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October 15, 1993 - Image 99

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-10-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


The First Of Its Kind

The fall of communism gave Dr. Alexander
Tetelbaum the momentum to establish
the first Jewish university in the Ukraine.


wisdom. It is built on the same
lexander Tetelbaum
Jewish principles as Brandeis
does not want Jews
University and does not dis-
growing up in the
criminate, said Dr. Tetelbaum.
former Soviet Union
Students are required to take
to face the same
Jewish education and culture
hardships he did. So
he established the first Jewish
Lectures are conducted in
university in the Ukraine.
English which, according to Dr.
"All my life, I felt like a ma-
Tetelbaum, will benefit stu-
jority of the people in the Sovi-
dents if they decide to emigrate
et Union did not like Jews," he
after college.
said. "I felt it in school when I
Dr. Tetelbaum called the uni-
was teased because I was Jew-
versity a win-win situation be-
ish. I felt it when I had trouble
cause it strengthens the
entering university and then
Ukrainian econo-
getting a job."
my but also
Fed up with
, ,,,
heightens Jewish
culture and the
and discrimina-
Jewish standard
tion, Dr. Tetel-
of living.
baum wanted to
Last January,
help Jews in the
Dr. Tetelbaum
Ukraine get an
was invited to
teach and conduct
Two years ago,
research in the
he rounded up
electrical engi-
supporters for a
neering depart-
Jewish universi-
ment at MSU.
ty in the
Since coming to
Ukraine. Last
the United States,
spring, the Inter-
he has been work-
national Solomon
ing to promote
University in
ISU to an American audience
Kiev opened its doors to about
and seeking fmancial support
300 students, an accomplish-
to help run the university.
ment that would have been im-
So far, the American re-
possible under the former
sponse to ISU has been positive,
communist regime.
Dr. Tetelbaum said.
Now he is in East Lansing,
When MSU Professor David
teaching courses at Michigan
Katz learned of the ISU, he was
State University and promot-
"completely taken with the
ing ISU to Americans. "I
thought about how to help
Professor Katz said factors
young Jewish people get a good
like the disintegration of the
education and be prepared to go
economy, anti-Semitism and
abroad. If we want to have
the need for higher education
something for Jewish people we
all suggest a Jewish institution
have to create something," said
of higher learning is important
Dr. Tetelbaum, who as presi-
in the Ukraine.
dent of ISU is responsible for
"The more involved I've be-
the administration and all ex-
come, the more I know this
penses of the school.
comes at the right moment," he
ISU was named after King
Solomon, the Jewish symbol of


Dr. Tetelbaum will return to
money without outside help."
Kiev when he is sure he has
Because International Solo-
enough people in the United
mon University is still in its in-
States to help raise money and
fancy, supporters have concerns
has found some professors who
about the school's future.
agree to teach.
"There are dangers we face,"
Students attending the uni-
Dr. Tetelbaum said. "One is the
versity pay what he calls a sym-
political situation. No one
bolic fee of $120 if they can
knows what will be tomorrow,
afford it. Most cannot.
although we hope and believe
ISU funding
comes through
grants and a
university sci-
entific produc-
tion center.
Dr. Tetel-
baum recently
helped create
the Interna-
tional Solomon
an American
nonprofit or-
ganization, to
do the fund
"With the
we can more
loudly pro-
claim this
he said.
Dr. Tetel-
baum said
the process
of obtaining
enough fi-
nancial sup-
port is like
having a
was born
only a
short time
ago, and
now it's in
a period of
growth in
terms of
money for
the baby.
Maybe a
i)- e ( iNv: 'Alexander
Tetelbaum: Two academic hats.
up it can

everything will be good.
"I really don't know what the
impact will be. I recently spoke
with a professor from the
Ukraine who told me there is
some Ukrainian nationalism
against mainly Russians. But
who knows, the next day it
could be against Jews." ❑

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