“A True Chance to Follow My Dream”

TAU medical student Batya Sonnenfeld follows in the footsteps of late Prof. Dina Lev, as the inaugural recipient of memorial scholarship.

Since high school, TAU medical student Batya Sonnenfeld knew she wanted to pursue a medical career. Having grown up in the Chabad ultra-Orthodox education system in the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Malachi, though, her choices seemed limited.  

“I felt there weren’t many options when I finished high school,” she says. While most ultra-Orthodox institutions do not include a curriculum of core subjects such as math and science needed for academic studies, the Chabad system does and Batya excelled at them. Still, at that point, she was only comfortable with gender-segregated institutions.  

A short time later, she enrolled in an undergraduate optometry program at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem for ultra-Orthodox women. “Before I even finished my optometry studies, I knew I wanted to learn more about medicine.”    

However, she wasn’t sure she would be able to realize her medical aspirations as academia’s top medical programs seemed extremely challenging to get into and unfamiliar from her upbringing in the ultra-Orthodox education system. 

She followed her heart and forged a journey that eventually led her to Tel Aviv University. Today, she is a second-year medical student and the inaugural recipient of the Dina Lev Scholarship, named for late TAU professor and alumna Prof. Dina Lev, who was a leading breast cancer surgeon and researcher.  

Relentless Pursuit  

Sonnenfeld, the youngest of 12 children, married her husband shortly after earning her optometry degree. “At that point in my life, I felt more stable and mature,” she recalls.  

It was then that she began exploring top university medical programs and came across TAU. The four-year accelerated MD track at one of Israel’s top-ranked medical schools appealed to her. She thought it might be a long shot considering the extremely competitive nature of Israeli medical schools, even among students who aren’t from the ultra-Orthodox education system and come with all the advantages and preparations. Determined, Sonnenfeld decided to apply. 

“Then I became pregnant and thought that was the end of my medical dreams,” she says.  

With encouragement from her husband and parents, she completed the prerequisite courses she needed for enrollment and stayed in the running.  

“The day I was accepted to TAU was one of the happiest days of my life,” she beams. “I still have my acceptance letter hanging on my refrigerator. Every time I walk by, it reminds me of what I’m capable of.” 

By the time she began her studies, Sonnenfeld had her first child and soon thereafter she gave birth to her second son. 

“When I was accepted to TAU, my husband was serving in the IDF with an 800-shekel (approximately $240) salary per month,” she said. Therefore, she continued working to provide for her family and pay for tuition until she received the scholarship. 

Perpetuating a Legacy 

“The Dina Lev Scholarship gave me space to really focus on my studies, otherwise it would have been extremely difficult to raise children alongside demanding studies and a full-time job,” said Sonnenfeld. She had applied for a scholarship through the Office of the Dean of Students. 

Moreover, Sonnenfeld was astonished when she learned she had received the scholarship in Dina Lev’s name.  

“By chance, I had read an article about her just a few days before and was so fascinated and inspired by her,” she explains. Sonnenfeld says she was extremely moved when she discovered a Facebook page dedicated to Lev. There, her former patients write touching testimonials about her impact as a compassionate and skilled doctor. 

“Each one of them felt like they were her only patient,” said Sonnenfeld. “As a Chabad member and religious Jew, I believe everything happens for a reason; there’s no coincidence. I feel I have a special duty to honor her legacy.” 

Lev was a professor at TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Director of the Breast Health Center at Assuta Hospital in Ashdod at the time of her untimely death in 2020 at age 55. She graduated from TAU’s medical program before launching a career that led her to become a top surgeon in Israel. Her father, Reuben Ben-Arie, who lives in US, established the scholarship fund through the American Friends of Tel Aviv University (AFTAU) to honor her memory. He explains that he chose TAU because it was his daughter’s intellectual home. 

“Dina would want a woman to follow in her footsteps,” he says. “It’s not easy to have a family and study medicine. To follow that path shows Batya has a passion for it.” 

