Meeting inspiring alumni
When the Tel Aviv University Alumni Organization was established in May 2015, it was decided that its primary goal would be to strengthen the ties not only between the alumni and the University, but also among alumni themselves. Such bonds are mutually beneficial – influential and inspiring alumni enhance the reputation of the University, while an outstanding university raises the value of every graduate's degree.
Tel Aviv University alumni hold key positions in every area of Israel's economy - an enormous asset which the Organization wishes to highlight, cultivate and promote. One of its first initiatives was launching a series of Encounters with Inspiring Alumni. In these unique meetings successful TAU graduates from different fields share experiences with fellow alumni about their journey to the top.
Most meetings consist of two parts. First, the main speaker tells his/her inspiring story, which is then followed by a special enrichment or entertainment program with top lecturers and/or performers.
The unique series provides TAU alumni with an enjoyable platform for networking and personal enrichment in a friendly and pleasant social atmosphere.
Although every inspiring alumni brings his/her unique experience to life, offering a different kind of personal story and inspiration, they all share a desire to give back, a joy in returning to their roots, and the satisfaction of inspiring their fellow alumni to grow personally and professionally.
New events are continually advertised on the event calendar in this website and on the Facebook page of the Tel Aviv University Alumni Organization.
We look forward to seeing you with us!
The Tel Aviv University Alumni Organization continues its tradition of webinars with inspiring alumni, this time with a surprising and colorful theme that dealt with fashion shows, sweatpants, shoes, comfortable fabrics, the COVID-19 era and everything in between.
At the initiative of Sigalit Ben Hayoun, Head of the TAU Alumni Organization, four alumni spoke in a webinar titled ‘Back to the runway’ about the changes the COVID-19 era brought into the fashion and design industry.
- Tal Granovsky Amit, Fashion Historian, Lecturer and Director of the Rose Archive for Fashion & Textile, Shenkar, alumna of the Faculty of the Arts
- Ori Lehavi, Owner, CEO and Creative Director of "Daniella Lehavi", Alumnus of the Coller School of Management
- Yossi Harari, International Jewelry Designer, Alumnus of the Faculties of Humanities and of Social Sciences
- The event was moderated by Elinor Dvir, Fashion and Lifestyle Journalist and Content Editor at Walla! Fashion, Alumna of the Faculty of Engineering
Among other things, Tal Granovsky Amit said:
"The tension between what’s real and the digital world, which was not sufficiently present in the fashion world, succeeded to enter it during the COVID era."
"The fashion world manages to make a very creative adaptation these days - and creativity is the name of the game."
"I don’t think we will go out of the house wearing sweatpants soon, other than for the purpose of walking the dog."
Yossi Harari said:
"In the last year, everybody learned that Less is more. There was an 'over' of everything. Too many products on the shelves... in quantities. And that created confusion in every industry."
"E-Commerce knocked out the retail world a few years ago already... This year, E-Commerce was a very good source, more than any other year before, because the stores were closed and people were at home and started buying things for themselves."
"Instagram creates a direct dialogue between the designer and his target market."
Ori Lehavi said:
“Everything in fashion becomes much more casual, because there are no events to dress up for. The same goes for shoes too - the line is more casual, and sales of shoes have increased greatly. '
"Customers have developed new habits this year."
"Our private customers have moved online. Overnight, our website became our strongest store, The largest and most influential showcase.'
"When there are no exhibitions, it is more difficult to reach new wholesale customers abroad, and for designers who haven’t built a database yet it is even more challenging."
Among the alumni who watched the webinar live:
Nadav Palti, Chairman of Mapal Communications and CEO & President of Dori Media Group; Carmela Avner, VP Business Transformation & partnership Management, Strauss Water; Hava Katz, Chief Curator at the Israel Antiquities Authority; Hezi Himelfarb, Entrepreneur, CEO of O2Cure; Tamar Ariav, Former President of the Beit-Berl College, and many others.
In the run-up to the inauguration of the incoming US president Joe Biden, and during the hours the congress decided on former President Trump's 2nd impeachment, the TAU Alumni Organization, Headed by Sigalit Ben Hayoun, held a previously planned webinar, which dealt with the dramatic results of the US presidential, senate and congressional elections, and their consequences, both globally and locally for Israel.
The webinar was participated by inspiring TAU Alumni who chose academia as a way of life and became Tel Aviv University faculty after graduating:
- Dr. Udi Sommer, Head of the Center for the Study of the United States at TAU with the Fulbright Program, Alumnus of the TAU School of Psychological Sciences
- Prof. Miriam (Miri) Shefer Mossensohn, Head of the Zvi Yazetz School of Historical Studies, Alumna of the Zvi Yavetz School of Historical Studies
- Dr. Liora Hendelman-Baavur, Director of the Alliance Center for Iranian Studies at TAU, Alumna of the TAU Faculties of Social Sciences and Humanities.
The event was moderated by two prominent media people and TAU Alumni, who deal with current events and what is happening in the United States on a daily basis:
- Tal Schneider, Diplomatic & Political correspondent, Zman Israel by The Times of Israel, Alumna of TAU's Buchmann Faculty of Law
- Uri Pasovsky, Senior commentator, Globes, Alumnus of the Zvi Yavetz School of Historical Studies and the Shirley and Leslie Porter School of Cultural Studies in the TAU Faculty of Humanities, and the Coller School of Management
The panel discussed complex and major questions:
How will America recover from the storming of the United States Capitol that occured this past weekend?
What can this week's events teach about the state of democracy in the United States, and the democratic rift around the world?
Will Biden be able to bridge the gaps in American society?
What are the consequences of violating the freedom of expression? And what are the limits of freedom of expression?
How will the end of Trump's tenure and the insane damage to his status affect US-Israel relations?
What does Iran think?
And are these historical times?
Prof. Miri Shefer Mossensohn:
"Leaders in the Middle East, led by Erdogan, are cynically saying to the United States today, 'Told you so': the image you radiated to the outside world as the guardian of democracy – Now even you can't tell us how to behave. Similar Hand-rubbing is taking place in Moscow and Tehran.
As a historian, I can say that when there is a sense of chaos and loss of compass, people do things they would not do in other situations. We have seen examples of this throughout history, when pandemics (such as COVID-19) have brought about dramatic changes."
Dr. Liora Hendelman-Baavur:
"From the point of view of Iran and other Middle Eastern countries, the US administration, which has been preaching morality on human rights issues for years, is at a low point when its own treatment of American citizens is revealed (like the George Floyd scandal). It seems that Iran's general feeling following the US election results is relief. Along with anti-American statements to which we are already accustomed, there is a keen anticipation for the future, especially for a removal of the sanctions Iran faced since Trump's withdrawal of the "Iran Nuclear Deal" in 2018.
Iran is expected to hold presidential elections in the summer of 2021 and there is great pressure to get Washington to lift the sanctions, or at least some of them, by then.
Beyond that, there is a global trend where the balance of power is shifting, and the zeitgeist is calling for “strong” leaders of a certain kind. Biden is a politician with many years of experience in Congress, and there are many expectations of him. Many see him as a kind of knight on a white horse who will bring about a kind of world correction after 4 years of Trump."
