Letter from Our CEO

February 3, 2023


Dear Friends,

I spent last week in Israel at Tel Aviv University's (TAU) professionals' meetings with colleagues from TAU's 23 Friends organizations around the world. Once a year, we gather on campus to learn about the exciting research, discoveries, and developments happening at TAU. The sun was shining, the professors I met and the labs I toured were fascinating, and while the days were long, it was invigorating to learn about advances in technology, sustainability initiatives, medical research, and more. We met students who received scholarships that gave them peace of mind and enabled them to continue their studies without worrying about how they would afford their education. Each story was more inspiring than the next, and it was clear that these young people are our future. It was extraordinary to be with colleagues from around the world who are focused on the same goal — raising funds and awareness for Israel's leading University.

Professor Ariel Porat, Tel Aviv University's President, opened the gathering by addressing the questions some of us have had about the impact the newly-elected government of Israel's policies might have on higher education. He explained that TAU is not political, but a red line is crossed when academic freedom and human rights are challenged. He and all nine presidents of the major Israeli universities felt so strongly about this that they signed a joint letter articulating their position. Tel Aviv University is Zionistic, pluralistic, and encourages active citizenship. As Israel's largest University, TAU is about education, freedom, and diversity, and it's a shining example of the boundless nature of Israel's creative spirit.

Professors Amir Sharon and Marcelo Ehrlich from the Faculty of Life Sciences gave us an overview of the Institute for Cereal Crops Research and the important work being done to create super wheat and disease resistant food sources. As the world changes and the climate becomes less hospitable to cereal crops, food insecurity becomes a greater problem, but with engineered crops TAU is finding solutions to feed the greater global population. This is just one example of the impact of Tel Aviv University being felt around the world.

Professor Yair Sakov, the founder and managing director of the Entrepreneurship Center, shared the many reasons that Tel Aviv University is consistently ranked as one of the top 100 most innovative universities in the world and placed seventh in a ranking of entrepreneurial graduates who founded start-ups that raise VC funds. The Center's program is designed to give students the capabilities and skills to succeed in business and to provide opportunities for minorities. Special incubator programs focus on female students or, in the case of jumpTAU, a Jewish-Arab accelerator, Jews and Arabs working together to develop startups.

We saw Tel Aviv University's impact beyond campus when we visited the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at Shamir Medical Center. Run by Professor Shai Efrati, the facility is the largest hyperbaric treatment center in the world, treating over 200 patients daily. They are making strides in regenerating tissue to repair organ damage. We saw the impact of the treatment on brain scans which showed a regrowth of healthy tissue after consecutive treatments, improving the lives of stroke victims, people suffering from PTSD, and others.

Most meaningful was meeting students like Hodaya Levy Rublin, a nursing student who is the first in her family to attend university. She is able to study at Tel Aviv University only because of the scholarship she receives. Investing in talented students and providing opportunities for education is one way we can strengthen Israel and TAU at the same time. If you want to commemorate Israel's 75th birthday and support TAU students like Hodaya, I encourage you to donate to our 75-for-75 scholarship campaign.

Thank you for your support and your ongoing commitment to Tel Aviv University. I hope you feel proud in the knowledge that you are helping to make possible the innovation and creativity happening across the campus.

Shabbat shalom.

Jennifer Gross
Chief Executive Officer