Murray Galinson San Diego – Israel Intiative


In the News:

MGSDII Brings San Diego Community to Experience the 2017 Jerusalem Biennale! (October 22-29, 2017)

Twenty-three San Diegans will join Biennale founder, Rami Ozeri and be welcomed by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat for a very special week long art tour. This highly curated trip will feature visits to the homes of Israeli collectors, artists’ workshops, and a behind the scenes VIP visit to the world-renowned Israel Museum, led by chief curator of Israeli Art, Dr. Amitai Mendelson, and Curator of Architecture Dr. Dan Hendel. Other trip highlights will include exclusive access to Biennale exhibits, a unique day in East Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Ramallah, visiting artists and collectors and a tour of the Um-El Fahem Art Gallery near Zichron-Ya’akov. The group will be joined by UCSD Professor, Allan Havis (former Marshall College Provost), to expand comprehension and enjoyment of contemporary art in a hands-on way. Meals will be spent experiencing chef dinners with Jerusalem’s most famous restaurant owners, many featured in the film “In Search of Israeli Cuisine”. Please contact Mitchell Price at or 760-230-2401 for more information.

Now in its third year, the Jerusalem Biennale is dedicated to exploring the spaces in which contemporary art and the Jewish world of content intersect. It is a platform for present-day professional artists and curators to exhibit works and present exhibitions that refer to Jewish thought, spirit, tradition or experience.

Read the San Diego Jewish Journal’s cover story of the Jerusalem Biennale here.

Speaker Series:

Preeminent  Israeli Influencers Speak at University Campuses,  to the Community, and at Salons for 2017-2018

The MGSDII will bring prominent Israeli artists for residencies and events at San Diego universities for the 2017-2018 academic year, as well as Salons in private homes in the community. Guest speakers will include, director, writer, and co-creator of the hit HBO TV series “In Treatment” Nir Bergman, award-winning documentary filmmaker David Ofek and one of Israel’s most active choreographers, Ronit Ziv who has performed and created work for dance and theater companies in Israel, Europe, and the former Soviet Union since 1999.

Nir Bergman, Acclaimed Israeli Director

Nir Bergman is one of Israel’s most acclaimed directors. He is the co-creator of BeTipul (In Treatment), the successful Israeli television series that inspired several international adaptions including shows on HBO. His feature films have won awards at some of the most prestigious international festivals. His film “Broken Wings” won the Best Film at the Jerusalem Film Festival, the Grand Prix at the Tokyo International Film Festival, Best Debut Feature at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival Panorama Audience Award. It also won the Israel Academy Awards Prize for the Best Director, Screenplay, Picture, Cinematography, Actress and Supporting Actress. “Broken Wings” has been distributed in the U.S.A, England, Germany, Mexico, France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Greece Romania and others. Nir will be teaching a joint class with David Ofek at SDSU Fall 2017.

To join us for any of the events below, please email

Salon Event at a Private Home: Wednesday, September 27th

San Diego Jewish Film Festival: Tuesday, October 10th

SDSU: Monday, October 16th

UC San Diego: Tuesday, October 17th

David Ofek, Renowned Writer and Director

David Ofek is a renowned writer and director. His feature-length documentary “No. 17” was featured in MoMA’s New Directors/New Films series and has been screened at over 80 international festivals. Among his other famous works are the TV mini-series “Melanoma My Love,” a poignant and revealing portrait of a man who loses his wife to cancer; “The Ulpan” (A Hebrew Lesson), a thought-provoking look at the problems of several immigrant students in a Hebrew language ulpan; and “Nicolai and the Law of Return,” which was awarded Best Documentary at the Jerusalem Film Festival in 2008. Bergman and Ofek will be team teaching a Screenwriting class in Fall 2017 in the English department. David will be teaching a joint class with Nir Bergman at SDSU Fall 2017.

To join us for any of the events below, please email

Salon Event at a Private Home: TBD

San Diego Jewish Film Festival: Wednesday, November 15th*

CSUSM: Tuesday, November 28th*

* Ofek will show his documentary No. 17, (2003), a documentary screened at Lincoln Center’s New Directors/New Films, is a detective story, trying to discover who the unknown 17th victim was of a bus bombing in Israel after the other 16 were identified. At the same time, this search becomes a portrait of a society living under stress, and has been described as “suspenseful, funny, intriguing, and heartfelt.”