Dr. Udi Sommer:
"If Trump is Impeached, he will be the first president in American history who'll be Impeached twice.
The ultimate criterion for democracy is the peaceful transfer of power. The idea that a party that lost an election peacefully transfers the reins to a winning party is a cornerstone of any democratic system. The violent incidents on Capitol Hill last week undermine these foundations.
In addition, one of the basic criteria in the American Constitution is the principle of separation of powers aimed at preventing the concentration of excessive power and the abuse of that power. The fact that the head of the executive branch has led to the cessation of a fundamental constitutional procedure that is at the core of the activity of the legislature, and violently, also undermines this fundamental principle.
And yet, 74.2 million voters voted for Trump. A president whose many messages throughout his tenure have been in a similar spirit. And no less, many of the Republican politicians to this moment are in no hurry to distance themselves from Trump.
One of COVID-19's most notable influences on American politics stems from the unprecedented turnout in envelopes. It made possible, despite the difficult circumstances of a global pandemic, for an unprecedented number of voters to vote. Beyond that, many of those voters were Democrats. And that’s also what gave a lot of the dramatic garnet of Election Day and the days that followed, when the votes counted from the envelopes were from urban areas that are mostly Democratic strongholds.
The Abraham Accords are a paradigm shift in Middle Eastern reality. A change in light of American foreign policy in the Middle East will need to be updated. First, in contrast to the 1990s and the bilateral reality advocated by the US State Department at the time, it is a multilateral reality that affects the system of regional alliances, axes of power, and ways of dealing with Iran.
Second, the Palestinians, whose perception was that until there was no progress with them there would be no progress with any other factor in the Middle East, are no longer in the same status. Their status has changed radically from the moment the trend was established, according to which Israel and other regional factors are getting closer without the precondition of progress towards an agreement with the Palestinians."
Among the hundreds of Alumni who viewed the webinar in real time:
Michael Kenny, Owner & CEO of Eastronics LTD
Eran Elizur, CEO of IKOMED Technologies Inc
Justice Daniela Shirizli
Zeev Kirschenbaum, President and CEO of ACS Motion Control LTD
Gideon Reis, CEO of Pavilion-Spark
Jerry Mandel, Managing Director of Galil Capital Finance
Former TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter and his wife Pirchiya
and many more.
The Tel Aviv University Alumni Organization, headed by Sigalit Ben Hayoun, is currently celebrating its fifth anniversary and continues the tradition of meetings with inspiring alumni who has "made it". In an active community of over 85,000 alumni, inspiring people can be found from almost every field of research, activity and influence, but this meeting was a particularly delicious and surprising.
The organization invited the TAU Alumni community to a culinary-zoom-experiential event with four alumni, all well-known in the field of culinary:
- Yuval Ben Neriah, chef and owner of the Taizu Group, who studied at the TAU Faculty of Humanities
- Dushi (Andrea) Leitersdorf, Owner of House of Dallal, alumna of the TAU Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences
- Asaf Abir, author of "Not Another Cookbook" which deals with the science and art of the perfect bite
- Dr. Yasmine Meroz, Principal Investigator of the Meroz Lab of Growing Systems & Plant Behaviour at the TAU School of Plant Sciences and Food Security, alumna of the TAU Faculty of Exact Sciences.
Asaf, a man of words, skipped between the three panelists lightly as he navigated the conversation between campus memories, flavors, boxes and deliveries.
Yuval Ben Neriah revealed that both his parents are both Medical doctors who are TAU Alumni as well. "My parents agreed that I would become a chef, but insisted that I should first get a degree, which was very difficult. I was always behind, and to this day I have not completed my degree."
Dushi, on the other hand, admitted: "I’m a nerd and always was one. I skipped the big post-military service trip around the world, enrolled in TAU and studied through 12 years and 4 degrees."
Yasmine, on the other hand, chose an academic career, and with a background in physics, she currently researches plant behavior and communication between plants, using methods from the world of physics.
Dushi and Yuval agreed on much of COVID’s effect on restaurants and on where the industry is headed. They admitted that a different and new experience had developed, of consuming boxed takeaways. "The new takeaway allows us to preserve both our manpower, our teams, and also maintain our reputation," they said.
Asaf asked the restaurateurs ‘Will anything change after it's all over? Did the pandemic teach people to understand the role of restaurants?
Yuval: "Two genres will stay strong - fine dining at one end, and street food at the other end. People who started cooking at home now understand the cost of fish and appreciate the high prices better."
Dushi: "COVID has brought with it new emphases, and if you are optimistic enough, alert enough, you can turn lemons not only into lemonade but also caipirinha: To meet the challenge, get the best out of the situation, while practicing creativity, responsibility and efficiency."
"Just like trees," Yasmine mentioned, "if they feel threatened by strong winds they stop growing high and instead grow in width, allowing them to become stronger and survive. In general, plants excel at adapting to harsh and unpredictable environments, and know how to survive periods of drought, pandemics and fires. They are doing something right, and we still have what to learn from them”. By the way, she admitted that the COVID era taught her to bake homemade bread, and if that doesn't work, you can always order from Dallal.
During the second part of the event, Yuval Ben Neriah took over for a practical “Cook-Along” workshop for preparing the "Chef's Dish" - filet of Sparus aurata or Sea Bass with tomato curry and yogurt.
Among the alumni who tuned in to watch the live webinar:
Adi Gura, Partner at the Braverman Gallery, Tedy Kratenstein, Senior Executive at Dell Technologies, Michael Levkovitch, Owner and CEO of Tea and Lemon Ltd., Amir Fishler, CEO at Netivot Yetzira Real Estate, Mashav Balsam, Co-Founder & COO at TechedUp, Sharona Sagi, VP Product at Exlibris, Amir Wagner, Co-Founder and CEO of Respect Branding, and more.
The Tel Aviv University Alumni Organization, led by Sigalit Ben Hayoun, continues its tradition of meetings with inspiring alumni, and chose to shine the spotlight expected changes to everyday life in the big city, caused or enhanced by the COVID pandemic. The date was set, of course, on the World Urbanism Day, celebrated across the globe on November 8th.
Three renowned experts met for a joined zoom Webinar, to discuss burning issues that are disrupting city life and changing the way we live.
The Panelists were:
- Udi Carmeli, Tel Aviv-Yafo City Engineer, Alumnus of the Azrieli School of Architecture, TAU Faculty of the Arts
- Yaara Gooner, Head of Design at the London Real Estate Company Labtech, Alumna of the Azrieli School of Architecture, TAU Faculty of the Arts
- Avishay Kimeldorf, VP of Planning and Chief Architect at Shikun & Binui Real Estate, currently a student in the Executive MBA program of the TAU Coller School of Management
- The panel was moderated by Prof. Tali Hatuka, founder and head of the Laboratory for Contemporary Urban Design in the TAU Department of Geography and the Human Environment.