Sonnenfeld has yet to choose a medical specialty, but she is interested in gynecology and is eager to begin clinical rotations next year at TAU-affiliated hospitals.   

“My hope for the future is to be the type of doctor that Prof. Dina Lev was, who touches the lives of patients with compassion even during some of the most difficult times in their lives,” she says.   

Win-Win Situation 

With two young kids, Sonnenfeld acknowledges that it was challenging to begin her degree at TAU. However, support from the medical faculty helped her ease into the academic rigors in a way that complemented her personal needs.  

“I got a parking spot, extra time for tests, and a very nice nursing room at the medical faculty that I could use,” she explains. Furthermore, she is particularly grateful for the tight-knit social support and hospital shadowing through the course Medical Education and Communication (“Chibuki” in Hebrew) led by Dr. Mirit Lahav. 

“TAU gave me a true chance to follow my dream,” she enthuses. 

Sonnenfeld sees considerable benefits to the growing access of academia for the ultra-Orthodox community. She is among the over 150 students in Trailblazers: The Program for Integrating the Ultra-Orthodox into Tel Aviv University. “Co-ed studying was a concern going into my studies as I had never experienced it before and thought I might be stereotyped, but I felt very accepted,” she says. “There is consideration and respect for my beliefs.” 

Established in 2016 with two students, Trailblazers combines academic studies with educational, psychological, and social support services to ease student entry into secular academia. 

“I think it’s a win-win situation,” she says. “There are tons of talented potential students, many of whom are women, and a lot of will in the community to go out and learn.” 

Scholarship Helps Student Balance Top Internship with Graduate Studies

Legal Scholar David Bodenheim hopes to pay forward donor generosity.

Several years ago, David Bodenheim was a father of baby triplets. He had a full-time job in real estate during the day and studied for a bachelor’s degree in law at a community college at night.

It was at that frenetic juncture in his life that he decided to make a change.

“It was my personal goal to study law, a field that always interested me because of the intellectual challenges it offers both in academia and in practice,” said Bodenheim, who is now in his second year of a master’s degree at TAU’s Buchmann Faculty of Law. Even though he had a lot on his plate, he knew that if he didn’t start then, it would never happen.

Seeking Experiences

Bodenheim has always known how to seek out opportunities for personal development and fulfillment. Growing up in Jerusalem as one of eight children, his parents couldn’t afford the extracurricular activities and enrichment classes he craved. So he convinced his brother-in-law to start a boys’ choir. He says the experience imbued him with confidence, especially when speaking in public—an important skill for a lawyer.

After earning his undergraduate degree, Bodenheim was accepted to TAU’s LL.M. program in civil and commercial law. Alongside his studies, he is completing an internship at Herzog Fox & Neeman (HFN), one of Israel’s largest and most reputable law firms.

 

A Match Made at TAU

Yet, he couldn’t finance his graduate studies alone.

He applied for financial aid, and TAU matched him with the Wahl scholarship to fund his studies. “Receiving the scholarship basically made the choice for me of going to Tel Aviv University,” said Bodenheim. The choice was right. “TAU is an excellent place, and I’ve met amazing people.”

“As a small person in the world, being able to get a scholarship that would help me through school was an amazing feeling. It’s a tremendous advantage not having to pay full tuition. It allows me to focus on my internship and my academic studies.” He is also part of Trailblazers: The Program for Integrating the Ultra-Orthodox into Tel Aviv University. The Program offers a special admission track and support services for ultra-Orthodox students.

In the meantime, Bodenheim is not slowing down. Alongside his internship, he plans to pursue a PhD at TAU and aspires to eventually become a partner at HFN.

“Scholarships in general give a tremendous help to different people coming from different backgrounds who don’t have the financial options to pursue advanced degrees,” he said. “It helps people change the world.”

“My scholarship made a huge difference in my life. I hope to be able to pass that on in the future as a donor myself.”

– By Melanie Takefman

Bringing Healthy Smiles to the Ultra-Orthodox Community

Backed by scholarship and support program, dental student Alon Elias pursues his dream of helping his community.

