Every so often the Technion is fortunate enough to receive support from parents, children, and even grandchildren of the same family. Since each generation has a different perspective on giving, this multigenerational approach embraces individual motivations and helps ensure continued philanthropy for years to come.
Such is the case with Technion graduates Joseph Newman ’67, M.S. ’68, and his son, Amir Neeman MBA ’02.
Joseph Newman grew up without means and is now in the position to give back. In July 2021, he made an extremely generous contribution to the Technion as thanks for a scholarship some 50-plus years ago that set him on his way. “The Technion opened horizons for me,” said Newman. He would like his gift to do the same for others.
Newman had a difficult childhood, growing up on two kibbutzim after his parents divorced. At age 14, he was sent to an agricultural boarding school, where he learned about work ethic but little in the way of academics. Watching a friend’s father do calculations for his job as a hydraulic engineer, he decided he too wanted to be an engineer. “But the gap between what I studied and the Technion requirements was enormous,” he recalled. “What were my chances of getting in against applicants that studied in good gymnasiums when I only milked cows?”
So while serving as a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces, Newman persuaded two book-learned buddies to tutor him, and was accepted into the Technion. He struggled at first but eventually finished his civil engineering degree cum laude. While he was accepted into graduate programs at MIT and Columbia University, the Technion brought him back with a $10,000 scholarship. “Now I want to help young students — that’s all.”
Newman worked for Solel Boneh, one of Israel’s oldest and largest construction and civil engineering companies, in Israel and Nigeria. Then, at age 57, he moved to the U.S. and started a new career in real estate. Today, Newman lives in Highland Beach, Florida, and heads the real estate development firm Phoenix Group.
Amir Neeman’s support, which includes serving as vice president of alumni relations on the American Technion Society (ATS) – Washington, D.C. Board, is driven by a very different life story.
Born in Israel, he spent his early childhood in Nigeria, then lived in Israel from the age of 10. He earned his Technion MBA in a combined business/industrial engineering program. He served in the Israeli Defense Special Forces, specializing in counter improvised explosive devices and bomb disposal, then worked for over a decade at the Israeli Security Agency, a.k.a. the Shin Bet, helping governments and companies monitor security threats and develop and implement technology solutions to mitigate threats. After 9/11, he moved to the U.S., employing his expertise in several security and technology firms supporting U.S. national security. In 2015, he launched ANC Group, LLC, a management consultancy that provides homeland system engineering-focused security services.
Neeman’s dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship, American wife, and three children who are also dual citizens have all shaped his career and philanthropy. “My dual identity is who I am,” he said. “I’m keenly interested in strengthening the bridge between Israel and Jews in the U.S., as I’ve lived that bridge and it’s a huge part of my success.”
To that end, Neeman is a board member in both the Israeli-American Council and his local ATS Leadership Council. “We live in a time when the connection between American Jews and Israel is not a given,” he said. “But people are interested in the ‘Startup Nation,’ and the Technion exemplifies that spirit. That’s something very appealing to me and many Americans.”