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					                    FALL 2009


                TO DISEASE


            NEW MEDIA AND
           THE MIDDLE EAST


                                                                                                                AMERICAN ASSOCIATES
                                                                                                                BEN-GURION UNIVERSITY OF THE NEGEV
Dear Friends,                                                                                                   1430 Broadway, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10018
                                                                                                                1-800-962-2248 •
It has been my honor and privilege to serve as                                                        
president of AABGU and to support what I believe is
the most remarkable educational community in the world. I am delighted to                                       CAROL D. SAAL, CA
pass the baton to my good friend, Alex Goren, who assumes the helm at the                                       Executive Vice President
end of September.                                                                                               DORON KRAKOW
   I have totally enjoyed the experience of the last four years and am proud of                                 Immediate Past President
how much BGU––and AABGU—have grown. The past year saw an unprece-                                               LIS GAINES, NY
dented growth of the student body and BGU researchers are publishing in                                         First Vice President
more renowned journals and are forging more international collaborations than                                   ALEXANDER GOREN, NY

ever before.                                                                                                    Vice Presidents
                                                                                                                MARTIN BLACKMAN, NY
   This issue of Impact reflects that growth in a number of ways. This edition’s
                                                                                                                LLOYD GOLDMAN, NY
features showcase so many ways in which BGU is leading not only in science                                      BEN GUEFEN, TX
and technology, but in ways that improve the hopes of people everywhere and                                     Treasurer
matter to Jewish life worldwide.                                                                                ARTHUR HESSEL, D.C.
   Our centerfold story presents the dawning era of nanotechnology, and how                                     Secretary
BGU specialists from many disciplines are coming together to solve today’s                                      MICHAEL ZEIGER, NJ
most urgent problems. Their work with particles that measure as small as one                                    Assistant Secretary
                                                                                                                FREDERICK SIEGMUND, NY
billionth of a meter staggers the imagination.
   BGU’s focus on multidisciplinary research is attracting top scientists and                                   Regional Offices:
scholars to Israel in many departments, and the principle is effective for the                                  GREAT LAKES REGION
humanities, too. You will see this particularly in reading about the work of the                                250 Parkway Drive, Suite 150
brand new Center for Yiddish Studies and the cross-cultural media experiment                                    Lincolnshire, IL 60069 • (847) 325-5009
that brings bloggers together from all over the Middle East.                                                    GREATER FLORIDA REGION
   I thank you for sharing this adventure in what can be achieved when we                                       20283 State Road 7, Suite 200
                                                                                                                Boca Raton, FL 33498 • (561) 237-2870
work together.
                                                                                                                GREATER NEW YORK REGION
Wishing you a happy New Year,                                                                                   1430 Broadway, 8th Floor
                                                                                                                New York, NY 10018 • (212) 687-7721, Ext. 186
                                                                                                                GREATER TEXAS REGION
                                                                                                                24 Greenway Plaza, Suite 550
Carol D. Saal, President                                                                                        Houston, TX 77046 • (713) 522-8284
                                                                                                                MID-ATLANTIC REGION
                                                                                                                261 Old York Road, #417A, P.O. Box 1128
                                                                                                                Jenkintown, PA 19046 • (215) 884-4510
                                                                                                                NEW ENGLAND REGION
IN THIS ISSUE                                                                                                   1430 Broadway, 8th Floor
                                                                                                                New York, NY 10018 • (800) 962-2248, Ext. 188
News and Briefs ........................................................................................3
                                                                                                                NORTHWEST REGION
Donor Impact ............................................................................................8
                                                                                                                240 Tamal Vista Blvd., Suite 260
   Alex Goren, President-Elect                                                                                  Corte Madera, CA 94925 • (415) 927-2119
   Jacob Shochat, A Life of Giving                                                                              SOUTHWEST REGION
   Sumner White, Supporting BGU Through CGAs                                                                    9911 West Pico Blvd., #710
First Person ..............................................................................................11   Los Angeles, CA 90035 • (310) 552-3300
   Gaza War Victim and BGU Professor Tells Story                                                                WASHINGTON/BALTIMORE REGION
                                                                                                                4800 Hampden Lane, Suite 200
Education and Research..........................................................................12
                                                                                                                Bethesda, MD 20814 • (240) 482-4844
   Disease and Evolution
   Preserving Yiddish Culture
   It's a Nano World
   Social Media in the Middle East                                                                              Executive Editor: RONNI STRONGIN
Community Outreach ..............................................................................22             Writer and Editor: NATALIE CANAVOR
   Open Apartments, Open Hearts                                                                                 Contributing Writer: PATRICIA GOLAN
Regional News ........................................................................................24        Associate Editor: TRACIE KURLAND
                                                                                                                BGU Photographer: DANI MACHLIS
                                                                                                                Graphic Design: RD DESIGN
                                                                                                                Send comments to:
ON THE COVER: Graphic rendering of atom molecule by Chepe Nicoli
                                                                                                          NEWS AND BRIEFS

39TH ANNUAL BOARD                                                                      BGU included a musical rendering
                                                                                       of his novel, The Same Sea, by singer
                                                                                       Ronit Ophir.
OF GOVERNORS’ MEETING                                                                     Oz, the incumbent of the S.Y.
                                                                                       Agnon Chair in Hebrew Literature,
“RENEWABLE ENERGY— that’s the               BGU connection inside the University       joked to the audience that the
effect returning to BGU always has          and around the world when it is            “concentrated dose” of compliments
on me,” declared BGU Board Chairman         needed most.”                              he has been receiving during the
Roy Zuckerberg at the Board of                 Carmi’s comments were echoed by         on-going birthday celebrations have
Governors’ opening plenary session.         Beer-Sheva’s new mayor Ruvik               been like “reading an obituary. You
   BGU is indeed a leader in                Danilovich: “What is exceptional is        have ruined my motivation to die.”
developing renewable energy sources         your faith,” he declared. “It’s no small
(and there was a symposium on the           thing to come over during this contin-
subject), but, as Zuckerberg explained,     uing economic crisis, yet you continue
the “renewable energy” he was refer-        to come and support us. You are our
ring to was the vitality and inspiration    true friends.”
he draws from the annual gatherings
in Beer-Sheva.                              DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY
   It was a small but very enthusiastic     The Student Evening is the annual
American delegation, who took advan-        special occasion when students and
tage of the more intimate atmosphere        Associates are able to get together.
to get to know one another and to           Sponsored by AABGU donors Aileen
meet with as many researchers and           Whitman of Pennsylvania and
students as they could.                     Art and Edie Hessel of Washington,
                                            D.C., the evening is always the most
STRENGTH OF CONNECTION                      popular event of the Board of
In the 2008-2009 academic year, the         Governors’ Meeting, and this year
BGU community was confronted by             was no exception.
some of the most difficult challenges          “There was such a lovely ruach
it has faced in its nearly 40-year          (spirit) in the hall,” commented
history. From the global financial          AABGU President Carol Saal following
meltdown resulting in painful budget        the event. “The kids always dance
cuts, to the frightening missile attacks    and invite people up to dance with         Roy J. Zuckerberg, BGU Board of Governors
on Beer-Sheva during the war in             them. I danced too—it was wild!”           chairman, giving remarks upon receiving an
Gaza, BGU's friends, students and              Saal, together with the United          honorary doctoral degree
employees were called on to cope in         Kingdom’s BGU Foundation Treasurer
                                            Eric Charles, energetically conducted      SECRET OF SUCCESS
                                            the annual auction to raise funds for      Several bright, young researchers
“It’s no small thing to come over           student projects and programs.             inspired delegates with their tales of
                                               “We were worried the auction            “returning home” after post-docs and
 during this continuing economic            would be less successful than previous     lucrative offers in the U.S. and abroad.
 crisis, yet you continue to                years because there were far fewer         They explained why they chose to
 come and support us. You are               attendees,” Saal acknowledges. “In the     return to Israel and, in particular, why
                                            end I was overwhelmed by the               they came to Ben-Gurion University.
 our true friends.”                         response of the small group, and the       “If you want to plant something small,
                 —RUVIK DANILOVICH,         fact that we got funding for 90 percent    and have it grow bigger, this is the
                  MAYOR OF BEER-SHEVA       of the projects.”                          place to do it,” declared Dr. Eli Lewis,
                                               “The Hebrew language is my pas-         diabetes expert in the Department of
                                            sion and my devotion and the fire in       Clinical Biochemistry.
unprecedented ways. And cope they           my bones,” declared Prof. Emeritus            More than 100 people took advan-
did in those trying times.                  Amos Oz, one of Israel’s best-known        tage of the chance to see firsthand
   “If there is a silver lining to what     authors and political voices, during       the Molecular and Cellular Obesity
has happened,” BGU President Prof.          the festive event marking his 70th         Lab, the Weiss Family Laboratory for
Rivka Carmi told the participants, “it is   birthday. The tribute to Oz’s literary     Nanoscale Systems, the Earth and
in rediscovering the strength of the        career and his role as an educator at                               Continued on Page 4

                                                                                                          IMPACT | Fall 2009        3

    Planetary Image Facility and the Lab
    for Human Factors in Road Safety.
       At the Guilford Glazer School of
    Business and Management, lecturers
    and MBA Honors students presented
    some exceptional projects, and
    explained why Israel is likely to
    emerge from the current global
    financial crisis stronger than before.
       They were treated to a special
    lecture by Roy Zuckerberg: “Let me                    2                                         3

1                                                         4
                                  Credit: Photo Campus

    tell you what made Goldman Sachs
    so successful.” Offering advice to the
    students on the traits of outstanding
    employees, he cited, “loyalty, team-
    work, energy and integrity. And be
    a good listener.”
       That evening Zuckerberg again
    shared his experiences with the
    BGU family—this time in a far more
    formal setting as he accepted an
    honorary doctoral degree in a stirring
    outdoor ceremony. Five other
    extraordinary leaders also received
    BGU’s highest honor: Dr. Mohammed
                                                          5                                                                                        6
    Al-Hadid, president of the Jordanian
    Red Crescent Society; actress Gila
    Almagor; artist Dani Karavan; historian              Water Research at the Jacob Blaustein          this is about a country that needs
    Prof. Anita Shapira; and Chairman                    Institutes for Desert Research, recalled       leadership and an institution that needs
    of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung,                     how former BGU President Avishay               leadership, so don’t tell me how busy
    Prof. Bernhard Vogel.                                Braverman persuaded him to become              you are!’ That answer convinced me
       During his address Zuckerberg,                    chairman of the Board of Governors.            there was no way out. It’s been an
    who among his many contributions                         “I told him I was too busy,” he            exciting adventure, and I feel this uni-
    to BGU helped create the world-                      related, to which Braverman retorted:          versity has given me a great deal more
    renowned Zuckerberg Institute for                    “‘This is not about how busy you are;          than I have given it,” he concluded. I

    4   IMPACT | Fall 2009
                                                                                                               NEWS AND BRIEFS

                                                   LOOKING AHEAD                                        BY DORON KRAKOW
                                                                                                        EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

                                                   THE ARRIVAL of the High Holiday            troops to begin their withdrawal from
                                                   season in Jewish tradition is a time       major cities.
                                                   of reflection. We look back on the            At Ben-Gurion University, 5769
                                                   preceding year and consider our lives      was a year of pride and achievement.
                                                   and deeds against the backdrop of          BGU scientists moved closer to a cure
                                                   the events that shaped us. The Hebrew      for diabetes that will free sufferers
                                                   year 5769 was certainly eventful.          from the need for insulin injections.
                                                      It witnessed what has been              They unlocked the mysteries of
                                                   described as the most significant          the blood-brain barrier in pursuit of
                                             7     worldwide economic decline since           preventing the onset of post-trauma
                                                   the Great Depression. Companies            epilepsy. In the
                                                   which had long been household              only country in the
                                                   names and which had dominated              world to see its
                                                   their industries, like General Motors      deserts recede in
                                                   and Bear Stearns, crumbled under           the last century,
                                                   its weight. The worst of the Ponzi         they hosted
                                                   schemers literally made tens of            the United Nations
                                                   billions of dollars disappear while        Conference on
                                                   damaging our sense of trust in             Combating
                                                   advisors and financial institutions.       Desertification at
                                                      5769 saw war with Hamas in              Sede Boqer, attend-
                                                   Gaza. Three years after Israel’s unilat-   ed by hundreds of
                                                   eral withdrawal from the region, an        researchers from 60 countries. They
                                                   extraordinary concession to a sworn        took the latest solar energy research
                                                   enemy in an unparalleled reach for         to market in the form of new photo-
                                                   peace, Hamas rained missiles across        voltaic cells, which may transform
                                                   the border, shattering the lives of tens   the future of the energy industry.
1. A group of delegates visited the Weiss          of thousands of Israelis. And as Israel    And, BGU remained the #1 destination
Family Laboratory for Nanoscale Systems,           took steps to protect the citizens of      among aspiring undergraduate students
where they received a take-home slide of the       Sderot and throughout the region,          in Israel.
name of the facility in gradually decreasing
                                                   Hamas broadened its radius of attack,         During the rocket attacks in January,
font size. They would need a microscope to
read the smallest letters.                         and for the first time in 60 years         BGU’s students, faculty and staff
2. Sandra and Aventura Vice Mayor Billy Joel
                                                   missiles rained down on Beer-Sheva,        volunteered in the community and
                                                   Netivot and Ashdod.                        remained by the sides of their neigh-
3. Harold Vinegar, the former chief scientist of
Shell, and his wife Robin unveil the refurbished      5769 witnessed the increasing           bors most in need. AABGU launched
Founders’ Wall, where theirs is among the          specter of hatred spewing forth from       a successful emergency campaign, and
newest names. The Vinegars recently made           the leaders of Iran, North Korea,          the University emerged from the war
aliyah and Harold is teaching geology at BGU.      Venezuela and from Al Qaeda’s lead-        unbowed and more determined than
4. Friends, delegates from AABGU’s Northwest       ership hunkered down across the            ever to continue its quest to build the
Region and Prof. Rivka Carmi gather for the
Ita and Eitan Dayan Garden dedication in
                                                   globe. We saw major political change       Negev and anchor the future for the
memory of Jacob Dayan’s parents (Jacob and         in Pakistan, the Russian invasion of       southern half of Israel.
Riki Dayan are 2nd and 3rd from right).            Georgia and a coup d'état in Honduras.        5769 was a tough year, but we can
5. Lloyd Goldman, AABGU vice president,               But, 5769 was also a year of hope       be very proud of the part we played
dances the hora with President Prof. Rivka         and opportunity. Elections held in         in it. May 5770 bring with it increasing
Carmi and students at the annual Student           both the United States and Israel          strength and achievement for Ben-
                                                   brought new parties to power, and          Gurion University and for the people
6. Lis Gaines, AABGU past president, was
                                                   great expectations accompanied high        of Israel. May it be a year of growth,
joined for dinner by her granddaughter, who
is serving in the IDF.                             hopes in both countries. Following         renewal and prosperity. And may we
7. AABGU President Carol Saal and board            nearly eight years of war, democratic      all be inscribed in the Book of Life.
member Ellen Marcus                                elections were held in Iraq and a             Wishing you all a shanah tovah
8. Zoom Fleisher with Edy and Sol Freedman         growing sense of security among its        u’metukah —a happy, healthy and
at the Chairman’s Ball                             citizens allowed U.S. and coalition        sweet New Year. I

