities of TAU's internationally recognized Department of Film and Television.

The UK Living Legacy Mission
led by Tel Aviv University Legacy Chairman Geoffrey Simmonds, allows participants in the Legacy Mission program to make bequests to TAU in their wills, and be honored for the contribution during their lifetime. Bequests can be directed towards scholarships or support for any field of research conducted at the University. Participants are invited to be guests on a fully-sponsored, eye-opening tour of Israel, and have the opportunity to inscribe their names, and the names of their loved ones, on the Legacy Wall of Honor on the TAU campus.

Though the projects are vary widely in nature, they are unified by a belief in the promising future of TAU.

Speaking about the Porter EcoBuilding, Dame Shirley Porter noted that there was a new excitement in the air, and a feeling that TAU has entered a new era. William Cohen, a member of the Board of Governors and Chairman Emeritus of American Friends of Tel Aviv University, agreed. "There are 30,000 reasons to support this university," he said, referring to TAU's inspiring student body.

Uniquely crafted to help donors use their endowments for the benefit of scholarship funds and future research, Geoffrey Simmonds noted that the UK Legacy Mission has so far raised nearly $4 million for the arts, sciences and more. The participants' connection to TAU is cemented through their experience, he said, and "they treasure the chance to take part in ensuring the University's future."

 


Steyer Family Inaugurates New Scholarship Endowment Fund
6/26/2012

Tuition-plus packages will make higher education a reality for deserving students

Social equality in Israel took a step forward with the inauguration of the Helen Sarah Steyer and Thomas Mark Steyer Scholarship Endowment Fund on June 10, 2012, during Tel Aviv University's annual Board of Governors Meeting. The endowment will provide full tuition and partial living expenses for seven outstanding undergraduate students annually, chosen for their academic success, curiosity, open-mindedness, reason, and resolve in their intellectual pursuits in spite of financial pressure.

"In this gift, more than any other gift, we were inspired by the example of our father, Stanley," said Helen Steyer, speaking on behalf of her brother, Thomas Steyer, and herself at the inauguration ceremony. "His own dream for the future involved Israel and higher education," she said, noting that throughout his life, he believed education and understanding would lead to a more peaceful world.

A tribute to that vision, the endowment fund is an effort to increase the accessibility of higher education and help young people to achieve their maximum potential, opening the door to opportunity regardless of socio-economic background. In addition to financial support, each Steyer Scholar will receive personal guidance throughout the education process — assistance designed to increase the chances of academic success and a bright future.

Long-standing friends of Tel Aviv University, Helen and Thomas Steyer were encouraged to become involved with the school by their father. Both have served on TAU's Board of Governors since 1990, and on June 7, 2012, both were awarded the university's most distinguished recognition, an honorary doctorate.

The siblings have created a number of major philanthropic projects at Tel Aviv University, with a focus on cancer research, the health professions, and scholarship aid. Their initiatives include the Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions which they endowed in honor and in memory of their late father.


Bio-Engineering a Better World
6/26/2012

Board of Governors conference showcases TAU's cutting-edge biotechnology research

Tel Aviv University Governors and Friends from around the world were briefed by five of TAU's leading researchers in engineering, medicine, and the life sciences at "Biotech Engineering: Innovation for a Better Life," a Board of Governors Research Symposium. Recognized as one of the University's strongest areas of research — and key for future scientific development — biotechnology is a young interdisciplinary field melding applied biology, advanced engineering, technology, and medicine. The researchers presented their cutting-edge work developing life-saving technologies on June 11 during the 2012 Board of Governors Meeting, highlighting new methods for drug design, nanomedicine, disease detection and imaging, brain sciences, and novel insights into the immune system. Prof. Eran Rabani, TAU's Vice President for Research and Development, led the symposium. During the symposium, Dr. Uri Nevo of the Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering discussed a new way of approaching the body's immune system. Prof. Ehud Gazit of the George S. Weiss Faculty of Life Sciences talked about manipulating nanostructures for the benefit of drug design. Dr. Dan Peer of the Faculty of Life Sciences shared his research on nanomedicines, including the creation of antibodies and drugs to stimulate new hair growth. Prof. Ilan Tsarfaty of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine presented new imaging technology that can detect early stages of tumor development. And Prof. Yael Hanein of the Faculty of Engineering and Head of the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology spoke about understanding neuronal connections in the brain. Invited guests included youngsters participating in the prestigious President's Initiative for Israel's Future Scientists and Inventors, a collaborative program of Israeli President Shimon Peres and Tel Aviv University. Created to help mold great scientists of the future, the initiative is a highly competitive and intensive program for outstanding eighth grade students, exposing them to advanced-level courses, lectures from top scientists, and real lab work. It is part of TAU's Dov Lautman Unit for Science Oriented Youth.


Helene Westreich Film and Television Studio Inaugurated at Tel Aviv University
6/25/2012

In loving tribute to the late Helene Westreich — philanthropist, humanitarian, and patron of the arts — the Helene Westreich Film and Television Studio was inaugurated at the Department of Film and Television on Friday, June 8, as part of Tel Aviv University's annual Board of Governors Meeting. The newly upgraded studio was made possible through the generosity of Westreich's children, William F. Cohen, Chairman Emeritus of American Friends of Tel Aviv University, and Gail White, both members of AFTAU's Board of Directors.

Working with the Department of Film and Television to honor their mother's memory has allowed them to bond her life-long love of film with the family's long-standing commitment to Tel Aviv University, said Cohen, speaking on behalf of his sister and himself at the ceremony.  "Gail and I knew this was the right project for us — my mother was passionate about the movies," he said, sharing fond memories of sitting in bed and watching American classic movies with his mother.

Already operational, the state-of-the-art, high-definition studio includes all the professional equipment needed by students to produce finished film projects, including a control room, three industry-standard cameras and more.

Honoring a generous spirit

A celebration of the life of Westreich, the inauguration was a heartfelt commemoration of a generous and loving soul. "We at TAU did not have the pleasure and privilege of knowing Helene Westreich, and it is a pity that we can only share in honoring her after her passing away. Nevertheless we have come to learn that she was a grand lady, an elegant lady, as her friends remember her," said Prof. Hannah Naveh, Dean of the Yolanda and David Katz Faculty of the Arts, who thanked Cohen and White for their continuing support of the University.

Until her passing in 2010, Westreich was a vibrant and active part of her community, and the heart of her extended family. Her philanthropy encompassed a number of humanitarian and Jewish causes, including Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Florida, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Museum of Tolerance, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, and the City of Hope Cancer Center. She was a benefactor of educational institutions, supporting fellowships at Tel Aviv University, and a patron of the arts, including the Miami City Ballet.

The Helene Westreich Film and Television Studio is particularly fitting part of her legacy, representing her children's and grandchildren's continued commitment to her lifelong philosophy of providing opportunity, hope and inspiration to others.

"In this spirit, Bill and Gail decided last year to commemorate their mother by naming a film and television studio after her," said Prof. Naveh. "When making their decision, they spoke to us of their mother's love of the arts — and thought this would be a loving and thoughtful gesture, which would bond their mother's memory with their commitment to TAU and its Film School, thus spreading the wings of her charity and philanthropy across to Israel."

Fostering talent in the arts

Trained by the most acclaimed film program in the country, students and alumni of the Department of Film and Television continue to rise to the top of the field, with their work routinely showcased at international film festivals including Cannes, Berlin, and Sundance. They cite hands-on film production — to an exacting standard — as an essential component in their professional development.

Cohen and White are second generation supporters of TAU, dedicated to strengthening the university. They are benefactors of the B.I. and Lucille Cohen Institute for Public Opinion Research, part of the Gershon H. Gordon Faculty of Social Sciences in collaboration with the Statistics Laboratory. Using high quality survey methodology, the Institute conducts surveys for researchers from academic institutions and public organizations, and also gathers public opinion on matters that are important to Israeli society, tracing long-term trends in public opinion.

Developing close ties with the university has been truly enriching, said Cohen at the inauguration ceremony. "We as a family have gotten more out of this relationship with TAU than we ever gave to it. Walking around the campus and meeting the students is exactly what gets you so involved with this university." He has been a member of TAU's Board of Governors since 1996.

Cohen expressed the wish that the Helene Westreich Film and Television Studio would contribute to the continued success of the department in producing award-winning film professionals, expanding the boundaries of cinematic arts, and strengthening Israel's cultural impact worldwide.


American Friends Helen Sarah Steyer and Thomas Mark Steyer Awarded Honorary Doctorates from TAU
6/21/2012

Siblings and philanthropists honored for scholarship aid and support of the medical and exact sciences, public policy, and the arts

In an impressive ceremony on the opening day of Tel Aviv University's 2012 Board of Governors meeting on Thursday, June 7, siblings Helen Sarah Steyer and Thomas Mark Steyer received the university's most distinguished honor, the degree of Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa.

At the stately and inspiring ceremony, Helen Steyer's degree was conferred in honor of her contribution to society, both professionally and philanthropically, recognizing her successful career as a Spanish-language specialist and lecturer, and her social commitment in the spheres of education, health, youth welfare, Jewish heritage, and arts and culture. Her support for major philanthropic endeavors encompasses notable projects in Israel and, in the United States, Florida and the San Francisco Bay Area, most of which were established in conjunction with her brother.

Tommy Steyer's degree was conferred in honor of his dedication to the university and his hands-on approach to philanthropy, including a broad range of initiatives such as cancer research, mental health advocacy, interfaith dialogue, education and literacy programs. He was also recognized for his accomplishments as a business leader, including 30 years as General Manager of Vista C.A. and Inmobiliaria Toladis C.A., and his current position heading the family's international real estate corporation.

In distinguished company

They are members of a distinguished group of 2012 laureates in the sciences, academia, law, the arts, social activism, and business, including American recipients Prof. Ronald Raphael Coifman, professor of mathematics and computer sciences at Yale University, and Prof. Robert D. Putnam, the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

The other six honorees are singer and actor Yehoram Gaon (Israel); the president of Germany's National Academy of Sciences, Prof. Jörg Hacker (Germany); actress and comedienne Maureen Lipman (England); entrepreneur and philanthropist Miles S. Nadal (Canada); social activist Miki Nevo (Israel); and retired judge Saviona Rotlevy (Israel).

The long line of Tel Aviv University's previous degree recipients is a virtual global Who's Who of the past 60 years. Statesmen include David Ben Gurion, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, Ronald Reagan, Henry Kissinger and Yitzhak Rabin. Recipients in the arts include Leonard Bernstein, Marc Chagall, Eugene Ionesco, Henry Moore, Santiago Calatrava and Franco Zeffirelli. In the world of business and finance, recipients include Armand Hammer, Laurence Tisch, Sheldon Adelson, Martin Whitman and Michael Steinhardt. Scientists and scholars include Bernard Lewis, Eric Lander, Edward Teller, Miriam Adelson, and Elie Wiesel.

