In Memoriam: Dr. Simon Zukas

Chairperson of the Council for Zambia Jewry and driving force in establishing the collaboration between Tel Aviv University and Copperbelt University in Ndola

10 October 2021

The School of Public Health, faculty and students of the joint TAU-CBU partnership are deeply saddened by the news of Dr. Simon Zukas’ passing.


Dr. Eng. Simon Zukas, was a formidable figure, committed to noble causes both as a man of principle and of action.


Dr. Zukas was born in pre-war Lithuania and moved to what would become Zambia at a young age. After university studies, Dr. Zukas joined the struggle and actively fought for Zambia’s state independence, beginning a political career that would span 5 decades and simultaneously carrying on a professional career as an engineer. As a member and leader within the small Jewish community, Dr. Zukas served as chairman of the Council for Zambian Jewry for many years.


Dr. Zukas embodied a genuine commitment to progress, democracy and equality and made immense contributions to Zambia, his adopted home.


In April 2021, Copperbelt University in Ndola conferred a degree of Degree of Doctor Philosophy in Engineering upon Dr. Zukas in recognition of his invaluable contributions towards Zambia’s attainment of political independence.


Dr. Simon Zukas, along with the late Michael Galaun, was a driving force in the donation of funds and supporting the academic cooperation and exchange program between Tel Aviv University School of Public Health (TAU SPH) and Copperbelt University School of Medicine (CBU SOM) in Ndola. In recognition of their personal involvement, a lecture theatre at the Michael Chilufya Sata School of Medicine has been dedicated the “Simon and Cynthia Zukas Theatre”.


This unique cooperation helped establish a Masters of Public Health program at CBU SOM, as well as a student and faculty exchange program for public health teaching and research. CBU SOM lecturers and students have attended the Summer Institute of Advanced Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at TAU SPH and TAU SPH lecturers have travelled to Zambia to teach intensive one-week courses. In the future, we hope to establish a Summer Institute at CBU SOM with courses co-lectured by TAU SPH and CBU SOM professors and potential guest lecturers from other universities abroad.


Dr. Zukas’ contributions and efforts reflected his deep commitment to serve community; the faculty and students at both institutions are incredibly grateful and have benefited immensely as a result of his generosity and dedication.


The Tel Aviv University School of Public Health expresses our sincere condolences to Dr. Zukas’ family and friends as well as our colleagues at Copperbelt University mourning this great loss. TAU SPH hopes to honour his legacy and the legacy of the Zambian Jewish community through continued partnership with the Copperbelt University School of Medicine.


A special thank you to Dr. Aviva Ron for sharing this information about Dr. Zukas’ life and achievements based on her personal acquaintance.


​Pictured: Prof. Dani Cohen (TAU SPH) and Prof. Seter Siziya (Dean, CBU SOM) and CBU SOM faculty members in front of the Simon and Cynthia Zukas Theatre. Nov. 2019.

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