85th BOG

Greetings from Rami Kleinmann and Monette Malewski

Rami Kleinmann and Monette Malewski

Shalom, Shalom, you’ll find Shalom the nicest greeting you know;
It means bonjour, salud, and skoal, and twice as much as hello.
It means a million lovely things, like peace be yours,
Welcome home.

Like the words to Jerry Herman’s song Shalom, there is a feeling we get when landing in Israel, of being welcomed home. And after an almost three-year hiatus home looked good!

The 85th Hebrew University Board of Governors took place from June 10th – 15th with the theme Leadership for Tomorrow. We know that the leaders of tomorrow start with those of today and were very proud to be honoring and celebrating some of our incredible CFHU leaders.

Even before we arrived, we learned that Vancouver Board President, Stav Adler, standing atop Masada, made a surprise and touching marriage proposal to Natalie Nahirney. What a wonderful way to start – surrounded by love.

Stav Adler and Natalie Nahirney

Stav Adler and Natalie Nahirney

We greeted Shabbat with a Panel Discussion on Pioneering Women, moderated by Prof. Mona Khoury-Kassabri, Vice President of Strategy and Diversity – quite fitting because as Shabbat was ending, with the sun softly fading upon the Jerusalem stone, we celebrated our own Canadian honourees at an intimate outdoor cocktail at the King David hotel, two CFHU pioneering women, Honourary Doctorate Sylvia Soyka and Honourary Fellow Evelyn Bloomfield Schachter.

Sylvia Soyka, Evelyn Bloomfield Schachter, Rami Kleinmann, and Monette Malewski

Sylvia Soyka, Evelyn Bloomfield Schachter, Rami Kleinmann, and Monette Malewski

The jam-packed agenda continued the next morning with the official launch of the award-winning center for innovation and entrepreneurship, Asper-HUJI Innovate, and presentation of the inaugural Asper Prize. The audience selected prize winner Kinoko Tech was chosen from a group of five finalists, whose start-up reflect the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, as a compass to define sectors that need more focus. Gail Asper, whose family’s foundation invested into the development of Asper-HUJI Innovate, noted while handing out the award, that the center and prize reflected the vision of her late parents, Izzy and Babs Asper, whose ingenuity in business and philanthropy were well before their time. Gail had that same morning wowed attendees at the President’s Plenary, rapping and singing a tune to announce her generous intention to leave a legacy bequest donation to Hebrew University.

Left to right: Dr. Amnon Dekel, Dr. Jasmin Ravid, Prof. Asher Cohen and Mrs. Gail Asper.

Awarding the Asper Prize to Kinoko Tech – Left to right: Dr. Amnon Dekel, Dr. Jasmin Ravid, Prof. Asher Cohen and Gail Asper.

Gail spearheaded the launch of Hebrew University’s 100 for 100 Legacy Campaign, inspiring others to follow and we are so pleased that she will help lead our Canadian efforts dedicated to comprehensive gift planning (stay tuned for more details).

Gail Asper

Each evening offered a chance to gather with our friends around the world, catching up and enjoying great food, and unique entertainment.

BOG Entertainment

Monday morning could be coined Moe-day; starting atop the Roof of the Muriel & Philip Berman Medical Library on the Ein Kerem Campus, which gives a stunning view of the Institute for Medical Research Israel Canada (IMRIC) and its recently added name plaque (more about that later), we heard Gail speak again, this time about her long-time trusted friend and Executive Director of the Asper Foundation, Moses (Moe) Levy – whose incredible dedication to Hebrew University was immortalized with the naming of the Moses and Barbara Levy Conference Hall in IMRIC.

We then heard from Moe’s sons Sam and Adam, who paid beautiful tribute to their father’s love of Israel and their late mother Barbara.

Moe's sons

Monday afternoon celebrated Sylvia Soyka, Canada’s selected honourary doctorate, whose star power outshined even that of filmmaking mogul, Quentin Tarantino, who had the pleasure of walking alongside her as a US-selected honoris causa.

Sylvia Soyka and Quentin Tarantino

Sylvia Soyka and Quentin Tarantino

Sylvia, who was joined by her son Marc-Adam Soyka-Steinman, and close friends Moody Talaat and Sherrie Johnson, received the award in recognition of her unyielding dedication to the advancement of revolutionary research, discovery, and treatment for Pancreatic Cancer – her contribution honors the memory of her late father Alex U. Soyka – establishing The Alex U. Soyka Pancreatic Cancer Research Project: an International Partnership joining Israel’s leading university, Hebrew University, with the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and the Sheba Medical Center.

Soyka prize

On Monday night we hosted the Canadian Friends Dinner at the Israel Museum Restaurant. We welcomed ex-pat Canadians who made aliya to Israel, including Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Linda and Joe Kislowicz, and Shawna Goodman Sone and Todd Sone. Shawna and Todd had the wonderful opportunity to dine with three outstanding students of Ethiopian descent, who received scholarship awards through the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Family Foundation initiative, led by Jonathan Goodman, called Walk in Their Shoes.

