Prof. Joseph Bodenheimer, former president of the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) and a world-renowned expert in the field of electro-optics, was recently named as one of the recipients of this year’s Yakir Yerushalayim citizenship prize from the Jerusalem Municipality.
Awarded since 1967, the prestigious honor recognizes residents of Jerusalem who have made outstanding contributions to the cultural and educational landscape of the city. Bodenheimer will receive the prize from Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon during a ceremony onJerusalem Day, which is celebrated this year on June 2.
Bodenheimer has given guest lectures around the world on the intersection of Torah and science, including in Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, London, Los Angeles, Melbourne, New York, Ottawa, Seattle, and Toronto. Additionally, he has received patents for 11 inventions and has published extensively in leading electro-optics journals and works as a consultant to high-tech companies in Israel and the US.
Born in 1941 in Cambridge, England, Bodenheimer immigrated to Israel with his family at age 8 and proceeded to serve in the IDF’s Nahal Paratrooper Unit. He received his PhD in physics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and conducted postdoctoral research in laser spectrometry at King’s College London, where he discovered a new spectrometric technique. From 1978-1979, as a visiting researcher at Kodak Research Laboratories in the U.S., he performed pioneering work in the development of the digital video disc (DVD).
In 1982, Bodenheimer became the head of JCT’s Electro-Optics Engineering Department, which is known for producing various alumni who have held senior positions in the high-tech industry, the bio-medical industry, the Israeli defense establishment, and higher education institutions. From 1993-2009, he served as JCT’s president.
Under Bodenheimer’s leadership, JCT established and significantly grew pioneering programs that empower students from Israel’s underserved demographic sectors — such as haredim and Ethiopians — to enter the workforce in greater numbers. Today, JCT’s haredi graduates attain an 89-percent employment rate, far exceeding the roughly 50-percent employment rate for haredi men nationwide. Meanwhile, the college’s Reuven Surkis Program for Students from the Ethiopian Community produces a 95-percent employment rate for its graduates.
“We congratulate Prof. Bodenheimer, a leader who embodies JCT’s dual commitment to excellence in Judaic and technological studies, on this well-deserved honor,” said JCT President Prof. Chaim Sukenik. “His long, illustrious career at our institution has unfolded in parallel with the storied history of the city of Jerusalem itself during the last half-century. That is why the Yakir Yerushalayim award is such a fitting tribute to Prof. Bodenheimer’s legacy.”