Good News Friday

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a regular Good News Friday post, so here is my latest installment.

Let’s start with some Israeli medical advances, which I haven’t written much about lately.

Israeli researchers have found a DNA vaccine that may prevent brain metastases: (via Reality):

Researchers at Tel Aviv University found that immunotherapy with vaccines based on synthetic DNA may be an effective means of preventing brain metastases.

A new Tel Aviv University study has found that a known adjuvant – an ingredient used in vaccines that enhances the immune response – that contains synthetic DNA, may be an effective in preventing brain metastases in patients whose primary tumors have been excised.

The study was led jointly by Dr. Amit Benbenishty, Dr. Pablo Blinder, and Prof. Shmagar Ben-Eliyahu, in collaboration with Dr. Lior Mayo, Prof. Neta Erez, and Prof. Dritan Agalliu, and was published on March 28 in PLoS Biology.

According to Dr. Blinder, “Some 20-40% of lung, breast and melanoma cancer patients develop brain metastases, and current treatments for brain metastases are ineffective.”

“Surgery for removing primary tumors is usually essential, but the period immediately before and after the surgery requires that all chemotherapy and radiotherapy be stopped,” he added.

“This,” he explained, “creates a high potential for the initiation and rapid progression of deadly brain metastases.”

According to Dr. Blinder, the study showed that CpG-C, an adjuvant of synthetic DNA material, reduces the development of brain metastases when injected intravenously during that time frame.

“When the drug is administered systemically, it crosses the blood-brain barrier and works by activating microglia, the brain’s primary immune cells, to kill invading tumor cells,” he said.

Currently, patients are given preventative whole-brain radiotherapy to reduce brain metastases – which has multiple negative side effects.

The new treatment, however, “gets the immune troops ‘ready for combat,’ in both the brain and the rest of the body,” he explained.

According to Dr. Blinder, CpG-C could be administered to cancer patients several days before a primary tumor removal, and continuing a few weeks after the surgery.

“We were able to verify that this treatment does not disrupt tissue healing, which is important in the post-operative period,” Prof. Ben-Eliyahu said, adding that “the treatment does not seem to increase the risk of other common surgery-related complications, such as an exaggerated post-operative inflammatory response.”

This is an incredible discovery which has the potential to save thousands of lives and prevent unnecessary suffering to many more. Kol hakavod to the Tel Aviv University  research team,. May their research and clinical trials bring huge success.

On a similar subject, specialists at Schneider Children’s Hospital in Petach Tikva successively removed a massive tumor in the skull via the nose:

Specialists at Schneider Children’s performed a 40-hour operation to remove a huge tumor in its entirety from the base of the skull through the nose

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Some of the medical team who operated on Zoya

7-year-old Zoya lived with her mother in Russia, about an hour’s distance from the North Pole. She was recently diagnosed with a huge chordoma* tumor the size of a tennis ball located at the base of her skull and extending over the first two cervical vertebrae, which was pressing on the brain stem. This type of tumor is extremely rare appearing in only 1 in 10 million children. Doctors in Russia were unable to treat her and told them there was no way they could reach the tumor to remove it. Zoya’s mother did not give up her search until she found Dr. Amir Kershenovich, Director of the Neurosurgery Unit at Schneider Children’s, who told her that he could remove the tumor and save Zoya’s life.

The team of surgeons prepared intensively in advance of the operation to remove the tumor. Because its sensitive location presented a significant challenge, doctors readied for the possibility that the tumor might have to be removed through the nose, mouth or an incision at the back of the skull. To perform the complex, delicate and lengthy operation, the multidisciplinary medical team comprised skilled and experienced neurosurgeons, otolaryngologists, anesthetists, electrophysiologists, surgical nurses and intensivists.

Sunday, August 11th: The operation ensued over several consecutive days. Working side by side through long hours, the team headed by Dr. Kershenovich and Dr. Eitan Sudri, Director of the Nose and Sinus Unit in the ENT Department at Beilinson Hospital, together with anesthetists, Dr. Evelyn Trabkin and Dr. Konstantin Nikarsov, succeeded in removing most of the tumor after 19 hours straight.

