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Posts Tagged ‘Tel Aviv University’

Garin Tzabar: Helping Lone Soldiers Feel At Home In Israel

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

These lone soldiers, hailing from countries including the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Turkey and Azerbaijan arrived in Israel without their families to join the Israel Defense Force and help build the Jewish nation.  ’Garin’ means seed in Hebrew but can also refer to a group of people who collectively immigrated to Israel and ‘tzabar’ refers to the ‘sabra’ cactus fruit which is prickly on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside, a euphemism to describe Israelis.

The Garin Tzabar program is in charge of bringing these lone soldiers to a kibbutz or Israeli city, providing them with an adopted family, a Garin community that supports them throughout their army service and Hebrew classes to assist their immersion into the IDF.  Several months from now the new recruits will begin to serve in the Israeli Army.  The Garin Tzabar  ensures lone soldiers receive support and attention on their birthdays, during holidays, Shabbat, and their days off .

The State of Israel officially welcomed this year’s Garin Tzabar participants during a special ceremony held at Tel Aviv University. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  gave a video greeting praising these young Jewish men and women and  numerous other government officials attended the event.

MK Sofa Landver, who addressed the group, stated, “We are here to receive the immigrants and the soldiers in our country, the most wonderful country in the world. It’s you who have come to serve and defend Israel. You will change the world.” A representative of Nefesh B’Nefesh added, “It’s not just a plane ride, it’s the destination and that’s Israel. Enjoy your new life.”

Netta Gelb, a new Garin Tzabar participant, was born in the Israeli city of Netanya and has spent the past 15 years growing up in Canada. Although she has Israeli relatives,  she is leaving behind her parents and siblings.  Gelb expressed the excitement many Garin members felt when she said, “I have been really looking forward to this for a long time.”

Michael Kosky, another Garin Tzabar participant, added, “We have come here to play our chapter in Jewish history. I am part of this program. Good luck to every one here.”  A lone soldier already serving in the IDF named Ariella, who hails from an Argentine family and grew up in both America and Israel told the audience that she holds dear the “values of loyalty to the state, its people, and the Tzabar members” and said to the new recruits “If you live together, you will learn a lot.”

Eitan Press contributed to this report.

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Hillel Argentina, Tel Aviv U. Launch Jewish Entrepreneurship Plan

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Hillel Argentina and Tel Aviv University are launching an entrepreneurship center and incubator of companies for Jewish entrepreneurs.

The companies participating in the program, which will start Tuesday, will have training and accelerator courses in Buenos Aires and Tel Aviv with a focus on entrepreneurship, Jewish business values and Israel-Diaspora ties.

Ryan Fain, the Hillel director in charge of the Hilabs program, told JTA that the program “is unique throughout the world and has the goal of connecting the Jewish youth of the Diaspora with Israel in a non-traditional way.”

The program aims to train young people with entrepreneurial spirit to promote the creation of companies of young people in the community and spread the ethical and moral values of Judaism. The Argentinian mentors are well-known, successful Jewish entrepreneurs.

The program includes a formation stage, training and incubator, two months in Buenos Aires and two months in Israel, mainly at StarTau, the Tel Aviv University Entrepreneurship Center. The program between Israel and the Diaspora also has support from the Jewish Agency.

“The part in Israel is very unique, as it is the only option for young Diaspora Jews to learn hands-on the Israeli entrepreneurial process and to meet with young successful entrepreneurs,” StarTau director Amos Avner told JTA.

Video Games Can Help in Stroke Rehab, Says Israeli Research

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Common interactive video games may be  an affordable and effective alternative to traditional therapy for stroke victims, says Tel Aviv University’s Medical School Dr. Debbie Rand.

patients undergo hours of rehabilitation after a stroke to restore movement, speech, and overall functionality, but many still return home without the ability to perform daily tasks, such as dressing, cooking or driving.

Dr. Rand’s recent study, in collaboration with a team from Sheba Medical Center, found that people recovering from stroke who use video games as a therapeutic method are more physically active during rehabilitation sessions, making more movements overall than those who experience traditional motor therapy.

Interactive game consoles require players to move continuously to interact with the virtual games, Dr. Rand explains. In her study, not only did the players perform double the number of arm movements during each session compared to patients in traditional therapy, but all of their movements also were purposeful or “goal-directed” and not just repetitive exercises.

When individuals plan their movements and move deliberately in order to accomplish a specific goal, it is likely to have a positive impact on brain plasticity — changes in the brain that are crucial for recovery from brain damage caused by stroke, Dr. Rand notes.

