From England With Love
Last summer, TAU introduced a new concept for widening its UK circle of supporters. The Tel Aviv University Trust – Great Britain invited members of the UK’s Jewish community to leave a bequest to TAU, and in return be hosted for an unforgettable trip to Israel. The 22 participants of the inaugural Legacy Mission, who ranged from judges to artists, psychoanalysts to mathematicians, businessmen and human rights pioneers, were led across the country by Geoffrey Simmonds - the driving force behind the initiative – and enjoyed exclusive access to Israel’s innermost cultural, academic and political sanctums.
Immersed in the vibrant tapestry of TAU and Israel, the participants met leading researchers, enjoyed performances by renowned orchestras and dance ensembles, toured the Western Wall tunnels, and made a pilgrimage to the desert final resting place of Israel’s founding father, David Ben-Gurion. And while all but one of the participants had visited Israel before, it was the first time that they met the Mayor of Tel Aviv and a senior government minister, had a private afternoon tea with the British Ambassador, and been given access to Israeli naval and air force bases.
From the action-packed itinerary came a cascade of emotional experiences, and a profound re-connection with Israel through support for Tel Aviv University. In a poignant ceremony at TAU's Cymbalista Synagogue and Jewish Heritage Center on campus, participants were recognized for their contributions to the university, and invited to share their thoughts on what TAU and Israel means to them. Their remarks encapsulated the spectrum of their passions – of having the “privilege to be able to contribute toward the growth of a dynamic university;" "the opportunity to meet some of TAU’s most inspirational, pioneering people;" and "the honor of paying tribute to hard-working parents who couldn’t receive a higher education yet made sure that their children did.”
Ayelet Tal, Director of TAU’s Public Affairs and Development Division, thanked the group for “becoming part of the Tel Aviv University family,” and for forging a new era of closer ties between the university and British Jews. In recognition, a wall of honor was unveiled by TAU President Joseph Klafter, fittingly opposite the Beit Hatefutsot – Museum of the Jewish People. Hailing the participants’ generosity of spirit, Prof. Klafter paid tribute to their contributions to advancing the university’s research endeavors, and securing for it a thriving future.