2022 Tel Aviv University Annual Report

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Big Ideas. Changing Lives.

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Reports | pp. 2-23 Chairwoman's Greetings | p. 24 President's Greetings | p. 25 Officers | p. 26 Distinctions | p. 27 Projects | p. 28 Reports, cont. | pp. 30-36

What’s a big idea if it doesn’t change lives? At a time when triumphs and challenges are increasingly global, we’re bolstering the impact of our academic endeavors. The results: TAU’s students, researchers and alumni are changing lives throughout Israel and the world.


Enabling Everyone to Become a Nature Explorer! The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History at TAU established the Israel Citizen Science Center to make it easier and more enticing for the public to engage in scientific exploration – essentially enabling anyone with a smartphone to become a scientist. The Center will provide technology and expert knowledge, serving as a centralized hub to support and encourage public participation in research through data sharing and collection, typically via smartphone apps. Scientists and decision-makers can then use the publicly-available records for biodiversity research and for developing conservation strategies. In an initial step, the Center is developing an online portal that will serve as a one-stop-shop listing all information on active citizen science projects in Israel, such as backyard bird surveys and national butterfly monitoring. Concurrently, the Center is developing AI-based digital tools to support scientific data acquisition and sharing. “We aim to bridge the growing disconnect between a largely urban population and nature,” says Dr. Tomer Gueta (pictured), a data scientist and biodiversity informatics expert, who co-leads the Center. “The future is enhanced citizen science, which will forge a community of nature observers and enthusiasts and provide powerful resources to help the scientific community.”


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A One-Stop-Shop for Israeli Medical Students MD-PhD student Daniella Vaskovich-Koubi (pictured), from the lab of 2020 Kadar Family Award laureate Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro (Medicine), is among the group of TAU medical students who launched Israel’s first scientific journal led by, and comprising, publications by students. Vaskovich-Koubi is editorin-chief of The Journal of Israeli Medical Students (JIMS) and a researcher designing a nano-vaccine for pancreatic cancer and, as of recently, coronavirus.


“We established JIMS to promote and encourage scientific research among medical students, who often find the task threatening and inaccessible,” says Vaskovich-Koubi, an Ariane de Rothschild Women’s Doctoral Program grantee. She adds that the journal was established to connect the thousands of Israeli medical and dental students at home and abroad, in addition to building a hub for excellence and leadership among them. “JIMS represents a unique asset for the Israeli medical community that attempts to give voice to future physicians, along with imparting basic tools such as scientific writing,” Vaskovich-Koubi says.

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Celebrating Jewish life in Europe through music The Buchmann-Mehta School of Music and the Dresden College of Music Carl Maria von Weber, Germany, partnered in a musical exchange celebrating 1,700 years of Jewish life in Europe. Under the initiative, representatives from the vocal departments of both institutions will engage in reciprocal visits to showcase musical collaboration. This year, Dr. Uri Rom, Head of the TAU Music School, and Prof. Sharon Rostorf-Zamir, Head of the School’s vocal department (both from Arts), are leading a TAU delegation to Dresden for a week of concerts and masterclasses facilitated by the Dresden College and with support from the local Jewish community. In the 2022-23 academic year, TAU will reciprocate by hosting their German counterparts.

Israel and Germany team up on learning technologies In a collaboration between the Advanced Learning and Technology Research Lab led by Dr. Anat Cohen (Humanities) of the Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education, together with the University of Kassel, Germany, and Kibbutzim College, TAU graduate students took part in a virtual course in learning technologies, taking a learning-by-doing approach. The course culminated with a presentation of projects that Israeli and German students worked on together, giving them hands-on experience with game-based learning, assistive technologies, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, data protection and digital equity. Dr. Cohen: "Such collaborations are a boost for international partnerships in research, schools and workplaces."



Taking Israel's Tech Scene to New Heights


Recognized as a leading force in Israeli tech investment, TAU alumna Yifat Oron credits her time at TAU for several foundational milestones in her professional journey. “TAU has been a unifying thread throughout my career,” she says. Oron received an MBA from the Coller School of Management and now heads the Israel office for global investment giant Blackstone. At TAU, she built the professional network that she still interacts with today. Through the University, she also conducted a pivotal semester abroad at NYU’s Stern School of Business. That experience ultimately led to her first significant job early in her career—in JP Morgan Chase’s investment banking division. Upon her return to Israel, Oron joined Vertex Partners, and as a partner led investing at the venture capital fund that works with early-stage startups. Her track record of bringing new power players to Israel’s tech ecosystem gained steam when she launched LeumiTech as CEO of the tech investment arm of Bank Leumi, one of Israel’s largest banks. Now, about a year into her most recent role as Senior Managing Director at Blackstone, she is enjoying the challenges of establishing the firm’s presence in Israel.

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Ukrainian Jewry independent of Russian Jewry In an unexpectedly timely move, the Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center has also launched the Ukrainian Jewry Research Initiative, headed by Dr. Judith Kalik and Dr. Alex Valdman (both from Humanities). Funded by the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine and the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, and with the support of Prof. Milette Shamir (Humanities), TAU Vice President, International, the project aims to study the history and culture of Jews in Ukrainian lands from ancient times to the present. The study uniquely views the Ukrainian Jewish community as a subject of focus in its own right, rather than, as it has previously been seen, as a subsection of Polish or Soviet Jewry.

Transforming aging, maintaining health

The legacy of Turkish Jewry The Goldstein-Goren Diaspora Research Center, directed by Prof. Roni Stauber (Humanities), has launched the Digitized Database of Jewish Cemeteries in Turkey in Memory of Prof. Bernard Lewis. This collection, amassed, analyzed and built by Prof. (emerita) Minna Rozen, combines digital images and texts of almost 60,000 Jewish gravestones dating from 1583 to 1990. Unique in the academic world for its sheer size, the website provides a wide range of research opportunities, contributes to our understanding of the social history of this community, and adds to the field of Digital Humanities in Jewish Studies.

Prof. Karen Avraham (Medicine) heads the new Healthy Longevity Research Center, the mission of which is to battle age-related diseases and transform the aging experience through comprehensive, multidisciplinary research on a wide range of aging-related health and social phenomena. The center's International Advisory Board includes an impressive roster of researchers from top institutions such as Johns Hopkins, Stanford and the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Aging. In addition, TAU is initiating a collaboration between Columbia University, MIT and partners in Dubai aimed at building a unique center for age-related research and teaching on topics ranging from mental wellbeing and public policy to technological solutions.

To sleep, perchance to remember Prof. Yuval Nir (Medicine) has received a significant European Research Council (ERC) grant to study the role of sleep in memory consolidation, and the relation between sleep disruption and the onset of dementia and neurodegenerative disease. Looking at the nocturnal "dialogue" between two sections of the brain, the cortex and the hippocampus, Nir is working on developing techniques for modulating this dialogue to enhance memory performance. His research is being conducted at the new Sleep Research Center, an intensive collaboration between TAU and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.


CONNECTIONS Amid the search for solutions to global water scarcity, TAU researchers from the Porter School of the Environment and Earth Sciences evaluated the quality of water derived from an emerging technology that converts water vapor in the air into a glass of clean drinking water. Graduate student Offir Inbar (pictured) and Prof. Dror Avisar (Exact Sciences), Head of TAU’s Moshe Mirilashvili Institute for Applied Water Studies, led the study together with researchers from industry partner, Watergen LTD. The team demonstrated that even in dense cities such as Tel Aviv, the water produced during different seasons and times of day met the standards of the World Health Organization and Israel’s national guidelines for drinking water. “Water from the air can be produced anywhere, with no need for expensive infrastructure and regardless of the amount of precipitation,” said Inbar of the encouraging findings that could lead to increased access to clean water and saving lives.

