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           25 Kislev - 1 Tevet, 5783                                           July 17. 2023 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES -- 673rd Web Ed.                                                                                                              


​TEL AVIV -- 814 entrepreneurs with bachelor's degrees from Tel Aviv University (TAU) have established 677 companies and raised a total of $26.5 billion, bringing TAU to the seventh-ranked place in the world and first-ranked place outside the USA in the 2022 PitchBook ranking.

Every year PitchBook, a business data research firm, publishes an annual ranking of the world's top 100 universities based on the number of alumni entrepreneurs who have founded venture capital-backed companies. Several elite American universities are at the top of the list, including Stanford, UC Berkeley, Harvard, and MIT. TAU ranks higher than other leading universities, such as Yale, UCLA,, and Princeton.

PitchBook lists several large companies established by TAU alumni, including Generate, Fireblocks, Trax, Varo, and Celsius. Technion, Hebrew University, and Ben-Gurion University are also included in the PitchBook top-100 list.

"The credit for this enormous success goes to our alumni, first and foremost, but TAU also does its best to instill a spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation in its students," Professor Ariel Porat, President of TAU, notes. "It is no coincidence that we have a superb Entrepreneurship Center on campus, expected to grow even further in the next few years, and to equip TAU students from the exact sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities with the tools and motivation that are so essential for entrepreneurial endeavors in all areas, both technological and social."

"TAU continues to establish itself as Israel's main entrepreneurial university and a world leader in producing entrepreneurs who found companies, raise venture capital, and boost Israel's economy," Professor Moshe Zviran, Head of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at TAU, says. "TAU's climb to seventh place in the PitchBook rankings is one more indicator of the high quality of our alumni, as well as the contribution of the entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus that proactively promotes this approach among both students and faculty."

Tel Aviv University (TAU) is a globally top-ranked university, a leading research institution, and a center of discovery. As Israel's largest public institution of higher learning, TAU is home to 30,000 students, including 2,100 international students from over 100 countries. The University encompasses nine faculties, 35 schools, 400 labs, and has 17 affiliated hospitals in its network.

American Friends of Tel Aviv University (AFTAU) raises awareness and funds to support Tel Aviv University and advance its three-part mission of education, research, and community building in the U.S. AFTAU shares the innovative work the University contributes to the world and builds bridges between the U.S. and Israel.



(l-r) YL-NY VP Alex Oanono, YL-NY Chair Doug Bunim, FIDF Campaign Manager Amy Nazar, Captain Nimrod, Lt. Ari & President Monica Emrani Horowitz

NEW YORK -- At a time when antisemitism is rampant and support for Israel and the IDF is challenged, Friends of the IDF (FIDF), an organization dedicated to the wellbeing of the soldiers of Israel, brought together young leaders in a strong show of solidarity for the brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). More than 1,100 IDF supporters gathered on December 1st for the FIDF Young Leadership New York Gala at the Metropolitan pavilion in New York City.

The gala was co-chaired by Josh Lunder, Colby Berman and Lauren Bronstein who expressed the overwhelming success of the FIDF Young Leadership chapter in 2022 and encouraged the continued support from guests. “In Israel, people our age wear uniforms and put their lives on the line to protect Israel, Jews in Israel and worldwide – you and me – selflessly, at any cost. Our job seems so simple in comparison: we must meet their bravery, stand by them, and help them succeed every time, before, during and after their service.” said Colby Berman.

Guests heard from two courageous IDF soldiers who detailed their experiences in the line of duty. First, Captain Nimrod, a third-generation Naval officer, described a days-long battle at sea in 2019. In the heat of battle, he called upon the courage of his grandfather who served in the 1948 war of Independence, and his father who served in Lebanon in 1982.

“I realized that in my veins runs the blood of countless Jewish fighters that for generations have protected the Jewish people, and there was no way that that grit and perseverance was going to break on my watch,” he said. He went on to say, “Words cannot describe the effect of FIDF’s support on the IDF’s morale through challenging and routine times. Whether renovating base facilities or speaking out to support Israel, I can say with a full heart that I’ve felt FIDF walking alongside me every step of the way.”

