What happens when you’re a retired chief rabbi blessed with both eloquence and energy? If your name happens to be Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, retirement is nothing more than a word in your dictionary. His lordship is very much in demand as a public speaker and as a radio and television interviewee or commentator – and not just in his native England, but in the US, Israel and elsewhere.

Next Thursday, June 7, at 5:30 p.m. Rabbi Sacks will launch the inaugural annual lecture of a forum that will explore issues in contemporary Jewish thought and philosophy.

The forum has been organized by the Department of Jewish Thought at Bar- Ilan University, and it was thought that Sacks, the former chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, would be the ideal person to deliver the opening lecture, whose title is “The Contemporary Task of Judaism.” Issues that concern the forum are questions arising from the role of Judaism in matters of Jewish thought, ethics and religion, mysticism and more, says the department’s Prof. Hanoch Ben-Pazi, who initiated the forum and plans to recruit the greatest minds in the Jewish world. Sacks is well acquainted with BIU, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2004 and the Ingeborg Rennert Center’s Guardian of Zion Award in 2014.

The lecture will take place at the Mintz Auditorium on the BIU campus in Ramat Gan.

■ RIOTS NOTWITHSTANDING, Haifa has reason to celebrate. The University of Haifa has received a $10 million gift from American philanthropist Lorry Lokey for the renovation of four buildings in the port area to be used as the university’s downtown campus. To make higher education more easily available and accessible to residents in the North, the University of Haifa has taken a multi-campus approach, and plans to have campuses in various locations throughout the northern part of the country. The plan has met with the approval of the Haifa Municipality, which is helping with the acquisition of buildings for the downtown campus. Full details of the plan will be revealed at the upcoming meeting of the University of Haifa’s board of governors to be held from June 4-7. Lokey, whose donation will give the project a significant push, is the founder of Business Wire, an international media relations service that distributes press releases for thousands of companies.

After serving as an editor for United Press International, Lokey launched Business Wire in 1961 with seven news releases for 16 media outlets in California. Today, it publishes between 500 and 1,000 press releases per day and distributes to thousands of news media outlets worldwide.

■ ALSO IN Haifa, the Rambam Health Care campus, within the framework of its 80th anniversary celebrations, conferred the 2018 Rambam Award to Prof. Elizabeth G.

Nabel, MD, president of Brigham Health. A powerhouse of extraordinary achievements, Nabel received the award in recognition of her accomplishments related to the molecular genetics of cardiovascular diseases as a physician-scientist, her lifelong commitment to improving health through science, and her exemplary leadership of academic medicine, which is inspiring a new generation of medical practitioners worldwide.

The first female president of a Harvard-affiliated hospital, Nabel has since 2010, served as president of Brigham Health – an academic health care system that includes Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, and the Brigham and Women’s Physician Organization.

Nabel has brought a multi-disciplined and multi-experienced perspective to health care based on her work as a physician, research scientist, academic medicine leader, and wellness advocate. At Brigham Health, Nabel is leading development of a new model of academic medicine devoted to maintaining and restoring health through leadership in scientific discovery, education and compassionate care. Her initiatives include a new research and clinical facility, leading-edge care redesign, and a $1.5 billion campaign to advance life-giving breakthroughs.

Prior to her present role, Nabel served as the chief of the University of Michigan Division of Cardiology, and as scientific director of clinical research of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, becoming director of NHLBI in 2005.

In accepting the Rambam Award, Nabel said, “It is especially gratifying to be recognized in this way because of the importance that this award places on the role of humanity in the delivery of care. As we pursue a new model of academic medicine devoted to maintaining and restoring health through scientific discovery and education, compassionate care for our patients and their families must remain at the center of all we do.”

■ CHAMPION JUDOKA Sagi Muki, who recently won a gold medal at the European Championships, was among some 30 outstanding athletes who received scholarships to the value of NIS 30,000 each to enable them to pursue university or college studies. The scholarships were awarded by Mifal Hapais, the national lottery, which in addition to funding schools, community centers and sports stadiums also rewards and encourages excellence in individuals.

For Muki, who recently celebrated his birthday at the Tel Aviv Hilton, this was not only a form of recognition for his prowess as a judoka, but also a birthday present.

Just as there are no free lunches, there are no free scholarships. Recipients must undertake to contribute at least 60 hours per annum of volunteerism to benefit the community for the period of their studies.

The idea is for scholarship students to learn responsibility toward the human and natural environment in which one lives. To date, Mifal Hapais has awarded 143 such scholarships with a total value of NIS 1,938,253.

Muki, who lives in Netanya and is studying for a bachelor’s degree in economics and business administration at IDC Herzliya, said the scholarship money would be very helpful in enabling him to attain his degree, so he could begin his journey toward his career goals.

■ WHEN TOURISM Minister Yariv Levin predicted a glut in tourism this year, he wasn’t kidding. Because this is Israel’s 70th anniversary year, numerous Jewish and Evangelical organizations have decided to hold their national and international conferences in Israel. Dare we say that US President Donald Trump may have also had a finger in the pie by deciding to declare America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and by moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem? Among the organizations opting to have their international conferences in Jerusalem is the American Jewish Committee, which for the first time in its 112-year history, is holding its annual policy conference, the AJC Global Forum, in the capital of the State of Israel and of the Jewish people. Organizers are expecting more than 2,000 civic, political and Jewish leaders from around the globe, which will be a real bonanza for Jerusalem’s hotel industry.

Among the speakers who have confirmed their attendance are Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz; Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov; High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini; Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirkashvili; United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov; Israel’s record-breaking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many other world figures. The conference runs from June 10-13.

■ WHILE MANY of their friends were enjoying the half-term break in London, two British teenagers, Avi Levy and Benji Simon, both 17 and students in the Lower Sixth at JFS London, completed the 90-km.

Sea-to-Sea (Yam-el-Yam) trail from Achziv on the Mediterranean Sea to Karei Deshe on the shores of the Kinneret in just three days.

Not content with the physical challenge alone, Levy and Simon also set themselves two ambitious fundraising targets, selecting ZAKA Search and Rescue as their cause to support in Israel, and the British Royal Marine Society in the UK. They have almost reached their target of £6000 for ZAKA.

Levy, who has been to Israel approximately 25 times and is planning to make aliya after his university studies, had never hiked the route before, but was excited by the challenge and the added bonus of helping a worthy cause that he and his hiking companion greatly respect. “My parents are already supporters of Israeli charities, but we wanted to choose our own charity. ZAKA really stood out for us, especially the sacred and important work of the Chesed shel Emet unit,” he said.

Simon, who has relatives in Jerusalem and also believes that Israel is his true home, would often hear firsthand from family members about all the tragic attacks and accidents that occur across Israel and the speedy and effective help provided by ZAKA for those involved. “ZAKA also stood out to me because of the unimaginable kindness and thoughtfulness of those who volunteer for its cause,” said Simon after completing the hike.

Aside from their personal triumph in finishing the trek, the two young men were happy to see parts of Israel where they had not been before, and to also do their bit for ZAKA.

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