This entry has been reposted, by permission, from President Fred Lawrence’s blog “Brandeis First”. Click here to see the original entry.
The deep connections between Boston and Haifa hold great potential for Brandeis and our engagement in Israel – this has been clear in multiple ways during our time in this beautiful city on the Mediterranean. Our visits to the Leo Baeck School the Reali School in Haifa gave us the opportunity to meet with prospective Brandeis students of the future as well as faculty and administrators at these creative and innovative schools. The impact of Brandeis on Leo Baeck in particular is clear; their visionary leader of decades, Bob Samuels ’54, himself describes Leo Baeck as a kind of “mini-Brandeis in Haifa” – and his vision is real. The students were bright, energetic and in every way very Brandeisian. Overall there is a great level of excitement about the potential for more students from Israel coming to Brandeis.
Our productive meetings at the University of Haifa hold seeds for potential collaborative efforts in faculty research and student exchanges. I am grateful to University of Haifa President Aaron Ben-Ze’ev for interest and enthusiasm in working together with us. All of the possible means of working together with colleagues in Haifa have a great multiplier effect because of long-established close connections between the sister cities of Boston and Haifa.
Meanwhile, our Brandeis team focused on science has been fanning out across the country. Steve Goldstein, our incoming provost, has focused on the Technion, spending the past two days at the institution where he has had substantial scientific collaborations originally forged during his days as a post-doc at Brandeis. Irene Abrams, our associate provost for innovation, explored possibilities of linking Brandeis science with Hebrew University, as well as with BioLineRx, a Jerusalem-based company that specializes in taking promising potential therapeutic compounds from universities and bringing them through preclinical and clinical trials, before licensing them to a pharmaceutical company.
On Sunday, Liz and Seth both visited the prestigious Weizmann Institute in Rehovot. Liz delivered a seminar on her research and met with colleagues from the laboratory of Dan Tawfik working in the field of archeobiology, literally recreating proteins from ancestral organisms from hundreds of millions of years ago in order to understand how proteins evolved to the functions we use today.
Seth met with colleagues in the field of biophysics, another area of overlap with the Weizmann. Brandeis and the Weizmann have been leaders in the trend to integrate the life and physical sciences and both institutions would benefit by exchanges of researchers. For example, Seth visited the labs of Prof. Elisha Moses who is developing hybrid neurological – electronic chips to form a bridge between the computer and brain.
Today, I will join with members of the science team at the Weizmann Institute, where we will explore possible collaborations with the president and other leaders of the institute. Indeed, it is courtesy of our hosts at Weizmann that I am posting this entry from the Institute.
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Our last night in Haifa concluded with a splendid gathering of the Haifa leadership of the Boston-Haifa Connection, which for more than two decades has created so many meaningful links between our cities. Our delegation had a natural link. Ruth Aronson, our associate director of development and a key member of the Brandeis team in Israel, spent seven years as the Boston director for the Connection.
Over the course of the evening, leaders of the community told stories of many ongoing links to Brandeis, while spinning out ideas for the future. No doubt there will be many further conversations that will involve Naomi Greideinger, the dynamic chair of the Boston-Haifa Connection, and Vered Israely, its talented director.