Care for a Cup of City Air?


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Programs for behaviorial change in the workplace General Motors, Google and hundreds of other US companies have introduced peer-based programs for employee behavioral health based on the research of Prof. Peter Bamberger (Management). Applying Bamberger’s model, volunteers receive training to serve as peer counselors and address employee substance misuse or other problems impacting work performance. Bamberger’s research indicates that peer-based programs are more widely utilized and cost-effective than traditional employee assistance programs. In a new $1.5 million study for the US Department of Defense, he is working on suicide prevention among soldiers transitioning into civilian life, with an initial focus on identifying transition-related risk factors for both depression and substance misuse, a toxic combination for suicide.

TAU and Glasgow U come together over emblems An exchange program initiated in 2019 by Dr. Tamar Cholcman (Arts) and Dr. Luis Gomes of the University of Glasgow (UoG) finally came to fruition after COVID-induced delays, for a collaborative study of emblems – an allegorical form comprised of text and image that became popular in the 16th century. TAU scholars were given access to the world's largest collection of over 2,000 rare Emblem Books from the 16th to 19th centuries at the Stirling Maxwell Centre for the Study of Text/Image Cultures at UoG. With teaching and graduate degree partnerships under discussion, TAU and UoG are furthering interdisciplinary research in the fields of art history, literary and visual cultural studies, philosophy and others.

The 4th Industrial Revolution A recently formed collaboration between Prof. Joachim Meyer (Engineering) and Prof. Norbert Gronau of Potsdam University, Germany, addresses the changed relationship between people and their work environment due to the introduction of advanced automation in manufacturing. In a joint course, students of both universities are working together to suggest new models for analysis, design and control of the changed man-machine interaction. Their aim is to submit joint research proposals to funding sources and establish a longterm collaboration between the universities. 9


Where in the brain does free will reside? Dual degree with Columbia In 2020 TAU’s Liberal Arts BA Program launched its international Dual Degree in collaboration with the School of General Studies at Columbia University, New York. Students of the program, headed by Prof. Bruce Maddy-Weitzman (Humanities), study for two years at TAU and two years at Columbia, receiving a diploma from each. Offerings at TAU now include Hebrew and Arabic language courses, a Life Sciences track, and a track in Entrepreneurship and Innovation with the Coller School of Management. The joint program reflects the continued close cooperation between TAU and Columbia University.

Massive boost to anti-fungals Prof. Judith Berman (Life Sciences) of the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research, together with Prof. Markus Ralser of Charité Medical Hospital in Berlin, won a large European Research Council Synergy Grant for their collaborative study on pathogenic fungi and how they tolerate antifungal drugs. The aim is to understand the fungi’s drug resistance and to develop more effective drugs and therapies against lifethreatening, invasive fungal infections. Synergy between the researchers is also expected to yield conceptual implications for battling cancer.


Prof. Liad Mudrik (Social Sciences), of the Sagol School of Neuroscience and the Cukier, Goldstein-Goren Center for Mind, Cognition and Language (MiLa), is one of the neuroscientists involved in an international consortium on the concept of free will. In this collaboration between 9 philosophers and 8 neuroscientists, the philosophers come up with the right questions, the neuroscientists design experiments to answer them, and together they interpret the results. Even if the precise neural mechanism governing free will has yet to be identified, this new field of neurophilosophy aims to supplement our understanding of how the brain processes self-initiated movement or, in other words, enables conscious control of actions and decisions.

Can algae teach crops to grow faster? With population growth threatening to overtake food supplies, Dr. Haim Treves (Life Sciences) of the School of Plant Sciences and Food Security is investigating the introduction of genes from fast-growing plants into slower growing ones as a possible pathway toward increasing food production. Studying Chlorella ohadii, the fastest growing species of algae known to science isolated from the Negev desert, he achieved a scientific first by successfully mapping its photosynthetic metabolic network properties. The study was conducted in cooperation with researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology, Germany, and results were published in Nature Plants.

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C L O U T: R E A L- W O R L D I M PAC T New TAU-hospital collaboration Academic research and clinical application are being substantially boosted thanks to a new model of cooperation established between TAU and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. The new Dotan Center for Advanced Therapies was initiated by Dr. Adi Barzel (Life Sciences) together with the Deans of Life Sciences and Medicine, and Ichilov Hospital. Focusing on cancer immunotherapy, gene therapy and genome editing, the Center will bring together cutting-edge research innovation and world-leading medical expertise, making advanced therapies accessible through clinical trials and impacting healthcare in Israel and worldwide. This is the first of several joint centers planned by TAU with leading hospitals.

Social sciences flying high with the Israeli Air Force Prof. Eviatar Matania (Social Sciences), Head of TAU’s Security Studies Program and founding Director General of the Israel National Cyber Directorate, heads the new Elrom Research Center for Air and Space Studies, jointly established by TAU and the Israeli Air Force. The Center aims to advance interdisciplinary academic research in the areas of air and space policy and strategy. It operates within the School of Political Science, Government and International Affairs, where Air Force officers are enrolled in the Security Studies MA program.

World first: Prosthetic nerve ending Until today, restoring the sense of touch lost through injury or amputation has required an external energy source, making it impractical and cumbersome. Now in a world first, a team of experts led by Dr. Ben Maoz (Engineering) of the Sagol School of Neuroscience and Dr. Amir Arami (Medicine) of Sheba Medical Center have developed a tiny sensor invisibly implanted under the skin that connects directly to a functioning nerve. Activated by pressure and friction, it requires no external energy source and effectively restores the sense of touch, bypassing damaged sensory organs. Currently in the testing stage, the study was published in ACS Nano.


CLOUT After years in the Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) religious education system, Alon Elias (Medicine) realized he wanted to enter the world of therapeutics. He’d always enjoyed interacting with people and dreamed of making a positive impact. As such, he set his sights on dentistry and received a scholarship backed by Ornia Real Estate Ltd. to study at TAU under the framework of Trailblazers: The Program for Integrating the Ultra-Orthodox into Tel Aviv University, which combines high-level academic studies with educational, psychological, and social support services to ease the students’ entry into secular academia. Today, the 32-year-old father of six is a student at the Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine. Elias is familiar with the concerns and challenges among the Haredi population regarding dental health. He explains that these can stem from apprehensions over the financial costs and physical pain of dental care, along with the view that dental procedures are mostly done for aesthetic purposes and are thus not a priority. “When I finish my studies, I hope to use my knowledge as a practicing dentist to help the Haredi community and increase understanding and awareness of the importance of oral health,” Elias says.

Bringing Healthy Smiles to the Haredi Community


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Breakthrough green propellants for space In a hot international race involving governments and corporations, Profs. Roman Dobrovetsky and Michael Gozin (Exact Sciences) have pulled into the lead. They are pioneering more environmentally friendly fuels for use in space travel and related applications. The greatly reduced toxicity of their fuels, along with chemical and thermal stability, give them a significant advantage over previous propellants. Their groundbreaking research was published in the Journal of Chemical Engineering.

Preparing future regulators for the biomedical industry The new MA Program in Therapeutic Sciences and Regulation, directed by Prof. Noam Shomron (Medicine), will fill a vital need for expert practitioners in the pharma and biotech regulatory fields. Graduates of the program will be able to take on leadership roles in both large corporations and startups, which will benefit from their knowledge of how to battle regulatory red tape and streamline the approval process for new drugs and medical devices. Serving as the next generation of biomedical industry professionals, graduates will positively impact the regulatory field in Israel and beyond.

