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December 7, 2016 / 7 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘university’

Remembering Joan Davenny While a University Honors Her Killers

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

{Originally posted to the JNS website}

The name Joan Edelstein Davenny is relatively unknown outside of the Connecticut community where she was a teacher and among her family and friends who knew her. Joan was one of the victims of an August 21, 1995 suicide bombing on a Jerusalem bus. As luck would have it, Joan was not on the bus that was bombed, but on a passing bus that bore the brunt of flying shrapnel. Joan and three other innocent people were murdered in that attack.

A little research on Joan shows that she grew up in San Francisco. So it’s shocking to me that a major university in that city is partnering with a Palestinian university that honors her killers. It’s an outrageous misuse of California taxpayer money — and a slap in the face to every person who cares about peace and justice.

Campus Watch, a division of the Middle East Forum, has revealed that two years ago, San Francisco State University quietly established a partnership with An-Najah University, in Palestinian Authority-controlled Nablus, the biblical Shechem. Oddly, the university’s website says next to nothing about this alliance. SFSU President Leslie Wong has ignored Campus Watch’s inquiries about the financial and administrative terms of the partnership and about plans for a student exchange program between the two schools.

I wonder if Wong is giving Campus Watch the cold shoulder because deep down, he knows that befriending An-Najah is indefensible. The campus is a notorious hotbed of support for Hamas. Not long ago, the students set up a large exhibit on campus in which they constructed a replica of the bombed-out Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem, complete with blood-drenched debris. It was a celebration of one of the most infamous Hamas suicide bombings.

Hamas has praised An-Najah as a “greenhouse for martyrs.” The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reports that the student council “glorifies suicide bombings and propagandizes for jihad against Israel,” and that the Islamic Palestine bloc on campus “is a recruiter and feeder for Hamas and many of its members have conducted suicide bombings.” Matthew Levitt, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, notes that An-Najah is known for “terrorist recruitment, indoctrination and radicalization of students.”

The Hamas bombing which residents of San Francisco remember best is the one that shattered one of the city’s most prominent Jewish families. On August 21, 1995, a female Hamas suicide bomber named Sufian Jabarin (using a device designed by the most infamous bomb maker Yahya Ayyash) blew herself up on a Jerusalem bus. Four innocent people were murdered, including Joan Edelstein Davenny.

Joan was a true daughter of San Francisco. Her grandparents, George and Pauline Edelstein, founded the city’s Temple Beth Shalom back in 1904. The synagogue’s current location is less than five miles from the campus of San Francisco State University. I wonder if Wong has ever passed it on his way to work.

Joan’s parents, Burt Edelstein and Betty Kahn, were San Francisco natives. Burt owned and operated the longtime Outside In clothing store at Mission and 22nd Street, which is no longer there. Wong grew up just across the bay in Oakland, and his father was a National Dollar Store executive. I wouldn’t be surprised if Joan’s father and Wong’s father crossed paths now and then.

Betty Kahn Edelstein ran the popular Minerva’s Owl bookstore on Union Street. An intellectual such as Wong might have had occasion to visit during all those years he lived nearby. Who knows if he didn’t chance to stop by one day when Joan was helping out at her mother’s shop.

While Wong attended the Bishop O’Dowd Catholic High School in Oakland, Joan was going to San Francisco’s George Washington High School. Perhaps the two schools played each other in football or lacrosse. Wouldn’t it be something if the two teenagers ever happened to sit near each other in the stands?

Joan and her family were deeply immersed in the colorful cultural scene of 1960s San Francisco. Joan’s parents were close friends with legendary rock music producer Bill Graham. “The friendship allowed her to get work at the Fillmore Auditorium and hang out with the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane,” according to the Northern California Jewish Bulletin. “We lived out the Haight-Ashbury experience,” longtime friend Elisabeth Semel recalled, describing the years when she and Joan “became hippies.” Joan channeled that youthful idealistic spirit into a career as a school teacher, a drug counselor and an AIDS educator.

