Welcome to the Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University!
The role of the Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University (AFTAU) is to serve as a dynamic bridge between two inspired communities — Australian and Israeli.
AFTAU is a group committed to the nurturing of higher education, as well as the development of some of Israel’s best minds. For over four decades we have enthusiastically pursued the advancement of TAU in the world by raising money, awareness and influence.
In this way we can support Tel Aviv University’s vital role in changing lives that change the world.
What does AFTAU do?
Throughout the year and country, we offer a stimulating variety of cultural, social and educational activities: special briefings, international conferences, intimate get-togethers and more formal events. As an Australian Friend, you have access to some of the best leaders and thinkers from all over the world.
As part of a global network of Friends’ associations, what we do includes:
- Raising awareness by publicising the University’s achievements and advancements in research, technology, humanities and innovation;
- Facilitating and strengthening academic and research partnerships, co-operation and collaborative ties with a variety of academic and scientific institutions in Australia and Israel;
- Creating scholarships to support learning and research, cultivate student and faculty exchanges and recruit Australian students to participate in the TAU International Program;
- Development and signing of new research collaboration agreements with Australian businesses and Tel Aviv University;
- Raising critical funds for the University to assist its educational and research goals and long-term development plans;
- Adding value to the local Australian Friends communities.
- Raising awareness by publicising the University’s achievements and advancements in research, technology, humanities and innovation;
AFTAU’s activities support a large variety of projects at TAU
Traditionally, we have provided scholarships for financially underprivileged Israeli students from all backgrounds, including new immigrants and IDF Reservists.
We still do, but our activities have spread to encompass:
- Australian students looking to study in Israel.
- Direct support of research, both within TAU as well as collaborative research between TAU and Universities here. The AFTAM program with Monash University, was the first such endeavour.
- Purchases of new laboratory equipment at TAU such as mass spectrometers.
- Contributions towards capital projects.
AFTAU is a dynamic organisation which:
Represents Tel Aviv University (TAU) here in Australia.
Is involved in the promotion and increasing public awareness of TAU.
Promotes increasing liaison and cooperation, by way of education and cooperative research and scientific and cultural exchange between TAU and Australian Universities and other educational institutions, Government, and private industry.
Raises funds for TAU.
About Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University (TAU) – Israel’s largest and most comprehensive institution of higher learning – is home to over 30,000 students studying in nine faculties and over 125 schools and departments across the spectrum of sciences, humanities and the arts.
Situated in Israel’s cultural, financial and technological capital, TAU shares Tel Aviv’s unshakable spirit of openness and innovation – and boasts a campus life as dynamic and pluralistic as the metropolis itself. Tel Aviv the city and Tel Aviv the university are one and the same – a thriving Mediterranean center of diversity and discovery.
Consistently ranked in the top 20 in the world in terms of scientific citations and among the top 100 universities internationally, Tel Aviv University is also Israel’s first choice for students, and its graduates are the most sought after by Israeli companies. Global in outlook and impact, TAU advances teaching and research that break down the walls between disciplines, striving to address the twenty-first century’s most pressing challenges through bold, interdisciplinary solutions.
Tok Corporate Centre, Level 1,
459 Toorak Road, Toorak VIC 3142
Phone: +61 3 9296 2065
Email: [email protected]
New South Wales
Level 22, Westfield Tower 2, 101 Grafton Street, Bondi Junction NSW 2022
Phone: +61 418 465 556
Email: [email protected]
P O Box 36, Claremont, WA 6010
Phone: :+61 411 223 550
Email: [email protected]
Leadership & Team:
Roger Mendelson (PRESIDENT)
Roger is married to Sue, has 3 adult children and 5 young grandchildren.
He was educated at Wesley and Monash University, became a lawyer, worked in Oxford for 3 years, been a commercial partner in a Melbourne law firm and established Prushka Fast Debt Recovery in 1977, which he is CEO of as well as principal of Mendelsons Lawyers . He was on the board of TBI for 1 year and then became president for 3 years. He was a vice president of Progressive Judaism Victoria and ultimately president of Union for Progressive Judaism for 4 years. He has been chair of Progressive Jewish Cultural Fund for 5 years.
Roger joined the executive of AFTAU and is now Deputy President
Marshall Segan (DEPUTY PRESIDENT)
Marshall has developed a wide range of business and organisational skills dating back to his days as a Sports administrator and junior state championship coach for the Nunawading Spectres a founding club of the Australian National Basketball League.
He currently focuses on Property Investment & management and assists SME businesses with a range of strategic planning and succession issues. He describes some of his interests as “ business strategist”.
