Good News Friday

I’m more or less back to normal programming now and it’s time for another Good News Friday installment.

Let’s start with Israel’s biomedical industry, which never fails to innovate. One of the latest developments is a revolutionary new treatment for cancer which personalizes the treatement to make it much more effective for each individual patient:

You don’t need me to tell you the incredible potential of this new method of cancer treatment.

The next item is a crossover from the biomedical to the hi-tech field. the Israeli company Wizcomtech has designed a pen which can help dyslexic children with reading:

Modiin-based Wizcomtech one of the largest producers of pen-shaped handheld scanning translators, said it has clinched a $5 million deal with a US distributor to sell a new pen that helps children with dyslexia.

Hand held reading and translating pens

The company’s Quicktionary translation pens, available in more than 24 languages, are already being used by students in English classes and matriculation exams in junior high and high schools in Israel, as well as by students in the UK for their foreign language studies. The electronic pen-shaped scanners immediately translate text, from and to a variety of languages, onto an LCD screen set within the pen.

Now, the company is turning its sights to the dyslexia market.

“We saw a demand in the market for a slightly different product than our existing translation pens and developed a pen which offered a solution for children with dyslexia,” said Dror Drukman, CEO of Wizcomtech.

The reading pen scans text and breaks words down into syllables using a digital voice, and gives students synonyms for the words they are reading so that they can better understand and remember them in the future.

“Competing products are based only on reading, not other functions such as syllable division which are relevant to children with reading disabilities. Our pen is developed using special dictionaries and algorithms that divide words into syllables making it easier for children to recognize words,” Drukman said.

Wizcomtech says it expects to complete a Chinese-language version of its pen in the next few months and enter the Chinese market with a conservative estimate of 250,000 units in the coming years; the monetary value of which is tens of millions of dollars, said Drukman.

What a clever idea! At the time I thought the Quicktionary was brilliant. This new reading pen will make learning so much more accessible for dyslexics. Kol hakavod to Dror Drukman and the team at Wizcomtech.

Turning now to a totally different subject, here’s a lovely post (via Reality) showing the joy expressed by IDF soldiers as a new synagogue was dedicated on their base.


The soldiers also participated in affixing the Mezuzah to the doorpost of the new synagogue.

Affixing the mezuzah to the new synagogue in an IDF base

It is good to know that our soldiers do not rely only on their training and weaponry, but also on Hashem on high, who watches over all of Israel.

On a similar theme of G-d’s protection, Israel has been suffering from a drought since the beginning of the new year, so the Rabbis instructed us to add an extra prayer for rain in our daily prayers. And G-d answered! By the bucketful! For the last week, and starting even a couple of weeks ago, the heavens have opened and we have received enormous amounts of rain!

Several main roads in Tel Aviv were flooded Thursday as the city was hit with heavy rainfall that overwhelmed the drainage system.

In Tel Aviv, 50 millimeters of rain were recorded — with some 16 millimeters falling in the space of just one hour. Rokah Boulevard and Namir Road in Tel Aviv were both blocked to traffic by midday.

Several main roads in Tel Aviv were flooded Thursday as the city was hit with heavy rainfall that overwhelmed the drainage system.

In Tel Aviv, 50 millimeters of rain were recorded — with some 16 millimeters falling in the space of just one hour. Rokah Boulevard and Namir Road in Tel Aviv were both blocked to traffic by midday.

Around 20-30 millimeters of rain fell during the morning in other regions along the coastal plain. A large pool of water formed in the area of Mesubim Junction on Route 4, a main intercity highway that runs along the coast.

Israeli farmers are extremely relieved that the drought seems to have come to an end, though we are still adding in the prayer.

After two days of rain and stormy weather, farmers in northern Israel are beginning to breathe a sigh of relief.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Rabbi Yehoshua Van Dyke, who serves as the rabbi of the Ramat Magshimim moshav in northern Israel, said, “For over two months, we’ve been saying a special prayer for rain, and thank G-d, we have been answered.”

“The amount of rain has almost reached half the annual average for this month, and farmers hope that the rain forecasted for Friday and Saturday will bring us to a total of 300 millimeters (11.8”), which is just about the annual average for this month.

“It’s true that the average is low, because of the arid years, and there were years with an average of over 500 millimeters (19.7″), but still, the farmers are smiling. Until now, they were upset and worried. Now, we’ve received good news.”

Friday will see rain, thunderstorms, hail, and strong winds in Israel’s north and center. There may be flooding along the coastline. Snow will fall on Mount Hermon, and there may be snow on the tops of northern and central mountains.

During the afternoon, the rain will spread to the northern Negev, and there may be flooding near the Dead Sea and in the Judean Desert.

Friday night will see rainfall from northern Israel to the northern Negev, as well as isolated thunderstorms. There may be flooding along the southern coastline, as well as in the Judean Desert and near the Dead Sea. The rain will lessen gradually overnight.

Israel’s Water Authority reported the even better news that the rain had fallen in the right parts of the country – something that is not always the case. But we still need more to fill up our underground reservoirs, so we must keep on praying.

With these “floods” of good news I just want to add one more item. Today is my 7th “blogaversary”! I will not call it the Seven Year Itch (yet) – I hope to keep on blogging for many more years even if my pace slows down somewhat.

Not the Seven Year Itch

Here’s to many more years of happy blogging of good news. May we all hear only good news. Shabbat Shalom everyone!

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2 Responses to Good News Friday

  1. Pingback: Good News Friday – 24/6 Magazine

  2. Reality says:

    Happy blogversary! You continually cheer us up with your Good Friday blogs,and I love your media watch posts.Keep going strong!Wishing you many many more years of blogging with even more viewers.Come on you lot out there!! Most of you don’t join in the comments,so let’s start hearing from everyone around the world!
    Fantastic news re cancer discovery.And as for the pen for Dyslexics,that’s great news…could they help us maths dyslexics too?!
    I love the clips of the rain!! I just heard that the Kinneret rose this week by 1 cm..not enough but thats added to the 3 cm from this winter.We have a long way to go but its a start.It’s already snowing in the north.The best bit is that most other news has been put aside in order to concentrate on the weather!!
    The soldiers clip is heartwarming too.
    May we continue to be blessed with loads more rsinגשמי ברכה
    שבת שלום ומבורך

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