Tag: Tel Aviv University

TAU Ready for Climate Action

Lectures, workshops, and hands-on initiatives attract hundreds of students and visitors.

As world leaders gathered at the UN climate change summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, the first climate day event of its kind took place here at Tel Aviv University campus. Researchers from various faculties participated, and the meetings touched on a wide variety of topics pertaining to the climate crisis, including the earth sciences, ecosystems, renewable energy sources, legal aspects, lifestyle and culture, history, fashion, activism, cities, and the financial sector. Participants attended TED-style lectures by leading researchers; expert panels; a special meeting for the younger generation with Tel Aviv University for Youth; workshops; screening of the film The True Cost, and there was even a clothes swap party.

The event was organized by PlanNet Zero – Tel Aviv University’s Climate Crisis Initiative, and attracted a diverse crowd of students and faculty, representatives from the private sector, government and municipalities, children, high school students and others. The aim of PlanNetZero is to serve as a comprehensive, multidisciplinary think tank, bringing together dozens of researchers from units across campus – together with private, industry and government partners – to discuss and collaborate. The goal is to seek out solutions that bridge disciplines and actors, for adapting to climate change and for mitigating its harmful effects.

 

Dr. Yael Roth Barkai from TAU’s School of Education manages the clothes swapping booth on TAU’s Climate Day

It’s Time to Act

“We wanted to convey that the academia recognizes that the climate crisis is top priority, and that we are partners in formulating an immediate, practical and relevant response,” explains Dr. Orli Ronen Rotem, Head of TAU’s Urban Innovation and Sustainability Laboratory, at the Department of Environmental Studies, Porter School of Environmental and Earth Sciences and member of the PlanNetZero Climate Crisis Initiative team. “The crisis, as well as the solutions, require many fields of knowledge, including from earth sciences and life sciences, to the fields of law, culture, policy and education. Parallel to what is happening in the world, and which is being discussed at the climate conference in Egypt, it is important to recognize and promote action in Israel and here on campus. Our research needs to be geared towards promoting solutions. We wanted to encourage the audiences to learn about the climate crisis from different angles, so that they can take part in the change.” 

 

Saving the world in style. An expert panel on sustainable fashion held at TAU’s Central Library. From left to right: moderator Yuval Ofer, Meital Peleg Mizrahi, Sybil Goldfainer, Maya Erzi, Liraz Cohen Mordechai and Mia Hershkovitz

The members of TAU’s PlanNetZero Climate Crisis Initiative hope to see positive results from various events that are taking place in connection with the Sharm El Sheikh climate summit: “The official discussions are an important part of the world’s countries handling of climate change,” notes Dr. Shula Goulden from TAU’s Environmental Studies and the PlanNetZero Climate Crisis Initiative. “This is the first conference that focuses, and rightly so, on adaptation and climate change assessments. It should produce practical and immediate ways to provide support to populations that are already affected by the crisis. However, the conference consists of much more than the official discussions. In addition to those, there are also hundreds, if not thousands, of affiliated events and side events taking place. We hope that this extensive activity will contribute to more awareness and political pressure on various sectors, enabling the adoption of stricter policies.”

“The very existence of such a large event affects activities in the world in various ways, including a lot of activity at the national and local level. An example of this, is the joint effort on behalf of many academic institutions in Israel in preparation for the summit, with the organization of events on campuses, demonstrating awareness and commitment to the issue.”

 

Dr. Ram Fishman, who is usually travelling with student delegations in developing countries, gave a TED-style talk in TAU’s Social Sciences Library

In many disciplines, it takes time for academic research to reach professional audiences. In the context of the climate crisis, however, PlanNetZero members would like to speed up the process: “On this week’s Climate Day event, we organized two consultation events: one of them was with the Tel Aviv Municipality, on the topic of promoting a sustainable lifestyle in the city, and the other was with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and representatives of companies in the financial sector, on new tools for managing climate risks.”

“The participation of researchers and academics from the fields of policy, law and economics create new leverage, because today’s big challenge in the field of climate is not technological but political, economic and social,” they conclude.

 

 

Academics from various disciplines gathered to address the crisis. From left to right: Prof. Alon Tal, Dr. Dorit Kerret , Prof. Marcelo Sternberg and Prof. Iftach Yacoby, and Meital Peleg Mizrahi 

TAU 7th in World for Entrepreneurship

TAU ranked first in Israel and first among universities outside the U.S. that produce successful entrepreneurs.