Marshall enjoys his role assisting the President and Board for the Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University.
Dr. Harry Perelberg (VICE PRESIDENT)
Harry is a GP with a long standing commitment to the causes of TAU and
is currently Vice President of AFTAU. He has been involved with Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University for 25 years and his father before him. He was President of AFTAU from 1999 -2001.
Gabor Ujvari (TREASURER)
Gabor has over four decades of experience in electrical, electronic and telecommunication systems as a Test Engineer and Sales & Marketing Engineer.
He worked for major corporations in Sweden and Australia and conducted business on behalf of NEC Corporation in the Australia - Pacific region, in Africa and Asia. Currently Gabor markets electronic components and modules on behalf of QuadRep Marketing (S) Pte Ltd in Australia and New Zealand with a local company QuadRep Technology Australia.
Rebecca Silk (SECRETARY)
Hayley Barron (NEXT GEN DEVELOPMENT MANAGER)
Alex Bahar-Fuchs, PhD
Alex is a researcher and clinical neuropsychologist specialising in the field of cognitive ageing, and the co-leader of the CITE research group in the Department of Psychiatry, the University of Melbourne. His earlier research focused on early detection of cognitive decline and dementia, and over the past decade mainly on the development and evaluation of non-pharmacological interventions aimed at primary and secondary prevention of cognitive decline and dementia.
Alex’s research contributions have been recognised in the form of several awards, including a Churchill Fellowship, Alzheimer’s Australia Fellowship, and two consecutive Fellowships from the National Health and Medical Research Council. In January 2017, Alex Joined the Academic Unit for Psychiatry of Old Age at the University of Melbourne and he continues working as a clinician in private practice.
Keith graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Melbourne in 1956. He served part time in the Australian Citizen Military Forces for ten years retiring with the rank of Captain. Keith joined the family retail business in 1957, and became director in 1961. After forty years as CEO he retired in 2014. In 1955 Keith was instrumental in founding the young leadership groups at the United Israel Appeal (Keren Hayesod) Victoria and became a key member of the Executive. In the 1950’s and 1960’s Keith served as a district JNF Blue Box chairman. He was also Treasurer of the Victorian Jewish Board of Deputies during Isi Leibler’s presidency. Keith was elected as Chairman of UIA Victoria in 1973 and in 1980 he became President.
Keith was elected a Governor of the Jewish Agency in 1982 where he held portfolios of chairman of the budget and finance committee for the Youth Aliya and the Communications committee. During the late Ron Krongold’s term as President of Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University Keith and Deirdre became regular contributors and provided their home for various functions. Keith worked alongside Meir Buber at the UIA during his leadership.
Keith is currently involved in the leadership of the Australian Israel Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) lead by Marc Leibler and Colin Rubinstein.
Ros’s parents, Adam (zl) and Ida (zl) Frydman, Holocaust survivors, had a passion for education and Israel. Their encouragement and support helped Ros achieve a long career in science, in several disciplines. Adam’s long time tendencies to volunteer onto Committees led him and Ida to be part of the original group of interested and dedicated people who set up the Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University. Adam became formally a Committee member and later an External Governor of TAU, Ida was on the Committee ‘by marriage’ and their involvement lasted until her father passed away in 2009. Apart from Committee business, raised funds for specific projects such as scholarships, as well as encouraging and securing large donations towards buildings, and hosting TAU emissaries to Melbourne.
After the AFTAU Oration in Honour of her parents was held in April 2013, Ros was delighted to be asked to join the Committee and later was extremely honoured and humbled to be nominated for, and accepted to, the TAU External Board of Governors, thus continuing her Parents’ legacy with the University.
Attending the Board of Governors Meetings and the associated meetings of the Student Welfare, the Building and Maintenance, and the Finance Committees, has given Ros an insight into many of the vast achievements and complexity of this large and vibrant University, its faculty and its students and to contribute to the discussions in these Committees. Even during the time of COVID-19, Zoom meetings of these and other Committees have occurred.
Ros has been particularly moved by meeting with undergraduate students of TAU, who have been helped by grants from scholarship funds raised by AFTAU over the years, and by hearing about the many innovative programs, conducted by TAU to support students from all sectors of the Israeli population to succeed in their studies and to take part in social contributions to Israeli society, during their study.
Ros’s involvement in the AFTAU Committee, now so ably led by our President Rosie Potaznik, has helped her to contribute to fundraising for and promoting the University in Australia, as well as participating more directly in the University itself. She hopes to be able to continue doing so for many years to come.