Ronit Ziv, Acclaimed Israeli Choreographer & Dancer will hold Master Dance Classes at California State University, San Marcos Dance Studies: (January 2018)

One of Israel’s most active choreographers, Ziv has performed and created work for dance and theater companies in Israel, Europe, and the former Soviet Union since 1999. An experienced teacher, she taught Batsheva – The Youth Ensemble for three years and currently teaches at the Maslool Professional School for Dance in Tel Aviv, a current focal point for contemporary dance, attracting students from around the world.

She has created work for the Batsheva Dance Company (It Will End In Tears) and (Marilyn’s Night). Her works have been performed, at the Pina Bausch Festival, the Enzimi Festival in Rome, the Marseille Festival, the Sanzwechen Music Festival in Dresden, the Grand Theater in Groningen in the Netherlands, the Tanzhaus in Düsseldorf, and other festivals. Ronit has been asked to present master classes in Moscow, Italy, Portugal, Germany and France.

Upcoming Programs:

MGSDII Funds Joint UC San Diego Scripps Center for Marine Archaeology – University of Haifa Project   (Fall 2017 through Fall 2019)

The MGSDII is excited to announce a two-year grant to investigate the impact of long-term climate change and rising sea levels on the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean along the coast of Israel, led by Prof. Tom Levy of UC San Diego and Prof. Assaf Yasur-Landau of University of Haifa.

The understanding of long-term climate change and human adaptation is key to understanding current climate change and rising sea levels. The coast of Israel has been home to cultures from prehistoric to modern times that have actively adapted to oscillating sea levels over the past 10,000 years. Using the scientific strengths of both institutes, this multi-disciplinary investigation will use a combination of underwater archaeology, geoarchaeology, geophysics, maritime biology, engineering and robotics to reconstruct the climatic history of the last 6,000 years along the coast of Dor, Israel.

The project aims to fully engage San Diego and Israeli students and young researchers in studying Israel’s contribution to long-term climate change research. Components of the grant include funding expeditionary research in September 2017,  sending 12 UCSD students to the Haifa field school at Tel Dor in July 2018, and bringing a post-doctoral Israeli researcher to UC San Diego to teach. Stay tuned for exciting updates as the project and research begins this fall!

New Partnership with UC San Diego ArtPower

The MGSDII is excited to announce a new partnership with UC San Diego ArtPower to bring Israeli artists to perform at UCSD. ArtPower engages diverse audiences through vibrant, challenging, multi-disciplinary performances by emerging and renowned international artists. Through extensive partnerships, ArtPower provides exciting opportunities for research, participation, and creation of new work, igniting powerful dialogue between artists, students, scholars, and the community.

To aide in showcasing artistic work from contemporary Israel and bringing Israeli artists to the Art Power stage, MGSDII will fund, ArtPower Executive Director Jordan Peimer, to attend International Exposure, Israel’s annual showcase of Israeli contemporary dance, in Tel Aviv, December 6th to December 10, 2017.  Each year the Suzanne Dellal Centre hosts artistic directors, presenters, and curators of contemporary dance and performance from around the world to experience Israel’s rich dance landscape. Attending the festival will allow ArtPower to work with the MGSDII to identify Israeli artists to bring to San Diego for the 18-19 or 19-20 ArtPower performances seasons as well as collaborate with campus partners and academic units to have them placed within the Theatre and Dance Department. Stay tuned!

SDSU and Technion Joint Engineering Capstone Project: Proof of Concept for an Efficient VSTOL UAV (Fall 2017 and Spring 2018)

San Diego State University, under the guidance of Professor Joseph Katz, and Technion, under the guidance of Professor Gil Yudilevitch and Professor Oded Naveh, will cooperate in providing their senior students an aeronautical engineering design capstone project, whereby teams of five students from both schools will work together to develop a proof of concept for an efficient Vertical and/or Short Take Off Landing (V/STOL) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

The program is a unique experience for students to experience the real-life application of methods and models learnt during their studies together with peers from Israel and test possible technical methods for such distant but close cooperation.  Finally, this is a unique opportunity for San Diego and Israeli students to get exposure to their respective high tech industries’ practices and processes as well as cultures, with the hope of building and maintaining long-term relationships.  A travel component for students to visit each other’s Universities is in the works.

UCSD to offer Summer Global Seminar in Israel

The MGSDII awarded a research grant to Professor Tal Golan to complete his book titled, “Zionism and Water.” The book will provide a detailed history of the developments of Israeli water policies and technology, and their relations to Zionist ideology, politics, and practices.  As such, the book will make fundamental contributions to the history of modern Israel and to Israel Studies.