Guests also heard from Lt. Ari, who serves in the Nahal Special Forces Unit. On a recent mission, Ari’s unit was shot at by terrorists, wounding one soldier. Fortunately, Ari and his medic were able to assist him quickly and save his life. Thankful for FIDF’s support, Ari said, “I get to personally see the impact you make on my soldiers, including flights home for Lone Soldiers, providing food for families of soldiers who are going through difficulties and assisting soldiers with their education. We are so grateful for all that you do.”

 “It’s incredible to see well over 1,000 emerging philanthropists come together to ensure the future is bright for the soldiers of Israel and Jews worldwide, especially in today’s world, where it’s clear that without these brave soldiers, we could not embrace our Jewish identities and openly celebrate our traditions, travel to Israel, and live vibrant Jewish lives,” National Young Leadership Director Cara Chernin said.


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Sen. Gillibrand spoke about the need to secure more resources to fight antisemitism, including her efforts to strengthen the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which helps nonprofits, synagogues, and other faith-based institutions protect themselves against hate crimes, and her efforts to enhance the U.S. State Department’s role in combating and monitoring antisemitism around the world by elevating the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to the rank of Ambassador.

“Senator Gillibrand is a longtime partner of Met Council who has consistently spoken out on important issues pertaining to the Jewish community and beyond and undertaken initiatives that benefit the neediest among us,” Met Council CEO David G. Greenfield said. “In addition to her forceful denunciation of antisemitism and her enduring commitment to combating bigotry and hatred, Senator Gillibrand’s work as a key member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry has had a tremendous impact on Met Council’s efforts to fight poverty and food insecurity.”

“Whether it is working to improve the safety and security of at-risk Jewish communities and promoting Holocaust education or serving as a leader in the fight to protect and expand access to healthy meals for children, families, and seniors, and advocating to have kosher and halal foods included in the national school lunch program, Senator Gillibrand has been a great friend of New York’s Jewish community and a great friend of Met Council,” Greenfield said.

Founded in 1972, the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council) has been fighting poverty and promoting the social welfare of New York’s struggling populations, including the impoverished, immigrants and the elderly. Its “Kosher Food Network” is the largest kosher food pantry program globally, reaching more than 305,000 individuals annually. Its social services division supports more than 51,000 New Yorkers through direct assistance and helping to register them for applicable government programs.

These include programs supporting victims of domestic violence, the elderly, Holocaust survivors, and those experiencing other financially based crises.



(l-r): Professor Ariel Porat & Sir Frank Lowy, TAU photo


Sir Frank Lowy is donating $18-million USD (65million NIS) to Tel Aviv University (TAU) to expand the activities of its International School, which will be renamed The Lowy International School Dedicated to the Memory of Shirley Lowy (the School honors Shirley Lowy, the late wife of Sir Frank).  The name change of TAU's International School will take place on Tuesday, December 20, 2022. The donation will fund the construction of a building that will serve as the new home of the International School, as well as the launch of three key activities at the School:

The Lowy Scholarship Fund supporting outstanding international students at stages of their academic studies, including research students. The Lowy Distinguished Guest Professors Fund financing visits of leading scholars from abroad.  The development of new international and local programs and initiatives

Sir Frank's generous gift will also enable TAU to expand, enrich and diversify the School's student body as well as its study programs. TAU already offers more than 20 English-language academic programs, including a joint Liberal Arts bachelor’s degree with Columbia University, a new International BA in Management and Liberal Arts, and an online MBA program – the first of its kind in Israel.

Over 2,000 students from over 100 countries come to TAU every year, and there are more than 30,000 international student alumni worldwide. The School has recently experienced significant recent growth and now serves as the hub for all international activities on campus, including study programs, research partnerships, student exchanges, visits of scholars from abroad, and conferences.

