Reichman University conferred honorary doctorates to individuals who have made significant contributions to Israeli society
The recipients of the honorary doctorates are: Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of Public Health Services at the Ministry of Health; Baruch Ivcher, businessman and philanthropist; Yair Belachovsky Rosenthal; Ben Genet; Dr. Alberto Vitale; and Haya and Nehemia Lemelbaum
On Thursday, June 2, 2022, Reichman University awarded honorary doctorates. The event began with greetings from Prof. Uriel Reichman, founding president and chairman of the Board of Directors of Reichman University. Following this, the honorary doctorates conferred by President of Reichman University Prof. Rafi Melnick and the university’s Chancellor Oudi Recanati. The honor is bestowed upon individuals whose life’s work reflects Zionist values, entrepreneurship, social responsibility, academic integrity, philanthropy, and success in business, and who have made impactful contributions to Israel, the Jewish people, and Reichman University.
Founding President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Reichman University, Prof. Uriel Reichman: “As a pioneering institution not funded by the state, we thank the group of friends whose support has allowed the university to continue to educate the future leadership of Israeli society. We also want to show our appreciation for those people who have acted courageously and in accordance with the fundamental values of Israeli society, even in the face of harassment and personal attacks.”
Prof. Rafi Melnick, President of Reichman University: “This year marks the first time that we are conferring honorary doctorates as a university. We are honored to recognize those who have chosen to contribute to the State of Israel and to Israeli academia in a variety of fields, and thank them for their hard work”.
About Reichman University’s honorary doctorate recipients:
Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of Public Health Services at the Ministry of Health, led the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel, together with the director-general of the Ministry of Health and the “coronavirus czar.” She played a key role in heading the vaccine campaign and in leading the world’s first data analysis indicating the necessity of a booster shot.
Upon completing her studies in New Hampshire, Dr. Alroy-Preis was selected for the position of state epidemiologist for the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, she developed a strategic plan for the Department of Health, as well as an information-sharing system for public health indicators. Following her tenure in New Hampshire, Dr. Alroy-Preis returned to Israel and joined the Carmel Medical Center, receiving recognition as an expert in Israeli public health.
At the height of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Israel, Dr. Alroy-Preis was asked to take the reins as head of Public Health Services at the ministry, a position which was made permanent in November 2020. She became one of the most prominent Israeli figures dealing with COVID-19, representing the Ministry of Health in crucial discussions in the government and in Knesset committees. She co-wrote about 20 articles presenting professional data to help manage the crisis, in light of the experience gained by Israel.
The honorary doctorate is awarded to Dr. Alroy-Preis in recognition of her extensive public health efforts in Israel and the United States; in appreciation of her vital and committed role in the fight against COVID-19; and for being an example and role model in the fulfillment of her public health mission with uncompromising honesty, professionalism, and courage, even in the face of relentless opposition and personal attacks.
Baruch Ivcher is an Israeli businessman and public figure in Peru. His life story is one of courage, hope, and great contribution to Israeli society, even from afar. As a warrior for freedom of expression, Baruch Ivcher supported the reporters of the television station he owned when they exposed government corruption and the leaders’ involvement in drug trafficking. In an attempt to silence the television station, the Peruvian dictatorial regime began a campaign of persecution against Ivcher, revoking his citizenship and seizing his assets and businesses. Ivcher won the support of the US Congress and European officials for his heroic stance in the fight for freedom of expression, and eventually won a lawsuit against the Peruvian government in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. After the fall of the Peruvian regime, Ivcher returned to Peru to public expressions of support and appreciation from tens of thousands of citizens.
In the university’s early days, Ivcher generously established the Ivcher Auditorium, which remains the largest auditorium on the Reichman University campus today. In 2015, the Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology was established thanks to his contribution, and then, in 2019, the Baruch Ivcher Institute for Brain, Cognition and Technology was founded.
Ivcher is involved in business ventures in Israel and around the globe, and has always maintained a warm place in his heart for Israel and its society. The Beit Lessin Theater in Tel Aviv was renamed in his honor in light of his generous support, and he also contributes to other cultural enterprises and to an organization that fights corruption in Israeli society.
The honorary doctorate is awarded to Baruch Ivcher for his contribution to Israeli education, culture and society; for his involvement in promoting business and freedom of expression, and his efforts to fight government corruption in Peru; and for his friendship and support of Reichman University since its inception.