Players’ movements require precision and balance, and there is a cognitive benefit in that video games require strategy and planning. The individuals are motivated and enjoy the activity, making it  more likely that they will continue the treatment regime long-term, she believes.

She tested the effectiveness of interactive video games compared to traditional therapy comparing individuals who had experienced a stroke one to seven years before the study began. They  were randomly assigned to one of two groups of 20 participants each — a traditional therapy group, who completed traditional rehabilitation exercises, and a video games group which played video games using Xbox Kinect, Sony PlayStation and Nintendo Wii gaming consoles. Each group received two sessions a week with occupational therapists for a period of three months.

Although both groups showed improvement in functions such as grip strength of their weaker and stronger hands and gait speed, participants in the video games group continued to improve their grip strength for three months following the intervention, while the traditional group did not.

Beyond the physical advantages, Dr. Rand believes that video games could be an excellent alternative to traditional therapy simply because they’re more fun. In the video game group, 92 percent of participants reported enjoying the experience “extremely” or “very much,” opposed to 72 percent of the traditional group.

If patients are enjoying the therapy experience, it’s more likely that they will adhere to the therapy regime long-term, noting that game consoles are now widely available and fairly inexpensive. Participants who were in the video game playing group reported: “It was lots of fun,” “it stimulated all of my senses,” and “I finished the sessions wet from sweat, which proves that I really worked hard.”

The group environment also contributed to the success of the therapy, Dr. Rand says. Often, individuals with stroke are isolated and don’t have a very active social life. This program allowed them to connect with people like themselves, and encourage and support one another’s efforts.

In future studies, she intends to investigate whether these interactive video games will be as effective if they are used independently by patients at home to keep up activity levels — a crucial element of rehabilitation following a stroke.

Jewish Scientists: Block Memory of Alcohol Use and Cure the Habit?

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Research teams headed by a Hebrew University graduate and Tel Aviv University researchers have suggested that an experiment on rats showed that blocking their memory of alcohol use helped them break the habit.

Memories of addiction often cause drinkers to return to their habit when they are aroused by the smell of alcohol, creating pattern difficult to break.

Dorit Ron, a neuroscientist at the University of California at San Francisco and a graduate of Hebrew University, led her team’s research that disrupted memories of rats that had been exposed to alcohol.

The scientists, along with a team from Tel Aviv University, identified a potential molecular target in the brains of rats that might be able to be used to help cure alcoholics.

Their study, published this week in Nature Neuroscience4, explained that rats became problem drinkers after spending seven weeks exposed to a choice of water or a mixture of water and 20% alcohol.

Ron said, “It’s pretty amazing. Over time, you can see they develop a strong preference for alcohol.”

The researchers then took the alcohol away from the rodents, but then gave them a drop a day of a liquid that had a slight taste and odor of alcohol. The rats that also received a drug to inhibit memory showed a lesser tendency to go back to the booze.

Tel Aviv U Researcher Says Marijuana Can Halt Brain Damage

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Extremely low doses of marijuana’s psychoactive component can protect the brain before and after injury, according to Tel Aviv University Prof. Yosef Sarne.

Medical cannabis is often used by sufferers of chronic ailments, including cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder, to combat pain, insomnia, lack of appetite, and other symptoms but has not been  identified as being able to prevent damage to the body.

Prof. Sarne of the Adelson Center for the Biology of Addictive Diseases says that the drug has neuroprotective qualities and that extremely low doses of THC –  the psychoactive component of marijuana – protects the brain from long-term cognitive damage in the wake of injury from lack of oxygen, seizures, or toxic drugs. Brain damage can have consequences ranging from mild cognitive deficits to severe neurological damage.

Previous studies focused on injecting high doses of THC within a very short time frame of approximately 30 minutes  before or after injury. Prof. Sarne’s current research, published in the journals Behavioural Brain Research and Experimental Brain Research, demonstrates that even extremely low doses of THC around 1,000 to 10,000 times less than that in a conventional marijuana cigarette and administered over a wide window of up to seven days before or one to three days after injury can jumpstart biochemical processes which protect brain cells and preserve cognitive function over time.

This treatment, especially in light of the long time frame for administration and the low dosage, could be applicable to many cases of brain injury and be safer over time, Prof. Sarne says.

In the lab, the researchers injected mice with a single low dose of THC either before or after exposing them to brain trauma. A control group of mice sustained brain injury but did not receive the THC treatment. When the mice were examined three to seven weeks after initial injury, recipients of the THC treatment performed better in behavioral tests measuring learning and memory. Additionally, biochemical studies showed heightened amounts of neuroprotective chemicals in the treatment group compared to the control group.

The use of THC can prevent long-term cognitive damage that results from brain injury, the researchers conclude. One explanation for this effect is pre- and post-conditioning, whereby the drug causes minute damage to the brain to build resistance and trigger protective measures in the face of much more severe injury, explains Prof. Sarne. The low dosage of THC is crucial to initiating this process without causing too much initial damage.

According to Prof. Sarne, there are several practical benefits to this treatment plan.

Due to the long therapeutic time window, this treatment can be used not only to treat injury after the fact, but also to prevent injury that might occur in the future.

For example, cardiopulmonary heart-lung machines used in open heart surgery carry the risk of interrupting the blood supply to the brain, and the drug can be delivered beforehand as a preventive measure. In addition, the low dosage makes it safe for regular use in patients at constant risk of brain injury, such as epileptics or people at a high risk of heart attack.

Prof. Sarne is now working in collaboration with Prof. Edith Hochhauser of the Rabin Medical Center to test the ability of low doses of THC to prevent damage to the heart.

Preliminary results indicate that they will find the same protective phenomenon in relation to cardiac ischemia, in which the heart muscle receives insufficient blood flow.

Three Jews from US and France to Be Awarded Dan David Prize

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

The international Dan David Prize will be awarded  June 9 at Tel Aviv University to an American Jewish philosopher, a research doctor at Johns Hopkins and a French economist.

The Dan David Prize awards three $1 million to individuals with proven exceptional excellence in the sciences, arts, humanities, public service and entrepreneurship that have made an outstanding contribution to humanity.

Leon Wieseltier, American intellectual and philosopher and Literary Editor of The New Republic, will be given the award in the in the present time dimension category of Ideas, Public Intellectuals and Contemporary Philosophers.

Dr. Alfred Sommer of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Public Health, who is known for his striking discovery in demonstrating that vitamin A has the power to save children’s lives, won the prize in the future time dimension field of Preventive Medicine.

Also in the future time dimension, and the only woman to win the prize this year, is French Economist Esther Duflo, whose research focuses on microeconomic issues in developing countries, including household behavior, education, access to finance, health and policy evaluation.

She was recently appointed by President Obama to the President’s Global Development Council.

Israel Haters Around the World, Unite!

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

While there has been an outpouring of individual support, and a trickle of international support (from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany) for Israel’s self-defensive operation, “Amud Anon” or as it is called in English, Pillar of Defense, not everyone is supportive.

Many Jewish day school students in the U.S. and around the world today wore either red, or blue and white to show support for Israel.  Still, there are those who are determined to cast Israel as the aggressor.

For example, at the University of California, Los Angeles, students are being urged to wear black, in solidarity with their “brethren” in Gaza. From 11:30 am – 1:00 pm PST, there will be an Emergency Rally for Gaza in Meyerhoff Park.

Wednesday evening, hundreds of Turks crowded into a square in Istanbul City to protest Israel’s military response to the hundreds of rockets fired at her citizens from Gaza.  The chair of the Turkish “relief foundation,” IHH,  Fehmi Bulent Yildirim, said that the Islamic world is in “extreme anger over the Israeli attack on Gaza” and praised Egypt for withdrawing its ambassador to Israel.  Yildirim called on the Turkish government to throw out Israel’s Ambassador to Ankara.

There are some rallies of support being organized by pro-Israel groups.  At least two are planned for today, in New York City, 5:00 pm ET today, Support Israel’s Right to defend her children! 42nd & 2nd Ave in front of the Israeli Consulate, and one was held this morning outside of TKTS, “Tehilim in the Square in Support of Israel! Duffy Square in New York, New York.

At the University of Florida, Gainesville, nearly 100 people showed up at noon today to sing HaTikva and show support.  A rally is scheduled for tonight in Toronto, outside the Consulate, 180 Bloor Street, West, and one on Friday at noon, in Philadelphia, on the Southwest corner of 19th Street and JFK Boulevard. In a Philadelphia suburb tonight, the Modern Orthodox Lower Merion Synagogue invited the local Israeli Consul General to give them an update on the war, and congregants will be saying tehillim there, for klal Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael.

ALL OF THE FOLLOWING ARE ANTI-ISRAEL DEMONSTRATIONS PLANNED TO DEMONIZE ISRAEL. Cities and as much identifying information as is currently available is provided, as are times and, in many cases, links to the hosts.