A number of Joan’s family members still live in the Bay area. Her uncle Maurice, for example, is a noted local photographer. Three years ago, his critically-acclaimed exhibit, “Images of Chinatown: Four Decades of Photography,” was featured at San Francisco’s Chinese Culture Center. I hope Wong had a chance to view it.

The memory of Joan, the values for which she stood, and the contributions that she and her family made to their city should be a badge of pride for every San Franciscan. Wong should be holding up the example of Joan’s life as a model for every one of his students at San Francisco State University.

Instead, he is trampling on Joan’s memory by befriending a university that glorifies Hamas, the terrorist group that murdered her. When Wong was chosen to serve as president of SFSU, John Gumas, president of San Francisco State Foundation, explained that he and his fellow search committee members selected Wong in part because of his “sense of social justice.” But Wong’s partnership with the Hamas cheerleaders at An-Najah University is what I would call a social injustice — and an embarrassment to the city of San Francisco.

It’s an injustice that is not too late to correct.

Stephen M. Flatow

Palestinian University Built Just a Few Feet From the Temple Mount

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Israel Rising website}

In an attempt to appropriate and strengthen the Islamic and Arab narrative in the Old City of Jerusalem, Al Quds in the Old City is financed by the EU and other Palestinian Authority backers.

The area the Al Quds Jerusalem branch is located in is in between the Temple Mount, the Northern Jewish Quarter and the famous Kotel HaKatan (Small Western Wall). This area is more than just strategic, but historically and religiously significant to Jews.  The Northern Jewish Quarter was the home to a thriving Jewish community up until the Arab pogroms of th 1920’s and 1930’s as well a few minutes walk from the now renovated Synagogues in the area.

By the Arabs making a play for the area they are attempting to alter the fragile balance in a Jewishly historic area of the Old City.

al-quds-branch-map

David Mark

Haifa University Predicts Arrival of Jellyfish in Israel Using Sea Temperature and Lunar Cycle

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Large swarms of jellyfish reach Israel’s coast when the sea temperature ranges between 28.2 and 30 degrees Celsius and during the full moon, according to a new study from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management at Haifa University.

Jellyfish interfere with public systems and can injure and even kill swimmers. Jellyfish destroy fishing nets, poison or crush captured fish, and consume fish eggs and young fish. Jellyfish can clog cooling equipment, thus disabling power plants. Jellyfish caused a cascading blackout in the Philippines in 1999, and damaged the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in California in 2008. Clogging can also stop desalination plants and ship engines.

The Haifa University study reveals, for the first time, a link between sea temperature and the lunar cycle, and the arrival of swarms of Jellyfish along the coast of Israel. “It is possible that individual Jellyfish will also reach the coast under different conditions, but we discovered that the most significant swarms arrive under the above conditions, the proof being that in such periods the number of blockages of the Israel Electric Company’s cooling facilities with dead Jellyfish have been incomparably greater than during other periods of the year,” said Avi Algazi, an IEC system management unit employee who conducted the research.

A container full of Jellyfish / Photo Credit: Avi Algazi

A container full of Jellyfish / Photo Credit: Avi Algazi

The five IEC power stations located along Israel’s Mediterranean coast use seawater to cool the steam condensers which turn gaseous steam back to liquid water for reuse in the production of electricity. The stations use three levels of filtration to prevent the penetration of foreign bodies into the stations’ condensers, and there is where Jellyfish usually get caught.

Although Jellyfish have become frequent guests along the shores of Israel, and despite their obvious and immediate impact on humans, until now researchers were not certain as to the factors causing the massive arrival of swarms of Jellyfish one summer, while another summer sees fewer of these electric invaders.

