Letter from the Chairman

June 14, 2024

Dear Friends,

I just returned from Tel Aviv University's Board of Governors (BOG) meeting, my first time back in Israel since October 7th. While many had reservations about going, I am so glad to have been there to experience not only the resilience of the Israeli people but also to witness the impact and work of Tel Aviv University (TAU) firsthand. Despite canceled flights, long layovers, and concerned family and friends, those who attended the 2024 BOG agreed that it was important to come together to support TAU and to learn how together we can help Israel triumph and rebuild. All who went certainly felt the love and deep appreciation from our colleagues, friends, family and people of Israel.

We were reminded that breakthroughs are a long road to fruition and that by supporting Tel Aviv University we are joining a movement to invest in progress. Dr. Anita Friedman, Chairwoman of the Global Campaign and Honorary Doctorate recipient, announced TAU's next $1 billion campaign. It will include a much-needed endowment that will move the University in a better direction, strengthening and ensuring a strong future. TAU's commitment to research and education are the building blocks for Israel's future, and I encourage you to be inspired by watching her remarks in the opening plenary here.

President Ariel Porat was unanimously re-elected for a second term. He spoke about TAU's commitment to students and the University's ongoing efforts to ensure that all of them have the academic and financial support needed to finish the academic year, especially those returning from active military duty. We had the opportunity to break into smaller groups and meet with student reservists to hear their stories. In each group, a professional from TAU's Center for Traumatic Stress and Resilience, now the largest in Israel, spoke about the Center’s work and TAU's lead in PTSD treatment. It is currently providing 520 hours of therapy per month to over 200 patients, including civilians who were most affected by the October 7th attacks.

During lab tours, groups saw first-hand the innovative research in numerous disciplines. Professor Uri Ashery's lab focuses on two of the most common neurodegenerative diseases in an aging society — Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. He has developed a new technology for tracking the early stages of these diseases with the hopes of finding new diagnostics and cures. Dr. Rachel Sarig, Head of the Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine, discussed her ambitious plans for the school as well as her work as a dental anthropologist and recent work adapted for forensic identification. She also showed the group a new state-of-the-art orthodontic and other clinics at the school, where students and dentists treat patients. Professor Lihi Adler-Abramovich showcased some of the cutting-edge reseach in her lab where the team is working on innovative hydrogels for wound healing and other applications, including bone regeneration.

I am incredibly proud to be a University Governor and the Chairman of American Friends of Tel Aviv University. It is my honor and privilege to share University news with you and help ensure that we all remember what our support makes possible. Please join me on the road to breakthroughs, and to support this most important time in Tel Aviv University’s and Israel’s history. You can support TAU here.

Shabbat shalom,


Dr. Garry A. Rayant
Chair, American Friends of Tel Aviv University