                                                                                                               IMPACT | Fall 2009   5

ZENITHSOLAR, an Israeli start-up                      Faiman says the new system will
company, launched its first “solar                 harvest more than 70 percent of incom-
farm” near Tel Aviv in April, based                ing solar energy (as compared to indus-
on concentrated photovoltaic (CPV)                 try norms of 10 percent to 40 percent).
systems developed by Prof. David                      “By concentrating solar energy to
Faiman, chairman of the Department                 a level 1,000 times more intense than
of Solar Energy and Environmental                  natural sunlight and taking advantage
                                                                                               Prof. David Faiman at the launch of the solar
Physics at BGU’s Jacob Blaustein                   of the higher efficiencies at which solar   “farm”
Institutes for Desert Research.                    cells operate under these conditions,
                                                                   only minute amounts         half acre farm is located. “As I stand
                                                                   of expensive PV material    here looking at this solar farm, I feel
                                                                   are necessary to            great pride in my heart that such a
                                                                   produce large amounts       small country has such great minds.”
                                                                   of power,” Prof. Faiman        Speaking at the ceremony, BGU
                                                                   explained.                  President Prof. Rivka Carmi said,
                                                                      Faiman believes          “Ben-Gurion University is proud to
                                                                   that systems such as        be a partner in positioning Israel at
                                                                   ZenithSolar’s will          the center of the world in developing
                                                                   eventually be able to       unique solar energy technologies.”
                                                                   operate economically           Roy Segev, chief executive officer
                                                                   without the need for        and founder of ZenithSolar explained,
                                                                   subsidies.                  “The potential for this technology
                                                                       “Israel has the capa-   to provide low-cost, accessible energy
                                                                   bility to become the        for customers around the world is
                                                                   leading country in the      enormous. Our system is simple
                                                                   promotion of alternative    enough to be applicable in almost
                                                                   energy technologies,”       any situation, whether it is industrial,
Israel’s President Shimon Peres with children of
                                                   said Israel’s President Shimon Peres        commercial, residential or related
Kibbutz Kvutzat Yavne during the ribbon cutting
ceremony. BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi is
                                                   before cutting the ceremonial ribbon        to eco-tourism. There is currently
far right and ZenithSolar CEO Roy Segev is left    with the help of children from              no other comparable technology
of Mr. Peres.                                      Kibbutz Kvutzat Yavne, where the            available in the world.” I

    A generous couple from Northern California has                       healthy behavior, disease prevention and early detection,
    announced a challenge grant for supporters of                        and hosts local, national and international conferences.
    women’s health issues, research and activities in the                   The Center’s director, currently Prof. Julie Cwikel of
    Negev region. They will provide up to a maximum                      the Charlotte B. and Jack J. Spitzer Department of
    of $100,000 toward an endowment benefitting BGU’s                    Social Work, will use the interest from the endowment
    Center for Women’s Health Studies and Promotion.                     to meet priority needs. A pioneer in social epidemiolo-
       While donations in any amount will be appreciated,                gy, Prof. Cwikel is studying the connections between
    the couple has agreed to forfeit the naming of the                   society and health, and is using that knowledge to
    fund to a person who, or foundation that, matches                    promote better women’s health.
    their contribution.                                                     For more information or to make a donation, please
       The Center for Women’s Health Studies promotes                    contact Daphna Noily at AABGU, 240 Tamal Vista
    health and awareness among the women of the Negev                    Boulevard, Suite 260, Corte Madera, CA 94925,
    through community health services, training programs,                (415) 927-2119, or the regional
    curriculum development and research. It emphasizes                   director of your local region. I

6   IMPACT | Fall 2009
                                                                                                            NEWS AND BRIEFS

BGU GARNERS                                 Department of Social Work, which             competiton is the most prestigious
PRESTIGIOUS AWARDS                          form a single complex at BGU.                and influential architectural contest in
                                               The complex also received the Yuli        Europe and Israel.
FOR ARCHITECTURE                            Offer first prize for “Advancing
AND ENVIRONMENTAL                           Architecture in Israel,” a prize awarded     BGU’S JACOB BLAUSTEIN INSTITUTES
                                            to the top three projects submitted for      for Desert Research (BIDR) won
EXCELLENCE                                  all categories. The European Union           the CleanTech 2009 Excellence Award
TWO BUILDINGS on the Marcus Family                                                       in the category of Outstanding
Campus designed by Raquel Vert,                                                          Academic Institution in the Field of
of Los Angeles-based Vert Architects,                                                    Environmental Studies.
were awarded first prize in two                                                             The award was presented at
different categories in the “Best Project                                                CleanTech 2009 – the 13th Annual
of the year 2008/9 Competition.”                                                         International Summit and Exhibition
   Vert Architects received the                                                          for Environmental Quality, Renewable
prestigious prizes for outstanding                                                       Energy, Infrastructures and Water
architectural design of the Deichmann                                                    Technologies. The conference took
Building for Community Action and                                                        place at the Israel Trade Fairs and
the Spitzer-Salant Building for the                                                      Conventions Center in Tel Aviv. I

                                                                                            As the group headed north to the
AN EYE-OPENING ISRAEL EXPERIENCE                                                         Marcus Family Campus in Beer-Sheva,
                                                                                         they enjoyed an inspirational visit
THE AABGU YOUNG Professionals               challenge through water, agricultural        to the Open Apartments Program.
Israel Experience brought 13 individu-      and medical research.                        Participants learned first hand from
als from across the United States to           The young professionals experienced       students how they live and volunteer
explore the Negev. The week-long            some extraordinary desert weather,           in the impoverished communities of
trip in March provided the profession-      from sandstorm to rainstorm, which           the city (see pg. 22).
als with a unique desert adventure,         Israelis humorously thanked them for            At sunrise the next day the group
while they learned how BGU is               bringing. The flash floods witnessed         hiked Mount Masada, where an arche-
advancing Israel and the world.             in Ein Avdat put the magnitude of the        ology doctoral student gave a tour.
   From the moment participants gath-       storm in perspective. Nearly all of the      Participants wandered through the
ered at JFK Airport, strong friendships     regional annual rainfall accumulated         ruins, visited the synagogue, saw the
began to form. “We knew we had a            in this one downpour.                        mosaics and frescos, and learned the
dynamic and warm group who would               The Negev visit would not be com-         remarkable story of how the Zealots
make the trip memorable and amaz-           plete without touring the Sede Boqer         fought off the Romans. After the long
ing,” said Daniel Dubrow of New York.       campus with Prof. Avigad Vonshak,            morning, a relaxing float in the Dead
   On the first day, the tour guide         director of the Jacob Blaustein Institutes   Sea and a healing Dead Sea mineral mud
drove the mission attendees into the        for Desert Research. Tamar Huberman          bath were the perfect ways to relax.
Ramon Mahktesh. Through a reenact-          of New York said, “We saw how fish              In Jerusalem, an informative walking
ment, much like spilling water on a         grow in the desert and stood in awe          tour of the Old City whet everyone’s
sandcastle, they learned how the            under the world’s largest solar dish.        appetites for exposure to the city’s
landform is not actually an impact          The ingenuity on display at BGU took         modern day offerings. Venturing to the
crater, but rather the world’s largest      our breath away.”                                                    Continued on Page 31
erosion cirque or makhtesh.
                                                                                            Israel Experience participants enjoy
   During this introduction, the
                                                                                              a mud bath at the Dead Sea
participants realized the crucial role
the Negev desert plays in both Israel’s
history and its future. This empha-
sized the formidable task BGU has in
fulfilling the government issued
mandate to develop the Negev. In the
subsequent days, they would witness
how BGU faculty addresses this

                                                                                                            IMPACT | Fall 2009      7

ALEX GOREN leads an international life.                                              to have done well there’s a duty in
   He spends most of his time in                                                     giving back.”
the U.S. and considers himself                                                          Alex is married to Brooke Kroeger,
American, but also feels “spiritually                                                director of NYU’s Arthur L. Carter
Italian,” having been raised in that                                                 Journalism Institute and a noted
country. He is often in Israel where                                                 author. Although his schedule is split
his daughter and two of his grand-                                                   between running his business and
children live, and spends quite a bit                                                the Foundation, plus skiing, tennis,
of time visiting other family members                                                music, reading and doing the daily
in Canada. And, with his brother                                                     cooking (specializing in Italian),
James, Alex—formerly vice chairman                                                   he also gives time to BGU. This too
of the New York and Foreign
                                               ALEXANDER M. GOREN                    has family roots.
Securities Corp.––operates an interna-            NEW YORK, NY                          Alex was living in Israel in the
tional money management and                                                          1970s when his uncle—a BGU board
investment firm, Goren Brothers.                                                     member who lived in Canada—
   Alex’s relationship with BGU also
has international roots. In the 1970s,
                                               AABGU                                 decided to cut back on his traveling.
                                                                                     Alex took his place on the board and
his family owned a very large spin-
ning mill in Israel, run by Alex’s
father and his maternal grandfather,
                                             PRESIDENT-                              became very active.
                                                                                        “It was very exciting,” he says
                                                                                     of BGU’s early days. “The University
a textile expert.
   “When my grandfather was getting
too old to run that kind of firm,” Alex
                                                ELECT                                was small and there were always
                                                                                     financial challenges.” He recalls when
                                                                                     there were only a few broken-down
says, “he decided to sell it, and asked                                              buildings in a sea of dirt. “Now it’s
for help from Pinchas Sapir, who at                                                  a gorgeous campus with a lot of
the time was Israel’s finance minister.    Foundation established an undergrad-      world-class departments. It’s really
After a while Sapir came back and          uate loan program that recently trans-    become a great university on an
said, ‘I have a client who’ll pay a        formed into a scholarship endowment.      international level.”
good price. The other side of the coin     Further, because Alex’s father had           Alex is first vice president of
is that you’re going to give me all        always been interested in Jewish          AABGU and has chaired numerous
the money, because we’re building          history and studies, the Foundation       board committees. He takes the reins
a university in the Negev.’”               funded and dedicated the Goldstein-       of leadership of the organization at
   How did the family react? “We           Goren International Center for Jewish     the end of September.
thought it was a very good idea.           Thought. The Center offers a number          “Being involved in BGU gives
My father was happy to be rid of the       of advanced study scholarships, runs      a lot of satisfaction,” he says.
problem and the money seemed to be         international conferences and awards      “Personally, I think that in the short
going to a very good cause. Of course,     the prestigious Goldstein-Goren Book      to medium term view, it’s the most
Sapir came back and said it wasn’t         Award every three years for the best      important university in Israel because
really enough, so we created a family      book on Jewish thought published          the Negev is the natural place for
fund to help pay for the building.”        during that period.                       expansion. The future of Israel’s
   That fund became the Cukier,               Currently, the Gorens just finalized   growth is the Negev and BGU is right
Goldstein-Goren Foundation—which           the naming of the Avram and Stella        there in the middle of it. And every
bears the name of Avram (Dolphy)           Goldstein-Goren Department of             center that wants to have culture
Goldstein-Goren, Alex Goren’s father,      Biotechnology Engineering with            and science needs a great university
and Mordechai Meir (Max) Cukier, his       a new generous gift.                      in its midst.
grandfather, the textile expert. Since        Alex feels that the disposition to        “I believe everyone should give
1972, the Foundation has generously        give is part of his family heritage.      what they feel comfortable giving.
supported BGU and numerous other           “We’ve been brought up in our             If someone is very busy, money is
educational, cultural, health and social   father’s and grandfather’s traditional    welcome. But if people have
welfare projects around the world.         ways, to contribute to worthy things      something to contribute from the
Alex serves as president.                  and fill charitable needs.”               viewpoint of experience, giving the
   In addition to funding the Cukier,         Are his three children continuing      time is also very important.
Goldstein-Goren Building that is           the tradition? “I hope so,” he says.         “I think BGU is an extremely
home to the Pinchas Sapir Faculty of       “They seem to be on the right track.      important institution to support. For
Humanities and Social Sciences, the        We do feel if we’re fortunate enough      us, it was a very good investment.” I

8   IMPACT | Fall 2009
                                                                                                             DONOR IMPACT

