Message from the President
Janet Shatz Snyder
My family grew up in a Technion household. My late father, Paul Shatz, spent his life engaged with the American Technion Society (ATS), and even became president of the local Washington, D.C. region. I assumed the presidency on July 1, 2019 and am thrilled to have the opportunity to honor his legacy, to serve, and to give back to this wonderful Technion community.
I remember visiting the Technion about forty years ago with my parents and watching in awe as scientists in the Aerodynamics Laboratory used a hair dryer to create a simulated wind tunnel! All these years later, I’m still struck by their resourcefulness. Today, researchers at the Technion operate in world-class laboratories using state-of-the-art microscopes that can view individual atoms and molecules. The topnotch labs, recruitment of distinguished professors, and so many of the incredible discoveries coming out of the Technion were funded by generous ATS donors.
My aim as president is to grow our D.C. area community. We want to engage our current supporters and newcomers with high-quality programs featuring our brilliant Technion professors, students, and alumni. Another way to spark interest among high school students and their parents is through SciTech, the Technion’s vibrant STEM summer camp.
The Technion is at the forefront of scientific discovery in numerous fields. Professor Moshe Shoham, the Tamara and Harry Handelsman Academic Chair (supported by our local ATS Guardians), created Mazor Robotics to develop a near-flawless robotic system for spine and brain surgery. Founded in partnership with the Technion, the company sold for $1.6 billion, setting a record for the highest-ever acquisition of an Israeli medical company.
Such inventions change lives around the world. I am involved because I want to be part of this change. We invite you to join us and help shape our future.
Join Us at Local Events
ATS supporters have the opportunity to hear firsthand from Technion experts and alumni about breakthroughs that are advancing science, medicine, and technology worldwide. Our programs range in size from large dinners to roundtable discussions and networking lunches, to more intimate cocktail parties and dessert receptions.
Greetings from Local Committee Leaders
We award SciTech Madaras Scholarships annually to all Washington, D.C. area high school students who attend the Technion’s SciTech summer program. D.C. area juniors and seniors of all religious and ethnic backgrounds with an aptitude in science, math, or engineering are invited to apply to the program. Our committee members engage our students and parents, and host two programs: a May pre-trip get together and a September poster presentation event. Additionally, throughout the year, we draft materials, contact educators, conduct student interviews, edit a locally generated Scitech film, and distribute press releases.
Alumni Outreach Committee
We are a group of Technion alumni striving to create an engaged local alumni community in Washington, D.C. We work to identify a value proposition that will help ensure local alumni will engage. We offer professional and social networking opportunities and exciting speakers, topics, and venues. We collaborate with like-minded organizations to conduct effective outreach (e.g., the Israeli American Council). We are currently developing and updating the contact list of local alumni, engaging them, and developing an annual schedule of successful engagement events and activities. Our goal is to develop and sustain a thriving local alumni community and facilitate connecting them to other local Technion alumni.
The Washington, D.C. region serves as the area’s connection to the Technion. Quality and consistent programming is an important need for our region. These programs allow us to bring in and excite new people, and to help inform and maintain enthusiasm among those already involved. The Technion provides endless topics, but often we need access to relevant speakers, appropriate audiences, and hosts. We are connectors to the community to identify topics, speakers, and hosts.
Leadership Development Committee
The Leadership Development Committee works to strengthen engagement, outreach, and leadership development. We aim to expand the numbers of informed individuals proactively communicating to others about ATS events, and speaking knowledgeably about the Techion and its importance to the safety, security, and prosperity of Israel. Increasing awareness of local programs also allows us to engage and excite new attendees, maintain connections, and serve as critical exposure opportunities for potential future leaders for our chapter.
The Technion Fund
The Technion is contributing to Israel and the global good in unprecedented ways, and it depends on people like you to ensure its continued advancement as a world-class institution of higher education.
The Technion Fund will help ensure that our supporters have access to a broad array of opportunities for engagement at all levels. The Fund will support the entire ecosystem necessary to maintain the Technion’s distinctive strengths.
The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute
On November 17, 2020, a group of local leaders and donors participated in an exclusive interactive event spotlighting cutting-edge technologies launched at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute in New York City. The Jacobs Institute fosters radical experimentation at the intersection of research, education, and entrepreneurship. We learned about the innovative digital technologies and leaders emerging from the Jacobs Institute and its Runway Startup Postdoctoral Program.
