NYC Bids Fond Farewell To Israeli Consular Gen. Ido Aharoni, CFHU’s Kleinmann In Attendance To Present Einstein Sculpture

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Rami Kleinmann of Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, left, joins Beth Asnien McCoy of American Friends of the Hebrew University in presenting a sculpture of Albert EInstein to Ambassador Ido Aharoni.Friends and family gathered at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan recently to honor Ambassador Ido Aharoni as he prepares to return home after five years as Consul General of Israel in New York. The reception was sponsored by the Albert Einstein Foundation, a project of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and American Friends of the Hebrew University (AFHU).

Ambassador Aharoni was a key proponent of the university’s campaign to celebrate its connection to the 20th century’s greatest scientist, Albert Einstein. An early supporter of The Hebrew University’s founding, Einstein chose it as the permanent repository of his personal archive of documents.

“Ido is a visionary in establishing the connection between Einstein and the Hebrew University,” said Avner Mendelson, president and CEO of Bank Leumi, USA and a member of the Northeast Regional Board of AFHU. “We are proud that before he leaves, we have a chance to put a cornerstone on this effort.”

Ambassador Aharoni has represented the State of Israel to communities throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut since February, 2011. He has been a member of Israel’s Foreign Service since 1991, and has held positions in Los Angeles and New York.

The Albert Einstein Foundation commemorates the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. In a historic agreement with the Smithsonian Institution, signed last month, the Foundation has planned a series of projects intended to inspire a new generation of scientists, leaders and humanitarians to draw upon Einstein’s exemplary spirit and bring fresh thinking to the problems facing our world. The Foundation will also develop a Visitor Center that will allow greater access to the Einstein Archive on the Hebrew University campus.

The programs include a summit for leaders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), a Dinner of the Century showcasing the greatest thinkers of our time and “100 Visions of the Future,” a 3D-printed book in Einstein’s image featuring leaders in medicine, physics, chemistry, economics, literature, the arts and more.

In presenting the ambassador with a commemorative sculpture of Einstein, AFHU National Executive Director Beth Asnien McCoy said, “We are fortunate to have developed a close working relationship during your years in New York. We know that you will continue to be a part of our shared vision for what the Albert Einstein Foundation will accomplish in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and the Hebrew University.”

Businessman, publisher and philanthropist Mortimer Zuckerman, who recently created a $100 million initiative to encourage the pursuit of STEM degrees at the Hebrew University and three other Israeli schools, attended the reception and hailed the ambassador’s “extraordinary work explaining to Americans not only what is going on in Israel but between Israel and America.”

Food blogger and TV personality Tori Avey, known for her “Shiksa in the Kitchen” recipes, saluted Aharoni as someone who “consistently put his country before himself” as a soldier and a diplomat and “worked tirelessly to get other people to see Israel as the beautiful country that it is, a global center of creativity and imagination.”

International businessman George Logothetis, chairman and CEO of the Libra Group and a friend of the ambassador, called him a “kindred spirit” fueled by the “oxygen of possibility, whose personal values embolden and embody the mission of the Albert Einstein Foundation.”

In his remarks, Ambassador Aharoni said the Hebrew University had a rightful claim to “one of the greatest brand names in history, since Einstein was one of the founders of a world class university that contributes abundant knowledge to humankind on a global scale.” American Friends of the Hebrew University and Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem were eager partners in launching the Einstein Foundation, he noted.

The ambassador proudly noted that four Israeli universities, out of just nine in the country, consistently rank among the best-rated in Asia. “What is it about education in our culture? It is built on the refusal to accept limitations.”

Rami Kleinmann, president and CEO of Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, called Ambassador Aharoni “the rocket fuel to carry the legacy of Albert Einstein — to act, behave and perform according to the DNA of excellence that is part of the Hebrew University.”

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