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!


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20 July 2020: Extreme Close Up

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.

14 Jun 2020: Time Out - Webinar

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."

25 May 2020: Many Ways to Exit: Webinar

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."

3 May 2020: Environment - The day after quarantine: Webinar

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.



19 Feb 2020: Technology and Society

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.

18 Dec 2019: A Sonata of Success

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.



View the event’s photo album on Facebook>

6 Nov 2019: Getting the Green Concept

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”."


View the event’s photo album on FaceBook>


2 September 2019: Reinventing Parenthood and Education with Dr. Eyal Doron

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.


View the event's photo album on Facebook>


27 March 2019: Cowntdown to the 2019 Eurovision with Yigal Ravid & Izhar Cohen

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.



View the event's photo album on Facebook>

10 March 2019: Game Changers: Adi Soffer Teeni, Sarit Firon & Lilac Sigan


Our tradition of saluting TAU Alumnae on International Women's Day continued in 2019 with a special event celebrating alumnae who are Game Changers, which was held at the EAST:Tel Aviv Club.
At the beginning of the event, the CEO of the Krembo Wings Youth Movement Talia Harel Bejerano, alumna of the Coller School of Management, spoke about women and social activism.
She was followed by TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter, the only male voice at this event, who said: "Tel Aviv University strives to promote gender fairness and to reduce the persistent inequality between men and women in the academic staff, and specifically to our world - women researchers. As part of the goals we have set for ourselves as Israel's largest public research university, we are the leading research university in Israel when it comes to gender equality. I call on all alumnae to take action for each other, alumnae for alumnae and alumnae for female students. If each woman helps the other, the female power will be strengthened".
At the center of the evening was a performance by singer Dikla, not before three inspiring alumnae had a discussion on changing the rules of the game as they did themselves: Facebook Israel CEO Adi Soffer Teeni, alumna of the Faculty of Law and Coller School of Management, Managing Partner in the Cerca Partners venture capital fund Sarit Firon, alumna of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Coller School of Management, and Author and Journalist Lilac Sigan, alumna of the Coller School of Management who moderated the panel.
In the conversation, the following anecdotes came up:
Sarit Firon, who donated a scholarship to the TAU Alumni Campaign raising 300 scholarships for 300 students, explained the background to her decision to donake: "When I started my studies I could not follow my heart - I wanted to study physics or medicine, but the economic situation I was in did not allow it. A week before the year started I enrolled to study accountancy and economics, as I was told that accountants make lots of money and that's what I needed. I hope that my do savenation will save at least one student from what I went through".
She also shared about women's decision-making process: "The right decision comes from both the gut and the mind. That's my philosophy and that's what sets us apart as women".
Adi Soffer Teeni, CEO of Facebook Israel, spoke of the difference between a manager 20 years ago and today: "20 years ago, a chief had to be a chief, the one with the white hair who knows everything and has the most experience. The same chief, today, is not supposed to be the smartest person in the room, and if that's the case then either he should be fired or everyone else in the room. The manager is supposed to be the one who can create a discussion and express the power of the people he has recruited. Its a more important and significant role than in the past".
The sponsors of the event were the Japanese luxury car brand Lexus, which unveiled the new urban crossover Lexus UX (The first that was designed by female Engineers) for the first time, before it was introduced to the general public. The event was attended by Lexus Israel CEO Dror Goralnik, alum of the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Coller School of Management. 
Owner and CEO of the Israeli fashion brand DANIELLA LEHAVI, Ori Lehavi, another alum of the Coller School of Management, attended the event and the brand fave a gift to each participant in the event as well as donated a scholarship for the Alumni Campaign.
In addition, the alumnae enjoyed alternative treatments from the "Broshim Campus".

27 January 2019: A Rational Decision for a Good Life with Prof. Dan Arieli

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.

View the event's photo album on Facebook>

24 December 2018: One on One with Ynon Kreiz & Naama Sikuler

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.