A family tradition of philanthropy

In their communities in Florida and California, in Israel, and earlier in Venezuela, the Steyers are exceptionally active philanthropists. Long-standing friends of Tel Aviv University, they became involved with the university in 1984 together with their late father, in whose honor and memory they endowed the Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions. They were elected to its Board of Governors in 1990.

Their father created a number of major projects at Tel Aviv University, with a focus on cancer research, including the Stanley Steyer Institute for Cancer Epidemiology and Research and The Diana and Stanley Steyer Chair in Cancer Prevention and Control at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine.

Their most recent project, the Helen Sarah Steyer and Thomas Mark Steyer Scholarship Endowment Fund was inaugurated at a ceremony at the 2012 Board of Governors Meeting.  Each year, the endowment will support seven outstanding undergraduates who have distinguished themselves academically but have limited access to higher education for financial reasons.

The power of dedication

In his address to the laureates, TAU President Joseph Klafter spoke about the outstanding dedication that illuminated the accomplishments of all of the honorary doctorate recipients.

"Whether business, art or public service, each honoree has had to overcome questions and setbacks," he said. "In recognizing achievement, as we are doing together now, we are also sending a powerful message to everyone at Tel Aviv University, and indeed to everyone involved in the knowledge enterprise. No, it's not easy. Yes, there are more questions than answers.  But with determination and love, you can succeed."


Biographer, Artist, and Genomic Researchers Awarded $1 Million Dan David Prizes
6/20/2012

An audience of prominent philanthropists, statesmen, academics, and business figures from around the world gathered on the Tel Aviv University campus on Sunday, June 10, for the annual Dan David Prize award ceremony. The Prize, one of the richest in the world of academe, is endowed by the Dan David Foundation and administered at Tel Aviv University.

The Prize has been awarded since 2002 to individuals or institutions with "proven, exceptional, distinct excellence in the sciences, arts, and humanities that have made an outstanding contribution to humanity." An International Board chooses one field of study within each time dimension — past, present, and future — and an independent Review Committee comprised of renowned scholars and professionals aids in choosing the laureates.

One million dollars is awarded in each dimension. Recent former laureates include filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen (2011), former US Vice President Al Gore (2008), former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair (2009), and celebrated author Margaret Atwood (2010).

In 2012, the "Past" dimension was exemplified by the discipline of History/Biography, the "Present" by the Plastic Arts, and the "Future" by Genome Research. This year’s prizes were awarded to:

PAST:
Dr. Robert Conquest
, a British historian who worked to expose the realities of Stalinist rule; and the Rt. Hon. Sir Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill.

PRESENT:
William Kentridge
, an internationally-renowned artist whose work tackles poignant political issues of his native South Africa and issues of social injustice, revolutionary politics, and the power of creative expression.

FUTURE:
Prof. David Botstein
of Princeton University, a champion of the Human Genome Project since its inception; Prof. Eric Lander of the Broad Institute at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who put genomics on a quantitative foundation by developing algorithms that provided necessary data for genetic mapping; and Dr. J. Craig Venter of the J. Craig Venter Institute and CEO of Synthetic Genomics Inc., who has made numerous contributions to the field of genomics.

Accepting the prize, Kentridge acknowledged previous laureates who have been personal icons of his, and applauded the Dan David Foundation for its mission, saying the prize recognizes that the artist's studio "is a safe place to construct, deconstruct, and re-imagine the world." Prof. Botstein, who spoke on behalf of his fellow laureates in genome research, said that he was "humbled and grateful for the recognition" as society stands "at the edge of a new era in biology and medicine called the Genomic Era."

The ceremony included performances by the Harel Kay Ka-Ya Group and the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music Percussion Ensemble. It also featured a moving remembrance of prize founder Dan David, who died last year.

In memoriam

To honor David, an exceptional businessman and champion of global intellectual pursuits, the ceremony began with a memorial, which included a musical tribute by one of the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music's outstanding flautists.

Dan David's son, Ariel David, spoke about his father's legacy and life's work. "I cannot hide how difficult it is to be here after the passing of my father. It's no small comfort for us to see the prize continuing successfully," he said, adding that the interdisciplinary scope of the prize encompassed his father's character, approach to knowledge, and life philosophy in a broader sense. David noted that his father had always been open to new possibilities, recognized potential in others, and tried to help them develop this potential.

TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter said that the prize, which celebrates Dan David's passion for education, would continue to encourage excellence. He would have been proud of this year's winners, Prof. Klafter said.

Laureates donate 10% of their prize money towards 20 TAU scholarships for outstanding doctoral and post-doctoral students from all over the world.



Unique Collection of Iranian History Opens to Students and Scholars at TAU
6/19/2012

American friends Laura and David MerageLevy Family inaugurate the Dr. Habib Levy Collection for Jewish Iranian History and Heritage

Tel Aviv University is the new home of the personal collection of the late Dr. Habib Levy, an eminent dentist, historian and public figure. An invaluable resource on Iranian history and Persian culture, it includes dictionaries and encyclopaedias, journals, fiction and literature in Persian, Hebrew, English and French.

Generously donated by Laura and David Merage and the Levy family, the Dr. Habib Levy Collection for Jewish Iranian History and Heritage surrounds the new Dr. Habib Levy Persian Garden. Together, they create a welcoming environment where students and scholars can come to be inspired by the rare and extensive materials documenting the history of Iran from the pre-Islamic period to modern times. Both the collection and the garden were inaugurated on Monday, June 11, as part of the 2012 Board of Governors Meeting.

The collection — the first of Iranian history in Israel — honors Dr. Levy's distinguished career and passion for learning. Speaking at the ceremony, American Friend Laura Merage, the granddaughter of Dr. Levy, said that it was a "dream come true" to offer this valuable collection to the public: "My grandfather would have been proud to have his collection of rare books here at Tel Aviv University," contributing to his dream of "eradicating anti-Semitism through education and understanding."

A cherished moment

A long time in the making, Laura Merage said that she cherished the moment of inaugurating the collections, which will help to promote TAU as a leading research center for Iranian studies. University President Joseph Klafter applauded the Merage and Levy families for continuing the mission of Dr. Levy with their work. "You are perpetuating not only your own family history, but the history of the Jewish community in Iran," he said. "We are proud that you see TAU as the place where you can strengthen your commitment to the state of Israel."

The collection and Persian Garden are the newest initiatives by the Merage family, who have long been devoted friends of TAU. They also support the Dr. Habib Levy Program in Iranian Jewish History, which is dedicated to advancing the academic study and dissemination of knowledge concerning the history and cultural heritage of Iranian Jewry. The program is inspired and guided by the vision of Dr. Levy, and offers a broad range of academic programs dealing with the heritage and cultural history of Iranian Jews.

In addition to their work with TAU, Laura and David Merage are the founders of several philanthropic foundations, including RedLine, an art incubator to promote the creative expression of visual and performing artists, and the Merage Foundation, which encourages self-sufficiency through community development and education. Laura Merage serves on the Anti-Defamation League Board of Directors and is deeply involved in her community through organizations that promote Jewish life, the arts, and early care and education.

Understanding the Iranian Jewish experience

To celebrate the inauguration of the collection and the life of Dr. Levy, the Alliance Center for Iranian Studies and the Dr. Habib Levy Program for Iranian Jewish History hosted a colloquium on the history of Jews in Iran and Iranian Jews and Israel, topics of study to which Dr. Levy dedicated his life. Subjects included Jewish history and learning in Iran, Jewish identity, issues of Language in the Jewish community and the relationship of Iranian Jews to Jews around the world, among others.

Opening the conference, Prof. Meir Litvak expressed the hope that the new collection would serve as a an entry point for research into the experience of the Jews of Iran, an area of study that he feels has not received enough attention. "Even in this digital age, this collection is an important treasure and a blessing for research here at TAU," he said. He thanked the Merage family for their continued support, and noted that the new collections served to strengthen an already wonderful partnership.

Mr. Sasson Blum, who translated Dr. Levy's memoire from Persian to Hebrew, dedicated a moment to the memory of Dr. Levy by noting his accomplishments as a dentist and an officer in the Iranian army, as well as a scholar and activist who valued "justice and Jewish faith" and had a "deep love for Israel."


A Promise Fulfilled: TAU's New Postgraduate Dental Clinics Lay Cornerstone
6/14/2012

Celebrating a season of renewal for the Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine, the cornerstone was laid for two new Rothstein-Williamowsky Postgraduate Clinics on Thursday, June 7, 2012, during Tel Aviv University's annual Board of Governors Meeting.

The new clinics, fitted with state-of-the art equipment in new operating suites and renovated treatment rooms, will provide sophisticated training for tomorrow's Israeli dental professionals and a quality care center for patients from the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. The Special Care Clinic will serve children with physical and emotional disabilities and others with special needs, and the Advanced Dental Care Clinic will provide specialty treatment in prosthodontics, periodontics, and endodontology.

The campaign to fund the clinics is a joint initiative of the Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity, which was instrumental in the School of Dentistry's founding four decades ago, and American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Dr. Marc Rothman, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who is chair of the Alpha Omega Foundation, and Steven William Kess, Vice President for Global Professional Relations at Henry Schein, Inc., co-chair the $2.7 million campaign.

The international oral care industry is a philanthropic partner in the effort, led by Henry Schein, Inc., the world's largest provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, medical and animal health practitioners. Chairman and CEO Stanley Bergman calls the new clinics "a crucible for the creation of new techniques" that illustrates the power of public-private partnerships.

Continuing a legacy

The clinics, part of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine, are named in honor of two passionate leaders of the effort to revitalize the School of Dental Medicine — the late Ralph Rothstein and Dr. Ben Williamowsky. Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Williamowsky thanked all who have supported the project, and noted that the clinics would stand in "blessed memory" of his dear friend Ralph Rothstein, whom he called a "driving force" behind the project.

Dr. Williamowsky said he was grateful for the support of his family; the Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity; and the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Dental Medicine, which is the only other dental school in Israel. He also expressed his gratitude for the commitment of TAU President Joseph Klafter, Dean Ilana Eli and the faculty of the Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine, and American Friends of Tel Aviv University's Chairman Jon Gurkoff and CEO Gail Reiss. "Every administration has been dedicated, but none as much as Prof. Klafter, who said emphatically that the dental school is here to stay."

Dr. Williamowsky was accompanied by his granddaughter Danielle, which Jon Gurkoff noted was a testament to the continuity of commitment from generation to generation. "The next generation will take care of what you have started today," said Gurkoff, himself a second generation supporter of the university.

Return to excellence

Following a long-time admissions freeze, The School of Dental Medicine opened its doors to 52 new students this academic year. "Now we can turn our aspirations towards the future," said Prof. Eli, the Head of the School. Seen as emblematic of the Dental School's revival, the clinics are an important leap forward in an era of change, she noted, with the hope that future generations will be inspired by their present efforts: "We will start with the task of rebuilding the school, and the effect of our labors will be felt for years to come."

