Educational and Professional Landmarks

Rafael (Rafi) Eldor was born in 1953 in Tel Aviv, Israel. After completing his military service as an air traffic controller, he enrolled for an undergraduate degree in Economics at Tel Aviv University. After his graduation he received a scholarship to study for his Masters and PhD at Harvard University, from which he graduated after also taking Finance courses at MIT. After assuming brief academic staff positions in Columbia, Boston, and Tel Aviv universities, Eldor went on to work in the public and private sectors, where he consulted various firms and banks. In 1994, he moved to Herzliya to take part in the ambitious project of the then new academic institution, the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC). Eldor was responsible for the co-founding of the Economics school at the IDC, for which he laid the pedagogical foundations and where he serves as a senior staff member to this day.

Practical and Innovative Approach to Economics

Eldor’s approach to economics was inspired by some of the most innovative individuals in the field. During his studies at the Economics School of Harvard University, he was taught by prominent lecturers such as the Robert C. Merton, Michael Spence, and Kenneth Arrow, all of whom are Nobel Prize winners in the field. All three are regarded as the most innovative American economists of their time. This education is reflected in Rafi Eldor’s own teaching and career. During his time at Tel Aviv University he developed a new attitude towards the teaching of economics. Throughout his career, he has been a keen advocate of the hybrid teaching method that combines theory and practice. In Tel Aviv University, for example, Eldor designed a course about financial future markets, which provides students with theoretical knowledge as well as actual involvement in the field. This has remains one of the most popular courses in Tel Aviv University even today, thirty years after Eldor designed its syllabus. Additionally, while employed by Tel Aviv University, he published many books that had a significant impact on the Israeli economy, and the way Economics is taught. Eldor maintained his hybrid approach and influence in the IDC as well. As one of the founders of the Center’s Economics school, he orchestrated the foundation of a trade room where students can experience financial trading first hand: through hands-on experience and not merely from the text books. For students who excel at this program, he also teaches a course that allows them to be responsible for the management of an investment portfolio, profits from which are donated to underprivileged students.

Professional Experience and Social Contribution

Aside from his academic career, and as appropriate to his approach to economics as a practical discipline, Rafi Eldor also has extensive professional experience outside of academia. In the late 80s he started advising different institutions such as banks and different financial companies. More recently, Eldor served on different financial companies’ boards of directors, and advised on stock market public offerings. Moreover, he is a regular contributor to Israeli newspapers’ financial issues, and between 1993 and 1998 maintained a weekly column in the newspaper “Maariv”. He volunteers as financial advisor to the “Israel Cancer Association”, and is also known for his creative approach to his own personal battle with Parkinson’s disease through the medium of dance.