A few hours later on Monday, the team led by Dr. Dennis Pushkov, senior neurosurgeon at Beilinson Hospital, affixed the skull to the neck in another 4–hour procedure. Three days later, surgeons continued the operation and after another 17 straight hours, succeeded in removing the remaining tissue of the tumor in its entirety.

A total of 40 hours of highly skilled and concentrated surgery was required to remove the growth from Zoya’s skull. Using delicate techniques and with great patience, physicians were able to reach all parts of the tumor and gradually excise it with a special device through the child’s nose. To everyone’s utter joy, and against the stacked odds, the team performed the procedure without the need to make an incision in the back of Zoya’s skull. The child recovered initially in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit after which she was transferred to the Surgery Department for follow-up observation and care. Zoya and her mother will shortly return home to Russia.

Zoya’s mother said emotionally, “I am deeply grateful to the team of doctors and nurses at Schneider Children’s, who succeeded in saving my daughter’s life.”

What a huge operation! So many hours and so many doctors and medical staff! Huge kol hakavod to the entire surgical team from Schneider who took part in this operation and saved Zoya’s life! Wishing refuah shlema to Zoya and may she return quickly to her normal childhood life.

And to finish this week’s post, here is a very heart-warming tale of generosity. The Israeli women’s lacrosse team competed last week in Israel against the Kenyan team. The Israelis noticed that the Kenyans weren’t playing as well as they should, and discovered that the visitors didn’t possess proper cleats (playing shoes). So what did the Israeli team do?

Kol hakavod to the Israeli lacrosse team! Besides your generosity and open-heartedness you have created a great Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G-d’s name) in public. As the COO David Lasday said:

David Lasday, COO of the Israel Lacrosse Association, told JNS: “Our players, coaches, and supporters take pride in representing our country, using our sport as a way of building bridges and connections to Israel. They continue to inspire the world winning on and off the field.”

Well done too to the Kenyan team who played despite being at a disadvantage. Maybe they should call a replay and see who really wins on a properly level playing field! Meanwhile the Kenyan team played Belgium – and won!

And on those happy thoughts I wish you all Shabbat Shalom!

Posted in Culture, Arts & Sports, Slice of Israeli life, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Tisha B’Av 5779 – 2019

The destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem on Tisha Be’Av

Since the 9th day of Av fell yesterday, on Shabbat when we do not mourn, the fast itself was deferred to today, beginning last night at sundown and finishing at sundown tonight. Tisha Be’Av, the 9th day of the month of Av, is the saddest day in the Jewish calendar. As I wrote in a previous Tisha Be’Av post:

The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem as well as a whole slew of tragic events that befell the Jewish people on that day:

These include the capture of Bethar, which marked the final defeat of Bar Kokhba‘s rebellion against the Romans, and the razing of Jerusalem by the Romans. The edict of King Edward I compelling the Jews of England to leave the country was signed on the ninth of Av in 1290, the Jews were expelled from Spain on that day in 1492, and World War I broke out in 1914. The sadness and mourning that Jews feel on this day are reflected in the various practices of Tisha B’Av, including abstaining from joyous activities like study of Torah, from eating and drinking, from sexual activity, and from wearing leather.

You can read a chronology of the major events leading up to the Churban (the destruction of the Temples and Jerusalem) at the link.

Stones from the Temple’s retaining wall which fell onto the street below at the time of the Destruction, still in place after nearly 2,000 years

Even though we are now privileged to live in the reborn State of Israel, under Jewish Israeli sovereign rule, free to worship as we please and to live as Jews free in our land, there are still plenty of reasons for us to mourn the as-yet unfulfilled Geula (Redemption), and while we are certainly witnessing the “footsteps of Redemption” we are not quite there yet.

We do not have sovereignty on the Temple Mount, it is not “in our hands” as Gen. Motta Gur famously declared in the Six day War. The Muslim Waqf has control, and the Israeli government and police so often cravenly cave in to their demands to limit Jewish prayer there.

