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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘test’

Threshold Incubator Gives Educators the Business

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Welcome to the Threshold (www.Threshold.org.il), a Jewish educational entrepreneurship incubator in Israel, an incubator to help educators not only thrive financially in Israel, but do what they do best – educate.

It’s Thursday night and the presentation hall at the Hebrew University Givat Ram campus is full of energy and verve. As each presenter complete their 50 second “elevator pitch” about the venture they’re launching, the room explodes in supportive cheers and applause. “Come talk to me!” is the catchphrase nearly each speaker ends with, to a room full of fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, coaches and perhaps investors.

The idea is surprisingly simple, as explained to me by Threshold founder, Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz:

Too often, English-speaking Olim with a background in education find that job opportunities in Israel in their fields are limited because of language, demand and opportunity.

The goal of Threshold is to provide educators with the tools they need to step outside the box and create their own education-based opportunities and not rely on existing, more limited frameworks.

Fifteen Fellows were accepted to the first round of the program, and they spent the past six months developing technologies, business ideas, and, in some cases, actual businesses.

A few venture ideas stood out.

Tiyul B’Aretz (www.tiyulbaretz.org) is for college students who want to study in Israel, but don’t have the inclination (or ability) to sit in a classroom. All of Israel is the classroom for Tiyul B’Aretz and its experiential learning program. Participating students actually receive college credits in this MASA-sponsored program for touring and experiencing Israel in the field.

Super Slav Quail Farm (www.MoshavMesorah.com), brought the birds with them. I’m not sure what the connection to education was, but these guys are planning on building a kosher quail (and game) farm, and hope to introduce quail into the gourmet market.

Shabbat of a Lifetime (www.ShabbatofaLifetime.com) is already launched and profitable.

Anyone who’s been to the Kotel on Friday night knows who Jeff Seidel is. He’s the guy that finds and sends unaffiliated Jews to people’s homes for a Friday night meal, introducing them this way to their Jewish heritage.

Shabbat of a Lifetime (not affiliated with Seidel) has taken that concept and turned it into a business that targets tour groups and individuals visiting Israel, giving them the opportunity to have an authentic Shabbat experience with a Jewish family.

Shabbat of a Lifetime’s goal is to teach visitors about Israel, Judaism, and even do a little Hasbarah (promotion) along the way.

Schneider Learning: Al Pi Darko is a tool for schools and educators to help test and advance their students’ Torah learning based on those students’ individual needs.

It begins with a diagnostic test that maps each student’s strengths and weaknesses, and then automatically builds tailored programs to help advance them to the level at which they need to be.

The simplest example would be if a student had trouble reading Rashi script. The diagnostic test would recognize that, and the program would then concentrate on helping the student gain that missing skill.

The program has already passed a successful 200 student pilot and I can see this becoming a standardized tool in the Yeshiva system.

The last venture that stood out was the New Jerusalem Talmud Project (www.NewJerusalemTalmud.org). A fascinating idea, it was one of those things for which you simply can’t see any immediate and obvious commercial application for it, but you know someone eventually will.

It’s essentially a Wiki laid out like a Gemorah page. But unlike a wiki which is about knowledge, NJT is about taking actual arguments and displaying all the sides and disagreements in a graphically organized manner, so you can trace the argument components and structure, breaking it down until you can see what and where the real points of disagreement actually are.

I recommend that you frequent the Threshold website for news of upcoming ventures. It’s sure to revive your faith in Jewish ingenuity — and in faith.

Stephen Leavitt

The Revelation On Mount Sinai – A Strengthening In Faith Forever

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

There is a tradition from the Vilna Gaon that Milchemes Gog and Magog at the time of Moshiach will last only 12 minutes. In that short amount of time 1/3 of the world will be destroyed, 1/3 severely wounded and 1/3 will survive. Until recently this was incomprehensible – how could such destruction happen so quickly? The answer came with the onset of the atomic age. With nuclear weapons, mass destruction can occur, G-d forbid, in just moments. However there is a deeper explanation. The great baalei mussar explain that this war will not be a mere physical battle, but rather a battle of emunah – faith. This battle will be the final attempt of the forces of evil to conquer the world. The whole world will be thrown into turmoil and our very faith in Hashem will be tested to the utmost. Those who are steadfast will merit seeing the coming of Moshiach. This test will be only take 12 minutes, but it will be overwhelming. If we prepare ourselves now, we will hopefully pass that great ordeal with flying colors.

In truth, our generation is being tested in ways previous generations never imagined. The abundance of wealth, lives of comfort and easy accessibility to the worst sins have shaken our nation. We can only hope for the quick arrival of Moshiach to save us from further deterioration. The Satan knows that his days are numbered, and soon his Domain of Evil will be wiped off the face of earth forever. He is therefore bombarding us with weapons that have never before been at his disposal. How can we strengthen our faith in Hashem so that we can survive his massive onslaught? The chag of Shavuosgives us a great opportunity.

The Foundation of Our Faith

Many years ago in Yemen the Jews were suffering from severe religious persecutions. In order to strengthen them, the Rambam wrote a beautiful letter called Igeres Teiman – the Letter to Yemen. He writes: “It is proper for you my brothers to raise your children on that great event (i.e. the Revelation on Mount Sinai), and relate in public its greatness and honor and splendor, for it is the pillar which our faith stands on…. for this great and massive event which was seen clearly, never happened before in the world’s history and will never happen again. That is, that an entire nation should hear the word of Hashem and see His honor with their very eyes. Raise your children on that great experience!” The Rambam teaches us that to strengthen our faith, we must reiterate to ourselves and our children that we saw clearly – with our own eyes – Hashem’s Glory and Sovereignty, as it says: “You have been shown that Hashem is the only God – there is none besides Him!” (Devarim4:35)

The Point of the Revelation

Continues the Rambam, “The point of this event was in order to give our faith a great strengthening… as the Torah tells us (Yisro 20:17) ‘In order to test you, Hashem is coming, and in order so that His fear should be upon you so that you should not sin.’ In other words, the reason why He revealed Himself in this manner was so that we should be able to overcome any test which may come upon us in the end of days, so that our hearts should not budge and come to sin.” The Rambam is teaching us that this great experience fortified us so strongly with faith that we now have the keys to withstand the greatest tests in emunah in any generation, and especially the ones before the coming of Moshiach!

How is this so? The Medrash Tanchuma (Parshas Noach) tells us that Hashem raised Har Sinai over the heads of the entire nation and threatened to bury them alive if they didn’t accept the Oral Torah. The Maharal explains that this was really a figurative description of what had happened. At that moment, Hashem revealed the inner workings and secrets of the entire universe. From the highest level of the Heavens, down to the deepest depths of the earth, everything was opened to them and they saw clearly that there is none besides Him! At the same time they saw how the entire universe is dependent on our accepting and keeping the entire Torah. This awareness took away any possibility of not accepting the Oral Torah.

Rabbi Eliezer M. Niehaus

The Quiz

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Jewish Press Staff

Victim Or Survivor?

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Everyone, at least one time in his or her life, gets knocked down, and most of us have trouble getting back up. Let’s face it – we all get depressed at times. Sometimes we get stuck in a funk and we don’t know how to get out of it, especially if we’re constantly being knocked down. Eventually, we don’t even want to get up anymore. Why should we get back up, just to get knocked down again?

That’s when we have to catch ourselves and be conscious of our thoughts. What does being self-aware have to do with getting back on our feet, you ask? Just about everything.

Most of us aren’t really aware of our thoughts. If we would pay attention to the thoughts going through our heads, we would notice that more than half of them are negative: towards others and ourselves. We’re our own best critic. From when we wake up in the morning until we go to bed, we constantly put ourselves down and pick on ourselves.

The most common thing we do is victimize. Sounds like some therapeutic technical term? It is. There is a popular therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT for short. Suppose you failed a test. Along with this situation comes either a feeling, thought, physical reaction, behavior, or perhaps all four. You failed the test so you feel sad, maybe angry or frustrated. You’ll probably be thinking, “I’m stupid” or “I could have done better.” Maybe you’ll cry, or scream. And then your behavior will be probably to give up and not try on the next test since you failed this one. That’s the gist of CBT. Situations trigger the four reactions and each of these four lead to each other until it’s a vicious cycle of thoughts and feelings and behaviors and a whole big jumble.

