Good News Friday

It’s been a while since I posted a regular Good News Friday post, what with Pesach falling on Shabbat, so here we are, back to regular programming.

My first item is about our wonderful Israeli youth, who are not only beautiful but clever as they won the silver medal at the World Championship for Girls in Mathematics. As the Facebook page says:

Israeli pride: A Silver Medal for the girls at the Mathematics World Championship. From 140 participants from over 39 countries, Shira Ben-Dor and Maya Naveh, the Israeli representatives, won second place in the tournament.

Kol hakavod to Shira and Maya on their excellent showing! May they continue to enjoy great success and to go far in their future careers. They have done Israeli proud!

Another brilliant young Israeli is a 13 year old Israeli girl invents system for producing oxygen in space:

A 13-year-old Israeli girl has invented a system for the production of oxygen in space, the Hebrew youth paper Ma’ariv L’Noar reported …

The recent winner of the “Satellite Is Born” award from the Israel Space Agency, Roni Oron developed BioSat “to solve a problem for astronauts trying to prove that life on Mars is possible.”

Roni Oron and her oxygen-producing satellite

Oron said her satellite is “built like a large bubble on one side of which there is a mirror and the other is transparent, enabling the penetration of sunlight. In the middle there is a capsule, which will be made of a membrane through which air can pass but water cannot. Inside of it there will be water and algae, and outside there will be carbon dioxide. Through a process of photosynthesis, the satellite will produce oxygen. There will be additional mirrors inside the satellite that will enable sunlight to reach the capsule, but not by direct radiation, which would harm the algae.”

What an ingenious idea! Kol hakavod to Roni Oron on her inventiveness and initiative. Her parents must surely be very proud of her, especially in the way she spoke so warmly about them:

“My father, an orthopedist, was very happy when I began my research,” she said. “From my mother I learned the wisdom of looking at life creatively.”

The people of Israel can join in with her parents’ nachat at their wonderful daughter.

Since we are on the subject of bio-technology, here is one Israeli invention that is sure to be snapped up by millions of women: The Israeli invention that could end period pain:

If, as many believe, Adam and Eve were deposited in the Land of Israel when they got booted out of the Garden of Eden — and Eve was cursed with the pain of childbearing — then it would appropriate if the Land of Israel were the place where that pain was finally conquered.

The Livia anti-cramps device

It’s a bold claim, but to prove it, the Livia team has undertaken a bold marketing ploy — distributing free Livia products to female journalists for review. And the reports have been rave.

According to its inventors, CEO Chen Nachum and his father, Dr. Zvi Nachum, the Livia device provides instant relief from cramps, and lasts up to 15 hours on a single charge, long after anti-pain pills have worn off.

There are no pills involved in using Livia; the device uses physiotherapy tech to block pain receptors through electrical pulses. Based on nerve “Gate Control Theory” (first proposed in 1965 by Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall), Livia transmits a pulse that keeps the nerves “busy,” so that pain messages that should be accepted by nerve receptors and transmitted to the brain — which concludes that a woman is in pain — aren’t. With those messages lost in transmission, there is no feeling of pain.

The Livia device is a small iPod Nano-sized square box that a user clips onto a belt or leaves in her pocket. Attached to the device are gel pads and two electrodes, which the woman places on areas where she feels the most pain. When pain strikes, a user turns Livia on — and a few minutes later, the company says, pain is a thing of the past.

So popular has Livia proven that the device is, as of now, funded at 548% on its IndieGogo campaign. The original request was for $50,000 — and the campaign still has a month to go.

The Livia sounds a bit like a wearable Tens machine and looks like it will be a huge hit. I hope it hits the market very soon because like most of you I’m sure, I know plenty of women who would very much enjoy the benefits of the Livia. I wonder if it could be used for other types of pain too.

Kol hakavod the Nachums, Pere et Fils, for their ingenious device. I hope it gets the funding it deserves and that we will all reap the benefit of their initiative.

Emran Mian

And now to conclude this week’s installment, I return to the subject of my previous posts, antisemitism in the UK. This time though we have the amazing story of Emran Mian, a British Muslim who says of himself: I was a thoughtless antisemite like Naz Shah – until he got to know some real Jews and changed his mind:

I grew up being told by relatives and family friends that Jews in Israel are occupiers, simple as that. When I started reading political material myself as a teenager, I went first to conspiracy theories about how they could so easily have been settled somewhere else. I remember talking to other Muslim teenagers about it, boasting about the outrageous stuff that we had read.

What changed? I read Saul Bellow and Philip Roth, not on the Holocaust or the Israeli state, just their novels. They were Jewish and they could write like that, like I dreamed of writing. None of the other guys I had been talking to about Zionism read any novels at all. Then I went to a university in a big city, for the first time had friends who were Jews. That still isn’t common among British Muslims.

Even more importantly, I screwed up. I wrote and published in the student magazine an anti-semitic slur. I suggested, in a supposedly satirical article, that one of our lecturers, who came from a wealthy family, in secret owned the law school building.

You’ve guessed it. He was Jewish. He was also kind. He asked me into his office and explained to me what I’d done. I admitted the truth: that I hadn’t noticed he was Jewish, that I didn’t know about the history of such slurs. That’s the terrifying part: I didn’t know.

So I fixed that. I talked to him a lot more. I read a lot more. And, when I saw the news about Shah, I thought there but for grace of that man. Yet this is precisely why anti-Semitism among British Muslims is so difficult to eradicate. Shah, like anyone else, knows what she is supposed to think.

So I fixed that. I talked to him a lot more. I read a lot more. And, when I saw the news about Shah, I thought there but for grace of that man. Yet this is precisely why anti-Semitism among British Muslims is so difficult to eradicate. Shah, like anyone else, knows what she is supposed to think.

Then the second challenge is that Jews should be fed up of being told that contact is the way to eliminate anti-semitism. Terrible attitudes have persisted for long enough. Why should Jews keep having to work at this?

My law lecturer could have asked for me to be censured or suspended, the treatment that Shah has eventually received from the Labour Party. In hindsight, I wouldn’t blame him if he had done that. Seeing my article made his daughter cry. Why should he have to respond to her hurt by providing contact to me?

What an extraordinary man is Mr. Mian, both for baldly admitting that he had been an antisemite, and more importantly for then taking such bold steps to correct his own attitudes, to make amends and then to challenge his co-religionists to change their own attitudes too.

I wish Emran Mian the best of luck both in his career, and in his efforts to change attitudes amongst young Muslims.

And now, with these hopeful thoughts in mind, I wish you all Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov!

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1 Response to Good News Friday

  1. Reality says:

    Wow what an uplifting blog! Kol hakavod to all those brilliant girls in maths and for the oxygen in space thing.
    Thank you to Chen Nachum for their amazing invention.Women will bless them daily
    As for Emran Mian,what can I say?I just hope he can persuade many more people to think like him.I wish him luck.
    Thank You
    Shabbat Shalom

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