Letter from Our CEO

March 4, 2022


Dear Friends,

It is horrifying to watch the invasion of Ukraine unfold in real time across social media and to see the Russian aggression and destruction of a democratic and sovereign nation. I am inspired by President Zelensky's leadership and the strength and courage of the Ukrainian people in their quest to defend their country from this unprovoked attack. So many of us are wondering why this is happening now and are seeking to understand world events. This Sunday, March 6th, at 11:30 a.m. EST, Tel Aviv University will host a special briefing, "The Unfolding Crisis in Ukraine," featuring expert panelists who will address the invasion and provide updates. I encourage you to register and join me for this timely program.

In response to the escalating war, Tel Aviv University announced it will offer dozens of scholarships, totaling $1 million NIS, to Ukrainian students and researchers who emigrate to Israel so they can continue their studies and research. In making the announcement, President Porat noted, "The steps we are taking are admittedly modest. However, we hope other academic institutions, both in Israel and worldwide, will follow our example and lend a helping hand to the Ukrainian people in this dire situation." American Friends of Tel Aviv University will earmark all donations to scholarships and funds raised from the Cycle for Scholarship campaign (April 3-10) to this special fund. If you would like to donate to this initiative, please click here.

For a thorough explanation of the cyber warfare related to the invasion of Ukraine, please read this Q&A with Omree Wechsler, a senior researcher in Tel Aviv University's Yuval Ne'eman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security, in which he discusses the cyber security aspects of the conflict in Ukraine.

On an encouraging note, researchers at Tel Aviv University announced this week that they had developed a novel technology that could prevent repeat operations to replace a faulty heart valve. Many patients who have had a prosthetic heart valve are forced to undergo complicated valve replacement surgery ten years later due to calcification. To attempt to prevent this second surgery, the team devised more durable valves based on genetic engineering.

Professor Shai Efrati and his team have developed a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that successfully relieved the symptoms of PTSD in military combat veterans using hyperbaric oxygen therapy. In a controlled clinical trial involving Israeli army veterans who suffered from treatment-resistant PTSD, the approach demonstrated significant improvement in all classes of symptoms. According to Professor Efrati, "It is the first time that treating brain tissues can serve to help PTSD patients." Each of the 35 IDF veterans who participated in the trial experienced improvement and felt more positive.

I believe I speak for all of us when I write that our hearts and prayers are with the Ukrainian people. May there soon be an end to the Russian aggression and peace and safety for all.

Shabbat shalom.

Jennifer Gross
Chief Executive Officer