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Philly Supporters Honored at 2017 BOG

Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie congratulates Steve Berger

Philadelphians featured prominently in this year’s annual Technion Board of Governors meeting (June 9-14), as three Philadelphia Chapter supporters—Ilene and Steve Berger and Joseph Neubauer— were recognized with honorary degrees. (See story below for more on Joseph).

Steve Berger presided over the Philadelphia Chapter as President from 2012-2015, when he was succeeded by his wife, Ilene, who is still at the helm. It was only fitting that this “power couple” was awarded a Technion Honorary Fellowship on June 11 for their inspiring leadership and generous support. They were recognized for their “wise and steadfast leadership of the American Technion Society’s Philadelphia Chapter . . . commitment to the Technion and Israel . . . and many contributions to (their) local community.”

Reflecting on the honor, Ilene says: “It has been my privilege, over the last 13 years, to have had the opportunity to be among the many incredible people associated with the ATS and the Technion. I have enormous respect for all you have accomplished.” Steve adds: “I wish I could express my gratitude to the young men and women of the Technion, whose efforts have made life so much better for so many people.”

Ilene and Steve participated in four ATS missions to Israel, including the Technion World Tour 2016 and led the 2014 “Pioneers of Progress Mission,” and are graduates of the ATS National 21st Century Leadership Development Program. In addition to their roles as local president, Ilene and Steve serve on the local and National Board of Directors, where Steve has served as Co-Chair of the Planned Giving Committee and Ilene has served as Co-chair of the Campaign Resources & Public Affairs Committee. The two are also members of the Technion Board of Governors and of the Genesis Circle.

Technion Guardians, the Bergers have focused their generous support on biomedical and environmental programs as well as student fellowships. They established the Steve & Ilene Berger Portable Biomedicine Innovative Laboratory, and have supported research to develop a mobile device for early detection of heart arrhythmia. They have also supported local projects of the ATS Eastern Seaboard Region such as the Ecological Engineering Systems Center.

Steve is the Founder of Berger Rental Communities, and has been involved in the real estate business for almost 45 years. He has been active in his synagogue, Temple Shalom of Broomall, where he has served on the board and led the congregation as president. Ilene is a certified Health Coach, has served as a Chaplain at Albert Einstein Hospital, and has owned and operated a School of Bartending. Her passion for Israel includes involvement in several pro-Israel advocacy groups.



The Technion is contributing to Israel and the global good in unprecedented ways. Help us ensure its continued advancement as a world-class institution of higher education.


Joseph Neubauer Awarded Honorary Doctorate

Joseph Neubauer holds the Technion Honorary Doctorate at the award ceremony with Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie (center) and Professor Dan Givoli, Dean of the Irwin & Joan Jacobs Graduate School at the Technion

We congratulate Joseph Neubauer on being awarded a Technion Honorary Doctorate during the annual Board of Governors meeting in June. The former Chairman and CEO of Aramark was honored for his “accomplishments as head of a Fortune 100 company . . . for giving back . . . being a catalyst for excellence and diversity among (Technion) students and faculty, and for generous support of the Technion and Israel.”

Joe and his wife Jeanette are Technion Guardians—a designation reserved for those whose commitment reaches the highest level. They have supported Technion projects such as an American student study abroad program at the Technion and the recruitment of high-level scientists of varied backgrounds. Minority faculty recruitment is critical, given the growing size and diversity of the Technion student population. The Neubauer’s gifts in this area include: the Neubauer Family Foundation Fund for the Recruitment of Minority Faculty Members; the Neubauer American Study Abroad Program, and the Neubauer Doctoral Fellowship Fund for Minority Students.

While on campus, the Neubauers met with several faculty members as well as with two doctoral students who have received their support. Speaking at the award ceremony on June 12, Joe said: “We believe that in giving people hope to achieve higher life trajectories, they can do it on their own. That’s what really attracted us to the Technion.” He thanked the Technion for the honorary doctorate, “and the great opportunity to work with them.” A Tribute Video of his life and philanthropy (see link below), aired during the ceremony.

Recognized throughout his career for his civic and professional achievements, he has previously been conferred with Papal Honors, Knight in the Order of St. Gregory The Great; elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences Award and inducted into the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, and has received the William Penn Award—among other honors.


Ed Satell Technion MIT Leadership Program Scholar Visits Philly

(l to r) Alon Dana with Philadelphia ATS supporter and local board member Sid Amster

More than 30 ATS friends and supporters attended a dessert reception at the Hotel Sofitel Philadelphia to hear Special Guest Speaker Alon Dana, a Ph.D. Technion alumnus and MIT postdoctoral student, speak about Israel’s prominence in clean energy. Alon is part of The Ed Satell Postdoctoral Scholars Program, launched in 2014 by the philanthropic publisher, to provide Ph.D. graduates from the Technion with an opportunity to earn their postdoc at MIT.