So you see, the way we think has a huge effect on pretty much everything. Like it says, “A person is where his or her thoughts are.”

Now, how can we change that entire situation?

You failed the test. You feel bad and upset and you start picking on yourself. Wait – STOP.

Seriously, picture a stop sign and yell out to your racing thoughts to hold up and slow down. Now that your thoughts are frozen, think about what you were just doing. You were victimizing.

Let’s talk about a victim versus a survivor.

Isn’t it interesting how they could both mean the same thing but totally different things at the same time? “She’s a victim of the war.” “She survived the war.” They both went through a war. They both got out of it. But one’s a victim, and one’s a survivor. Why is that? What makes one a victim and the other a survivor? It’s their thoughts, the way they think which changes the way they hold themselves and creates who they are.

The victim thinks “Why me?” She spends the war and post-war angry and sad – which is totally normal, but the victim lives in her anger and sadness. It becomes her; it’s who she is.

The survivor has a totally different way of thinking. Sure, she gets angry, sad, and depressed. But it’s different with the survivor. Instead of thinking, “Why me?” she thinks, “This happened to me, and it’s difficult and awful and it just plain sucks. But I can get through this; the war will be over soon.” She doesn’t live the war. The war hasn’t taken her over and controlled her. She hasn’t become a victim, she’s a survivor.

How do we become survivors? Let’s be more self-aware. In every situation stop yourself, and be aware of your thoughts. Are you in victim mode or survival mode? Is this never going to end or is it long but over soon? Notice how different the positive thoughts are, and how different and happier we are because of them. It’s all about thinking positively, being a survivor, taking those victim thoughts and dumping them in the trash. Sounds cheesy? It is. But it works.

The only way to pick ourselves up again is to change our thoughts. We have to train ourselves to slow those thoughts down so we can interrupt them and turn them into positive thoughts.

Believe me, once you’re in survivor mode, your whole life changes. It’s almost exciting, like you’re a brave soldier battling through wars and winning. You’re a survivor, rather than a sad lonely victim who had to fight the war.

So think those survivor thoughts. Make a list of them. Write them down, memorize them, and live them. And then that’s who you’ll be: a survivor.

The above article was originally posted on Maidelle.com, an online magazine for Jewish teen girls to speak their mind. Check out the site and read more articles and poetry submitted by girls worldwide who made the choice to use their voice.

Jewish Press Staff

Israeli Missile Defense Test a ‘Milestone’

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

New York — Israel’s test of a missile defense system was declared a “major milestone” in its efforts to establish viable barriers to a missile strike.

The test of a joint Israeli-American system was conducted Friday morning over the Mediterranean Sea, CNN reported. A statement from the Israeli Defense Ministry said the test “provides confidence in operational Israeli capabilities to defeat the developing ballistic missile threat.”

The test comes amid mounting speculation that Israel will launch a pre-emptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities within the year. Israeli officials said the test had been scheduled more than a year ago.

JTA

Israeli Innovation: Blood Test to Detect Multiple Cancer Types

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Researchers at Soroka Medical Center and Ben Gurion University in Be’er Sheva are saying they’re past the preliminary stage of developing a unique method that may provide early detection of many types of cancer, using a simple blood test. Clinical tests which were performed recently yielded detection in close to 90 percent of patients.

“The research is still using small-scale clinical tests,” said Prof. Joseph Kapelushnik, head of the center’s children’s meta oncology department. “But our aim is to develop an efficient, cheap and simple method to detect as many types of cancer as possible.”

Early detection, coupled with a rapid assessment and a quick and effective response is viewed as the best and most cost-efficient ways of dealing with cancer. But the process of detection can be cumbersome and costly, and each procedure reveals only a limited number of cancer types.

Prof. Kapelushnik’s team developed a unique method which makes it possible to detect cancer cells through a blood test, using infrared light. A sample of only one cubic centimeter (less than a teaspoon) is placed in an instrument which examines the spectrum and yields results which point out the presence of cancer in the patient’s body.