The Lowy International School is central to TAU’s international strategy, aiming for several goals:  enhancing international collaboration through research ties with leading institutions, attracting students from across the globe, and providing Israeli students with the tools they need to prosper in today’s globalized era. To date, the broad network of partners developed by TAU comprises over 280 institutions in 46 countries, including universities in the Gulf states and Morocco (a new and rapidly growing collaboration), Ivy League universities in the USA, and leading academic institutions in Europe and Asia.

"I have always been a Zionist, and now I am excited for this extension of my warm friendship with Tel Aviv University - intended to bolster TAU and Israel’s relations with leading partners in academia and industry around the world. With this gift, I hope to enhance the important connection between the State of Israel and Diaspora Jewry, and to encourage academic excellence by bringing the best researchers and students from all over the world to Israel. My family and I know that my dear wife Shirley’s memory will forever live on at TAU, and this makes us very proud. Shirley believed in education, and in her 40s fulfilled a childhood dream and completed an academic degree. This tribute to my wife combines all the things that were most important to her - education, the state of Israel, and empowering the new generations. The gift in her memory will benefit students and scholars in many ways, and for years to come. I know that Shirley would be happy and honored to see that her legacy is commemorated in this way,” Sir Lowy said.

“Sir Frank Lowy’s leadership and philanthropic activity have for decades generated significant changes in communities in Israel, Australia, and worldwide. This new gift will further enhance his impact, strengthen the ties between Israel and the world, and extend the reach of Israeli academia. It is a great privilege for us at Tel Aviv University to regard Sir Frank as a close and steadfast friend. The fact that he has seen fit to entrust us with the legacy of his beloved wife Shirley, is a great honor for us,” Professor Ariel Porat, President of Tel Aviv University said.

“We are immensely grateful for Sir Frank Lowy’s gift. It is a great honor for us to house The Lowy International School Dedicated to the Memory of Shirley Lowy. This generous donation will allow us to significantly bolster the University’s international standing, attract hundreds of excellent international researchers and students, and strengthen TAU’s ties with communities around the world. This gift brings about an enormous transformation when it comes to TAU’s global impact,” TAU Vice President International Professor Milette Shamir said. 

A festive ceremony celebrating the important gift will take place in December in the presence of Sir Frank and his family.

Sir Frank Lowy served for many years as the owner and Chairman of Westfield Corporation, a global real estate and shopping center conglomerate. He has been a steadfast friend of TAU for more than 20 years, has received an Honorary Doctorate from TAU, and serves as a TAU Governor. His generous contributions to TAU include support for the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), the Center for Combating Pandemics, and research in the field of nanotechnology. 

As part of his broad philanthropic activities Sir Frank provides support for the Jewish community in Australia and Israel and donates generously to a range of causes in the spheres of education, security, health, sports, and charity. He has held various leadership roles in Jewish organizations, including President of Keren HaYesod in Australia – United Israel Appeal, and Leading Member of the Jewish Communal Appeal (JCA) in Australia.

Sir Frank was born in Slovakia, managed to escape before the Holocaust, lived in Budapest during the Holocaust, then moved to the USA. He moved back and forth between the UK and Israel, even taking part in the War of Independence as a Golani soldier, before finally settling in Australia. As an ardent Zionist, he recently fulfilled a dream of many years, and once again made Aliyah to Israel.

The gift from the Israeli-Australian businessman will expand TAU's offering of global programs and collaborations; it will include a scholarship fund for outstanding international students, a fund for visiting professors, and development of new international programs and initiatives; and it will fund a new building for the International School



JERUSALEM -- A new sculpture commemorating the life of writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Prize laureate, and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel was dedicated today at a moving ceremony on the Mt. Scopus Campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The extraordinary sculpture situated in a campus garden area, was created by French artist and sculptor Denis Chetboune.

Among his numerous accomplishments, Wiesel authored 57 books, written mostly in French and English, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a Jewish prisoner in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. He was a professor of the humanities at Boston University, which created the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies in his honor. He was involved with J ewish and human rights causes and helped establish the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D. C. 

The guests of honor included Rabbi Israel Mau, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, and Prof. Hanan Melcer, former Israel Supreme Court Justice. Ambassador Yossi Gal, Hebrew University Vice President for University Advancement and External Relations and Chaim Chesler, Founder of Limmud F.S.U., moderated the event.

