Winter 2001-02


BRIEFFOCUS

  Award-Winning Books

Two books published by UH faculty members have won prestigious prizes.  The Académie Française awarded Dr. Nira Pancer the 2001 Eugéne Colas Prize for her work, Fearless and Shameless, About Honor and Women in the First Merovingian Period. Given in the framework of the French Academy’s annual History and Sociology awards, the prize was worth 10,000 francs.  Pancer is a Lecturer in the Department of History.

  On the other side of the Atlantic, the Biblical Archaeology Society (Washington, DC) named Wine and Oil Production in Antiquity in Israel and Other Mediterranean Countries, by Dr. Rafael Frankel, retired member of the Dept. of Land of Israel Studies, as the Best Scholarly Book on Archaeology.  The judges chose it to receive the 2001 BAS Publication Award for books published in 1999-2000.  

An Award-Winning Article

The Sixth Online World Conference on Soft Computing in Industrial Applications gave its premier Best Paper Award to a team headed by Dr. Larry M. Manevitz, a Senior Lecturer in the Dept. of Computer Sciences.  Mr. Akram Bitar, an M.A. student studying with Manevitz, and Prof. Dan Givoli of the Technion also co-authored the paper, entitled: “Finite Element Mesh Adaptation via time Series Prediction Using Neural Networks.” 
The conference organizers extended online congratulations, and an international committee of judges called the paper “excellent scientific work.”  Its results increase the numerical accuracy needed for modeling such phenomena as the stress on a building that has been hit by an external object or the effect of different winds under an airplane’s wing. 
The authors define the project as employing Artificial Intelligence for two reasons: (1) it automates a certain kind of expertise (i.e., knowing when to adapt the mesh); (2) the use of neural networks is itself an adaptive or "learning" method, the choice of what to adapt being made by experience garnered in sub-stages of the problem being solved. The World Federation on Soft Computing sponsored the online conference, which was hosted by multiple universities.

 

And an Award-Winning Dissertation

The Association for Israel Studies presented Dr. Eli Avraham of the Dept. of Communication with its biennual Ben Halperin Prize for an outstanding doctoral dissertation in the area of Research of the Yishuv, Zionism, and the State of Israel.  Avraham is the prize laureate from May 2000-May 2002.  His work deals with the country’s newspaper coverage of settlements and development towns.  The young lecturer has since published two Hebrew-language books on the subject, which he has expanded to include Arab towns.

 

Heinz-Galinski Award

Arno Lustiger, well-known German writer who is a member of the University’s Board of Governors, received the Heinz-Galinski Prize at a ceremony that took place in Berlin earlier this year. Recently Lustiger has been working on transcriptions of the Yiddish language. The goal of the awarding foundation, which is named for the former president of the Jewish Council in Germany, is to foster religious tolerance.

 

Honorary Doctor

A/Prof. (Emeritus) Alex Carmel, recently retired from the Dept. of Land of Israel Studies, has joined the list of past and present faculty members of the University who have been honored by universities abroad.  The University of Basel at the end of November conferred its Honorary Doctorate of Theology degree on Carmel for his “historic contribution in researching Christian activity in the Land of Israel in the 19th century in general and Swiss activity in particular.”  The Swiss university also cited his contribution to Jewish-Arab peaceful co-existence through balanced historiography.  Carmel is the first Israeli to have been so honored by the University of Basel, which is one of the oldest academic institutions in the world.

 

Education Notes

The University has set up a special program in music education—the first one in Israel.  It leads to a B.A. and a teachers certificate qualifying the recipient to teach music at the junior or senior high school level.  The Faculty of Education designed the three-year program of study in cooperation with specialists from the Department of Music. The Music Department, which is in its second year, requires students to study Israeli, Arab, Middle Eastern, in addition to a full curriculum of Western Art Music.

 

Front-Page News

The story was on page 8, but a picture of Prof. Minna Rozen of the Dept. of Jewish History graced the front page of the Athens News last summer. Alongside the picture and her name, the “Greece in English” paper ran the title, “finds lost past of Greek Jews in Nazi records.”  The elaborate story inside detailed Rozen’s “pioneering labours,” which it called as seeming “more a product of fiction than of fact,” in bringing to light an archive documenting Jewish life in Greece since the early 1900s and up to 1941.  It had removed by the Nazis, discovered by Red Army soldiers in an immobilized train in Silesia, and housed in the Moscow military archives.

 

Boston-Haifa

The ongoing Boston-Haifa connection wended its way to the top of Mt. Carmel in mid-November.  Some 70 Bostonians, members of the executive board of the unique partnership, came to discuss a list of issues with their Haifa counterparts, some of whom are faculty members of the University.  They hoped that these topics would lead to concrete programs of activity in both cities.  The issues discussed: Jewish pluralism, building a civic society, social services, youth agenda, and empowerment of women. 

Prof. Emerita Miriam Ben-Peretz described a curriculum being developed at the University’s Center for Jewish Education in Israel and the Diaspora for use in Jewish schools both abroad and in Israeli schools.  Dean of Students Prof. Ron Robin introduced several students who told of their participation and experiences in different community outreach programs, in one case living in the community itself, in return for full-tuition scholarships, a project financed by the Boston partners.  The University has been involved in the Haifa-Boston connection ever since it co-sponsored a wide-ranging, three-day symposium on Jewish identity and commitment in early summer 1997.

 

 

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