Moving forward, the School of Dental Medicine will return to its rightful place as a center of excellence, said Tel Aviv University President Prof. Joseph Klafter, a partner in solving Israel's shortage of dental specialists, exacerbated by a recent law mandating free dental care for children through the age of 12. The Rothstein-Williamowsky Clinics represent a significant resource for modernized training and expanded treatment capacity that the country desperately needs.

"With your commitment and help," President Klafter told a packed room at the ceremony, "we are restoring the School to its rightful position as the best academic and professional center for dentistry in Israel."


We Love a Parade!
6/5/2012

AFTAU joins six other friends of Israeli university organizations in a springtime celebration of Israel in New York

Thousands of New Yorkers lined the streets of midtown Manhattan on Sunday, June 3, to cheer and celebrate the state of Israel during the annual Celebrate Israel parade, sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York — and American Friends of Tel Aviv University was proud to be there.

Representatives from AFTAU and six other friends organizations, including AFTAU CFO Ari Wein, proudly rode on a float recognizing "Israel's Institutions of Higher Education" under a sunny New York sky. With "The Future is Now!" emblazoned on its side, the float joined other festive parade presentations as they coasted up New York's famed Fifth Avenue from 57th to 74th Street.

The theme of this year's parade was "Israel Branches Out." Marchers and participants shared their interpretations of this theme as it related to the continuing growth and expansion of the Israeli spirit around the world — including expanding its future in the groves of academe.

Read more about the parade — and watch video coverage of the festivities — at the Celebrate Israel Web site here:
http://celebrateisraelny.org/


Chinese Executives to Study Entrepreneurship at TAU
5/31/2012

LAHAV Executive Education program to host 1,000 managers from Nanjing

The LAHAV Executive Education program at Tel Aviv University's Recanati Faculty of Management has signed a five-year agreement with the Chinese city of Nanjing to host 200 senior executives, officials, and entrepreneurs annually to learn about Israeli entrepreneurship and innovation directly from Israel's top experts.

The agreement was signed at a Nanjing Day celebration on the Tel Aviv University campus on May 21, marking 20 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the People's Republic of China. Called "The Night of Nanjing," the celebration included performances by dancers, singers, and acrobats from the Chinese city.

The event was attended by a delegation from the city of Nanjing, headed by the Secretary of CPC Nanjing Municipal Committee Mr. Yang Weize and including Nanjing Mayor Mr. Zhou Qian, Tel Aviv University President Prof. Joseph Klafter, Dean of the Recanati Faculty of Management Prof. Asher Tishler, LAHAV Executive Education Chairman Dr. Michael Angel, and LAHAV CEO Mr. Udi Aharoni, along with academics and leaders of the business community in both public and private sectors.

A unique partnership

"Tel Aviv University is proud to play a focal role in strengthening academic relations between China and Israel," said Prof. Klafter. "The program of studies for senior officials and leading entrepreneurs from the city of Nanjing, the first of its kind at Tel Aviv University, opens opportunities for important academic, scientific and research activities."

In the first program, which began on May 22, students will learn about the special characteristics of the Israeli model and how it supports the creation of global enterprises across the high-tech industry. Participants will meet and learn from leading academics, businessmen and government officials, and they will make on-site visits to notable companies.

This is not the first formal educational agreement between China and Tel Aviv University. In 2007, Tel Aviv University's then-president Itamar Rabinovich and Chinese ambassador to Israel Zhao Jun signed an agreement to establish a Confucius Institute on the TAU campus, the first of its kind to offer classes in Israel. Tel Aviv University boasts the largest faculty of Far Eastern studies in the region. Two hundred TAU students register for Chinese language, history, and culture classes each year.

For the full story on this groundbreaking educational agreement between TAU and Nanjing, see the Globes news story:

http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/docview.asp?did=1000750021


Symphony Orchestra of TAU's Buchmann-Mehta School of Music Makes Its Carnegie Hall Debut May 21
5/15/2012

"Farm team" for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra showcases Mozart and Vivaldi

One of the most acclaimed student orchestras in the world, the Symphony Orchestra of Tel Aviv University's Buchmann–Mehta School of Music comes to New York for its debut at the legendary Carnegie Hall on Monday evening, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. for a special one-time-only performance.

Zeev Dorman, head of the school, will lead the orchestra and soloists in a program featuring the overture and arias from Mozart's Don Giovanni and Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Cellos, as well as Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola and his Symphony No. 35, the "Haffner."

The orchestra last appeared in New York for a special Holocaust Remembrance Day performance at the United Nations in 2008, led by maestro Zubin Mehta, who was instrumental in the founding of the school in 2004.

Expanding the future of music in Israel

The Buchmann–Mehta School of Music at Tel Aviv University was established to ensure the future of Israel's orchestras by preparing a new generation of exceptional young musicians — orchestral performers, conductors and others — for professional careers. Since the school's creation, more than 50 students have performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and 40 of the world's leading musicians, such as pianist Yefim Bronfman and violinist Julian Rachlin, have visited the school to give master classes.

Voice and instrumental soloists for the Carnegie Hall program include established names — Zachariah Njoroge Karaiithi (baritone), Einat Aronstein (soprano), Hagai Shaham (violin), Matan Noussimovitch (viola), Hillel Zori (cello) and Kristina Reiko Cooper (cello). The dream of playing Carnegie Hall is also coming true in spectacular fashion for rank-and-file student musicians including Jose Batista, Jr., and Yael Gat.

The school's students have won dozens of prizes in prestigious international competitions, and the orchestra has performed in some of the world's most distinguished venues, including the Auditorio Nacional de Musica in Madrid, the Tonhalle in Zurich, and the Konzerthaus in Berlin, to glowing reviews. In Switzerland, the Zürcher Oberländer Anzeiger wrote, "As long as the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra has this young orchestra at its disposal, it has no need to worry about the future generation." And Israel's Globes press service said, "One could use 'astounding' or 'overwhelming' without exaggeration" in describing the quality of the performances.

Comprehensive, rigorous, professional training

"Our School of Music is proud to combine a comprehensive academic program with a most rigorous professional musical training program, offering a wide range of degrees," says Prof. Hannah Naveh, Dean of Tel Aviv University's Yolanda and David Katz Faculty of the Arts. Master classes, taught by musicians of international renown, give students a one-on-one opportunity to learn from an eminent virtuoso.

The school also provides several outreach programs to under-served communities in Israel, including Sulamot, which creates youth wind orchestras for low socioeconomic populations throughout the country, a spur to bringing about social change. This initiative, through the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra's Key Note program in collaboration with TAU's Bob Shapell School of Social Work, uses music to help children acquire the tools they need to succeed — including responsibility, teamwork, respect, cooperation, tolerance, and ethics — while enhancing self-confidence and empowerment.


TAU Engineer Awarded Prestigious Benjamin Franklin Medal
5/9/2012

Prof. Zvi Hashin honored for work on composite materials

On April 26, Prof. Zvi Hashin of Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Engineering was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal at a ceremony in Philadelphia. The award, which is distributed by the storied Franklin Institute, is considered the oldest and most comprehensive science and technology honor in the U.S. and around the world.

Prof. Hashin, who established TAU's mechanical, materials and structural engineering department, is one of the world's leading experts in composite materials and mathematical models. According to the award citation, he was honored for his "groundbreaking contributions to the accurate analysis of composite materials, which have enabled practical engineering designs of lightweight composite structures, commonly used today in aerospace, marine, automotive, and civil infrastructure."

The Medal, which was established in 1824 and named after the great American inventor and diplomat, honors excellence in fields of science and technology including chemistry, computer and cognitive science, environmental and earth sciences, life sciences, electrical engineering and physics. Past honorees include Alexander Graham Bell, Marie and Pierre Curie, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates.

Each year, prize laureates are invited to Philadelphia for a week-long series of events and activities that celebrate their achievements and broaden public awareness of their advancements.

For the full story on Prof. Hashin's Franklin Medal, see the Jerusalem Post story:
http://www.jpost.com/Health/Article.aspx?id=266613


U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro Speaks at Moshe Dayan Center's International Forum at TAU
3/29/2012

United States stands with Israel in the United Nations, ambassador declares

Tel Aviv University's internationally top-rated think tank, The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, welcomed the Honorable Dan Shapiro, US Ambassador to Israel, for an address on Israeli–U.S. relations in a changing Middle East on March 26, 2012.

Ambassador Shapiro addressed Israel's relationship to the UN, with particular reference to the recent decision to cut ties with the Human Rights Council (HRC) over its decision to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate whether Jewish settlements infringe on Palestinian's rights.

Calling the decision "understandable," Shapiro said that the Council nonetheless "obsessively focuses" on Israel while neglecting more urgent human rights issues. The US will continue to sit on the HRC and try to shift its focus to where it belongs, in Syria and Iran, he said.

University president Prof. Joseph Klafter was there to welcome the Ambassador, thanking him for his "passion and enthusiasm, as well as his commitment to strengthening and expanding the bonds between Israeli and American people."

At TAU, the partnership between the two countries is manifested in research collaborations and student exchange. While many international students study on campus this year, Prof. Klafter said, 750 — the "lion's share" of the university's international students — are from the US, in 23 different programs. This reflects the "unique relationship that prevails between the United States and Israel — academically, diplomatically, militarily, and economically."

For the full story and a slideshow on Ambassador Dan Shapiro's visit:
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4208382,00.html


New York Attorney General Speaks at TAU Law School
3/22/2012

"People's Lawyer" Eric Schneiderman shared views on the economic crash and the future of banking

Tel Aviv University's acclaimed Buchmann Faculty of Law was a must-visit destination for the Honorable Eric Schneiderman, New York State Attorney General, during his visit to Israel last week.

Fresh from a news-making $25 million settlement with five of America's largest banks over their use of a private national mortgage electronic system, Schneiderman addressed a full house of TAU students and faculty on March 13, 2012, speaking about the state of banking and financial law in America and participating in a candid question and answer session.

Schneiderman, dubbed the "People's Lawyer," is at the forefront of U.S. officials dealing with the legal aftermath of the 2008 economic crash. He gave the audience an inside view of how the crash came about and the current challenges that the American legal system is facing. "I view my job as having three different parts," he explained. "Ensuring there is accountability for those who broke the law, providing meaningful relief to the homeowners and investors who were hurt, and getting the facts out to the public in order to prevent this kind of catastrophe from happening again."

TAU Vice President of Development Prof. Raanan Rein and Dean of the Law Faculty Prof. Ron Harris introduced Schneiderman, a Harvard Law School graduate with over 15 years experience in the legal profession. It was a rare opportunity for students to learn from one of the world's most influential legal figures, noted Prof. Harris, calling the office of New York Attorney General unique for its ability to "regulate, impact, and shape the financial capital of the world."

Noting that TAU was honored to host such a distinguished international jurist, Prof. Rein noted that the appearance reflected the importance of the Faculty of Law in TAU's emergence as a global university, citing joint programs with University of California Berkley and Northwestern University as examples. It's an effort that Schneiderman applauds: "The future is a legal system in which we all have our local elements, but the global economy requires the law to adapt," he said.

