‘Big Bang Theory’ star Mayim Bialik gives keynote address at JCT gala

NEW YORK – Mayim Bialik, star of the hit television show “The Big Bang Theory,” delivered the keynote address at a spectacular Manhattan gala last week praising the Jerusalem College of Technology for its commitment to empowering Israeli women through higher-education.

More than 400 people gathered at the Lincoln Square Synagogue in Midtown to attend a dinner sponsored by the Friends of Jerusalem College of Technology, which rallies support for the school – known for being “on the forefront of training religious women in science and technology careers” in Israel.

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“What is so incredible about what the Jerusalem College of Technology does, and why I’m so honored to be here, is that I want to see Israel succeed and compete, and I think there is so much misinformation about Israel and what she is and what she‘s not,” Bialik said during the event.

“Organizations like JCT represent that tension and complexity while really honoring so many of the values that many of us hold true no matter how we identify politically or religiously,” she added.

The 42-year-old Jewish actress, who plays neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler on the CBS prime-time sitcom and is herself a neuroscientist, was also awarded the Yael Heroine of Israel Award following her speech.

Originally known for playing the title character of NBC’s “Blossom” as a child actress from 1991-1995, Bialik is a leading voice on women’s issues, including through her New York Times bestseller book “Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular.”

Bialik’s honor at the “JCT – Sparking Innovation” event comes after the college was recently awarded land in Emek Zion, located adjacent to its Lev Campus for Men, where it is planning to build permanent facilities for the Tal Campus for women.

The Tal Campus offers female students a unique combination of science and engineering education on the highest level and advanced Judaic studies courses.

In a letter addressed to event organizer, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed JCT for its contribution in helping grow Israel’s economic and technological sectors and noted the success of its former students. 

“For almost 50 years, JCT has been preparing students in the fields of hi-tech engineering, electronics, business management and life and health sciences,” wrote Netanyahu.

“JCT graduates help Israel maintain its status as a world leader in technology and innovation. Over the years, JCT’s graduates and faculty have established over 60 hi-tech companies.”

“The new Tal Campus will provide an opportunity for motivated and talented women interested in combining Judaic and academic studies to realize their potential and develop much-needed expertise in hi-tech and science. I am confident that the future graduates of Tal Campus will continue JCT’s proud tradition and leave their mark on the Israeli economy,” the prime minister added.

According to the JCT, the school educates 20% of all Israeli women who study computers, and has the highest graduation rate among ultra-Orthodox female students.

The school also boasts that 53% percent of JCT’s computer science students are women —18% higher than any other Israeli institution of higher learning.

The Friends of JCT gala also included a tribute to Dr. Rozalie Schachter, the daughter of Satmar Chassidim, who emigrated to the US at the age of 16, obtained a Ph.D. in Physics from New York University and became a trailblazer for women in the field of technology and business, as well as Golan Ben Oni, Chief Information Officer at IDT, who was granted the Shield of David award.