THURSDAY, 15 November

Alexandria (Egypt) Qaid Ibrahim, 12:00 p.m. Amsterdam (Holland)  Zuidelijke Wandelweg 41, 6:45 p.m. [link]

Ann Arbor (USA)  Campus Diag, in front of Hatcher Graduate Library, 3:00 p.m. [link]

Austin (USA)  I-35 and 12th Street (overpass), 2:00 p.m. [link] Atlanta (USA)

Israeli Consulate, 4 p.m. [link] Beirut (Lebanon)

Cola, 10:00 a.m. Belfast (Ireland)  City Hall, 7:00 p.m.

Boston (USA) 4:30 p.m., Copley Square [link]

Bradford (UK) | 4.30 p.m. [link]

Brighton (UK) | Outside EcoStream HQ, 12:00 p.m. [twitter]

Brighton (UK) | Victoria Gardens, 5:30 p.m. [link]

Cairo (Egypt) | Omar Makram, 12:30 p.m.

Cairo (Egypt) | Arab League, 4:00 p.m.

Chicago (USA) | Outside Obama HQ, 130 E Randolph Street, 4:00 p.m. [link]

Cork (Ireland) | Daunt sq 6:00 p.m. [link]

Dublin (Ireland) | Israeli Embassy, 5:30 p.m.

Durham (UK) | Market sq, 4:00 p.m. [link]

Florence (Italy) | Piazza della Repubblica (flash mob), 6:00 p.m. [link]

George Mason University (USA) | The North Plaza, 1:30 p.m. [link]

Glasgow (Scotland) | Ahl al Bayt Centre, 6 p.m. [link]

Haifa | Karma House, 7:00 p.m. [link]

Jerusalem | Outside Hebrew University, 12:00 p.m. L’Aquila (Italy) | Fontana Luminosa, 6:30 p.m. [link]

Leeds (UK) | Parkinson Steps, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT, 1:00 p.m. [link]

London (UK) | Israeli Embassy, 5:30 p.m. [link]

Los Angeles (USA) | UCLA, Meyerhoff Park, 11:30 a.m. [link]

Los Angeles (USA) | Israeli Consulate, 11766 Wilshire Boulvard, 4:00 p.m. [link] [link]

Manchester (UK) | Piccadilly Gardens, 5:00 p.m. [link]

Memphis (USA) | Poplar and Highland, 5:00 p.m. [link]

Mexico City (Mexico) | Israeli Embassy, 4:00 p.m.

Montreal (Canada) | Hall Building, Concordia University, 5:00 p.m. Nashville (USA) | Centennial Park, 3:00 pm [link]

Nazareth  | Kassarat Crossroad, 6:30 p.m. [link]

New York (USA) | Israeli Consulate, 42nd Street & 2nd Ave, 5:00 p.m. [link]

Nottingham (UK)| Nottingham Market Square, 5:30 p.m. [link]

Olympia (USA) | Red Square at Evergreen State College, 12:00 p.m. [link]

Ontario (Canada) | University of Windsor, CAW Student Centre, 12:00 p.m. Oxford (UK)  | Cornmarket Street, 4:00 p.m. [link]

Paris (France) | Ministry of Justice, 6:00 p.m. [link]

Princeton (USA) | Princeton University, outside of Frist Campus Center, 12:30 p.m.

San Diego (USA) | US Federal Building, 880 Front Street, 4:30 p.m. [link]

San Francisco (USA) | Israeli Consulate, 5:15 p.m. [link]

Santiago (Chile) | Croatian Stadium (Vitacura 8049) to Israel Stadium, 8:00 p.m. [link]

Seattle (USA) | Henry Jackson Federal Building, 915 2nd Avenue, 4:00 p.m. [link]

Sydney (Australia) | Parmatta Town Hall, 6:00 p.m. [link]

Tel Aviv | Main Entrance, Tel Aviv University 11:30 a.m. [link]

Toronto (Canada) | Israeli Consulate, 180 Bloor Street (E. of St. George TTC), 6:00 p.m.

Tunis (Tunisia) | In front of the National Theatre, 11:00 a.m.

Tunis (Tunisia) | Front of all Trade Association Buildings (Sa7et Mohamed Ali) 1:00 p.m.

Vancouver (Canada) | The Art Gallery, Hornby and Robson Streets, 5:00 p.m. [link]

Washington D.C. (USA) | March from State Department, 6:00 p.m. [link]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/on-campus/israel-haters-around-the-world-unite/2012/11/15/

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