Re-establishing equal justice

Referring to the economic crash and the now dire financial position of many Americans with underwater mortgages and home foreclosures, the legal system has gotten off track, Schneiderman said. Moving forward in his role at Attorney General, his goal is to represent the millions who were hurt by the crash and to re-establish the sense of equal justice in both the courts and the government.

"For millions of American homeowners, there is no relief in sight. That is what we are trying to address through my office," he said. "This is not about identifying and punishing villains, but restoring balance and confidence to the system, to help people believe again that an investment is something they can trust."

Currently, he is working with American lawmakers to curtail the abuses of the system and establish more regulations that will hold banks and corporations responsible for their actions. In a year from now, he hopes to have a regulatory system in place that will prevent the same crisis from reoccurring.

An "honorable profession"

Speaking to the law students in attendance, Schneiderman congratulated them for their achievements, calling the legal profession "the most honorable" that he knows, assuring students that their chosen path will call upon them to "determine in difficult situations what is right and wrong, who should bear the cost and burden, and what is the moral culpability."

It's a profession that is deeply rooted in the Jewish tradition, he said, with issues of justice playing a key role throughout Judaism.  As for himself, says Schneiderman, he thinks that his future will always include the practice of law, which he credits for giving him a sense of grounding.


TAU Leaps into the Top 90 in Global Education Rankings
3/16/2012

Tel Aviv University is now recognized as one of the top 90 universities around the world in the second international Academic Reputation Survey by media giant Thomson Reuters and the Times Educational Supplement, creator of the prestigious THE World University Rankings.

The rankings are based upon a detailed survey of 17,554 senior academic experts from more than 149 countries. Rank is determined according to an overall measure of esteem that combines data on the institutions' reputation for research and teaching.

Tel Aviv University is listed among the Top 81 to 90, reflecting the extraordinary trajectory of excellence at the university over its short 56-year existence, and recognizing the world-class quality of its research. The top 100 universities are listed, but only the top 50 are ranked serially, because, THE notes, "the differentials between institutions after the top 50 become very narrow." The second group of 50 institutions are listed in groups of 10, in alphabetical order.

Enhancing international stature

The ranking carries with it significant weight. In a competitive higher education market, a strong global reputation provides tangible, real-world benefits. It helps institutions attract and retain the best faculty, helps faculty locate the best universities for partnerships, and helps students in their quest to identify those elite universities whose names carry serious weight in the jobs market.

The survey is distributed to tens of thousands of experienced senior academics, using United Nations data to ensure that it is properly distributed to reflect the demographics of world scholarship. In terms of geographical spread, some 44 per cent of respondents in 2011 reside in the Americas, 28 per cent in Europe, 25 per cent in Asia Pacific and the Middle East, and 4 per cent in Africa (these numbers have been rounded).

There is a balanced spread across disciplines — about 20 per cent of respondents hail from the physical sciences, a figure matched by engineering and technology, with 19 per cent from the social sciences, 17 per cent from clinical subjects, 16 per cent from the life sciences and 7 per cent from the arts and humanities. Scholars are questioned at the level of their specific subject discipline.

A well-deserved reputation

TAU is Israel's largest and most comprehensive center of higher learning, providing an education for 30,000 students, and one of Israel's most important research centers, engaged in more than 5,000 innovative projects in classic disciplines and in cutting-edge fields from bioinformatics to nanotechnology.

Prof. Joseph Klafter, a renowned physical chemist, has been president of Tel Aviv University since 2009.

Read more about the survey at:
http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2011-2012/reputation-rankings.html


Steinhardt Collections Open a Dialogue on the "Future of Physical Anthropology in Israel"
3/15/2012

Michael Steinhardt, the legendary hedge fund founder and philanthropist, and a council of scientists, public personalities, and architects, gathered last month to discuss the progress of the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, which will become Israel's first national natural history institution. The new building will be open to the public as a center for learning and research and provide a much-needed home for Tel Aviv University's extensive natural history collections.

Yael Dayan, former Member of the Israeli Knesset, Chair of the Tel Aviv Yaffo City Council, and daughter of celebrated Israeli politician Moshe Dayan, was on hand to welcome participants and chair the meeting. "If we were coming to a parking lot before, now we are coming to a dig," she said, noting the building's progress. "And after we go as deep as necessary, we will start climbing." The skeleton of the building is set to be completed in 18 months.

The institution is already at the forefront of a national discussion on strategies to preserve the field of physical anthropology in Israel — a crucial but endangered field of science. In addition to housing millions of specimens as a record of biodiversity in Israel and the region, the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History will be a research portal for the life sciences, medicine, and the humanities.

Putting human evolution at the forefront

The main objective of the meeting was to discuss the status of physical anthropology in Israel, including the current dangers, the obstacles to its development, and the hopes for its future. According to Prof. Israel Hershkovitz, head of the Dan David Laboratory for the Search and Study of Modern Humans at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the curator of the physical anthropology collection, the outlook is bleak. Giving a detailed description of the state of the field, he noted that scientists will continue to lose invaluable specimens if human remains are not protected as antiquities.

In the quest to understand the origin of modern humans, Israel is one of the most important regions in the world. Crucial data about world-historical events is embedded within the remains found in Israeli archaeological sites — but there are currently many obstacles preventing the intensive study of human remains. TAU's anthropological collection is unrivalled worldwide and includes significant specimens, among which are of the largest collection of the last hunter gatherers in the eastern Mediterranean, the earliest modern humans outside of Africa, the sole evidence of crucifixion, and the largest collection of eastern Neanderthals. But the collection has been drastically reduced in the last years.

Human remains are the sole physical evidence for many dimensions of past human life, including physical appearance, health status, family structure, kinship, diet, and violent encounters. "It's time that the human collections have a permanent house. This is our last chance," said Prof. Hershkovitz in an impassioned appeal at the meeting. "The new building for the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History represents a future for physical anthropology in Israel."

For future generations of scientists

Tel Aviv University, which operates one of the last active laboratories for physical anthropology in the country, has the opportunity to be an agent for change through the vision and generous support of Michael Steinhardt for the museum. The building will not only protect the collection of human remains, but provide a fertile training ground for the next generation of scientists to study and develop the field.

Participants agreed to produce a collective statement regarding the importance of physical anthropology in Israel and encourage positions for researchers in academic institutions across the country, noting that it was time to take a stand to preserve the field of study and its natural collections.


Re-inventing the Planned City
3/12/2012

TAU and MIT launch pilot project to re-think 50's era "New Towns"

In response to population growth, many "new towns" or planned cities were built around the world in the 1950s. But according to Dr. Tali Hatuka, head of Tel Aviv University's Laboratory for Contemporary Urban Design (LCUD) at the Department of Geography and the Human Environment, these cities are a poor fit for modern lifestyles — and it's time to innovate.

TAU has launched a pilot project, in collaboration with a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology led by Prof. Eran Ben-Joseph, to revitalize this aging model. Last month, a team of five TAU and 11 MIT graduate students visited Kiryat Gat, a mid-sized town in the south of Israel. Home to branches of industrial giants Hewlett-Packard Company and Intel, Kiryat Gat was chosen as a "laboratory" for re-designing outmoded planned civic spaces.

Based on smart technologies, improved transportation, use of the city's natural surroundings, and a reconsideration of the current use of city space, the team's action plan is designed to help Kiryat Gat emerge as a new, technologically-advanced planned city — a prototype that could be applied to similar urban communities.

Planning a future for the mid-sized city

The project, jointly funded by TAU's Vice President for Research and MIT's MISTI Global Seed Funds, will create a new planning model that could reshape the future of Kiryat Gat and similar cities across the world which are often overlooked in academia and practical planning. "Our goal is to put a spotlight on these kinds of towns and suggest innovative ways of dealing with their problems," says TAU student Roni Bar.

MIT's Alice Shay, who visited Israel for the first time for the project, believes that Kiryat Gat, a city that massive urbanization has left behind, is an ideal place for the team to make a change. "The city is at a catalyst point — an exciting moment where good governance and energy will give it the capacity to implement some of these new projects."

To tackle the design and planning challenges of the city, the team of students focused on four themes: the "mobile city," which looked at transport and accessibility; the "mediated city," dealing with technological infrastructure; the "compact city," which reconsidered the use of urban space and population growth; and the "natural city," which integrated environmental features into the urban landscape.

Finding common ground

Ultimately, the team’s goal is to create a more flexible city model that encourages residents and workers to be a more active part of the urban fabric of the city, said Dr. Hatuka. The current arrangement of dedicated industrial, residential, and core zones is out of step with a 21st century lifestyle, in which people work, live, and spend their leisure time in the same environment.

"Much of the past discourse about the design of sustainable communities and 'eco-cities' has been premised on using previously undeveloped land," says Prof. Ben-Joseph. "In contrast, this project focuses on the 'retrofitting' of an existing environment — a more likely approach, given the extent of the world's already-built infrastructure."

The students from TAU and MIT have become a truly cohesive team, and their diversity of background helps challenge cultural preconceptions, Bar says. "They ask many questions that help us to rethink things we took for granted." Shay agrees. "Tali and Eran have created an incredible collaboration, encouraging us all to exchange ideas. Our contexts are different but there is a common urban design language."

The team estimates that they will be able to present the updated model of the city early next year. The next step is further exploring the project's key themes at a March meeting at MIT. And while the project has provided an exceptional educational experience for all involved, ideas are already leaping off the page and into the city's urban fabric. "In the next two months, the Mayor of Kiryat Gat would like to push this model forward and implement the initial steps that we have offered," says an enthusiastic Dr. Hatuka.

To learn more about the project, visit:
http://kiryatgat.mit.edu/.


Tel Aviv University Sibling Team Wins World Debating Championship
2/22/2012

TAU student brothers capture top prize at finals in the Philippines

Arguments around the dinner table have certainly paid off for two Israeli siblings.

Last month, brothers — and Tel Aviv University students — Omer and Sella Nevo won the gold medal in the World Debating Championships in the English as a Second Language Category. The two mathematics and computer science students beat out teams from Malaysia, Germany, and the Netherlands. They were also named the best ESL speakers of the competition, and broke the record for most points collected in the preliminary rounds.

This is the third year in a row that an Israeli team has won the title, and the Nevo brothers are the second TAU team in the last three years to win. In 2009, Yoni Cohen-Idov, now the coach of the TAU team, and his partner Uri Merhav were the ESL champions.

Cohen-Idov says that participation in these world-wide debating competitions goes a long way to fostering international understanding. "As an Israeli, you're used to getting wary looks, to seeing hostility," he explained to Ha'aretz. "Winning in a sport that's all about dialogue is a phenomenal sensation, because we feel we represent more than ourselves or our institution. We feel we show the world another side of Israel — a cultured, witty, amiable, and peaceful side."