What DNA repair can tell us about cancer DNA damage is an inevitable and constant part of life. Numerous repair mechanisms in the body relentlessly work to fix damaged DNA, but mistakes can lead either to cellular death or cancer. Former Schulich Leaders Scholar Matan Arbel, now a PhD student investigating molecular genetics at TAU's Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research, is part of a team led by Prof. Martin Kupiec (Life Sciences) exploring DNA damage and repair to identify potential new targets for cancer treatments. Arbel decided to pursue this subject when, as a teenager, his younger brother was diagnosed with – and survived – a brain tumor.



Paying Forward Academic Success The backing that Dr. Vered Padler-Karavani (Life Sciences) received from the Israel Scholarship Education Foundation (ISEF) provided an enduring lifeline in her early academic career. As a first-generation university student from the thendevelopment town of Rosh Ha’ayin, she was supported by ISEF throughout three degrees in biology at TAU along with postdoctoral research at UC San Diego. Today, she is a leading researcher in glyco-immunology at the Shumnis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research, exploring the immune system’s response to sugars and developing novel diagnostic tools and therapies for cancer and heart diseases. ISEF was founded in 1977 by the late Edmond J. Safra, Lily Safra and Nina Weiner, to contribute to Israeli society. It reduces socials gaps by supporting access to higher education and cultivating the social leadership of approximately 450 students annually. As a board member and former ISEF chairwoman, Padler-Karavani, like all ISEF alumni, is highly involved in volunteering activities that support the Foundation’s community. “ISEF enables young people to realize their maximum potential and then help others the same way,” she says on the Foundation's 45th anniversary.


Near speed-of-light electronics – Now in focus! Dr. Ofer Kfir (Engineering) of the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology has endowed electron microscopes with new capabilities. By innovatively infusing lasers with an electron beam, the electron microscope can now capture the movement of electrons through various materials in a video clip containing trillions of frames per second, with nanoscale accuracy. This new proficiency could be used to examine and improve power consumption in microprocessors, advance the understanding of the behavior of light at the nano scale, and enable the investigation of quantum materials – promising candidates for the computation hardware of the future.

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Impacting healthcare CT lung imaging made safer In collaboration with Sheba Medical Center, Prof. Nahum Kiryati (Engineering) and his PhD student Michael Green achieved a breakthrough in CT scanning. By applying artificial intelligence techniques, they managed to reduce the CT's radiation level while maintaining high image quality. The resulting reduction in radiation now allows CT to be safely used for early detection of lung cancer in the general population.

The Edmond J. Safra Center for Bioinformatics, headed by 2017 Kadar Family Award winner Prof. Ron Shamir (Exact Sciences), brings scientists together with clinicians and entrepreneurs to promote healthcare worldwide. Here are a few recent initiatives: •

Collaboration with Sheba Medical Center: A workshop aimed at promoting joint projects between researchers and clinicians culminated in support for three winning research proposals.

The 1st Israeli Digital Medical Conference in collaboration with Anthem Israel, part of a global ecosystem for improving healthcare, was dedicated to the latest computational innovations in healthcare research at the intersection between science and industry.

Entrepreneurs Salon partnered with Harvard Biomedical Informatics in a forum aimed at promoting entrepreneurship through the convergence of biology, medicine and computing. 15


International Reach

Protecting fish populations – Are we doing it right? “No-take Marine Protected Areas” (MPAs) are meant to protect fish populations from over-fishing, and increase their numbers. PhD student Sarah Ohayon, supervised by Prof. Jonathan Belmaker (Life Sciences) who is affiliated with TAU’s Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, conducted a comprehensive investigation of the spatial efficacy of MPAs. In theory, the spillover of the protected fish population into adjacent areas is meant to increase their numbers in the sea. In practice, fishing around the edges of MPAs is actually decreasing their numbers, a phenomenon called "edge effect.” Ohayon’s findings provide hands-on, practical guidelines for improving MPA planning and management, so that we can better protect our oceans.

A first in first aid The US Department of Defense has awarded a prestigious grant to Dr. Angela Ruban (Medicine) for her research on emergency treatment for spinal cord injury. Although 65 million people suffer neuro-traumas each year, there is currently no emergency treatment that can be administered to prevent the severe consequences of delayed intervention. Ruban, a member of the Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions and Sagol School of Neuroscience, is developing techniques that will minimize nerve cell damage and even encourage regeneration. Her proposed novel treatment can be administered within the first hour post-injury, making it the first ever emergency neuroprotective treatment.


Head of the class in digital learning Tel Aviv University ranked first in Israel and 22nd out of 150 institutions worldwide as a leader in online education, according to French consultancy "Emerging." To further improve the digital content of TAU’s courses and advance new academic technologies, the University established the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. Headed by Prof. Liat Kishon-Rabin (Medicine), the Center incorporates TAU Online and other existing units into a single coordinated framework for all teaching activities on and off campus. Moreover, the University won a multimillion-shekel grant from the government for a three-year program to transform 30 percent of its courses into hybrid models that combine virtual and faceto-face classroom teaching with self-paced interactive learning supported by digital tools. A recent poll of 5,000 TAU students revealed that they prefer this type of flexibility in online, offline and frontal learning.

What is the carbon footprint of a glass of water? In the face of climate change, water shortages beg us to examine the environmental impact of everyday behaviors, such as pouring a glass of water. PhD graduate Noa Meron and Dr. Vered Blass (Exact Sciences), of the Porter School of Environment and Earth Sciences and the "PlanNet Zero" Climate Crisis Initiative, teamed up with US colleagues to measure the carbon footprint per cubic meter of the tap water supply in Israel. The researchers evaluated all production and supply factors related to the country’s water system, including energy consumption of desalination processes. The findings suggest ways for certain regions with limited freshwater to reduce the energy consumption and environmental impact of their water systems.

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CO N V E R G E N C E : N E W PAT H S T O D I S COV E RY Theater, technology, action!

Capitalism and the global climate crisis Dr. Rami Kaplan (Social Sciences), newly recruited following a post-doc at the Free University of Berlin, is investigating "Financialized Climate Governance" (FCG) with co-researcher Prof. David Levy of the University of Massachusetts. FCG is a contemporary movement among global institutional investors to harness their centralized control of corporate stock toward pressuring carbon-emitting firms to “de-carbonize” their activities. The crucial question of this globally oriented research project is whether profit-based governance practices by financial capitalism can drive actual mitigation of climate change.

Location, location, location "Video Storytelling of Historical Sites" is an interdisciplinary workshop bringing together students from the David Azrieli School of Architecture and Steve Tisch School of Film and Television. Taught by Dr. Keren Metrany and PhD student Maya Lahat-Kerman (both from Arts), the workshop explores architecture through documentary films. The workshops’s theme, “sites connecting people,” encourages students to convey the stories of buildings in short documentaries based on academic research of the site's cultural and material history. A moving example is the film, The Broken Heart of Jaffa, focusing on an architectural gem that was once the Alhambra Theatre and today a Scientology center, its history forgotten.