We saw this today, when the Muslims realised that Tisha B’Av, being deferred by a day, coincided with their Id Al-Adha festival. So what do good Muslims do on a festival? Well, they don’t celebrate, that’s for sure! What they do so well, and they showed us today in live technicolour action, is to riot. Their aim – to prevent any Jews from going up to the Har Habayit. If any Jews get hurt or killed in the process, that’s a bonus as far as they are concerned.

The Waqf announced yesterday that it was bringing forward their Id al-Adha prayers davka in order to prevent Jews from going up. The police, as expected, closed the Temple Mount to Jewish worshippers, much to everyone’s fury. But after a few hours, where the Jewish worshippers were confined to the Mugrabi bridge for hours in the hot sun, everyone fasting and therefore suffering from the heat, the gates were opened. The Muslims hadn’t had enough of their rioting and began all over again. However this time the police repelled the Muslim rioters with tear gas and stun grenades. It made for a surreal picture, of Jewish worshippers peacefully walking and looking at their holiest site (G-d forbid they should try and pray! They will be ejected immediately if not arrested!), while the Muslims were screaming and destroying on the other side.

The Jewish Press published this short video of the Jews ascending to the Har Habayit as the Arabs are rioting in the background, and then you hear the sounds of tear gas grenades:

Their article reports:

The Israeli government and Jerusalem police initially banned Jews from visiting the Temple Mount on Sunday morning, during the mourning day of Tisha B’Av (9th of Av) on which the destruction of the two Jewish Temples in Jerusalem is commemorated.

The police announced they were shutting down the holy site to Jews as the Muslims were celebrating the holiday of Eid al-Adha (based on the biblical sacrifice of Isaac, though they claim the protagonist was Ishmael), and they feared that the throngs of Muslims would clash with the Jews.

Muslim leaders over the weekend called on Jerusalem’s Muslims to attend prayers at the Temple Mount and ensure that Jews could not visit the site during their day of national mourning. They began their prayers an hour later than usual to ensure that the Muslim masses would still be on the site.

Scores of Jews stood at the entrance to the Temple Mount for hours while fasting, waiting for the police to admit them.

UPDATE: Just before 11 AM, police finally permitted a group of Jews to enter the Temple Mount for a quick visit a mere 200 meters onto the Jewish holy site, as Arabs rioted in the background.

After a few minutes, the police once again shut down the site to Jews, as the Arab riots increased in intensity.

The police tried again, and let in an unusually large group with Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, while the Arabs were rioting.

Video by Michael Miller:

The police commander explained their decision to temporarily close the Mount to Jewish visitors:

Jerusalem District Police Commander Doron Yedid addressed Sunday afternoon the ongoing riots on the Temple Mount as well as the decision to allow Jews to ascend to the holy site.

Yedid made it clear that the decision to allow Jews to ascend the Temple Mount despite the Muslim sacrifice of Eid al-Adha does not violate the status quo.

“I don’t recognize the concept of s ‘status quo,'” Yedid said. “From the day I first came to know this place, the [Muslim] holiday morning prayer begins at 6:30 AM. Miraculously they changed the prayer to 7:30 in the morning. Isn’t that a change in the status quo?”

“When we realized that everything was heading to the prevention of Jewish ascension by a handful of people, we used force, dispersed them and allowed the Jews to ascend.”

To my mind, while this might sound like a reasonable explanation, this is nothing less than a total surrender to the corrupt, antisemitic, racist Waqf. It is a national and religious disgrace!

You can see that the rioting continued even as the Jews left the Temple Mount:

The Muslim “narrative”, in which Jerusalem and the Har Habayit belongs to them, is actually a load of rubbish. Listen to Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Middle East expert, explaining the real history:

If this is not enough to convince people of the Jewish nation’s long connection to Jerusalem, Lenny ben-David, who runs the extraordinary Picture a Day website with ancient photographs of the Holy Land, brings us some wonderful historical pictures of Jerusalem:

The American Colony photographers also sought out sites showing remnants of the Jewish Temples. After an earthquake destroyed much of the Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in 1927, a photographer took photos beneath the rubble. It appears incontrovertible that the pictures were of Temple remains.