To Hatuka's question about the significance of COVID regarding urban planning, the three answered in detail:
Udi Carmeli: "The crisis will make a difference, the question is how deep it is going to be, for how long and what to focus on. The typology will change. The city, as a concept of the human existence of all the desires of the human race, will not disappear for those who are looking for it. The crisis enhances both the good and bad sides of urbanism. Its too early to judge and make planning assumptions based on newspaper headlines. We plan 10-20 years ahead, but during the COVID pandemic we took tactical urbanity - following the outbreak of COVID we added 12 new pedestrian zones, small gardens and more bike paths, which would have taken us much more time without COVID."
Avishay Kimeldorf admits "today there is a need for agility and flexibility in planning, the small garden next to the house became a significant activity space for families, the high-rise building has become a safe space, the demand for apartments with balconies and gardens and apartments with a study has increased. Its about knowing what the public wants and needs right now." He also stressed "that flexibility should come from both the developers and the approving bodies, and together we must find the right solutions. The concept of community has also been given a twist, and along with it planning is changing in a more participatory and enabling direction."
Yaara Gooner, from London: "In London as well, there’s a sense of confusion and we are required to adopt flexibility and design creative and quick solutions for adapting our spaces to the new situation.
London is an international commercial city, and proximity to the source of livelihood has become a more important planning factor than ever.
Campuses based on pure mix of uses, enabling a full ecosystem, are now gaining momentum. A resident of the compound can live, work, purchase, eat and spend time in the same compound without having to leave it.
The complexes are not closed, but rather are connected with a number of public spaces and access roads to the city, which encourage pedestrians to walk through the campus and enjoy it too and not just the locals."
The discussion during the second half of the discourse was directed by Prof. Tali Hatuka to the future - what will the city look like following changes such as smart transportation and autonomous vehicles.
Udi Carmeli: "There is no one design solution that works for everyone everywhere. Urban architecture is closely linked to local character and tailor-made for it. Chemistry between people will continue to drive planning forward and leave people in the city, while others will want the opposite. I hope we won’t just live in bubbles. I want to continue to go out into the street and be surprised time and time again. The city has not yet exhausted itself in general, and especially in Israel, which is still considered a country in growth stages. The great educational challenge is the transition to the use of public or cooperative transportation in the future."
Avishay Kimeldorf: "There are a few trends that can currently be identified. I don’t think there’s a trend of leaving the city and returning to the village. This is a marginal phenomenon, and the apparent trend is less about development of agricultural lands into building of mega-neighborhoods outside the city, and more about shifting to work complexes within the cities, which will encourage urban renewal of older areas. In the complex projects, developers will have to adapt to the municipal strategy and develop the complex according to it.
We will see more use of entrepreneurial resources for social purposes, and more use of public land for economic enterprise purposes. There will be a much more substantial treatment of the soft issues that the developer did not touch on in the past, such as the participation of the public and the participation of diverse stakeholders as well as the innovation that trickles into the projects. We also produce flexibility in plans in agreement with municipal bodies. There are more collaborations with the city and there is feedback, where both sides can bring about much better solutions together. The real Real Estate map is the map of public transportation, cooperative transportation and mass transportation, as future centers will be built around them, and this is where the Real Estate world is headed.
Yaara Gooner: "The user experience in the office spaces will change, the population density in spaces will decrease, emphasis will be placed on fresh air, the element of one desk for each employee is no longer relevant, but rather the multiplicity of interaction spaces and strengthening interpersonal connections which can’t be created through the virtual world.
Each new building’s plan will have to meet a large number of strict standards, which will make it possible to brand the building on the market with a Green Building certificate. Bicycles, showers and lockers are now being planned instead of car parking spaces."
Among the viewers, all TAU Alumni:
Ashdod City Engineer Ram Aharoni, Or Yehuda Municipality City Architect Ziv Gadon, Omer Wolf - Senior City Planner in the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, Herzl Arviv - Board Member of the Israeli Export Institute, and many others.
The people behind the hit series "Tehran" met TAU Alumni from all over the world for a Zoom meeting
The TAU Alumni Organization, headed by Sigalit Ben Hayoun, continues it’s tradition of meetings with inspiring alumni, even during the COVID era. Hundreds of alumni from all over the world gathered last week to hear the alumni who created the acclaimed masterpiece series, the Israeli spy drama "Tehran".
At the center of the discourse, moderated by Dr. Liora Hendelman-Baavur - Director of the TAU Alliance Center for Iranian Studies and alumna of the TAU Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences, were Omri Shenhar - Screenwriter and Co-Creator of "Tehran", alumnus of TAU’s Steve Tisch School of Film and Television, and Moshe Zonder - Creator and Head Writer of "Tehran", who studied as well at TAU’s Steve Tisch School of Film and Television.
The event started with greetings by Prof. Eran Neuman, Dean of TAU’s Yolanda and David Katz Faculty of the Arts, who greeted the attendees in three languages, promised not to spoil for those who had not yet seen ‘Tehran’, complimented the series' star Niv Sultan, and emphasized that the story is not about Nuclear War but the personal stories depicted in the series.
Omri and Moshe are not of the same generation, and Moshe the senior among them, was the first to answer about his experience studying at TAU: "The first year in TAU’s film department was one of the most significant years in my life, for example meeting the late Emil Knebel (Milek) as teacher of Film Direction". “The person who introduced Omri and me was the Co-Creator and producer of Tehran, Dana Eden”.
When asked by Dr. Hendelman-Baavur what about creating the series did the two like particularly, Omri said: "Who is the good guy and who is the bad guy? Which one do you identify with more - with your side or with the opponent’s?". Moshe: "I loved writing the character of Faraz Kamali". Omri added: "We discover Tehran through Tamar’s eyes, and it was special to do it through the eyes of a modern woman".
Moshe: "It was a challenge not to make mistakes based on ignorance or arrogance in presenting the Iranian figures, which led to a two-year research that preceded the writing process". Omri: "We met people who know Iran from the inside. You find these amazing stories, the ones that never reach the media. We brought that to the screen."
Moshe stated: " Responses to the series are coming from all over the world, but the most exciting, to me, came from second generation Jewish families who immigrated to Israel from Iran. Women and men aged 30-40, who came as children or were born in Israel and grew up ashamed of their parents’ Persian accent and their family heritage. Watching the series made them proud of their parents. I understand what they are talking about. I went through a similar process with my own family heritage".
Omri: "I was afraid that people might watch the series based on prejudice, but there were none. We get compliments, from Iran, for showing a different, less threatening side of the country, and that people there live their lives". Moshe added that "The series deals with questions of identity, nationality, immigration, the possibility of breaking away from family roots and the price of such choices. Everyone in the world belongs to a tribe, that feeds us a narrative since we are little children. Thanks to Apple TV Plus’ streaming platforms, viewers from all around the world can watch the series and everyone may relate to it, no matter what nationality or religion they belong to".
To curious attendee’s questions, they replied: "We have many ideas for a second season", but did not share more.
Moshe’s advice for the future generation of creators: "Write only about what interests you and excites you. Don’t try to aim at anyone's taste, and don’t despair if your scripts are rejected. The successful TV series ‘Fauda’ was initially rejected, as was ‘Tehran’. And most importantly - remember that writing is rewriting, over and over again". Omri added about building a career: "Even if you are involved in something else, keep writing. Until you succeed. It's not like in the movies, it's hard work."