After spending his formative years in Israel’s ultra-Orthodox education system, Alon Elias decided to pursue a career in which he would make a broader impact on his community and Israeli society.  

He’d always considered himself a people’s person and had a particular interest in healthcare and wellness professions. Standing over six feet tall and with a megawatt smile, Elias exudes an inviting and serene disposition that would welcome any patient. 

The 32-year-old father of six is now completing his second year at TAU’s Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine

Elias, whose father is a dentist, hopes to use his first-hand familiarity with the ultra-Orthodox community to drive the profession forward and overcome some of the concerns and challenges that he has encountered regarding dental health.  

“When I finish my studies, I hope to use my knowledge as a practicing dentist to help the Haredi [ultra-Orthodox] community and increase understanding and awareness of the importance of oral health,” he says. 

To help Elias achieve his academic ambitions at TAU, he received a Presidential Scholarship under the framework of Trailblazers: The Program for Integrating the Ultra-Orthodox into Tel Aviv University. The Program offers a special admission track and comprehensive support services to ease the entry of ultra-Orthodox Jewish students into secular academia. 

 

 

“With intensive studies almost every day and a busy home life, there isn’t much time to work for extra income,” he says. “The scholarship helps me finance my studies and the cost of living, so that I can have the same opportunities as my fellow students to excel and achieve my dreams.” 

He adds, beaming, that the Trailblazers program “gives me everything to succeed, including social and academic resources like private tutoring and English lessons, which have made a big difference for me.” 

Overall, he sees great value in scholarships that provide opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds.   

“Scholarships help to even the playing field for students who don’t all come with the same privileges and advantages,” he muses. “To the donors who support scholarships, I say: Thank you and keep up the incredible work!” 

 

– By Julie Steigerwald  

Mexican Archaeologist Aspires to Bridge Countries, Cultures

Scholarship helped TAU student Andrea Garza pursue graduate studies in Israel.

As an undergraduate student in her native Mexico, Andrea Garza first visited Israel as a volunteer on an archaeological excavation after finishing her BA in archaeology in Mexico. 

“I was impressed by the methodologies and the way they research,” says Garza. That experience planted the seed for pursuing an advanced degree in the field a decade later.  

Thanks to scholarships from Tel Aviv University’s Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures and Mexican Friends of TAU, she enrolled in the master’s program in Ancient Israel Studies at TAU International. Now in her second year, she is writing a thesis about pottery production traditions in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods at Magdala in the Galilee under the supervision of TAU’s Prof. Oded Lipschits and Prof. Andrea Berlin (Boston University). 

“I am very thankful for my scholarships because without them it wouldn’t have been possible to study at TAU and realize my dreams,” she says. “The scholarship allows me to focus on my studies, without having to constantly search for ways to support myself.” 

 “What I like about studying at TAU is that we are very well-connected to professional professors. Also, what we learn in the classroom can be applied very quickly in the field, in archaeological sites throughout Israel.”  

For Garza, studying in Israel, and at TAU specifically, is a unique opportunity. 

In my country, archaeology is different, says Garza; no one in Mexico studies ancient pottery or coins from the Levant, for example. Israel has an “exquisite … material culture,” she adds, people in both countries aren’t familiar with the treasures of the other. “I would love to be the bridge between these two amazing cultures.” 

 

 

To this end, Garza hopes to pursue a PhD at TAU. 

Her future plans underscore how crucial the scholarships have been to the success of her TAU studies.  

“My doctoral studies are conditional on whether I can obtain financial support,” she explains. “Without assistance, it will be very difficult to complete my studies and focus on my research.”  

Beyond her own career, she values the wide-ranging impact of scholarships for both students and the University. 

“Here at TAU, you have great potential to learn a lot from faculty and in the labs and the field. There are a lot of students who want to be a part of this,” she says. “Scholarships are the link that bring them together.” 