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Under the al Aqsa Mosque after the 1927 earthquake. (Library of Congress)

One of the biggest mysteries of the American Colony photographs is a photo taken in 1898 and entitled “Ash heaps from Temple sacrifices.”

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Ash heaps from Temple sacrifices photographed in Jerusalem (Library of Congress)

Research into ancient Jewish texts, including the Mishna, confirms that the ashes and remains of the sacrifices were transported to a site north of the city not far from today’s Damascus Gate. The area has been built over in the last 100 years, but the photograph confirms the Temple ritual.

This is fascinating stuff which I had never heard of before. Go and explore the website, it’s riveting!

Besides mourning the destruction of Jerusalem, we need to look around us and take heart in the vibrant, thriving, exciting city that is modern Jerusalem today. What would our ancestors have made of this modern-day miracle? And of course not only Jerusalem but the entire State of Israel, with its medical, technological, agricultural and cultural innovations, a country where half the world’s Jews now live, and where there is more Torah learning that at any time in Jewish history. This is an unprecedented time in Jewish history, one which we must give thanks to Hashem for every day.

As if to confirm Biblical prophecies, in the last few weeks, foxes have been seen walking around at the Kotel:

The Yeshiva World explains:

The scene immediately reminds one of the famous Gemara.

It would seem that the appearance of these foxes in contemporary times is indicative of a similar consolation – a message sent to us from Hashem not to worry that the prophet of Zechariah will soon be fulfilled!

The Talmud (Makos 24b) relates as follows:

Once, Rabbi Gamliel, Rabbi Elazar Ben Azariah, Rabbi Yehoshua and Rabbi Akiva were arising to Yerushalayim. At the point where they had reached Har HaBayis they observed a fox that exited from the Kodshei Kadoshim [The Holy of Holies]. The others were crying, but Rabbi Akiva was laughing. They asked of him: Why are you laughing? He responded, why are you crying?

They said to him, “A place upon which it is written – ‘and the stranger that approaches shall surely die’ and now that foxes have overridden it – we should not cry?”

He said to them: That is precisely why I am laughing! The verse tied the prophecy of Zechariah with the prophecy of Uriah. Regarding Uriah it is written, “therefore because of you Zion shall be a field that is threshed.”  In the book of Zechariah it is written, “Older men and older women shall yet sit in the streets of Yerushalayim. Until the prophecy of Uriah would be fulfilled I was afraid that the prophecy of Zechariah would not necessarily be fulfilled. Now that the prophecy of Uriah has been fulfilled – it is known and established that the prophecy of Zechariah is being fulfilled!

They responded to him, “Akiva – you have consoled us! Akiva – you have consoled us!”

And The Jerusalem Post adds:

It is written in the Book of Lamentations (5:18), which is read on Tisha Be’Av, that Mount Zion – where the Temples stood – will be so desolate that “foxes will walk upon it.” The understanding, according to the Talmud in the tractate Makkot (24b), is that if the prophecies of destruction have been fulfilled, so will be the ones by the prophet Zechariah about the Temple being rebuilt.

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites, referred to photos of the foxes and commented, “One cannot refrain from crying at the site of the fulfillment of the prophecy of ‘foxes will walk on it.’”

May the sight of these foxes signify that the Geulah, the Redemption, is upon us.

כל המתאבל על ירושלים זוכה ורואה בשמחתה

Those who mourn Jerusalem will merit to see her in her joy

Posted in Incitement, Israel news, Judaism, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Thoughts for Friday Erev Tisha B’Av

Today is not a regular Friday. It is Erev Tisha B’Av, and although we do not mourn on Shabbat (thus the fast is put off until Sunday), we are still carrying on in a more minor key than usual. Add to this the tragic news of a terrorist murder and the death of a remarkable, inspirational woman who fought cancer for 7 years, and I feel it’s not the time for a regular Good News Friday.

Yesterday we woke to the awful news that Dvir Sorek Hy’d, a 19 year old yeshiva student who had just enlisted in the hesder program of the IDF (which combines military service with yeshiva studies), was found stabbed to death in Gush Etzion, not far from his yeshiva.

