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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘shared’

The Two Jews Who Shared The First Nobel Prize In Medicine

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

Nobel Prizes have been awarded to more than 850 laureates and, although Jews comprise less than 0.2 percent of the world’s population, or 1 in every 500 people, more than 20 percent of Nobel laureates have been Jews – two orders of magnitude greater than their numbers would suggest.

Overall, Jews have won 41 percent of all the Nobel Prizes in economics, 26 percent of physics, 19 percent of chemistry, 13 percent of literature, and 9 percent of all peace awards.

Jews have also won 28 percent of the awards in medicine. The first such Nobel Prizes were awarded to two Jews: Paul Ehrlich and Elie Metchnikoff, who shared the award in 1908.

Ehrlich (1854-1915), whose research on antibodies established him as the founder of modern chemotherapy, was nominated three times for the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine before he finally won in 1908 for his work in immunology.

His Nobel Prize was delayed by Svante Arrhenius, an influential Swedish scientist on the Nobel committee and himself a Nobel Prize winner (1903), who was furious that some of his theories had been disproven by Ehrlich’s work. But the real reason for Arrhenius’s blocking Ehrlich’s path to the Nobel may have been good old-fashioned anti-Semitism: After accepting an invitation to visit Ehrlich’s institute in Frankfort, Arrhenius – who, ironically, was considered a friend by Ehrlich – was irritated by the “markedly Jewish atmosphere” of the Institute, and he was not pleased to learn that most the staffers were Jewish and that the lunchtime scientific conversation was “mixed with Talmudic dispute.”

Ehrlich’s original concepts initiated monumental advances in virtually all fields of biomedical research and paved the way for many of the important medical advances in the 20th century. He is perhaps best known for his pioneering work in immunology, chemotherapy (a term he invented), and pharmacology. Hematology became a recognized discipline through his groundbreaking studies of dye reactions on red and white blood cells; his search for a “magic bullet,” a chemical substance that would invade and kill off infected cells without damaging healthy cells, proved successful when he discovered salvarsan, an effective cure for syphilis; and he also found an antitoxin for diphtheria.

Ehrlich’s father, who was the superintendent of the Jewish community in Upper Silesia (Germany), raised Paul as an Orthodox Jew and Paul, who was married at the Neustadt Synagogue (1883), remained interested in Jewish affairs throughout his life. Though he experienced anti-Semitism, he remained loyal to the German state.Front-Page-072916-Letter

When Chaim Weizmann met with Baron Edmund de Rothschild in 1913 to discuss plans for a proposed Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the baron insisted that Weizmann first obtain the support of some great Jewish scientists, particularly Ehrlich.

When approached by Weizmann to work at the as-yet unestablished university, a famous story, perhaps apocryphal, has Ehrlich asking, “Dr. Weizmann, do you know that hundreds of persons wait months for a few minutes of my time, and you have already occupied an hour?” Weizmann is reported to have answered, “Esteemed Herr Professor, the great difference is that they are patients who come to you in search of a cure, while I, on the other hand, have come to cure you.”

Weizmann convinced him to serve as a member of the first academic committee of the board of governors of the Hebrew University, and Ehrlich’s broad support was instrumental in expanding the pool of influential people who became receptive to Weizmann’s pleas on behalf of the university and, later, on behalf of Israel. (Weizmann, himself a renowned chemist, later did some of his own scientific work in Ehrlich’s laboratory).

Unlike most German Jews, Ehrlich demonstrated strong lifelong support for Zionism and championed Jewish nationalism, including serving as an active member of L’Maan Tzion. He was among the founders of the Society of Jewish Physicians and Scientists for Medical-Biological Interests in Palestine (1912), whose goals included “research and implementation of the sanitary conditions in Palestine” and holding courses for the skill enhancement of doctors in Eretz Yisrael.

Saul Jay Singer

The Undivided Past

Friday, October 4th, 2013

There are several words used in the Bible to describe the Jewish people. At one stage we were simply tribal. Then we became an “Am”, a people, a “Goy”, a nation, a “Mamlacha”, a kingdom. Post-Biblically, if the gentiles called us Jews, Judeans, Israelites, Hebrews, Yids, or whatever, we used “Yisrael” as the name of choice, in the main, which meant a people, a culture, a religion, a relationship with God and a land, all of that in varying and amorphous degrees. We knew what it meant, even if others were confused or bemused. It takes one to know one.

