Yeshiva University Receives $1 Million Gift From Tzili Charney

Donation in Memory of Leon H. Charney Will Support Center for Israel Studies


July 24, 2017, New York, NY–Yeshiva University has received a gift of $1 million from Tzili Charney, in honor of her husband, Leon H. Charney, to support the Center for Israel Studies and the Leon Charney Legacy Project at the Yeshiva University Library and Archives.


“This gift not only gives the Center for Israel Studies the resources to expand its mission,” said the Center’s Director Dr. Steven Fine, the Dean Pinkhos Churgin Professor of Jewish History, “it also enables the CIS to promote and extol the influence of Leon H. Charney, a man who made a success of multiple endeavors through the force of his intellect, charm, savvy, honesty and generosity.”


Tzili Charney has been active as an artist, goodwill ambassador and philanthropist. She is a highly respected costume designer for Habima Theatre in Israel, The Cameri Theater of Tel Aviv, and the Jewish Repertory Theater and the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene in New York. She is very involved in facilitating understanding between the Israeli and Arab families to help bring about peace, establishing in 2014 the Leon Charney Resolution Center in Hakfar Hayarok, Israel, the purpose of which is education for conflict resolution inspired by the work and vision of her late husband, Leon H. Charney. She also supports many organizations and institutions in both America and Israel.


Leon Charney, who graduated from Yeshiva College in 1960, was primarily known as the “back channel” used by President Jimmy Carter during the Camp David Accords, but he also had successful careers in real estate and the media, and was a major philanthropist, supporting a new cardiac wing at the NYU Langone Medical Center and established the Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology and endowed the Chair of Cardiology. He also established the Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences at the University of Haifa.


“Our Center for Israel Studies serves to acquaint the world with the breadth and bounty of Israeli culture and society,” said Dr. Ari Berman, President of YU. “Tzili Charney’s gift is therefore a twofold blessing. It is a blessing to the Jewish people, for whom Israel stands at the center of its collective soul. And it is also a blessing to all of humanity, for whose flourishing Israel’s role as a source of breathtaking innovation and ingenuity is essential.”


Tzili Charney received an honorary degree at YU’s 86th Commencement in Madison Square Garden on May 25, 2017, the same place where Leon H. Charney received his honorary degree in 2005.




Founded in 1886, Yeshiva University brings together the ancient traditions of Jewish law and life and the heritage of Western civilization. More than 6,400 undergraduate and graduate students study at YU’s four New York City campuses: the Wilf Campus, Israel Henry Beren Campus, Brookdale Center, and Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus. YU’s three undergraduate schools — Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women, and Sy Syms School of Business — offer a unique dual program comprised of Jewish studies and liberal arts courses. Its graduate and affiliate schools include Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies, The Mordecai D. and Monique C. Katz School of Graduate and Professional Studies, and Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. YU is ranked among the nation’s leading academic institutions.

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