Algazi conducted his study under the guidance of Prof. Abraham Haim, acting head of the Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences and professor emeritus at the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management; Dr. Keren Or-Chen of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management; and Dr. Anat Geffen Glazer from the IEC. For his study, Algazi sought to examine a link between the arrival of Jellyfish swarms, as determined by operational events that have occurred at the Eshkol Power Station in Ashdod, and environmental factors such as wind direction and speed and seawater temperature.

The results showed that while the wind was not related to the appearance of giant swarms, 94% of Jellyfish swarms arrivals occurred after the middle of the year (approximately 176 days from the beginning of the year), during the second and third weeks of the Hebrew month, when the moon ranges between almost full to full, and when sea water temperature ranges between 28.2 to 30.0 degrees Celsius.

According to Algazi, Jellyfish also appeared when the moon was in other stages, or when the sea temperature was different from the range cited above. But such occurrences were infrequent, and were usually characterized by a small number of Jellyfish.

The research also revealed that although the blockage of the cooling system filters led to only a small decline in the production of electricity, they did add significantly to the cooling system’s operational costs. “The Jellyfish swarms arrive in June and July, when demand for electricity is high. Throughout those months, due to the high temperature of the sea, both available pumps are operated in order to achieve maximum utilization of the production unit. In addition, Jellyfish, unlike other large objects that get sucked into the cooling system, are not controllable; thus some block the moving filter after penetrating it, and prevent seawater from being pumped in. This causes the cooling pump to stop immediately,” Algazi explained.

JNi.Media

Hebrew University Launching Israel’s First Wine Making Course

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

In recent years, Israel has experienced significant maturation in its wine industry and a surging local and international demand for its outstanding wines. In response to the growing need for skills and professionalism in the industry, the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has opened Israel’s first academic degree program in wine: the International MSc in Viticulture and Enology. The four-semester MSc program begins on March 2, 2017.

Students will gain knowledge and skills at an academic level, consistent with leading programs in other wine-producing countries such as France, the United States and Australia, with special emphasis on the Israeli industry. Upon completion, the students will earn a world-recognized MSc degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This is the first MSc level degree in viticulture and enology to be approved by the National Council for Higher Education (CHE) in Israel.

Program leader Prof. Zohar Kerem said: “Following the success of Israel’s wine industry, I’m excited to open a program that puts Israeli research and academia on the international map of winemaking. The program covers topics of a spectrum similar to programs around the world, and has been tailored to fit Israel’s dry conditions. The program is innovative and unique, and the participants will receive training and guidance from leading academics and professionals.

“The program will provide students from around the world an opportunity to obtain a practical Master’s of Science degree, in a fascinating industry that started here 5000 years ago, from one of the world’s top 100 universities. This will be a great opportunity to meet people from around the world, to form an international network, and to taste and produce some delicious wines,” added Prof. Kerem.

Heading the program, and chairman of its academic committee, is Prof. Zohar Kerem, an Associate Professor at the Robert H. Smith Faculty and a world-renowned researcher in food chemistry, wine quality and olive oil. The program’s professional coordinator is Mr. Yotam Sharon, a postgraduate with honors in Enology from the University of Montpellier in France, an MSc graduate of the Smith Faculty, and a leading winemaker at one of Israel’s premier wineries. Other distinguished members of the teaching staff are Prof. Ben-Ami Bravdo, Prof. Oded Shoseyov and Dr. Ron Shapira. Esteemed guest lecturers from abroad will teach various topics.

The MSc is an 18-month academic program that spans four semesters, with classes held two full days per week on Thursdays and Fridays. The program includes theory; practice in a wine-tasting room on the Smith Faculty campus; an internship in cooperation with Soreq Winery, one of Israel’s leading wine producers; and a workshop to be held in Italy or France. Study subjects include:

—The Vineyard: Planning and cultivating; design; grapevine stocks and types; plot preparation; propagation; planting; trellising; pruning; irrigation; fertilization; mechanization; grape quality treatments.

—Wine Production: Equipment and winery management; micro-vinification; chemistry and stability; microbiology; distillation technology; fermentation science.