JACOB SHOCHAT’S mellifluous voice                                                       leading universities, but that it has a
carries the inflections of three coun-                                                  team of the most dedicated, deter-
tries: Lithuania, where he was born                                                     mined people, at both the University
and grew up, Israel, where he lived                                                     and AABGU.”
and worked as a young man, and the                                                          Many BGU students have since
United States, where he has resided                                                     benefited from the Victoria Itin
since 1980.                                                                             Scholarship Fund. Jacob has gener-
   Describing his early years, Jacob                                                    ously supported major equipment
says his experience under communism                                                     purchases for the Biochemistry
in the former Soviet Union confirmed                                                    Department and the Brain Imaging
Winston Churchill’s claim that the                                                      Research Center (BIRC), including
inherent virtue of socialism is equal             JACOB SHOCHAT                         funding for the salary of a neurolo-
distribution of miseries.                       MAHWAH, NEW JERSEY                      gist. He was a generous donor to
   “The former Soviet Union was                                                         the BGU-Negev Emergency Fund,
an anti-Semitic place and the anti-                                                     and through that effort participated
Semitism came from both directions,
from the top and from the bottom,”
                                            MAKING A LIFE                               in the purchase of a much needed
                                                                                        MRI machine for the BIRC. His latest
says Jacob. “In many instances, this
kind of hostile environment helps you
to become a stronger person. It made
                                             BY GIVING                                  commitment and the most generous
                                                                                        to date is funding for the Shochat
                                                                                        Family Library for Science and
me spiritually stronger and helped                                                      Technology, to be constructed on
me to part with any illusions about                                                     the Marcus Family Campus.
socialism.”                                 When in 1980 the firm began market-             Moreover, Jacob serves on the
   Jacob’s parents, who lost many           ing its products in the U.S., Jacob was     AABGU national board of directors,
family members to the Holocaust,            given the opportunity to move there         and the Philadelphia chapter board of
managed against great odds to send          as a company representative based in        directors, where he is a leader of its
him and his sister to college. He           New Jersey. A decade later he decided       Health Sciences Resource Committee.
studied electronics and graduated           to establish his own business.                  His magnanimous generosity
from a local university in 1970.               Dynamic Imaging became a                 will be recognized when Jacob is
A year later, at age 24, he was able        highly successful producer of Picture       the guest of honor at the annual
to immigrate to Israel with his parents.    Archiving and Communications                Philadelphia Chapter tribute gala on
   He found an entirely new life. “Israel   Systems (PACS), which Jacob describes       November 15, 2009.
was a wonderful place. We received          as digital technology that allows radiol-       Why does Jacob think BGU matters?
a very warm welcome and the absorp-         ogy departments to create a soft copy       Perhaps because of the challenges he
tion period included learning a new         environment and work more virtually.        had to face in his own early life, he
language, serving in the army and           After 16 years of growth, the business      admires the uniqueness of BGU’s
finding a job.” He enjoyed all of it.       was acquired by General Electric.           achievement.
   “There was suddenly this feeling         Almost immediately, he got involved             “It’s hard to imagine that in a desert
of freedom. It translates into speaking     in several tech startup companies           you can build this kind of oasis, and
what’s on your mind without fear—           in Israel, which he considers “an out-      that it’s all been done since the 1970s.
without constantly being on guard that      standing environment for technology         In almost every field it’s involved
you might say something that might          development.”                               with, BGU is on the world-class level.
be misinterpreted by a neighbor or             Jacob’s involvement with BGU             It’s the best monument to people’s
friend or informant.”                       began on a very personal level.             determination and know-how, and to
   Serving in the Israeli Army was grat-    “A close woman friend unfortunately         the Jewish spirit.
ifying: “I did not any longer have the      died at a young age from breast                 “I’m a strong believer in something
terrible feeling of being a defenseless     cancer, and all her relatives lived in      else Churchill said––‘we make a living
Jew. I was in the army when the Yom         Beer-Sheva. I decided the best way          by getting. We make a life by giving.’
Kippur War broke out, and remember          to memorialize my friend would be           In my own case, life was basically
how empowering it was to feel that          to establish a scholarship in her name      good to me and I feel you should
now we can defend ourselves.”               at BGU. After that I found out what a       share good fortune. Giving is an art:
   The job he subsequently found was        wonderful institution it is and decided     You have to find worthwhile causes.
with Elscint, a technology company          to get involved on a larger scale.          After 11 years of association with BGU
that became a major producer of                “I’m convinced that it’s not just a      and AABGU, I can’t think of a better
advanced medical imaging equipment.         place that became one of the world’s        place or a better cause.” I

                                                                                                         IMPACT | Fall 2009     9

“EDUCATING ISRAEL’S JEWS is what’s                                                        People should be educated to give,
important,” says Sumner T. White.                                                      he feels, as he was through his
“Without education you’re lost.”                                                       mother’s charitable activities and the
   In line with this conviction, Sumner                                                example of generous family members,
has been a generous supporter of                                                       who gave even if all they could afford
BGU for many years and has purchased                                                   was candy. His advice to others? “Just
several charitable gift annuities (CGAs)                                               write a check.”
from AABGU, providing income for                  SUMNER T. WHITE                         Sumner loves Israel and has visited
both the University and for himself.                                                   BGU several times, and was there for
   Born in Dorchester, Massachusetts,           FORT LAUDERDALE, FL                    the recent groundbreaking of the new
Sumner graduated from Bentley                                                          Advanced Technologies Park. “BGU is
College and also studied business and
finance at Northeastern University.
He then enlisted in the military and
                                           A HAPPY MAN,                                unbelievable!” he thinks, and is also
                                                                                       excited by “how the city [Beer-Sheva]
                                                                                       is growing in all directions.”
became a Korean War veteran. “I grew
up in the Army,” he says, “and
enjoyed it.” He left after five years
                                               HAPPY                                      Sumner says he is a happy lifelong
                                                                                       bachelor. For years he split his time
                                                                                       between Boston and Florida, but has
and was faced with choosing a career.
   Sumner’s mother was experienced
                                              TO GIVE                                  lived in Ft. Lauderdale fulltime for
                                                                                       the past 20 years. He glories in his
in handling money, having run, “for                                                    19th floor apartment with a huge
fun,” an unregistered, neighborhood                                                    terrace and 20-mile view. And he has
mini-bank called an uxie, which gave                                                   maintained his reputation as a pre-
people the chance to save small            echelon of life insurance agents. He        miere party-giver. In Boston, he threw
amounts and borrow money in case of        built one of the largest clienteles of      parties in Kenmore Square, which
emergency. “She advised me, go into        physicians and dentists in the country,     drew up to 800 people every other
insurance; all our insurance friends       serving 5,000 clients, and in 1979          Sunday night—“all of whom had to
have money,” he recounts. “Bingo!”         was lampooned live on stage by the          be properly dressed,” he recalls.
   A second fortunate piece of             Harvard Medical School—a memory                Florida is less formal: “No jacket or
advice came his way soon afterward         he cherishes. He was also recognized        tie here,” he says, and likes the casual
when Sumner had lunch with a               by the industry as “number one in           dress code at the dinner parties he
dental student.                            the world for selling and marketing         attends several times per week and
   “He said the people he knew             techniques for young professionals.”        of the frequent dinners, luncheons
needed a good insurance man, and              “I had a wonderful career out of         and large parties he gives. “I enjoy
an electric light bulb lit up in my        nothing,” is the way Sumner describes it.   entertaining and spending the money;
head. There were plenty of medical            His immediate success put him in a       I enjoy life,” he says.
and dental schools in Boston and           position to invest, and here too he            Does Sumner White, who will be
I was allowed to go into the dorms.        made good choices. “I asked myself,         80 in October, have a personal
I spent 30 years in those institutions.    what does this country need? Commu-         fountain of youth? He notes that both
People knew me for four years and          nications, electricity. So I bought tele-   his parents lived full long lives and
when they left I told them ‘I’m as far     phone companies, electric utilities.        were never ill. “So it runs in the family;
away from you as a telephone call.’        I became financially independent and        we’re healthy. And I eat a lot of
   “So I insured people all over the       able to give money away.”                   tomatoes—maybe there’s something
country. They trusted me. When they           This seemed natural to Sumner,           in them that keeps me young.” There
were hustled, they said they were          who believes in taking care of              may be something to that. But that’s
already insured.                           people—family, friends, good causes.        a topic for a future Impact article.
   “Nobody had developed that                 “It’s a marvelous feeling to give out       Or perhaps attitude accounts for his
market. I would never have                 money and help people. I give from          bon vivant spirit, and also the success
succeeded without that luncheon.”          my heart,” he says, “and I’m charita-       he attributes to luck. “I’ve always
   Sumner White is a life member of        ble both to my family and charities.        been a happy person with a good
the Million Dollar Roundtable, a highly    If you have money it’s wonderful to         outlook,” he says. “Always happy
selective club that consists of the top    give it away while you’re still alive.”     and content.” I

10   IMPACT | Fall 2009
                                                                                                             FIRST PERSON

DR. RACHEL BARKAN, a member of the Department of
Business Administration at the Guilford Glazer School of
Business and Management, was seriously wounded when a
Grad missile fell in Beer-Sheva this past winter only a few
feet away from her car.
   “I had just come back from a sabbatical year at Fuqua
School of Business at Duke University, with several projects
nearing publication and others still in different phases of
writing, analyzing or data collection. It was a wonderful year,
a second honeymoon with science. I was full of energy and
enthusiasm. There was so much to do.”
   Things changed abruptly that afternoon on Jan. 15, 2009.
   “I spent the first 24 hours after the attack in surgery and
intensive care due to the missile shards in my stomach and
intestine. Once my life was out of danger— thanks to the             During the Israeli war with Hamas in January, AABGU
professionalism of my doctors at Soroka University Medical           launched the BGU-Negev Emergency Fund to provide
Center—the major issue had become my leg and foot which              immediate emergency funds to the University during
were severely damaged.                                               its time of crisis. In a brief emotional address at the
   “This will require a long and labor intensive process that
will hopefully end with my gaining full mobility, if not the         Board of Governors’ Meeting in May, Dr. Rachel Barkan,
athletic lifestyle and shapely legs that I had before this           an expert in decision making and behavioral economics
happened,” she relates.                                              who was struck by a missile, expressed her deep
   Ironically, her professional expertise includes risk taking and   gratitude to the AABGU and University community for
the erosion of safety measures due to negligible probabilities
of catastrophes. This is part of her greater area of research that   its support. These are her remarks:
spans decision-making theory and organizational behavior.            Being hit by a missile defies imagination. Looking at
   “Just before leaving the office that day we were talking          the scars, experiencing the pain, I am shocked—time
about the small probability of being hit by a missile, as            and time again—I was hit by a missile. A part of me
opposed to a car accident,” she explains. “But, of course,           died. A part of me lives.
there is a huge difference between the greater theoretical               Thinking about that day, those moments, I am
discussion of probabilities and the reality of being that .00001     still amazed that I found the strength to get out of the
percent that is actually affected.”                                  car, and even more so, that I was able to recall and
   It is impossible not to acknowledge this coincidence. She         say Prof. Aviad Israeli’s phone number before losing
nods knowingly, and stresses that unlike the participants in         consciousness.
her studies who ignored safety measures because of the                   I am lucky and blessed to have Aviad’s friendship,
negligible probabilities, she actually followed the instructions     and it so happens that Aviad specializes in crisis
of the Home Front Command.                                           management—both as a researcher and in real life.
   “I parked my car and was about to get out and lie on                  Aviad triggered a supportive network of men
the ground, but the missile came before I managed to open            and women—dear friends—members of the BGU
the door. In a sense I was lucky, as the car took most of            community. All of them rose to the occasion.
the hit. The shards had to go through it before getting to me.           When my parents arrived at Soroka hospital after
I probably would not have survived the hit otherwise.”               three hours of a tormenting drive in the dark—both
   She tries not to analyze the situation too much. “Many            meanings apply—they were embraced, not with big
people become completely focused on the unanswerable                 titles and academic positions, but by people.
question of ‘why me?’ I try really hard not to do that.                  The president was simply Rivka, the dean—Arie,
   “As someone who believes in statistics I have to tell             the chair—Ayala, and so many others. There is
myself that it was a random event, that it was not a message         something so Jewish and so Israeli about arranging an
from the universe, that ‘stuff happens’. I try to adopt an           apartment for them to stay in, making beds, loading a
outside perspective, where nothing is personal; every event          fridge with food day in and day out, supporting them,
happens with some probability,” she explains, sounding               embracing them with love.
more like a lecturer than a victim.                                      While I was sleeping—so to speak—Ben-Gurion
                                           Continued on Page 31      University was a family. Thank you.