Unlike traditional academic departments, the Jacobs Institute is centered around three multidisciplinary industry-based hubs designed to spur new technologies in Connective Media, Health Tech, and Urban Tech. These hubs are built on the notion that to really know how innovation works, you need to make things — new technologies, new companies, and even mistakes. The Runway Program provides a pathway for Ph.D.s to become CEOs. To date, it has launched 29 startups, 23 of which are currently operating, attracting more than $93 million in private investment companies.
Please reach out to Irv Elenberg to learn more about our local programs.
Have you considered the Technion in your estate planning? The American Technion Society's support of Technion facilities, research, faculty, and students has led to discoveries that have made life better for people around the world. Be part of that legacy. A planned gift can lower your tax bill, increase your income and your heirs’ inheritance, and unlock value in your real estate.
After a trip to the Technion on an ATS Mission in 2006, ATS donor Al M. felt even more committed to the university. Seeing the excitement of the students on campus motivated him, and upon his return, he created a substantial bequest in his will to endow a fellowship fund.
"We’re helping people in need, helping the Technion, and providing some healing to the horrors of the Holocaust — all in one program. It is very gratifying.”
As a young physician in the early 1980s, Alfred M. was riveted by a presentation on sleep disorders. The speaker, Professor Peretz Lavie, would go on to become President of the Technion. But he was also inspired by the words of the American Technion Society (ATS) director hosting the event. “When you get involved with the ATS, you become part of our family,” he recalls him saying.
“Maybe because I’m a survivor of the Holocaust, those words really appealed to me,” he said.
Al rose to become Director of Pulmonary Medicine at a Washington, D.C. area Hospital, and President of the American Lung Association. But the odds were certainly against him.
Born in the Netherlands during World War II, Al was just nine months old when his family went into hiding from the Nazis. His two older sisters were given up to the authorities and killed in Auschwitz. His father lived to be liberated, but died soon after. Al survived because he was hidden with a Dutch-Indonesian family that adored him. The only other family members to survive were his mother Gisele and his maternal uncle, who escaped Europe before the war to start a new life in Bolivia with his wife and son, Norbert.
Al and his mother, with whom he was reunited at age four, immigrated to the United States in 1958, where he earned his medical degree at the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. He eventually settled in Washington D.C., where he attended President Lavie’s lecture and became involved with the ATS. Through the Planned Giving program, Al found a way to support the Technion while helping his relatives in Bolivia. Al set up two Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRT) that generated a steady income stream for his chosen beneficiaries — one to cousin Norbert and the other to Norbert’s daughter. He earmarked the remainder for the ATS.
“These trusts give me the opportunity to help my relatives by providing them with income on a regular basis,” said Al. “So we’re helping people in need, helping the Technion, and providing some healing to the horrors of the Holocaust — all in one program. It is very gratifying.”
After a trip to the Technion on an ATS Mission in 2006, Al felt even more committed to the university. “Visiting the campus and meeting the students was very special. Seeing their excitement about their research really motivated me,” he said. Upon his return, he created a substantial bequest in his will to endow a fellowship fund. Though the money is not immediately transferred to the Technion, he receives satisfaction during his lifetime of having one fellow named in his honor yearly. After his passing, the fund is used to support several fellowships in perpetuity.
As he started to wind down his professional career (eventually retiring in May 2015), Al assumed leadership positions in the ATS. He has been a member of the Washington D.C. Region Board of Directors for more than a decade, and joined the National Board in 2012. He has hosted numerous speaker programs, and has helped with the local committee for scholarships to the Technion SciTech summer program. He is also involved with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He sees a connection in the two organizations that brings him back full circle to his family. “The Holocaust Museum honors the memory of the victims, while the Technion represents the rebirth of the Jewish people,” he said.
His parents came from Polish “shtetls” that gave the world the Nobel-winning physicist Isadore Isaac Rabi and psychiatrist Abraham Brill, who introduced psychoanalysis and the works of Sigmund Freud to the U.S. “I’ve always wondered how many great scholars and potential Nobel Prize winners lie among the ashes of Auschwitz or Belzec. The Technion is the counterpoint to that.”
Support the ATS while achieving your personal financial goals. Bequests are easy to create, and can be the basis of a memorial or tribute. The ATS can also accept gifts of real estate, artwork, fine jewelry and even deposits made to senior living facilities. For more information on how you can make a difference, please contact Judy Sager.