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Dvir Sorek Hy’d, murdered by terrorists in Gush Etzion

The body of a yeshiva student was found early Thursday morning, with stab marks on his body, near the community of Migdal Oz in Gush Etzion.

IDF Spokesman Ronen Manelis said that a report was received during the night about an 18-year-old man who had not been heard from since the evening. Troops who were called to the scene discovered his body not far from Migdal Oz.

The student is a resident of the town of Ofra and a student in a yeshiva in Migdal Oz, in a period of unpaid service but is defined as an IDF soldier.

Adding to the family’s tragedy, Dvir was a grandson of Rabbi Binyamin Herling who was himself murdered almost 20 years ago on Mt. Eval near the Tomb of Yosef.

Jack Engelhard writes a beautiful hesped in Arutz Sheva, describing how Israelis react to terrorist slayings like this, saying “Suddenly he becomes your son“:

Suddenly, he becomes your son

Of the thousands who came for the burial of Dvir Sorek, 18 going on 19 in a few days, it is doubtful that all of them knew him personally.

But that’s how it is in Israel. When something like this happens, suddenly he becomes your son. Everybody knows a kid like him, has a kid like him, loves a kid like him, and that is why it is personal, after all, and hurts so much. The terrorists who did this always choose the best among us, and they did it again.

What was Dvir carrying when they accosted him near Efrat in Gush Etzion? No weapon – but books. He was carrying books.

He was returning from Jerusalem with books for his teachers at the Torah academy Ohr Mahanayim Yeshiva where he was a beloved student.

Books, naturally, from the son of a journalist, and the grandson of a rabbi – his first teachers.

How much more of this? Always David’s lament to Jonathan comes to mind – “I am distressed for you, my brother, Jonathan…your love to me was wonderful…”

They do their handiwork well, the terrorists. Was it the books that offended them? They have no use for books.

To them, perhaps, books are indeed a weapon. They made us great.

For us, books are the source of life – the one book, the Torah, the presence that towers over our very existence, and it was in Torah that Dvir excelled. His rabbis attest to this.

His fellow students attest to this as well and to his warmth and fellowship.

The Torah made Dvir powerful, as it makes all of Israel powerful — and this they cannot abide, and so they are tasked, and incited, and paid, to kill.

Dvir was also attached to the IDF, as part of a program that combines Yeshiva study with military service.

He was therefore dutiful to both tribes, of Issachar and Zevulun—a weight, we learn, he carried cheerfully.

So many in Israel are like him, like Dvir, and yet Dvir can never be duplicated or replaced.

He represented the heart and soul of Israel…the world’s one and only Jewish State, for which he too was one of a kind.

What a terrible loss for his family and a tragic loss for his friends and the Jewish people. May his memory be for a blessing and may Hashem avenge his blood. May his family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Piling tragedy upon tragedy, Ahava Emunah Lange, the beloved wife of Dave Lange, the founder of the excellent Israellycool website, passed away after a 7 year battle with cancer.

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Ahava Emunah Lange z”l

Ahava Emunah was an exceptionally inspirational woman. I never had the privilege of meeting her and yet she influenced me to be a better person, to have more faith in Hashem, and never to give up in the face of adversity. She was a very gifted writer and blogged at her own blog, at Hevria, and on her Facebook page as well as many other media outlets.

She stirred us to do more mitzvot, to pray for her, to be kinder to one another, and just to be better people. Her Sisyphean fight with cancer helped us put our own troubles into perspective.

She was a devoted mother to 5 young children and a loving wife to her husband who fought her battles side by side with her.

Her death is a huge loss to the Jewish people as well as to her family. May her memory be for a blessing, may Ahava Emunah be a melitzat yosher for us, and may her family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

I can’t leave you with only these sad thoughts before Shabbat, even if it is nearly Tisha B’Av – in fact because it is nearly Tisha B’Av.