For the full story on the brothers' debating championship win, see the Ha'aretz story:
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israeli-brothers-argue-way-into-world-debating-championship-crown-1.405506

 


TAU Dean Named Supreme Court Justice
1/24/2012

Prof. Daphne Barak-Erez one of four new appointees to Israel's highest court

Prof. Daphne Barak-Erez, the Dean of Tel Aviv University's Buchmann Faculty of Law, has been appointed a Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court. She was elected by a unanimous vote of Israel's Judicial Appointments Committee.

An alumna of TAU, Prof. Barak-Erez is the Stewart and Judy Colton Professor of Law and holds the chair of law and security. She has been a visiting professor at a number of prestigious law schools, including Columbia Law School in New York and Stanford Law School in California, and is the recipient of multiple prizes, including the Rector's Prize for Excellence in Teaching and the Women in Law Award given by the Israeli Bar Association.

Prof. Barak-Erez, who was named alongside three other new justices, will begin her appointment in May, following the retirement of Justice Eliezer Rivlin. Her candidacy was supported by former Israel Bar Association head, Yori Geiron.

For the full story on the new appointments to the Israeli Supreme Court, see the Ha’aretz story:
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/four-new-israeli-supreme-court-justices-named-after-compromise-1.406029


President Joseph Klafter Speaks About TAU's Role in Building the "Start-Up Nation"
1/18/2012

StarTAU fosters entrepreneurship and innovation in Israel

Known as a high-tech powerhouse, Israel is world-renowned for its research, development, and business acumen. From an initial idea to basic research to the creation of a business, Tel Aviv University is behind its students all the way, university president Prof. Joseph Klafter told Canada's National Post in a recent interview.

"The first role of a university is researching and teaching basic science, because basic science is behind everything else. This creates a body of information, which leads to entrepreneurial opportunity," he said. "Between basic research and practical applications, there are a few ways to turn ideas into working businesses. We must always encourage those who show up excited about an idea that they can turn into a business."

Since 2009, TAU's non-profit organization StarTAU has worked to foster this creative impetus, helping today's students become tomorrow's top innovators by connecting them with business leaders, researchers, and academic experts. StarTAU is a source of support for the entrepreneurial spirit within the academic framework. Along with the President's Office and the Student Union, the organization is a port-of-call for students from all over campus who are developing business models. And Ramot, the university's commercial arm, is there to build a bridge between the researcher and potential investors, notes Prof. Klafter.

"The prescription is very simple: strong support for basic research, then enough funding for those researchers on the leading edge," he explains. "The big inventions of the last century and this century — the laser, semiconductors, GPS, even the idea of an Internet — all came out of the curiosity of researchers looking for ways in which their ideas can be put into action."

For the full interview, see the National Post story: http://business.financialpost.com/2012/01/03/innovation-101/


A Nexus of Academia and Experience
12/21/2011

National Council of Jewish Women's mission to TAU showcases groundbreaking B.A. in Women and Gender Studies

When Tel Aviv University's Women and Gender Studies Bachelor's Degree Program launched in 2001, the discipline was not yet a part of Israel's academic landscape. A recent overseas mission to the program by the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) demonstrates just how much TAU's groundbreaking program has affected Israeli life.

"When we first started funding the program, there was no word in Hebrew for gender," remembers Shari Eshet, Director of the Israel office for the NCJW. "Now, thanks to the efforts led by Tel Aviv University, women and gender studies is very much a part of the academic consciousness." The success of the B.A. program has encouraged TAU to open a graduate program, adding new dimensions to the academic and public standing of Women and Gender Studies.

During the visit, students presented attendees with the results of academic projects and shared personal experiences that have shaped their scholarship, with topics such as Tzipi Livni's 2009 Prime Ministerial campaign and the female vote, and the protests for social justice that swept through Israel this past summer.

The visit was an inspiring opportunity to reflect on how the program has impacted academic life and social change in Israel.  "Knowledge is the outcome of dialogue and the willingness to exchange ideas and dreams," says Prof. Hanna Herzog, Head of the NCJW Gender and Women's Studies' Program at TAU. She also notes that the yearly mission facilitates a connection between "students, staff, and the women at the NCJW who support us."

A grassroots movement

For all those involved, one thing is paramount — the NCJW Women and Gender Studies degree program is not a typical academic offering. Both students and faculty describe their work as engaging, personal, and truly multidisciplinary. "We as feminists believe that knowledge doesn't just come from above, but from everyday experiences — the grassroots," explains Prof. Herzog. She adds that the mosaic of students from a variety of ethnic, cultural, sexual identity and socioeconomic backgrounds enriches the quality of learning and research the program offers.

And it's not just the personal backgrounds of the students that is broad, but their academic disciplines as well. Prized as a course of study that furthers female empowerment and gender equality, the principles of Women and Gender Studies are sweeping across campus, engaging students from departments such as Political Science, History, Literature and Law.

Maya Herman, a second-year student who shared her passion for the program and her experience as part of Israel's recent social protests with the women of the NCJW, called the program a holistic way of studying. "Everything in Women and Gender Studies is connected to our lives. It's a mind-blowing and radical way of learning," she says, extending this principle to her experience at this summer's protests. "People began to realize that if they wanted to see change, they had to create it. Our teachers also came to sit in the tents and have discussions, learning with us and using their knowledge to be active in the field."

Nurturing the next generation

Throughout their visit to campus, which also included a question-and-answer session with opposition Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni, the NCJW could see that the program has come of age.

"Today's students are standing on the shoulders of feminist leaders who came out of TAU, including Hanna Herzog," says Eshet. "We can really take pride in the fact that a new generation is carrying on the work of this 'old guard.' The NCJW will be continuing our work with this program because we realize it's a natural evolution from academics into the community."

For Herman, who receives funding for her studies through a NCJW scholarship, the mission was an opportunity to thank the NCJW for their support. "I came into a program that is filled with opportunity and is taught by some of the best feminist scholars in Israel," she says. "But there is more to invest, more progress to be made. Gender equality in Israel is still a myth — and this program is about changing society and changing minds."


TAU International Now Offering English-Language Degrees for Undergrads
12/14/2011

When Tel Aviv University opens its doors for the Fall 2012 semester, the school will add English-language undergraduate programs for the first time, with International Bachelors Degrees in Electrical Engineering and the Liberal Arts.

Cousins of their world-class Hebrew language counterparts with an international twist, the new programs combine highly respected academic programming, equal to top-tier American universities, with the added inducements of travel in Israel, small class sizes, volunteer and internship opportunities, and social programs — all at a fraction of the cost in America.

Added to the 11 already operational International Masters programs taught in English, Tel Aviv University will offer the most diverse and competitive offerings for international students in Israel — oustanding opportunities for studying abroad.

A global launching pad

Open to students from around the world, each program will be enriched by diversity both in and out of the classroom. "The Faculty of Humanities has always offered our students a broad and colorful range of courses," says Dr. Milette Shamir, who will head the new International Bachelors Program in Liberal Arts. "Now, with more individuals from around the world joining our student body, the experience of studying here will be all the more rewarding. Such international programs play an active role in the globalization of the university."

As part of the TAU program, electrical engineering students will be eligible to study abroad at the National University of Singapore. Prof. Anthony Weiss, the head of the program, says that this international experience will serve students well moving forward. "It enables students to create a world-wide rather than local network," he says. "Our graduates will have an internationally recognized degree and international connections. It's an amazing launching pad."

Along with an excellent education and extensive experience in their chosen fields, students in the new undergraduate programs will have the chance to live in the international city of Tel Aviv, ranked one of the top travel destinations world-wide. Students can soak up the culture and feel of the city, which boasts an endless array of cultural and social events.

Where high-tech and history collide

Steeped in history and culture but at the forefront of digital and technological development, Israel is the ideal setting for both courses of study. There are endless opportunities to connect to the country and learn in this fascinating environment, says Dr. Shamir, noting field trips to culturally and historically significant sites over the course of the Liberal Arts program.

The BA in Liberal Arts offers students traditional tracks including philosophy and literature, as well as unique courses of study such as Middle Eastern and Jewish history, and digital culture and communications, a unique benefit of a country with a rich ancient history and modern "start-up nation" status.

And with a burgeoning high-tech industry, Israel is the perfect setting for a budding electrical engineer, says Prof. Weiss. Third-year students will be offered internship placements in start-ups and international companies such as Eurotech Communications, and will be offered classes in entrepreneurship and intellectual property to help them prepare for a career.

"We will give our students what they need to make the best of their experience in Israel, and succeed in the classroom and beyond," he says.

For more information on the International Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering, visit:
http://www.ise.tau.ac.il/

For more information on the International Bachelors in Liberal Arts, visit:
http://www.liberal-arts.tau.ac.il/

 

South Tel Aviv School is a Model for Language Intervention
10/27/2011

TAU researchers give children of immigrants and foreign workers a chance to overcome language barriers

Bialik-Rogozin, a school in South Tel Aviv with an underprivileged student body hailing from 48 different countries, is the subject of the 2011 Oscar-winning documentary short Strangers No More. But before the cameras rolled, researchers at Tel Aviv University had been helping its students overcome the barriers to language development that often handicap children raised by immigrants or refugees.

Their program, which involves group and one-on-one sessions with clinicians and Tel Aviv University students, is run by Prof. Liat Kishon-Rabin of the Department of Communication Disorders in the Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions at TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine. Her program takes a multipronged approach to help students improve in different areas of language acquisition, including comprehension skills, vocabulary, and writing.

Presented at the annual Israeli Speech and Hearing Association Conference by senior clinician Shira Cohen, this model can be implemented across the globe, the researchers say. Many countries are home to such immigrant or refugee families, where children could be getting increased support for language development. The program, funded by the Landa Foundation, has been an unqualified success.

A multilingual background means multiple challenges

The population of the school at Bialik-Rogozin is made up of a large number of refugees fleeing their home countries to make a better life for themselves abroad. With often tumultuous pasts that include few educational opportunities, these children are facing many challenges — among them low socioeconomic status, behavior issues, and delayed language development.

"Many of these children don't actually have a 'mother tongue,'" says Prof. Kishon-Rabin, explaining that often, parents emigrate from separate countries, and do not share a common first language to pass on to their children. "At home, their parents often speak broken English or Hebrew, and the child is only exposed to this pigeon-like speech. They're exposed to three or more languages, but none of them are spoken properly." Intervention began when a group at Tel Aviv University decided to offer the students hearing tests, and during these tests the researchers discovered how poor the students' language development was.

Beginning with a group of 24 students in first grade, Prof. Kishon-Rabin and her team, which included Cohen, Dr Shoshie Rabinowitz, and other trained speech therapists as well as students from TAU's Department of Communications Disorders, provided weekly sessions with special emphasis on natural and social language skills to help the children develop efficient communication in and outside of the classroom.

Over the course of the year-long program, the students not only showed an improvement in their language skills, their overall academic performance improved as well. The teachers noted an increase in the students' verbal communication, self confidence, participation and progress in reading and writing when compared to a control group.

Stepping up educational support

Relying on funding from outside sources, the program is currently limited in its reach, says Prof. Kishon-Rabin. This is an issue that schools all over the world face as well. Many schools are not even allocated speech therapy hours, and those that do have such courses are extremely limited in their scope.