Taking a break from his studies to visit with ATS supporters, Alon was interviewed by Regina Black Lennox, Director of Philanthropy and Corporate Citizenship at Progressive Business Publications, Inc. (PBP), in a June 22 presentation titled: “Israel at the Forefront of Alternative Fuel Development.” Philadelphia Chapter supporter Ed Satell founded PBP and supports energy research at the Technion.

As a Ph.D. student working in the Technion Ed Satell Family Nitrogen-Hydrogen Alternative Fuels Reaction Research Laboratory, Dana succeeded in providing a means for chemical storage of renewable hydrogen using nitrogen—abundant in the air—as the carrier. He developed the principal approach for nitrogen-based fuel combustion, and demonstrated the novel fuel’s safety and stability. (Link to video below to hear from Alon in his Technion laboratory). His current work at MIT is focused on predicting the behavior of chemical systems, which involves teaching chemistry to computers to achieve efficient, predictive simulation tools.


Upcoming Events—Down the Shore!

Photo Credit:

Kick off your sandals and join us again this August as ATS Philadelphia moves down the Jersey Shore for a series of programs aimed at familiarizing people in the area with the Technion and the ATS.

Friday, August 4

- Devotion by the Ocean: Bring your beach chairs and sit together to welcome Shabbat 
- Time: 6:00 p.m.
- Place: Newport Avenue Ventnor, NJ

Saturday, August 5
- Shabbat Morning Synagogue Presentation
- Special Guest Speaker: Technion graduate Tomer Morad talks about co-founding DatArcs in the Runway Postdoc Program at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute
- Time: 9:00-11:30 a.m. with extended Kiddush afterward
- Place: Shirat HaYam 700 North Swarthmore Avenue Ventnor, NJ Annual

- ATS Cocktail Party
- At a private home in Ventnor. For more information, contact the ATS Philadelphia office at or Tel: 610.940.3800

Technion World Tour Nearing Capacity

A sampling of speakers for the 2017 Technion World Tour

Don’t wait to sign up for the Technion World Tour to New York City (October 25-28, 2017), as capacity is limited. Register today, and be among the first visitors to the new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island, home to the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute. Philadelphians Zahava Bar-Nir and Debbie Vanderveer will be our hosts on the national and local levels, respectively.

Joining us on the tour provides access to the booming tech scene in New York City. We’ll spend a day on Roosevelt Island, meeting the startups at “The Bridge,” touring the clean-tech residential high-rise, and speaking with students and faculty. We’ll also get an insider’s look at Nasdaq as we travel there with Technion alumni whose companies are listed on the exchange. In addition, you will hear from entrepreneurs including Technion Professors Hossam Haick, Asya Rolls and Alon Wolf; alumni Ziv Lautman (inventor of BreezoMeter) and Dr. Amit Goffer (inventor of ReWalk and UPnRIDE); influencer Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway), and entrepreneurial author and investor Scott Belsky.

For more information contact Linda Richman, Regional Director at or Tel: 610.940.3800.


Make an Impact Through The Technion Fund

Support medical research, Technion faculty, students and more through The Technion Fund

The Technion is contributing to Israel and the global good in unprecedented ways. You can do your part in ensuring the Technion’s continued advancement as a world-class institution of higher education by supporting the Technion Fund. Never before has it been easier to contribute to the Technion than it is now.

The Technion Fund provides access to a broad array of opportunities for engagement at all levels. The Fund supports the entire ecosystem necessary to maintain the Technion’s distinctive strengths. Donors may choose to allocate their Technion Fund gift to any of the following focus areas: biomedicine, defense, faculty, international collaborations, student support and sustainable energy.


Welcome to Our ATS Family

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Elissa Gilston, ATS Philadelphia’s new Regional Gift Officer

We’d like to extend a warm welcome to Elissa Gilston, who joined the ATS Philadelphia office this spring as a Regional Gift Officer for the Northeast Hub. Her goals will include developing a pipeline of future ATS supporters, engaging local Technion alumni and increasing the visibility of the ATS and the Technion.

Elissa has worked for over 20 years in the nonprofit sector. Prior to the ATS, Elissa was a Project Manager with the Leapfrog Group, a branding and strategy firm where she worked on fundraising projects for clients in education, healthcare, the arts and advocacy. She also worked as Associate Director of Development for the Anti-Defamation League’s Philadelphia office, and as a Regional Association for American Friends of Hebrew University.

Elissa is a classically trained singer, who sings in an a cappella group. Her other hobbies include reading and yoga. You can reach out to Elissa at or Tel: 610.940.3800.


The second of three trips will visit New York City, home of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute, in 2017. The third trip will visit China in 2018.

American Technion Society, Philadelphia
100 Four Falls Corporate Center
West Conshohocken, PA 19428
Tel: 610.940.3800
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