Hebrew University to celebrate its centenary

July 19, 2018 by Geoff Sirmai
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Tuesday 24 July marks 100 years to the day that the cornerstones of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem were laid, literally paving the way for the construction of the first building and the opening of the University in April 1925.

Robert Simons plants the Australian time-capsule on Mt Scopus

In July 1918, not long after the end of World War I, the World Zionist Organisation received permission from the British to lay the cornerstones for the university. The ceremony was held on 24 July at the Gray Hill Estate on Mt. Scopus. Thousands of people attended the memorable ceremony. Among them were Lord Edmund Allenby, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Chaim Weizmann and James Rothschild, along with 6,000 other dignitaries—both Jewish and non-Jewish, from Israel and abroad. They gathered atop Mount Scopus to lay the cornerstones for Hebrew University.  They placed 12 stones, representing the 12 Tribes of Israel, firmly in the ground… and the rest, as they say, is 100 years of history, innovation, growth and vision!

In 1923, Nobel Laureate Albert Einstein visited the land of Israel. An enthusiastic backer of the idea of establishing a university in the land of Israel, he came to Mt. Scopus and delivered a lecture on the theory of relativity – the first scientific lecture to be delivered at the nascent university. He later led a fundraising mission to the US on behalf of the University and was also elected to its Board of Governors (BOG) – alongside other luminaries such as Weizmann and Sigmund Freud.

As part of the centenary celebrations, a special time-capsule-burying event was held at the Mt Scopus site on Tues 12 June this year, to re-dedicate the cornerstones and celebrate the university’s success and growth over the last 100 years. This included the participation of leaders and delegates from Australian Friends of the Hebrew University – as part of the 2018 Board of Governors meeting.

Speeches were made by incoming BOG President Dan Schlessinger as well as HU President, Prof Asher Cohen and others. The event was hosted by Prof Orly Sade, a Finance professor at Hebrew University, whose grandfather was one of the founding academics at HU and was present at this original event.

Former long-term President of the Australian Friends of Hebrew University, Sydney-based Robert Simons was awarded an Honorary Doctorate at the BOG meeting on Monday 11 June, and represented the Australian friends of HU by planting Australia’s time capsule on the following day.

Hebrew University Associate Governor Sam Lipski has added his congratulations to the celebrations: “History matters. Remembering and celebrating history matters even more.

Before there was a Jewish State, there was a Jewish University in Jerusalem. The Hebrew University. One hundred years after the even pinah, the cornerstone, it’s time for remembrance and celebration. L’Chaim!”

Next Tuesday 24 July – the 100thanniversary of the laying of the cornerstones – Hebrew University, Jerusalem will hold an international, simultaneous “HUNext100 Global Giving Day.”

All alumni, parents, friends, faculty and staff across six continents will race against the clock to see how much they can raise online – in one day – to support another 100 years of knowledge, innovation and excellence.

Funds donated will go towards areas of greatest need including research breakthroughs, scholarships and faculty recruitment of the world’s best and brightest.

Visit www.hugivingday.com to get involved, sign up for reminders about Hebrew University’s Global Giving Day and to become an Ambassador – creating challenges and sharing news with your own networks, friends and family.


One Response to “Hebrew University to celebrate its centenary”
  1. Dr. Dana Barnett says:

    Israel Academia Monitor (IAM) is a watchdog group that monitors abuses of academic freedom and politicalization of the social sciences on Israeli campuses. IAM was founded in 2004 and is operated by concerned academics, students, researchers, and others. We offer regular posts on our website and expert advice to a variety of organizations and individuals.

    Over the years we have unmasked a number of radical activist scholars who use their tenured positions to mount a radical critique of the state, its institutions, and its conduct in the conflict with the Palestinians.

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