The 61st annual meetings of BIU’s Board of Trustees marked the beginning of a new era, as Michael Jesselson, past Chairman of the American Friends of Bar-Ilan was elected Chairman of the Board, and Dr. Mordecai D. Katz was elected Honorary Chairman.
Michael Jesselson has continued his family’s tradition of active involvement in the BIU community. He is currently leading a multi-million dollar campaign for the Midrasha at the Ludwig and Erica Jesselson Institute for Advanced Torah Studies, which bears the names of his late parents.
Tribute Luncheon Honoring Dr. Mordecai D. Katz
At a special tribute luncheon, students, faculty members and family honored Dr. Katz in appreciation of his outstanding leadership as he completes 12 years of distinguished service as Chairman of the Board. Vice President of External Relations Judith Haimoff spoke of the quantum leap forward the University took under Katz’s leadership. “Morty, through his philanthropy and leadership, has always sought not only to serve by example, but also to inspire ongoing generations to lead and serve.”
BIU President Rabbi Prof. Daniel Hershkowitz said, “Morty Katz is a Kohen (priest), and the blessings of the kohanim are unlike any other. The priest’s blessing is not merely a wishful benediction, but one of actual ‘giving’.” Morty Katz, he said, always gives and gives.
Former BIU President Prof. Moshe Kaveh, who worked alongside Katz through most of his tenure as president, noted that “Morty is gifted not only with his incredible brain but with a special and very loving heart, and we have been privileged to have a chairman like him for so long.” Prof. Kaveh praised the Katz’s for the Interdisciplinary Studies Building in their name, the Mordecai and Monique Katz Information Technology Building in the School of Engineering Complex, for becoming founders of the School of Medicine in the Galilee, and for many additional contributions — most importantly, to various scholarship programs.
Speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees, Gabi Weisfeld, Chairman of the Canadian Friends, recalled how she and Katz recognized the strategic importance of scholarships and noted Katz’s love and admiration of the University.
In the presence of his daughter, Gail, grandson, Andrew, and nephew Pinchas, and with his wife, Monique, watching and listening via Face Time, Katz called his term as chairman a “rewarding experience” and spoke of the satisfaction that being involved with Bar-Ilan University has brought him. “We donated major buildings and scholarships to hundreds of students. These students are our rewards,” said Katz, who received a standing ovation for his comments. “They say don’t give until it hurts — give until it feels good. That is Nicky’s and my motto. We feel good when we see the smiles on our students’ faces,” he continued, adding that investing in students’ education gives a huge return. Katz wished success to the incoming Chairman of the Board, Michael Jesselson, in helping Bar-Ilan University become an even greater institution.
(right) Dr. Mordecai D. Katz holds the gift — a beautifully crafted Talit bag — presented to him by Jane Stern Lebell, AFBIU Honorary President and BIU Trustee.