Dear friends,

I'd like to thank our Institute for the invitation and for allowing me to deliver this short speech. Before starting, I'd like to honor my academic advisor, Professor Ofer Shiff, whose guidance and mentorship allowed me to be here. Thank you so much for everything.

Three years ago, I sat in front of my computer, back in Rio de Janeiro. It was dark outside, around 4 A.M. I was waiting for a final conversation with Paula – let me remind you that Israel is six hours ahead of Brazil during the summer - who was supposed to guide me through the final steps of my admission process into our program.

It was terrifying.

As she read the requirements, for a split second I felt like reconsidering my decision – and maybe some of my colleagues felt the same at some point. Graduate studies can be tough and time-consuming. Yet, here we are. I'd like ask for a round of applause in honor of the amazing team that runs our institute, staff members and faculty alike.  Their dedication is our cornerstone.

Our people, the Jewish People, is known for being bookish. For thousand of years, some of our finest dedicated themselves to live among sacred texts. The modern state of Israel aspired to create a new Jew, sometimes a warrior, sometimes a farmer, but not the bookish rabbis from before. Our faculty, as I see, is a bit of both. We sit among great scholars who will be both highly learned individuals, and at the same time, will sit with us over a coffee and

Our institute is not simply a place of study. Being here is a life-changing experience, we are the seeds of a community that dwells in the middle of the desert, gathering curious individuals from all over the world. We are a bit isolated, and at the same time, we are in the heart of the Negev – home to many small pieces of civilization, a living mosaic of different groups.

What Paula read me through Skype, three years ago, was not a list of bureaucratic requirements. It was what our peers in a community of learned women and men expect from us – academic honesty, to love knowledge and a burning passion for hard work. Now, three years after hearing her words, I can say that the admission price is very little if compared with what they give us in return. Those who leave our programs are equipped with both academic knowledge and an amazing life experience.

Mazal tov and congratulations!

Thank you very much and have a wonderful evening.

Mr. Leonel Caraciki, representative of the Alumni ​


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