BOG 2019: Constantiner Prize Awarded to Former Parliamentarian Yair Tzaban

The educator, social activist and TAU alumnus was honored for promoting Jewish pluralism
05 August 2019
From left: Caren Constantiner, Prof. Rachel Gali Cinamon, Yair Tzaban, Dr. Arturo Constantiner. Photo: Noam Wind

Academic, community and Tel Aviv University leaders attended the award ceremony for the annual Dr. Jaime Constantiner Prize in Jewish Education at Tel Aviv University, which this year honored former Immigration and Absorption Minister and former Knesset Member Mr. Yair Tzaban. He was cited for “his efforts to establish Judaism as a culture; for steering Meitar, a college for cultural Judaism in Jerusalem; for leading by example efforts to modernize Judaism in secular society; for assisting immigrants to Israel from all over the world; and for his continued work to foster ties between Israel and the Reform and Conservative communities in the Diaspora.”


The award was presented as part of the 2019 TAU Board of Governors meeting.


The award, bestowed annually on a person or an organization working to bring Jewish traditions and texts into the 21st century, honors the late Dr. Jaime Constantiner, formerly Deputy Chairman of Tel Aviv University's Board of Governors. A crusader for many Jewish causes, Dr. Constantiner was a longtime supporter of Israel and TAU, and his family has continued his legacy by awarding an annual prize in education in his name. 


Dr. Arturo Constantiner, his son, a member of TAU's Board of Governors and AFTAU’s Board of Directors, attended the ceremony this year with his wife Caren Constantiner. The ceremony, held at the Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education, was also attended by TAU Vice President Prof. Raanan Rein, Head of the School of Education Prof. Rachel Gali Cinamon, TAU faculty and students, and colleagues of Mr. Tzaban.


“I want to thank the Constantiner family from the depths of my heart for your support, friendship and collaboration,” said Prof. Cinamon. “It is a pleasure to be in touch with your family all these years.”


“The School of Education represents the best of TAU and its core values,” said Prof. Rein. “The prize we are about to award is a longstanding tradition. Today we are recognizing Mr. Tzaban for his outstanding contribution to Jewish education, and for supporting a diversity of worldviews and opinions, which is inherent in Judaism.”


Upon accepting the award, Mr. Tzaban said, “The idea of Jewish peoplehood is what has guided me in my efforts my entire life. The line between religious and secular societies is fine and it relates to whether you see Judaism as an authority or inspiration. The question remains: How will we educate our children to welcome our neighbors near and far?


“Nothing I ever achieved I did alone; I am grateful to my colleagues and friends who accompanied me and gave me a shoulder to lean on and a hand to support me along the way,” added Tzaban, who holds a BA degree in Jewish and General Philosophy from Tel Aviv University.


“I want to thank you very much for coming. Every year we hold a moving ceremony honoring my father’s contribution to education,” said Dr. Constantiner in his closing remarks.



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