Letter from Our CEO

August 4, 2023


Dear Friends,

Sometimes it seems that everything old is new again. Barbie has dominated the movie scene this summer, and next up is Golda, an incredible film about Israel's only female prime minister. The film opens nationwide on August 25, and stars Helen Mirren in an Oscar-worthy performance as Golda Meir. Based on the trailer, Ms. Mirren does an incredible job of portraying Golda's decisive strength and courage. Tel Aviv University (TAU) recognized Golda Meir's contributions to the establishment of Israel by awarding her an honorary doctorate in 1971 while she was Prime Minister. Here are some great photos from the archives showing the ceremony and TAU President at that time, George S. Wise.

Professor Carmit Levy of the Faculty of Medicine led a team that has solved a scientific mystery on why tans appear only after a person leaves the beach. According to the team's research, the body first tries to repair the DNA damage in the skin cells caused by radiation, thereby inhibiting the mechanism responsible for skin pigmentation (tan). Once the cells repair the genetic information, they begin to produce increased melanin that darkens the skin. Professor Levy notes that this discovery could serve as a foundation for research that may lead to innovative treatment to protect the skin against radiation damage. It may also contribute to the prevention of skin cancer.

Professor Dan Peer, TAU's Vice President of Research & Development and Head of the Nanomedicine Laboratory at the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research, has led a team that has had a breakthrough in combating multiple myeloma, a cancer that forms in a type of white blood cells and for which there is no cure. For the first time in the world, researchers destroyed most of the cancer cells in the bone marrow using a targeted system containing RNA therapy. The targeted drug delivery system is the first to effectively reach cancer cells inside the bone marrow.

I have written before about the role that many academic leaders from TAU and Israel have taken, including President Porat, in the ongoing demonstrations and protests. While addressing AFTAU's board last month, Professor Porat noted that change is needed but it is the manner in which it is being pushed through that the majority of Israeli citizens are protesting. If the same percentage of the US population took part in similar protests, there would be 20 million people in the streets. For a clear understanding of why Israel doesn't have a constitution and to better understand the consequences of the reasonableness bill, I encourage you to listen to a recent TAU Unbound podcast featuring Professor Hanna Lerner, Head of TAU's School of Political Science, who provides context and explanations.

I am proud to share the work of Tel Aviv University because I firmly believe that supporting TAU means that you are strengthening Israel and helping to further developments that lead to a better world. The researchers who are working to find treatments and solutions in medicine or climate issues, the scholars who set policy, and the diverse student body who are the future leaders are all modern-day change makers. I share their stories and news of their work in hopes that you will be as inspired as I am to support them. One way to support TAU and to create a legacy far into the future is by making a planned gift. To learn more about options for making an impact on the future, please visit our planned giving site or feel free to contact me.

Wishing you a Shabbat shalom.

Jennifer Gross
Chief Executive Officer