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TAU Canada presents …

Jay Rosenzweig

    • Founder of Rosenzweig & Company
    • Chair of the Board of Irwin Cotler’s Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights
    • Board Director for Tel Aviv University Canada – Ontario & Western Canada

TAU Canada was honoured to conduct this exclusive interview with Jay Rosenzweig, Founder of Rosenzweig & Company.

Mr. Rosenzweig is Chair of the Board of Irwin Cotler’s Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights and Board Director for Tel Aviv University Canada – Ontario & Western Canada.

You are an outspoken and passionate advocate for Tel Aviv University. Why is TAU important to you?

Tel Aviv University is not only a remarkable institution; it represents the pinnacle of Israel’s academic excellence, one of the many facets of the country to be cherished and admired on the global stage.    

You have a unique perspective on the university and its crucial global role. What should people know about TAU and TAU Canada?

Tel Aviv University Canada plays a fundraising role in supporting the educational and research ambitions of Tel Aviv University, the most expansive institution in Israel. It also boosts public recognition of the university’s accomplishments and programs, thanks to a robust support network within our local community. The organization aims to elevate awareness of the university’s world-class academic and research initiatives and to reconnect alumni and former students residing in the country.

As Chair of the Board of Irwin Cotler’s Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, what message do you have for our community and the broader community about the significance of these connections, particularly in the current climate?

I am looking forward, as Board Chair of Irwin Cotler’s Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, and Board Director of TAU Canada, to reinforcing the already strong bonds between TAU and our Centre, and moving forward, to supporting the Irwin Cotler Institute that is being set up at TAU. Professor Cotler’s legacy, inspiration and teachings are important, timeless and universal, and I commit to preserving his everlasting legacy today and forever.

We are fascinated by your deep connection with The Hon. Irwin Cotler. How did your connection with him and the Centre come about?

I met Professor Irwin Cotler in the early 1990s. I was a law student at McGill and was presenting in a moot court. As chance would have it, Irwin Cotler — a professor at the school — was one of the three individuals listening to my presentation.

Needless to say, these things can be a stressful event in the life of a young student. When I finished, Professor Cotler, in that measured tone of voice and reasoned manner we have all come to know and respect over the years, thanked me for my efforts; praised me for what I had covered well; and gently pointed out TEN things I could have done better!

I was in shock… and awe.

More importantly, I walked out thinking that this is an individual I can learn from — and not just about the law.

I asked him if I could follow up with him to learn in greater detail how I might have done better and, characteristically, he said yes.

I ended up taking a number of his courses and working for him as a researcher in the summer. It was and continues to be an invaluable mentorship and friendship.

When Professor Cotler started the Raoul Wallenberg Centre, he asked me to join the Board, and eventually to be its Chair.

No doubt, you have learned and continue to learn immensely from Professor Cotler. What stands out?

We learn from Irwin Cotler so many things, including how honourable a calling public service can be. Pierre Trudeau advised him in 1999, when he entered parliament: ‘You can compromise on matters of policy, but never compromise on matters of principle.’ He took this advice to heart, and lived up to this ideal glowingly. At a time when politics is too often driven by ego, power, nastiness, and opportunism, we can learn a lot from Irwin Cotler’s life and legacy. His moral clarity is at the core of everything he does.

Professor Cotler once taught me, if I ever wonder what I can do in a world that can often make us feel cynical or even indifferent, to recall the words of the great sage Maimonides. He suggested we look at the world as if it is exactly half evil and half good. If we think of it that way — and I tell my own children this now — then one good deed, be it calling a grandparent to say hi; helping someone across the street; or stopping bullying — can tip the scale.

This provides hope that we all can help repair the human condition… and no one has done so more than Irwin Cotler… a man who embodies the conscience of humanity.

TAU Canada extends our gratitude to Jay Rosenzweig for speaking with us and for his dedicated efforts on behalf of Tel Aviv University. We take this opportunity, as well, to thank The Honourable Irwin Cotler for his outstanding contributions to our organization, to Canada, to Israel and around the world.

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