"We are grateful to Yossi Gal and the Hebrew University leadership for recognizing my father's eternal connection to our ancient capital," said Wiesel's son Elisha Wiesel about the dedication. "We are also grateful to the Klarsfeld family, Aharon Frenkel, Chaim Chesler and Joel Rappel for all they have done to make this moment possible."

"My father dreamed of Jerusalem as a child," he continues. "But I don't think he ever imagined that he would walk those streets one day in a reborn State of Israel. And I don’t think he ever imagined that his story would prove to be such a lasting part of our people’s memory that his likeness would be become part of the city."

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel's leading academic and research institution. Serving some 24,000 students from 80 countries, it produces a third of Israel’s civilian research and is ranked 12th worldwide in biotechnology patent filings and commercial development. Faculty and alumni of the Hebrew University have won eight Nobel Prizes and a Fields Medal. 

American Friends of the Hebrew University (AFHU) is a national, not-for-profit organization based in the United States. AFHU is headquartered in New York and has seven regional offices working in close partnership with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. AFHU provides supporters, Hebrew University alumni, and the public with stimulating programs and events, and organizes missions to Israel. The organization’s activities support scholarly and scientific achievement at HU, create scholarships, fund new facilities, and assist the university’s efforts to recruit outstanding new faculty.​



                 Actress Lizzy Savetsky, Courtesy FIDF

In a symbolic act of solidarity and courage during an increasingly worrisome time for Jews worldwide, Lizzy Savetsky, social media influencer, Zionist, former member of “The Real Housewives of NY” – and no stranger to antisemitism – aligned with Friends of the IDF (FIDF), along with some of the most recognized and respected Jewish influencers from across the globe, for a Chanukah campaign aimed at combatting antisemitism, “Live the Miracle.” The campaign celebrates the miracle that is Israel and the Jewish people who, throughout history, continue to rise in the face of terror, even when the odds are stacked against them.

Night two will feature Alexi and Loren Brovarnik, stars of the hit series “90 Day Fiancé” and the spinoff series that launched 12/18, “90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After?” 

The full eight-night influencer line-up is as follows:

Night 1: Lizzy Savetsky (Zionist, social media influencer and matchmaker);
Night 2: Alex and Loren Brovarnik (Stars of the hit series, “90 Day Fiancée”);
Night 3: Modi Rosenfeld (Stand-up comedian and actor);
Night 4: Tova Friedman (Holocaust survivor and TikTok sensation);
Night 5: Ashley Waxman Bakshi (Beauty, travel and fashion creator and social media influencer
Night 6: Cathy Heller (Author and podcast host)
Night 7: Kosha Dillz (Rapper);
Night 8: Noa Tishby (Israeli actress, writer and activist).

“Chanukah is the perfect representation of bringing light to the darkness! As proud Jews, we want our light to shine as bright as possible in this time of growing hate towards our people. We will not back down or shrink away,” Savetsky said.

Last night, on the eve of Chanukah, Lizzy opened her home and heart to a courageous Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier from across oceans and together they lit candles and shared meaningful traditions that have been practiced for centuries. IDF soldiers are among the most demonized/antagonized of Jews and this campaign is a call to action to show support for those who are responsible for the keeping the miracle of the Jewish people alive.

Savetsky’s family welcomed with open arms Sergeant Shachar, a naval combat sailor in the IDF who, weeks ago, successfully intercepted two drones sent by the Hezbollah terror organization in an attempt to damage one of Israel’s gas rigs.

“Chanukah is the perfect representation of bringing light to the darkness! As proud Jews, we want our light to shine as bright as possible in this time of growing hate towards our people. We will not back down or shrink away. Shahar’s courage and strength, and the bravery of her fellow soldiers, inspires us to keep going! Together, we can light up the world,” Savetsky said.