TAU's new Center for Innovation Laboratories aims to adapt research to the needs of industry, public institutions and the community, with the end goal being the provision of applicable solutions. The Theater Arts Department's “Act-Play-Game” Lab, led by Dr. Sharon Aronson-Lehavi (Arts), is among the center’s first nine labs. Dedicated to bridging the gap between theater studies and technology, her team will develop virtual experiences and educational games that simulate acting, directing and design, thus allowing researchers, students and the public to experience the theatrical creative process from within. The team will work in affiliation with “TAU XR,” the University’s new Extended Realities Lab headed by Prof. Tom Schonberg (Life Sciences).

What silent mutations can tell us about cancer Researchers from the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Zimin Institute for Engineering Solutions Advancing Better Lives have made a ground-breaking discovery. In their study of silent mutations in the genomes of cancer cells – that is, mutations not expected to change the cell’s genetic sequence and thus usually ignored – Prof. Tamir Tuller (Engineering) and research student Tal Gutman were able to predict both the type of cancer developing and a patient's survival probability, which may well serve to save lives in the future. Their study was published in NPJ Genomic Medicine.

From cosmic rays to subterranean cities In a joint initiative between archaeologists and physicists, Profs. Yuval Gadot and Oded Lipschits (Humanities) and Dr. Liron Barak and Prof. Erez Etzion (Exact Sciences) have won a Cogito Foundation grant for their proposal to virtually resurrect Jerusalem's ancient underground city. They are producing a 3D image of the hidden City of David by using muon detectors. Created when particles from space enter the atmosphere, the muons, penetrating through the ground, are used for imaging large dense objects or voids. The discovery and visualization of previously unknown tunnels and chambers could potentially change everything we know about ancient Jerusalem. 17


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Guarding the Traditions of Ethiopian Jewry As part of his MA studies at TAU, Mulualem Temeyet (pictured) aims to preserve and create awareness of the history, language, traditions and biblical scriptures of the Ethiopian Jewish community. Temeyet is a fifth-generation ordained kes, or spiritual leader among Ethiopian Jews. He is one of eight students in the first cohort of the new graduate program “Orit Guardians,” headed by 2021 Kadar Family Award laureate Prof. Dalit Rom-Shiloni (Humanities) at the Department of Biblical Studies and supported by the Morris and Rosalind Goodman Family Foundation. Orit Guardians is the first program in Israel and worldwide devoted to the academic study of the Orit—the Torah of the Ethiopian Jews, which is passed down orally and written in the ancient and unspoken Semitic language Ge’ez. “Orit Guardians provides a valuable opportunity for me to create connections between the academic and the traditional religious worlds,” says Temeyet, 49, who made aliyah from Ethiopia as a boy. “It enables people to become more familiar with the world of kesoch and Ethiopian Jewry, and for us to document and preserve our religious heritage so that it is not lost.”



A Rising Star in STEM and Social Leadership Kochava Pavlov (Exact Sciences), 25, excelled in high school and is now reveling in her second year at TAU studying math with a concentration in computer science. She is among the 2021-22 recipients of the Schulich Leader Scholarship, a national program for undergraduates in STEM disciplines who are poised to become future leaders in Israel. "Winning the Scholarship showed me how much others believe in me and want me to succeed,” she said. “It reaffirmed my belief in what I can accomplish.” Pavlov always loved learning, but for many years didn’t believe that she could be part of the academic world. She grew up in Jerusalem in difficult family circumstances. At age 10, child welfare services placed her in Israel’s boarding school system which houses youth who need a safe place to live. At 14, a friend’s family adopted her. After high school, she joined Israel’s Sherut Leumi (“National Service”), a voluntary alternative to military duty, where she discovered her passion for working with children with special needs. “Ultimately, my dream is to combine my abilities and academic knowledge with my love for helping kids, to pay forward the support I’ve received.”


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Reconciling computer security and machine learning Dr. Mahmood Sharif (Exact Sciences), a new faculty recruit under the Neubauer Foundation’s Israeli-Arab Academic Career Pathways Initiative, is an expert in computer security and privacy and its connection to machine learning (ML). With a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University and post-doc work at VMware Research Group, his work at TAU is partially supported by the Yandex Initiative for Machine Learning. He and his team are studying how ML systems may be misled, on the one hand, and made more resistant to attack, on the other. Moving away from the one-size-fits-all mindset in security and privacy, they show how Internet browsing patterns and survey question responses can help predict user exposure to malicious websites.

Editing away pain Prof. Eli Eisenberg (Exact Sciences) is one of four principal investigators who won a massive, almost 12 million dollar grant from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) for their research on a novel approach to alleviating pain. As part of a multidisciplinary team of experts in pharmacology, physiology, physics and bioinformatics, Eisenberg is examining “NaV1.7,” a nerve cell membrane protein that is a major contributor to pain signaling. By advancing RNA editing technologies, the research aims to modify NaV1.7 in a way that will calm overactive painsignaling nerves, thus greatly reducing the experience of pain.

Changing the story of human evolution A team of anthropologists headed by Prof. Israel Hershkovitz, Dr. Hila May, and Dr. Rachel Sarig (all from Medicine), together with Dr. Yossi Zaidner's team from Hebrew University, identified ancient bones (120-140,000 years old) of an early human previously unknown to science, and resembling pre-Neanderthal populations in Europe. This discovery challenges prevailing hypotheses that Neanderthals originated in Europe, suggesting instead that European Neanderthals are descendants of a population that lived in the Levant for several hundred thousand years. The discovery, published in Science, was supported by the Dan David Center for Human Evolution and Biohistory Research and the Shmunis Family Anthropology Institute.



How Fairytales Led to an Academic Reality


Originally from the Arab town of Tira, PhD researcher Maysoon Shibi’s (Humanities) love for fairytales was initially piqued by her grandmother and great aunt’s retellings. Today, as a member of the Porter School of Cultural Studies, she explores Palestinian fairytales and folklore to understand their role in heritage and identity. "Being a part of TAU has been the effect on my life,” says Shibi (pictured), who is grateful for the academic mentoring she received and especially for the support of the Ariane de Rothschild Women Doctoral Program for outstanding female PhD students. “The Program was a soul companion to me. Even as a graduate, I’ll always be part of its community. “As an Arab, Muslim, single woman, I hope to show students— especially Arab and Muslim girls—that a life in academia is possible for anyone who puts their mind to it,” says Shibi, who is now eyeing post-doctoral research in Europe.

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The rationale behind irrationality

Keeping calm on your trip into space With a research grant from the Ramon Foundation, Prof. Yael Henkin (Medicine) of the Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions is working with a multidisciplinary team from Sheba Medical Center and Jefferson University (USA) on monitoring stress in private space travelers. Stress levels will be monitored based on vital signs, cognitive function, motor performance and sleep patterns, along with auditory and visual functioning, by means of wearable sensors and mobile applications. Prof. Henkin, who specializes in communication disorders, will also monitor auditory function before and after space journeys.

When being under pressure is a good thing Prof. Uri Ashery (Life Sciences) of the Sagol School of Neuroscience is developing novel approaches to disease treatment and diagnostics. In his study of Alzheimer's, he demonstrated that the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, involving a chamber with heightened air pressure to infuse tissues with oxygen, successfully reduces brain inflammation and disease pathology. In another study supported by the Aufzien Family Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Parkinson's Disease, he applied super-resolution microscopy to identify an early hallmark of the disease, thus enabling detection, tracking and treatment of Parkinson’s even before symptoms appear.

