The BSF staff in Tzipori National Park in northern Israel. From left: Moti Levin, Yair Rotstein, Yael Dressler, Orli Rozencwajg, Esther Alfandary, Miri Yelagin and Rachel Haring.

If you are like me, you’ve heard a lot lately about beginnings and endings. After all, we’ve just begun the 2020s, after ending a momentous decade. It’s the end of one era, and the start of a new


This is true for me personally, as well. As most of you know, I am retiring this year. But I don’t think of this as an ending. I think of it as a new beginning, for me and for BSF.

First off, I am happy to report that the search for my successor is well underway. We received many applications, and our Search Committee members (four of our Board members) are busy reviewing applicants and narrowing the field of candidates. Finalists will be interviewed at our Board of Governors meeting in February, with a final decision to be made then.

I will remain until my successor comes on board, and I hope to spend time with him or her before I leave in October.

Whoever that person is, he or she will have the privilege of working with the talented and hard-working BSF staff, as well as with some of the most accomplished scientists and researchers in the world. Beyond their accomplishments, many of them also help us in evaluating the applications we receive.

In this issue you will meet some of them. We profile one of our distinguished Board of Governors members, Dr. Howard “Haim” Cedar, whose commitment as a world-renowned biochemist is matched only by his dedication to helping young scientists blaze their own trails.

You will also meet three incredible women, all of whom are former or current BSF grantees. Shulamit Levenberg is dean of the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. She also heads Technion’s new 3-D Bio-Printing Center for Cell and Biomaterials Printing. Shulamit Michaeli-Goldberg is the Vice President for Research at Bar Ilan University. A microbiologist by training, she has dedicated her life and career to studying parasites responsible for some of the world’s most infectious diseases. Sagit Bar-Gill is among the newest recipients of BSF’s Bergmann Memorial Award, given annually to young scientists who are recipients of new BSF grants, judged on the basis and quality of their proposals. A self-professed “numbers person”, her research is centered around the economics of online markets, and the impacts of digitization on firms and consumers.

These women personify all that is best about BSF grantees. They are leaders in their fields, always looking for bold ideas and new ways of seeing the world around them.

When I hear about them, as well as all our BSF grantees, I can only think about how bright the future looks. Here’s to a healthy and happy new year – and to a new era of growth and success for BSF.



Yair Rotstein
Executive Director