TAU alumni ranked at the top of global entrepreneurship: 814 entrepreneurs with bachelor’s degrees from Tel Aviv University have established 677 companies and raised a total of $26.5 billion. After staring as number 8 in the world for 4 consecutive years, this brings Tel Aviv University to 7th place in the world and 1st place outside the U.S. in  the prestigious PitchBook ranking. 

TAU alumni with graduate degrees rank on 14th place, with 726 entrepreneurs who established 616 companies and raised $16.5 billion. 

TAU also leads in PitchBook‘s world ranking of female entrepreneurs, placing 20th for TAU’s female undergraduate alumni and ranking 23rd for female graduates.

Every year, Pitchbook, a business data research firm, publishes an annual ranking of the world’s top 100 universities based on the number of alumni entrepreneurs who have founded venture capital backed companies. Several elite American universities are at the top of the list: 1. Stanford, 2. UC Berkeley, 3. Harvard, and 4. MIT. TAU ranks higher than leading universities such as Yale (10th place), UCLA (11th place), and Princeton (12th place). 

The following large companies established by TAU alumni are noted by the PitchBook ranking: Generate ($3.3 billion), Fireblocks ($1.2 billion), Trax ($1.1 billion), Varo ($992 million),and Celsius ($948 million).

Four additional Israeli universities are also included in Pitchbook’s top 100 list: Technion (15th place), Hebrew University (31st), Reichman University (38) and Ben-Gurion University (45). 

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

Prof. Moshe Zviran, Head of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at TAU comments, “TAU continues to establish itself as Israel’s main entrepreneurial university and a world leader in producing entrepreneurs who found companies, raise venture capital, and boost Israel’s economy. TAU’s climb to 7th place in the PitchBook rankings is one more indicator of the high quality of our alumni, as well as the contribution of the entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus that proactively promotes this approach among both students and faculty.”

Read the full 2022 ranking list here >>

20 Mayors Begin TAU’s World-class Training Program

The Bloomberg-Sagol Center for City Leadership announces inaugural class.

As the fall semester began on TAU campus, the University’s Bloomberg-Sagol Center for City Leadership opened its doors to the program’s first cohort of students. 20 mayors and municipal heads from across Israel arrived to participate in the intensive, yearlong executive education and training program that will equip them with the tools and skills needed to enhance the residents’ quality of life.

Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Sagol family launched the Center earlier this year as a major new effort to strengthen local leadership across Israel. Inspired by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, the new program aims to help mayors of cities across Israel – north and south, large, and small, Jewish- and Arab-led – deliver better and more equitable public services to residents, strengthen social bonds, and deepen ties to the global community of innovative city leaders.

“Israel’s local authorities have a much greater impact on citizens’ lifestyles and quality of life than the central government,” said Prof. Ariel Porat, TAU President. “The quality of sanitation, transportation, welfare, education, and health services mostly depends on the local authority’s performance. The City Leadership Program aims to improve the management of local authorities in Israel, thereby enhancing the quality of life of Israelis throughout the country.”

Global Impact

“The Bloomberg-Sagol Center builds on all the work Bloomberg Philanthropies is doing to help local leaders around the world innovate, lead effectively, and share ideas for tackling complex problems,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, 108th Mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg L.P. “This inaugural class brings together a dynamic group of mayors from across Israel. We’re looking forward to working with them, and to seeing the results in their cities and beyond.”

The Center was established at TAU’s Coller School of Management and is led by Prof. Moshe Zviran, the former Dean of the School, who serves as the Head of the Center and the Academic Director of the Program. The mayors will conclude the year with additional training and networking hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies and Harvard University in New York City and Boston, in the United States.

Local Innovation

“When I became aware of the Bloomberg Harvard City Initiative, I realized how suitable it can be for us in Israel, by creating a long-lasting impact on our cities and local leadership”, said Yossi Sagol, Chairman of Sagol Holdings Corporation and the founding partner of the Program.

 

“Mayors serve as the first and most significant line of leadership for the citizens in Israel, and they manage the most important matters for its residents. Through learning and training at the Bloomberg-Sagol Program, they will be exposed to the best and latest management practices in the business world and will be able to apply their newly gained skills in local leadership. Doing so, we hope, will support bold public innovation and create more effective city halls. Our partnership with Mike Bloomberg is very exciting and will undoubtedly strengthen the leadership of the local authorities across Israel.”

