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Uniform to University

Dear Friends,

Last week I was in Israel with colleagues from the twenty-three global Friends of Tel Aviv University (TAU) organizations for our annual professionals meeting. Each year in January we come to campus for a week to meet with researchers and professors, and to learn and see TAU's impact first-hand.

Being in Israel was both inspiring and heartbreaking. The sheer number of people volunteering and helping others is incredible. Pictures of the hostages and signs saying "Bring Them Home" are everywhere. Everyone is wearing the "Bring Them Home" dog tags or yellow ribbons as continued reminders that we have 136 hostages still in Gaza. On campus, when you walk into the different faculties, you see memorials for fallen students. It is devastating to see the loss of these promising young lives. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to be in Israel, on campus, and stand in solidarity with our Israeli colleagues and friends. Sometimes something as little as one's physical presence is a comfort and a show of solidarity, and this trip was one such time.

You can see and feel the resilience of the Israeli population as they simultaneously go on with life and deal with the reality of living in a country at war. One of the highlights of the meeting was hearing from two students who had just returned from reserve duty. They spoke about the struggle of having to straddle two worlds — they were honored and proud to serve, but coming back and reintegrating into their academic life was difficult. They shared that while they were serving, life went on and their bills still needed to be paid. It reinforced to all of us the need for the Uniform to University Scholarship Campaign to support returning student reservists and help ensure that they can continue their studies and save their academic year. The goal is to raise $3 million to make certain that every student reservist has the financial support necessary to help them realize their mission and become the future leaders of Israel.

Tel Aviv University will use part of the funds raised to provide tuition assistance for combat soldiers and to help returning student reservists transition back to their studies and resume their career paths. If you would like to support our students who have selflessly served the country through the Uniform to University Scholarship Campaign, please click here.

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We heard from Dr. Hila May from the Department of Anatomy and Anthropology at the Faculty of Medicine. She studies biohistory and evolutionary medicine, specializing in ancient DNA. She was part of a team using ancient DNA techniques for forensics to identify the remains of those murdered on October 7th.

We visited the The Iby and Aladar Fleischman Faculty of Engineering, where 34% of the students, the highest percentage of any faculty on campus, were called for reserve duty. We saw some of the many projects being developed at Tel Aviv University and learned that there are official collaborations with the Ministry of Defense in which students or units from the IDF call to ask for solutions to problems they encounter in the field. There are technologies being developed at TAUthat will protect soldiers, and it made us proud to hear that the Faculty has several projects in collaboration with the United States Air Force. It is clear that TAU is a recognized problem solver and partner at the highest level.

Thanks to the generosity of so many, the Post-Trauma Clinic led by Professor Yair Bar-Haim is up and running, treating patients including IDF soldiers and civilians most affected by the war. According to Professor Bar-Haim, the clinic gets more than 170 self-referrals a week, and that number continues to grow. It is your support that has made an impact in establishing this clinic to start to heal a nation in the throes of trauma.

There is nothing better than going "home" and knowing that we are supporting the future of Israel by helping Tel Aviv University students finish their education by easing their financial burdens so they can concentrate on their studies. This is our opportunity to give to those who are giving so much.

Wishing you a shabbat shalom.

 

Alain Picard
Chief Executive Officer

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