Bar-Ilan University president shares medical school update

by | Aug 30, 2013 | Other News

Professor Moshe Kaveh

Professor Moshe Kaveh

During a brief visit in mid-August to a handful of large cities in North America, the president of Israel’s Bar-Ilan University made a special stop in Virginia Beach.

On Sunday, August 11, Professor Moshe Kaveh, BIU president, was introduced to about 40 community members at the home of Annie and Art Sandler.

“We’re here to learn about a variety of topics, and to learn where things at Bar- Ilan and Israel are moving now, not in the geopolitical way, but in a very specific way,” Art Sandler told the diverse group after they had enjoyed a healthy brunch.

President of the school since 1996, Kaveh shared his background as the Russian-born son of Holocaust survivors who were active Zionists. After emigrating and serving in the Israeli army, Kaveh became a world-renown physicist in his mid-20s. In his 30s, he took on leadership roles at Bar-Ilan and in Israel after being tasked with convincing Russian scientists to move and conduct their research in Israel.

“It was then that I suddenly understood that life is about people, and if you look aside and don’t help people when they need something, then you’ve missed your trip in life,” says Kaveh.

What the other Moshe— Moses—didn’t bring down with the 10 Commandments was the 11th Commandment, Kaveh told his attentive audience, introducing the main point of his visit. That commandment, he said, is a budget—necessary for carrying out the other commandments. Kaveh explained that Bar-Ilan University is in the final leg of a multi-year fundraising effort to complete the establishment of its Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee.

“The last medical school in Israel was established 40 years ago. We have built a new type of medical school—community oriented, translational medicine that is personalized for each patient’s DNA.”

Kaveh says excitement and support for the school, located in Safed, is strong, and fits in well with recent additions of brain research and nanotechnology institutes within the Bar-Ilan University system. The Israeli government has agreed to match dollar-for-dollar funds raised for the new medical school.

Among the community leaders attending the Sunday brunch were Eastern Virginia Medical School’s Dr. Richard Homan, president and provost, dean of the School of Medicine, and Dr. Karen Remley, dean of the EVMS Brock Institute. An exchange program links students at the Norfolk school with their Israeli peers.

Bar-Ilan University is the fastest growing university in Israel, with 33,000 enrolled students. Interdisciplinary cooperation is encouraged among degree seekers, and 25 percent of students’ coursework focuses on Jewish studies.

by Laine Rutherford