Yeshiva University Receives $1 Million Gift From Tzili Charney

Donation in Memory of Leon H. Charney Will Support Center for Israel Studies

Tzili Charney at 2017 Commencement
Honorary degree recipient Tzili Charney speaking at YU’s 2017 Commencement

Yeshiva University has received a gift of $1 million from Tzili Charney, in honor of her husband, Leon H. Charney, to support the Center for Israel Studies and the Leon Charney Legacy Project at the Yeshiva University Library and Archives.

“This gift not only gives the Center for Israel Studies the resources to expand its mission,” said the Center’s Director Dr. Steven Fine, the Dean Pinkhos Churgin Professor of Jewish History, “it also enables the Center to promote and extol the influence of Leon H. Charney, a man who made a success of multiple endeavors through the force of his intellect, charm, savvy, honesty and generosity.”

Tzili Charney has been active as an artist, goodwill ambassador and philanthropist. She is a highly respected costume designer for Habima Theatre in Israel, The Cameri Theater of Tel Aviv, and the Jewish Repertory Theater and the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene in New York. She is very involved in facilitating understanding between the Israeli and Arab families to help bring about peace, establishing in 2014 the Leon Charney Resolution Center in Hakfar Hayarok, Israel, the purpose of which is education for conflict resolution inspired by the work and vision of her late husband, Leon H. Charney. She also supports many organizations and institutions in both America and Israel.

Leon Charney, who graduated from Yeshiva College in 1960, was primarily known as the “back channel” used by President Jimmy Carter during the Camp David Accords, but he also had successful careers in real estate and the media, and was a major philanthropist, supporting a new cardiac wing at the NYU Langone Medical Center and established the Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology and endowed the Chair of Cardiology. He also established the Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences at the University of Haifa.

“Our Center for Israel Studies serves to acquaint the world with the breadth and bounty of Israeli culture and society,” said Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, President of YU. “Tzili Charney’s gift is therefore a twofold blessing. It is a blessing to the Jewish people, for whom Israel stands at the center of its collective soul. And it is also a blessing to all of humanity, for whose flourishing Israel’s role as a source of breathtaking innovation and ingenuity is essential.”

Tzili Charney received an honorary degree at YU’s 86th Commencement in Madison Square Garden on May 25, 2017, the same place where Leon H. Charney received his honorary degree in 2005.