The research will be included in this year’s curriculum in Professor Golan’s History of Science Policy course by including a week’s study:  Science Policy in the Developing World: The Case of Israel,  Zionism and Water.  The research will also be used in developing a UCSD Global Seminar for Summer 2018 around Israel’s innovative eco-system.


University of San Diego Faculty will Explore Israel’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship/Eco-System (Spring 2018)

Working with the USD’s Chell Roberts, Dean of the Shirley-Marcos School of Engineering, the MGSDII is developing a three day exploration to experience Israel’s global contributions and innovation.

The three days extension will  focus on Israel’s expertise and innovation in water, energy, cyber security and start-up technologies and incubators. Faculty will meet with Israeli industry leaders and elected officials, in what MGSDII hopes will be the first of many of these type of faulty trips.


Coming Soon:  Israeli Artist in Residence at the Leichtag Commons (Spring 2018)

The MGSDII is in the beginning stages of developing an Israeli Artists in Residence program at the Leichtag Commons with Israeli partners at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, Hansen House, and the Artist Alliance Complex.

An artist residency program is a research-and-development lab for the arts, providing artists with time, space, and support for the creation of new work and the exploration of new ideas. Artists’ residencies are about advancing creativity, advancing human progress and advancing the way we examine the world and in this case specifically Israel and it’s culture. Through the support of Israeli artists, we can advance understanding and dialogue between San Diegans and Israelis. The time between MFA graduation and establishing a reputation is a vital but challenging time for artists. It is also an exciting time to have a residency. We envision that these partnerships could be a pipeline for the best of each class across disciplines! Stay tuned for more details soon.

Past Programming Highlights:

Visiting Israeli Professor Speaking Series, Adi Shany (June 2017)

“Moving to Opportunity – ‘Operation Solomon’: How Immigrating from Ethiopia to Israel While in the Womb Can Affect Life Development”

Adi Shany earned her Ph.D. in Economics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Specializing in the economics of education and human resources, her recent publications include “Out of Africa: Human Capital Consequences of In Utero Conditions,” which she will discussed at an event following services at Congregation Beth El on Friday, June 9.

Water RecyclingWater Recycling Academic Workshop: the Success Found in Emek Hefer (May 2017)

In partnership with Hebrew University and the Milken Innovation Center, the MGSDII hosted an academic conference connecting a visiting delegation of 10 Hebrew University MBA candidates to meet UCSD MBA candidates, UCSD and USD professors, and other San Diego sustainability experts at Leichtag Commons. Together they discussed and focused on the water recycling efforts in the Emek Hefer region of Israel and what San Diego can learn about Israeli innovation.


TAUSofaer International Case Competition at Tel Aviv University (May 2017)

The MGSDII awarded four travel scholarships to UCSD Rady School of Management MBA students to compete in the prestigious Sofaer International Case Competition at Tel Aviv University! The San Diego team will compete against eight global teams from leading business schools worldwide.

Each year, 8 global teams from leading business schools worldwide compete alongside the Tel Aviv University team for the Barton M. Biggs Prize, totaling $10,000. Participating teams receive a strategic case the day after arrival. The strategic case, designed specifically for the Competition, focuses on a strategic challenge or dilemma facing an Israeli company operating in global markets. The teams will have the next 3 days to analyze the case and develop their strategic solutions. The San Diego-Israel Initiative is proud to say that the only U.S. team to compete last two years was from the UC San Diego Rady School of Management. Learn more. 


Israeli Artists in Conversation: A Film Symposium (April 2017)

Over 400 students, faculty, and community members attended three separate events showcasing some of the most cutting edge and award winning Israeli actors, directors and writers examined Modern Israeli society through film. Drawing on their own works, the panelists focused on the meeting and mixing between social groups, identities, conflicts and art forms, exploring how film reflects Modern Israel today.



Meet the Award Winning Actors, Directors, Writers:

Dana Ivgy is a three-time recipient of the Israel Film Academy’s Best Actress Award, most recently for her role in Zero Motivation (2014), which won Best Narrative Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival. In addition to her critically acclaimed success in Zero Motivation, she is also known for her roles in Or (My Treasure) (2004) and Jaffa (2009). Ivgy is also an Artistic Director of the Israeli stage comedy troupe Tziporela, which performs internationally.