Here is a lovely video with words of comfort and inspiration from Britain’s Chief Rabbi Efraim Mirvis:

 

The former UK Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks also brings us some very moviing words for this Shabbat. He talks about teachers being the heroes of the Jewish People, and seeing how teachers inspired young Dvir Sorek Hy’d, and how Ahava Emunah herself motivated so many people through her own teachings and writings, this post is very apt:

 

Here is an excerpt from my Covenant & Conversation essay on #Devarim called “The Teacher as Hero”. You can read it in full here: https://bit.ly/31uNuNk and download the accompanying Family Edition here: https://bit.ly/2MPEVbM. #ShabbatShalom

In Deuteronomy, a new word enters the biblical vocabulary: the verb l-m-d, meaning to learn or teach. The verb does not appear even once in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, or Numbers. In Deuteronomy it appears seventeen times.

There was nothing like this concern for universal education elsewhere in the ancient world. Jews became the people whose heroes were teachers, whose citadels were schools, and whose passion was study and the life of the mind.

Moses’ end-of-life transformation is one of the most inspiring in all of religious history. In that one act, he liberated his career from tragedy. He became a leader not for his time only but for all time. His body did not accompany his people as they entered the land, but his teachings did. His sons did not succeed him, but his disciples did. He may have felt that he had not changed his people in his lifetime, but in the full perspective of history, he changed them more than any leader has ever changed any people, turning them into the people of the book and the nation who built not ziggurats or pyramids but schools and houses of study.

The poet Shelley famously said, “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” In truth, though, it is not poets but teachers who shape society, handing on the legacy of the past to those who build the future. That insight sustained Judaism for longer than any other civilisation, and it began with Moses in the last month of his life.

May we merit to see the full Geula (Redemption) speedily in our days.

Wishing you all a quiet peaceful and safe Shabbat, and for those fasting on Sunday I wish you an easy and meaningful fast.

Shabbat Shalom.

Posted in Israel news, Judaism, Slice of Israeli life, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Good news to start the week

I promised you a Good News post after Shabbat, and I try to keep my promises.

Since we started the mourning period of nine days leading up to Tisha B’Av I didn’t want to post anything too frivolous, but the following items fit the bill very well.

Since the Jews are known as “the People of the Book” it is entirely fitting that Israeli books translated into Spanish have been left on the streets of Ecuador as part of a project to share Israeli culture:

More than 200 books of Israeli literature translated into Spanish were “released” on streets of different cities in Ecuador.

The “Libros Libres de Israel” project, or Free Books of Israel, aims to share Israeli culture in the South American country and encourage reading, the AJN news agency reported .

“This is a project in which one leaves books on public roads for others to find,” said Israel’s ambassador to Ecuador, Edwin Yabo.

Each book has a code and is registered on the bookcrossing.com website. By entering the code, one can track the places where the book has traveled and share comments about it.

“Although the platform has been available for many years, it has never been used in Latin America before. The idea is very interesting and romantic. We simply opened an account on behalf of the Israeli Embassy,” Yabo explained.

In addition to the capital city Quito, Israeli books were released in Guayaquil, Riobamba, Santo Domingo, and the Galapagos Islands.

“It is a cultural and social project because it is a way of converting public spaces into large libraries,” Yabo said.

Isn’t that a beautiful idea? Kol hakavod to the Israeli Embassy and the Libros Libres de Israel project. It’s an idea that should be copied worldwide.

Still on the international theme, Israeli experts have upgraded neo-natal units in Ghana, saving 700 babies:

According to Ghana’s news site Yen, the neo-natal units were located in the Kumasi South and Suntreso hospitals in the Ashanti region of the country.

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Neo-natal unit (Source: dailymailgh.com Source: UGC)

Medical staff at the facilities were also trained by Israeli medical personnel from the Soroka Medical Center in the southern Israeli city of Beersheva.

Ghana’s health minister, Kweku Agyemang-Manu, and Shani Cooper, the Israeli ambassador to Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, both pledged that the project will continue.

Agyemang-Manu enthused over the project’s success and said it would be expanded throughout the country.

What a fantastic outcome from a wonderful project. Kol hakavod to all the medical personnel, both from Israel and from Ghana. May this project keep going and spread in order to save many more lives.

And one last item: an Israeli company, Tipa Corp, has developed a bio-degradable packaging that decomposes in only 24 weeks, thereby helping to save the environment.