Among the webinar’s attendees: Founder of Medivisor (a company that provides patients with medical information) Tal Givoly, CEO of DFM Dror Flomin (Flumin), Group CEO of Allium Medical Solutions Ariel Rubashkin and many more.
Head of the TAU Alumni Organization, Sigalit Ben Hayoun, continues the organization's tradition of online events in a wide range of subjects with inspiring TAU alumni, and this time chose to put the issue of our food and beverages in the post-COVID era on the table.
Titled "Close to the Plate", five leading TAU alumni who deal with the world of food at all levels in their daily life - solutions to food shortages in the world or in the country, development of new foods and online shopping were just some of the topics discussed.
The event was opened by Amos Elad, TAU Vice President of Public Affairs, Resource Development & Alumni Affairs. He spoke about the unemployment and distress students are experiencing during the COVID era, and called on TAU alumni to join the fundraising effort for scholarships to help TAU students.
- Eyal Shohat, CEO of Sodastream International, Alumnus of the Buchmann Faculty of Law and the Coller School of Management, including accounting studies at Tel Aviv University
- Guy Rosen, Vice Chairman at Tnuva and Chairman of Millennium Food Tech, Alumnus of the Buchmann Faculty of Law
- Keren Mimran, Entrepreneur, Founder, VP Business Development & Marketing at Edete Precision Technologies for Agriculture, Alumna of TAU's David and Yolanta Katz Faculty of the Arts
- Adv. Galia Sagy Gazit, Executive Director of the Association of Food Industries, Manufacturers' Association of Israel, Alumna of the TAU Faculty of Social Sciences
- The event was moderated by Netally Binshtock, editor of Calcalist's advertising and marketing section, Alumna of the TAU Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences
Eyal Shohat, CEO of Sodastream, shared how the COVID era has accelerated the company's online processes and said: “Consumers have shut themselves in their homes and avoided going out to grocery stores, and we have experienced a jump of hundreds of percent in online purchases of Sodastream devices.
I guess the trend will moderate, but won't disappear. Online activities have high variable costs such as collection, packaging, shipping and more, but the consumer definitely indicates that it is his favorite channel during such periods."
Eyal revealed the brilliant idea of converting Sodastream technology in favor of manufacturing respirators - "It all started with a phone call I received from a senior official at Ein Kerem Hospital – Hadassah Medical Center, with a request that we try to produce high flow oxygen machines. Turns out there aren't many of those around the world, and of all things – our Soda machines that mix CO2 with water are suitable for it. Against the background of the apocalyptic prophecies of thousands of people needing respirators, we did not think twice and ran ahead to develop the device. We have a working device that is in clinical trials at Hadassah, which also receives backing from the Ministry of Health. We will wait for the results and make decisions."
Guy Rosen, Vice Chairman at Tnuva and Chairman of Millennium Food Tech, said: "The main lesson from the COVID era is that the State of Israel must cultivate and maintain an independent and strong food industry, and strong agriculture to ensure food security for its citizens even in times of crisis."
He also noted: "COVID has not revolutionized the world of food, but it has certainly accelerated strong trends like switching to healthier foods and plant-based protein substitutes."
Keren Mimran, Entrepreneur, Founder, VP Business Development & Marketing at Edete Precision Technologies for Agriculture, spoke about future foods from the Research & Development aspect, and explained about artificial pollination experiments: "The pollination is basically the sex and fertilization process of plants. Our experiments from the last four years show good results of increasing crop yields without dependency on the weather. This is an area that deals with ensuring the supply of food and reducing the risks of food shortages."
Adv. Galia Sagy Gazit, Executive Director of the Association of Food Industries, Manufacturers' Association of Israel, shed light on the interrelationship between purchasing Israeli food products and imported products: “The COVID crisis has reinforced the importance of a strong and independent food industry, which is economically and socially resilient. We can only rely on ourselves, while dealing with demand and supplies". She also referred to the Ministry of Health's labeling reform: "Technological innovation will help food manufacturers make food healthier. Companies have invested a lot of resources in developing new and healthier products and share the interest in the reform's success."
Everyone agreed that the direct relationship between producers and customers, which stood out and gained momentum during the COVID era, is an issue that challenges the food industry. Questions like what to do with the information we get from online clients or how to maximize everything are still open, and there is still a long way to go.
Tel Aviv University and the TAU Alumni Organization are going strong with our series of meetings with inspiring alumni, which are currently taking place online.
This time, Emmy Award Winning Screenwriter and Director Gideon (Gidi) Raff, Alumnus of TAU’s Steve Tisch School of Film and Television, obliged gladly to share from his prestigious body of work.
Raff, who’s name precedes him in the global film industry, is the creator of the award winning hit television series’ Hatufim (‘Prisoners of War’), ‘The Spy’ (based on the life of Israeli spy Eli Cohen) and ‘Tyrant’, and Executive Producer of the American TV series ‘Homeland’.
Amos Elad, TAU Vice President for Public Affairs, Resource Development & Alumni Affairs, opened the webinar and shared what TAU is doing in these times with the large audience of global TAU alumni and friends.
With tension in the Middle East in the background, which could inspire many more extreme series’ the kind Raff excels in directing, he spoke about the challenges which the TV industry faces during the COVID19 era, and about the sources of inspiration for his creations.
The event was moderated by Adam Mirels, Founder and Film Producer at “141 Entertainment”. Mirels’ films were screened at Sundance Film Festival and won prestigious awards as well three nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards. His latest feature is Ana Lily Amirpour’s Mona Lisa And the Blood Moon, starring Kate Hudson, which will premiere in 2021.
The Tel Aviv University Alumni Organization, headed by Sigalit Ben Hayoun, took a literal Time-Out and invited its alumni to an online Webinar dedicated to the world of Sports.
Titled ‘Time Out - Where is the world of sports headed?’ a selected group of TAU alumni spoke, each from their own point of view, about the hot issues in the post-COVID-19 sports world and the implications for the Tokyo Olympics.
The panelists included representatives from the fields of Refereeing, Tourism, Media and Academia:
- Ronit Tirosh, current chairperson of the Israeli Football Referees Association, alumna of the TAU Faculty of Humanities, and former Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports
- Yoav Bruck, owner of Issta Sport, alumnus of the Coller School of Management and a former Swimmer. Israeli champion in swimming, who represented Israel in three Olympics (1992, 1996 & 2000)
- Talia Salant, Broadcast Journalist at the israeli sports channel, alumna of the Buchmann Faculty of Law
- Prof. Mickey Sheinowitz, Director of TAU’s Sylvan Adams Sports Institute, alumnus of the Faculty of Medicine
- Uriel Daskel, who moderated the panel, Sport Business Chief Editor at Calcalist, Founder and Podcaster at Kolyompod, and former Lecturer at TAU’s Department of Communication
At the beginning of the conversation, Daskel raised the hot issue of the day’s news headlines - the footballers and minors affair, and asked: Where does football stand as a transmitter of educational messages?
