Main Event Gala 2022


On June 14 we came together for an evening of music in celebration of Ben-Gurion University’s 50th anniversary and its future. Cantor Gideon Zelermyer, along with a special ensemble from the “atelier lyrique” of the Montreal Opera, took us through a wonderful musical journey. BGU president, Prof. Daniel Chamovitz shared his vision for the University, Be’er Sheva and the Negev in a special video message. All funds raised will support research and innovation at BGU’s School of Sustainability and Climate Change.


a global crisis

The challenges of climate change are no longer local. They increasingly affect everyone, worldwide. From the proliferation of forest fires and floods, the increase in daily temperatures to the melting of polar ice caps, rising ocean levels and even more extreme weather events, global climate change is a threat to life on this planet as we know it.

At Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, finding solutions to climate change is a priority out of necessity.

Located at three campuses in the Negev desert, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has spent five decades learning how to thrive in the desert through solution-based research. Researchers at the university have tackled the challenges of water scarcity and food security, developed advanced energy and cooling technologies and studied the effects of an increasingly hotter environment on human health.

The new school builds on BGU’s well-established strengths to further facilitate the multidisciplinary integration of its researchers and research programs.

The School of Sustainability and Climate Change, the first and only one of its kind in Israel, will offer several tracks for undergraduate and graduate students from Israel and abroad. These tracks will prepare them for the increasing demand and variety of jobs addressing the multiple aspects of the climate crisis.

The mission is to provide students with a wide range of tools to develop practical and sustainable solutions in the framework of international research.

BGU’s accumulated experience, its unique desert location, and its innovative problem-solving approach, mean that it is uniquely positioned to lead cutting- edge teaching and ground-breaking research.

Our Honouree


Cantor Gideon Yechiel Zelermyer is a graduate of the Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute where he studied with Naftali Herstik, Chief Cantor of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue. Gideon has performed around the world as a featured soloist. He and the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir have toured North America and the United Kingdom and their series of recordings, “The Music of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim” has received widespread critical acclaim. Gideon has performed with Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Boris Brott and the Orchestre classique de Montréal, and is frequently heard singing national anthems at Centre Bell and at Fenway Park in Boston. He is the featured soloist on Leonard Cohen’s Grammy Award winning song “You Want It Darker.”


Professor Daniel A. Chamovitz

We are honoured to welcome Ben-Gurion University President, Professor Daniel Chamovitz as our guest speaker.

Professor Daniel A. Chamovitz Ph.D. was elected President of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in August, 2018. Professor Chamovitz is a native of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. He studied at both Columbia University in New York City and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where he obtained a PhD in genetics. Professor Chamovitz is an internationally recognized research scientist promoting plant sciences and their contribution to feeding the growing world population.

“For the past 50 years we have been learning how to thrive in the desert. It is clear to everyone that the field of sustainability and climate change is what sets Ben-Gurion University apart from every other university in Israel.”



Jack Dworkind, Chair

Jack Altman
Eric Bissell
Naomi Bissell
Peggi Cohen Rabinovitch
Reuben Croll
Jack Ditkofsky
Gordon Echenberg
Robby Elman
Carl Frymel
Leanne Gur-esh

Janis Levine
Art Levine
Morty Lober
Gurit Lotan
Arnold Ludwick
Larry Nachshen
Gail Palevsky
Allen Quallenberg
Richard Schnurbach
Richard Vineberg


Peggi Cohen Rabinovitch
President, Montreal
Jack Altman
Immediate Past-President, Montreal
Mitchell Oelbaum
National President
Galit Solomon
National Director, Communications & Marketing
Mark Mendelson
Simon Bensimon
Executive Director, Montreal & Ottawa
Rhona Veisfeld Modugno
Executive Assistant




Thank you for supporting our Main Event!

SIMON BENSIMON, Executive Director, Montreal & Ottawa
Ben-Gurion University CANADA
Tel: 514-937-8927 ext. 103
Email: [email protected]

Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsors: Jeff & Geraldine Hart Family Foundation

Ben-Gurion Sponsors: Jack & Diane Altman, Dr. Mark & Peggi Rabinovitch / Anne & Alex Cohen Foundation, Reuben Croll & Family, Carol & Arthur z’l Levine

Beersheva Sponsors: Bissell Family Foundation, Dym Family Foundation in memory of Frieda Dym z’l, Roslyn Margles, Richard Kastner, Larry & Margaret Nachshen
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