On Saturday, October 6, 1973, Eddie Rabinovitch ’75 and Marianna Shapiro ’77 had just mailed their last batch of wedding invitations when suddenly they noticed cars on the street — unusual in Israel on Shabbat and Yom Kippur. The radio, typically silent on the Sabbath, broke the news: Egypt and Syria had staged a surprise attack on Israel in the north and the south, starting the Yom Kippur War. 

They had planned a festive evening wedding but due to blackout restrictions, settled on a daytime event without music or dancing. A week after their November 1 wedding Eddie was deployed to Gaza, where he served until April 1974, missing a full semester of school. Recognizing the challenges faced by students during wartime, the Technion gave stipends to Eddie and other student soldiers. Now he and Marianna are returning the favor. 

As Israel is under attack once again, the Rabinovitches are offering a matching gift up to $180,000 for the Emergency Student and Security Support Fund. “The minute the war started, and we saw how many people from the Technion were serving in the army, and unfortunately some had already fallen, we had to help,” said Eddie. “I remember coming back to campus after serving and how long it took me to get back to normal. This time it will be even more difficult.” 

During the attack by Hamas on October 7, 2023, Sukkot, 50 years and a day after the start of the Yom Kippur War, Hamas killed 1,200 people and kidnapped 240 in kibbutzim and at an outdoor music festival. “We thought the Yom Kippur War was the worst thing that could ever happen to Israel until this,” Eddie added. 

The Emergency Student & Security Support Fund provides immediate support to Technion students and staff called to active duty, additional financial aid for those in need due to the war, and tutoring and counseling services for reservists and their families upon returning from the front. Emergency money is also being used to install and upgrade technology and facilities to keep the campus secure. 

Marianna (center) and Eddie (right) Rabinovitch

Eddie and Marianna’s love story that began half a century ago is a ray of happiness and hope during these dark days. 

Immigrating with their parents to Israel in 1970, they met for the first time on the Technion campus, even though they were from the same town in Ukraine. “We were learning Hebrew, but we Russians looked for and found each other in classes, in the cafeteria,” said Marianna, who studied math. Eddie, a physics major, added, “There were not too many women at the Technion at that time. I saw Marianna. She was beautiful, and I said, ‘that’s it.” 

Studying at the Technion was intense but the couple credit their education for their later success. “Our Technion studies helped shape our careers, our lives, and our future,” said Eddie. They eventually moved to the U.S., managing and working together in ECI Technology, a New Jersey manufacturer of computer-based equipment for the semiconductor industry. They are active in the American Technion Society (ATS) in the New York metropolitan area as well as in Miami and are now able to give back. 

As Technion Guardians, a designation reserved for those who contribute at the highest level, they have supported student reservists and established two funds – one for stem cell research in cardiac arrhythmias, and another for fire safety – on the Technion campus, among other contributions. Regarding their latest gift, Eddie said, “We thought this situation required something special, so we decided to do the matching gift. Technion students are giving their lives to support their country, so any financial help the American Jewish community can give will be very appreciated.”  

The Rabinovitches hope to pass down their legacy of support. “As we found each other at the Technion and started our family there, we always felt it our duty to support this great university,” Eddie said. “And as we shared the story of our lives with our children and grandchildren, we make sure they understand the importance of continuing to support this exemplary institution of higher learning, for the progress of humanity.”  

The couple recently celebrated their Golden Anniversary at an alumni-led ATS event in Miami, where Eddie and Marianna shared their story. “We didn’t have anything,” Marianna reflected. “We met at the Technion, we loved each other, we got married and worked together all our lives. We have amazing friends from the Technion. This is why we help with whatever we can.”