                                                                                                      IMPACT | Fall 2009    11

WHAT HAPPENS when you cross a                   Wallace, a renowned expert special-       or small particles within cells, that
background in archeology with a                 izing in mitochondrial genetics at        are inherited only from the mother.
fascination for genetics?                       the University of California-Irvine.      They are the cells’ powerplants,
   You get Dan Mishmar, a molecular             “We were the first to show that           generating energy, and are essential
biologist whose offbeat approach to             human genetic variation in the mito-      to every cell’s survival and our ability
genetics is producing new insights              chondria was shaped by natural            to perform the functions of living.
into how species mutate, and how a              selection,” he says.                      Mitochondria’s role in the emergence
number of complicated diseases may                 These studies set the stage for        of new species has been investigated
connect to human evolution.                     Mishmar’s current research. Now his       recently, but the idea that they are
   Dr. Mishmar came to BGU in 2004,             work is generating interest within        responsible for our susceptibility to
holding a joint position with the               the international scientific community,   illnesses startles many.
National Institute for Biotechnology            and earning his team prestigious              “The concept that the same princi-
in the Negev (NIBN) and the                     publication credits.                      ples that drive evolution toward the
Department of Life Sciences, where                 Mishmar is identifying the associa-    emergence of new species govern the
he is a senior lecturer and researcher.         tion between common genetic varia-        emergence of diseases is new,”
He had studied arche-                                           tion in humans and        Mishmar explains. “A clinician looks
ology as an under-                                              susceptibility to dis-    at the genome of a tumor, or other
graduate, becoming                                              eases including type 2    disease, and compares it to the
interested in human                                             diabetes, cancer and      normal population, looking for new
evolution. “This led                                            schizophrenia. His        mutations that do not occur there.
me to a critical deci-                                          premise is that muta-     I assume the mutations are already
sion point,” he says,                                           tions in our DNA          part of the population and have had
“whether to continue                                            occurred over             a survival function. When these same
and study physical                                              thousands of years        mutations reoccur in the correct
anthropology and                                                within the framework      environment, they can cause disease.”
investigate human                                               of Darwinian natural          Looking at disease as an evolution-
evolution via ‘stones                                           selection. That is, our   ary process is hard for clinicians to
and bones,’ or study                                            ancestors responded to    absorb, Mishmar knows, but he
human genetics.”          Dr. Dan Mishmar, molecular biologist  environmental             believes in the idea’s potential.
   Genetics won. He                                             changes, such as cli-         “If we better understand how
earned an M.Sc. and then a Ph.D. in             mate shift, with mutations that           evolution moved, we can understand
the field under the supervision of the          increased their chances of survival.      the genetic basis of many, many
human geneticist Prof. Batsheva                 But today, these same mutations pre-      complex disorders. Since mitochon-
Kerem at The Hebrew University.                 dispose us toward certain diseases.       dria play a central role in disease, if
For postdoctoral work, Mishmar                     Mishmar focuses on the role of         we understand how they work and
joined the lab of Prof. Douglas C.              mitochondria, which are organelles,       the way they changed our ability to

12   IMPACT | Fall 2009
                                                                                                      EDUCATION AND RESEARCH

survive in different conditions in        the researchers look for associations               C. Wallace at UC Irvine, as well as
ancient times, we can understand the      between variations in the mito-                     with other researchers at Yale, and in
mechanics of the disease.                 chondria DNA and susceptibility to                  Sweden and China.
   “And we’ll understand a lot about      diabetes.                                              “All the projects I am involved in,”
the way certain people develop               Schizophrenia, too, is seen as                   he explains, “aim at deciphering the
diseases and others have a lower          a complex disorder caused by the                    functionality of common genetic vari-
tendency toward those same diseases.
This may help us ease the lives
of patients. I think it can lead to new
ways of curing diseases, or even a
prevention approach.”
   Mishmar’s own biggest surprise
came from his work with cancer, in
the context of a collaborative effort
with his graduate student, Ilia
Zhidkov, and another BGU scientist,
Dr. Eitan Rubin, a bioinformatics
expert. Analyzing the mitochondrial
genomes (DNA sequences within
the mitochondria) of 98 different unre-
lated individuals, Mishmar and his col-
leagues found that combinations of
mutations tended to occur in tumors
in precisely the same DNA building
blocks that changed during evolution.
   The resulting article earned
Mishmar’s team the cover spot of a
prestigious journal called Genome
Research earlier this year. “We show,
strikingly, that evolution repeated
itself in cancer,” Mishmar comments.      The illustration demonstrates the interaction between the mitochondrial DNA and the nuclear DNA
“Mutations that accumulated during        (“cross talk”) and its importance for evolution.
thousands of years of human evolu-
tion have reoccurred in mutational        interplay of genetics and the environ-              ants, their role in disease susceptibili-
combinations in tumors.”                  ment, and the lab is trying to isolate              ty, but also their role in the emer-
                                          the genetic component—difficult                     gence of high energy demanding
                                          because multiple components are                     traits during evolution, such as flight
                                          involved. The lab also uses molecular               capability in bats.”
“If we better understand                  biology techniques, such as growing                    Mishmar says he’s an armchair
 how evolution moved,                     cell cultures to look at the effects of             archeologist these days, and misses the
                                          mutation on cell survival.                          fieldwork. He teaches basic genetics
 we can understand the                        Mishmar is happy to be at BGU:                  and is offering a new class in human
                                          “I got exactly what I wanted. BGU                   genetics and genomics. Unsurprisingly,
 genetic basis of many,                   is a wonderful environment to work                  students find the field exciting:
 many complex disorders.”                 in, the best for me, because I don’t                Mishmar has had to decline a number
                                          see a lot of places where you can                   of applications to work in his lab.
                     — DR. DAN MISHMAR
                                          easily collaborate with peers. Here                    “I like to teach very much and find
                                          it happens frequently.”                             it very satisfying when students
                                              One current collaborative project,              understand and ask questions about
   Mishmar’s lab uses a combination       a study of genetic diversity in                     the data that are almost novel.
of research approaches, including         chameleons, came about through a                       “And with the research, I like best
population genetics: analyzing the        chance meeting in the elevator with a               when students come to my lab and
DNA sequence of large populations         BGU ecologist, Dr. Amos Bouskila.                   don’t do what I tell them. It’s extreme-
to compare individuals and find           He also continues to collaborate with               ly satisfying when they bring new
variations. Using statistical methods,    his postdoctoral mentor, Prof. Douglas              ideas—this is why we are here.” I

                                                                                                                IMPACT | Fall 2009          13

ISRAELIS PRESERVE                                                                             place to do this.”
                                                                                                 It is fitting for the new Center to
                                                                                              be part of the Department of Hebrew

THEIR YIDDISH ROOTS                                                                           Literature, Justman notes, because
                                                                                              Yiddish has been a missing piece of
                                                                                              its Diaspora cultural studies, and
“FOR YIDDISH it’s the 11th hour,” says    its economics department one of the                 because many leading Hebrew writers
Prof. Moshe Justman, dean of the          best in the country by bringing in                  were steeped in Yiddish culture and
Faculty of Humanities and Social          exactly the right people. And now                   wrote in that language.
Sciences. “People with living memory      they would like to do the same thing                   “The culture is hardwired by
of it as a spoken language in Eastern     with Yiddish. I was blown away,                     Yiddish but we don’t realize that
Europe are                                                           though not               some of the things we say or do are
growing older                                                        completely               rooted in it. A lot of this goes on in
and fewer.                                                           surprised—               our collective subconscious and
Every year we                                                        I knew the               bringing it to the fore helps us under-
postpone                                                             time to build            stand our own culture better.”
preserving                                                           something                   Because Yiddish culture was a core
this culture,                                                        new for                  element of the Ashkenazi Jewish
we lose                                                              Yiddish in               identity, Roskies observes, it makes
something.”                                                          Israel is now,           sense that widespread interest has
   Moreover,                                                         and knew                 begun to develop.
the leading                                                          about the                   “When you go looking for who you
scholars in        Prof. Moshe Justman     Prof. David G. Roskies
                                                                     exceptional              are and where you come from, you
the field are                                                        Department               see first that secrets of the past are
retiring, without leaving a cadre of      of Hebrew Literature at BGU. I could                encoded in that other language. You
young scholars ready to take their        see all the synapses connecting—the                 heard it from your grandparents but
place. It adds up to “a terrible          right time, the right place.”                       it had always been devalued and
tragedy,” Justman says, “because              A month later, Roskies visited BGU.             you assumed it had nothing to tell us.
Yiddish culture is a treasure with        “When I saw what the place had                      Now suddenly in the 21st century, it
intrinsic value, and because it’s so      become I was completely sold.”                      holds out a certain promise, to unlock
important to understanding our            Beginning with the                                                       something about
culture today.”                           spring semester this                                                     who you are.”
   Justman, a professor of economics,     February, Roskies                                                            To Roskies, who
has a personal background in              will split his year                                                      customarily spends
Yiddish: His grandfather was a            between the JTS                                                          two months per year
Yiddish journalist and author, and his    and BGU, running                                                         in Israel, the growing
father had a deep affection for the       the Center for                                                           interest signals a
language. Thus he was fully sympa-        Yiddish Studies.                                                         coming of age for
thetic to the idea of creating a major        “It’s important to                                                   the country. Yiddish
center for Yiddish studies at BGU.        understand that this                                                     has carried the stigma
The idea had resurfaced periodically      isn’t about people                                                       of the Holocaust
for years but not come to life, in part   speaking Yiddish,”                                                       and persecution from
because it was difficult to find an       says Justman.                                                            the ‘old country’ for
eminent leader for such a center.         “I don’t think the                                                       decades. Its use was
   But recently, Justman took up the      university will                                                          further discouraged
search again. He called to ask the        revive the language                                                      by government cam-
advice of Prof. David G. Roskies, an      all of a sudden.                                                         paigns to establish
internationally known scholar and         It’s about under-                                                        Hebrew as the
author of Yiddish studies who teaches     standing and                                                             nation’s dominant,
                                                                    The cover of Prof. Roskies’ newest book, an
at New York’s Jewish Theological          preserving Yiddish                                                       unifying language.
                                                                    award-winning memoir of his mother that
Seminary (JTS). It was a fortuitous       culture, especially       contains a CD of her singing Jewish songs          However, Modern
conversation––“a miraculous story,”       high culture in Eastern                                                  Hebrew has been
in Prof. Roskies’ words.                  Europe—literature, the theater, the                 shaped by Yiddish to a remarkable
   “Moshe told me how 20 years            press, poetry––primarily between                    degree, Roskies says, in its cadence
earlier BGU began working to make         1860 and 1940. The university is the                and irony, and how the two

14   IMPACT | Fall 2009
                                                                                                               EDUCATION AND RESEARCH

                                                                          snippets from               we accomplish by pooling resources?”
                                                                          the liturgy,                   He hopes, too, to train his successor
                                                                          playing with                so someone is in place for the long
                                                                          misquotes,                  term, along with a cadre of graduate
                                                                          parodying them.             students.
                                                                          Sholem Aleichem                Prof. Justman hopes that the
                                                                          based it on what            Center will fulfill its role, preserving
                                                                          he heard. The               the heritage of Yiddish literature and
                                                                          play between                culture, by reaching out to larger
                                                                          biblical promise            audiences. The big picture includes
                                                                          and everyday                publishing scholarly works and
                                                                          reality is built            classics, organizing conferences, cata-
                                                                          into Yiddish                loging and analyzing the tremendous
                                                                          folk speech.”               output of the Yiddish press in Eastern
                                                                              One of                  Europe, and perhaps even reviving
“The May 1st Parade of Di Yunge.” New, modernist Yiddish poetry group
                                                                          Roskies’ long-              the Yiddish theater tradition and
Di Yunge (The Young Ones) follow their muse: death. 1911 (Der groyser
kundes). Courtesy of Edward Portnoy                                       standing dreams             publishing popular plays and songs.
                                                                          is to team-teach               With Roskies as a bridge, BGU
languages play off against each other.             a course on Yiddish-Hebrew parody                  and the JTS have begun meeting
Having grown up studying “bookish”                 with BGU’s professor and author Haim               to explore potential collaborations.
Hebrew in a Yiddish day school,                    Be’er, which he hopes to be able to                “We see this as a first step in a
he noticed on his first visit to Israel            do in two years. More immediately,                 partnership,” says Justman, “initially
how many colloquial expressions had                he plans to organize a day                         through Jewish literature, with a
come from Yiddish. “But 99.9 percent               of study devoted                                   faculty and student exchange
of Israelis had no idea of that!”                  to the place of
    How Hebrew and Yiddish interact                Yiddish at BGU,
                                                   inviting colleagues
                                                   from every depart-
                                                   ment to converse
“The [Israeli] culture is hardwired                on what Yiddish
  by Yiddish but we don’t realize                  could mean to
                                                   their fields and
  that some of the things we say                   how it can inter-
  or do are rooted in it...bringing                face with them.
                                                      “I know how to
  it to the fore helps us understand               reach out and build
  our own culture better.”                         constituencies,”
                                                   he says. “If I can
                      — PROF. MOSHE JUSTMAN
                                                   interest and
                                                   intrigue people in
                                                   different areas,
is at the heart of the Jewish sensibility,         then we can figure
                                                                           “This Year’s Procession In The Radical Synagogues.” Illustrates people
Roskies explains. Jews had two                     out ways to work
                                                                           representing Zionism, socialism, rightists and leftists. Mocks large number
languages: Yiddish, the spoken                     together.”              of political splinter movements in Jewish life. 1921 (Der groyser kundes).
vernacular, and the high status reli-                 The overarching      Courtesy of Edward Portnoy
gious scriptural tradition of Hebrew.              goal is to turn BGU
“At times the discrepancies between                into the center of Yiddish studies                 program, and perhaps in other gradu-
what God promised and what you                     in Israel by creating an academic                  ate study fields later.”
see in everyday life are pretty great.             fellowship of Yiddish scholars already                “All of it together is a dream come
Parody is a way of living with that.”              working in the field. “We’re stronger              true,” Roskies says—“the interest in
    This idea is embodied by Sholom                than people realize, but there’s no                Yiddish, the Center, the institutions
Aleichem’s character Tevye, Roskies                umbrella organization,” Roskies says.              coming together—and that it’s hap-
points out. “In this great literary                “We’ll bring everyone together to                  pening in the worst economic climate
invention, a simple salt-of-the-earth              brainstorm: What can be done that                  in living memory is even more mirac-
milkman tempers his speech with                    no one can do individually; what can               ulous! It’s a very Jewish scenario.” I

