Estudios Judaicos
Departamento de Estudios Judaicos

Primer Premio Scopus de Uruguay fue otorgado a la Prof. Charlotte de Grünberg

Versión en inglés del discurso pronunciado por la directora general de la Universidad ORT Uruguay el 19 de agosto de 2018.

I am highly honoured and overjoyed to receive the Scopus Prize from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

I especially thank Gabriel Goldman who announced the news to me on his return from Israel. I must say I was stunned and surprised when I found out. I certainly did not expect it. 

It always struck me that the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was born 23 years before the creation of the State of Israel, thanks to the vision of a group of pioneers from the World Zionist Organisation who had the courage to put this matter on the table. Since the project was launched, the University began to expand its activities that today encompass virtually all areas of human knowledge and have become a driving force for innovation. Its classrooms have produced winners of the Nobel Prize and other important recognitions within Israel, like the one awarded to Dr. Seroussi. Currently, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is consistently ranked among the best universities in the world.  

Education has always been a core aspiration of the Jewish people, who have tenaciously strived to preserve the transmission and dissemination of Jewish thought and life ethics, while participating with passion in the great social, cultural and technological changes taking place globally.

The same spirit prevailed among a group of thinkers in Czarist Russia 138 years ago. They were the forerunners of the ORT project, to rescue Jewish populations confined to exclusion zones, through vocational education as a form of liberation. This is how ORT was born in 1880.

Ten thousand letters requesting support for the project were sent, with a response that exceeded all expectations, allowing the ORT idea to swiftly take shape as a Movement in Jewish Life.

Both the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the ORT project managed to attract the attention of Albert Einstein and other important figures, who accompanied the two initiatives from their outset.  Albert Einstein delivered the inaugural class of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on its opening day and a few years later, he took part in a fundraising dinner for ORT at the Savoy Hotel in London, accompanied by George Bernard Shaw. I have an emblematic photo of that event on my desk.

Our institutions owe a great deal to all these tenacious visionaries and generous figures of science and the Jewish world of the time who supported these two ambitious dreams.

An academic cooperation agreement now exists between the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Universidad ORT Uruguay, through which we hope to develop projects that are beneficial for both countries.

My generation, through our direct experience of the naked and criminal persecution of Nazism in occupied Europe, became "viscerally linked" to the Shoah (in the words of Claude Lanzmann) and with an indelible tragic wound. The creation of the State of Israel was of unimaginable importance, particularly for the survivors. 

In the face of global apathy towards genocide, we hoped that, with the end of the war, the active or passive collaboration of the "Mitlaüfer", an expression used by the Franco-German journalist Geraldine Schwarz in her recent book Les Amnesiques to describe Nazi sympathisers, would disappear. Our solitude, defencelessness and vulnerability would be things of the past. To a large extent and in spite of persistent niches of Judeophobia and denial, the existence of the State of Israel has allowed us to recover the dignity and dreams that had been snatched away from us.

Seventy years later, the State of Israel stands as a striking reality and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem represents one of its finest symbols and achievements.

My thanks go to Dr. Seroussi of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dr. Goldman and friends of the Hebrew University in Uruguay, to my family in Uruguay; Carolina, Victoria, Florencia, Matías, Laura and Fabiana, those who live in Israel, the U.S, Mexico and especially to my brother Raymond of blessed memory who accompanied me in the darkest years, to Ruperto Long, my biographer and friend, to my colleague and friend Dr. Adrián Moscowicz, Executive Director of ORT Argentina, to my son Jorge, who was a pillar when we launched the major challenge of the university project, to my husband José for supporting my ventures, to my colleagues and Friends of ORT Uruguay, and to all of you here today.

To the new Ambassador of Israel, Mrs. Galit Ronen, wishing her every success in her mission in our country. 

It is an overwhelming honour to receive this distinction today at this event.

Thank you very much.