When she asked about the toy company's responsibility for educating generations of children and toddlers in the new era, Ynon said that Barbie had worn hundreds of figures over the years. She was an astronaut before men landed on the moon, and President of the United States before Hillary Clinton ran for office. Today she also wears "masculine" professions, "So yes, we invest a great deal of thought and creativity in this responsibility, which reflects the social diversity".
When asked about Trump, Ynon refused to comment, but agreed to say that he favors regulation to protect the individual, and against regulation that prevents competition.
On the personal side, he shared that his wife Anat, is also a TAU alumna (though the decade's difference between them). The couple has four children, they live in the entertainment capital Los Angeles and speak Hebrew at home , including slang.
Kreis has extensive experience in the field of entertainment. At the beginning of his career he founded together with billionaire Haim Saban the Fox Kids Europe company that was acquired by the Disney corporation. Later he served as CEO of Dutch content and production company Endemol (creator of "Big Brother," "One Against One Hundred" "Don't drop the Million" and more). In 2014, when he was at the head of the Maker Studios, the studios were bought by Disney for $ 500 million.
Today, he serves as Chairman and CEO of Mattel, the company that brought Barbie dolls, American Girl, Polly Pocket and many other leading products.
Sigalit Ben Hayoun, head of the TAU alumni organization, told the attendees: "In the coming days we will launch a fundraising campaign from all alumni in Israel and around the world, with the goal of raising 300 scholarships for 300 students. Any generous donation will bring us closer to our goal".
As part of the campaign's launch, Uri Zror, alumni of the Faculty of Law and Coller school of Management, vice president of business development at Buligo Capital which donated a scholarship as part of the campaign.
Zror said that he thanks TAU not only for his degrees, but like many others - he too met his wife on campus. About the schollarship he said: "I truly hope that the scholarships raised by TAU alumni will enable students to work less and learn more".

23 October 2018: Between Fiction and Reality with Avi Issacharoff

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.

28 May 2018: An Automatic way with Prof. Amnon Shashua

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".

11 March 2018: International Women's Day with Alona Bar On & Tali Moreno


In honor of the 2018 International Women's Day, TAU Alumni Organization held an event of feminine energy in Tel Aviv's urban garden (Ha'Oman 17 events). 
The event was sponsored by Fiat, Wissotzky, Studio C & Nestle ice creams. Additionally, the alumnae enjoyed alternative treatments of the Broshim Campus. 
The center of the evening was a dialogue between two leading alumnae: Journalist & host of Channel 10 News' main edition Tali Moreno, alumna of the Faculty of Humanities, and the Chairperson and Co-Owner of Globes newspaper Alona Bar On, alumna of the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Coller School of Management. 
After the fascinating conversation, there was a stand-up performance by Orna Banai.




The following anecdotes came up during the conversation between Moreno and Bar On:
Alona Bar On told secrets from the board of directors of Bank Leumi under the leadership of Galia Maor, and praised Maor's female managerial energy, like giving Vitamin C to a worker who caught a cold, and commented in a thoughtful way to the men who were late for a meeting. "Women are less in the "I deserve" mindset, and I'm not sure that they are the most excluded from the discourse: Small businesses are more excluded than the LGBT community, for the example, which is more likable.
Tali Moreno lingered on the different methods and managerial abilities of females than those of men, in her opinion: "We don't have to adapt ourselves to the existing world, but to treat people as we would like them to treat us. A female managerial avenue allows the female workers under us to open up and discuss the things that bother them and bring them together. I was personally hurt by a chauvinistic behavior, and I promised myself that I would not be like that. I will nurture and hug anyone I see who need support. Any woman who comes to a position of influence should give support to the women below her - This is how a change will come".




21 December 2017: An evening of Inspiration, Music & Humanities

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."



Afterward, the CEO of Bezeq International Motti Elmaliach said: "In retrospect, my studies of humanities gave me a perspective and a broad view of a creative, innovative and unconventional worldview, that helped me succeed in business. The professions of the future in the new era will require a combination of life sciences, technology and philosophical artistic thinking, which is necessary for understanding processes for development and for realization of human desires". 

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".



Dr. Amir Yerucham was the last speaker of the evening, and he shared: "I did not come to the university because of career considerations and what left me in school was only the desire to know and the desire to expand my horizons. The studies were a formative experience that changed my view of the world. Consciously or not, it designed my activities as an artist and as a creator".

4 April 2017: An evening with Yonatan Winetraub


On the sixth meeting in the series - An informal evening with Yonatan Winetraub, Co-Founder of SpaceIL, which was included in Forbes30Under30, Forbes' 2017 list of promising young people.


Winetraub's presentation was followed by Hanan Ben Ari's music performance.

2 January 2017: Welcoming the new year with Yuval Tal, founder and president of Payoneer

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.

8 March 2016: International Women's Day with Actor Limor Goldstein

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 KoremRaz Shmueli & Michal Geva – with a tribute to Israeli singing trios through the years.

23 December 2015: An evening with Meir Brand, CEO of Google Israel, Russia, the Middle East & Africa

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.

8 September 2015: An Inspiring evening with Actor, Comedian and leading TV host Zvika Hadar

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'.



31 May 2015: Recalculating Route with Uri Levine, Co-Founder of WAZE, Founder & Chairman of Feex

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.'


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