                                                                                                                         IMPACT | Fall 2009        15

BGU RESEARCHERS ARE TALKING                 back to the 1990s, but as basic science               “Here, too, Israel excelled,” he
to atoms.                                   starts leading to practical applications,         says. “To be an Internet powerhouse,
   “It’s not only because the interna-      interest has been accelerating, Prof.             all you needed was imagination and
tional scientific community sees it as      Gottlieb says. He compares the out-               boldness.” But there is a crucial differ-
one of the most promising areas of                                                            ence, he explains. While Internet
technological innovation and human                                                            innovation might take only a few
development. The great appeal for                                                             hundred dollars and a phone line,
Israel is that with nanotechnology, the                                                       nanotechnology requires highly
only thing that counts is brainpower:                                                         sophisticated equipment and specially
no need for natural resources or vast                                                         enhanced laboratories. The Israeli
terrain—only the human mind.”                                                                 government, the Negev Foundation
   These are the reasons that BGU is                                                          and the Yeshaya Horowitz Association
investing hugely in state-of-the-art                                                          funded the new $20 million building
nano equipment and facilities,                                                                and some major equipment, and
explains Moshe Gottlieb, Frankel                                                              several American supporters con-
Professor in the Department of                                                                tributed generous amounts, but the
Chemical Engineering and head of the                                                          scientific infrastructure still needs
interdisciplinary Ilse Katz Institute for                                                     development.
Nanoscale Science and Technology                                                                  Determination is high, Gottlieb
(IKI). Established in 2000, the IKI is                                                        says. “To be in the forefront of scien-
now leaping forward with a cadre of                                                           tific development, BGU cannot afford
handpicked young researchers and a                                                            not to be part of this game. Nanotech-
soon-to-be finished cutting-edge facili-                                                      nology goes way beyond even the
ty that took years to plan and build.       Prof. Moshe Gottlieb, director of the Ilse Katz   Internet in potential implications,
   Combined with the University’s           Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology    because it will affect health, medicine,
strength in many fields that relate to                                                        energy, all the way to everyday com-
nanotechnology, BGU is positioned           look to that of microelectronics and              modities—almost every aspect of life.”
to take a leading role in research          the Internet decades ago, when scien-
identified by Israel, and the U.S. too,     tists were excited by the possibilities
as high priority.                           and eager entrepreneurs began to cre-             Top Illustration: Carbon nanotubes and polymers
   Investigation into “nanotech” dates      ate an Internet-linked world.                     from the work of Prof. Rachel Yerushalmi-Rozen

16   IMPACT | Fall 2009
                                                                                                     EDUCATION AND RESEARCH

WHAT IS NANOTECH ABOUT?                     a light-emitting device, like a laser, for        meaningful impact.” These include
Essentially, nanotechnology is about        example, just by changing the size of             alternative energy, biological/medical
size. While scientists come at the          the material, you can change the color            applications and methods to reduce
research from a wide range of per-          of the emitted light.”                            man’s impact on our environment––
spectives, from chemistry and physics          Materials on the nano level can                for example, by water treatment or
to materials engineering and biology,       become transparent instead of opaque,             recycling the polluting ash produced
the focus is on manipulating the            combustible instead of stable, chemi-             by coal into useful products.
structure of materials at incredibly        cally active instead of inert, and act as            “Of course, we are still very
small sizes, in dimensions comparable       conductors instead of insulators. Nano-           much at the science stage,” Gottlieb
to those of some large molecules            materials can also be amazingly strong.           continues. “We have great hopes and
such as proteins. This is nanoscale.           While nanomaterials have always                expectations, but in order to develop
   The basic unit, the nanometer, is        been produced naturally (like volcano             the technology, you first have to
one billionth of a meter. There are         emissions or DNA molecules) and                   develop the science. It still will take
more than 25 million nanometers in          by man (smoke), scientists are now                some work to move industry to
an inch. One human hair ranges from         working feverishly to understand                  actually develop the products. This
15,000 to 180,000 nanometers                their characteristics and how they                is where we are now.”
(depending on its color).                   interact with each other and with                    To enhance the scientists’ capabilities,
   Such a scale defies the imagination,     biological systems.                               a new group of research fellows has
and is becoming familiar territory to          They are also experimenting with               been recruited to act as the Institute’s
nanoscientists only because of break-       controlling the production and design             “human infrastructure.” They are
through equipment such as the               of materials to pave the way for                  highly educated people dedicated
scanning probe tunneling microscope,        useful applications.
optical spectroscopy, fluorescence-         This is a “bottoms-
based single particle tracking and          up approach:”
other devices that bring research to        assembling mole-
new frontiers of knowledge.                 cules in certain
   Why are researchers so fascinated        ways (or causing
with this nano world? Because when          them to self-
any material on that scale is investigat-   assemble) to
ed, it behaves in totally different ways    produce materials
than larger pieces of the same material.    with new desirable
                                            as opposed to the
                                            traditional way
“We are blessed with very                   of manufacturing,
                                            which starts with
 good students. That’s a                    large pieces of a
 major and critical factor,                 material and typi-      A fabricator working in the “clean room” of the Weiss Family Laboratory
                                            cally ends up with      for Nanoscale Systems
 to have good people to do                  substantial waste.
                                               The specific potentials are mind-              to developing techniques for using
 the work and push the                      boggling: thin plastic sheets that can            the very advanced equipment,
 research forward.”                         convert light into electrical energy...           keeping it updated and helping
                                            incredibly small transistors to power             individual researchers use it produc-
                    —PROF. YUVAL GOLAN      computers...lightweight materials of              tively. The fellows will run eight
                                            unprecedented strength...membranes                service labs. A nanofabrication facility
                                            for filtering and desalinating water...           is also available to build devices
   “As you go below some critical           nanostructures that can diagnose                  that are way beyond the ordinary
dimensions, there are physical              diseased cells and deliver drugs.                 workshop’s scope.
changes in the properties of materi-           “Nanotechnology will be of great                  Some of the 29 faculty members
als,” explains Prof. Yuval Golan of the     importance in developing solutions                from nine different departments that
Department of Materials Engineering.        to our century’s major challenges,”               comprise the core of the IKI will
“Even with something simple, like           Gottlieb says. “We’re trying to map the           move into the new building. Other
color, the change has far reaching          areas where we have a critical mass               researchers will stay with their current
consequences. If you want to make           of researchers and can make a                     laboratories, but will benefit from the

                                                                                                               IMPACT | Fall 2009      17

central services, seminars and oppor-               thoroughly—so many things are                      Rozen has found that when carbon
tunities to collaborate more efficiently.           waiting for us there.”                             tubes are mixed in a controlled
    As Prof. Iris Visoly-Fisher, a nano                In practical terms, she believes in             way with a collection of molecules
researcher and senior lecturer in                   10 or 15 years we’ll use nano                      dissolved in water, “the nanotubes
the Department of Chemistry says,                   structures regularly. “When we find                tell the other molecules how to
“Having all the equipment and experts               correlations between structure and                 arrange themselves.”
sitting in the same place will be a huge            the properties we’re looking for,                     Because they are still too expensive
                                                    instead of a cook-and-look process,                for the plastics industry, which
                                                    we can design-engineer. We’ll have                 requires very cheap materials, applica-
                                                    a route to lead from theory all the                tions thus far are limited. Nanotubes
                                                    way to final materials that will exhibit           are added to plastics to produce very
                                                    interesting properties.”                           strong and lightweight tennis rackets,
                                                       For 11 years Yerushalmi-Rozen                   and have been used as tiny probes
                                                    has worked with structures called                  for measuring on the atomic scale.
                                                    carbon nanotubes, which were                          But the long-range prospects
                                                    accidentally discovered in 1994 by a               inspire Yerushalmi-Rozen. They
                                                    Japanese microscoper. Carbon single                include plastic solar cells that can be
                                                    wall nanotubes are cylindrical                     used to coat the roof of a house for
                                                    structures that are one nanometer in               generating electricity; cheap dispos-
                                                    diameter with a length that can be                 able electronics; plastic materials to
                                                    many microns. There are also multi-                replace silicon in transistors; and
                                                    wall nanotubes, cylinders within
Prof. Iris Visoly-Fisher’s topographic image of
                                                    cylinders, which are larger.
hybrid photovoltaic material taken with an atomic
force microscope. Image is 100 x 100 nanometers.
                                                       Nanotubes occur naturally when
                                                    you burn organic material like lamp                “We’re pushing toward
improvement, and certainly will elevate             oil, Yeruashalmi-Rozen says, but
the level of nano research. And it will             before their official discovery,
                                                                                                        the edge of knowledge
have a psychological meaning. We’ll                 no one had noticed or made use                      in every field we look at.”
have a physical center to go to, to                 of them. “Nanotubes are exciting
                                                                                                             —PROF. RACHEL YERUSHALMI-ROZEN
meet in and the experts who help me                 because they have the best
almost daily in the same place.”                    properties,” she explains. “They’re
   “The new facility will be a milestone            the best conductors, the strongest
in the development of nanotechnology                and toughest material and the most                 drug-delivery systems. Making space-
at BGU,” Golan agrees. “I’m really                  flexible. They conduct heat very well              craft lighter and stronger, and improv-
confident that it will position BGU well            and can be integrated into other                   ing their energy storage and life
for this extremely competitive research.”           materials, probably including                      support systems are other potential
   And, says Gottlieb, the Institute is             polymers.”                                         outcomes of this technology.
critical to another long-range goal:                   Nanotubes can also be used to
attracting more of the brightest and                manipulate molecules. Yerushalmi-                  CREATING A NEW ENERGY FUTURE
best young faculty members by pro-                                                                     Prof. Iris Visoly-Fisher joined BGU’s
viding the collaborative opportunities                                                                 Department of Chemistry in 2007
they value.                                                                                            as a senior lecturer and head of the
                                                                                                       Molecular Optoelectronics Lab.
EXPLORING THE NANOSCALE                                                                                She has a goal: to make alternative
Prof. Rachel Yerushalmi-Rozen of the                                                                   energy practical. She believes that
Department of Chemical Engineering                                                                     basic research on the fundamental
is interested in how the properties of                                                                 properties of molecules and their
nano materials differ from larger mate-                                                                structure will help this happen.
rials, how imposing different dimen-                                                                      The photovoltaics, central to solar
sions on them affect their properties                                                                  energy, for example—the systems used
and the interface between materials.                                                                   to convert sunlight into electricity—
   “It’s fun and fascinating,” she says.            Prof. Yuval Golan’s scanning electron microscope
                                                                                                       now depend on silicon semiconduc-
“Things really become different when                image of isolated nanocrystals shows effect of     tors. “The way solar cells are made
you come down to smaller dimensions                 chemical solutions being deposited on semicon-     today uses very expensive machines
and we haven’t explored this region                 ductor films.                                      with high temperatures and pollutants.

18     IMPACT | Fall 2009
                                                                                                   EDUCATION AND RESEARCH

You can stretch traditional chemistry                                                      of time, highly accurate navigation
only so far with silicon,” she points out.                                                 systems, secure communications,
   “We’re trying to mix things in a                                                        new brain scanning equipment and
glass and build new materials based                                                        other medical instruments. But most
on organics like plastic that will be                                                      of all, what excites scientists is the
low cost, flexible and lightweight. It’s                                                   prospect of quantum computing.
the essence of nano—we’re looking at                                                          Computers could become
the single building block so every                                                         incredibly fast, Folman explains, by
molecule goes to the address we set                                                        exploiting the atom’s ability to be
for it, and we can direct our nano                                                         in more than one place at a time.
building blocks where we want them.”                                                       Super computers are probably 10 to
   Ultimate success will mean not only                                                     20 years into the future, Folman
inexpensive solar energy, but also                                                         thinks, but other applications are
human-scale products such as portable                                                      already happening, such as quantum
devices to replace batteries that can                                                      communications for secure banking
be carried in a purse.                                                                     transactions.
   “We want to push the chemistry to                                                          He describes the research as
develop materials that are cheap,            Dr. Ron Folman next to a vacuum chamber       learning a whole new language, so
                                             where atoms are isolated, as required for
clean, easy to work with and better—         quantum features to dominate their behavior
                                                                                           people can communicate with atoms
it all goes together,” Visoly-Fisher says.                                                 in increasingly sophisticated ways
   The chance to work with BGU’s             thanks to new instrumentation and             and get answers back from them.
extensive array of alternative energy        understanding.                                (His business card—suggested by
specialists, especially scientists in the       Dr. Folman was recruited five years        students—reads, “We talk to atoms.”)
solar energy center, is a big plus for       ago by the Department of Physics,             Part of the challenge, he explains, is
her. “Unlike other universities that         and by IKI, to establish the Atom             in maintaining the atom’s all-important
developed an interest in the field only      Chip Lab. It was—and remains —                isolation, while at the same time
recently, BGU has been working on            the only such lab in Israel, and is           interacting with it so it does what is
this for 20 years and it shows,” she         one of about 30 located in premiere           wanted, and in effect, reports back.
observes. Combining nanotechnology           institutions around the world.
interests with energy research gives            Folman also developed and heads
BGU a chance to make a real differ-          the Weiss Family Laboratory for
ence, she believes.                          Nanoscale Systems, a nanofabrication
   And she values the collaborative          facility that makes atom chips for the
atmosphere that in fact attracted her        Atom Chip Lab, for BGU researchers,
to the University. “The fact that there      for researchers in other parts of the
are a lot of young researchers in my         world and for the high-tech industry
department and the nano institute            in Israel.
appealed to me. People to talk to who           “When things are extremely small
share your interests and the way you         and isolated from their environment,
think—that’s very important to me.           they behave in very strange ways––
And it works.”                               different from the laws of nature
                                             we’re used to,” Folman explains.
TALKING TO ATOMS                                “For example, a particle can be            An atom chip provides the interface between the
The Atom Chip Laboratory that                in two places at once. And if two             nano world and the outside “normal” world.
                                                                                           Ultimately, this means the ability to make smaller
Dr. Ron Folman heads is focused on           particles interacted in the past, and
                                                                                           and more complex devices to further probe nature’s
nanotechnology’s most extreme                are separated by light-years, when            secrets and advance human technological goals.
frontier: the atom itself, one-tenth the     someone manipulates one—tries to
size of a nanometer. This research           measure it, perhaps—the other                    Working on this smallest-of-all
falls under the umbrella of “quantum         particle instantly knows and changes          scales doesn’t limit Folman’s vision for
mechanics.”                                  its behavior.” This phenomenon is             both the research lab and the nanofab
   Although atoms have been “known”          called “entanglement.”                        facility. “My goal is not only to bring
for some 2,500 years since the ancient          Seemingly bizarre characteristics          cutting-edge science to the Negev, but
Greeks hypothesized their existence,         like these provide a base for new             to eventually attract high-tech indus-
only recently are we able to “commu-         kinds of technologies and applica-            try, creating jobs that will lure strong
nicate” with them in complex ways,           tions: super-accurate measurement             communities to come here.” I

                                                                                                              IMPACT | Fall 2009         19

CAN ENEMIES BECOME                                                                        THE BURDA CENTER
                                                                                          In itself, the Center’s origins suggest
                                                                                          how fuzzy the old barriers are

‘GOOD NEIGHBORS’?                                                                         growing: between traditional media
                                                                                          and new media, between countries
                                                                                          and people.

