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Home August 2013 Doctor Barbra

Doctor Barbra

Legendary American actress, director, singer, producer, composer, philanthropist and activist Barbra Streisand received an honorary doctor of philosophy degree from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem on June 17 on the Mount Scopus campus, during the 76th Hebrew University International Board of Governors Meeting.
Following welcomes from the chairman of The Hebrew University’s Board of Governors, Michael Federmann, and Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson, The Hebrew University’s president, the honorary doctorate was presented to Streisand in recognition of her “professional achievements, outstanding humanitarianism, leadership in the realm of human and civil rights and dedication to Israel and the Jewish people.”
After receiving the award, Streisand said, “For close to 30 years, I’ve had a deep connection to The Hebrew University.  It’s not only home to a diverse population of some of Israel’s best and brightest students, but it also houses the Emanuel Streisand Building for Jewish Studies.”
Streisand first became involved with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and its American Friends association in 1979, leading to her 1984 visit to the University’s Mount Scopus campus for the dedication of the Emanuel Streisand Building for Jewish Studies which memorializes her father, a highly respected Jewish educator and scholar.  She was presented with the American Friends of the Hebrew University’s prestigious Scopus Award in 1984 and has continued to lend her support.  She described her father then as “a teacher, scholar and religious man who devoted himself to education.”
At the recent awards ceremony she said, “I think he would be very proud to know that this esteemed institution is honoring his daughter.”
Streisand said it made her happy to read in the newspaper that more women than men graduated with a doctorate at The Hebrew University’s Convocation in June.
“One of the things I’ve always admired about this university is the fact that here, women and men, Jews and Arabs, Christians and Muslims, native-born and immigrants, sit together in classes, share the same cafeterias, learn from the same professors, and dream together of a good and meaningful life,” she said.  “I wish the world were more like the hallways of The Hebrew University.”
Streisand condemned manifestations of exclusion of women in Israel, saying, “I realize it’s not easy to fully grasp the dynamics of what happens in a foreign land. Israel and the United States have much in common:  Two great and noble countries, each with problems of course, but always striving to shine as a beacon of hope.  So it’s distressing to hear about women in Israel being forced to sit at the back of a bus, or when we hear about Women of the Wall having metal chairs hurled at them when they attempt to peacefully pray, or when women are banned from singing in public ceremonies.  But I’m also pleased to read that things are changing here.  Repairs are being made, and that’s very good.”
Streisand also complimented the debut speech of new Member of Knesset Dr. Ruth Calderon and said that Calderon’s speech served as an example of secular-religious dialogue through which people and countries can come together.
She concluded by quoting Albert Einstein, one of the founders of The Hebrew University: “Example isn’t another way to teach; it’s the only way to teach.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, a member of the audience called out, “We love you, Barbra!”  When Hebrew University President, Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson pointed out that with her honorary doctorate she is now “Dr. Streisand,” the audience member shouted back, “We love you, Dr. Streisand!”
After the event, Streisand toured the Mount Scopus campus and visited the building named for her father.  She also met with a number of scholars and students from the university, and, among other things, discussed the status of women.
Streisand’s commitment is reflected in the work of The Streisand Foundation, which is dedicated to fostering women’s equality and health, protecting human and civil rights, advancing the needs of at-risk children in society and preserving the environment.  She often donates the proceeds from her performances on behalf of important causes.

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