Meet the Students

The first class of the City Leadership Program includes: Ran Konik, Mayor of Givatayim; Itzik Danino, Mayor of Ofakim;Samir Mahamid, Mayor of Umm al-Fahm; Rotem Yadlin, Head of the Gezer Regional Council; Liat Shochat, Mayor of Or Yehuda Municipality; Israel Gantz, Head of the Benjamin Regional Council; Israel Gal, Mayor of Kiryat Ono; Tzvika Brot, Mayor of Bat-Yam; Avraham Rubinstein, Mayor of Bnei Barak; Abed Elaziz Nasasara, Head of the Local Council of Kseifa; Israel Parosh, Mayor of Elad; Oshrat Gani Gonen, Head of the South Sharon Regional Council; Moshe Fadlon, Mayor of Herzliya;  Shoshi Kahlon Kidor, Mayor of Kfar Yona; Niv Wiesel, Head of the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council; Moshe Koninski, Mayor of Karmiel; Rafik Halabi, head of the Dalit El-Karmel Local Council; Nissan Ben Hamo, Mayor of Arad; Shay Hajaj, Head of the Merhavim Regional Council; and Yaala Maklis, Mayor of Yehud-Monoson.

Israel has 257 cities and towns with mayors. Each class of the City Leadership Program will accommodate 20 participants, who will invite two key members of their team to attend as well.

Featured image: Israeli Mayors and heads of municipalities participating in the yearlong training program (Photo: Maxim Golovanov)

Tel Aviv University and Industries in India Strengthen their Ties

Bringing together industry and academia of the two countries.

A delegation of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) was hosted this week by TAU. The CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led, and industry-managed organization, with around 9000 members from the private as well as public sectors.

 

CII has an additional, indirect membership of over 300,000 enterprises from 286 national and regional sectoral industry bodies in India. The organization works to create and sustain an environment conducive to India’s development.

 

High-ranking Industry Leaders

The delegation was chaired by Mr. Rajan Navani, Chairman of the CII’s India@75 Council and vice chairman of Jetline Industries. The group included high-ranking industry leaders from India and the United Arab Emirates.

 

In their welcome speech, TAU’s VP International Prof. Milette Shamir and Asia Engagement Director at TAU International, Konstantin Platonov, presented an overview of Tel Aviv University and its academic and research initiatives in India and globally. 

 

Prof. Milette Shamir and Mr. Rajan Navani

 

Multifaceted Relationship

Prof. Yosi Shacham-Diamand, chairman of Nano Scale Information Technologies at TAU Faculty of Engineering, and Prof. Hadas Mamane Steindel, Head of TAU ‘Sustainable Water’ Laboratory discussed some of their most recent projects in India. These included projects on food security, agriculture management, water sustainability, and beyond.

 

The CII delegates participated in an insightful panel on Cyber security issues with Dr. Giora Yaron, founding investor and chairman of the board at Itamar Medical; former TAU chairman Mr. Yigal Unna, and Mr. Nathan Shuchami, managing partner at Hyperwise Ventures.

 

Tel Aviv University has developed a long-standing and multifaceted relationship with CII for several initiatives. These include the India-Israel Forum, a powerful platform that brings together industry and academia of the two countries for an annual conversation on a diverse range of acute topics, such as cyber-security, agriculture technologies, waste management, energy, food and water sustainability and R&D.

 

The 15th gathering of the Forum will take place in India in December 2022 under the auspices of Tel Aviv University, CII, and the Ananta Aspen Center. 

Featured image: The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) delegation 

TAU to Switch to Sustainable Electricity within Two Years

University becomes first in Israel to unroll plans for ‘green’ campus transformation.

In a first among Israeli universities, Tel Aviv University announced its plans to switch entirely to renewable electricity within two years. The pledge comes following the completion of a comprehensive assessment of campus’ greenhouse gas emissions (direct and indirect), as part of initial steps in a 10-year plan towards carbon neutrality.

Comprehensive Evaluation

External company EcoTraders conducted the evaluation according to the GHG Protocol – a global standardized framework used to measure greenhouse gas emissions. The comprehensive report includes details on all campus facilities that are owned and operated by the University, including the Broshim and Einstein student dormitories. The carbon footprint of the University’s suppliers was also assessed – from electricity consumption on campus, to transportation and construction inputs, to the food served at conferences and cafeterias.

The report was conducted using the University’s 2019 emissions data as a baseline year reference, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted many activities, resulting in a temporary reduction in emissions.