Daniel brings broad experience from the government and community sectors. Currently an executive in a Commonwealth government agency, he has worked in multiple community support organisations including seven years as a manager and General Manager with Jewish Care. Daniel is passionate about the impact of community organisations and has volunteered with many organisations including serving on the board of the Melbourne Hebrew Congregation and as the chair of the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation. He and his wife Fiona have two children and a sometimes well-behaved labradoodle.
Marcelo is currently MSW course coordinator, unit co-coordinator, lecturer and researcher in the Social Work Department, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University.
Marcelo has been an academic, consultant and counsellor for over 20 years. His Master Dissertation has been awarded a grant and published in Brazil. Marcelo has 5 other books published in the fields of Philosophy and Education, and also has produced a video-documentary on Education. Marcelo runs a successful private practice for more than two decades dedicated to mental health, existential/career counselling, and family issues. Marcelo holds special interest in ageing, drug and alcohol, and counselling skills education particularly through simulations.
Prior to his position at Monash University, he worked at Monash Health Drug & Alcohol service (SECADA) and NEAMI National Youth Residential Services. Marcelo is a volunteer in the aged care sector for over 25 years. Prior to his arrival to Australia, Marcelo has served as Vice-President of Brazilian Friends of TAU and one of its executive board members for a number of years.
Tami joined the AFTAU committee as secretary in the early 80’s. Tami and Rick’s home was the official “office” of the Friends of the Tel Aviv University, and she was involved in interesting lectures, wonderful events, and many highlights.
Tami always looked forward to attending the Annual Board of Governors meetings held in Israel where one saw the great developments at the TAU Campus, and met with the students and astounding researchers at the University. Her fondest memories are attending the presentation ceremonies of the Honorary Doctorate to her dear friends Ron Krongold z”l and Alan Selwyn z”l and many others. It was a privilege to be in the company of some of the world’s greatest minds and to attend spectacular performances and lectures, particularly the recipients of the Dan David Prize.
Rosie Potaznik attended the inauguration for the Buchmann Faculty of Law 25 years ago which was particularly special as her grandparents Eliezer and Chaya Buchmann, who lost their lives in the Holocaust were memoralised with a magnificent plaque at the entrance.
This honour gave Rosie the incentive to attend the Board of Governors meeting from 1994 and her passionate involvement with AFTAU followed. She was elected as a member of the Board of Governors at Tel Aviv University in May 2010.
Rosie was educated at Mount Scopus College. She studied Science and Psychology (Honours) and graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Social Work in 1977.
Rosie worked as a psychiatric social worker at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Science in Melbourne. In July 1982 she delivered a paper on the Australian Perspective to Adoption at the International Child Psychiatry Conference in Dublin.
In 1983, Rosie wrote and published a book ‘Understanding Adoption ‘. The laws had changed at that time and the book was the first to explore adoptees’ search for their biological parents.
In 2006 Rosie Potaznik became a graduate of the inaugural Experience Bank Program, an initiative in community leadership .
Her communal experience lead to her voluntary involvement with the Jewish National Fund of Victoria which spanned over 14 years, during which she was Vice President for 8 years. Rosie’s highlight was organising walking tours and programs in the Negev and the North Galilee which focussed on water and environmental issues.
PATRONS (click to view)
- Marc Besen AC
- Mark Leibler AC
PAST PRESIDENTS (click to view)
- Isaac Roseby z”l
- The Hon. Walter Jona AM z”l
- The Hon. Howard Nathan QC
- Abe Monester QC
- Dr. Harry Perelberg
- Ron Krongold z”l
- Vivien Zimmet
- Dr. Victor Wayne
- Rosie Potaznik
René Spungin (MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER)
Eva Landy (OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR)
Jenny Hillman (PRESIDENT)
Jenny Hilman was appointed as President of Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University NSW in December 2018 having spent 5 years involved on the executive committee.
After graduating with a BA from Sydney University, Jenny was headhunted by Clive Evatt at Hogarth Gallery , leading to her active involvement in the Arts and successful career in various businesses.
Jenny established a manufacturing business, once sold, led to a career in Investment Banking and the opportunity to join Ipoh Gardens & OSW in a joint venture. This spanned a twelve year period and saw her participation in many aspects of construction and fit out of World Square, Sydney.
Jenny and her business partner worked for many years with the key developers in Sydney, including Harry Triguboff , Director of Meriton amongst others.
During this time Jenny was also invited to curate the Shalom Gamarada annual art exhibition which raised funds for Indigenous student scholarships to study at UNSW. She visited remote communities selecting artworks each year which were sold to benefit the Indigenous communities as well as The Shalom Gamarada Scholarship Fund. Currently there are up to 30 Indigenous students studying Medicine and other degrees at UNSW. This is an enormous effort by the Sydney Jewish community to help make a difference to Indigenous outcomes.