Canadian Dinner

The Dinner is CFHU’s evening to honour our many CFHU scholarship recipients by awarding the Prizes in Excellence, granted to outstanding Hebrew University doctoral students to enhance research funding. On hand to present their award to these most deserving students were Lanning and Riki Kline, Sylvia Soyka and her son Marc-Adam Soyka-Steinman and Lillian and Bryant Shiller.

Scholarship winner Yoad Aharon with Bryant and Lillian Shiller

Scholarship winner Yoad Aharon with Bryant and Lillian Shiller

Monette Malewski and Dr. Lanning Kline present The David Kline Prize in Excellence in Dentistry to Dr. Yael Horev.

Monette Malewski and Dr. Lanning Kline present The David Kline Prize in Excellence in Dentistry to Dr. Yael Horev

Rachel Kahn receives the Sylvia Soyka Doctoral Scholarship for Pancreatic Cancer Research at IMRIC from Slyvia and her son Marc-Adam.

Rachel Kahn receives the Sylvia Soyka Doctoral Scholarship for Pancreatic Cancer Research at IMRIC from Slyvia and her son Marc-Adam

Bryant’s prepared speech can be read here, and helps introduce the brilliant student selected to receive the award this year.

The evening also paid tribute to Anna Brojde z”l, a woman of true elegance who passed away November 24, 2021. After watching a beautifully touching video of Anna’s life, her children Ari and Karen spoke of their mother, her commitment to family and her remarkably fierce and generous spirit.

We also heard a special message from Stephen Lipper, who was unable to join in person.

Along with all the Canadians previously mentioned, also present at the BOG and the Dinner were: CFHU National Chair and moderator for the evening, Monette Malewski; Montrealers Evelyn Bloomfield Schachter and her husband Rafael and Robyn Brojde, Ari’s wife; Murray Palay and Margaret Shuckett from Winnipeg; from Vancouver Dr. Phil Switzer and Adam Haibo Luan; Torontonians Sam and Talia Spanglet; and Lanning and Riki Kline, who came all the way from Alabama to give out his late father David’s award.

Murray Palay, Monette Malewski, Ari and Karen Brojde

Murray Palay, Monette Malewski, Ari and Karen Brojde

After what then seemed like a cat nap – we were off early Tuesday morning to gather atop Mount Scopus to experience a warm and most affectionate public tribute to Anna Brojde z”l, by her children Karen and Ari. They lovingly described their mother’s commitment and devotion to HU, and to her late husband, demonstrated by the creation of The Peter Brojde Center for Innovative Engineering and Computer Science. Ari described how his sister Karen had been married in the very spot we now gathered, so that she could have her father’s presence, manifested in his inscribed name upon the Hebrew University Tribute Wall that winds along Mount Scopus. Today, Anna’s name is forever joined with Peter’s, inscribed now together on the Wall of Benefactors. It was incredible to have Karen, her son Leopold, Ari, his wife Robyn, and their children Bryson and Brigitte, witness this tribute, which was described by Robyn as, 5 years from when Anna received her Honourary Doctorate, coming back to finish what Anna had started. But also, being far from finished.

Before we left Mount Scopus we also paid tribute to the late Renia Perel z”l of Vancouver, witnessing her name inscribed on the Wall of Benefactors.

As we traveled back to campus through the streets of Jerusalem, dotted with the Bloomfield name on avenue signs and on The Bloomfield Garden, one of the largest parks in Jerusalem, it was evident that our selected honoree for the HU Fellowship Award, Evelyn Bloomfield Schachter, accompanied by her husband Rafael, has rich historical ties to the country. Evie looked very much at home upon the stage, receiving the award for her numerous years of service to the Canadian Friends, first as President of the Montreal Chapter and then as Secretary of the National Board of Directors.

Honourary Fellowships Ceremony: Evelyn Bloomfield Schachter is 4th from the right

Honourary Fellowships Ceremony: Evelyn Bloomfield Schachter is 4th from the right

She currently serves as an Associate Governor on the Hebrew University’s International Board of Governors. Taking part in the last of the official ceremonies, Evie embodied the notion of passing the torch from generation to generation.

And even when you say goodbye…
If your voice has “I don’t want to go” in it,
Say goodbye with a little “hello” in it,
And say goodbye with Shalom

P.S. At next summer’s Board of Governors we look forward to celebrating the landmark gift creating The Pamela and Paul Austin Research Center on Aging at the Center for Computational Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. We will once again roll out Canada’s Red Carpet to pay tribute to the Austin family whose generosity upholds a tradition of exceptional philanthropic support and collaboration and is commemorated with the naming of the Center, as well as the Pamela and Paul Austin Chair in Medical Research, and engraved upon the exterior walls of the IMRIC building.

Rami Kleinmann and Monette Malewski