Moving towards Carbon Neutrality

“Tel Aviv University has decided to do its modest part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which is crucial for addressing the climate crisis,” says Prof. Ariel Porat, President of Tel Aviv University who also chairs TAU’s Green Campus Committee. “We intend to formulate a methodical and detailed 10-year plan, with the goal of attaining carbon neutrality further down the road. Our hope is to inspire other institutions in Israel and around the world to take similar actions, which, in addition, help educate the next generations about this important subject.”

Gady Frank, TAU’s Director-General adds, “We are working to make sure that in two years all the electricity produced on campus will be green. Currently, we have more than 5000 meters of photovoltaic cells, and our goal is to triple their amount on campus rooftops. In addition, we will install storage facilities, which will drastically increase the yield of these solar cells. The rest of the energy would be bought from private suppliers specializing in producing energy solely from green sources.”

 

“We intend to formulate a methodical and detailed 10-year plan, with the goal of attaining carbon neutrality further down the road. Our hope is to inspire other institutions in Israel and around the world to take similar actions.” 

 

Green roof of TAU’s Porter building

Recruiting Experts

About a year ago, the University’s Green Campus Committee, led by President Prof. Ariel Porat and Director-General Gady Frank, appointed a team of academic and administrative experts to create a strategic plan with the goal of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions on campus by encouraging more efficient use of resources and investing in renewable energy.

The team of experts hired EcoTraders to perform a baseline assessment of the overall carbon footprint of all TAU activities, on and off campus.

The team includes Prof. Marcelo Sternberg, Head of the Expert Team from George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences; Dr. Vered Blass and Dr. Orli Ronen – both of the Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences; Prof. Avi Kribus from the Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering; Ofer Lugassi, Deputy Director-General for Engineering and Maintenance; and Alon Sapan, Director of the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History.

Developing a Practical Plan

“We set out on this mission about a year and a half ago and decided that in order to lead real change on campus, we must conduct a thorough and comprehensive mapping of all of the University’s greenhouse gas emissions,” explains the team of experts. “This is a complex process that required the enlistment of many parties on campus, who agreed for the first time to share with us, and the authors of the report, information that had not been made public until now.”

Now, with the publication of the report’s findings, the expert team is developing a practical plan to reduce TAU campus’ greenhouse gas emissions, to be presented for discussion within the Green Campus Committee and subsequently submitted for approval by the University administration.

It is the first time that an Israeli university has taken this kind of action, and the experts are confident that other universities will follow in TAU’s footsteps.

 

“It is not trivial that the University is investing resources in collecting and analyzing the data – and it is even less trivial that the University is publishing this data – but we are committed to our strategic vision of striving to attain carbon neutrality in the future.”

 

Highlights from Report

According to the report, in 2019, Tel Aviv University was responsible for greenhouse gas emissions amounting to approximately 70,000 tons of carbon dioxide, 93% of which were indirect, with only 7% constituting direct energy-related emissions from the campus, mainly from its air-conditioning systems.

According to the report’s authors, the total indirect emissions are broken down as follows: Electricity consumption on campus (42%); waste production and management (11%); transportation (12%); food and beverage services (7%); construction and building maintenance inputs (4%); fuel and energy for the University’s facilities (4%); procurement (4%); computer and laboratory equipment (3%); other (6%).

Prof. Ariel Porat, President of Tel Aviv University

Strategic Cuts

Numbers published in 2021 show that Tel Aviv University is responsible for emitting 1.56 tons of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gases per capita per year, compared to Yale University’s 8.2 tons, the University of Melbourne’s 2.7 tons, and the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany’s 0.73 tons.

While the report shows that electricity consumption is the most polluting factor by far on TAU campus, reducing emissions generated from electricity consumption has so far not been an option, as the production method was determined by Israel’s Electric Corporation. However, this has changed. The experts say, “With the opening of the energy market, we plan to consider a transition from electricity suppliers that burn natural gas to suppliers that rely on renewable energy, and to expand the independent production of solar power within the campus.” When it comes to food procurement, the team will assess a variety of possibilities – from reducing the amount of food consumed, to precluding the ordering of meat products for events and kiosks.

The team concludes: “The new report lays down infrastructure that allows us to take a holistic view of the University’s total greenhouse gas emissions and identify the activities that cause the most pollution. This way, we can build comprehensive plans to reduce emissions from these activities in the short, medium, and long term. Moreover, the report will allow us to monitor and inspect the reduction in emissions over time and compare the numbers with the original values. It is not trivial that the University is investing resources in collecting and analyzing the data – and it is even less trivial that the University is publishing this data – but we are committed to our strategic vision of striving to attain carbon neutrality in the future.”

