Exciting and Prestigious Ceremony to Award the Degree of Doctor Philosophiae Honoris Causa from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem took Place on 16.07.2013
Prof. Sidney Altman:A Yale Professor and 1989 Nobel Prize Recipient in Chemistry, he has made a ground-breaking contribution to the discovery of catalytic RNA and its impact on molecular biology and on contemporary thinking about the origin of life.Prof. Altman's discovery of the enzymatic properties of RNA radically changed present day views on RNA and set the stage for revolutionary new ideas regarding basic biological processes in gene expression and on the origin of life, wherein, it is now thought, RNA endowed with catalytic properties gave rise to the first life forms, preceding proteins and eventually, DNA. The demonstration that RNA has catalytic potential has led to the realization that fundamental cellular activities, such as splicing of messenger RNA and synthesis of proteins, are in fact carried out by RNA enzyme machinery, i.e. the spliceosome and the ribosome. Scientists are now convinced that the present form of life is based primarily on RNA. This has sparked intense research into the role of RNA in biology and has led to applications in biotechnology.Prof. Altman has much scientific collaboration with the Hebrew University in general and with the Faculty of Medicine in particular. He is very active in the Jewish community. Ms. Chanita Rodney:Since her Aliyah in 1949, Chanita Rodney has truly been the quintessential Zionist, giving of her time and effort with her family for the betterment in many ways of Israel's Community and Society. This included research, education, and volunteering. Selflessly and single handedly with the establishment of ENOSH in 1976 and with her continuing work in the community, she has broken the shell of ignorance and silence surrounding the mentally ill.Today under the auspices of ENOSH, there are many national vocational training facilities, half way houses and shelters. Many in this population are integrated fully into regular education, occupational and public frameworks. This is only due to Chanita's tireless and selfless work in these matters.Although a member of the kinder-transport from Germany to the UK and losing members of her family in the Holocaust, she has with her beautiful nature and optimism, as well as with her truly deep altruism and moral fiber, continued to help others without ever expecting anything in turn.Ms. Rodney is for many years a patron and donor to the Hebrew University, donating a wing of the chemistry building, as well as being a dear friend to the Faculty of Medicine with her seminars and research support. On May 20th 2012 the 5th Doris Cecelia Levy Memorial Seminar in Brain Research took place in Maaleh Hahamisha in the Judean Hills.Over the years many in Israel and abroad have seen these attributes and the selfless giving of Chanita and presented her with awards. Those including the President of Israel Yitzhak Navon, who awarded her The Ot Hanassi in 1981. She also received the Magen Sar Habriut from the Minister of Health in 2007 and many other tributes.