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Cornerstone Laying of the Sylvan Adams Sports Excellence Institute – SASEI – during TAU’s Board of Governors Meeting

Sylvan Adams Sports Institute launch event at Tel Aviv University, May 18 2017.

Video produced by Gilad Adin.

“I have a vision to promote Israel… The idea is to have a cutting edge facility, that will enable tiny Israel to be the startup sporting nation… Sports reaches people emotionally. And by reaching people emotionally, I think we can project the country in a very positive way.” (Sylvan Adams)

Israel as the Startup Sporting Nation

Israel may not yet be a world leader in international sports competitions, but its standing as an innovation powerhouse is undisputed. Recognizing this, Sylvan Adams of Montreal, who made Aliyah one year ago with his wife, Margaret, recently committed major funding for a High-Performance Sports Institute at Tel Aviv University. The Institute will conduct sports testing and training backed by rigorous scientific research to widen the scope of sports medicine.

Sylvan Adams establishes $21.5 Million Sports Excellence Institute at Tel Aviv University

Drawing on the ingenuity of physiologists, biomedical engineers, medical scientists and other TAU researchers, the Institute will raise the overall level of Israeli sports achievement in national and international competitions. State-of-the-art research labs and a range of testing and training facilities will focus on four Olympic areas: swimming, running, cycling and triathlon – all under one roof. The Institute is expected to become a vital national resource, partnering with the Israel Olympic Committee, the IDF Combat Fitness Center, and a range of other national sports associations.

Sylvan Adams

Sylvan Adams – © Robert Wilson

 The only one of its kind in Israel and the region, this Institute is the brainchild of Adams, a TAU Governor, second-generation donor and himself an amateur cycling champion as a world, Pan American, Canadian, Maccabiah, and most recently, Israeli gold medalist personally involved in making this dream come alive. His motivation is simple: to enhance Israel’s international image through sport.

“I want to promote Israel as a startup sporting nation, in the same way, we are perceived in other areas of exceptional Israeli achievements” he says. “Israel is in the news every day, largely in a negative context. I want to change this channel by promoting normal activities that get publicity…Sport is a great tool for advancing what I term ‘normal Israel.”

 The SASEI (Sylvan Adams Sports Excellence Institute) at TAU is already underway thanks to Adams’ vision and generous support. “I am confident that true champions can be produced in these fields, at a world-class university and in this country. We will establish a special altitude simulation system in which athletes can train and sleep at simulated (oxygen reduced) altitudes year round, enhancing their aerobic capacities, without having to leave Israel to train”, Adams recently explained in an interview. “Israel’s weather and terrain offer some of the best conditions for cyclists and triathletes that exist anywhere in the world. SASEI‘s talent discovery process, already underway, demonstrates a high potential for Israelis to succeed in the international arena. There are athletes here with great potential, and providing the right facilities and training protocols will lead to success among these highly driven and ambitious young athletes. Israel’s only professional cycling team, Cycling Academy, in which I am a Principal, recently completed its pre-season training camp right here in Israel, and the riders were all tested through the SASEI protocols, with impressive results.”

 TAU President Joseph Klafter says: “We’re very excited about the opportunities being ushered in by the new Institute. Leveraging TAU’s broad ties with hospitals and national sports associations, Institute researchers will formulate new and improved testing and training methodologies that will ultimately raise Israeli athletic standards. We admire and appreciate Sylvan’s long range vision for Tel Aviv University, for the field of exercise science, and for the State of Israel,” says Prof. Klafter. “We’re grateful for Sylvan’s leadership, friendship and support.”

 Led by TAU’s Prof. Mickey Scheinowitz, a sports medicine specialist and head of the university’s Sports Club, the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and the Director of the Nicholas and Elizabeth Slezak Super Center for Cardiac Research and Biomedical Engineering, the Institute will harness TAU’s world-class academic, clinical and sports expertise, its close ties with 14 affiliated hospitals and its world-class sports facilities to instill new standards of performance excellence among Israeli athletes.

 At a recent gathering of TAU’s Israeli Governors at the Adams’ residence, Prof. Jacob A. Frenkel, Chairman of TAU’s Board, expressed his deep appreciation to Sylvan and Margaret Adams for their exceptional generosity and hospitality. He highlighted the ongoing commitment of the Adams family to Tel Aviv University, which started with Sylvan’s parents, Marcel and the late Annie (z”l), who established, decades ago, the Adams Institute for Business Management Information Systems, at the Coller School of Management as well as the Adams Super Center for Brain Studies, at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine.

 “The ongoing tradition within the Adams family represents one of the greatest hallmarks of Tel Aviv University’s Board of Governors, which emphasizes a culture of multigenerational commitment within families: Tel Aviv University becomes a natural part of the family.”  Prof.  Frenkel underscored Sylvan’s extraordinary achievements as a champion cyclist and indicated that the qualities a champion must possess: drive, endurance, determination, perseverance and a striving for excellence, are precisely the characteristics that our University exhibits each day.” He expressed confidence that Sylvan and Margaret’s recent commitments and contributions to the University and to the State of Israel, will become invaluable resources and sources of inspiration for generations to come.

 This transformative gift is the icing on the cake of Canadian Friends of Tel Aviv University’s (CFTAU’s) achievements in 2016, perhaps the most exciting year since its establishment in Montreal in 1972.

 CFTAU Regional President, Claire Dalfen, noted that “in 2016, we have reached some notable firsts with our Toronto office: our new national logo, Canada’s first TAU Alumni Group, and the launch of our website,”

 “Locally,” she adds, “we were able to raise our profile with a highly successful Gala in August.  Some 300 guests joined us to salute our long-time friend and supporter, as well as a CFTAU Past-President, Herbert Marx.  It was an honour to have Montreal Mayor, Denis Coderre, as our keynote speaker and as the recipient of the University’s President’s Award.  In November, we hosted Mayor Coderre and Toronto Mayor, John Tory, at TAU for the first-ever Montreal/Toronto Mayors Mission to Israel.  At this time, too, the University signed its first collaborative agreement with Concordia University and extended its relationship with Université de Montréal.”

Recently re-elected CFTAU National President, Judge Barbara Seal C.M., expressed her great pleasure on awarding three scholarships this year to graduates of local schools currently enrolled in International Master’s Programs at TAU – Laura Lasry in Environmental Studies, Gabriel Bouliane in Security and Diplomacy and Daniel Kleinmann in the International MBA Program at the Coller School of Management. On a lighter note, it is interesting that Daniel, is the son of the Canadian Friends of Hebrew University’s President, and chose to study at TAU because of the program’s excellence. “These scholarships have always been very meaningful to me. I follow the recipients’ careers with great enthusiasm. In 2017, I plan to establish a special scholarship at TAU’s Buchmann Faculty of Law in my late husband’s memory; the Donald W. Seal QC Scholarship.”

 When asked how he feels about his first year with CFTAU and TAU, Executive Director for Ottawa, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, Sharon J. Fraenkel, responded, “I wanted to make a difference from the day I started with this great organization.  We are fortunate to represent, in Canada, Israel’s largest, most innovative and entrepreneurial University, advancing higher education as it promotes the State of Israel.  I am truly blessed, and proud of what we, at CFTAU, have accomplished in so short a time!”


from left to right: Sharon J. Fraenkel, Prof. Mickey Scheinowitz, Sylvan Adams, Prof. Jacob A. Frenkel, Prof. Joseph Klafter, Amos Elad











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