Letter from the Chairman

March 29, 2024


Dear Friends,

I am delighted to have the opportunity to write to you as the Chairman of the Board of American Friends of Tel Aviv University (AFTAU). It has been almost a year since I have been in this role, but I have been involved with Tel Aviv University (TAU) for a decade. As a life-long lover and supporter of Israel, I was drawn to TAU because it exemplifies the best of what Israel stands for — education and democracy — and it provides a direct connection to one of Israel's foremost educational institutions and the wonderful people who make it what it is. TAU is a globally-ranked top University that continues to produce some of the brightest and most creative minds, incredible inventions, and lifesaving medical discoveries, and so much more.

If you know students who would like to study in Israel, I invite them to register for The Lowy International School's Virtual Open Week, which runs April 7–11, 2024. This is a great opportunity to experience TAU and learn about the extensive academic programs and opportunities that are available for undergraduate, graduate, and short-term programs. Register to live-stream a class, engage with students in a special Q&A session, and see what it is like to study at TAU. Special sessions will focus on the new programs the Lowy International School is launching this year including Academic Integration Tracks for New Olim, a course on The Regional Politics of the Middle East: From Arab Uprisings to October 7, and two new MSc programs — in Biomedical and Environmental Engineering. Please feel free to check it out and share with those who may be interested.

Recently, Israeli President Isaac Herzog and his wife, Michal Herzog, both alumni of the Buchmann Faculty of Law, visited TAU to meet with returning reservist students and leading researchers. During their visit, they spoke with reservist students about their experiences and challenges with returning to their studies. Students spoke about the difficulties in readjusting to civilian life and the financial burden they were experiencing. "One week you're in Khan Younis, and the next week you're in the classroom — it's hard to find the inner quiet and concentration to sit still and do the work," said one.

I am grateful for the support of so many who have donated to the Uniform to University Scholarship campaign, which provides financial and academic support to reservist students. TAU's goal is to raise $3 million dollars to be able to provide all student reservists with financial help. Please watch this video to meet Alberto, who is studying management and economics at TAU, to understand why it is imperative that the Diaspora continues to help these students and future leaders.

President and Mrs. Herzog also visited two of TAU's leading researchers: Dr. Tali Ilovitsh, who has developed an innovative ultrasound technology that destroys cancer cells without surgical intervention, and Professor Ben Moaz, in whose lab they saw the innovative "organs-on-a-chip," a conceptually new way of studying human physiology, focusing on the brain.

I am confident that education is the foundation for rebuilding Israel. By supporting TAU we are ensuring that the work in labs can continue and that students, many who are returning from protecting Israel, can focus on their studies and engage in their true calling. In this season of Spring and new beginnings, I wish each of you and your families a Chag Pesach sameach.

Shabbat shalom.


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