“We’ve managed to distinguish between different types at a rate of around 90 percent sensitivity,” said Prof. Kapelushnik. “The data is limited for now, and we’ll have to test thousands of patients to determine that the method works, but at the moment we are pleased with the results.”

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Johnson & Johnson, to name just one team, are among groups of scientists who are in the process of seeking a simple blood test that may be able to identify cancer cells in the blood stream. But Prof. Kapelushnik thinks his research is at a more advanced stage than competing, similar efforts.

“We should be able to detect the cancer before it had a chance to metastasize,” he says. “And this can mean fewer treatments, less suffering and many more lives saved.”

The Soroka University Medical Center is the largest medical center in southern Israel, and the second largest in the country.

Tibbi Singer

Looking For The Perfect Match

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Fair Lawn, New Jersey’s Ezra Fineman is looking for his perfect match. He is smart, has brown hair, and a great smile. Ezra is also two years old and is looking for a bone marrow donor. After contracting a severe case of pneumonia at five months old, Ezra was diagnosed with Hyper IgM syndrome, a rare primary immune deficiency. Affecting only one in every one-two million people, the syndrome keeps his body from producing antibodies, leaving him with a heightened susceptibility to infection. While Ezra still runs and plays like other toddlers, he must get IV Immunoglobulin treatments every few weeks, take prophylactic antibiotics, and use extra caution against germs in public places. Despite these treatments and precautions, serious complications still arise. The only cure for Ezra is a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.

Robin and Evan Fineman, Ezra’s parents, have been working with the bone marrow registry, Gift of Life, since October 2010 in their quest to find Ezra’s bone marrow donor. Gift of Life, headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, is headed by founder Jay Feinberg, who recently celebrated the 16th anniversary of his own bone marrow transplant. Gift of Life focuses on patients in the Jewish community, as it would be more likely for them to find a match within the Jewish population. The search for Ezra’s match has gone global, with donor drives being held across the United States from Phoenix to New York, as well as Bialystok and Warsaw in Poland. The cost to process each potential donor’s sample, taken by a simple swab of the cheek, is $54. While each potential donor is encouraged to fund their own test, many people can’t afford to, and over 13,000 samples are still waiting to be tested due to lack of funding. While financial donations to Gift of Life are encouraged, the Finemans – who have raised over $100,000 for testing – are also trying to target their drives as much as possible to increase the chance of finding Ezra’s match.

Feinberg has personally been analyzing test results to see if they are on the right track. “Ezra’s DNA has an anomaly, a rare genetic crossover, that is making his search especially challenging,” says Feinberg. His antigens or markers are matching most closely with people of Eastern European descent, particularly those of Polish and Hungarian ancestry. “Robin has been working with a genealogist to discover Ezra’s ancestors’ cities of origin. The Holocaust has a huge impact until this very day on patients like Ezra. We are missing all of the bloodlines of people that would have been here today to donate,” explains Feinberg.

“It was amazing that over 200 people showed up for the drive in Bialystok,” Robin said. “With the language barrier, we weren’t even sure it was going to happen.” The Finemans, while still waiting for Ezra’s donor, are thrilled that nine potential donors for other patients have been found, and that one transplant has been performed so far through efforts on Ezra’s behalf.

Joining the bone marrow registry and donating is actually easier today than when Jay Feinberg was looking for his perfect match.  For more information about having a drive in your area, contact Robin Fineman at Help4Ezra@gmail.com, or go to www.giftoflife.org/help4ezra, to order or sponsor a test kit. You can also visit Help4Ezra on Facebook. The actual donation procedure is much less invasive than it used to be.

Feinberg stresses the importance of all eligible participants joining the registry. “People ask, ‘what are the chances that I’ll be a match?’ but that can’t be further from the truth. They can be the one.” Feinberg should know, as 50,000 people were tested during his search for a donor. His perfect match was the 50,000th person to register at the very last drive to be held on his behalf.

Amy A. Dubitsky

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/looking-for-the-perfect-match/2011/08/17/

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