You can read about their revolutionary packaging on Tipa’s website:

The segments of an orange are packed by nature in a protective multilayer peel.
When discarded, the orange peel decomposes and leaves no toxic residue; the compost left behind can be used as fertilizer for plant growth. 100% of the orange peel returns to nature.

TIPA was founded in 2010 by Daphna Nissenbaum and Tal Neuman to address the plastic waste challenge.

TIPA’s vision is for flexible packaging to have the same end-of-life as organic matter, while still offering consumers and brands the durability, transparency and shelf life they have come to expect from conventional plastics.

Yet compostable packaging can only succeed if it meets the same performance specifications as conventional plastic packaging. Compostable packaging should also be able to seamlessly fit into today’s methodology of logistics and manufacturing practices.

However, flexible packaging (packages such as fresh produce, coffee, snacks, granola bars, etc.) is a growing segment of the world’s packaging market. Even though the volume of flexible packaging is smaller by weight and space, most flexible packaging cannot be practically recycled. Flexible packaging isn’t made of pure plastic polymers but rather made by blending several materials. These blended materials make flexible packaging complicated for separation and recycling.

Kol hakavod to the founders of Tipa and their research team on this great initiative, which has also deservedly won the recognition of the World Economic Forum as a technical pioneer. May they continue on to even greater success.

And with this news, despite the sad days ahead on the Jewish calendar, I wish you all shavua tov, a good week, with only good news and good health.

Posted in Culture, Arts & Sports, International relations, Israel news, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Shabbat Shalom

No time for my regular Friday post. I hope to post a Good News installment after Shabbat (bli neder).

Shabbat Shalom!

Wishing everyone a peaceful, safe and joyous Shabbat.

Shabbat shalom and chodesh tov.

Posted in Israel news, Judaism | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Good News Friday

We’ve had another difficult week in the family (someone in hospital, but hopefully coming home in a couple of days), but davka because of that I feel the need to post a Good News Friday installment.

This week’s installment is all about winning.

We’ll start with intellectual pursuits: The Israeli maths team won six (6!) medals at the International Mathematical Olympiad in the UK (via Hadassah):

A team of Israeli high school students won six medals at the International Mathematical Olympiad held during July in Bath, in the UK.

Ido Karshon won a gold medal; Lior Hadassi, Shvo Regavim and Roee Sinai each brought home a silver medal; and Shahar Friedman and Itay Yehuda won bronze medals.

The Israeli team at the Mathematics Olympiad in Bath, UK

The Israeli squad finished in 15th place out of 112 competing countries with an overall score of 156 points. The US and China took joint first place with 227 points.

The teams were trained at the Future Scientists Center, a group that aims to maximize the potential of gifted students. The center, which is supported by the Education Ministry and National Cyber Bureau of the Prime Minister’s Office, is part of the Maimonides Fund, a private organization that supports Jewish education and identity in North America and Israel.

At the physics contest last week Israel won two gold, two silver, and one bronze medal.

Huge kol hakavod to all those young geniuses who did themselves proud and brought honour and prestige to their country. May these Future Scientists go on to ever greater success.

The old aphorism preaches a  healthy mind in a healthy body – which is what you can see in the Israeli champion gymnast Linoy Ashram who won two gold medals in the 2019 European Games. Watch her in the video below with her beautiful clubs routines:

 

And here she is in the ball routine:

 

What grace and elegance in those gymnastics! Kol hakavod to Linoy Ashram who has won several competitions now and looks set to continue being champion for a long time to come. Mazal tov on her wonderful win, and may she continue performing and winning for years to come.

And finally, no matter what you think of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister of Britain, here is his brilliant riposte to Jeremy Corbyn in Parliament. He wiped the floor with him! And the interjections of the Speaker John Bercow are equally entertaining. There is nothing like Parliament for entertainment in the most eloquent Queen’s English. 😀

Well done Mr. Johnson on putting Corbyn in his place! We wish you success in your new role.

With these happy thoughts, I wish you all a quiet, peaceful, safe and healthy Shabbat. Shabbat shalom everyone!

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