New TAU International School Students' Terrace Inaugurated
Guests of the American delegation to the 2013 Board of Governors meeting gathered at AFTAU's annual sunset cocktail party to applaud the newly inaugurated Tel Aviv University International Student Terrace, generously supported by the Jewish Federation of Greater Clifton-Passaic New Jersey.
Among the guests in attendance were AFTAU Chairman Jon Gurkoff, AFTAU Chairman Emeritus William F. Cohen, AFTAU President & CEO Gail Reiss, TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter, Chairman of TAU's Board of Governors Prof. Jacob A. Frenkel, and Dr. Giora Yaron, Chairman of the Executive Council and of Ramot, TAU's technology transfer arm.
The terrace, which is centrally located on TAU's beautiful Ramat Aviv campus and overlooks some of the University's most impressive landmarks, will serve as a focal point of international student life and provide a space for the international students to interact with the entire campus, said Gurkoff at the event. "There was a need for the international students to be a part of the campus – to be drawn to the campus. It's really going to serve a purpose," he told the guests. "As a past president of the federation, it means a lot to me to be able to go back to Clifton, New Jersey, and tell them, 'You guys did great.'"
After the party, guests moved across the campus for a festive concert of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 performed by TAU's outstanding Buchmann-Mehta School of Music Symphony Orchestra, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Adolfo and Miriam Smolarz Auditorium.
Honoring a federation's legacy
After thanking Gail Reiss for the idea of hosting the party on the recently renovated terrace, Gurkoff, who was chairman of the Clifton Federation 25 years ago, spoke about the deep connection between TAU and the federation, which has since become a part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Clifton-Passiac New Jersey.
Many Clifton Federation philanthropic leaders were heavily involved with TAU over the years, said Gurkoff. The enthusiasm of Lester Evans, an early and passionate supporter of the university, inspired many members of the federation — including Mel Taub, Bobby Topchik, Alan Hoffstein, B.I. Cohen, and Bill Cohen. "All of these people are past chairmen of AFTAU, all served on the Board of Governors of TAU — all from this midsize Jewish Federation," Gurkoff noted.
Now, the TAU International Student Terrace stands as a tribute to their philanthropic efforts and the overwhelming Federation support throughout the years.
From left: TAU Board of Governors Chairman, Prof. Jacob A. Frenkel, TAU Governor and former Chairman of AFTAU, William F. Cohen, current Chairman of AFTAU, John Gurkoff, and TAU President Joseph Klafter.
Enhancing student life
Maureen Meyer Adiri, Head of TAU International, was in attendance to welcome everyone to the new terrace. "Every year, we have about 1,400 international students here on campus. But until now, they didn't have a place that they could gather with each other and the Israeli students to build a community," she said. The Clifton-Passaic Federation gift will help create a truly international campus.
At the party, three American students were invited to share their experience of studying at TAU. Adam Azoff, an International Masters student in Security and Diplomacy, believes that the terrace will bring together all the International programs. "I know how much everyone here means to the University, so I'm really thankful to all of you for making our student experience so memorable and amazing," he said.
Azoff and Shoshana Abrams, who is earning an International Masters in Mediation and Conflict Resolution and hopes to work on American policy regarding Israel and Palestine, noted the credentials of her professors, many of whom have participated in the negotiation process and have contributed to shaping Middle Eastern politics. Emily Shain, part of the new International BA in Liberal Arts program, said that she was sure she'd made the right choice in coming to TAU straight out of high school. "I really feel I will be getting a well-rounded education, as well as have the chance to meet people from around the world that I never would have otherwise. Our common denominator is that we all chose to come to Israel."
"It's obvious the selection process is quite excellent — you can see from these three students that the university knows what it is doing when it hands out acceptances," said Bill Cohen, giving heartfelt thanks to the guests for their support of TAU. "Many times I've been asked why I support this university. Yes, I love the state of Israel. Yes, I love my people. But there are 30,000 plus reasons out there why I support this University — and three of them are here tonight."
As originally reported by AFTAU