Adv. Yair Belachovsky Rosenthal is the former chairman of Reichman University’s Student Union and Alumni Association. He served in the IDF in command and operational roles, and continues to perform active reserve duty as deputy commander of the Nachal special forces’ unit. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Reichman University, and is a graduate of the Rabin Leadership Program, which trains students for values-based leadership in the Israeli social and public sectors.
As chairman of the Student Union, Belachovsky Rosenthal led a number of initiatives both at Reichman University and at the national level – for example, an emergency room to provide assistance to the victims of the Carmel forest fire. Under his leadership, the Student Union worked to improve the status of reserve soldiers and assist underprivileged populations and Holocaust survivors.
Belachovsky Rosenthal is a member of the General Assembly of Reichman University. He initiated his family's contribution to the establishment of the Ruth and Meir Rosenthal Brain Imaging Center. Among his extensive volunteer activities, Belachovsky Rosenthal is a member of the board of “Third Way – the Israeli Center for the Renewal of Zionism” and is a director of the Israeli Leadership Forum.
The honorary doctorate is awarded to Yair Belachovsky Rosenthal for his wide-ranging public activity for the State of Israel, Israeli society, national security, and Zionist and Jewish heritage, and with deep appreciation for his family's contribution and his strong connection with Reichman University, during his studies as chair of the Student Union and later as chair of the Alumni Association and member of the General Assembly.
Ben Genet is one of Florida’s most prominent and successful real estate investors, and devotes his time to extensive philanthropic activity for the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Thanks to his generosity, many Israeli students of Ethiopian descent have been able to join the Reichman University family.
Alongside his business activities, Genet and his family are involved in public and social projects in the Jewish community of South Florida. He and his wife established a kosher food bank in Broward County that guarantees the poor access to kosher and healthy food. They also donated an ambulance to the One Israel Fund following their son Sarya's service in the IDF, and a few months ago, they inaugurated an auditorium in their name at Ulpanat Oriya at Gush Etzion. In 2005, with the establishment of a scholarship fund for Israelis of Ethiopian descent, Genet’s contribution allowed more than 100 students of Ethiopian descent to receive a full scholarship for their studies at Reichman University, as well as a laptop and the opportunity to participate in internships and tours around the world representing the university.
The honorary doctorate is awarded to Ben Genet in appreciation of his significant philanthropic activities for the Jewish community and the State of Israel; in recognition of his contribution to the integration of young Israelis of Ethiopian descent at Reichman University and Israeli society, and with heartfelt thanks for the Genet family's friendship with Reichman University.
Dr. Alberto Vitale is one of the most prominent and influential figures in publishing in the United States. In 1975, he embarked on his impressive career in publishing and in 1989, he was appointed chairman, president and CEO of Random House, the largest English-language publishing house in the world. Under Alberto’s leadership, which continued until 1998, Random House entered the digital age with online book marketing and multimedia product development, as well as pioneering e-books and audio books, a first in the global publishing business. Alberto has served on the Board of Directors of Mercy College and is a supporter of the Anti-Defamation League and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Alberto led the establishment of the donation fund for Reichman University, and has been a key partner in helping shape its future. He regularly supports activities on campus, including the Model UN, the Ambassadors Club, and more.
The honorary doctorate is awarded to Dr. Alberto Vitale in appreciation of his leadership, innovation, and accomplishments in managing the world's leading publishing houses; and with deep gratitude for his warm friendship and long-standing support of Reichman University and contribution to its students’ academic and social activities.
Haya and Nehemiah Lemelbaum are involved in a variety of philanthropic activities, centered around the commemoration of the memory of their beloved daughter. Among their generous contributions is a scholarship fund at Reichman University.
In 2000, the couple lost their daughter Ella, z”l, who passed away after a battle with melanoma. Following this tragedy, Haya and Nehemiah established the Ella Lemelbaum Institute for Immuno-Oncology at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, to conduct research on the disease that cut their daughter’s life short.
Haya and Nehemiah continue to fund the world-renowned institute, which offers unique treatments that have saved thousands of lives. Twenty years ago, Haya and Nehemiah established the Ella Lemelbaum Fund, which provides scholarships to young people facing financial difficulties. Their son, Yaron, is also a Reichman University graduate.
The honorary doctorate is awarded to Haya and Nehemiah Lemelbaum in appreciation for their ongoing diverse philanthropic activities in memory of their daughter Ella Lemelbaum, z”l; and with heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for their warm and long-standing friendship with Reichman University and their generous support through the scholarship fund in Ella’s memory.