Yeshiva University’s Center for Israel Studies was founded in 2007 with the mission of “deepening Yeshiva University’s longstanding relationship with the State of Israel.” This summer, Tzili Charney donated a $1 million grant to the Center in the honor of her late husband, Leon Charney. Leon Charney, who graduated from Yeshiva College in 1960, was a prominent lawyer, author, and Jewish activist, who served as an advisor to President Jimmy Carter, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and President Ezer Weizman. He also worked with Prime Minister Golda Meir on Israel’s initiative to help Soviet Jews immigrate to Israel. Charney aided President Jimmy Carter in assembling the documents leading to the Camp David Accords. As a prominent philanthropist, he funded the Cardiology Wing at NYU Langone Medical Center, and established the school of Marine Sciences at the University of Haifa. In 2005, Leon Charney received an honorary degree from YU.
Tzili Charney, renowned artist, activist, and philanthropist, continues her and Leon’s mission of striving to help others, and create a vision of peace for Israel and Palestine. She works as a costume designer for Habima Theater in Israel, the Cameri Theater of Tel Aviv, the Jewish Repertory Theater, and the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene in New York. In 2014, she founded the Leon Charney Resolution Center in Hakfar Hayarok, Israel which works to advance peace education and resolution. The Resolution Center also advances Tzili Charney’s project of facilitating communication between Israeli and Palestinian families. Charney was awarded an honorary degree from YU in 2017.