Good News Friday

It’s the shortest Shabbat of the year and time is running short, but there is just time for a few items for Good News Friday.

My first item is the discovery of a rare 3rd century synagogue in the Golan Heights which has a beautiful mosaic floor (via DavidinPT):

Fragments of a mosaic depicting animal footprints were uncovered Monday during an excavation at a synagogue in the ancient settlement of Majdolia in the Golan Heights.

The mosaic (Photo: Mechael Osband)

The synagogue was active in the first century CE, after the Second Temple was destroyed, to the end of the third century CE.
According to researchers, this is the oldest depiction of an ornate colorful mosaic found in the area.
Researchers from Haifa University say there is not much insight into how Jewish life was lived, on the Golan Heights specifically and in Israel generally, during the third century.
“In the third century we see an interesting combination of the already established tradition of synagogues, following the destruction of the Second Temple, with new artistic elements that will later become widespread, such as colorful animal mosaics,” says excavation leader Dr. Mechael Osband of the Archeological Institute at Haifa University.
The Majdolia excavation site, which was uncovered five years ago, is dated to the middle of the Roman era, from approximately the middle of the first century to the abandonment of the settlement at the end of the third century.
Several years ago, archaeologists at the site discovered the remains of the synagogue – a rectangular building measuring 13 meters by 23 meters.
The discovery had vast importance to the historical record, as most experts assumed that the Jewish settlement on the Golan Heights ceased following the First Jewish–Roman War in 67 CE and the destruction of Gamla, a central trade and commerce hub in the area, during that period.
This new find strengths the notion that the Jewish settlement in the area continued even after the war.


What a wonderful discovery! Besides adding to our knowledge of the rich cultural history of the region, this ancient synagogue and mosaic goes to prove the presence of Jews in the Golan Heights (which our enemies claim belong to Syria) all the way back to ancient days.

Kol hakavod to the archaeologists of Haifa University, led by Dr. Mechael Osband.

From ancient history it’s back to the future, where Israeli scientists have possibly found a way to treat pancreatic cancer in 14 days! (via Reality):

A new treatment developed by Tel Aviv University could induce the destruction of pancreatic cancer cells, eradicating the number of cancerous cells by up to 90% after two weeks of daily injections of a small molecule known as PJ34.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the hardest cancers to treat. Most people who are diagnosed with the disease do not even live five years after being diagnosed.

The study, led by Prof. Malka Cohen-Armon and her team at TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, in collaboration with Dr. Talia Golan’s team at the Cancer Research Center at Sheba Medical Center, was recently published in the journal Oncotarget.

Specifically, the study found that PJ34, when injected intravenously, causes the self-destruction of human cancer cells during mitosis, the scientific term for cell division.

The research was conducted with xenografts, transplantation of human pancreatic cancer into immunocompromised mice. A month after being injected with the molecule daily for 14 days, “there was a reduction of 90% of pancreatic cells in the tumor,” Cohen-Armon told The Jerusalem Post. “In one mouse, the tumor completely disappeared.”

“This molecule causes an anomaly during mitosis of human cancer cells, provoking rapid cell death,” she said. “Thus, cell multiplication itself resulted in cell death in the treated cancer cells.”

Moreover, she said, PJ34 appears to have no impact on healthy cells, thus “no adverse effects were observed.” The mice, she said, continued to grow and gain weight as usual.

She added that she first published about the mechanism in 2017 when it was used to effectively treat triple-negative breast cancer implanted in xenografts. This type of breast cancer – which tests negative for estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and excess HER2 protein – like pancreatic cancer, is very hard to treat and many women don’t live more than five years after being diagnosed.

She estimates that would take “at least two years on the condition that we get enough funding.”

First, she said, the group will test the treatment on pigs and then apply for permission from the FDA to administer humans with this molecule.

“I am optimistic,” Cohen-Armon concluded.

This news is breath-takingly good! This treatment has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives! Huge kol hakavod to Prof. Malka Cohen-Armon and Dr. Talia Golan on their incredible discovery. May they go from strength to strength, for all of our sakes.

And now to conclude this week’s post, here is a beautiful, super-patriotic video. I give you – Hatikva (via RRW):

I challenge you to have a dry eye at the end. 🙂

Wishing you all Shabbat Shalom, may we all have a quiet, peaceful, healthy and rainy weekend.

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