Jenny was also invited to join the Boards of The Blake Prize (for spiritual art) established by a Jewish benefactor, and The State Zionist Council which supports Jewish students visiting Israel as well as holding important communal functions such as Yom Ha'atzmaut and Yom Hazikaron.
Jenny’s involvement with AFTAU NSW represents her ongoing commitment to Israel and her passion to involve the Sydney Jewish community in supporting this great institution.
Phone: +61 410 648 859
Clive Donner (PRESIDENT)
Education: B Com (University of Natal South Africa 1979)
Business Interests and career:
Investment Banking and Private Equity career spanning 40 years in Australia and offshore.
LinQ Group 2005-Current
LinQ Group is Clive's privately owned business. Key activities include:
- Private Equity;
- Investment banking;
- Property development;
- Tech advisory and principle investing
Founded, managed and built 2 private equity vehicles: Golden Arrow Funds in 1997 (7-year closed end fund); LinQ Resources Fund in 2005 (Listed fund on ASX); Subsequently sold out his Private Equity interests in 2013 to Chinese buyers.
Co-founded 2 Property Development funds in 2015/2016 consisting of the development and sale of 2 residential apartment buildings (total of 250 apartments) in Australia.
NM Rothschild & Sons (Australia) 1990-2004
Director of various Rothschild entities including: Executive Director of the main Rothschild Australian Group entity - NM Rothschild & Sons (Australia) Limited;
Executive Director of various Rothschild Australia Private Equity companies;
Head of Rothschilds debt financing business in in Western Australia;
Founded and ran Rothschild Australia’s first Private Equity Fund in the mining sector;
Responsible for Perth Office.
Citibank South Africa and Citibank Australia 1980-1989
Responsible for building the debt financing business in Citibank’s offices in Johannesburg and Perth.
Relevant Philanthropy and Jewish interests
- Past Director of Perth Hebrew Congregation - main Orthodox Synagogue in Perth;
- United Israel Appeal Board of Governors and Major Donor since 2006;
- Newly elected President of Friends of Tel Aviv University (AFTAU) chapter in Western Australia and the inaugural establishment of this new Chapter in 2018 with primary focus on:
- raising awareness of Tel Aviv University (TAU) to both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences and hosting various Israeli business leaders in Perth;
- sourcing donations and student scholarships for TAU;
- sourcing corporate partnerships to collaborate with TAU on areas of interest;
- Building and expanding academic collaboration with local universities and TAU;
- Finance committee membership for Maurice Zeffert (Inc) old age home in 2018
- Board of Governors of AFTAU since 2019
- Founded the formation of the Federal AFTAU entity: Australian AFTAU Pty Ltd in 2020
Email: [email protected]
Web address: www.thelinQgroup.com
David Solomon – (CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER)
David brings a diverse background to the role of CEO for Australian Friends of Tel Aviv University.
He feels a tremendous alignment with the Tel Aviv University objectives of pursuing the next big idea, the next challenge, the next mystery that will advance human knowledge and improve all our lives. And equally, helping to serve as a dynamic bridge between two inspired communities — Australian and Israeli.
From a business perspective he is a start-up strategist with experience in roles covering directorship, business management, strategic and operational consulting, business coaching, mentoring, leadership, executive search and not-for profits. This includes 15 years consulting & coaching to entrepreneurs and corporates and launching several successful start-ups. Prior experience in international executive search and running a Human Resources outsourcing business.
The last 6 years have been focussed primarily in the not-for-profit sector with a particular specialisation in philanthropy. Relevant career roles include:
- Australian Red Cross Society – National Philanthropy Executive
- Jewish House Limited – Organisational Development Lead
- Solu Plus / Quiddity – Higher Purpose Business Specialist / Business Performance Strategist
- Offsite Human Resources – Joint Managing Director
- TASA International – Partner with global executive search firm
- Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce – 13 years on the Board, including 2 years as President and 2 years as Vice-President.
TAU Board of Governors
John Gandel, AC Hon.PhD. (TAU)
John Landerer, AM, CBE
Dr. Gustav Lehrer, AM
Mark Leibler, AC
Sir Frank Lowy, AC
Dr. Harry Perelberg
Mr Andrew Whitten
Professor Paul Zimmet Hon.PhD. (TAU)
Abe Monester, QC
The Hon Howard Nathan AM QC
Dr. Victor Wayne