—Analysis of grape juice and wine: Biosynthesis of taste and odor factors; sensory evaluation of types of wine and defects in wine; sensory evaluation of wines from Israel and the world.

—Additional Courses: Economics, management and marketing in the wine industry; wine workshop and reading seminar in grapevine and wine production (to be conducted abroad).

Candidates must have a full BSc degree from a recognized institution in a related field, such as biology, chemistry or agriculture. Candidates whose background is lacking in specific subjects will be required to complete an individualized Preparatory Program either before or in conjunction with the beginning of the Enology program.

For more information, visit the Hebrew U Dept. of Agriculture, Food and Environment website, or write or call Mrs. Rakefet Kalev, rakefetk@savion.huji.ac.il, +972-8-9489991

David Israel

Knesset Considers Bill to Require Zionism Course in Universities

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Israel is considering a bill to require Israeli universities to include a prerequisite course on Zionist concepts in their curricula.

The bill was submitted to the Knesset by Yisrael Beytenu Knesset Member Oded Forer.

The measure is intended to counter the anti-Israel trend that has been seen among many of the academics.

It is also hoped the course will help students become citizens who are more aware of their heritage.

The course is expected to include texts from founding fathers such as David Ben Gurion, Menachem Begin, Yitzchak Rabin, and others.

Hana Levi Julian

Baylor University Group Helps Unearth Ancient Mosaics, Coins, in Israeli Synagogue Ruins

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Ancient mosaics depicting Noah’s ark and the parting of the Red Sea have been discovered by university scholars and students excavating a synagogue in Israel that dates to the fifth century.

They also have uncovered coins spanning 2,300 years, says Nathan Elkins, Ph.D., an assistant professor of art history in Baylor University’s College of Arts & Sciences, Waco, Texas. He specializes in the study of coins and serves as numismatist at the site in a former village called Huqoq.

“The ancient coins . . . are critical for our knowledge of the monumental synagogue and the associated village,” Elkins, a member of a team of staff and students from Baylor, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Brigham Young University and the University of Toronto.

The mosaics decorate the floor of a synagogue that dates to the time when the area was ruled by the Roman Empire and when Christianity had become the empire’s official religion. The mosaics show an ark and pairs of animals including elephants, leopards, donkeys, snakes, bears, lions, ostriches, camels, sheep and goats.

The images also portray Pharaoh’s soldiers being swallowed by large fish, surrounded by overturned chariots with horses and chariot drivers.

Donkeys in Noah’s ark mosaic, Huqoq. / Courtesy

Donkeys in Noah’s ark mosaic, Huqoq. / Courtesy

Excavations have continued in the synagogue every summer since the first mosaics were found in 2012. Since then, mosaics depicting Samson and the foxes (as related in the Bible’s Judges 15:4), Samson carrying the gate of Gaza on his shoulders (Judges 16:3), and a scene containing a Hebrew inscription surrounded by human figures, animals and mythological creatures have been uncovered.

The first non-biblical mosaic found in an ancient synagogue also was discovered at Huqoq, showing the legendary meeting between Alexander the Great and the Jewish high priest.

The mosaics have been removed from the site for conservation, and the excavated areas have been backfilled. Financial support for the 2016 excavations was provided by the National Geographic Society and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.

Excavations are scheduled to continue in the summer of 2017. For information and updates about the site and excavation, visit www.Huqoq.org.

Nathan Elkins, Ph.D. / Courtesy

Nathan Elkins, Ph.D. / Courtesy

In addition to working with the excavation, Elkins has advocated for protecting ancient coins from looting and smuggling. He recently spoke at the Public Hearing of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC He urged that the Memoranda of Understanding be renewed to prevent thefts of undocumented ancient coins and antiquities from Greece into the United States.

