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August 2009

Top Honors for David Polak

David and Janet Polak with Apeloig

David and Janet Polak with Technion President Yitzhak Apeloig (center)

Friends, family and fellow ATS supporters joined David Polak as he proudly accepted an honorary doctorate from the Technion in recognition of his unwavering support of the university's advancement.  The honor was conferred during the Technion International Board of Governors (BOG) meeting in June coinciding with the Technion's 85th anniversary celebration.

"To support the Technion is to support the future of Israel.  I feel privileged to receive this honor from a university of such distinction as the Technion," said Mr. Polak.

Technion Guardians, Mr. Polak and his wife Janet established the David and Janet Polak Conferencing Center at the Coler-California Visitors Center; an academic chair in life sciences held by Nobel Laureate Prof. Aaron Ciechanover; numerous scholarships; the David and Janet Polak Center for Cancer Research and Vascular Biology in the Faculty of Medicine, and, most recently, the David and Janet Polak Laboratory in the new Emerson Life Sciences Building.  A BOG member, Mr. Polak received an honorary fellowship from the Technion in 2001.

For nearly 20 years, Mr. Polak has been a key leader of the ATS. He is the immediate past chairman of the ATS Western Region, a past president of our Southern California Chapter, and has actively served on the ATS National Board of Directors. His dedication to and impact on the Jewish community at large is further characterized by his leadership roles with numerous organizations.
Mr. Polak is the founder and Chairman Emeritus of NWQ Investment Management Company, a Los Angeles-based company with more than $30 billion under management.

Ambassadors Lead the Way

Ambassador 09 Grads

Graduates of the 2008/09 Ambassadors Leadership Program celebrated on June 30 at the home of ATS chapter board members Dr. Fariba Ghodsian and Dr. Nathan Fischel.

The Ambassadors Program is designed to engage and involve a new circle of creative thinkers and supporters with the ATS. Since its inception in 2000, the program's more than 60 graduates have had a significant impact in strengthening the Southern California Chapter.

The program is comprised of a series of educational sessions with Technion professors and ATS leaders. This year's group heard from Professor Shimon Gepstein, head of the Center for Pre-University Education, and Professor Peretz Lavie, incoming Technion President and renowned sleep expert. During the year, participants also enjoyed a program featuring Professor Daniel Weihs, hosted by fellow graduate Yael Tenenbaum and her husband Daniel. Over the past six years, half of the current local board has participated in the program.

The 17 Ambassadors for this year are: Michal Amir, Richard Behfarin, Rick Burns, Mark Dorner, Sharon Jablon, Richard Ratner, Cindy Aronberg Rheinheimer, Johannes Rheinheimer, Elisa Rubin, Pamela Rubin, Ken Salkin, Jonathan Seltzer, Seth Silverstein, Richard Slavin, Guila Smith, Michael Stein and Yael Tenenbaum.

2009 Odyssey Mission

2009 Odyssey Mission

Odyssey Mission participants

Southern California Chapter members Judith Jonas and Joseph Shalant joined fellow ATS supporters from across the U.S. on an incredible ten-day journey from antiquity to high-tech on last month's mission to Greece and Israel.  Click here to read more about the Athens portion of the Odyssey Mission, and to watch a slide show of photos from Greece and Israel.  

Couldn't make this mission? No worries! Join us this November on  Discovery 2009 for a fast-paced insider's view of the best of all things Technion, seen through the lens of the University's faculty, brilliant students and alumni. 

Rel-Events Feature Technion's Best and Brightest


Prof. Gideon

Prof. Gideon Grader

Speaking on a range of subjects, renowned Technion faculty engaged attendees at the Western Region's fall/winter Rel-Events, an annual series of forums designed to inform ATS supporters and newcomers about the Technion's scientific and technological breakthroughs that have impact on and "relevance" to our daily lives. Approximately 125-200 people attend each Rel-Event. Our 2008/2009 Rel-Events speakers included:

* Moshe Idan, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering:  Who's Flying the Plane: Challenges Facing Air Traffic Control
* Gideon Grader, Chemical Engineering Department:  Alternative Energy Technologies:  Production of Biofuels
* Moussa Youdim, Faculty of Medicine: Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases: Technion's Breakthrough Treatments
* Haim Azhari, Department of Biomedical Engineering: Ultrasonic Breast Tumor Imaging: Listening in Order to See
* Michael Aviram, Faculty of Medicine:  Pomegranates and Red Wine: Protection Against Heart Disease.

Join us in October for our next series of Rel-Events.  We hope to include forums focusing on medical breakthroughs, energy, the environment, and security, among other fields. For more information contact Nina Bernstein at

Charles E. Levin
Southern California Chapter Chair

J. Steven Emerson
Southern California Chapter President

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