 

– By Melanie Takefman

A Rising Star in STEM and Social Engagement

TAU student and Schulich Leader Kochava Pavlov overcame adversity to succeed in academia and beyond.

TAU undergrad Kochava Pavlov always loved learning, but for many years she didn’t believe that she would be part of the academic world because she wouldn’t be able to afford it or wouldn’t qualify.  

Pavlov, 25, grew up in Jerusalem in challenging family circumstances. At age 10, social services placed her in Israel’s boarding school system which houses youth who need a safe place to live. At 14, a friend’s family adopted her, providing her with vital support through her high school years. 

“I used to doubt that I would even graduate high school let alone enter university,” she says.  

Nonetheless, she excelled in high school—particularly in scientific disciplines—and went on to volunteer and work in roles teaching youth and children with special needs. With her standout academics and record of social leadership, she was one of 10 TAU students selected for the 2020-21 Schulich Leader Scholarships program. Now, finishing her second year at TAU studying math with a concentration in computer science, she has her sights set on making a difference for Israeli society.  

“Winning the Scholarship showed me how much others believe in me and want me to succeed,” says Pavlov. “It reaffirmed my belief in what I can accomplish and is helping me pursue my dream of getting a university degree.” 

The Schulich Leader Scholarships program accepts 55 students in total from five participating Israeli universities each year. It was established in 2012 by prominent Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist, Seymour Schulich. The competitive program enables outstanding students – in Israel and Canada – to dedicate themselves to their demanding studies and aims to nurture the next global scientific leaders. The scholarships are granted based on merit, social leadership, and financial need. 

The program supports the entire course of studies for an undergraduate degree in scientific and technological fields. Nearly 90 scholarships have been granted to TAU students since the program’s launch. 

Paying it Forward 

In spite of her challenging upbringing, Pavlov explains that several of her teachers were key to keeping her motivated early in her academic journey. At age 11, she began fencing, in which she excelled. In high school she faced a dilemma of whether to focus on qualifying for Israel’s National Team or schoolwork. Ultimately, she stuck with academics as she believed it would provide her with more opportunities. 

“My teachers’ belief in me helped me to not fall [victim to my circumstances] during my childhood,” she says.  

Pavlov credits the support throughout the years from the boarding school staff to social workers, her adopted family, and the Schulich Scholarship for helping her reach her current successes.  

After high school, Pavlov joined Israel’s Sherut Leumi (“National Service”), a voluntary alternative to military duty, where she discovered her passion for working with children with special needs.  

After finishing her year of national service at age 19, she tutored a child on the autism spectrum for two years. Then, after a few months volunteering and traveling in Africa, she returned to Israel and was accepted to TAU.  

“Ultimately, my dream is to combine my abilities and academic knowledge of math and computer science with my love for helping kids, perhaps by working at an NGO or a school,” she says. “I hope to pay forward the support I’ve received and help others who come from hard backgrounds or struggle with uncertainty.” 

She adds that part of her ambition is to empower others who come from unconventional backgrounds to realize their potential to succeed.  

“When you come from a hard family life, something causes you to think you might not succeed in the way that people from other backgrounds do,” she says. “I want to show others that it is possible to follow their dreams.” 

 

– By Julie Steigerwald

An Unexpected Fit: From Yeshiva to TAU Law School

Trailblazers program & scholarship helped Daniel Ben Zeev find his place at TAU.

Daniel Ben Zeev is one of many second-year students at Tel Aviv University’s Buchmann Faculty of Law, but the path that led him there is a less-travelled one. Ben Zeev grew up in in an ultra-Orthodox family in the city of Bnei Brak, home to several of Israel’s largest and strictest religious communities. He received a traditional religious education, attending all-boy elementary and middle schools, followed by eight years in a system of yeshivas, where he was trained in religious studies with no education in secular subjects. 

 When he married at the age of 22, Ben Zeev had no specific plans for a future career. His wife Yael, however, was already a student at TAU’s Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine. “About a year into our marriage, I decided that I, too, wanted an education that would enable me to have a job and give back to society,” he said.  