School boards should make more of an effort to meet the language needs of their multicultural populations, she suggests. Some positive steps would include the hiring of full time clinicians, the provision of better training for teachers on language development, and the incorporation of this content into the normal curriculum. Such programs also help train the next generation of clinicians, who receive hands-on experience. The Tel Aviv University students who have volunteered experience high satisfaction from the help they provide, reports Prof. Kishon-Rabin. "It's a win-win situation," she observes.

Currently, the program is going full steam ahead into the next academic year, and Prof. Kishon-Rabin hopes that the necessary funding will follow. She is also pioneering another community project set to start in the fall which will encourage greater involvement from teachers, parents, and other community members. "The more the parents are involved, the better the outcome of therapy with the children will be," she says.


TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter Inducted into AAAS
10/19/2011

Distinguished educator and physical chemist joins 231st class of the oldest learned society in the U.S.

Tel Aviv University President Prof. Joseph Klafter was among influential artists, scientists, scholars, authors, and institutional leaders who were inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences at a ceremony in Cambridge, MA, on Saturday, October 1.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy is one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious learned societies, and an independent research center that draws from its members' expertise to conduct studies in science and technology policy, global security, the humanities and culture, social policy, and education.

"Induction recognizes extraordinary individual achievement and marks a commitment on the part of new members to provide fundamental, non-partisan knowledge for addressing today's complex challenges," said American Academy President Leslie C. Berlowitz. The 231st Class of the Academy includes winners of Nobel, Pritzker, and Pulitzer prizes; the Turing Award; MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships; Kennedy Center Honors; and Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy awards. Foreign Honorary Members from Argentina, India, Israel, Japan, and the United Kingdom were also be inducted.

Since its founding by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and other scholar-patriots, the American Academy has elected leading "thinkers and doers" from each generation. The current membership includes more than 250 Nobel laureates, some 100 Pulitzer Prize winners, and many of the world's most celebrated artists and performers.


In Memoriam: Anna Webb
9/20/2011

Anna Hitter Webb, prominent California philanthropist and a member of Tel Aviv University's Board of Governors, passed away on September 17, 2011 at her home in Los Angeles after a long illness.

We have lost a cherished and devoted friend. Anna and her husband Max, a member of the American Friends of Tel Aviv University's Board of Directors, served on TAU's Board of Governors and have been passionate supporters and advocates of the university for decades. AFTAU is privileged to be one of the many American and Israeli beneficiaries of the generosity that has made the Webb name one of the most recognized in the world of philanthropy.

Anna's warmth, spirit, and lively intellect were evident in her very successful entrepreneurial career, and shaped her philanthropic vision as well. Born in Poland, her family's odyssey in search of safety in wartime put Israel and Jewish causes very close to her heart. She always wanted to do more.

A shared philanthropic vision

Together, she and Max created the award-winning Anna and Max Webb Family School of Languages Building on the TAU campus, and established TAU's Anna and Max Webb Family Chair for Visiting Scholars in Yiddish Studies, an international leader in the preservation of Yiddish language and culture. Anna also inspired many with her leadership, especially for one of her special projects — scholarships to commemorate the tragic loss of Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon.

For their vision and dedication, Anna and Max were each recognized with an honorary doctorate, Tel Aviv University's most distinguished honor.

Anna Webb is survived by her husband, her children Steve and Sabrina, Max's daughters Rose and Chara, and the extended Webb family. Her loss will be deeply felt by her countless friends in the Tel Aviv University community — in America, Israel, and around the world.


New York Press Recognizes TAU's Interdisciplinary Energy
9/8/2011

TAU has "a unique place among Israeli universities," says top U.S. Jewish newspaper

In an interview in the September 6, 2011, issue of The Jewish Week, Prof. Joseph Klafter, President of Tel Aviv University, sheds light on the extraordinary interdisciplinary research being conducted in medicine, the environment, and renewable energy at the school.

"It is something that comes naturally among scientists and if there is encouragement from the top, it only helps," said Prof. Klafter, himself an award-winning chemist.

The article profiles the interdisciplinary research taking place at the School of Neurosciences, the Porter School of Environmental Studies, and the new Supercenter for Renewable Energy, which includes a combination of physics, chemistry, and engineering, along with business courses that will prepare students "for strict regulations on such things as the uses of fuels in cars," Klafter said.

The full interview with The Jewish Week can be found here:
http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/israel/tel_aviv_us_interdisciplinary_approach


In Memoriam: Dan David
9/7/2011

Legendary champion of global intellectual pursuits and founder of the prestigious Dan David Prize

Businessman and philanthropist Dan David, a stalwart friend of Tel Aviv University whose contributions to the school and to the stature of Israel's intellectual and academic life were without parallel, died in London on Monday, September 5, following a serious illness.

"His passing is an inestimable loss not only to Tel Aviv University but to all who cherish scientific, artistic, and cultural achievement," said Gail Reiss, President & CEO of American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "He was a visionary on a grand scale, but thought always of the individual student and scholar."

David is survived by his wife Gabriela and his son Ariel.

A special relationship with Tel Aviv University

Dan David had a special relationship with Tel Aviv University that spanned decades. The recipient of an honorary doctorate and a member of the Board of Governors, he and his wife supported scientific research, scholarships, and theater studies at TAU, as well as major projects such as the Dan David Building.

Most notably, they created the Dan David Prize with a $100 million endowment. Today the Prize is one of the largest and most prestigious of its kind in the world. David's legacy will live on in perpetuity through his unparalleled commitment to higher education, and to the nurturing of new generations of scholars and scientists.

"Whenever I come to TAU," David said recently, "I recall my days as a young student in communist Romania. I can best describe those days as gray. Buildings, speeches, faces, all seemed subdued and shrouded with the colorless emotions of sadness and oppression. Walking along the flowered pathways of the Tel Aviv campus, I cannot help but notice the color that shines everywhere—in the students' chatter as in the professors' lectures, in the air as in the soil. The feeling of freedom I sensed here is why I believed that Tel Aviv University was the right place to celebrate the achievements of the human race."

Celebrating achievement

The internationally-renowned Dan David Prize, established in 2002, awards three $1 million prizes annually to people who contribute to human achievement in the realms of past, present, and future. Among Dan David Prize laureates are film directors Joel and Ethan Coen, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, theatre director Peter Brook, and Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

The Prize's international headquarters are located at Tel Aviv University. Each year the International Board chooses one field within the three time dimensions of Past (highlighting fields that expand knowledge of former times), Present (recognizing achievements that shape and enrich contemporary society) and Future (focusing on breakthroughs that hold great promise for the improvement of our world). Following a review process by independent Review Committees comprised of renowned scholars and professionals, the International Board then chooses the laureates for each field.

A master of international business

Dan David was born in Bucharest, Romania, in 1929. A natural-born entrepreneur, he transformed a $200,000 loan into a global, multi-million dollar empire, eventually becoming president of three multinational corporations: Fomat Ltd., Dedem Automatica Srl, and Photo-Me International Plc.

This financial success enabled him to become a passionate philanthropist, engaged in a myriad of projects in fields including archaeology, film, medicine, multiple scholarships, and a non-profit business incubator. His honors included Commander of the Italian Republic in the Order of Merit, Commander of the French Republic in the Order of Arts and Letters, and the Lochamei Hamedina Medal from the Israeli Government. He was also an Elected Member of the World Academy of Art and Science.


TAU's Buchmann Faculty of Law Ranked Among World's Top 100
8/4/2011

Tel Aviv University's Buchmann Faculty of Law ranks among the top 100 law faculties in the world in the new issue of QS World University Rankings, the world's leading information specialist in the higher education sector.

The rankings were based upon a variety of criteria, including the number of citations in peer-reviewed journals of articles written by faculty researchers, academic peer reviews, and evaluations by recruitment companies. Harvard University was rated as the world's best, followed by the United Kingdom's Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

The rating underscores the global reach and influence of TAU's Buchmann Faculty of Law. The faculty melds academic innovation with rigorous scholarship, offering programs and projects encompassing both classic studies and cutting edge international jurisprudence. The school's Center for Advanced Legal Studies (CALS), inaugurated in 2007, is a flagship project that draws outstanding graduate law students from Israel and around the world.

For more information on the rankings, see this story in the August 4 issue of The Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=232371


Irv Geffen Joins AFTAU as Southeast Region's Vice President
8/3/2011

Irv Geffen, a highly experienced development executive with an impressive track record in major gifts fundraising, joined American Friends of Tel Aviv University as Southeast Region Vice President on July 31, 2011.

Geffen joins AFTAU from the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, where he served as Executive Vice President & CEO, with annual fundraising of $20 to $25 million. He directed all financial resource development, including the annual campaign, foundation grants, and planned giving, and helped manage the Federation's relationships with beneficiary agencies.

Previously, Geffen was the Director of Prudential Management Associates, working with high-net-worth individual, family, and institutional clients to provide investment planning and management. Prior to that, he was a Vice President of Alliance Bernstein Global Wealth Management.

Geffen's earlier career includes stints as a development executive with both the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, Virginia, as well as with several public health organizations. He lived and worked in Israel in the 1980s, and was an instructor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Breaking new ground

A skilled presenter, Geffen has conducted dozens of workshops, seminars, lectures, and training programs for development and financial professionals on topics including gift planning, donor and customer relations, major gift and endowment development, and investment planning. He calls AFTAU "a blue-chip organization supporting a world-class university."

American Friends of Tel Aviv University President & CEO Gail Reiss rates Geffen's combination of executive skills and development success a substantial asset.

"With Irv's major gifts expertise, strategic planning talents, and Jewish communal experience, he is uniquely equipped to expand AFTAU's activities to new communities throughout the Southeast Region," she said.

American Friends of Tel Aviv University raises funds in support of Tel Aviv University and sponsors educational, cultural, and social events throughout the United States. The organization's Southeast Region office is located at 2201 NW Corporate Boulevard in Boca Raton, Florida, and includes Georgia, the Carolinas, and Tennessee.

TAU Professor Named Chief Historian by Yad Vashem
7/7/2011

Prof. Dina Porat, head of Tel Aviv University's Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry and Alfred P. Slaner Chair for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism, has been named the new Chief Historian of the Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem, one of the world's leading institutions dedicated to the study of the Holocaust, starting in October 2011.

Prof. Porat steps into the role vacated by Prof. Dan Michman, who is replacing Prof. David Ben-Kier as the Head of the International Institute for Holocaust Research. "Prof. Ben-Kier is a researcher of the first class, and a unique personality who cannot really be replaced," says Prof. Porat with characteristic modesty. "Both Prof. Michman and I in our new roles will do our best."

Her chief responsibilities will be the planning and development of ideas for the museum's activities, education programs, conferences and research.