TAU’s French Culture Program Helps Propel Careers

A vice-consul, a hi-tech worker, and a musician explain how the unique Program contributed to their professional accomplishments.

There’s something about Tel Aviv University’s French Culture Program (Hebrew website) of the Faculty of Humanities, a certain “je ne sais quoi,” which translates into happy graduates with exciting, wide-ranging – and perhaps even surprising – careers. Three young professionals, all graduates of the Program, tell us how it helped jump start their international careers.  

First a few words about the Program, which allows you to discover the French language and the French culture at its highest level: You learn about intellectuals and artists who shaped the world as we know it today, from feminism to intellectuals streams, from democracy (liberté, égalité, fraternité) to avant-garde art and cinema. The Program offers both BA and MA studies, and during BA it’s a dual program, which means that students follow an additional program in parallel. Tu ne parles pas français? No problem. The classes are all taught in Hebrew by bilingual teaching staff. You learn French throughout the Program.

Work in Israel’s Foreign Ministry

Hanan Podolich, Vice-consul in the consular department of the Embassy of Israel in Paris: “Each day, my colleagues and I receive Israeli citizens and foreigners and provide them with consular services. I am the professional authority in the department, in charge of the smooth flow of the reception procedure, and I also cover for the Consul when he is absent,” explains Hanan, who holds a BA degree in French Culture and Linguistics from TAU’s French Culture Program.

“My studies helped me in two aspects: Firstly, and mainly, through the French language skills I acquired. While in the Program, I got to go abroad twice for summer school – the first time was in Vichy, France and the second was in Bruxelles, Belgium – to practice my French. It was incredibly reassuring to realize that I was capable of communicating with French speakers from all over the world. In my job, French facilitates the mutual understanding for both sides, especially when bureaucratic matters are at hand.”

 

“My studies made me more familiar with the huge Jewish-Franco-Israeli community in France. I came prepared.”

 

“Secondly, my studies made me more familiar with the huge Jewish-Franco-Israeli community in France. I came to Paris prepared. When speaking with people at the window, I already felt well ‘acquainted’ with them which allowed me to be more open to their needs.

The scholarships that I was given in order to participate in the summer schools helped me realize that I want to work with French speaking people and to showcase my country as well as I did with the young students I met during these summer schools sessions. In fact, it was thanks to those projects that I got in touch with the right people who later offered me the opportunity to work at the Embassy.”

Join Israeli Hi-Tech  

Maya Aharon, Risk Analyst at hi-tech company Riskified: “The company’s main goal is to detect and prevent fraud in online orders using behavioral analysis. My job is analyzing online orders with our different programs to detect fraudsters and fraud rings, and to improve our automatic model. I love my job – our company protects customers and makes the online ordering world much safer,” says Maya.

 

Maya at work, making the online ordering world safer

“Thanks to the French Culture Program I understand and speak the French language, the world’s fifth most spoken language. Riskified works with merchants across the globe, and my French enables me to communicate with customers all over the world, not just in France.”

 

“My French enables me to communicate with customers all over the world, not just in France”

 

Maya holds a BA from the French Culture Program, as well as in Political Science. “It’s a great combination of degrees,” she notes. “In many of my Political Science classes, we’d learn about France, its history and politics, and my French Culture Program classes were super helpful.”

“I couldn’t be happier that I chose the French Culture Program. It is a wonderful program with lovely people and great professors, perfect for anyone who’s interested in culture and in language,” she concludes.

Become an Artist

Ram Menachem, professional musician who produces music for films and dance performances (enjoy his last album here), while also finding time to study towards his BA in the French Culture Program (he’s about to start his third year) and in the multidisciplinary program of Humanities: “If you are into art, literature, poetry and languages; if you love French cinema, chansons, philosophy, I highly recommend the French culture program,” he says.

 

Ram Menachem during a performance (photo: Kfir Bolotin)

“We live in a very confusing time, where we spend a lot of our time on social networks, like Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter. Our culture is very immediate, short lived and shallow. Studying French culture gave me the rare opportunity to dive deep into a piece, novel, painting, or a poem. Studying French culture and humanities made my life more meaningful, less shallow.”

 

“Studying French culture gave me a rare opportunity these days – namely, to dive deep into a piece, novel, painting, or a poem.” 

