100 Alumni We Love

Reflections on My Time at Hebrew University

By Robert Astroff, Toronto

Dr. Robert AstroffMy personal and professional development is intimately linked to Hebrew University.  I had the unique opportunity to study at Hebrew U on two occasions: as an undergraduate student in the One Year Program in 1993-1994 and as a graduate student and Rabin Scholar in 2001-2002. Both experiences gave me the best that Hebrew U has to offer – incredible learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom, as well as meaningful and lasting friendships with students from around the world.

I fondly remember my time at the Rothberg School for Overseas Students where I had the opportunity to take courses in international relations and law, laying the foundation for my future studies in these areas. Learning continued following classes where I had a chance to explore the country as part of the Hebrew University Hiking Club. My time in Israel coincided with the signing of the Oslo Accords and I vividly recall watching the handshake between Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat along with thousands of Israelis on Ben Yehuda Street. I also was privileged to work at the Ministry of Justice during this historic period as part of an internship offered by Hebrew U.  Without a doubt, my experience in Israel had a tremendous impact on my life.

After completing my legal studies, I returned to Hebrew U as part of my PhD program. As a Rabin Scholar offered by Canadian Friends of Hebrew University, I had a chance to study with both a Jewish Israeli and an Arab Israeli student which offered a unique perspective as I conducted my own research under world-class faculty. I also had a chance to spend time with leading philanthropists, politicians and community leaders. In addition, the program allowed me to work at the Knesset and experience the vibrancy of Israeli democracy in action.

Hebrew U has played a meaningful part in my life and thousands of others for the past 100 years. I look forward to celebrating the accomplishments that will follow as it begins its second century.

  • Robert is Co-Founder and President of Astroff Consultants Inc. He is a nationally-recognized admissions expert, mentor and coach.