Hebrew-speaking philanthropist Marcel Adams, who escaped from a forced-labor camp in Romania in 1944, fought in Israel’s War of Independence and made his fortune in Montreal, has endowed the Adams Fellowship Program to support Israel’s brightest doctoral students in the natural and exact sciences each year.
Marcel Adams (Abramovich) was born in Piatra-Neamt, Romania, in 1920. The anti-Semitic regime in Romania during the Holocaust interrupted his studies, triggering a lifelong quest for learning and a zest for the life of the mind. An active member of Hanoar Hazioni in Bucharest, Adams survived forced labor, food shortages and arbitrary harassment by the authorities.
After coming to Israel with the Jewish Agency’s help in 1944, Adams settled in Pardes Hanna and participated in the War of Independence. He moved to Canada in 1951 and worked as a tanner before going into real estate. He eventually developed dozens of properties, mostly in eastern Canada, including Galeries de la Capitale, the largest shopping mall in the province of Quebec. With his late wife Annie, he established Tel Aviv University’s Adams Institute for Business Management Information Systems and endowed the university’s Adams Super Center for Brain Research. A Montreal resident, the proud father of four and grandfather of eleven, he remains full of energy, works a full week and looks at least a decade younger than his years.
Adams officially signed an agreement to establish the Adams Fellowships with the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Jerusalem in May 2005. The fund is large enough to provide $1 million annually to outstanding Ph.D. students, covering their full tuition and living expenses throughout four years of study and including funds for attending scientific conferences abroad. Most recipients are aged 26 to 34.
The easy way would have been to hand over a check, but Adams wishes to pay back his 1944 debt to the Jewish people, which gave him a new identity and hope for rebuilding from the ashes of Europe. The fellowship helps young men and women thrive technologically, scientifically and intellectually. In turn, Adams believes they will carry the flag for the next generation and for future generations.
Former Academy President Prof. Menahem Yaari described the agreement as one of the most important documents ever for the future of higher education in Israel. A professional committee at the Academy reviews applications from doctoral students and chooses the awardees, for study in such fields as organic chemistry, molecular biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, physics, genetics, computer science and brain research.
Marcel. Adams wishes to help the best and brightest academics, those with tremendous potential for growth, who have demonstrated excellence in both quality of mind and personal character.
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