 

Ram chose the Program mainly because of his love for culture. “The program,” he says, “offers a wide spectrum of it, including history of arts, literature, philosophy, language, and even music. I also find French culture fascinating where ‘liberal arts’ and ‘humanities’ are concerned, as many of the major fields are French or influenced by the French thought, such as Michel Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, Jean-Paul Sartre and many more. I’d definitely choose the Program all over again, if I were to choose today.” 

Find Out if It’s for You

The high employment rate among the French Cultural Program’s graduates, may be partly a result of its close cooperation with renowned French Universities, Israel’s Ministry of Education (it provides a significant part of the Ministry’s French teaching staff) and with non-profit organization Gvahim (which traditionally provides new immigrants and returning residents network, tools, knowledge, and support to find employment or establish their own businesses in Israel).

Jonathan Sitbon, who teaches at the Program and is also a writing expert at Israeli hi-tech company, Wix, adds: “Employment opportunities are plenty for our graduates. Hi-Tech companies, for instance, are in need of qualified workers with background in the humanities.”

“In fact, whenever I was looking to recruit someone for my own team, I’d always first pay close attention to the candidates’ broad and general skills – their curiosity, creativity, intellectual rigor, and their ability to structure thoughts through words. A great way to acquire these skills, is by diving into books and exploring the minds of great thinkers,” he concludes.

 

Sounds interesting? Get more details here

Historic Designation for TAU’s Cymbalista Synagogue & Jewish Heritage Center

Campus landmark is currently the most modern structure with protected status from top Israeli conservation authority.

The Cymbalista Synagogue and Jewish Heritage Center at Tel Aviv University was designated as a protected “Heritage Site” by one of Israel’s top conservation authorities, TAU announced this week.

Completed in 1998, the building is currently the most-modern from around the country to hold the status from the Council for the Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel. The designation of this status signifies the building’s unique qualities, both in its architectural and social aspects. The designation ensures the physical preservation of the Cymbalista Synagogue as a building of historic significance.

The Cymbalista Synagogue and Jewish Heritage Center is located at the heart of the campus. With its broad rectangular base rising into two spiraling towers emblematic of a Torah scroll, the impressive building is a landmark work of architecture on campus and in Israel. It functions as a synagogue. The Center also serves as an academic and cultural meeting ground and includes a study room, a library, an auditorium, and a museum. Those affiliated with TAU can use the synagogue as a venue for weddings and bar mitzvahs.

In the Spirit of Respect

Swiss real estate developer, philanthropist, and TAU Honorary Doctor and Governor Norbert Cymbalista and his wife Paulette commissioned the building. It was devised to house a synagogue and bridge the gaps between religious and secular segments of Israeli society—and between the different denominations of Judaism: Orthodox, Conservative and Reform—in an academic environment.

“I am thrilled about the new designation, which reaffirms my decision to create a space in the spirit of respect for tradition, but also in the realization that dialogue and acceptance of different viewpoints are essential for Israel’s development as a democratic society,” says Cymbalista.

 

Cymbalista explains that the building’s initial construction plans were solely for a synagogue. However, the assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by an Israeli Jew reinforced Cymbalista’s fear that the most dangerous challenge facing Israel was the rift between the religious and secular segments of the population, which he believed could tear the country apart.

Therefore, he identified the opportunity to do more and create a comprehensive center, where those two realities of Israel life could meet and engage in dialogue within an academic environment. As such, the building’s design was expanded to nearly double the original blueprint to include an auditorium, beit midrash (study facility for Jewish scripture), and Judaica museum—the first of its kind in the Tel Aviv area.

“I hope that the Cymbalista Synagogue and Jewish Heritage Center will continue to serve as a focal point of activity and that I will see its impact on further strengthening ties in my lifetime,” adds Cymbalista.

Symbol of Unity, Community & Pluralism 

“Cymbalista Synagogue and Jewish Heritage Center is situated at the heart of campus and is a symbol and an example of unity and community,” says TAU President Prof. Ariel Porat. “The Center reflects the liberal and pluralistic nature of Tel Aviv University. I would like to express my gratitude to Norbert Cymbalista, a loyal friend of the University and the State of Israel, for his significant contribution to promoting these important values on campus.” 

Renowned Swiss architect Mario Botta designed the building. It contains materials and furnishings from around the world, including the Torah ark made of Pakistani onyx stone, golden-hued stone interior walls from Tuscany, black granite flooring from Zimbabwe, a red brick stone exterior from the Italian Dolomites, and a light wood ceiling from Switzerland.