The former Head of the Chaim Rosenberg Jewish Studies Department at Tel Aviv University said that she was honored by her new appointment and will endeavor to live up to the heavy responsibility of approaching not only the history of the Holocaust, but also its implications for contemporary history. "Today, the Holocaust is not only being presented as we already know it, but it's also being denied, diminished or attacked as being too central to the Jewish people," Prof. Porat said. "Facing the ways that the Holocaust today is used or misused will be my responsibility."

Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said that he is confident that the Institute and Yad Vashem will continue to be a hub of profound dialogue and research on all aspects of the Holocaust under the leadership of Profs. Michman and Porat, and that their cutting-edge research will advance our understanding.

For more information on Yad Vashem's new appointments and the International Institute for Holocaust Research, see:
http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/pressroom/pressreleases/pr_details.asp?cid=696


American Friends Shalom and Varda Yoran Honored with the Organization's Chairman's Award
6/6/2011

The Chairman's Award, created in 2008 by then-Chairman William F. Cohen to recognize exceptional dedication to Tel Aviv University and its American Friends, is not bestowed routinely. Until May 23, 2011, it had had only one recipient.

But as the final act of his second term of service, Bill Cohen chose to honor Varda and Shalom Yoran with the award. Referring to the couple as "role models for all the members of this organization," his respect, admiration, and affection were evident.

He read the award's inscription to warm applause from assembled members of AFTAU's Board of Directors, expressing appreciation for the Yorans' lifelong support for the State of Israel, their contribution as members of AFTAU's Board of Directors and Executive Council, and their commitment to the growth and success of Tel Aviv University.

A shared vision

Accepting the award, Varda Yoran said she and her husband were very moved. With characteristic modesty, she observed that it was "nice to be acknowledged for something we wanted to do."

"Unlike other universities, TAU understood what we wanted to accomplish," she said, and a partnership was born. In 1988, the Yoran-Sznycer Research Fund in Jewish History was created, widely recognized today as a major resource in the area of Holocaust research, studies, and publications. It continues to award annual scholarships and produce significant academic research projects, including books, papers and analyses that have led to important breakthroughs in the field.

The long list of Tel Aviv University programs and projects that they subsequently sponsored includes the Shalom and Varda Yaron Institute for Genomic Research, and the Varda Yoran Art Catalog Fund.

Calling their relationship with the university by no means one-way, Varda Yoran said, "We benefited a lot.  We made wonderful friends. We saw Petra with them, watched the United Nations honor Israel, heard Yo-Yo Ma in concert, attended stimulating events and fascinating lectures, and so much more."

A remarkable couple

Shalom Yoran-Sznycer was a key figure in developing Israeli Aircraft Industries in Israel, and served as chairman of a private commercial aircraft company in New York City until his retirement in 2003. He is the author of The Defiant, which recounts his escape from the Nazis who murdered his parents in Poland, and his teenage years fighting alongside Soviet partisans in the forests of Eastern Europe in World War II. The Yorans' friend Elie Weisel calls the memoir an important contribution to Holocaust remembrance.

Varda Yoran, an accomplished sculptor who works in stone, wood, clay, wax, and Lucite, has participated in numerous group shows and solo exhibits around the world. The first twenty years of her life were spent in China where she was born to Jewish parents who had emigrated from Russia. Her lifelong exposure to a conglomerate of cultures — Chinese, Russian, English, Jewish, Japanese — can be felt in her art. TAU has been the recipient of several of her striking sculptures including the 11-foot granite "Tai Chi" and the 6-foot bronze "Holocaust and Revival."

A warm partnership

The Tel Aviv University family greatly values the couple's friendship.

In 1998, Shalom Yoran-Sznycer was awarded an Honorary Doctorate, TAU's highest honor, for his longstanding contribution to Holocaust remembrance and social causes in Israel and abroad. He has served as Vice Chairman and Secretary/Treasurer of the American Friends of Tel Aviv University, and is today a Governor of Tel Aviv University.

Varda Yoran received an honorary fellowship at Tel Aviv University in 2004 recognizing her involvement in the arts, her work as a sculptor, and her partnership with her husband in initiating important projects at the university in biological research, Jewish studies and the arts.

American Friend Jon Gurkoff Brings the International "I AM" Project to TAU
6/3/2011

A unique photography exhibition touched all who entered the lobby of Tel Aviv University's Sourasky Library during the week of May 15th, 2011. Dozens of children's faces — some smiling and playful, others serious and thoughtful — presented a living mosaic called I AM: ISRAEL, part of a global "I AM: International" initiative by Canadian educator and artist Sasha Sicurella.

The exhibition of self-portraits by five- and six-year-olds attending kindergarten in the northern Israeli town of Tzfat was made possible by AFTAU Treasurer Jon Gurkoff and his wife Stevi, longtime friends of the university. They were present at the opening of the exhibit, along with Tzfat Mayor Ilan Shohat, TAU Board of Governors Chairman Harvey Krueger, and numerous guests from the American Friends organization and the university.

Gurkoff was the driving force behind the project, bringing all the participants together in a complex undertaking. Speaking at the exhibit's opening, he described meeting Sasha in New York last June and recognizing the power of her art project to promote individuality and self-esteem in children.

Creating I AM: ISRAEL

Immediately, he invited her to work with two classes at a kindergarten established by his mother, Louise Gurkoff Grass, through the Israel Education Fund in Tzfat 32 years ago. The Gurkoff family has continued its relationship with the school ever since, visiting often and sponsoring projects.

Sivan Shohat, wife of the mayor, was instrumental in securing municipal permissions and arranging for an exhibit for the Tzfat families, now on permanent display at the Civic Center.

Sasha Sicurella spent two full days with the children, first engaging them in a stimulating program focused on individuality and self expression, then asking them to snap pictures of themselves. The resulting self-portraits are both the sociological highlight and striking artistic outcome of the project — as they have been in every I AM: location to date.

I AM: International

Sicurella is the director and founder of the I AM: International Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Lenox, MA. Her "I AM:" project has already filmed in India, Ethiopia, Jamaica, and France, with projects in Romania and Italy scheduled for September, 2011.

"The children are delighted to be recognized and have control of the camera," says the artist. "It's like an unrehearsed dance that is different every time." Speaking of the TAU exhibition, which took place during the University's annual Board of Governors Meeting, she noted that "it added a playful edge to the formal meeting, and gave the Governors a glimpse of the future of this great country, and who they are working for."

Very personal philanthropy

"This project was an unbelievably rewarding experience — both for me, and for the children, their families, and the community," says Gurkoff. "I am glad that my son, Gene, was with me to share this experience, and I know he and his sister, Genna, and their families will continue their involvement with the kindergarten and the community."

Gurkoff feels strongly that "what makes giving meaningful is getting involved with and knowing the people." That resonates with the educator who created the program: Sasha noted her pleasure in working with a man who was "so generous, involved, and hands on." And Mayor Shohat, who made a special trip to TAU from his home in northern Israel to speak at the reception, recalled that he had met "a modest man, who does things from the heart."

Gurkoff's long history of communal involvement includes serving on the Tel Aviv University Board of Governors, its primary governing body. He is a past President and General Campaign Chairman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Clifton/Passaic, NJ; past Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Passaic Beth Israel Hospital in Passaic, NJ; past member of the National Young Leadership Cabinet of the United Jewish Appeal; past member of the Board of Trustees of The Daughters of Miriam Center for the Aged, Clifton, NJ; and a past member of the Israel Birthright Committee of New Jersey's MetroWest Jewish Federation.

He is CEO and a principal shareholder of Ada Products Company, Inc,. and was elected Chairman of the Board of American Friends of Tel Aviv University on May 23, 2011.

See the I:AM project at work in Israel


Jon Gurkoff Elected Chairman of American Friends of Tel Aviv University
6/2/2011

With unanimous consent, Jon Gurkoff was elected Chairman of the Board of American Friends of Tel Aviv University on May 23, 2011. For the past year he has served as Treasurer of the organization.

Gurkoff is the CEO and a principal shareholder of Ada Products Company, Inc, a manufacturer and distributor of dental products.

Accepting the post, he called it "an uplifting challenge" — but one that would be impossible without the support of his still-active predecessors and the members of the Board. Noting that he has "large shoes to fill" in replacing William F. Cohen, he applauded the course Bill steered during his very productive service as national Chairman. He spoke highly of his friend and advisor, Chairman Emeritus Alan Aufzein, and paid tribute to Chairman Emeritus Mel Taub, his father-in-law and role model.

Observing with affection that AFTAU is fortunate to have Jon in the chairman's post, Taub spoke of his true love for Tel Aviv University and for Israel, calling him "a bulldog for his passions."

Planning an active term

Central to Gurkoff's vision for the next two years, he says, is "to build on the strong foundations we have, and to grow our Board," raising TAU's visibility to enhance fundraising in America.

"This organization is poised to make a significant leap forward, and I'm gratified to have wonderful partners who are committed for our success," Gurkoff notes. TAU Board of Governors Chairman Harvey Krueger "will be most important in providing leadership for TAU, and his support will be immeasurable," as will that of AFTAU's active Secretary Marshall Polk and newly elected Treasurer Michael Shaoul.

Applauding the recent addition of President & CEO Gail Reiss to lead AFTAU's skilled and dedicated professional staff, Gurkoff says, "All the ingredients are there to grow our organization and tell the story of TAU effectively throughout the country. This should be an exciting time for AFTAU."

Gurkoff also serves on the Tel Aviv University Board of Governors, its primary governing body, and has visited the campus numerous times over four decades.

A deep connection to Israel

Since his first visit to Israel in July 1967 just after the Six Day War, Gurkoff has been deeply committed to the State of Israel. As a young college graduate in the early 1970's, he worked for the United Jewish Appeal's University Programs Department, travelling to college campuses around the country to start or enhance UJA campaigns. He also led several student leadership and Young Leadership missions to Israel, and during successive summers, lived in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in 1973 and 1974.

Those experiences had a profound impact on him, shaping his conviction that developing a relationship between Jewish youth and Israel is vital. Tel Aviv University's TAU International study abroad program is an ideal vehicle for this, he suggests. "Inspiring students to choose TAU's overseas program will have a long-term impact on our ability to grow awareness and commitment from Americans in the future."

A commitment to community

In America, Gurkoff has long been active in Jewish communal organizations.

He is a past President and General Campaign Chairman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Clifton/Passaic, NJ; past Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Passaic Beth Israel Hospital in Passaic, NJ; past member of the National Young Leadership Cabinet of the United Jewish Appeal; past member of the Board of Trustees of The Daughters of Miriam Center for the Aged, Clifton, NJ; and a past member of the Israel Birthright Committee of New Jersey's MetroWest Jewish Federation.

He and his wife, Stevi — who is also a committed friend of TAU — are residents of North Caldwell, New Jersey.


AFTAU Toasts the Productive Leadership of William F. Cohen
6/1/2011

American Friends and Tel Aviv University dignitaries gathered for an intimate sunset reception at the Tel Aviv Hilton on May 14, 2011, in appreciation of William F. Cohen as he completed his second term as Chairman of the Board of Directors of American Friends of Tel Aviv University.