Ben Zeev was interested in studying law, a field popular among many religious students because of its similarities to Talmudic studies. TAU was a natural choice for him because he could share the commute with Yael, but he didn’t know where to start.  “The entire system of secular education was foreign to me,” he explained, smiling shyly.   

Ben Zeev called TAU to inquire about admissions, and that’s when he was referred to Trailblazers: the Program for Integrating the Ultra-Orthodox into Tel Aviv University. Traiblazers accompanies the students “from application to graduation”, providing academic and social support, including tutoring, career and psychological counselling, social events and more.   

“With the help of the Program and its dedicated director Galia Givoly, I was able to successfully navigate the enrolment process and prepare for law studies at TAU,” Ben Zeev said.   

 Traiblazers also helped Ben Zeev obtain a scholarship. “Both my wife and I receive scholarships from TAU,” explained Ben Zeev. “Our degrees require a lot of time investment and leave few options for holding down a job. I currently work three times a week, but without a scholarship I’d need to work double that amount, which would be a disaster for my studies. My wife, in her 6th year of dental school, does not have time to work at all,” he said. “Without the support of our scholarships, we wouldn’t be able to complete our studies.”  

 As this article went to print, Daniel and Yael Ben Zeev were expecting their first child. At this exciting time in their lives, they are thankful to the Trailblazers program and scholarships at TAU for enabling their success in academia. “I want to become a lawyer and give back to society, which will be possible with the help of these wonderful programs,” Ben Zeev concluded.  

 

By Sveta Raskin

 

Forging a Brighter Future through Caring

Motivated by scholarship for Israeli-Ethiopian students, TAU nursing undergrad aims to advance society through healthcare, academia and philanthropy.

In both her professional and personal ambitions, Tel Aviv University nursing student Wudnesh Wolde Giorgis is driven by a passion for helping others and especially those in need.  

“I chose to study nursing so I can help people in times of difficulty; it’s a privilege for me,” she says, as she completes her undergraduate degree in nursing studies at the Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions. “I grew up in a family that places a great emphasis on giving and caring for others. It’s part of who I am.”  

Giorgis, 26, is one of nine siblings and the first in her family to pursue higher education. She was born in Ethiopia and made aliyah to Israel with her family when she was five. They settled in the central city of Rishon Lezion, where Giorigs says she had a typical Israeli upbringing, going through the public education system before serving in the IDF. 

Personally Meaningful Support 

To help her achieve her academic goals, Giorgis received a scholarship backed by French philanthropists Andre and Thérèse Harari. The scholarship fund provides full degree support for 20 TAU students of Ethiopian descent each year. The Hararis’ family foundation established the scholarship program at TAU in the 2017-2018 academic year in association with the French Judaism Foundation and French Friends of TAU. 

“Their support isn’t just limited to the duration of time at the University; it’s personally meaningful and can change the whole life of the person who receives it,” Giorgis says. “They enabled me to focus on my studies in peace without worrying about the financial side of things.” 

After completing her military service, she set her sights on pursuing a university education. Giorgis worked various jobs since high school and has worked nights as a security officer throughout her studies The scholarship, she says, enables her to take fewer work shifts than she would have to in order to cover her living expenses apart from tuition.  

“My parents are my biggest cheerleaders. I’m so grateful for their support and cherish everything they’ve done for me throughout the years,” she says. “Still, they have a lot to look out for at home and there aren’t many extra finances.” 

Andre Harari explains that upon the establishment of their family foundation in 2017, “we rapidly identified the obstacles many Israeli-Ethiopian students face in pursuing higher education, and were quite astonished by the difficulties they encountered, due in particular to the low financial income of their families. 

“We felt a sense of urgency to promote their access and social integration in higher education while also offering them financial support,” he says. “Our scholarship program aims to increase their low representation within the general student body and to enable them to pursue paths of excellence for their future professional life.” 

Foundations for Success 

Giorgis explains that while she has received several scholarships, this one stands out due to the donors’ personal involvement.  

