It is almost Chanukah (starting Sunday night) so it’s the perfect time for a Good News Friday post.
Our first item is the most incredibly inspiring story of courage, persistence and sheer physical and mental strength. An IDF soldier with a devastating war injury overcame all the challenges facing him and became a leading doctor, researcher and author:
“It was Aug. 9, 2006 — the 15th of Av,” recalled Lubotzky, 35, who still needs the aid of crutches to walk. “I was talking on the radio, trying to help my guys navigate. I opened the hatch and lifted my upper body out in order to see better. Just then, an anti-tank missile fired by Hezbollah hit my vehicle. If I had been sitting at that moment, I wouldn’t be here today.”
That miracle, which Lubotzky attributes to his deep faith in God (he had lain tefillin that morning, as he does every day), was the first of many that enabled him not only to avoid the amputation of his severed right leg, but later to marry, have four children and realize his post-traumatic dream of becoming a doctor.
Today Lubotzky is an M.D. completing his doctorate at Hebrew University, where he shares a lab with 10 other researchers.
After his injury, the Jerusalem-born Lubotzky, who grew up in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, decided he wanted to tell the dramatic story of his recovery in a book. What became his 190-page autobiography began as a story of the battle that nearly killed him.
Dr. Asael Lubotzky was severely injured in the 2006 Lebanon War by a Hezbollah-fired anti-tank missile. During his grueling recovery process, he was inspired by the doctors who saved his severed leg to become a doctor. He studied medicine and then joined the staff of our Wilf Children’s Hospital. He decided that he wanted to go into research and he has become one of Israel’s most promising young cancer researchers.
Dr. Lubotzky’s work focuses on epigenetics: designing new methods for early diagnosis and treatment of cancer based on blood tests and the links between DNA and cancer. This past summer, the Israel Cancer Research Fund, awarded Dr. Lubotzky a two-year research grant. He explained, “By sequencing those DNA fragments and epigenetic marks, we can infer the rate of cell death from various tissues…You can also perhaps track response to treatments from circulating cfDNA from tumors.”
While Dr. Lubotzky is focused on helping others, he still suffers from tremendous physical pain from his war injury. He initially underwent intense physical and today, he swims almost every morning, “My body has to overcome lots of pressures that healthy people don’t have to overcome…When I’m more active and do more sports and hold my kids in my arms, I think less about the pain…it’s something that’s going to be with me my entire life. But I’ve found ways to overcome it.”
Dr. Lubotzky plans on finishing his residency next year in pediatrics at Shaare Zedek and specializing in neurology and genetics.
Please read this fascinating article for additional details.
What an inspiring story of courage and faith! Exactly the traits that characterized the Maccabees in their fight against the invading Greeks at Chanukah.
Kol hakavod seems too mild an expression to bestow on Dr. Lubotzky. May he continue to succeed in his impressive career and be an inspiration to all of us.
Israeli inventiveness and innovation is both an inspiration and in great demand the world over. The latest device to hit the headlines is an Israeli machine that pulls water of thin air – and which has been sent to California to help the forces fighting the devastating wild-fires which have been devastating the state:
An Israeli machine that can pull water out of the air has been sent to northern California to provide clean drinking water for US police and firefighters battling the Camp Fire.
On Sunday, officials announced that the fire had been brought 100 percent under control. At least 87 people were killed and 249 are still reported missing in the fire that burned for 17 days and destroyed more than 153,000 acres north of Sacramento, including 17,000 building structures. Thousands are living in emergency shelters and hotels.
The atmospheric water generator called the GEN-350, produced by the company Watergen USA, can produce up to 156 gallons of water per day and is transportable. It is carried by an emergency response vehicle, which is equipped with a generator and charging stations.
“Providing the police and firefighters with the basic necessity of drinking water allows them to serve and help for longer periods of time,” said Ed Russo, CEO of Watergen USA.
Watergen’s initiative to provide clean drinking water around the world earned the company its place on the World Economic Forum’s list of the world’s top technology pioneers in 2018.
What a brilliant idea and it seems so simple, though I am sure it is not. Kol hakavod to Watergen’s developers for their innovation, and even more so for sending it to California and contributing to the rescue efforts there.
And now to conclude for this week, in honour of the upcoming Chanukah (aka Hannukah/Channukah and any combination of c-h-n you wish!) here is a cute video of a pop-medley of Chanukah songs by the Israeli duo Sruli and Netanel:
Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom and Chanukah Same’ach!