Prof. Dino Levy (Management) teamed up with 2019 Kadar Family Award recipient Prof. Oded Rechavi (Life Sciences) to explore whether irrational behavior can be traced to reactions of nerve cells. Using nematodes, organisms with simple brains composed of just 302 neurons, they first ascertained that these worms generally make rational behavior choices. However, when the worms had to choose between different odors that are sensed by the same smell-sensor neuron, the sensations "collided,” and one odor interfered with the cell's clear reception of the other odor, resulting in inconsistent, or irrational, behavior. Their results empirically support the basic tenet of Nobel laureate Herbert Simon that irrational behaviour results from basic physiological constraints of the nervous system.

Restoring aquatic ecosystems in the face of climate change Freshwater ecosystems are increasingly threatened by human activities and climate change. As part of the extensive “MERLIN” project to restore streams, rivers and wetlands at 17 pilot sites throughout Europe and Israel, Dr. Yaron Hershkovitz, Managing Director of the Israel Center for Aquatic Ecology at TAU's Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, is leading the sole local effort in partnership with the Israeli government. Proposed restoration measures for a Galilee river include re-appropriating land use, reconnecting floodplains and improving water quality, flow connectivity and biodiversity. The European Commission-backed initiative brings together agriculture, forestry, tourism, and water sectors using novel approaches of nature-based solutions to address climate change and overpopulation.


As the newly elected Chairwoman of the Board of Governors, I am delighted to extend my greetings to our Tel Aviv University community of Governors, Friends, supporters, alumni, faculty and students. My election symbolizes several “firsts”: I am the first woman chair, first alumna chair, and first second-generation TAU donor to hold this post. As Co-Chair of the TAU Global Campaign until last year, and in my new position, my overarching goal is to widen the circle of support for the University.


Giving is my passion, and especially making it the passion of others. To that end, I will be focusing my work on increasing the engagement of Governors in the day-to-day operations and development plans of the University through the Board Committees; on identifying every opportunity to spotlight outstanding projects at TAU, particularly in society-oriented areas such as equal opportunity education and gender equality in STEM fields; on realizing the vast potential of alumni to partner with TAU in strengthening impact; and on assisting the University to advance research and teaching of the highest academic standards, for the benefit of Israel and the world. At the end of the day, our goal is to effect positive change not only for individuals but for entire communities and, indeed, humanity. I feel fortunate and privileged to be leading a committed global network of TAU supporters. I believe that our collective power is much greater than the sum of its parts, and that, together, we will succeed in bringing TAU and Israel’s contribution to new heights.

Ms. Dafna Meitar-Nechmad Chairwoman, Board of Governors Tel Aviv University


Te l Av i v U n i v e r s i t y A n n u a l R e p o r t 2 02 2

Welcoming Ukranian students and researchers to campus this Spring


It’s impossible to talk about the past year without relating to the refugee crisis in the Ukraine. The University quickly set up Israel’s first Emergency Fellowship Fund for Ukrainian Students and Researchers. We have already accepted a few dozen Ukrainian scholars to our campus for the next six months and anticipate absorbing many more. The outpouring of support from donors, University faculty members, and the public for this move has been heartwarming. Meanwhile, with our exit from COVID-19 crisis mode, the University is applying the experience and insights gained during the pandemic to develop innovative teaching tools. Forging the future university learning experience is among several top strategic goals, which include expanding international collaborations; nurturing breakthrough multidisciplinary research; augmenting the humanities; increasing industry and hospital ties; and promoting equality and diversity. I am glad to report that we have furthered our priorities in every sphere, backed by a tremendous boost to donations. We raised over $100 million in cash and pledges in the last half year alone. Of that, a single $25 million gift came from Sir Len Blavatnik, founder of the Blavatnik Initiative at TAU. Fundraising for 2021-22 promises to be the strongest ever, bringing our Global TAU Campaign a stone’s throw away from our 2023 goal of $1 billion. TAU’s continued success as a world-leading intellectual and social force depends, in great part, on the continued commitment of our friends and supporters around the globe. Thank you all for sharing and furthering our important mission.

Prof. Ariel Porat President, Tel Aviv University


TAU O F F I C E R S Lay Leaders

Ms. Dafna MeitarNechmad Chairwoman of the Board of Governors

Dr. h.c. Josef Buchmann

Mr. Eli Gelman Chairman of the Executive Council

Dr. h.c. Sylvan Adams

Dr. h.c. Dame Shirley Porter

Dr. h.c. Jeremy Coller

Dr. Anita Friedman

Deputy Chairperson of the Board of Governors

Deputy Chairperson of the Board of Governors

Chair of the TAU Global Campaign, Vice Chairperson of the Board of Governors

Dr. h.c. Marcus Besen

Dr. h.c. Boaz Dotan

Dr. h.c. Sami Sagol

Vice Chairmen of the Board of Governors

Prof. Jacob A. Frenkel, Mr. Robert Goldberg, Mr. Michael H. Steinhardt Chairmen Emeriti of the Board of Governors

Campus Leaders Prof. Ariel Porat President

Prof. Mark Shtaif Rector

Mr. Gady Frank


Prof. Milette Shamir

Vice President, International

Prof. Dan Peer

Vice President for Research and Development

Mr. Amos Elad

Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs


Prof. Eyal Zisser Vice Rector

Prof. Yaron Oz Pro-Rector

Prof. Moshe Zviran

Dean of the Coller School of Management

Prof. Rachel Gali Cinamon

Dean of the Lester and Sally Entin Faculty of Humanities

Prof. Yishai Blank

Dean of the Buchmann Faculty of Law

Prof. Yossi Rosenwaks

Dean of the Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering

Prof. Abdussalam Azem

Dean of the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences

Prof. Itai Sened

Dean of the Gershon H. Gordon Faculty of Social Sciences

Prof. Ehud Grossman

Dean of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine

Te l Av i v U n i v e r s i t y A n n u a l R e p o r t 2 02 2

Prof. Eran Neuman

Dean of the Yolanda and David Katz Faculty of the Arts

Prof. Tova Milo

Dean of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences

Prof. Drorit Neumann Dean of Students

Prof. Liat Kishon-Rabin

Dean of Innovation in Teaching and Learning

DISTINCTIONS Prof. Shiri Artstein-Avidan, Exact Sciences, Commendation from Na’amat Prize for Groundbreaking Women Scientists

Prof. Ron Harris, Law, Lindert-Williamson Prize for Best Book in Global Economic History, Economic History Association

Prof. Peter Bamberger, Management, Academy of Management Fellow

Prof. Refael Hassin, Exact Sciences, Lifetime Achievement Award, Operations Research Society of Israel

Prof. Zvi Ben-Avraham, Exact Sciences, Elected Foreign Member of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences Dr. Uri Ben-David, Medicine, Cells 2021 Junior Investigator Award, EMBO Young Investigator Program Prof. Yoav Benjamini, Exact Sciences, US National Academy of Sciences Prof. Jonathan Berant, Exact Sciences, 2022 Kadar Family Award for Outstanding Research Dr. Ofra Bloch, Law, Gorni Award for Excellent Young Researcher in Public Law, Israeli Association for Public Law Prof. Danny Cohen Or, Exact Sciences, ACM Fellow

Prof. Joshua Jortner, Exact Sciences, Honorary Doctorate, Cyprus University Prof. Nira Liberman, Social Sciences, 2022 Rothschild Prize Prof. Oded Lipschits, Humanities, 2022 EMET Prize in Archaeology Dr. Adam Morrison, Exact Sciences, Internet Defense Prize awarded jointly by USENIX Association and Facebook Prof. Oded Rechavi, Life Sciences, Israel Young Academy