“The Hararis are amazing, and their support extends far beyond the financial aspects,” she exclaims. “They visit us on campus each year. They really want their scholarship recipients to succeed. I appreciate how much they care.” 

Beyond her scholarship, Giorgis received an additional stipend from the Hararis during the height of COVID-19 to assist with living costs while campus shuttered and courses went completely online.  

“Their support makes a lasting impact from the recipient’s early days in academia to their professional establishment,” she says. “It enables recipients to build a solid educational background and professional success so they can fulfill their biggest dreams and support themselves and their family, and even help those around them.” 

Andre Harari adds: “We are so happy and proud to have accompanied Wudnesh throughout the four years of her bachelor’s in nursing. We have always enjoyed hearing about her academic progress and future aspirations.” 

Future Aims: PhD to Philanthropy  

Following her graduation and certification, Giorgis hopes to work in a demanding specialty such as intensive care or maternity nursing.  

“By far, the most incredible experience during my studies was witnessing a birth in the maternity ward during clinical training at the hospital,” she recalls.  

In addition to clinical practice, she also hopes to eventually pursue advanced degrees up to a PhD. 

“It’s something I’ve really set my sights on because I believe it’s up to us in nursing to advance the field with further research and understanding,” she says. “People like the Hararis help make it possible.” 

The impact of the Hararis’ contributions and personal engagement with the students they support has inspired Giorgis to help society in other ways as well: “I hope to be on the giving side of philanthropy one day.” 

– By Julie Steigerwald 

From EMT to MIT: Shai Zilberzwige-Tal’s Fast-Track Journey in Life Sciences

Scholarship helps outstanding student follow her dreams.

When Shai Zilberzwige-Tal completed her army service, during which she was an emergency medical technician (EMT) stationed along the Gaza Strip, she knew she wanted to learn more about helping people combat disease.  

Now, eight years later, she’s getting ready to travel to Boston, with a PhD, two kids, and a husband in tow, to begin a post-doctoral position at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in cell biology.

“This is a dream come true for me, and the scholarship support I received throughout my studies has been instrumental in making it happen,” she said.

Zilberzwige-Tal grew up in a small town in the south of Israel. After the army, she enrolled at TAU’s Wise Faculty of Life Sciences as an undergraduate student in biology. From the start of her academic journey, she showed her exceptional talent and drive: she was on the Dean’s list two years in a row, received an excellency award and graduated with honors. 

After completing her bachelor’s degree, Zilberzwige-Tal enrolled in the exclusive Fast Track Program at TAU’s Smolarz Graduate School. The program for outstanding students offers a direct path to a PhD in four years. For Zilberzwige-Tal, the road took five years, with two maternity leaves in the midst. The Argentinian Friends of TAU support this program, in which participating students receive full coverage of tuition and a living stipend.

 

“Scholarships are very important in promoting science and research in general. Students really rely on this help to get ahead,” said Zilberzwige-Tal. “Thanks to the support of scholarships, I was able to concentrate on my research and invest most of my time in my studies.” 

While studying towards her PhD at the microbiology lab in the Shmunis Center of Biomedicine & Cancer Research, Zilberzwige-Tal continued to prove that she was an exceptional student and a leader on numerous occasions. She was nominated as the Faculty’s Student Union representative for three years in a row, and she received an excellency award for her work as a teaching assistant. Recently, Zilberzwige-Tal was awarded an early career research grant from NANOSERIES for her contribution to developing a disease-modifying treatment for rare genetic metabolic disorders.

During her time at MIT, Zilberzwige-Tal plans to continue her research in gene-editing technologies. “These technologies hold great promise for the treatment of human disease,” she said.  She also hopes to reach out and initiate collaborations with world-leading scientists—collaborations that she will continue once she completes the fellowship and returns home to open her own lab in Israel, she says.