Ronit Tirosh was the first to speak, saying: "Both sides should be examined, and I expect that to be the case. Celebrities have a tremendous influence on teenagers. They need to know that they are role models, and they should behave as if they are under a looking glass. On the other hand, parents and teachers need to teach teenagers to set boundaries, and not to be easily tempted.”
Talia Salant, who has already expressed her opinion in a post that drew thousands of comments on Social Networks, said: "I felt that in an event of this kind, women's voices are heard less. Gender equality is weakened, and that is a message I want to convey”. Salant revealed that she started an internship at the Yigal Arnon & Co. Law Firm just when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, and shared what she went through during the COVID-19 crisis: “The Sports Channel went through a crazy period. It felt like the sky were falling, and I admit that I sided with the pessimistic warnings, and thought that it was going to be a while until Sports events returned. The crowds must return to the benches, yesterday”.
In a sharp transition to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Ronit Tirosh said she was not sure that countries would agree to host the Olympics, take risks and commit to huge investments if a 2nd wave of COVID-19 will arrive. In her opinion, countries that already have sports facilities may have to be chosen, and everything will be done much more modestly.
While talking about philanthropy in sports, everyone agreed that there is going to be less money: Tirosh shared that the big concern is that there is a lot of black money as a conduit for money laundering, which the sports world does not want to be involved with. "The global economic crisis affects philanthropists who have reduced or stopped their support, and it scares me that the industries that will be harmed first are the unpopular ones, or the women’s sports."
Prof. Mickey Sheinowitz thinks philanthropy will continue, but there will be less money. He also outlined a timeline and said that decisions regarding the Olympics will be made in the winter. "If there is still COVID-19 in the winter the games may be canceled."
Everyone agreed that we would experience a saner and more modest world of player salary - there was a pay bubble for players and it is no more, and there is also the fear that Olympic players will have to find additional sources of income because sponsored grants will not suffice. Everyone supported the step taken by Alona Barkat, because if there is no money in your pockets, it is impossible to maintain such a high salary for players.
At the same question stage, the participants were asked what would they like to happen to sports the day after the COVID-19 crisis ends?
Ronit - "We are all equal and socially fragile. I would like to see more equality of opportunity for those who have been unjustly not expressed, such as women and youth."
Talia - "I want every sports supporter to continue buying subscriptions or tickets. Don’t stop."
Mickey - "Sports activities, competitions or games should continue. not only have we lost muscle mass, we have also eaten more and gained fat mass. It will take some time but we have to go back to what we were, otherwise sports injuries will increase."
The Tel Aviv University alumni organization, headed by Sigalit Ben Hayoun, continues its tradition of meetings with inspiring alumni, which are currently conducted as online webinars. During an event titled “Many Ways to Exit”, which took place on 25 May 2020, three leading alumni from the High-Tech world, spoke openly about the many ways to exit at this time: Liad Agmon, Tzipi Ozer-Armon and Omer Keilaf.
The TAU alumni community from all over the world, as well as TAU donors and friends, were invited to the meeting, and even though the event took place during the American Memorial Day, the response was huge, with hundreds of people watching the event during the peak moments.
The event was opened by Amos Elad, TAU Vice President for Public Affairs , Resource Development & Alumni Affairs.
It was interesting to see what the background chosen by each participant. While Ozer-Armon and Keilaf chose professional backgrounds that reflected their companies, Agmon (who’s little daughter stopped by in the middle of the event and demanded a kiss) chose a soothing background of lakes and landscapes rather than a Big Mac.
Liad Agmon - Entrepreneur, CEO and Founder of the Israeli Start-Up Dynamic Yield, alumnus of the Faculty of Exact Sciences and the Steve Tisch School of Film and Television at the Faculty of The Arts said:
"It's too early to say how the business world will change. the only certain thing is the acceleration of the digital realm, and specifically - the ability to digitally do things remotely: work meetings, medical diagnoses, shopping and even bureaucracy. A week ago, I signed a document in the presence of a notary… only the notary was in NYC, I was in Tel Aviv and the medium was Facetime. Two months ago, the chances of the New York State approving it were nil."
Referring to the home office phenomenon, he said:" I believe most people enjoy going to the office. Work is also a social event, not just a manufacturing event. On a daily basis, I have brief corridor conversations with colleagues, exchanging spontaneous information with employees. I do not see a situation where I make a random 3 minute zoom call to an employee just to ask her how her children are doing and how was their weekend trip. After COVID-19, we will continue to allow work from home, but we will formulate a plan for the right long-term balance. "
Tzipi Ozer-Armon - CEO at Lumenis, alumna of the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Coller School of Management, said:
“30% of our work is with China, where COVID-19 broke out, and we realized very early on that there would be a crisis. We spent the first quarter of 2020 preparing for the crisis. The dictatorship in chine enforced strict obedience which allowed work to go on comfortably despite the challenges”.
One viewer asked Tzipi how does it feel to sell a company, and how is it different each time a company is sold (as her company was sold twice). Her reply: “With a smile, the size of the check is different. But seriously, each new shareholder has a different agenda, a different strategy and a different style, multiple adjustments are required”.
Omer Keilaf - CEO and Co-Founder of Innoviz Technologies, Alumnus of the Faculty of Engineering and the Coller School of Management, said:
"I don’t think the COVID-19 period affects the automotive industry, which runs multi-year projects like the autonomous vehicle. There was a slowdown, but it is on its way out. In terms of investments we are not raising funds now, but are in the execution stage in order to grow. if we’ll have to raise funds I believe we will still do fine."
Referring to the workforce, he noted: "COVID-19 has some interesting effects, such as more efficient work of engineers - a direct result of a distraction-free atmosphere."
The Tel Aviv University Alumni Organization, headed by Sigalit Ben Hayoun, continues its tradition of meetings with inspiring alumni, which are currently conducted as a series of online webinars.
For this event, titled "The Environment - the day after the quarantine", Ben Hayoun chose to put environmental issues on the agenda, together with the best minds, moderated by Aviv Lavi , Journalist and alumnus of the TAU Faculty of Social Sciences.
Adv. Idit Reiter, Head of the Environmental Law and Sustainability Department at the Goldfarb Seligman Law Firm,, a alumna of the Buchmann Faculty of Law, spoke about the industry - workers - regulation triangle, and noted that many factories in Israel take environmental measures even without regulation. According to her, there is a correlation between the number of COVID-19 cases and the polluted city in which they live.
Sharon Barak, Co-Founder and CTO at Solutum Ltd., alumna of the Coller School of Management, said she fears that we will return to our crazy consumption habits soon enough, and it is not clear what will happen to the important process of non-plastic disposable utensils. She also noted that regulation is not enough, and the impact must come from the bottom up and not just from the top down.
Prof. Dror Avisar, Head of Hydrochemistry Research Group and Head of the Center for Water Research at the Porter School of Environmental and Earth Studies, alumnus of the TAU Faculties of Humanities and Exact Sciences, noted that people with COVID-19 defecate into the general sewage system, and studies from the last three weeks show that the active virus was found in raw sewage. From there, it might reach the groundwater, the sea, to agriculture and more. Research and our caution are of great importance at this time. Israel purifies the sewage and transfers the water to agriculture, and we don’t know if the purification is good enough, and if the bacteria during it kills the virus. Everything is disturbing, and is currently examined.