MIDDLE EAST MEETS SOCIAL MEDIA                                                                Housed in the Department of
                                                                                          Communication Studies since 1999,
                                                                                          it is funded by Germany’s Hubert
A YEAR AGO, “Twitter” was a new             actually winning in many ways. It’s           Burda Foundation. Dr. Burda, a media
way for young people to communi-            important how much the social media
cate, and other generations were only       helped create a global public opinion
starting to acknowledge its potential.      for the Iranians. You can see that
But in June, along with other social        in Israel—we don’t communicate
networking media like Facebook and          with Iran but the images are all over
YouTube, Twitter transfixed the world       the newspapers and social networks,
as the basic tool by which Iranian          so we feel the Iranians’ pain and
citizens connected with each other          sympathize.
and with the world.                            “Bloggers actually fed the main-
   As the government prevented              stream media. So blogging itself is the
reporters from covering the protests        big story.”
and shut down the traditional channels,        On the other hand, the government
a torrent of Twitter messages kept          did manage to block a lot of
telling the story in short urgent blasts,   opportunities for communication and
                                                                                          BGU's Good Neighbors' Blog ( is a
amplified by jarring eyewitness videos,     did suppress the rebellion. “At the           forum for peaceful exchange among bloggers from
much of it shot on cell phones.             end of the day technology has its             the Middle East. During the Iranian election
   Within a few days that most tradi-       boundaries,” Azran says. In short,            scandal, some put their lives on the line to report.
tional medium, The New York Times,          the issues are complicated, including
was wondering whether digital media         those linked to the uncharted and             magnate who built his empire on
would be the means for transforming         unpredictable territory of new media.         traditional media (sewing magazines),
the Middle East.                               Exploring these issues in the “cool”       identified Israel as being “of enormous
   Dr. Tal Azran of BGU’s Hubert                        environment of academia           importance to Europe in the domain
Burda Center for Innovative Commu-                          is the Burda Center’s         of the new media,” and specifically
nications observed events closely.                               mission.                 wanted to promote German-Israeli
“What was surprising is the extent to                                                     collaborations.
which people could actually commu-                                                           The Center holds international con-
nicate and in this respect challenge                                                      ferences such as “Cool People in the
the government,” he says. “What’s                                                         Hot Desert,” which draws high-tech
new, too, is that this is horizontal                                                      specialists, entrepreneurs and scholars
communication, people commu-                                                                 to BGU every two years. It publish-
nicating directly with each                                                                        es books on media and brings
other, not the traditional verti-                                                                     major media figures in to
cal top-down model.”                                                                                 speak. Last year Riz Kahn,
   Azran was also                                                                                  well-known host of an
surprised that the                                                                              Al-Jazeera English TV show,
Iranian government                                                                            attracted an audience of 300.
didn’t manage to
stop the new media                                                                        THE GOOD NEIGHBORS
as thoroughly as,                                                                         EXPERIMENT
for example, the                                                                          The Burda Center also sponsors
Chinese have.                                                                             research on the emerging world of
“Usually the                                                                              digital communications. One special
government                                                                                project is a Web site called Good
wins, but now the                                                                         Neighbors (, which for
people are                                                                                three years has given bloggers from

20   IMPACT | Fall 2009                                                     Dr. Yael Kaynan
                                                                                               EDUCATION AND RESEARCH

                                             to join the conversation.                   participant from Iran, Elinor, had
                                                Getting and maintaining broad rep-       previously been blocked from
                                             resentation was a challenge. Kaynan         accessing the Internet but was able
                                             was unable to recruit a blogger from        to blog about her insights on the
                                                                                         unfolding situation, prompting other
                                                                                         bloggers to express concern for her
                                                                                         safety. A video shot in Vanak Square
                                                                                         testified vividly to the Iranian protes-
                                                                                         tors’ anger, frustration and bravery.
                                                                                            Other comments provided informa-
                                                                                         tional tidbits and personal reactions.
                                                                                         One, from “Ibraheem,” a Lebanese,
                                                                                         read in part:
                                                                                            Ending war in the human experi-
                                                                                         ence requires more than watching
The Iran page gave
voice to Iranian protesters.
                                                                                         television and disapproving; or feeling
                                                                                         shocked or hopeless or political
Twitter allowed Iranians to share election
protest atrocities with the world.           Gaza, for example, but did convince a       activism. It requires a change of
                                             West Bank Palestinian to take part.         consciousness. Until you change the
all over the Middle East a forum to          Some groups, like the Bedouins she          consciousness of war in yourself ––
exchange ideas and information.              approached, were reluctant to post in       the consciousness of enemies, allies,
   “It was initiated because of the          English, which is required, even            villains and righteousness ––you will
special circumstances we live in,” says      though they speak the language well.        continue to create wars.
Dr. Azran, who is the Burda Center’s            And of course, participants must have       At more peaceful moments, Good
strategic manager and a lecturer in the      Internet access. This is surprisingly       Neighbors’ exchanges are of a more
Department of Communication                  widespread in Palestinian territories,      everyday nature, about local concerts,
Studies. “We wanted to bring together        Kaynan says, but not in countries with      for example. Kaynan thinks this
some of the leading bloggers from all        large percentages of very poor people,      information, too, contributes over
the countries––Jordan, Lebanon, Syria,       like Egypt. Iran, Azran notes, has long     time toward new attitudes, demon-
Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan, Palestinians       had a strong blogging culture.              strating common interests.
and Israel—to test a psychological              Local political pressures against           The site’s value is as a naturalistic
idea, the contact hypothesis: When           participating in the project can be         study, she says. “There are no con-
people who are supposed to be                intense. In Syria interacting with          trols, unlike a lab setting, where you
‘the other’—the enemy—meet on a              someone from an enemy country is            can control everything. When you
personal and equal level, will they          against the law, and the Lebanese           put it out you see what’s happening
like each other better? We wanted to         have lately been heard from less often      with individuals and how they relate,
see if it happens online.”                   and similar reasons are suspected.          with all the things going on in the
   The idea originated with Dr. Yael         Most of the bloggers post secretly,         real world—like war.”
Kaynan, who arrived at BGU four              identifying themselves only by                 The results can surprise. Azran
years ago as a senior lecturer and           country and using online names such         recalls that during the civil war between
applied for a project grant. “My field       as Big Pharaoh, Free Cedar and Yaser.       Hamas and Fatah, “commenting on the
of study is psychology, relationships           Maintaining the site logistically is     Lebanese refugee camp, some Fatah
and group dynamics on the Internet,          not simple. “It takes a lot of resources    people said Israel treated people better
so the project combined a lot of inter-      because hackers constantly try to take      than the Lebanese, a discourse that is
ests,” she says. “How do people relate       it down,” notes Azran, “so it needs a       very rare to hear.”
to conflict situations? How do we            lot of security, especially during war.”       Kaynan found a set of Palestinian
forge bonds with our neighbors? The          War takes a toll on participation as        interactions personally enlightening.
questions became very personal when          well. The recent war in Gaza cost the       “Many people tend to look at
I moved here.”                               site nearly a third of its regular blog-    Palestinians as having uniform views,
   Kaynan actively recruited bloggers        gers, Azran says.                           but I learned that there was a wide
known in their own communities and              Despite all the obstacles, the site is   variety of views and factions, and
a good number initially agreed to            lively and opinions are presented in a      different beliefs about ‘one state’ versus
contribute. Like many blog platforms,        serious, civilized and often passionate     ‘two states.’ So I saw that they’re not
Good Neighbors is also open to com-          tone. Postings about the Iranian upris-     so different from the Israelis in having
mentators from anywhere who want             ing had an on-the-scene urgency. One                              Continued on Page 31

                                                                                                         IMPACT | Fall 2009     21

FOR MANY BGU students, the universi-               actually making students part of the                Candidates for Open Apartments are
ty experience is more than just study-             neighborhoods.                                   carefully screened through an inter-
ing, career preparation and social life.              In exchange for free rent, they live          view process and workshop, Sarousi
   To Mohamed Abu Saelek, a phar-                  in underprivileged areas in Beer-Sheva           explains. “It’s a demanding thing, not
macy major who grew up in a                        and dedicate at least eight hours per            like putting in four hours and then
Bedouin village, it’s showing kids from            week to improving the lives of the               going home. It needs a special student
a low socio-economic background like               residents in some way. They may give             who knows how to live together with
his own that they too can go to col-               courses in community centers, tutor              people and communicate.” Each neigh-
lege and plan for a successful life.               children, arrange parties, paint walls,          borhood has a coordinator to help
   For Nadav Shem-Tov, an electrical               make household repairs, or just listen           with problems, as well as oversight
engineering student, it’s getting                  to their neighbors’ problems. They               from the program’s general coordina-
                                                                                                    tor, Ilan Kalgrad.
                                                                                                       Coming from a wide range of back-
                                                                                                    grounds and educational interests, the
                                                                                                    students reflect Israel’s own diversity,
                                                                                                    Sarousi says.
                                                                                                       Nadav, the electrical engineering
                                                                                                    student, says that he was initially afraid
                                                                                                    of meeting people from cultures unlike
                                                                                                    his own. “In my first student years
                                                                                                    I didn’t manage to know anybody else
                                                                                                    different from my own friends and
                                                                                                    family. I didn’t know how to speak
                                                                                                    with other people before, how to
                                                                                                    behave,” he says. “But I wasn’t an out-
                                                                                                    sider very long—every time you’re in
                                                                                                    the street it’s like you know everybody,
                                                                                                    no matter what the age. The neighbor-
                                                                                                    hood people are very supportive, like
                                                                                                    one big family. It’s a lifestyle I didn’t
                                                                                                    know before.”
                                                                                                       Nadav works with children, running
Six student participants in the Open Apartments program: Shir Varon, Shmuel Boanish, Keren Green,
Nadav Shem-Tov, Mohamed Abu Saelek and Libat Apolet                                                 activities, playing games and
                                                                                                    organizing holiday events.
involved with very unfamiliar cultures             also adopt families and are available            He also teaches math
and being part of a community where                24 hours per day, every day.                     to several adults.
“everybody knows everybody and it’s                   “These communities have many
like one big family.”                              very poor immigrants and unemployed
    And to Shir Varon—an MBA Honors                people, and the University seems far
student headed for a business career—              away from their natural life,” explains
it’s a chance to “build bridges between            Vered Sarousi Katz, who directs the
people and be part of something that               Community Action Unit of which Open
is greater than me.”                               Apartments is a part. “Our students
    The three are among 100 BGU stu-               show that the University can be very
dents who participate yearly in Open               close to the community without being
Apartments, a unique BGU program                   judgmental or patronizing. They’ll do
now in its 31st year of operation. The             anything to help, to be there for them,
program bridges the university world               but see their neighbors as people who
and its surrounding communities by                 contribute to their lives, as well.”

22    IMPACT | Fall 2009
                                                                                                    COMMUNITY OUTREACH

   Shir, the MBA student, also grew         area camps, the kids are not easy.           thing for Israel”—perhaps run a large
up in an area “totally different” from      “They have a lot of problems.                community organization, or perhaps
Beer-Sheva and sought a new experi-         They come from broken homes; their           become an ambassador. “The Open
ence. “When I was interviewed, I            parents don’t have much money or             Apartments experience will shape my
knew everyone was saying they want-         are sick – you can see that on the           future for the better,” he believes.
ed to contribute, and I wanted to do        kids; they tell you. You try to make            And then there is Mohamed, who
that too, but to tell the truth, I also     them open to you, try to make them           grew up in a Bedouin village. He
wanted to be part of a community,           feel better, you talk to the parents and     works in a community center and runs
to belong to a place. And I wanted          involve other people who can help.”          a computer club. Kids came without
to experience a life that I know exists         She helps elementary-schoolers with      knowing how to turn on the computer,
in Israel but wasn’t familiar with.”        homework in an after-school center,          he reports. “Now they know Word,
                                            where she also does arts and crafts.         Excel; they send messages to each
                                            “It’s nice to get them off the streets and   other and are exposed to new areas
                                            find them something to do—they love          not possible before.”
                                            it,” she says. But there are moments            The family he adopted is from Gaza,
                                            of truth, like “when you open the            and came to Israel because they had
                                            refrigerator and there’s nothing in          cooperated with Israel and were in
                                            it...They need more help, a lot of it.”      danger. Mohamed is teaching them
                                                A management and political science       Hebrew. “They have no language, a very
                                            major, Keren’s long-range ambition is        bad socioeconomic situation, serious
                                            in fact to help: “This is just a begin-      identity problems and very big difficul-
                                            ning to what I’m planning to do. I’ll        ties integrating here,” Mohamed says.
                                            work in a Jewish agency, raise money,           His own experience was not dissim-
                                            whatever I can think of to help.”            ilar. He became a BGU student as a
   Nevertheless, the reality brought            Shmuel Boanish is a 26-year-old          result of the University’s access pro-
surprises. “At the beginning, coming        politics and philosophy major and was        gram called “Promotion of Accessibility
to the neighborhood was a shock—            happy to discover the Open Apartments        to Higher Education for Negev Pupils,”
the social, cultural and economic           Program. “I find it really impressive        which brings Jewish and Bedouin chil-
gap was a hard adjustment. But once         that you can come as a student and do        dren to the University every Friday.
you cross the chasm you learn a lot         something in the community, and it’s            He takes his status as a role model
about society and yourself,” says Shir.     really important to me. It’s something       seriously. “I like giving emotional and
   Shir gives a lot of time to middle       that no other university in Israel does.”    psychological support to the children
school teenagers. “I like when they             In addition to teaching children’s art
come to cook, watch TV or just talk.        courses twice a week, Shmuel adopted
I help with their homework. I think         a family from Ethiopia that has experi-
every time we meet it’s a good time,        enced more than its share of problems.
though sometimes it can be hard.” There     The mother has been hospitalized in
are especially satisfying moments, like     a coma, and her husband, who is out
when a boy he helped with a school          of work, spends much of the day with
project called to say he got an “A.”        her. There are eight children.
   Shir hopes eventually to become              “They are in my place or I am in
a business executive, and because of        theirs,” Shmuel says. “I come home
Open Apartments he will look for a          and they come to play on my comput-
company that is strongly involved in        er; I help the older daughter with her
volunteer activities. “I think that espe-   English; I work with their social work-
cially in this country, we need to find     ers. The five-year old had a birthday        and family—it makes me feel like
bridges between people, and some-           and her parents weren’t there—but we         I make a real difference in their lives.
times there is just a lack of experience    celebrated with cake and presents. I         The program made me more ambi-
between residents in the middle of          never saw a kid, or a family, so happy.      tious. I want to be a better person and
Israel and places like Beer-Sheva.”             “It’s not like a work connection,        help people who come from the same
   Keren Green says that she’s been         it’s part of my life. This experience        background I do to become better
counseling children “all my life” and       will stay with me, and the family will;      people and get a higher education.
when she came to BGU, knew imme-            they are like my family to me.”              I believe that to create a better society,
diately that the program was for her.           Shmuel plans to get a second             everybody should be doing this.”
Compared to working in Tel Aviv             degree and then hopes “to do some-                                 Continued on Page 31

                                                                                                         IMPACT | Fall 2009     23

A series of environmental symposia featuring BGU Prof. David Faiman, Prof. Avigad Vonshak
and Dr. Nadav Shashar were held in the Great Lakes, Greater Texas, Mid-Atlantic and
Washington/Baltimore regions in the spring.
Each expert discussed his research and the ways
he is helping to green the environment —
in Israel and the world.

