In their role as “sterling ambassadors for Israel” — as one audience member termed them — two students and a professor from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology spoke about the impact their university has made on their country and the world.
The three made a presentation at Beth El Synagogue in East Windsor on March 7 as part of the American Technion Society’s educational outreach tour, which sends students and professors from the university in Haifa to address groups across the United States. The event was sponsored by Beth El’s Israel Affairs Committee.
The committee’s cochair, Elana Tenenzapf of Princeton Junction, said they invited speakers from the Technion because “people don’t realize how much amazing stuff the Technion comes up with that helps not just Israel, but the world. This is important for Israel’s image.”
Anat Weizman, a graduate student in the Technion’s Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, said her work focuses on growing stem cells into blood vessels that will support healthy pancreatic tissue for Type 1 diabetes patients. Weizman said she was also a tutor in the university’s Perach project, which helps disadvantaged youth.
Yarden Woolf, an undergraduate in the Technion’s Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, said her goal is also to improve life for people around the globe.
Before entering the Technion, Woolf was accepted at a program for gifted youngsters at the Technoda, which provides science enrichment classes for disadvantaged children in Hadera.
“When you see a sidewalk built so that a wheelchair can ride comfortably on it, someone designed that. That’s what we do; we make lives easier,” she said.
Professor emeritus Arie Feuer of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering talked about the Technion’s “uniqueness.”
“I don’t think any other university in the world has such an impact on its country,” he said. “Seventy percent of engineers in Israel are Technion grads, and Technion graduates lead 80 percent of Israeli companies on the NASDAQ. It also has a medical school, which makes it quite special because there are very few that are integrated with a technology institute.”
Woolf pointed out another singular aspect of Technion: Institute programs ensure that students called up for military duty can keep up with their studies. Private tutoring and extra scholarships are provided to help soldiers transition back into students, a project the American Technion Society has made a priority. “It’s nice to know when you serve your country, someone has your back,” Woolf said.
The speakers are among three teams of Technion students and professors speaking across the country at public forums and in private meetings with American Technion Society supporters. The Beth El event was the first stop for Feuer, Weizman, and Woolf and their only one in New Jersey. Among their other stops are Philadelphia and Washington, DC, and, in California, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley.
At an audience member’s prompting, the speakers discussed the partnership between Cornell University and Technion, whose plan is to create a world-class applied science and engineering campus in New York City. Feuer said he was shocked to learn there had been campaigns in the United States to stop the project by protesters who want to boycott Israeli universities.
“The Technion is totally apolitical,” he said. “With three Nobel laureates and more to come and research being conducted for the benefit for mankind, the Technion and all academia should be totally removed from politics.”