Letter from Our CEO

October 7, 2022


Dear Friends,

During the busy season that the High Holidays bring, I was able to take some time to reflect on personal and professional areas of my life. One of the aspects that crosses over is my passion for and love of Israel. The state of Israel is a miraculous gift that our predecessors created and fought for 75 years ago so that all Jews would have a homeland and would never again have nowhere to go. We should not for one minute forget the importance of a strong and secure Israel in ensuring security for Jews around the world. My role allows me to execute on my desire to support Israel.

American Friends of Tel Aviv University provides the largest source of support for Tel Aviv University (TAU), and it is thanks to your generosity that we are able to do so. Building TAU provides a direct link to strengthening Israel. The country's excellence in education has enabled it to be the birthplace of so many technological advances that make the world a better place. By strengthening TAU we are fortifying the next generation and providing them with an education that will enable them to go on to do great things. Sharing news from TAU with you every month is one of my greatest joys. I hope that in sharing the news I stoke the same pride and passion in you.

Three years ago, Tel Aviv University and Columbia University launched an undergraduate dual degree program. This highly competitive program gives students the opportunity to study at two top, globally ranked universities and earn a joint degree from both. Students spend their first two years studying at TAU and their second two at Columbia. Last month, the first class of the program started their studies at Columbia in New York City. We are proud that this relatively new program already includes students from more than seven countries. If you or anyone you know is interested in more information, please click on the link above.

I have previously written about Professor Ronit Satchi-Fainaro's multidisciplinary approach to cancer research and tumor progression. Recently, she and her team were able to explain how 90% of advanced-stage melanomas (skin cancers) break through the blood-brain barrier and cause metastases in the brain. This is the first time that anyone has been able to determine what causes skin cancer to metastasize and how to delay its spread by 60-80%. This revolutionary research was conducted using 3D printed models of primary melanoma and brain metastases and CRISPR technology.

Finding solutions for food insecurity is something that both Israel and Tel Aviv University are actively pursuing. Researchers from TAU were part of an international team that isolated genes which can make wheat resistant to rust diseases. The escalating climate crisis has created an urgent need to produce wheat capable of growing in extreme conditions and withstanding disease and pests. This discovery has the potential to create another superfood that can be used to lessen the global food crisis.

At its core, Tel Aviv University is about the students. I am pleased to introduce you to Ana Leticia Araujo, whose inspiring story and journey are a reminder of the diversity found in Israel and at TAU.

May 5783 be a healthy, happy, and prosperous year for you and your loved ones.

Shabbat shalom,

Jennifer Gross
Chief Executive Officer