PROF. FAIMAN, chair of the Department of Solar Energy
and Environmental Physics at BGU’s Jacob Blaustein
Institutes for Desert Research (BIDR), explained how
his new technology is helping to create affordable solar
energy (see pg. 6). Dr. Shashar, head of the BGU Dolphin
Reef Laboratory in Eilat, discussed his collaborative work
with Jordanian professors and students to restore natural
reef environments in the Red Sea. Prof. Vonshak, director
of the BIDR, shared the Institutes’ research and experi-
mentation with water purification, alternative energy and
ecological and environmental conservation.
    Two additional special guests were part of the Greater
Texas symposia. Mark Kapner, senior strategy engineer at
Austin Energy, discussed environmental engineering and
policy and Austin’s GreenChoice program, the nation’s
leading renewable energy marketing program, during the
Austin symposium. Lorin L. Vant-Hull, professor emeritus
of physics at the University of Houston, spoke about his
work with solar energy projects for 30 years during the
Houston symposium.
    The events, many of which were co-sponsored with         Top: Profs. Faiman and Vonshak and Dr. Shashar are welcomed by reception
community partners, attracted large audiences of current     hosts and Philadelphia Chapter Chairs Mona and David Zeehandelaar.
AABGU supporters, regional leaders and new University        Bottom: Dr. Shashar with Ray Daniels and AABGU Treasurer and D.C.
friends. I                                                   Chapter Chair Art Hessel

GREAT LAKES                                                  participated in the Young Professionals Israel Experience
                                                             in March and extended his stay to visit BGU’s Sede Boqer
Ernie Simon, Chair                                           campus.
Larry Goodman, Honorary Chair                                    “Developing the personal relationships with the
Judy Rosen, Director                                         professors and seeing their work in the lab and in the field
(847) 325-5009                                               really gives me a strong connection to the University,” said                                             Paul. He and his family are longtime supporters, but this
                                                             was Paul’s first visit to BGU. We know he’ll be back!
    Harriet Winer, AABGU’s vice president of development,        Co-sponsored by seven community organizations, the
visited the Great Lakes community and met with the           successful environmental symposia held in Chicago attracted
region’s new local leadership.                               new community leaders, AABGU supporters, Governor’s
    Paul Goodman, national and regional board member,        office personnel and many new BGU friends.

24   IMPACT | Fall 2009
                                                                                                                        REGIONAL NEWS

Dr. Nadav Shashar of the Department of Life Sciences, Regional Board   Rabbi Jeffrey Weill of Temple Beth-El; Prof. David Faiman, chair of the
Member Jody Schmidt and David Schmidt                                  Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics; Regional Director
                                                                       Judy Rosen

Carolyn Yasuna, Associate Director
(561) 237-2870

   An enthusiastic and committed contingent of South
Florida residents traveled to the University in May to
participate in BGU’s 39th Annual Board of Governors’
Meeting and celebrations. Among the group were Board
of Governors’ member Edy Freedman and her husband
Sol Freedman, Sandra and Billy Joel, Joel Reinstein
                                                                       Zoom Fleisher, Carolyn Yasuna, Edy and Sol Freedman in Sede Boqer
and Jenny Cohen, Board of Governors’ member Lyon Roth,
and Palm Beach Gardens philanthropist Zoom Fleisher,
a first-time BGU visitor.
   Associate Director Carolyn Yasuna and Zoom met with
professors at BGU’s Marcus Family and Sede Boqer
Campuses. Zoom, a retired entrepreneur and mechanical
engineer, was particularly enamored with Professor
Eran Sher, of the Department of Mechanical Engineering,
and his students. After viewing and discussing a variety
of innovative experiments in Sher’s Internal Combustion
Engine Lab, Zoom addressed the students about his
experiences in creating, growing and managing a successful
metal fabricating business for 40 years.
   BGU founders and longtime leaders Edy and Sol
Freedman joined Zoom to tour the Jacob Blaustein
Institutes for Desert Research and hear Professors Avigad              Zoom Fleisher (right) and Prof. Eran Sher
Vonshak and Eilon Adar discuss the critical issues of water
management and sustainability.                                         by the Hermans’ generous gesture of a founder’s gift in
   Prior to their BGU visit, Sandra and Billy Joel traveled            support of the Open Apartments Program.
throughout northern Israel with close friends Sylvia and                  A series of parlor meetings and intimate opportunities
Jerry Herman. Once the Joels introduced their friends to               to meet BGU professors is currently being planned for
the University, the passion was infectious, evidenced                  the upcoming winter season.

                                                                                                                   IMPACT | Fall 2009       25

Lite Sabin and Jessica Sillins, Chairs
Kevin M. Leopold, Director
Wendy Clarfeld, Associate Director
(212) 687-7721 •

   As part of an ongoing lecture series, the region hosted
Dr. Eli Lewis of the Department of Clinical Biochemistry
at the Bentley Hotel’s Rooftop Lounge. Dr. Lewis discussed
his recent advances in diabetes research, which allows
a transplanted group of healthy islets to survive in the
patient, thereby eliminating the need for otherwise necessary
daily insulin injections. The audience appreciated his down-
to-earth explanations of diabetes, the methods of treatment
and his team’s research.
   Prof. David Roskies led a “class” on the poetry and life of
Avrom Sutzkever and also illustrated the mission and vision
of BGU’s new Center for Yiddish Studies, which he will
establish and head as of February 2010. In addition, Dr. Amir
Shapiro of the Department of Mechanical Engineering
brought his robots from his Robotics Lab and demonstrated
their potential for improving crucial industries, including
military and defense, medical and agriculture. Both of these
events took place at the JCC of Manhattan.                       Top: Regional Co-Chair Lite Sabin with Oscar and Miriam Zanger at the
   On October 28, the region will present AABGU’s                Bentley Hotel for Dr. Eli Lewis’ diabetes lecture; Bottom: Young professionals
Humanitarian Awards to Leonard Litwin, Jeffrey Gural,            and their children enjoyed the wonder of Dr. Amir Shapiro and his robots
Jane Gural-Senders and Barbara Gural for their exemplary
commitment and contributions toward Alzheimer’s                  ready for Phase 1 human testing.
treatment. Prof. Alon Monsonego of the Department of               We are delighted to report that the Israel Experience
Microbiology and Immunology will be the featured speaker,        mission was a tremendous success. Over a dozen young
and will discuss his holistic approach to the disease, and       professionals explored the Negev and BGU’s campuses
how he is approaching completion of a vaccine that is            during the weeklong trip in March (see pg. 7).

Sandra and Steven Finkleman, Chairs
Deborah K. Bergeron, Director
(713) 522-8284

   Dinner Chairs Lisa Lepow Turboff and Stephen Friedman
planned a superb 8th Annual Gourmet Kosher Dining
Extravaganza, which was held in the Omni Houston Hotel’s
new ballroom. Excitement was in the air in anticipation of
dishes from six of Houston’s top chefs.                          Regional Board Member and Dinner Chair Lisa Lepow Turboff, 2009 David
   Participating chefs were Amici’s Bruce McMillan, Carmelo’s    Ben-Gurion Award recipients Haya and Dr. Jacob Varon and Regional
Carmelo Mauro, Mockingbird Bistro’s John Sheely, Mark’s          Board Member and Dinner Chair Stephen Friedman at the Eighth Annual
                                                                 Gourmet Kosher Dining Extravaganza in Houston
Mark Cox, Polo’s Signature’s Adam Puskorius and Omni
Houston Hotel’s Dean Sprague. The chefs created a unique         charisma, charm and great food in grand style.
award-winning kosher dining experience for a crowd                  Haya and Jacob Varon were the evening’s recipients
of over 300. The “Men of the Evening” presented their            of the David Ben-Gurion Leadership Award for their

26   IMPACT | Fall 2009
                                                                                                                         REGIONAL NEWS

contribution to the Houston community, Israel and Ben-
Gurion University. Honorary committee members Anita and
Roberto Eigler, Marla and Stewart Feldman, Raquel and
Jacobo Goldberg, Vela G. and H. Fred Levine and Becky
and Joe Williams were among presenters on a tribute video
dedicated to the Varons.
   Mark your calendars for February 24, 2010 for the 9th
Annual Gourmet Kosher Dining Extravaganza.

AABGU’s Austin environmental symposium speakers: Prof. David Faiman,
Austin Energy’s Mark Kapner, Prof. Avigad Vonshak, Dr. Nadav Shashar,
Regional Director Deborah Bergeron

Jack R Bershad, Regional Chair
Mona & David Zeehandelaar, Philadelphia Chapter Chairs
Connie & Sam Katz, Philadelphia Chapter Vice Chairs
Claire Winick, Director
(215) 884-4510

   The Philadelphia chapter participated in the Israel Bonds
“Evening of Honor” community gathering in April. Shirley
Tauber was named AABGU’s honoree.
   Over 80 people attended the spring environmental
symposium breakfast featuring Professors David Faiman,                  Cathy Miller and Rabbi Eliseo Rozenwasser of Har Zion Temple; Prof. Avigad
Avigad Vonshak and Dr. Nadav Shashar. The scientists                    Vonshak; Ernest Scheller, Jr., then-Philadelphia Chapter Chair; Dr. Nadav
captivated the audience at the event co-sponsored by                    Shashar; Harriet Soffa, member of BGU’s Board of Governors; Prof. David
Har Zion Temple, and later addressed Negev Forum guests                 Faiman; Regional Director Claire Winick and Dr. Steven Moskowitz of Har
at the home of Mona and David Zeehandelaar.                             Zion Temple at the environmental symposium
   A cocktail reception in June featured the installation
of chapter officers. AABGU Executive Vice President
Doron Krakow was the speaker. Sam Greenblatt served
as installing officer and Mona and David Zeehandelaar
accepted the chapter chairmanship. Also inaugurated and
in attendance were new Vice Chairs Connie and Sam Katz
and a complement of talented and committed chapter
and region associate chairs.
   Jack R Bershad, Mid-Atlantic regional chair, who
accepted the role of planned giving campaign chair, hosted
a luncheon meeting in June. Estate planning professional
Ellen Estes presented a program to enlighten chapter
officers about the many advantages of planned gifts.
   Members of the region’s Tomorrow’s Leadership and
Negev Forum gathered for a program on the Ethiopian                     New Philadelphia Chapter Chairs David and Mona Zeehandelaar and
experience at a reception hosted by Pam Stein, newly                    outgoing chair Ernest Scheller, Jr. (center)
appointed to the leadership team of Tomorrow’s Leadership.
   In September, a brunch will be hosted by Roslyn and                  members Drs. Donald Balaban and Robert Zikpin will be
Charles Epstein, featuring the installation of new chairs of            welcomed to the position.
the chapter’s Health Sciences Resource Committee.                         Anticipating an exceptional annual community tribute
Outgoing founding chairs Dr. Alton Sutnick, and Dr. Stanley             dinner, the region announced that Jacob Shochat will be the
Tauber of blessed memory, will be honored, and newest                   November 15, 2009 guest of honor.

                                                                                                                    IMPACT | Fall 2009         27

Max Schechner, President
Mark Goldman & Ralph Kaplan, Chairs
Harriet Winer, Vice President of Development
(800) 962-2248

   On June 17, the New England Region hosted the 26th
Annual Night at the Pops at the Boston Symphony Hall.
The concert, “A Richard Rodgers Celebration,” featured
the Tanglewood Music
Center Vocal Fellows and
was conducted by Keith
Lockhart. The event was
chaired by Lauri-Jo
Kotzen and Shirley Spero.
Funds were raised for
BGU’s Open Apartments
Program, a unique
community outreach
venture. BGU students
live rent-free in disadvan-
taged neighborhoods
in exchange for weekly
community service
(see pg. 22).
   As AABGU looks to                                        Top: Pops Co-Chair Lauri-Jo Kotzen with Marjorie and Max Schechner
improve its outreach and increase its revenue while         Left: Norm and Carol Tasgal at the Pops
minimizing expenses, streamlining operations under a        Bottom: Lenie and Richard Fraiman; Mel and Bea Fraiman
severe economic climate has become a priority. The con-
tinuing recession and its growing impact on philanthropy       AABGU acknowledges the long and successful history
have compelled AABGU to make some adjustments,              of the region and is enormously appreciative of the
including the closure of the New England regional office.   dedication and hard work of its professional staff and lay
The professional infrastructure and donor development       leadership and remains committed to the donors and
is now being conducted out of New York’s national           leaders of the New England Region. We are grateful for
office by Boston resident Harriet Winer, vice president     your long-term support and look forward to a continuing
of development.                                             partnership.

