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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Lawrence Attends Israeli Alum Event, Amid Cease-Fire

Published: November 30, 2012
Section: News

University President Frederick Lawrence and his wife Kathy attended a Brandeis alumni reception in Israel last Wednesday. The reception coincided with the Israeli ceasefire with Hamas that many celebrated after eight long days of violence.

The reception, meant to celebrate the unique bond shared between the university and Israel, was also attended by the United States Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro ’91, his wife Julie Fisher ’90, as well as hundreds of friends of Brandeis, alumni and parents living in Israel. Speakers at the event included Forsan Hussein ’00, CEO of the Jerusalem YMCA, as well as Galia Golan-Gild ’60, a professor at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and academic director of the government program at the institution’s Raphael Recanati International School, according to a university press release.

“Julie and I are both proud graduates of Brandeis University so we were thrilled to host Brandeis University President Fred Lawrence and his wife Kathy, together with Israel’s Brandeis Alumni Association, for a celebration of the many close ties between Brandeis and Israel,” Shapiro wrote in a Facebook post.

Shapiro, who hosted the party, arrived late, yet brought the joyous news of the cease-fire with his arrival.

“We were determined to hold the Brandeis event as scheduled and even had a backup plan that I would deliver Dan’s speech if he was at the prime minister’s office,” Fisher told BrandeisNOW. “Happily, the timing worked out in our favor. Several people commented that they will remember the announcement and where they were at this particular point in history.”

During the reception, Lawrence spoke to the guests about the strengthening relationship between Brandeis and Israel, both of which were founded in 1948 and continue to hold similar values. Lawrence also spoke of the growing bond between Brandeis and Israeli colleges, universities and even high schools.

“Our students and faculty will be strengthened by our profoundly broad and sustained engagement,” Lawrence told BrandeisNOW. “It’s a natural partnership given Brandeis’ identity as a nonsectarian, diverse university with deep roots in the Jewish community.”

Lawrence has visited Israel three times since becoming president of Brandeis last January. During each visit, Lawrence spent time at each of Israel’s major research universities in order to form and strengthen existing research ties between universities. Lawrence even visited Israeli high schools to speak with prospective Brandeis students. There is a growing alumni community in Israel, which currently boasts more than 400 members.