Dr. Ram Fishman, Researcher at TAU’s Faculty of Social Sciences in the Department of Public Policy, a Sustainability Specialist, alumnus of the TAU Faculty of Exact Sciences, noted that there is a decrease of up to 8% in greenhouse gases, but the ecological crisis requires reducing emissions to 0 within 20 years. Therefore, it is negligible. Environmental policy is being pushed back in times of recession, and this could be a critical blow. He says the ambition is to reach a more prosperous economy, with a greener life. It is impossible to get environmental improvement at the expense of human well-being, it is not a sustainable situation.
In February 2019, the Tel Aviv University alumni organization, headed by Sigalit Ben Hayoun, held a joint event with Institute of Legal Arts at the Buchmann Faculty of Law, headed by Dr. Daphna Avnieli, a former Tel-Aviv District Court Judge. This event continued the TAU Alumni Organization’s tradition of meetings with inspiring alumni, with a group of Superstars in the fields of society and technology, in an event packed with content related to the connection between society and technology.
The event opened with a dialogue between Eyal Waldman, President and CEO of Mellanox Technologies, a member of TAU’s Board of Trustees, and Omri Zerachovitz Alumnus of the Faculty of Social Sciences and currently the Tech Section Editor at Globes.
Following the announcement of the increase in Mellanox's stock on the one hand, and the delay in its purchase by Invidia because of the COVID-19 on the other hand, Waldman stated that he hopes a vaccine for COVID-19 will be found by June this year, with the help of supercomputers.
Waldman also referred to issues like black money, and said: "The more technologically advanced we are, the fairer the world will be and with less black money." On protecting privacy online, he said: "People who are worried about privacy issues have something to hide. I have nothing to hide. I assume that everything on my cell phone is visible publicly."
Afterwards, Omri Zerachovitz moderated a panel of alumni:
- Dr. Gal Ehrlich - Alumnus of the Faculty of Law, Dr. of Genetic Engineering, Lawyer and Patent Attorney, owner and CEO of the Ehrlich Group specializing in the creation, enforcement, and sale of intellectual property worldwide, including patents in all fields of science and technology, trademarks and designs.
- Inbal Arieli - Alumna of the Faculties of Law, Social Sciences and the Coller School of Management, Founder & Head of the 8200 Entrepreneurship and Innovation Support Program, Founder and Co-CEO of Synthesis, Author of Chutzpah: Why Israel is a Hub of innovation and Entrepreneurship.
- Adv. David Balsar - Alumnus of the Faculties of Law, Social Sciences and Humanities, Entrepreneur and Businessman, General Manager Innovation and Ventures at Mekorot.
Arieli said: "multiculturally and in order to maximize a team's capabilities, I do not think that creating a football team consisting of 10 duplicated Lionel Messi will be the ultimate team, because the capabilities will clash and not work as one piece."
She also noted that our entrepreneurs are used to working in an environment of uncertainty, because of the reality in which we live, and this is a huge advantage for entrepreneurs in general.
Sigalit Ben Hayoun, head of the Tel Aviv University alumni organization who opened the event, stated that "the organization’s mission is to form an influential community, which works for a better world, and we are very proud of the TAU alumni in this work and their great contribution to the community in which they live, in ways that affect the future for all of us. Today, we are happy to launch a new campaign with the participation of a small group of world changing alumni…”
Sigalit invited the TAU Alumni community to contact the organization and tell us about projects or social or environmental organizations in which they take part.
In December 2019, The Tel Aviv University Alumni community enjoyed an exciting evening with three inspiring TAU alumni: NICE CEO Barak Eilam, alumnus of the TAU Faculty of Engineering; Composer, Conductor, Pianist and Lecturer Gil Shohat, alumnus of the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music; and writer and journalist Lilach Cigan, writer and journalist, alumna of the Coller School of Management. The event, as part of the TAU Alumni Organization’s series of meetings with inspiring alumni, expressed different management skills and methods in the these different fields of activity – Music and Hi-Tech.
Sigalit Ben-Hayoun, Head of the TAU Alumni Organization, opened the event with the organization’s mission - to create an influential alumni community that works for a better world: "We are very proud of the TAU alumni for their hard work and for their great contribution to the community in which they live, which is changing our future for the better". She invited the alumni to join the social activism and share the projects and social or environmental organizations in which they take part with the organization.
Prof. Eran Neuman, Dean of the Faculty of the Arts, reviewed the faculty’s current activities, and shared some recent research topics, such as dealing with the question of how our brain responds to cinema, or developing interactive cinema technology in which the story develops during the film viewing according to the viewer's desires.
At the center of the evening, Lilach Cigan had a personal and professional conversation with NICE CEO Barak Eilam, A pillar of the Israeli technology industry who arrived to Israel for a few days. He spoke about NICE's success: "I recently pulled out a slide of our goals for 2020, from a presentation I gave in 2014, and the results matched the plans accurately. We are meeting our goals, acquiring companies all over the world, expanding and we have a critical mass in all the markets we wanted to be in”.
He also spoke about his childhood dream: “As a child I had no dreams of becoming a CEO, but as I progressed the dream took shape. Through each fork in the road, there were people who helped my decision to stay in the company and keep pushing forward… I grew up in NICE for 20 years - from the worlds of development to the worlds of marketing and sales, and I managed small and large teams. We grow people from within the company, because there are dozens of managers with the potential to continue to grow with us."
His point of view on work-life balance: "I prefer the concept of work life choices - I have two daughters, ages 9 and 12, and I am available for any of their messages and make sure I have quality time with them. And my tip is: stay focused and be total for the narrative that is happening now, and not what will come tomorrow. "
After them, Conductor Gil Shohat took the stage with a lecture on the art of conducting, in which he combined pieces of music that captivated the audience. He also gave Lilach Cigan his own tip, in tune with Eilam's words: "Live life in every given moment. This passion is the secret for both pleasure and success." Gil's mother, journalist Tzipi Shohat, TAU alumna herself, attended the event and admitted that she came closer to the world of music through Gil and thanks to him.
The Tel Aviv University Alumni Organization integrates well with the hot local cannabis scene, with a large number of alumni dealing with the subject from its various aspects. The head of the organization, Sigalit Ben Hayoun, identified the potential and invited the most prominent of these alumni to a panel of experts, which filled the auditorium at the TAU Porter School of Environmental Studies.
The event was called "Getting the Green Concept", and the key speaker was the most senior alumni - Associate Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Health Prof. Itamar Grotto, alumnus of the Faculty of Medicine. Grotto took a detour from his pre-prepared presentation, and preferred to speak from the heart, which provided a few newsworthy headlines for patients and the industry alike.
Prof. Grotto updated that the Ministry of Health considers import and regulatory relief on Cannabis for medical use, in order to meet the immediate and deficient needs in the local market. In his words:
"There are still doctors who have to go through the upheaval, from a research & science-based treatment to a worldview of medical treatment in a different approach. The issue creates opposition, naturally. Much of the treatment in Israel today is based on mass wisdom.
