This week’s Good News Friday is going to start with a slightly bittersweet item for which I beg your forgiveness, particularly as it’s Rosh Chodesh Adar when we are supposed to increase our joy. (Adar is the month in which Purim falls, and is always considered a “merry” month).
Earlier this week Uri Orbach z”l, the well-loved and popular Minister for Senior Citizens, journalist and children’s author, passed away long before his time. Orbach was an ingenious innovator in his field, always coming up with a clever slogan, a witty poem or a popular event. One of his most brilliant innovations was called “Tuesdays in braces” (or suspenders for you Americans). Shlishi beShleikes (שלישי בשלייקס in Hebrew). He successfully campaigned to make Tuesdays a special day discounts and assorted benefits for senior citizens at cultural events, shops, entertainment etc.
In his younger days Uri Orbach studied at Kiryat Shmona yeshiva (where incidentally my son-in-law was also a student). In Orbach’s memory, Kiryat Shmona made Rosh Chodesh Adar into “yeshiva in braces” day – Yeshiva be’Shleikes. Read about it on their Facebook page here (h/t Hadassah):
A rough translation:
Today, Rosh Chodesh Adar, we in the yeshiva held a day of joint studies and sharing experiences with the grandfathers and grandmothers of the 2nd year yeshiva students, who are enlisting into the IDF in March.
We decided to dedicate this day to the memory of our Uri, the Honourable Minister for Senior Citizens, the person who invented the idea of “Tuesdays in Braces”.
During the day there were lessons in his memory and also joint study sessions.
Among the photos you can find an illustration by Shai Cherka who was Uri’s study partner, in honour of this day which expresses “in the deepest and most real way the world of “braces” and you can also find a photo of Uri getting into the role of “braces”.
What a beautiful idea of the yeshiva! Kol hakavod to the Rabbis, teachers and students who came up with this wonderful event. I hope it becomes a yearly event in Uri Orbach’s memory.
Since we’re talking about the merry month of Adar, what better item to discuss than wine? Another Israeli winery, this time the Gvaot Boutique Winery, has won the Gold Medal from the International organization of Vine and Wine for two of its wines. Here’s their facebook post in English and Hebrew.
Kol hakavod to Gvaot Winery on their amazing win – and on their marvellous wines for which, I have been assured by people who know (i.e. certain members of my family 🙂 …) that it is a well-deserved win. As an added bonus this win is a kick in the teeth for the BDS bigots.
Turning now to the world of bio-medicine, an Israeli company has invented a way to turn coral into bone grafts:
Far from the ocean, deep in Israel’s Negev Desert, man-made coral reefs are being grown inside large aquariums to be turned into bone grafts.
One company, OkCoral, has been growing coral for over six years in the Negev, and now another Israeli company, CoreBone, is manufacturing bone grafts (bone replacements) from coral grown in the desert – for use in orthopedic and dental procedures.
In 2008, Assaf Shaham, the CEO of OkCoral, started growing coral in his controlled-environment farm near Eilat for aquarium enthusiasts. But three years ago, when he partnered with Ohad Schwartz, the CEO and co-founder of another Israeli company called CoreBone, he realized that he’d been targeting the wrong market. According to Schwartz, the bone grafting market is a $4.5 billion market and the best bone graft substance is made out of, you guessed it, coral.
The main problem with using coral as a bone graft is that they are not bioactive. They don’t have the ability to induce biological activities and ‘communicate’ with the cells of the body,” Schwartz, former vice president of Israeli water-filtering company Tami4, tells NoCamels. He further explains that the effect of bioactivity is attracting new bone cells and creating new bone ingrowth.
So, when Schwartz and his partner, Prof. Itzhak Binderman, the former head of the dental department and hard tissue laboratory at the Sourasky Medical Center, founded CoreBone in 2011, they started developing a coral-based, bioactive bone graft. Bioengineering expert Binderman began combining bioactive substances with the coral’s usual diet, so when they are made into bone grafts they contain the qualities of a biological bone graft without the risk of contracting diseases.
Read the rest of the fascinating article. Kol hakavod to Shaham, Schwartz and Binderman for their research, initiative and their practical application, all for the good of patients everywhere. (And kudos to Shaham for the clever name of his company!) Once again we see Israeli science and research at the top of their fields.
To conclude today’s post, I just want to make note of our crazy weather. Once again it’s been snowing in Jerusalem, the north, Gush Etzion – and even in Dimona in the Negev Desert (as reported by our intrepid reporter, aka my daughter). It has been causing chaos on the roads, schools are closed but Israelis are happy. Except for us down on the coast where it’s been raining, raining, raining and raining. Did I mention it’s been raining? :-p We’ve also had huge thunderstorms and hailstorms, and I challenge anyone to say we have a water shortage now!
Here is the Kotel covered in snow:
And here is a Moroccan snowman, complete with Tarbush. 🙂
And one final one, of my doggy nephew, i.e. my brother’s dog Chika, enjoying herself outside Jerusalem:
Enjoy the pictures. Keep warm everyone!
Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov!