Dr Isi Leibler

June 10, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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The Bar-Ilan University this week has awarded an honorary doctorate to Isi Leibler, world statesman and fervent advocate of the State of Israel.


Dr Isi Leibler holds his honour

Isi Leibler (center) with (from left to right) Bar-Ilan University President Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz, former Soviet Prisoner of Zion Dr. Ari Volvovsky, Mrs. Naomi Leibler, and Internet Entrepreneur Dr. Yossi Vardi upon receiving an honorary doctorate from Bar-Ilan University Photo: Chen Damari

Isi Leibler was recognised for his tireless efforts to address the challenges facing the Jewish nation at every historic crossroad – from Soviet Jewry to BDS.  At two additional events on campus, Mr. Leibler delivered a lecture on Israel and Diaspora Jewry – A Looming Crisis and a plaque was unveiled at the future home of The Leibler Reference Collection — the University’s Wurzweiler Central Library.

A founder of the Bnei Akiva Youth Movement in Australia, Mr. Leibler was honored alongside the Bnei Akiva Religious-Zionist Movement.  The Bnei Akiva Movement was recognised for educating Jewish youth, strengthening Jewish identity in the Diaspora, encouraging aliya, and working to advance and enrich Israeli society.  Additional honorees at the ceremony included NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Nobel Prize laureate Prof. Serge Haroche, of France, Israel Prize winning musician Nurit Hirsh, US spiritual leader Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, and others.

Bar-Ilan University President Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz praised Mr. Leibler’s ability to understand those in need.  “When you’re going to be a leader, you have to be aware of the suffering of all — you should feel every single stone and every grain of sand.  Isi has the ability not just to listen but to act.  When Soviet Jews were being persecuted behind the Iron Curtain, Isi was there.  That’s an indication of leadership.  We appreciate all that you have done for the State of Israel and Bar-Ilan University, and are proud to have you as a member of our distinguished extended family,” said Rabbi Prof. Hershkowitz.

In introducing Leibler, the Chairman of the International Friends of Bar-Ilan University, Vera Muravitz, said, “Isi Leibler is a man of action, of getting things done.  He has spent decades championing Jewish causes in Australia, in Israel and actually in every corner of the earth. Those of you who know Isi, know that he takes our Jewish lineage very seriously. He has worked tirelessly to fight antisemitism and assimilation and at the same time promote our country, Israel. ”

In his lecture, Leibler presented a keen analysis of Israel and Diaspora Jewry, offering a far more positive outlook on the current situation in Israel.  “Notwithstanding all its problems, Israel is at a pinnacle of success and our start-up nation boasts an incredibly strong economy.  …The burgeoning waves of antisemitism are generating aliya which is augmented by those settling in Israel by choice in order to enjoy a full Jewish life. The future of the Jewish people in Israel is assured and will continue to flourish,” said Leibler, who addressed a lecture hall filled with friends, family, outspoken and moderate voices in modern Orthodoxy Rabbi Shlomo Riskin and fellow honorary doctorate recipient Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, and University officials.

On the other hand and in stark contrast, continued Leibler, Diaspora Jewry is experiencing various levels of crisis and the future looks bleak. “The status of Diaspora Jews is deteriorating.  Between dramatically eroding identity and escalating intermarriage, combined with an explosion of global antisemitism, all Jewish communities face challenges of differing degrees that, at best, will decimate their numbers and their influence.”

Leibler predicted that conditions for Jews in Europe are likely to worsen as the impact of the new wave of Muslim refugees and immigrants strengthens existing antisemitic communities and exerts further pressure on lawmakers to intensify their anti-Israelism.  This, coupled with intermarriage statistics and Jews relinquishing their identity in order to merge into their national communities, makes it clear that “Jewish communities in Europe and South America will become decimated.”

Though the situation in the U.S, Canada and Australia is less severe, the level of antisemitism has risen, campuses are hotbeds of anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish incitement, and the liberal media has become hostile to Israel.

In conclusion, Leibler said that despite its many challenges, Israel will determine the future direction of global Jewry.

Following the lecture, a plaque was unveiled for The Leibler Reference Collection, a collection of 40,000 volumes covering all aspects of 4,000 years of Jewish existence in the land of Israel and in the Diaspora – from history to culture and civilization.  The Leibler Collection will be housed at the University’s Wurzweiler Central Library.

“Bar-Ilan’s libraries provide access to the most prestigious and important databases and scientific journals in the world. Every day hundreds of students seek our assistance in locating the materials they need. All our researchers utilize our electronic and physical resources on a daily basis,” said Dr. Rochelle Kedar, Director of the Bar-Ilan University Library System.  “The BIU libraries provide instructional tutorials – both online and in the physical classroom – which introduce the undergraduate to the basic academic and research resources that are at his disposal, and to familiarize graduate students and senior faculty to the latest state-of-the-art resources that we have recently acquired. Over the years, Bar-Ilan has consistently invested in the acquisition of the information resources necessary for a modern, multi-disciplinary university. I wish to personally thank Mr. Isi Leibler and the whole Leibler family for their support of the Wurzweiler library.”

Naomi Leibler expressed gratitude for being part of her husband’s journey over nearly 50 years of marriage.  Above all, she admires his integrity for fighting for what is right, even if that means going against the mainstream.  She thanked Leibler for his support and encouragement over the years for her work with Emunah.  Connecting Leibler to Herzl’s “If you will it, it is no dream”, she said he sees every task he undertakes to fruition.  She credited his parents with encouraging his Zionist values and thirst for knowledge. Finally, she said that The Leibler Reference Collection is a reflection of Isi and his lifelong commitment to the Jewish people.  “Bar-Ilan University recognized the potential of Isi’s library and we are delighted that the University has graciously accepted this collection, which will provide for many generations to come.”

At the conclusion of the plaque unveiling Rabbi Prof. Hershkowitz presented Leibler with a replica of Shai Agnon’s Prayer for the State of Israel.


2 Responses to “Dr Isi Leibler”
  1. michael Burd says:

    KOl Hakavod Dr. Leibler

    Listen to DR Isi tell us all about his wonderful achievement next Tuesday on Nothing Left on J- Air radio .


  2. david singer says:

    Kol Hakvod Dr Leibler.

    Bis 120

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