Business Scene

People tend to distance themselves from former CEOs, but American philanthropist Stanley Chais is an exception to the rule.

chais 88 (photo credit: )
chais 88
(photo credit: )
WHEN THE well dries up, no one visits it any more, and few people remember that its water not only quenched thirst but contributed to agricultural growth. People also tend to distance themselves from former CEOs who have retired or who have been dismissed - and from former philanthropists whose fortunes have dwindled. That's why the tribute in Jerusalem on Monday night to American philanthropist Stanley Chais was such a commendable exception to the rule. Chais, 82, who for more than 30 years was an extraordinarily generous benefactor to a wide range of institutions and organizations in the United States, Israel and the former Soviet Union, was wiped out in the Madoff Ponzi scam and has nothing left to give. Far from abandoning him, some 50 of the beneficiaries of his charitable endeavors took up the mantra that has guided his giving. Chais firmly believes that all Jews are responsible for each other. So the leaders of the organizations and institutions in which Chais vested some of that responsibility decided it was payback time; although they couldn't give him back his money, they could certainly restore his dignity and pride. In Israel, Chais sits on the boards of the Technion, the Weizmann Institute and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has supported numerous other educational projects and has helped establish start-up companies, especially those that give immigrant scientists an opportunity to realize their potential. His son Mark, who lives in Israel and heads his own venture-capital company, joined Chais in several start-up ventures. Now ailing, the senior Chais was unable to attend the tribute organized for him at the Jerusalem Music Academy on HU's Givat Ram campus. But his son was there to hear the outpouring of appreciation, admiration and concern for a man who has done so much not only for higher education and start-up companies, but also for hospitals, museums, cultural institutions and individuals who have been awarded scholarships that he established. CELEBRITIES GALORE crowded into Hangar 11 at the Port of Tel Aviv for the launch of the new collection of Siemens kitchen equipment and appliances. The event included a culinary contest between some of the country's leading chefs, including Meir Adoni, Nir Zook, Ruby Portnoy and Mika Sharon, who performed their menu magic with the aid of the new Siemens facilities. The judges included Hila Alpert, Amir Kaminer and Yafit Pascal, who are each celebrities in their own right, as well as CEOs and general managers of major wholesalers, retailers and distributor of electrical goods, such as Avi Sofer of ELM, Tzvika Aharonovitch of Machsenei Hashmal, Shimon Dan of Shekem Electric, Yaki Vadamni of Best Buy, and architects Ilan Pivko, Moshe Tsur and Avi Raskin. It looked as if there might be a battle of some kind when Zook took Portnoy's mixer to prepare his banana-caramel dessert, but in the end there was no explosion. Adoni said he had a great weakness for advanced electrical kitchen equipment and appliances and was thrilled to be able to try out new products. The happiest person was Javet Pascal, the CEO of BSH, the local company that imports Siemens products. He wandered around all night from one kitchen installation to the other to ascertain the interest of his guests. There was sufficient interest to indicate that regardless of the economic recession, there would still be a considerable number of sales. YISSUM LTD., HU's Technology Transfer Company, has announced that Prof. Nissim Garti of the HU Casali Institute of Applied Chemistry has received the 2009 American Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS) Stephen S. Chang Award for his invention of novel nano-particles of structured lipids to improve the bio-availability of various drug, food or cosmetic ingredients. Garti's inventions are based on trapping the relevant water-insoluble ingredient in a tiny liquid droplet. The nano-scale droplets function as microscopic shuttles, which deliver their cargo with increased efficiency. This technology has led to the establishment of NutraLease, a company that harnesses nano-encapsulation technology for improved delivery of drugs and nutraceuticals, such as vitamin D and E. The Stephen S. Chang Award is in recognition of a scientist or technologist who has made decisive accomplishments in basic research that have been utilized by industries for the improvement or development of products related to lipids. The presentation ceremony will be incorporated in the AOCS's 100th annual meeting, in Orlando, Florida, on May 3-6. ROSH HA'AYIN-based Pointer Telocation Ltd., a leading AVL (Automatic Vehicle Location) solutions provider for fleet management, car and driver safety, public safety, roadside assistance, vehicle security and asset management, has announced the launch of the company's Cellocator Handsfree unit. The device enables fleet management-assistance representatives to listen to a driver of a vehicle, as well as to what is happening inside the vehicular cabin during times of distress, after the panic button has been activated. Additionally, the unit can serve as a voice communication device between the driver and the control representative, eliminating the need for a hand-held mobile phone. It also supports silent monitoring, in which the caller can listen to the driver and what happens in the cabin but the speaker is muted. Pointer Telocation has a growing client list with products installed in more than 500,000 vehicles in close to 20 countries.