One after another, guests rose to thank Bill for four years of constructive and effective leadership, expressing their admiration and affection for a valued friend.

TAU President Joseph Klafter paid tribute to Bill's skillful stewardship, presenting him with a Tel Aviv University Chairman's Award that recognized his "exceptional devotion to advancing higher education as a key to Israel's security and prosperity."

One of Bill's earliest mentors at AFTAU, Chairman Emeritus Alan Aufzein, presented him with a commemorative montage of photos showing him with an array of university and international dignitaries and at his father's honorary degree conferral at TAU in 1995. Explaining why he proposed Bill for the chairmanship in 2007, Alan said, "I watched Billy, as a young man, step admirably into his dad's place. I know him to be a hard worker, excelling in everything he does."

 

A legacy of involvement

Bill traces his passion for the university to a simple request from his father, who was deeply committed to Israel and to TAU. He established the B.I. and Lucille Cohen Institute for Public Opinion Research and also served on TAU's Board of Governors.

"In 1994," Bill recalls, "with my father's health deteriorating, he asked me to attend a BOG meeting as his representative. A dutiful son, I went — and I was hooked. Seventeen years later, I'm still here."

Gail White, who heard an outpouring of warmth for Bill and all the Cohen family. The tone for the gathering was set by AFTAU Secretary Marshall Polk, serving as master of ceremonies, who thanked Bill for "inspired and inspiring leadership."

Reinforcing the generational theme of the evening, AFTAU Treasurer Jon Gurkoff, who was elected to succeed Bill as Chairman on May 23, 2011, read a message from his father-in-law, Mel Taub. Himself a Chairman Emeritus of the American Friends group, Mel lauded "Billy's integrity and personality."

AFTAU COO Ari Wein presented Bill with a crystal keepsake in appreciation of his service, and quoted the words "wisdom" and "leadership" the Torah uses to describe the Kohanim, calling Bill Cohen a truly worthy descendant.

An ongoing commitment

Insisting that as Chairman he had gotten much more than he had given, Bill thanked the guests and promised — with characteristic enthusiasm — to stay involved because "this is a wonderful way to support the State of Israel."

"I'll have more time for specific projects that are dear to my heart," he said. One such mission is fostering a strong TAU Alumni Association for the 16,000 OSP participants and TAU alumni currently living in the United States, many of whom hold prominent positions on Wall Street, in Silicon Valley, in Hollywood, and at top universities. Another is producing a significant series of promotional films featuring TAU professors and their groundbreaking work, to be used as a highly effective marketing tool.

"Education is Israel's key to the future," Bill says. "For me, seeing the eager young faces on campus is a pure, inspiring joy I'll look forward to for many years to come."


Coveted Constantiner Prize Goes to Educators Who Serve a "Human Mosaic" in Israel
5/31/2011

One of Israeli education's most prestigious prizes, the Dr. Jaime Constantiner Prize in Jewish Education, awarded annually by Tel Aviv University at its international Board of Governors Meeting, was presented on May 16 to the Department of Education of Or Yehuda and its director, Tamar Hakimi. The educators were recognized for developing and implementing unique programs for the children of the town of Or Yehuda, advancing their academic achievements and consolidating their Jewish identity.

The award honors the late Dr. Jaime Constantiner for his contributions to Jewish education in the Diaspora. This year it was presented by TAU Rector Prof. Aron Shai in a ceremony held at the Trubowicz Building of Law. Attending the ceremony were Dr. Constantiner's son, Dr. Arturo Constantiner, his wife Caren and their daughter Claudia; Or Yehuda Mayor David Yosef; Head of the Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education Prof. Rafi Nachmias; many Tel Aviv University Board of Governors members; and a large delegation of educators and administrators from Or Yehuda and Israel's Education Ministry. Entertainment was provided by Uni-Ron, TAU's own choir of campus employees.

Educational leadership at its best

American Friend Dr. Arturo Constantiner, son of Dr. Jaime Constantiner, is a long-time supporter of Israel and Tel Aviv University, part of a vibrant familial legacy spanning three generations. "I represent my family — my brothers, my wife, my children," he said at the ceremony. "This award is very special to us. It is our way to honor my late father, who devoted his life to medicine, and to Jewish education in the Diaspora."

Prof. Shai presented the award to Ms. Hakimi, commending the Or Yehuda educators for "advancing the children of Or Yehuda while addressing their special difficulties and socioeconomic status, supporting high school students and improving their matriculation performance, successfully reducing educational gaps with regard to written and spoken language, and implementing an extensive curriculum that enhances Jewish identity and knowledge."

Ms. Hakimi spoke passionately about her organization, which encompasses eight elementary schools and three high schools, totaling 4,300 students and 400 teachers. "Or Yehuda is like a human mosaic, with immigrants from all over the world," she said. "The Jewish heritage is the bridge that connects them all. Our mission as educators is to strengthen the children's roots, and give them a sense of belonging — to make them feel that they are part of the nation, in a state that is both Jewish and democratic. The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow."

Across the generations

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 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.


State-of-the-Art Rothman Surgical Suite Is Dedicated at TAU's Dental School
5/26/2011

Expressing a son's love and admiration, the Bernard N. Rothman DDS Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Suite was inaugurated at the Niznick Faculty Clinic of Tel Aviv University's Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine on May 18, 2011. The suite was dedicated by Dr. Rothman's children, family, friends and colleagues to honor a "career of kindness, compassion, and generosity."

The ceremony, held during the university's annual international Board of Governors Meeting, was attended by honoree Bernard Rothman, his wife Harriet Katzin Rothman, and his sons Marc and Jonathan Rothman, along with the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Prof. Yoseph Mekori, and the Head of the Dental School Prof. Ilana Eli.

Dr. Gerald and Reesa Niznick, founders of the TAU Faculty Dental Clinic and members of both AFTAU and TAU's Board of Governors, joined an enthusiastic audience of Dental School faculty, students, and other university dignitaries.

A tribute to a beloved role model

Marc Rothman, an accomplished oral and maxillofacial surgeon in his own right, told the gathered company why his father was deserving of such recognition. He explained that his father "never said no to a person in pain, even when that person couldn't pay. He always did his best to help others, with no expectations and no conditions attached. He treated people whom no one else wanted to treat — people with disabilities and residents in homes for the aged — and he always found a way to do it with a high level of skill and dignity."

The elder Dr. Rothman maintained a private practice in oral and maxillofacial surgery for 44 years, taught at the Dental Schools of Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania, served as President of the Eastern Dental Society, and for over 20 years chaired the Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Division of the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. Extensively involved in the Jewish community, Bernie was an active member of the Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity, serving as local chapter president, international officer, and treasurer of the Alpha Omega Foundation in the United States.

Deeply moved by his son's gesture in dedicating the suite, Bernie said, "This is one of the greatest things that ever happened in my life. I feel humbled and overwhelmed. All my life I worked and only did what was expected of me. I am grateful that my children feel this way about me, and have chosen to honor me in this way."

Prof. Eli thanked the Rothmans "for being such a wonderful family" and said, "No father can wish for nicer words from his son. We're happy to be your friends."

Top quality dental care for a minimal fee

The Bernard N. Rothman DDS Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Suite is the newest resource in the Niznick Dental Clinic, where patients from throughout the Tel Aviv area are treated by the staff and students of TAU's School of Dental Medicine.

Comprising two surgical rooms and a recovery room, all equipped with the latest technology, this modern suite will provide top quality care to many who could not otherwise afford dental treatment at market rates. In so doing, it will continue to honor the kind and generous spirit, and the uncompromising professionalism, of its namesake.


TAU Raises the Green Bar
5/24/2011

Dame Shirley Porter, who with her husband Sir Leslie Porter established the Porter School of Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University in 2000, was joined by members of TAU's Board of Governors, donors and friends on May 16 for a celebratory scroll-signing ceremony preparing for the cornerstone-laying of a state-of-the-art "EcoBuilding." Designed to take advantage of the latest sustainable architecture technologies, it will become the school's new home. Held at the Marcelle Gordon University Club in the school's "Green House," the ceremony featured a large-scale model of the building, treating guests to a three-dimensional view of its unique design.

Dame Shirley and Prof. Pinchas Alpert, head of the Porter School, were joined on stage by Harvey Krueger, president of TAU's Board of Governors, and TAU president Prof. Joseph Klafter. Prof. Alpert lauded the broad approach of the university's interdisciplinary studies — a hallmark of the School. "Thanks to the efforts of the Porter School," he said, "Tel Aviv University has been accredited as a green campus."

Harvey Krueger expressed his appreciation for the beneficence of Dame Shirley Porter and her family toward the university, and Prof. Klafter noted that the gathering was not only a celebration of a new era of environmental study and practice, but also a recognition of the tenth anniversary of the school's establishment. "The EcoBuilding is introducing a new standard for sustainable architecture in Israel," he said, "and it is all due to the drive and energy of Dame Shirley Porter."

Dame Shirley thanked her supporters and added, "It is such a delight to work with Prof. Klafter. There's real team spirit here. Everyone at the Porter School, headed by Dr. [Arie] Nesher and Prof. Alpert, is totally dedicated. There's just a wonderful atmosphere at the school. It took ten long years, and now we're finally seeing the fruits."

A presentation about the building and its unique features was given by Yosi Kuri, representing the architectural team of Geotectura/NCArchitects/Axelrod Goldman responsible for the design and construction of the EcoBuilding. "There are no good architects, just good clients," he said. "We are fortunate in having the perfect client, a real partner in creating the world's most advanced building."

He highlighted the EcoBuilding's unique features, including minimal use of artificial ventilation and solar panels to produce electric power. The building's eco-wall will block noise levels from an adjoining highway, receive maximum light without glare, and offer a window into its own scientific laboratories. In addition, it will inform the public of environmental conditions such as ambient temperature and air pollution levels. The EcoBuilding complies with international LEED standards for sustainable architecture.

Dr. Nesher concluded the event, saying, "Hopefully we will meet again in two years' time to inaugurate the completed EcoBuilding."


TAU Confers Its Highest Honor on Eight Distinguished Individuals
5/23/2011

At an impressive ceremony on May 14, Nobel Prize laureate Prof. Sir Harold Kroto of Florida State University and bioinformatics innovator Prof. Michael S. Waterman of the University of Southern California were among the recipients of Tel Aviv University Honorary Doctorate degrees awarded at this year's TAU Board of Governors meeting. The eight recipients join a community of previous honorees that includes heads of state, world-renowned artists, business innovators and pioneering scholars and scientists.

Their fellow laureates are president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities Prof. Ruth Arnon; renowned Israeli author Yoram Kaniuk; leading Israeli industrialist Bruno Landsberg; Israeli deaf-blind theatre pioneer Adina Tal; Canadian Bar member and former judge Donald W. Seal, QC; and Indian business and industry leader Tarun Das.

An Honorary Fellowship was posthumously conferred on former Tel Aviv University governor Ron Krongold of Australia. Miriam Milberg Smolarz of Argentina received this year's President's Award.

TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter, TAU Board of Governors Chairman