The Business of Balagan: Global MBA Propels Student’s Career

A TAU scholarship helped Eitan Rozen secure an international degree—and job

After three years working at a global consultancy firm in his native Mexico, Eitan Rozen knew he wanted to pursue graduate studies abroad, but Israel wasn’t an obvious choice.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought him on a family visit to Israel. At the time, very few scholarships were available in Latin America, so he decided to visit the Sofaer Global MBA program at Tel Aviv University. He liked the fact that TAU is “recognized in the world” and its curriculum focuses on entrepreneurship, innovation and the startup ecosystem, subjects that complemented his undergraduate studies in Mexico. He was also partial to the Program’s intensive one-year curriculum.

A scholarship from the Program put his plan into action. “Studying at TAU and living in Israel would not have been possible without the generosity of people who donate scholarships,” Rozen says. ”I, for one, and many other students wouldn’t be here without this help.

“It’s 100% necessary and appreciated.”

Now, with a fresh MBA degree from TAU’s Coller School of Management under his belt, Rozen says he recommends the program wholeheartedly, from the academics to the networking opportunities. Although things are sometimes disorganized (“a balagan”), he loves the program’s personal touch and the fact that he can knock on the director’s door whenever he wants. “It’s the Israeli way.”

“We are an incredibly diverse group,” he adds, with 40 students from 22 different countries. 

When in Rome…

Rozen quickly adapted to the Tel Aviv mindset. He had asked his firm in Mexico if he could transfer to the Israeli office for the duration of his degree. They said no.

He then went to the Israeli office, announced, and secured part-time work that lasted his entire degree. Now that he has graduated, they offered him a full-time job. He plans to stay indefinitely.

He says the Sofaer MBA “gave me the tools to grow personally and professionally and achieve better things in life.” Rozen continues, “I love everything….the environment, the vibe, the University, getting to know people, living and experiencing a great campus, the diversity, top professors. It’s a unique experience. Plus, you live in Tel Aviv.”

– By Melanie Takefman

 

Nursing People through Hard Times

Tami Fund Scholarship gives TAU student Hodaya Levy Rublin the chance to follow her dream.

As a teenager, Hodaya Levy Rublin fell in love with the nursing profession when she volunteered at a children’s hospital. Watching the nurses work mesmerized her. She knew then that she wanted to be like them.

The Tami Fund Scholarship she received for studies at TAU’s Steyer School of Health Professions has been an indispensable element of her journey.

“I want to be the best nurse you’ve ever seen,” she says, adding that she aspires to specialize in pediatric emergency medicine.

Uphill Struggle

Levy Rublin’s path to enrolling at university was not easy. Growing up as the seventh of nine children in a single-parent family, she didn’t imagine a future that included higher education. She studied at an Orthodox religious school that did not teach a curriculum that could lead to academic studies. In high school, though, she transferred to a less religious school, so that she could matriculate. 

Upon completing her national service as a companion for elderly women, “who became like my grandmothers,” Levy Rublin took a waitressing job to save for university studies. Even though she worked double shifts for five years, she could never put aside enough after paying her basic expenses. 

When COVID-19 struck, she lost her job. With encouragement from her new husband, she enrolled in an undergraduate program at TAU, even though she didn’t have funds to pay tuition.
Then, once on TAU’s campus, Levy Rublin wasn’t sure that she belonged. 

 

 

The Dean of Students’ Financial Aid Office matched her with a scholarship from the Tami Fund, set up to assist students with socioeconomic need. 

Validation

“Receiving the scholarship helped me believe that I deserve to be here, that TAU is my place,” Levy Rublin said. “It gave me the opportunity to concentrate on my studies and be a good student, without worrying about paying the bills.
“I love people. In the emergency room, you meet people of all ages. I think I have the ability to communicate with different people. I want to be there [for them] in their hard times, to make them feel a little bit better and to give back to society.” In addition, she said she knows how to withstand pressure and believes she will excel in the ER’s intensive atmosphere.

“My profession and the opportunity given to me by the scholarship will allow me to succeed in life,” Levy Rublin said.

-By Melanie Takefman

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