Dr. Viviane Slon, Medicine, Franklin Rosalind Award Prof. Abner Soffer, Exact Sciences, Chair of the Institutional Board of Belle II Dr. Roy Tzohar, Humanities, 2022 Kadar Family Award for Outstanding Research Prof. Lior Wolf, Exact Sciences, Google Best Paper Award, IEEE International Conference on Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition Prof. Shimon Yankielowicz, Exact Sciences, Fellow of the Israeli Physical Society Prof. Noam Yarom, Medicine, President-Elect of International Society of Oral Oncology (ISOO) Prof. Danny Yekutieli, Exact Sciences, Fellow, Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) Dr. Lior Zalmanson, Management, Early Career Award, Association of Information Systems

Prof. Gal Oestreicher-Singer, Management, ATLAS Award, Association of Information Systems

Prof. Leo Corry, Humanities, 2022 Kadar Family Award for Outstanding Research

Prof. Dan Peer, Life Sciences, 2021 Distinguished Research Awards for Genome Editing – Infinite Possibilities Team Award, MolecularCloud/Genscript

Dr. Avital Davidovich Eshed, Humanities, 2021 Book Prize, Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Center for the Study of Women in Judaism, Bar Ilan University

Prof. Orit Rozin, Humanities, Yuval Heiman Award for Innovative Research, Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History

Prof. Roman Dobrovetsky, Exact Sciences, 2021 ICS Excellent Young Scientist Prize

Prof. Shmuel (Muli) Safra, Exact Sciences, 2021 Test of Time Award in FOCS

Prof. Michal Feldman, Exact Sciences, 2022 Kadar Family Award for Outstanding Research

Dr. Itai Saporta-Eksten, Social Sciences, 2021 France-Israel Foundation Award for Young Economist

Prof. Amos Fiat, Exact Sciences, ACM Fellow Prof. Ehud Gazit, Life Sciences, International Solvay Chair in Chemistry for 2023

Dr. Aldema Sas-Chen, Life Sciences, Eclipse Award for Innovation in High Throughput Biology, RNA Society

Ofra Goldstein-Gidoni, Social Sciences, Secretary General of JAWS (Japan Anthropology Workshop)

Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, Medicine, 3D Printing Award

Prof. Anastasia Gorodzeisky, Social Sciences, Louis Guttman Article Award, Israeli Sociological Society

Prof. Ron Shamir, Exact Sciences, 2022 Accomplishment by a Senior Scientist Award

Prof. Illana Gozes, Medicine, 2021 Healthy Longevity Catalyst Award of the US National Academy of Medicine

Prof. Ruth Shalgi, Medicine, Lifetime Achievement Award, Israeli Society for Fertility Research


202 2 G LO B A L C A M PA I G N PR OJ E C T S Academic Development

Ruth Rappaport Mentoring Program for Women in Exact Sciences – Bruce and Ruth Rappaport Foundation, USA

David and Julia Roitman Fund – Germany

Renewed Support for the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics – Liechtenstein

Sagol Center for Regenerative Medicine – Israel

Support for INSS – Paul Baker, USA

Bloomfield International Post-Doctoral Fellowship Fund – Eldee Foundation, Canada, Harry Bloomfield QC, President

Support for the Israel Affordable Housing Center – Carasso Real Estate Ltd., Israel

TAU-Northwestern LLM Program Fund – The Crown Family, USA

Renewed Support for the Sagol School of Neuroscience – Israel

Dan David Society of Fellows – Dan David Foundation, Israel

Chief Justice Shamgar Center for Digital Law and Innovation – Dan Shamgar, Israel

Support Fund for Dan David Center for Human Evolution and Biohistory Research – Dan David Foundation, Israel

Support for the Institute for Law and Philanthropy – Shashua Family Foundation, Israel

Support Fund for the Walter Lebach Institute for JewishArab Coexistence through Education – Ernesto S. Galperin, Argentina

Support for The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History – Michael Steinhardt, USA

Strauss Neuroplasticity Brain Bank – Argentina

Support for INSS Sino-Israel Relations Project – Diane and Guilford Glazer Foundation, USA

Emergency Fellowship Fund for Ukrainian Students and Researchers

Support for INSS – Steven D. Goldberg, USA

Support Fund for the Jona Goldrich Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture – Cayton-Goldrich Family Foundation, USA


- American Jewish Committee Scholars – American Jewish Committee (AJC), USA - Joseph Baazov z”l Derech Eretz Fund – David Baazov, Canada

Support Fund for the Jona Goldrich Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture – Goldrich Family Foundation, USA

- Joan and Irwin Jacobs Fund, USA - Yuri Milner Foundation, USA - Miles Nadal, Canada

Support for the Law Clinic for Environmental Justice and the Protection of Animal Rights – Niva Gurevitch, Israel

- Vlad and Sana Shmunis, USA

Support for the Center for Combating Pandemics – Koret Foundation, USA

Koret Center for Jewish Civilization – Koret Foundation, USA

Asper Clean Water Fund – Asper Foundation, Canada

Renewed Support for the Institute for Law and Philanthropy – Bruce and Ruth Rappaport Foundation, USA

Closner Family Chair for Next Generation Organ and Tissue Implants – Neil Closner, Canada

Renewed Support for the Institute for Law and Philanthropy – Zvi and Ofra Meitar Family Fund, Israel

Support for Research of Prof. Galili Shahar – Twin Oak Philanthropic Fund (Dan Cohn), USA


Te l Av i v U n i v e r s i t y A n n u a l R e p o r t 2 02 2

Support for the Moshe Mirilashvili Institute for Applied Water Studies – Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, Russia

Systemic Survey of Israel's Land Reptile Biodiversity at the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History – Gans Collections and Charitable Fund, Inc., USA

Support for the Research of Prof. Jonathan Gershoni, Life Sciences – Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USA

Renewed Support for 3D Cancer Research of Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, Medicine – Kahn Foundation, Israel

Wynn Family Atrium at the Roman Abramovich Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Building – Canada

Student Aid and Fellowships •

Renewed Support for the Ariane de Rothschild Women Doctoral Program – Caesarea Foundation, Israel

Charles, Evelyne and Sandra Dolansky Periphery Scholarship Fund – Sandra Dolansky Estate, Canada

Foundation for a Smoke-Free World Scholarships – USA

Support for the Neurobiology Research of Prof. Oded Rechavi, Life Sciences – Kahn Foundation, Israel

Galperin Family Periphery Scholarship Fund – Ernesto S. Galperin, Argentina

Nashman Family CF Initiative – Nashman Family Charitable Trust, Canada

Scholarship Fund – Andre Harari, Israel

Grant for Arab Faculty Recruitment – Neubauer Family Foundation, USA

Shalom Aleichem Scholarship and Academic Event – Heritage Project Foundation, USA

Drug Screening Research toward Personalized Muscular Dystrophy Treatment – Noa Project, Panama

Music Scholarships – Estate of Steven B. Levenson, USA

Cancer Research Fund for Prof. Dan Peer – Vlad and Sana Shmunis, USA

Renewed Support for Israel Friendship Scholarship Fund – Jaime Peisach, USA

Drs. Garry Rayant and Kathy Fields-Rayant Scholarship Fund in Honor of Dr. Anita Friedman – USA

Support for Scholarships – Steven and Henryk Schwarz, Schwarz Foundation, USA

Shashua Family Foundation Scholarship Fund – Israel

Israel Weisblum Memorial Production Fund – Yair Weisblum, Canada

Ruth and Amos Wilnai Periphery Scholarship Fund – USA

Robert and Edith Zinn Doctoral Scholars – USA

Campus Development •

Sylvan Adams Sports Center – Israel

Arbib Family Entrance Plaza – Canada

Expansion of the David Azrieli School of Architecture Building – Azrieli Foundation, Canada