JNi.Media

Ben-Gurion University Sponsoring ‘Breaking the Silence’ Event (Updated)

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Note to the reader: The following story was sent to us today by our friends at Im Tirtzu. Later in the day we received an irate email from Ehud Zion-Waldoks who does Media Relations for BGU. To stay fair to everyone, we posted his email at the end of the story.

Ben-Gurion University (BGU) will sponsor a conference titled, “Breaking the Silence through the Ages and Now…” in late May. Publicized as an official event of BGU, the event is in clear violation of the Council for Higher Education of Israel’s decision to prohibit any attempt to politicize academia, says the Im Tirtzu rightwing organization, noting that the vast majority of the conference participants are political activists affiliated with the radical, anti-Zionist Left.

Meirav, a student in BGU’s Department of Politics and Government, noted that one of the professors in her department had sent an invitation to the students to attend the conference. “It saddens me to see how time after time the University can sink to a point where it voices explicit support for a radical organization that acts against IDF soldiers,” Meirav said.

Amichai, an archeology student at BGU was also furious after hearing about the event: “It pains and deeply troubles me that BGU, specifically the Department of Jewish History, chose to organize an event in ‘honor’ of ‘Breaking the Silence,’ an organization that supports and fuels the boycotts against the State of Israel and IDF soldiers. Just last year the University’s president, Rivka Carmi, said that she wants to fight against the boycott movement and feels sorry for the University’s professors who have suffered from it. But now she is giving a platform to a radical organization. We are not ready to have this event and will fight it. It is a disgrace that our university is providing them with a platform to spread their lies about Israel.”

In a letter sent by Im Tirtzu CEO, Matan Peleg, to the University’s administration, he demanded that the event be cancelled. “Ben-Gurion University’s sponsorship of this event constitutes as the support of a publicly funded institution for an anti-Zionist political organization that deals with defaming the State of Israel and IDF soldiers in Israel and in the world, backed by foreign government funding.”

In the letter, which he also sent to the Education Minister and to the Chairman of the Knesset Education Committee, Peleg stated that “by standing together with the foreign agent organization ‘Breaking the Silence,’ the University forms a common front with those who bolster the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, thus legitimizing the industry of lies against Israel.”

Peleg emphasized that “the list of participants in the conference speaks for itself – two leading members of ‘Breaking the Silence’ (Yuli Novak and Nadav Weiman) will be speaking alongside various radical Left lecturers and activists who have signed petitions supporting those refusing to serve in the IDF and petitions calling for international pressure to be exerted on Israel. On top of this, the University’s rector will be providing the opening address.

“David Ben-Gurion is turning over in his grave. The University that was named after him has transformed into a blatant supporter of ‘Breaking the Silence,’ and in turn strengthens not only the phenomenon of internal delegitimization backed by foreign funding, but also the worldwide boycott movement against Israel.”

 


 

The conference is an academic one organized by the Department of Jewish History entitled “Whistleblowing Through the Ages and Today”. The full program can be found here: http://in.bgu.ac.il/Pages/events/Breaking-Silence.aspx

The conference will address historical and current aspects of whistle blowing. Several of the leading researchers in Israel will take part in the conference which will discuss various aspects of the phenomenon: literature, history, philosophy, and art.

The conference will be comprised of three sessions: “Ancient Times and the Middle Ages (Socrates and Galileo)

In Modern Times in France (Zola and Sartre), Germany (Thomas Mann), the United States (the Jewish minority and McCarthyism), and Israel (Natan Alterman and Yishayahu Leibowitz).

An additional lecture will be devoted to Eugène Ionesco’s play Rhinoceros.

All of the academics who will be speaking are leading researchers and the topic of the conference is central to their research.

An additional session on the topic of the current Israeli discourse will feature representatives of various viewpoints alongside academics, among these representatives will be Yair Sheleg and Dror Eydar.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is a pluralistic academic institution, which promotes and enables an open and diverse dialogue and does not seek to espouse a particular political viewpoint.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ben-gurion-university-sponsoring-breaking-the-silence-event/2016/05/18/

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