Brandeis University has given me the privilege of many sublime moments, and few have been as awe-inspiring as the chance to address members of the Brandeis family in front of the panoramic walls of the Old City of Jerusalem under a full moon.
The alumni gathering in Jerusalem represented the culmination of a day full of significant events and meaningful progress for Brandeis in the Holy Land. After just a day and a half, our trip here has already opened a number of doors to new opportunities.
My day here began with a meeting with Sari Nusseibeh, President of Al-Quds University, with which Brandeis has had a partnership since 2003 and exchanges of faculty and staff since 2005. I traveled to Beit Hanina in the Jerusalem area, where one of Al-Quds University’s campuses is located, and President Nusseibeh and I discussed ways to continue our partnership, specifically how to promote the education of women in the sciences.
I shared lunch with the CEO of the Jerusalem YMCA — a Brandeis graduate and former Slifka Scholar, Forsan Hussein ’00. The lovely, traditional Jerusalemite building and tower house this remarkable institution, dedicated to creating a space for inter-faith and inter-group dialogue, just a few short blocks from the Old City walls.
Next, I met with Hebrew University President Menachem Ben-Sasson, on the Mount Scopus campus of this renowned institution. We had a wide-ranging discussion on many opportunities for collaboration, such as ways in which faculty members from both schools can work together to pursue shared interests.
The day concluded with an Alumni and Friends Event at the David Citadel Hotel, overlooking the centuries-old, Jerusalem-stone walls of the Old City, and the storied Tower of David. We hosted alumni from the Class of 1957 all the way through to newly-minted alumni of the Class of 2011, as well as several current students who are working in Israel for the summer. To give voice to the social justice mission and Jewish roots of Brandeis University, in the same place where Isaiah the prophet gave voice to his vision of social justice — the word “magical” does not even capture it. I felt profoundly thankful and blessed.