BERVIN Visitors Center at the Roman Abramovich Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Building – Canada

Theater Donated by Norman and Joan Ciment at The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History – USA


Benjamin (Beni) Davidai Lecture Hall – Eli Davidai, Israel

Eli Hurvitz Lecture Hall – Dalia & Elyahu z”l Hurvitz, Israel

Arielle and Shlomo Markel Meeting Room – Israel

Chaya and Aryeh Orland Classroom – Israel

Shiffman Family Group Studies Suite – Canada

Helen Sarah Steyer & Thomas Mark Steyer Fund for Treating Trauma-Related Disorders – USA

Listed: Projects of $100,000 and above, by alphabetical order within categories



Legal Clinics: "Their Work Lifted My Soul" The Clinic for the Rights of Holocaust Survivors and the Elderly at TAU’s Buchmann Faculty of Law helped a 77-year-old Tel Aviv woman win a significant legal battle over her public housing apartment. Under the guidance of clinical instructors Liad Strolov and Yael Havassy-Aharoni, the TAU team overturned an eviction and rent hike notice that Katlin Bidel (pictured) received. Furthermore, the pro-bono work of the Clinic – which receives support from the Netzach Israel Foundation – led to a complete renovation of the hazardous living conditions at Bidel's residence. “The work of the students, staff and attorneys from Tel Aviv University completely changed my life,” said Bidel, the daughter of Holocaust survivors and a diabetes patient, who herself escaped communist Hungary to Israel in 1971. “The Legal Clinic helped me in every way possible and their work lifted my soul. I’m grateful a thousand times over.”


Te l Av i v U n i v e r s i t y A n n u a l R e p o r t 2 02 2

Added challenges of transitioning to adulthood Dr. Yafit Sulimani Aidan (Social Sciences) of the Bob Shapell School of Social Work was awarded an ISF grant for her research on the transition to adulthood among young at-risk Arabs in Israel. With the aim of producing a context-based theoretical model, she is studying the effect of intertwined social influences, such as political, cultural and inter-personal dynamics, combined with the youths’ personal experiences of risk and resilience. With the understanding that emerging resilience during this challenging stage provides a window of opportunity for positive change, especially for youth at risk, her research aims to inform interventions and policy.

Leveling the playing field through occupational therapy A program for Community-Based Occupational Therapy, created by Prof. Navah Ratzon (Medicine) and managed by research assistant Sarah Gat, has recently been adopted. Some 40 occupational therapy students at the Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions are integrated into community locales in cooperation with organizations such as Mesila, a Tel Aviv municipality center for migrant workers and refugees. These sites are chosen for their ability to give students experience in needs assessment, program planning, outcome evaluation, and implementation of various research methodologies. In addition to providing students with the important experience of clinical fieldwork, the program aims to promote occupational justice among disadvantaged communities.



Teaching kids with autism TAU on VOD Student films coming out of the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television – which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year – have long been winning awards in Israel and around the world. Now these industry-leading productions can be viewed on a new streaming channel using the T-Port platform. Developed by TAU alumni, T-Port is a first-of-itskind online platform showcasing film creations from the finest film schools across the world, and connecting new talent with the film industry. T-Port's new channel offers a unique, free VOD service for TAU's film students and for Friends of TAU around the world, with content updated regularly.

From TAU to Google: Helping victims of domestic abuse Motivated by a course held by the TAU Impact program for community engagement, TAU alumna Yuval Carny led the rollout of the first automated Google hotline to help victims of domestic violence. Upon graduation from the Buchmann Faculty of Law, Carny began a job at Google where her knowledge from TAU spurred her to orchestrate the feature. It is now operational in the US, Australia and Israel in English, Hebrew and Arabic, and is being expanded to additional countries and languages. The online function works by automatically generating an information box with trusted help line details when a person searches terms on Google that are related to domestic violence, which might indicate they are facing danger. “The goal is to provide constructive help for people when they need it most,” she says.

In a collaborative study involving Israel, the UK, Spain and Greece, Prof. Lilach Shalev-Mevorah (Humanities) of the Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education, alongside international colleagues, showed that attention skills are a major challenge for many children with autism, and that attention training positively affects their performance. Research also showed teachers' low confidence regarding knowledge of attention difficulties in autism. The Teacher Training and Attention in Autism project was therefore established with the aim of extending teachers' theoretical and practical knowledge of the problem, and providing them with online tools developed in Shalev-Mevorah’s lab.

Software engineers – Not what you expected Dr. Amir Rubinstein (Exact Sciences) of the Blavatnik School of Computer Science serves as academic advisor to a high-tech program offered to female Ultra-Orthodox seminary students. The Adva Program, an initiative of the Start-Up Nation Central Foundation, offers a twoyear vocational computer science course designed in partnership with high-tech companies and leading universities. The women learn core mathematical and computational skills, take part in advanced programming training projects, and receive ongoing mentoring in preparation for the high-tech recruiting process. The goal is to produce a crop of software engineers who will bring much-needed income into the Ultra-Orthodox community.

Fighting for the right to be heard Aya Wertheimer, an alumna of the Bob Shapell School of Social Work with a graduate degree in policy and human rights, together with her NGO partners, led the struggle for recognition of women's suffering due to endometriosis. Long dismissed as "female sensitivity,” this is now a recognized medical condition, meaning that affected women can receive state assistance and subsidized medication for alleviating the condition. Hailed by Women of the Year 2020 as one of Israel's leading feminists, Wertheimer is co-founder/co-CEO of the Endometriosis Israel NGO, and says that the study program at TAU gave her the courage to establish the organization.


The digital transformation of healthcare ICU4COVID, a European-funded consortium, aims to develop safe clinical treatment in intensive care units during a pandemic. A team led by Dr. Tal Soffer (Humanities), Head of the Technology and Society Foresight (TSF) Unit at the Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education, is playing a major part in introducing cutting-edge digital telehealth procedures that keep both patients and healthcare workers safe. Proposed solutions will use artificial intelligence to empower healthcare workers with medical, economic and organizational datadriven prediction models. TSF also advocates for taking issues of privacy, cyber security and ethics into account. According to Dr. Soffer, "Successful digital transformation needs a person-centered approach."

In what surroundings do we learn better? Among the many changes wrought by the COVID pandemic are those affecting the learning environment, with virtual spaces replacing physical ones and outdoor spaces replacing classrooms. With a grant from the TAU Center for Combating Pandemics, Prof. Miri Yemini (Humanities) of the Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education and Dr. Efrat Blumenfeld-Lieberthal (Arts) of the David Azrieli School of Architecture examined the effects of learning spaces on children's learning. Focusing on two neighborhoods in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, and comparing quality of outdoor spaces, preliminary findings showed that schools in lower socio-economic areas succeeded beyond expectations, indicating that school leadership for effective use of urban space can have a significant effect on outcome.

Pregnancy and the COVID vaccine Pregnant women were excluded from the Pfizer vaccine clinical trials, leaving questions about vaccine use for this group. Providing the first definitive answer, statisticians Prof. Malka Gorfine, Dr. Daniel Nevo and Prof. David Steinberg (all from Exact Sciences) collaborated with Dr. Inbal Goldshtein of Maccabi Healthcare Services, comparing a matched group of vaccinated and non-vaccinated pregnant women. Results showed a significantly lower risk of COVID-19 infection in the vaccinated group, with no evidence of adverse effects. A further joint study attested to no harm among infants, while a collaboration with the Gertner Institute and Ministry of Health is developing machine learning-based models for weekly COVID-19 outcome predictions.


