April 21, 2021

Helping Those Who Guard Israel

Honi Sacks, Richard Sacks, Karen Sacks, Barry Sacks
Photo: Liora Kogan

Brothers Richard (Rick) and Barry Sacks and their families are long-time Technion supporters. They recently chose to help fund Technion’s Program to Support Students in the IDF, a unique program that provides specialized support to students whose education is interrupted by Miluim (reserve duty) service. Due to the intensive nature of a Technion education, and the many Technion students who serve in specialized military roles, the program ensures that the State of Israel remains protected and that students don’t lose precious academic progress while serving their country.

“While we don’t live in Israel, we want to support the State and her citizens in meaningful and impactful ways,” explain Rick and Barry. “As Israel’s oldest university, Technion has always been tied to the survival of the State, with alumni creating systems like the Iron Dome, and the development of research and technology that improves lives and is shared with the rest of the world.”

Rick and Barry are the children of Holocaust survivors, Fela and Joe z”l Sacks, which motivates their deep commitment to ensure that the State of Israel remains a safe and flourishing nation. “If Israel had existed during the War, it could have saved people,” says Rick. “Israel needs to remain strong and Technion is a big part of that defence. When we think of Technion students on the front lines, these young kids defending the State, we are inspired to support them.”

Growing up in Canada, raising families, and achieving professional success, Rick and Barry recognize their good fortune and believe that giving back is a privilege and a responsibility. They also stress the importance of setting an example for their children and grandchildren. Rick and his wife Honi have 7 grandchildren, while Barry and his wife Karen have 5.

“We had a modest upbringing,” Barry explains. “But we always understood tzedakah both as a mitzvah (obligation), and an act of kindness. Giving charity is not a burden, it’s an opportunity to take action, help others, and contribute to Tikkun Olam.”

“If I were to advise others,” says Rick, “I would say to find something you are passionate about and support it. You won’t be sorry.”