Nitzan Gilady is a film director who has written, produced and directed the documentary films In Satmar Custody (2003), Jerusalem Is Proud to Present (2008) It Runs in the Family (2010), and Wedding Doll (2016). His films have received 13 international awards, participated in over 120 international film festivals and broadcast In prestigious TV channels over the world including Sundance Channel and ZDF-ARTE.


Elite Zexer is the director of the critically acclaimed Sand Storm (2016). The film was shown in the Panorama section at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival. At the 2016 Sundance Film Festival it won the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Dramatic section. It also won the Best Film Award at the Ophir Awards. It was selected as the Israeli entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.


Eran Polishuk (Moderator) is the Director of Film and Media at Israel’s Office for Cultural Affairs at the Consulate General of Israel, New York. In his previous role as producer of the Jewish and International Jerusalem Film Festival at the Jerusalem Cinematheque-Israel Film Archive, he collaborated with numerous cultural organizations in Israel including the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, the Tel Aviv Museum of Arts, Cinema South International Film Festival and many more.


AgriTechSan Diego-Israel AgTech Innovation Showcase Delegation (March 2017)

In partnership with the Government of Israel Economic Mission to the Midwest, the San Diego-Israel Initiative connected the innovation centers of agricultural technology in Israel with those in San Diego. At the Leichtag Commons, a delegation of Israeli companies, that are undertaking the challenge to solve a myriad of major concerns faced by the agricultural community, came together, with major San Diego agricultural industry stakeholders, to explore business and investments opportunities and the prospects for joint R&D efforts. We look forward to sharing upcoming collaborations with you soon!

 Learn more about the program and view photographs from the event here.

Visiting Israeli Professor Speaking Series, Featuring Oded Brosh (March 2017)

Following a Saturday’s morning service at Congregation Beth El, San Diego-Israel Initiative visiting professor at SDSU, Oded Brosh, gave a talk titled, “The Iran Nuclear Agreement: Prospects, Opportunities and Perils – for Israel and America (and Who’s in Charge in Tehran?).” Brosh is a political scientist from IDC Herzliya who specializes in security studies, specifically nuclear politics, strategy, deterrence, proliferation, and related WMD issues. A Senior Research Fellow at IDC Herzliya’s Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS), he is the author of  “IAEA 26 February 2016 Iran Inspection Report Summary” (IPS Publications, 2016) and “Iran in 2025: Four Scenarios” (IPS Publications, 2015).



California State University, San Marcos Dance Studies: Shahar Biniamini, Internationally Acclaimed Choreographer & Dancer (February 2017)

The San Diego-Israel Initiative was proud to host Shahar Biniamini, visiting Israeli choreographer, as he taught three master classes at CSUSM.

Biniamini was born in 1988 in Lod, Israel. He danced in Batsheva Ensemble from 2006-2008 and in Batsheva Dance Company from 2008-2013. Today, as an independent dancer and artist, Shachar creates artworks and dance works, shown in theaters and galleries all over the world. He is also a Gaga instructor, an assistant to Ohad Naharin, and teaches his works abroad. To view more photographs from the classes, please click here.

Hear what students had to say:

What stuck out to me from the movement experience with Shahar Binyamini was how freeing it was. At first, many of the students including me felt extremely uncomfortable and tense. But, I started to become more comfortable in my body and tried not to think too much. By the end of the class, everyone was shamelessly, freely moving in their own world. I thought that was a major breakthrough. The GAGA technique was used to cultivate self-awareness through body movements. To me, this brought awareness to how flexible and spontaneous I can actually be once I stop listening to my head and start listening to my body. 

My experience with Shahar Binyamini was exquisite. It was definitely not what I had expected. The movements that he directed us to do was very different from what I have experienced. I learned a bit more of what self-awareness is other than what you have led me to learn! The movements I made, were very natural and flowed just perfectly. I used to believe that it was almost impossible for my body to catch rhythm without the help of music. But Shahar lead me to believe differently, my body found its own rhythms and movements. My body was moving with passion! 

Celebrating the Naming of the Murray Galinson-San Diego-Israel Initiative (February 2017)

In partnership with a growing consortium of funders that care about deep, multi-faceted education about Israel, the Intiative was proud to honor Murray Galinson’s legacy by naming the Initiative after him.

It was beautiful setting to come together to honor Murray’s commitment to the State of Israel and his belief in the importance of scholarly academic discourse. Because of this newly named Initiative, there will be greater opportunities for faculty and students to experience multi-faceted education about modern Israel. Through subjects as diverse as art, film and law to science, technology and innovation, students on San Diego university and law campuses will have the opportunity to learn about Israel beyond the headlines, slogans and sound bites.