I do not think that Israel's advantage is to grow Cannabis faster or better, but the research and development aspects. This is our basis - to learn more and more about the plant and its ingredients, and the purpose of each ingredient to achieve personalized medical treatment.
The ministry has a database of all patients and types of use, and this information is intended to be accessible for researchers.
The regulation in the field is very strange. At the global level, Cannabis is considered a dangerous drug. In the USA it is not allowed to include it in drugs or supplements. But in practice there are many drugs that can be obtained online. Israel chose adapting to the public and market needs. We will try to promote Cannabis for medical use by trial and error. The method is licensing – from researchers through industry and all the way to patients using the products. The government requires medical level quality assurance and therefore the products shall be sold in pharmacies.
The current situation: In a short period of time, many growers and factories started out, a phenomenon that can only be seen in Israel. At the same time, there has been an increase in the number of patients from 40K to 60K, and there is not enough cannabis to satisfy local needs. At the Ministry of Health, we are trying to find solutions. We want more growers and more factories to enter the market, and this will happen in the near future. For this purpose, we are considering regulatory relief that will shift some of the responsibility to the manufacturers, as well as other adjustments which I can’t currently detail.
Prof. Grotto reviewed the challenges which the Ministry of Health is facing, including mapping identical genetic lines of Cannabis in order to create more accurate uniformity, maintain quality, ensure continuous supply including examination of temporary import, establish the caregiver-patient relationship, and test the current unity that is a little like cross subsidization, including a mix of insurances and health funds”. In conclusion, he declared that “Cannabis is like the Tel Aviv University slogan – Pursuing the Unknown. "
Tzali Greenberg, alumnus of the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty Social Sciences, Journalist and Economic Commentator for Yedioth Ahronoth, Calcalist, moderated the panel of Cannabis Experts alumni:
- Dr. Orna Drizin - alumna of the Lahav Executive Education program at TAU's Coller School of Management, Chairperson and CEO of Nexter and Chairperson of Nextage.
- Elah Alkalay - alumna of the Faculty of Life Sciences, the Faculty of Medicine and the Coller School of Management, board chair of IBI Mutual Fund Management.
- Erez Navon - alumnus of the Coller School of Management, Director at Cannbit.
- Prof. Dan Peer - alumnus of the Faculty of Life Sciences, Head of the Cancer Biology Research Center and Managing Director of the TAU Center for Translational Medicine.
- Major General Ido Nehushtan - alumnus of the Coller School of Management, Chairman of Kanashur.
- Shiri Eden - alumna of the Coller School of Management, Nishot Strategy and Research founder and CEO and consultant to the Sela Cannabis mutual fund
During the panel IBI Mutual Fund Management board chair, Elah Alkalay, talked about the buzz in the capital market:
"Everyone sitting here knows that the market has room for growth. Pension funds have not yet entered the field, and most of the investments are from private or mutual funds traded on the Stock Exchange. Before the shrinking, we have reached a situation where a third of the Stock Exchange daily trading volume was from Cannabis stocks, which is phenomenal. The new situation is that the worth has been cut in half from the April 2019 peak.
What does that mean? The answer is guesswork. On the one hand we are looking at markets with sales potential of hundreds of billions of dollars per year, and on the other hand what will determine whether they will evolve is the pace of regulatory change and the speed of research and development. Regulation opens slowly in Israel, Development in the US and Mexico is expected, as well as in various European countries.
Quite a few of the funds raised at high tide in the markets are used for research and development, giving us good reasons for optimism. It is much more difficult to predict the future of a specific company, and given that we are dealing with regulation, the timeline is also blurred. What is clear today, as it was clear a year and two or three years ago, is that the potential is huge and the money already raised has been invested in the development and advancement of the industry”."
Ahead of the New Jewish Year and before the start of the new school year, the Tel Aviv University Alumni Association held a meeting with Dr. Eyal Doron, a successful and inspirational alum with a bachelor's degree and PhD degrees in theater from TAU's Yolanda and David Katz Faculty of the Arts.
His PhD dissertation researched the study of the aesthetic experience and philosophy of the arts, after which he went on to do a postdoctoral research and an empirical research in the field of creative thinking and fostering thought flexibility.
Over the years, Dr. Eyal Doron became a world-renowned expert on education, innovation and creativity, and he returned to the TAU campus to talk with the alumni community about 'reinventing parenting and education in the 21st century', as the title of his best-selling book.
Tel Aviv University's Vice President for Foreign Relations and Resource Development, Amos Elad, welcomed the alumni and noted the importance of the alumni community, in Israel and around the world, to the Tel Aviv University.
Head of the Department of Theater Arts and Director of the TAU Theater, Dr. Sharon Aronson-Lehavi, introduced Dr. Doron, saying: "One of the most basic laws of the art of theater is the "Magic If" - The voice of imagination, creativity and imaginary thinking are at the heart of this discipline.
The words that appear on Eyal Doron's website's header - Creativity in action - really sum up the heart of the matter: creativity in action. As an action.
Even before Creativity in action, Eyal Doron is a playwright and screenwriter, director and creator, and I think the questions that Eyal asks and his invitation to get out of the box or reinvent it, his motivation to empower people and our connection with pedagogy are largely related to theatrical thinking questions - creativity, Originality and entrepreneurship based thinking."
Head of TAU Alumni Organization, Sigalit Ben Hayoun, informed that as part of the TAU's international fundraising campaign raising one billion USD in 10 years, the organization has raised 1,300,000 NIS from the alumni community so far, which amounts to about 110 scholarships out of the organization's 300 scholarships goal.
Ahead of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, TAU Alumni Organization held an all 'douze points' event.
TV and Radio personality, Journalist, ESC expert and the only one to ever host the (1999) ESC by himself - Yigal Ravid, alum of TAU's Harold Hartog School of Government and Policy, gave a lecture titled "Countdown to the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest".
He was joined by Singer, Composer and the first ever Israeli winner of the ESC Izhar Cohen, who performed his best songs, and here's a taste:
Another Speaker at the event was Head of TAU's Entrepreneurship Center in collaboration with Shenkar College, Mr. Yair Sakov, who introduced the new center to the alumni community.
In a rational decision, and not by chance at all, Prof. Dan Arieli was invited to meet the TAU Alumni community. Dan, himself an alum of TAU's Gershon H. Gordon Faculty of Social Sciences, attracted hundreds of alumni to the Bar Shira auditorium, all eager to hear the Behavioral Economics Guru's lecture on economic behavior that would allow us a better life.
TAU President, Prof. Joseph Klafter, opened the event together with Sigalit Ben Hayoun, Head of TAU Alumni Organization, announcing the launch of a $ 1 million fundraising campaign for 300 student scholarships from the alumni community.
Ben Hayoun encouraged alumni who want to make an impact and change lives to donate 180 NIS or more to the campaign: "Any donation can make a real change, and is a wonderful way to give back to the university and society. Thanks to TAU's alumni, we could change the future of 300 telented students for the better, allowing them to invent the next big idea that will change our lives for the better as well”.
