Twenty-six years at the helm of the AFHU

February 15, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Robert Simons has handed over the baton as president of the Australian Friends of the Hebrew University to Michael Dunkel who spoke highly of his predecessor at a special event in Sydney.


Robert Simons and Yossi Gal   Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

Dunkel told Hebrew University supporters and members of Robert Simons’ family of the achievements of his twenty-six years of his presidency.

Michael Dunkel said: “The Friends of the Hebrew University were most fortunate that in 1991, Robert directed his unparalleled leadership skills and driving force towards the Hebrew University.

Michael Dunkel
Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

Over the past twenty-six years, Robert has provided outstanding service to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, being President of the NSW Friends of the Hebrew University for six years from Feb 1991, President of the Australian Friends from 1996 until 2017, Governor of the Board of Governors for twenty-six years, member of the Magid Institute for Continuing Education at the Hebrew University for twenty-two years, and a Trustee of the Sir Zelman Cowen Universities Fund for twenty years.

At the June 2001 Board of Governors Meeting in Jerusalem, President of the Hebrew University, Professor Menachem Magidor, invited Mr Simons to be on the Executive Committee of the Hebrew University.  This was a first for an Australian associate. At the following Board of Governors meeting in 2002, Robert was elected a member of the Nominations Committee and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in 2006.

Robert is the epitome of the quiet achiever. In his quiet, dignified and determined manner, Robert initiates projects and steers them to their successful conclusion, ensuring that his goals become firm realities.  These goals and subsequent realities include the Larry Adler Foundation for Diabetes Research, the Henry Roth Parkinson’s Research Foundation, “Berel and Agnes Ginges Australia Computer Centres” on all campuses of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the “Australian Centre for Student

Robert Simons Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

Information and Admissions”, the Student Village and, the most recent project undertaken – the Brain Disease Research Centre of the Hebrew University.  His single-mindedness, dedication and initiative have truly made a difference, resulting in the establishment of so very many worthwhile projects.”

Robert Simons responded saying: “I wonder at our amazing success with the many excellent fundraising and campaign events. These have always been a challenge.  As I wander through the magnificent grounds of the University on Mount Scopus and at the Edmond J Safra campus, I take great pride in the fact that we have been significantly responsible as a Friends organisation in Australia in providing the many facilities that one passes, from computer centres to libraries to student admission buildings and most importantly just passing by the many students who are learning at the university because of the many scholarships we have been able to offer over the years.

I am very proud of our organisation’s achievements over the period of my leadership and involvement and wish my successors every success in the future and for the Friends’ organisation to grow from strength to strength.”

Ambassador Yossi Gal presented Robert Simons from the University certificates and the Hebrew University Bible –Keter Yerushalayim, the Jerusalem Crown, is the first edition of the Aleppo Codex as a printed Bible. This codex is the oldest known complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible.



4 Responses to “Twenty-six years at the helm of the AFHU”
  1. Victor Berger says:

    Hi Yitzik,
    I knew we would someday agree on something.
    Luvyazlotz. I mean not just you but mostly Irit and Family.

  2. Yitzik lev says:

    Dear Robert
    Kol Hakavod!!!
    You are one of a kind!
    Thank you for all you done for the Hebrew university
    The UIA and Israel.
    Hope to see you soon in Israel.
    Keep well

  3. Victor Berger says:

    While I acknowledge my partiality in my views of Robert Simons I believe I am peculiarly qualified to remark upon his service to our community.
    I have known Robert for approximately 40 years. Initially through my very close friendship with his late wife Janet with whom I was on the inner Executive of UIA for 20 + years ; serving for 10 years with Robert as a member of the executive of Moriah College and the close personal of my wife Judy and I with Janet, he and Anita. He and I have shared considerable time during our friendship discussing communal affairs. I have been and continue in awe of his dedication to his family, Yidishkeit and especially to education and his generosity with his time and resources. He is a person of the highest moral standards and integrity. It is not over. I have no doubt Robert will continue to be who he as I have described him whilever he has the capacity.
    Kol hakavod Robert and I trust your standards and contributions are seen as to be emulated by leaders and members of the community.

  4. Ron Weiser says:

    Kol Hakavod Robert, in this as in many other areas of leadership within our community you have gone about you chosen tasks with professionalism, dedication, modesty and high ethics. You deserve every accolade that comes your way and many that will not. May you enjoy many more years of good health and happiness. Cheers, Ron

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