To view more photographs from the evening, please click here.

Wine EventTasting Rooms and Wineries in Israel: The Magical Connection (February 2017)

A lively panel discussion was held at SDSU with guest viticulturists from Israel and SDSU Business of Wine certificate instructors. Over 80 students, faculty, and guests heard about the making of wine, as our international panel discussed the multi-faceted role of a winery’s tasting room.

Dr. Michal Akerman from Tabor Winery, Eran Goldwasser from Yatir Winery, and Victor Schoenfeld from Yarden-Golan Heights Winery each shared about Israel’s progress in emerging as a burgeoning wine culture.



spaceilTo the Moon and Beyond with Yonatan Winetraub, Co-Founder of Space IL (November 2016)

Yonatan recently toured UC San Diego, USD, and SDSU as part of a speaking series put on by the SDII. Over 300 students and faculty learned how SpaceIL is making history as part of a global Moon race sponsored by Google to place an unmanned spacecraft on the Moon’s surface before the mission deadline of December 2017. Landing a spacecraft on the Moon will make Israel the fourth nation to do so, following the success of the three superpowers (US, Russia, and China). To learn more about Yonatan’s work with SpaceIL, please click here.

Update, January 2017: SpaceIL was just selected as one of 5 finalists competing for the $20 million Google Lunar XPRIZE!

USIC Water Forum 20160302-01San Diego-Israel Water Conferences (March and June 2016)

The Initiative hosted the first ever San Diego-Israel Water Roundtable in partnership with Sustainability Matters, the City of San Diego, and Mayor Kevin Faulconer at the Rady School of Management’s Ernest & Evelyn Rady Sky Pavilion on March 2.

The purpose of this roundtable was to bring San Diego and Israel, two leaders in water innovation and policy, together to share their experiences, exchange ideas and identify opportunities to collaborate further. This high level roundtable included leaders from the Consulate General of Israel, Qualcomm, World Trade Center San Diego, Hagihon Company Ltd., Building Industry Association, IDE Technologies, Atlantium Technologies Ltd., Netafim, BIRD Foundation, Leichtag Foundation, among many others.

The Initiative hosted a follow up conference to the San Diego – Israel Water Round table in partnership with Sustainability Matters, the City of San Diego, and the Leichtag Foundation on June 30 at the Leichtag Commons.

The program presented a panel discussion followed by structured meetings between Israeli and California companies involved in various aspects of the water industry. Panelists included Jason Anderson (President and CEO, Cleantech San Diego), Barbara Bradley (President, Advanced Onsite Systems, Inc.), Michael Schneider (VP, SDG&E), and Robert MacLean (President, California American Water), Gili Ovadia (Consul, Head of the Israeli Economic and Trade Mission to the West Coast), among others. View more photographs here.

FullSizeRenderSan Diego-Israel Rain Barrel Project (February 2016)

Israeli science teacher and inventor Amir Yechieli flew to San Diego in February to install new rainwater harvesting systems at two schools in San Diego and one in Encinitas, bringing with him the potential to change how water is viewed and used in Southern California and beyond. The rainwater harvesting program was funded by The Leichtag Foundation. At Pacific Beach Middle School and Franklin Elementary School in City Heights, the collected water will be used to irrigate school gardens. At the Encinitas Union School District Farm Lab, the rainwater also will be used to flush toilets.




maxresdefaultCoolnet CEO, JEST Founder, and TEDx Scholar Hani Alami Professional Seminar (December 2015)

Hani Alami spoke to over 100 students and faculty at UC San Diego and shared about the successes and trials in starting JEST (Jerusalem Entrepreneurs Society Technology), the first entrepreneurship center and tech hub for startups in East Jerusalem, as a philanthropic venture. His career of successful business exits in the technology sectors, gave Alami an ability to overview and steer management decisions through disorders, stress and challenging projects and illustrated these experiences with those in attendance.


Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World, A Seminar and Discussion with Author Seth Siegel (November 2015)

Speaking to over 175 students and faculty at UC San Diego, Siegel shared from his New York Times best selling book and detailed how much San Diego can learn from Israel. Beyond securing its own water supply, Israel also created a high-export industry in water technology, a timely example of how countries can build their economies while making the world better. Built on meticulous research and hundreds of interviews with both world leaders and experts in the field, “Let There Be Water” tells the inspiring story of how this all came to be.