Dr. Yair Lipshitz, Head of the Cymbalista Jewish Heritage Center at TAU: “The new designation is an immense honor for the Center, and an exciting recognition of its architectural and cultural importance. In many ways, the building is a profound response to the question of what it means to foster Jewish culture at the heart of Tel Aviv University.”

“Its multipurpose functionality offers a complex, dynamic and unique interplay between the various facets of being Jewish in Israel today,” he adds. “The preservation of such a building as a heritage landmark ensures the endurance of the vision that is set in its stones – a vision for a rich, pluralistic, multi-voiced Israeli culture.”

Tel Aviv University 1st in Israel According to Taiwan University Rankings for 2022

The international ranking is based on number of publications, citations and research excellence.

The National Taiwan University (NTU) rankings for 2022, published this week, ranks Tel Aviv University first in Israel and 112th in the world. In the ranking for 2021, the University was ranked 144th.

The Hebrew University ranked 273rd, followed by the Technion in 346th place. 

The National Taiwan University ranking is among the top university rankings, along with the Shanghai ranking, the Times ranking, the QS ranking and the US News ranking. The ranking, based entirely on scientific publications, ranks the top 500 universities in the world. As such, it bears resemblance to the Shanghai ranking, which is 60% based on scientific publications (another 30% is for Nobel Prizes and the remaining 10% is used to normalize the score relative to the size of the institution).

The top five universities in the NTU rankings are: Harvard University, Stanford University, John Hopkins University, University of Toronto and the University of Oxford.   

The score of each university consists of the number of publications (25% of the total score), the number of article citations (35%) and research excellence (weighing 40%). Each of these components are measured over a period of 11 years and over the past year or two. The research excellence component includes the so-called “H-Index”, the number of most cited articles and the number of articles in leading journals. 

 

 

Israeli University Rankings 2022 >>

World University Rankings 2022 >> 

Impressive achievement for Tel Aviv University in the Bar Association Exam

100% of the TAU alumni who took the Bar Association exams for the first time, passed successfully and Tel Aviv University also leads with the highest average grade.

For the first time, 100% of the TAU examinees who took their Bar Association exams for the first time, passed it successfully, according to the Israel Bar Association.

Tel Aviv University also leads with the highest average grade and overall passing rate (including those who did not take the exam for the first time) of 94%. 

“Israel’s Future Legal Leaders”

The impressive achievement of a 100% passing rate among alumni taking the exam for the first time was also recorded at Bar-Ilan and Haifra universities. In fourth place among those taking the exam for the first time is the Hebrew University (95%). According to the Israel Bar Association, this is a first time increase in the percentage of examinees passing. 

There were a total of 1,506 examinees in the end of June, and 47% of them passed. The percentage of examinees passing the exams on first attempt (597 individuals) is significantly higher than the general passing rate, and stands at 64%.

Like last year, there is a gap between the percentage of passing grades between university and college graduates (although the gaps have narrowed), 87% of the university alumni passed the exam and 41% of the college graduates. 

An analysis of the data by place of specialization, shows that the military/police prosecutor’s office achieved the highest percentage of passing the exam, with 76%; in second place is the state prosecutor’s office for its districts with 65%. Most of the examinees come from the private sector, where the passing rate is 39% out of 1,163 examinees. 

Prof. Yishai Blank, Buchmann Faculty of Law Dean, says, “I am especially proud that the alumni of TAU’s Faculty of Law have, once again, achieved top Bar Examination results with 100% passing the exam and overall earning the highest scores in the country. We are proud of them and the excellent legal training that the Faculty provides them during their studies, preparing them to become Israel’s future legal leaders.” 

Startups On the Right Track

These teams wowed the judges with their innovative ideas at this year’s Coller Startup Competition.

The sixth annual Coller Startup Competition final took place recently on TAU campus, as the final teams of TAU students and alumni pitched their startups for an investment of $100 000 on each track.

Encouraging Entrepreneurial Venturing

The goal of the competition is to encourage TAU students and alumni to engage in entrepreneurial venturing and launch successful startups, and previous winners have gained recognition, support, and millions of dollars in follow-on investments. Diverse team are welcome to join, hailing from different faculties and disciplines.

Dr. Eyal Benjamin, Head of Entrepreneurial Projects, Coller Institute of Venture, and Director of the Coller Startup Competition, opened the event stating that “Being a unicorn should not be perceived as the ‘holy grail’. Being successful and achieving what you set out to achieve with your venture – that is the ‘holy grail’. First, it is important to articulate what you wish to achieve and your desired reach. That’s what we’re doing here. We help [TAU students and alumni] move forward and grow their ventures. This is the reason why the competition was established in the first place.” 