Sonny Hurst, President
Daphna Noily, Director
(415) 927-2119

A women’s leadership forum is being developed to
bring together an elite group of San Francisco Bay-area
women who have demonstrated a deep connection to
Israel and hold leadership roles. The inaugural Steering
Committee meeting was hosted by Roselyne (Cissie)           BGU President Rivka Carmi and Roselyne (Cissie) Swig

28   IMPACT | Fall 2009
Photo: Wolfgang Motzafi-Haller                                                                                                                                   REGIONAL NEWS

                                 The Prof. Daniel E. Koshland Jr. Promenade at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes
                                 for Desert Research was dedicated this spring in the presence of the late
                                                                                                                         The Northwest Region and AABGU family mourn
                                 scientist and benefactor’s son and daughter. Left to right: Prof. Raymond Dwek,      the loss of Charlotte Spitzer, who died surrounded
                                 FRS, longtime friend; Dr. Douglas Koshland; BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi;         by her immediate family in Seattle in July. Together
                                 and Phlyp Koshland                                                                   with her late husband Jack, her generous support of
                                                                                                                      the Charlotte B. and Jack J. Spitzer Department of
                                 Swig in her beautiful home. BGU President Prof. Rivka                                Social Work and the Spitzer-Salant Building for the
                                 Carmi was the featured guest. Future plans include a                                 Department of Social Work ensured the department’s
                                 two-day overnight retreat in Sonoma County, a symposium                              establishment and continued development, allowing it
                                 devoted to important issues specifically impacting women                             to become one of the finest academic programs in
                                 and ultimately convening a series of international women’s                           Israel and a major player in serving the communities
                                 conferences at BGU.                                                                  of the Negev. May her memory be a blessing.
                                    Jacob (Coby) and Riki Dayan dedicated a garden in
                                 memory of Jacob’s parents Eta and Eitan Dayan during
                                 BGU’s 2009 Annual Board of Governors Meeting in May                               Jordan. He specifically cited BGU’s new Israeli-Jordanian
                                 (see pg. 4). Dayan family members came from far and near,                         Academic Emergency Medicine Program, co-sponsored
                                 joining AABGU delegates and BGU dignitaries                                       by the Jordanian Red Crescent.
                                 and faculty for the dedication.                                                      Suse Smetana, a generous donor from the region, has
                                    In July, the region co-sponsored a lunch and learn                             provided additional funding for a new fully equipped
                                 program with the JCRC in San Francisco, featuring Prof.                           Mobile Eye Clinic which will travel to outlying regions of
                                 Jim Torcyzner from McGill University who spoke about the                          the Negev, providing eye screenings and medical care
                                 possibilities of building a real peace between Israel and                         for immobile residents.

                                 Ruth Flinkman, Campaign Chair
                                 Philip Gomperts, Director
                                 (310) 552-3300

                                    Lottie Marcus celebrated a special birthday in Laguna
                                 Beach in February. AABGU board member Ellen Marcus,
                                 Ellen’s husband Harvey Malyn and her daughter Jennifer
                                 Kaplan were accompanied by Regional Director Philip
                                 Gomperts. Lottie and husband Howard were also joined
                                 by a number of other friends and relatives.
                                    In July, the region hosted three Robotic Future events,
                                 which featured Dr. Amir Shapiro of BGU’s Department of
                                 Mechanical Engineering and head of its Robotics Lab.                              Diane Glazer with Amir and Chaya Shapiro

                                                                                                                                                              IMPACT | Fall 2009   29

Dr. Shapiro discussed the lab’s latest research projects
and presented fascinating demonstrations of the robots
he designed based on animal physiology, including a
snakebot and a balancing robot made from LEGOs.
   Roy Zuckerberg, chair of BGU’s Board of Governors,
hosted the first Robotic Future event at the prestigious Los
Angeles Hillcrest Country Club. Regional Campaign Chair
Ruth Flinkman hosted a large group of friends at her
elegant home to experience this captivating program.
The third program was hosted in collaboration with the
California-Israel Chamber of Commerce and the Consulate
for Israel in Los Angeles at the Luxe Summit Hotel.
   The three programs were very well attended by
impressed audiences. Many attendees expressed sheer
delight and excitement to see the very promising robotic
                                                                  Ellen Marcus and daughter Jennifer Kaplan
future, where BGU is a leader in this field.

Edie and Art Hessel, Washington D.C. Chapter Chairs
Keren M. Waranch, Director
(240) 482-4844

World-renowned author, poet and BGU creative writing
Professor Etgar Keret was in Washington, D.C. in March for
a presentation sponsored by the Washington D.C. Jewish
Community Center’s Nextbook author series. Several
AABGU supporters attended this humorous and informative
   The region organized two well attended environmental
symposia in May. The events were co-sponsored by several          D.C. Chapter Board Member Anat Bar-Cohen with the wife of Israel’s new
                                                                  ambassador to the U.S. Sally Oren at the May 6th environmental symposium
other organizations to expand the community of friends and
supporters in the area.
   Several VIPs attended the Washington, D.C. event,
including the wife of the new ambassador to Israel, Sally
Oren. The attendees at the Baltimore symposium were a
mixture of long-time generous supporters, including Toby
and Mort Mower and several members of the Blaustein
family, and new friends of the University.
   The region is proud to announce the recent hire of BGU
alumna Rediet Teshome as the new development assistant.
An Ethiopian-Israeli, Rediet and her family emigrated to Israel
from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1991. After graduation from
BGU, Rediet worked at an absorption center for Ethiopian
immigrants as an education coordinator for 400 students.
   While her family currently resides in Jerusalem, Rediet
moved to the United States in 2004. In addition to her role       Rediet Teshome speaking about her Ethiopian-Israeli experiences
as development assistant, Rediet has been helping the
region by speaking publicly about her experiences as an             Please check the Washington/Baltimore regions and
Ethiopian-Israeli and BGU alumna at several local syna-           events page at to learn about news and
gogues and Hadassah groups.                                       upcoming events.

30   IMPACT | Fall 2009
ISRAEL EXPERIENCE                          postings daily. Additionally, comments      AABGU salutes our
Continued from Page 7                      are picked up and redistributed by
Machane Yehuda to observe the              other political blogs, further broaden-     generous supporters who
shopping frenzy in preparation for         ing the conversation.                       joined BGU’s prestigious
Shabbat, they enjoyed delicious
noshing and the buzz of Jerusalem life.    WHAT HAS BEEN LEARNED                       Ben-Gurion and Founders’
   After another delectable Israeli        “I found that the biggest problem with      Societies this year
meal following Havdalah, there were        the contact theory is that while people
many teary goodbyes as everyone            learn not to stereotype the people          (contributions made
departed for their trips home or           they’re talking to, in many cases they      through April 2009).
extended visits in Israel. Since return-   think of them as exceptions to the
ing to the States, participants have       rule rather than being typical. So they
                                                                                       BEN-GURION SOCIETY
maintained communication through           don’t generalize past the people they
e-mail, Facebook and regional events.      communicate with,” Kaynan sums up.          Isaac and Carol Auerbach Family Foundation, PA
   Paul Goodman, a participant from           “But sometimes the tone softened,        Dr. Beryl Bearint, Port St. Lucie, FL
Chicago, summed up the trip: “We in        moving from very aggressive com-            Richard and Rhoda Goldman, San Francisco, CA
the U.S. often view Israel through the     ments to ‘I hear what you’re saying,        Richard and Edythe Kane, Sarasota, FL
one-dimensional prism of the Mideast       bro, but I completely disagree.’ And        Leonard Litwin, Great Neck, NY
conflict, but a visit to Israel and the    one reader survey found some pretty         David and Fela Shapell Family, Beverly Hills, CA
amazing people that make BGU a world-      major changes in people’s opinions          Jacob Shochat, Mahwah, NJ
class institution opened my eyes in        and stereotyping—some Lebanese
ways that I could never have imagined.     and Israelis became very close, for         FOUNDERS
I intend to return again and again.” I     example, and showed a high regard,          Golda and Gilbert Baker, Houston, TX
                                           a feeling of being alike.”                  Dr. Beryl Bearint, Port St. Lucie, FL
WHILE I WAS SLEEPING                          On the whole, Kaynan believes            Blanche and Leopold Bustin, Oceanside, CA
Continued from Page 11                     that almost all participants experi-        In memory of Jacob Feldman, Lafayette Hill, PA
   Her current research topics cover a     enced some movement toward greater          Sandra and Steven Finkelman, Houston, Texas
wide range: the inability to stick to a    understanding, if only baby steps.          Norma (Moinester) and Harry Fishbein, Tamarac, FL
chosen strategy simply because things         “We don’t make shifts in a country,      Mel and Bea Fraiman, Belmont, Massachusetts
work as planned, making people             but one person at a time. It takes          Jane and Stephen Friedman, Sugar Land, Texas
suspicious of their good luck; the         time to undermine deeply rooted             In memory of Yehudit and Aron Friedman, Brooklyn, NY
differentiation between technical and      prejudices.” I                              Elinore and Kermit Greene, Newton, MA
functional aspects of service, showing                                                 Dr. Gisela Stein Gross and Edward Gross
why people tip waiters because of          OPEN APARTMENTS                             In honor of Lauren, Philip, Elizabeth & Benjamin Katz
their smile rather than their effort.      Continued from Page 23                      Dr. Israel E. Kirsh, Chicago, IL
She examines the difference between           Sarousi feels that the students’ pres-   Maribeth and Steven Lerner, Lower Gwynedd, PA
inside and outside perspectives            ence for 31 years has helped change         Mary Liss and Sydney Sysskind Liss, Tarzana, CA
leading to gaps and reversals between      the atmosphere of the neighborhoods         Dr. Milton and Mrs. Ruth S. Marks, Pawtucket, RI
choice and advice.                         and made them safer and cleaner.            Goldie Otters, Los Angeles, CA
   “Going back to the research that        People tell her they appreciate the         In memory of Soli Shaio, Beirut, Lebanon
predates this ‘life-changing event’        students and if they go home for the        Mildred and Michel Sidorow Family Foundation, PA
allows a certain ‘escape’,” she says.      summer, the residents wait for them.        Dorothy and Morris Small, Tamarac, FL
   “It is the one anchor in my life        But mostly, success is measured one         In memory of Abraham and Mary Streifer, Kingston, NY
where I can be me before the injury        story at a time—a boy who wanted to         Dr. Harold and Mrs. Barbara Richman, W. Hartford, CT
took over.” I                              quit school explaining two years later      Silverton Family, Woodland Hills, CA
                                           that he changed his mind because of         Lillian and Ralph L. Tallent, Duck Key, FL
GOOD NEIGHBORS                             something a BGU student said, a             Terumah Foundation, Inc.
Continued from Page 21                     family getting help because a student       Haya and Dr. Jacob Varon, Houston, Texas
diverse viewpoints—that was before         helped them write a letter, a formerly      Robin and Harold Vinegar, Bellaire, TX
the Hamas political overthrow in Gaza      disengaged youngster inspired to win        Hermine M. Weinberg and Frieda Maslin, New York, NY
and it was an eye opener.”                 a school prize.                             Ruth and Amos Wilnai, Palo Alto, CA
   Good Neighbors’ reach goes far             “We may not be changing the              Maurice and Sylvia Young, Chicago, Illinois
beyond its contributors. In one month      world in general,” Sarousi says. “But       Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation, Tulsa, OK
tracked, it drew about 5,000 readers       we’re doing a lot of good things there      Mona and David Zeehandelaar, Villanova, PA
from 87 countries. Typically between       that really make a difference to a lot      In honor of our parents – Marla & Robert Zipkin, PA
150 and 200 unique visitors read           of people.” I
                                                                                                       IMPACT | Fall 2009            31
                                                                                        Nonprofit Org.
                                                                                         U.S. Postage
                                                                                        New York, NY
                                                                                        Permit #2189

1430 Broadway, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10018

Charitable Gift Annuity
                                            Travel to Tunisia…
                                            Taste Your Way
                                            through Israel
                                            As BGU celebrates
                                            its 40th anniversary,
                                            join AABGU Tour Chairs
                                            Alex Goren and Carol and Harry
                                            Saal to Tunisia and/or Israel.
Educating our children…                     Tunisia and its Jewish
                                            Communities: Past and Present
It’s the tradition that has led to          April 29 through May 5, 2010
the survival and success of the Jewish
                                            Sip, Savor and Celebrate:
people for more than 5,000 years.
                                            A Culinary Adventure in Israel
Continue the legacy with a Charitable       May 5 through May 9, 2010
Gift Annuity from AABGU.                    40th Anniversary Board of
                                            Governors’ Meeting
Our CGA does more than offer you            May 9 through May 12, 2010
income for life and a tax deduction;
                                            Choose one, two or all three options.
it supports exceptional education
                                            • Partake in unique North African
and research, as well as sustainable          Lag B’Omer festivities in Tunisia.
development of the Negev.                   • Join a leading Israeli culinary expert
                                              who will titillate your sense of taste.
For CGA rates or information about          • Commemorate BGU’s special anniversary
other planned gifts, such as trusts and       with inspiring events and outstanding
bequests, contact the regional office         celebrations.
nearest you or call 800-962-2248.           For more information, contact
                                   or call 800-962-2248,
                                            ext.112 or visit
               Printed on recycled paper.

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