Steering Israel through COVID-19 From the benches of Israel’s parliamentary opposition to a seat in the current government, TAU alumnus Nitzan Horowitz’s career trajectory has skyrocketed since his time as a student at TAU’s Buchmann Faculty of Law. As Israel’s Minister of Health he has served an instrumental role in guiding the country’s COVID-19 pandemic response since 2021. “My experience studying at TAU gave me a broad understanding of the world of law, society and government,” he says. “Studying at TAU sets a high standard for those who want to advance further to different influential positions.” Before his rise in politics, Horowitz had a two decade-long career in journalism. He engaged in efforts to advance social justice and served as a board member of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. In 2009, he was elected to Knesset as a member of the then-opposition Meretz party. Until his ministerial appointment last year, Horowitz served three separate Knesset terms during which he initiated dozens of bills focused on social issues, religion and state, education and culture, environmental reforms, animal protection and LGBT rights.


Has lockdown been a pain? According to Dr. Alona Emodi-Perlman and Prof. Ilana Eli (both from Medicine) of the Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine, the answer is quite literally, yes. In a collaborative study with researchers in Poland, they discovered a significantly increased incidence of facial and jaw pain resulting from tension induced jaw-clenching and teeth-grinding. The condition was particularly prevalent among the 35-55 age group, especially women, reflecting their worry over income, difficult work conditions, childcare, and elderly parents during the pandemic.

The health-economy dilemma Dr. Bruria Adini (Medicine) and Dr. Amiram Moshaiov (Engineering), together with computer scientists from the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany, conducted research on the dilemma of health versus the economy during the pandemic. Their study indicates that optimal timing for interventions such as social distancing and lockdowns is essential for maintaining economic prosperity as well as public health. They suggest that a holistic approach considering both aspects is vital for the effective management of pandemics.


Politics and pandemics New practices for new times Adjusting to the ubiquitous pandemic restrictions, occupational therapy expert Prof. Debbie Rand (Medicine) of the Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions, in cooperation with colleagues from Hebrew and Haifa Universities, developed an MA course on "TeleTreatment in the Health Professions.” Presented over Zoom to MA students from the three universities, the course imparts novel techniques for “tele-OT,” occupational therapy over the phone, allowing the provision of services such as assessment, consultation and intervention to those in need, while abiding by Corona constraints.

Safety precaution or breach of privacy? The Ministry of Health's contact tracing application (HaMagen), meant to discover who was near an infected person, raised privacy concerns. Prof. Michael Birnhack (Law), an expert on privacy law, acted as advisor to the Ministry. Among his suggestions was the simplification of language on the consent form, its presentation in numerous languages, and prohibition of certain secondary uses of the data. Based on his advice, changes were made to the application, which received his public endorsement.

Children under lockdown A recognized leader in child abuse prevention, Prof. Carmit Katz (Social Sciences) of the Bob Shapell School of Social Work gathered some 20 colleagues from over 15 countries into an international group stewarding policy change for child protection during the pandemic. The group's latest research project spotlighted the worrisome decrease in child maltreatment reports during lockdowns, when children were more vulnerable and out of the public gaze, illustrating the urgent need to develop innovative strategies to protect children in times of worldwide crisis.


As a part of the Pandemics and Politics Project, Prof. Udi Sommer (Social Sciences) and PhD student Or Rappel-Kroyzer (Humanities) of the Zvi Yavetz School of Historical Studies are quantifying the relationship between COVID-19 and political processes in the USA and beyond. They examine how COVID-19 influenced the 2020 US presidential elections, how politics in the form of ideology, gender, race and partisanship influenced the pandemic, and how the nature of emergency politics changed in the Corona era. Using statistical methods and natural language processing algorithms on data collected from various websites, such as the CDC and New York Times, they also study the relation between media coverage of COVID-19 and how various democracies have coped with the outbreak.

Genetic data informs healthcare policy PhD candidate Danielle Miller and Prof. Adi Stern (both from Life Sciences) of the Shmunis School of Biomedicine and Cancer Research led an international team that was among the first to trace the origins and dynamics of COVID-19. Miller, one of dozens of Azrieli Fellows at TAU in recent years, sequenced the genome of SARS-CoV-2 and identified 224 viral mutations among patients in Israel during the first wave of infection. The findings enabled quick and effective policymaking, such as institutional social distancing to prevent viral spread. "Being an Azrieli Fellow provides the atmosphere every scientist needs to thrive,” said Miller, who is now using artificial intelligence to better understand microorganisms, another path for enhancing clinical and biotechnological applications.

Concept and production: Rava Eleasari • Text: hi-Text/Mimi Tanaman • Additional texts: Julie Steigerwald, Ruti Ziv • Graphic Design: Issi Dvir Photography: Yoram Reshef • Additional Photography: Moshe Bedarshi, Rafael David Ben-Moshe • Administrative Coordination: David Jozsef Issued by the Development and Public Affairs Division • Tel Aviv University • Ramat Aviv 69978, Tel Aviv, Israel • www.campaign.tau.ac.il




Polly Mizrahi de Deutsch, President

Aaron Solomon, President

David Meller CBE, Chairman



Clive Donner, President

Amnon Dick, Chairman

Rosie Potaznik, President


Argentinean Friends of Tel Aviv University

Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University (WA) Chairperson, Australian AFTAU Pty Ltd Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University (Victoria)

Jenny Hillman, President

Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University (New South Wales)


Dr. Bernhard Ramsauer, President Austrian Friends of Tel Aviv University


David Ades, President

Brazilian Friends of Tel Aviv University

Renée Cohen Zaide

Brazilian Friends of Tel Aviv University Rio de Janeiro

Dr. Mario Gurvitz Cardoni

Brazilian Friends of Tel Aviv University Porto Alegre


Ariela Cotler, National President Canadian Friends of Tel Aviv University

David Altshuller, Regional Chair

Canadian Friends of Tel Aviv University Ontario and Western Canada

Josh Cummings, Regional Chair

Canadian Friends of Tel Aviv University Ottawa, Quebec and Atlantic Canada

Indian Friends of Tel Aviv University

Israeli Friends of Tel Aviv University

Dr. Alexander Machkevitch, President Kazakhstani Friends of Tel Aviv University


Jaime Murow Troice, President Mexican Friends of Tel Aviv University


Dutch Friends of Tel Aviv University


Jan Dante, Chairman

Norwegian Friends of Tel Aviv University


Millie Bettsak, President

Panamanian Friends of Tel Aviv University


Lucienne Kampel, President

Portuguese Friends of Tel Aviv University


Jonathan Osrin, Chairman

South African Friends of Tel Aviv University


Ketty Grun, Liaison

Patricia Nahmad, President Isaac Querub, Honorary President

Ecuadorian Friends of Tel Aviv University

Spanish Friends of Tel Aviv University




Prof. François Heilbronn, President

Peter Seideman, President

French Friends of Tel Aviv University (AFAUTA)

Swedish Friends of Tel Aviv University



Uwe Becker, President

German Friends of Tel Aviv University


Sharon Ser, Chairperson

Hong Kong Friends of Tel Aviv University

Patrick Loeb-Meyer, President Swiss Friends of Tel Aviv University

Tel Aviv University Trust

Glen Watson, Chairman, Scottish Group Tel Aviv University Trust


Bettina Szames, President

Uruguayan Friends of Tel Aviv University


Clement Erbmann, National Chairman American Friends of Tel Aviv University

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