The Coller $100,000 Startup Competition was established five years ago, by Mr. Jeremy Coller, Chief Investment Officer at Coller Capita and Co-Founder of the Competition and Chief Entrepreneurship and Innovation Officer at the Coller School of ManagementProf. Moshe Zviran. It is a multi-staged process, offering mentoring and enhancement process for participating startups, as investors and innovation experts give valuable feedback on the ventures, serving the startups for the long run. At the final event, the teams gain exposure to additional investors who come to watch the ventures’ presentation.  

Multiple Tracks

We did not envy the 52 judges (among them were VCs, angel investors, academics and entrepreneurs), as we listened to 13 hopeful teams (out of the 110 startups that applied) who took turns pitching their ideas. Each team got five minutes to wow the judges.

The ideas presented were diverse – covering tools to help children with special needs, personalized real time makeup assistance, production of egg proteins, solutions for the freight forwarding industry, and more.

Whereas last year’s competition featured only two tracks, Prof. Zviran explains, “We started with the Technology track. We then proceeded to add the food tech track – and this year, we’ve chosen to distinguish between Deep Tech and Online, which means that this year we offer three separate competition tracks.” The plan is to expand to include additional tracks, covering additional fields with new partners.   

 

The judges of the Coller Startup Competition 2022 had to make some tough decisions (photo: Nimrod Glickman)

Taking the Chicken out of the Equation

This year’s winner of the FoodTech track (the only track that is not preconditioned by TAU affiliation) was PoLoPo, a biotech startup developing a plant platform for high-scale, economical custom-made production of proteins. PoLoPo exploits the full potential of plants as diverse metabolite and green protein factories, and have successfully engineered egg proteins (= animal proteins), without chickens. Eliminating the need for chickens is good news for those of us who do not eat regular eggs, as well as for the climate and the environment, and in particular given the context of recent bird flu viruses. The founders of the startup are Dr. Raya Liberman- Aloni and Dr. Maya Sapir-Mir.

 

PoLoPo share celebrate their victory on their LinkedIn page

In a Heartbeat

Symbiosis won the DeepTech Track. The Symbiosis team are developing a novel personalized platform for anchoring and sealing of irregular anatomical structures in real time, with emphasis on the mitral valve apparatus for moderate to severe MR patients. Or, in simpler terms, the project is developing a solution to the problem of heart failure.

The project’s Co-Founder, Shira Burg, got the idea after witnessing many dogs suffer from the problem as a veterinarian. Today, she is a doctoral student in the field of electrophysiology of the heart at TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, and symbiosis C.M. offers a solution to the problem for humans (and in the future also in dogs). Burg and second Co-Founder, Varda Badet, also a TAU alumni, were awarded a $100,000 investment from Coller Capital.

Insert a Good Shipping Quote Here

Due to the significant changes Covid-19 brought to the freight forwarding industry, companies are looking for solutions to stay competitive. According to Pierate.io, winner of this year’s Online track, the global shipping industry is “inefficient, outdated, and manual,” and the company argues that “one quote should not take so long to generate.” Pierate.io offers a SaaS platform which collects data from all sources to allow the freight forwarders’ sales teams to generate highly accurate price quotes in just a few clicks.”  

Pierate.io won the online track at a $100,000 investment by PALSAR Ventures (specializing in early-stage investments in the online field)), which was surprisingly joined by Jeremy Coller, who pitched in with an additional $100,000 investment while the team was still on stage.

 

A happy post on Pierate’s LinkedIn page

The company’s founders, Eyal Daniel, TAU alumnus Sidney Feiner and Maayan Weinheber, also a TAU alumnus, went home (or perhaps to the nearest bar to celebrate?) with a check totaling $200,000.

 

The Pierate team left the competition $200,000 richer. From left: Prof. Moshe Zviran, Chief Entrepreneurship and Innovation Officer at the Coller School of Management; Adv. Eyal Bar-Zvi, Partner in PALSAR Ventures Fund; Pierate CEO Eyal Daniel; CTO Sidney Feiner; CEO Maayan Weinheber and Dr. Eyal Benjamin, Director of the Coller Startup Competition (photo: Shlomi Mizrahi)

Congratulations to the winning teams and good luck with your new ventures!

Featured image: Dr. Eyal Benjamin (far left) and Prof. Moshe Zviran (far right) with the competition’s winning teams

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