The Hebrew University mourns the passing of Sam Rothberg z"l

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Sam RothbergSam RothbergOne of the Hebrew University's and Israel's most dedicated supporters, Sam Rothberg, passed away Saturday, July 7, aged 97.

"He was one of the pillars of the Hebrew University," said University President Prof. Menachem Magidor of the philanthropist and business leader who became a key architect of the American Jewish community's relationship with Israel.

Although Rothberg was active in many Israel and Jewish focused causes, he once noted that the Hebrew University was very close to his heart.

In 1968, Rothberg was elected chairman of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University, a position which he held until 1981. Following the Six Day War, he was one of the key facilitators in transferring the university from Givat Ram back to its historic location at the Mount Scopus campus after 1967.

Sam Rothberg played a key role in the establishment of new academic units, including the Harry S. Truman Research Center for the Advancement of Peace and the Hubert H. Humphrey Center for Cancer Research and Experimental Medicine.

"There are many roads to peace," he said. "Promoting understanding of peoples by people is one of them, and this is fundamentally what the [Truman] Center is doing."

Of particular importance to him was the creation of the School for Overseas Students, now known as the Rothberg International School, which he considered as a means for both encouraging aliya and enriching Jewish life in the Diaspora.

Born in Ukraine in 1910, Rothberg moved to Philadelphia in the United States with his family at the age of two.

After graduating from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science with a degree in bacteriology, he was initially employed as a senior researcher for the American Distilling Company. Rothberg soon moved into management where his exceptional skills in sales and marketing propelled him to become a leader in the soft drink industry.

In 1973 Yitzhak Rabin wrote to Sam, "I have never known a person more devoted than you to Israel and to every good Jewish cause." Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion also recognized Rothberg's unique contribution – both in resources and in dogged day-to-day effort – to the building and the development of the State of Israel.

Sam Rothberg is survived by wife Jean, four children and six grandchildren. He will be buried in Peoria, Illinois on Wednesday, July 11.

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CFHU is dedicated to supporting IMRIC through direct funding and by developing key collaborative medical research partnerships between Canada
and Israel.
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