“It’s a privilege to stand in solidarity with these influential Jewish figures who will not let darkness prevail. These are people, who, in the face of social media and all sorts of attacks, are standing up for morality, for dignity, and for these young men and young women who are literally at the front line of humanity,” CEO of Friends of the IDF Steve Weil said.

All nightly videos will be posted on each influencer’s Instagram page, @friends_of_the_idf and

Friends of the IDF is an organization dedicated to supporting the needs of the soldiers of the IDF -- who put their young lives on the line every day to protect Israel -- during and after their service through empowering educational, financial well-being and cultural initiatives.

FIDF was established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors as a 501(C) (3) not-for-profit organization with the mission of transforming the lives of the young men and women of the IDF who protect Israel and Jews worldwide through empowering educational, financial, well-being and cultural initiatives. With 24 chapters throughout the United States, FIDF proudly supports soldiers before, during and after their service, as well as families of fallen soldiers and wounded veterans, reinforcing the vital bond between the communities in the United States and the soldiers of the IDF.


DALLAS, Texas -- Hillel International kicked off its centennial celebration earlier this month during its Global Assembly – an international conference that brings together professionals and leaders from the majority of its 850 campus centers from around the world. 

The Hillel movement was established at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1923. Now, 100 years later, the international movement will highlight its origin by offering a special focus on Hillel at the University of Illinois, its past, and current successes.

As part of the celebration, Erez Cohen, executive director of Hillel at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was selected to co-chair the conference alongside Adena Kirsten of GW Hillel. Additional recognitions include:

         ·  A movement-wide text-study about the legacy of Hillel’s founder, Rabbi Benjamin Frankel;
        · An entire section of the conference was converted to resemble the building that Hillel at the University of Illinois first resided in (on Green Street, Champaign, IL)

“It is an incredible honor to serve as a co-chair of this conference in such a historic milestone,” Erez Cohen said. “It really highlights the caring relationship between the International office and local Hillels. It does justice to Hillel’s founder and to generations of Hillel at the University of Illinois student leaders, staff and community support.”

Hillel at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign launched its celebratory year in November in a festive brunch in Champaign. During the launch, Cohen announced that Illini Hillel is working to raise $10 million in endowment funding as part of the centennial celebration. According to Erez: “the funding will provide a sustainable foundation for Hillel’s future. By recognizing and celebrating the past 100 years, we will secure Hillel’s next 100 years.  



       Sen Gillibrand at Community Board 12 in

       Brooklyn to pack food for survivors

NEW YORK -- On the eve of Chanukah, Sunday, December 18, 2022, Met Council, America’s largest Jewish charity dedicated to fighting poverty, hosted a Chanukah Day of Service to benefit home-bound Holocaust survivors with U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.  

Attendees from throughout New York City gathered at Community Board 12 in Brooklyn to pack food for survivors with Senator Gillibrand and her teenage son.

Joining Met Council CEO David G. Greenfield and Sen. Gillibrand were several officials, including NYS Senator Simcha Felder and NYC Councilman Kalman Yeger, as well as Chairman of Community Board 12 Yidel Perlstein, District Manager of Community Board 12 Barry Spitzer, and representatives of the NYC Public Advocate’s Office, the NYC Comptroller’s Office, and the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office.

Greenfield discussed the work his organization does to help Holocaust survivors, noting that the New York City area is home to tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors. Met Council’s Holocaust Survivor Program provides over 3,900 low-income Holocaust survivors with financial assistance, social programming, and case management. In addition, its Holocaust Survivor Kosher Home Food Delivery program facilitates the delivery of fresh food packages directly to the homes of over 2,100 Holocaust survivors each week.

Sen. Gillibrand discussed the recent rise in antisemitism and the need to combat the wanton hatred directed at the Jewish community, invoking the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh and violent attacks against Jews in Brooklyn and Staten Island.

“We have seen dark times over the past few years, and we have seen a rise in antisemitism like never before, a rise in hate crimes, and a rise in violence,” Sen. Gillibrand said. “We as elected leaders have to do everything, we can to protect our communities and to make sure that the Jewish community is not targeted and is not having to withstand a constant barrage of antisemitic attacks.”

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