Pesach is over and with it the mad rush to clean and cook and prepare and eat and… well, you get the picture. So it’s about time I posted another Good News Friday post. 🙂
This week’s installment consists of several interesting items I found on Facebook. First is an amazing archeological discovery underneath the streets of the City of David in Jerusalem:
ASTOUNDING! Archeologists have discovered several incredible artifacts during the excavation of the City of David’s Herodian Road Aqueduct in Jerusalem.
Biblical treasures like the etching of a menorah and a golden bell are not only echoes of a time long ago, but reminders of the ancient and indomitable Jewish spirit and culture.
You’ll have to watch it for yourself!
From the ancient to the brand new, crossing a few centuries along the way, last week Tel Aviv celebrated its 106th anniversary! I will translate from this Facebook post:
Exactly 106 years ago from yesterday (11th April) 66 crazy people stood in the middle of a sand dune with two boxes of shells and raffled off pieces of desert to each family.
They called it Tel Aviv and dreamed of the first Hebrew city.
But even the craziest one among them could not have dreamed that this sand dune, within only 3 to 4 generations, would be able to stand next to New York, London or Paris – and look down at them.
Happy Birthday my dear one. You’re the best. 🙂
The official date of the founding of Tel Aviv was 20th Nissan 5669 (11th April 1909), the 5th day of Hol Hamo’ed (the intermediate days) of Pesach. On this day the group of founders met on the sands north of Jaffa to raffle off amongst them the location of the building plots that they owned.
Mazal tov Tel Aviv!
I second that Mazal Tov. With all the complaints that we have about Tel Aviv’s traffic, its crowded streets, its huge buildings, it is astounding what the founding fathers and then the city’s mayors and residents managed to create under the very difficult circumstances of war, mass immigration, poverty, and political and diplomatic adversity. The city is a huge, bustling, lively business, cultural, economic and hi-tech powerhouse, and all Israelis can be extremely proud of their “second city” which in many ways serves as its first.
Another Facebook story, which I could not find anywhere else on the web strangely enough, is the wonderful victory of Israel’s Olympic artistic gymnastics team who won the gold medal at the Gymnastics World Cup in Pesaro for their ribbons exercise (h/t Debi Z):
What a joy!
Israel‘s women’s team gymnastics in the World Cup in Pesaro won the gold medal a few minutes with their ribbons exercise with a score of 16.900 points.
The Ukraine national team won the silver medal with 16.850 points and the bronze medal went to the Bulgarian team with 16.800 points.
Later the team will compete with the combined exercise.
We wish you many more medals to add to your collection!
Indeed, this is a fantastic achievement. May the team go on to much more success.
Some interesting scientific and medical breakthroughs have been taking place in recent days in Israel too.
The Knesset building itself has now become the “greenest” parliament in the world:
On March 29, the Knesset unveiled a 4,560-square-meter (50,000 square feet) solar field on its roof and those of surrounding buildings. Although the 1,500 solar panels are the highlight and the most obvious aspect of the greening of the Knesset, they are by far not the only way in which the Knesset is conserving energy. The Green Knesset Project, launched in January 2014, involves 13 different ecologically conscious projects at a cost of NIS 7 million ($1.8 million).
“Today is the closure of a circle. Eight years ago, we had a dream of making the Knesset a green parliament,” MK Dov Khenin of the Joint Arab List, chair of the Knesset environmental caucus, told a group of reporters he met in a Knesset hallway on his way to the solar-field unveiling ceremony.
There are many other energy-saving green developments that have been implemented in the Knesset – though if the developers would only use all the hot air that comes out of the politicians’ mouths, they could probably fuel the entire State of Israel for years! 😀
On the medical front, an Israeli team has found two proteins that can suppress cancer:
A team of Israeli researchers at the Technion has discovered two proteins that can suppress cancer and control the cells’ growth and development.
The study was conducted in the laboratory of Prof. Aaron Ciechanover, an Israeli Nobel-prize winner in chemistry, and led by Dr. Yelena Kravtsova-Ivantsiv. The team included research students and physicians from the Rambam, Carmel and Hadassah Medical Centers.
In a paper published in the journal Cell last week, the researchers showed how the proteins could repress cancerous tissues and detailed how a high concentration of a protein called KPC1 and another called p50 in the tissue can protect it from cancerous tumors.
The research also detailed how the ubiquitin process — a cell system responsible for breaking down damaged proteins that can harm cells and tissues and co-discovered by Ciechanover, for which he won the Nobel — has a role in the mechanism.
The study is still in its initial stages but what a wonderful development this would be! Kol hakavod to the whole research team and to Prof. Ciechanover who once again has justified his Nobel Prize.
Another fantastic invention is a nano-bullet to fight brain cancer:
The worst form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), is considered largely incurable by doctors. Victims generally die within a year and a half of being diagnosed with the tumors. It’s such a devastating disease that the National Academy of Sciences calls it “the Terminator.” But an innovative nanotech-based “end-run” around cancer cells by Tel Aviv University researchers could provide doctors with a new way to treat – or even cure – GBM and other malignant killer cancers.
The technique, developed by Prof. Dan Peer of TAU’s Department of Department of Cell Research and Immunology and Scientific Director of TAU’s Center for NanoMedicine, has proven itself in the past: It’s based on the “cancer bullet” system Peer and other TAU researchers developed that delivers chemotherapy directly to cancer cells, using bioadhesive liposomes (BALs), consisting of regular liposomes reduced to nano-sized particles that attach themselves to the cancerous cells. Peer and Prof. Rimona Margalit, with whom he developed the method, have published several studies showing its effectiveness.
That research was done on ovarian cancer tumors, and it proved to be effective – but that wasn’t the case when it came to GBM, Prof. Zvi R. Cohen, Director of the Neurosurgical Oncology Unit and Vice Chair at the Neurosurgical Department at Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital in central Israel, contacted Peer to discuss whether anything could be done for individuals suffering from the aggressive and fatal form of brain cancer.
With the same methods he and Margalit used to target ovarian cancer cells, Peer delivered RNA genetic interference (RNAi) material to human brain cancer cells transplanted into mice. The material was delivered directly to the tumor site using lipid-based nanoparticles coated with the polysugar hyaluronan (HA) that binds to a receptor expressed specifically on glioma cells, comparing the results with a control group that was treated with standard chemotherapy methods.
The results, said Peer, were “astonishing,” with the RNAi material hitting the cancer cells directly and extending the life of the test group versus the control group by a significant factor.
Kol hakavod to Professors Dan Peer, Zvi Cohen and to all the researchers involved in this development. Once again we see Israeli scientists and medical professional working to improve the lives of all humans. Just don’t let on to the BDS – I’m sure they’ll want to avoid such “Zionist-tainted” treatment!
And with this uplifting news I wish you all Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh tov for the new month of Iyar starting this coming week.