The University Alumni Campaign is part of TAU's extensive international fundraising campaign, aiming to raise $ 1 billion in ten years and accelerate breakthroughs and excellence in research. Thanks to the campaign, TAU has already made a real leap in all areas in recent years.
Keren Shaked, an alumna who has donated a full scholarship and is a second generation of TAU alumni, spoke about the importance of knowing how to say yes, about contribution and influence. Shaked holds an MBA from the Coller School of Management and is internationally qualified in customer experience. She is the CEO of B-Pro consulting firm and B-Next campus for executive training in the New Age era. She is also a partner at the startup Shoodoo, an innovative platform for predictive analytics.
Globes' editor Naama Sikuler, alumna of the Faculty of Social Sciences, conducted a one-on-one interview with Ynon Kreiz, CEO of the world's largest toy manufacturer Mattel, alum of the Coller School of Management and the Faculty of Social Science, and did not spare any questions.
In October 2018, a meeting was held with television personality Guy Meroz and with Avi Issacharoff, creator of the Netflix hit TV series 'Fauda'.
Meroz said that he completed his BA at the age of 56, and that the doctorate he is currently writing, about traffic accidents in Israel, is progressing slowly because his life is in chaos (which is the meaning of the word Fauda in Arabic).
He shared that the focus of his doctoral thesis is on how to reduce the number of accident fatalities by 50%, but added that the issue is not really a national priority, unfortunately: "130 kilometers of separation fence on Route 90, at a cost of NIS 60 million, would have prevented an entire family from dying just last week. This amount is equivalent to the purchase of four tanks or the establishment of one Jewish settlement".
Avi Issacharoff, the main speaker of the evening, told the alumni that "the success of 'Fuda' is a mystery to me, it was almost by mistake, as our intention was to write a book about the undercover IDF units. We tried to bring both sides - the Israeli and the Palestinian - approached the different players in the TV industry, and we heard a lot of no, no, no until we heard Yes".
During his lecture he showed clips from the show and mentioned that they were filmed in the Arab towns Tira and Kafr Qasim, where the production team (which includes more than 100 people) received excellent hospitality, and he also spoke of the actors who became celebrities in both the Jewish and Arab communities, and of the diverse reactions he had personally received from the West Bank and other Arab countries.
After both speeches, the alumni enjoyed a musical performance of the Beatles' songs performed by the tribute band ummagumma.
In a meeting held in May 2018, under the theme of '70 Years of Innovation,' it was Prof. Amnon Shashua, Co-Founder of Mobileye and alumni of TAU's Mathematics and Computer Science departments, who shared Mibileye's story.
At the start of his speech, Shashua surprised with a sincere confession: "Everything you'll see and hear today is in a scientific stage. The question is how to turn everything into massive and affordable use, and the experimental cars are still far from it. In addition, it is impossible to maintain an entire industry without ensuring safety".
Referring to driving lessons, he said: "There is an enigma here. We all had to take driving lessons and dozens of them, which means driving is complicated thing, but on the other hand everyone is free to drive. That's why we need AI". Shashua also lingered on the issue of the very precise maps required for an autonomous vehicle, well beyond the level of Waze, and said that even here the mission had not yet been completed. Drivers, by the way, he calls "Car Agents".
To close 2017, four leading alumni of the TAU Faculty of Humanities participated in an evening of inspiration & music, during which each of them shared their own different roads to success: MK Yaakov Perry of the 'Yesh Atid' Party, Keren Elazari, analyst and cyber researcher at TAU, Motti Elmaliach, CEO of Bezeq International, and Dr. Amir Yerucham, Historian and member of the band "Shabak Samech".
MK Yaakov Perry was the first speaker and said, "My studies in the History of the Middle East department fascinated me. As a result, and while still a student, I chose to enlist in the Shin Bet Service. It was the humanities, together with the world of music, that gave me the tools for the choices I made during my life. From them I drew on improvisational abilities, teamwork alongside leadership and discipline. At every decision making junction I understood that we do not have to put boundaries between the different content worlds that make us up... tools from one place will connect to another, as the world of content from which I came served me in every twist of my road."
Keren Elazari added to that, saying: "The studies of Humanities have helped me to develop critical and analytical thinking about the world and the course of history. In a very similar way to the hacker community, alumni of the humanities are those who do not accept reality as it is without discourse. They are the ones aspiring to change the world, to break conventions, to challenge existing perceptions, to point out systemic failures, and to present new paradigms that will reshape our future".
On 2 January 2017, the 5th meeting with Inspiring Alumni event was held in conclusion of a fruitful year of activities with and for TAU Alumni, and in celebration of the beginning of 2017. In the center of this meeting will be the inspiring story of Yuval Tal, Faculty of Engineering alumn, founder and president of Payoneer.
Then the alumni enjoyed a special performance by the Singer, Musician and Composer David Broza.
The next meeting, in March 2016, was held in the spirit of International Women's Day. Theater, TV and movie actor Limor Goldstein, alumna of the Theater department in the Faculty of the Arts, told her personal story, speaking of key sentences from her parental home, which had guided her and shaped her personality, such as: 'Don't place all your eggs in one basket'. She went on to describe how her love for acting got the better of this golden rule, and how, despite everything, she ended up placing all her eggs in the basket of her beloved profession.
The event ended with a performance of the feminine trio 'Shlosharot' - Aya Korem, Raz Shmueli & Michal Geva – with a tribute to Israeli singing trios through the years.
The third meeting was held in December 2015 at Zappa Herzliya, in interview format. Revital Hendler, alumna of the Steve Tisch School of Film & Television in the Faculty of the Arts, Founder of AllJobs and Founding Partner in BreezoMeter, interviewed Meir Brand, Faculty of Social Sciences alum, CEO of Google Israel, Russia, the Middle East and Africa, and VP of Google. Brand shared his vision with the audience: follow your heart, curiosity and passion, work hard and don’t look for shortcuts. His advice to entrepreneurs in the audience was: don't be afraid of failure, get used to the feeling, and learn to overcome it on your way to success.
After the interview the audience enjoyed an exciting performance by guitar legend Avi Singolda and his band.
The inspiring alumn in the second meeting, in September 2015, was Zvika Hadar – actor, comedian and leading TV host, who talked about the passage from the university to the University of Life.
His story was followed by the enlightening lecture: 'It's not what you know, but who you know'.
The first meeting in the series, which took place in May 2015, featured our alumn Uri Levine, Founder & Chairman of FeeX and co-Founder of WAZE. Levine said: "The entrepreneur follows his dream. He is driven by a dream and a passion – something he wants to change in the world… If you ask a real entrepreneur 'What is your next startup?' he'll always have a ready answer, because at any given moment, the entrepreneur has several ideas on his mind." Levine compared the process of establishing a startup to falling in love, and said that after the passion stage, when the project actually begins, comes the stage of sacrifice, characterized by ups, but mostly by many downs, and so "If you don't love what you are doing – do something else, something you love, and enjoy your life."
Levine's talk was followed by a helpful lecture: 'From small-talk to big success.'