Under pagan empires religion was not a factor, just loyalty to an overarching regime or royal family. If you were a serf it was loyalty to your lord and village. Neither the Persian, nor the Greek, nor the Roman Empires cared how you worshipped or behaved, so long as you professed loyalty to the empire. Then Christianity emerged as the religion of the Roman Empire and other religions were marginalized. Ironically the bloodiest battles were within Christianity, between one theological variation and another. The same thing happened under Islam. Ideals soon got perverted by politics and as today, Muslims of different sects killed more Muslims than all their enemies put together and doubled. Freud memorably described this internal divisiveness as “the narcissism of minor differences”.

In the West, most Jews that non-Jews encounter are not particularly committed to being Jewish. For Jews like a Soros or a Zuckerberg, it’s an accident of birth, a minor casual affiliation, like belonging to the Church of England. And this explains why most of those in the West who think about the matter reckon that the Jews are not really too concerned about having a land of their own and that it was only the accidental intervention of imperialist powers that explains the Jewish presence in the Middle East. It was a misjudged adventure. And really the Jews ought to pick up and leave and stop being nasty to the indigenous population.

It takes an objective observer to notice that for millennia Jews have shared a powerful core identity, even if in almost every situation except when they were given a choice, most Jews actually abandoned the community of Jews. But it took a determined minority within a minority to fight hard, relentlessly, and ultimately victoriously for its Jewish identity.

In his book The Undivided Past: Humanity Beyond Our Differences, David Cannadine writes:

“Egypt under the Pharaohs may have resembled a nation…but there was no accompanying sense of public culture or collective identity. As for the ancient Greeks, their limited pan Hellenic aspirations embodied in their shared language, Homeric epics and Olympic games foundered on the disputatious reality of their fiercely independent city-states. Similar objections have been made to claims that the Sumerians, the Persians, the Phoenicians, the Arameans, the Philistines, the Hittites and the Elamites were ancient nations, or that the Sinhalese, the Japanese or the Koreans might be so described during the first millennium of the common era. Only in the case of Israel does it seem plausible to discern a recognizable ancient nation with its precise though disputed territoriality, its ancient myths, its shared historical memories of the Exodus, the Conquest and wars with the Philistines, its strong sense of exceptionalism and providential destiny and its self-definition against a hostile “other” and its common laws and cultures. These were and are the essential themes in the unfinished history of the Jews this example has also furnished ever since a developed model of what it means to be a nation.” (p. 58)

Throughout exile we somehow did preserve a sense of belonging to a people, to a tradition, to a land, a sense of community, Klal Yisrael. This is why the problem of Israel in the Middle East, the Jewish problem, is so intractable. The overwhelming majority of Jews now living in Israel or the West Bank are committed to the notion of a Jewish people. It is not to be compared as ignorant opponents of Israel try, to a few British or white imperialists imposing themselves on a vast majority “other”. Some may try to delegitimize us by overturning a decision of the United Nations, but they cannot delegitimize or wish away the Jewish people.

Jeremy Rosen

Obama, Erdogan Agree over the Phone on Syria, Egypt

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

President Obama spoke by phone on Wednesday from California with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey, at the Prime Minister’s request, about developments in Syria and Egypt., according to a White House press release.

The President and the Prime Minister discussed the danger of foreign extremists in Syria and agreed on the importance of supporting a unified and inclusive Syrian opposition.

They also expressed concern about the situation in Egypt and a shared commitment to supporting a democratic and inclusive way forward. The two leaders agreed to have their teams continue to coordinate closely to promote our shared interests.

The President gave his best wishes to the Prime Minister and the Turkish people on the beginning of their Ramazan holiday.

As it happens, the Syrian rebels—which the U.S. is supporting—suffered a very serious defeat on Wednesday, as 62 rebels were killed in an ambush.

Meanwhile, President Obama has announced that his administration would be providing an additional $195 million in food and other humanitarian aid to Syria. To someone in Syria, anyway.

It is believed that more than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria since the fighting began, some 28 months ago. It is also estimated that close to 2 million people have fled Syria and are seeking refuge in neighboring nations, mostly Turkey and Jordan.

As to Egypt, its new government has no intention of letting Islamists come back to power, and is prepared to use violence against Islamist protesters.

Yori Yanover

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/obama-erdogan-agree-over-the-phone-on-syria-egypt/2013/08/08/

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