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September 1, 2014 / 6 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Weizmann Institute’

Archaeologists Find Israel Was Land of Milk, Honey – and Cinnamon

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Cinnamon, once thought to have been carried on trade routes in ancient Israel, may have been made along the northern Israeli coast and not just in Africa and India, as previously thought, Israeli researchers told LiveScience.

They analyzed 27 flasks from archaeological sites in Israel dating back 3,000 years and found that the compound that gives cinnamon its flavor was in 10 of the containers.

Cinnamon bark is found in southern India, and another form of the spice is found in China and southeast Asia. It is now yet known the source of the cinnamon in the flasks found in Israel, but the discovery that it probably was made in Israel “raises the intriguing possibility that long-range spice trade from the Far East westward may have taken place some 3,000 years ago,” the Tel Aviv University and Weizmann Institute researchers wrote in a paper to be published in the journal Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry.

“We don’t think they sailed directly [to the Far East]; it was a very hard task even in the 16th century A.D.” Dvory Namdar, a researcher with the Weizmann Institute of Science and Tel Aviv University, told LiveScience in an interview.

Namdar and research colleague Ayelet Gilboa of the University of Haifa said the flasks, which at that time were in area that was part of ancient Phoenicia, feature a narrow opening with thick walls, indicating their contents were highly prized. Flasks with similar shapes previously have been found in temple storerooms and treasuries of ancient kingdoms, the researches added.

They think that the cinnamon bark was brought from the Far East to ancient Israel and mixed with liquids before it was placed in the flasks prior to shipping the spice elsewhere.

Namdar and Gilboa speculate that people of the time mixed the cinnamon in with wine. “If you mix it with a bigger [container of wine], then you get flavored wine,” they said.

Israeli Team Discovers Stem Cell “Bodyguards”

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

A research team headed by Professor Tsvee Lapidot of Israel’s Weizmann Institute’s immunology Department has discovered that the body’s precious stem cells – special bodies which can morph into many different types in order to provide vital services to the body in cases of need – have a little help in the immune system.

According to the paper, reported on by Israel21c, stem cells have backup from a sub-group of activated immune cells whose sole purpose is to defend them.

While the presence of mesenchymal cells – cells which provide support to stem cells in order to keep them healthy and strong – was already known, Dr. Lapidot’s team discovered that a subgroup of cells exists which prevent the differentiation of stem cells, secreting prostaglandins which preserve the youthfulness of the stem cells and prevent them from turning into anything else – also helping them survive chemotherapy or respond to infections.

Lapidot’s study further showed that introducing prostaglandin treatments can improve the quality and increase the number of the stem cells, an important discovery which may impact the strength and amount of cures to patients with leukemia.

Three Israeli Universities Rank in Top 100

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, and the Weizmann Institute of Science were ranked in the top 100 universities in Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s authoritative 2012 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

The Hebrew University achieved the highest rank – 53rd, with the Technion in 78th place, and the Weizmann Institute coming in at 93rd. Significantly, this is the first time that more than one Israeli university made the top 100.

The ARWU has conducted the rankings since 2003, and is regarded as one of the most influential international university rankings. Over 1200 universities are considered and the top 500 are ranked.

Topping the list was Harvard University, which has done so in each of the ten years that the rankings have been conducted. Altogether, seventeen US universities made the top twenty; the UK’s Cambridge University(#5) and Oxford University (#10), as well as Japan’s University of Tokyo (#20) also made it into the top twenty.

Hebrew University jumped four spaces since last years rankings, and has improved considerably since the first ranking in 2003, when it was ranked 94th. The Technion and Weizmann Institute experienced a significant jump in their rankings, with both breaking the top 100 for the first time; in 2011, both ranked in the 101-150 bracket in 2011. Ranked according to specific fields, the Israeli universities fared even better: the Weizmann Insitute ranked twelfth in computer sciences, the Hebrew University ranked sixteenth in Mathematics, and the Technion ranked 29th in chemistry.

Altogether, six Israeli universities made it onto the list: Tel Aviv University ranked in top 101-150, while Ben Gurion University and Bar Ilan University ranked in the 301-400 bracket.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, commenting Wednesday on the publication of the rankings, said: “This ranking proves that our Government’s unprecedented investment in Israeli academia has led to results. We are investing NIS 7 billion in universities, in a multi-year plan, in centers of excellence, in bringing Israeli minds back home, and our efforts are bearing fruit.

“I am especially happy over the high ranking of Israeli institutions in computer science – with four Israeli universities among the 30 leading institutions in the world,” he continued. “This is another sign that Israel is continuing to establish itself as a global high-tech power. My Government will continue to invest in education – from pre-school to higher education.”

Israeli Scientists Find Way to Delay Cell Death

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Israeli Researchers have discovered a protein that is central to delaying cell death, which “could lead to new approaches to treating cancer.”

The findings, led by Hebrew University graduate student Chen Hener-Katz and involving a collaboration between Prof. Assaf Friedler of the Hebrew University and Prof. Atan Gross of the Weizmann Institute, were published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry in an article titled ”Molecular Basis of the Interaction between Proapoptotic Truncated BID (tBID) Protein and Mitochondrial Carrier Homologue 2 (MTCH2) Protein.”

The discovery by Prof. Gross of the MTCH2 protein as well as its relationship to tBID, allowed the research team to develop a technique that mimics apoptosis.

Programmed cell death, or Apoptosis, is a critical defense mechanism against the development of abnormal cells like cancer, according to HealthCanal.com. “Cancer cells usually avoid this process due to mutations in the genes that encode the relevant proteins,” it continues. “The result is that the cancer cells survive and take over while healthy cells die.”

”These protein segments could be the basis of future anti-cancer therapies in cases where the mechanism of natural cell death is not working properly,” said Prof. Friedler, head of the school of chemistry at the Hebrew University. ”We have just begun to uncover the hidden potential in the interaction between these proteins. This is an important potential target for the development of anticancer drugs that will stimulate apoptosis by interfering with its regulation.”

The potential ramifications of this discovery was described in the Weizmann Institute’s 2010 Update on Cancer Research: “Scientists can use this newly gained knowledge to devise novel therapeutic methods. If clinicians could regulate the production and activity of MTCH2, they would be able, for instance, to ‘turn on’ mitochondria apoptosis in cancerous cells and turn it ‘off’ in the brain cells of patients with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.”

True Role Models (Part Six)

Wednesday, January 12th, 2005

This is the sixth part of a series on Aliyah and Klita (absorption) stories of American Jews who came to Israel for ideological and religious reasons in the past years.

There seems to be a whole group of people who have little or no knowledge of early aliyah from America, but who insist on making ridiculous statements about us. A recent news item which appeared in Ha’aretz, the Jerusalem Post and other newspapers this past month was again misinformed about the aliyah of the past 50 years.

This article lauded the great work of Nefesh B’Nefesh (which is correct). Unfortunately, it went on to mention a so-called scientific survey of immigrants over the past two years, and explained how extremely valuable a resource they are to the Israeli economy (which is true). The survey, reportedly prepared by I-Biz Israel Business Information Services, stated that “this aliyah is the group with the greatest potential economic contribution in the history of Israeli aliya.”

This survey found that more than half of the immigrants associated with the organization have a first university degree, and one-quarter have completed a second degree as well. “We’re talking about the crème de la crème of the most advanced society in the world,” said Pinchas Landau, an economic analyst who prepared and presented the report results this week. “We’ve never seen olim like these.”

The readers of this series know by now, however, that these “scientific studies” reported in the news are nonsense. They are insulting to previous olim and very inaccurate. Highly educated Americans were already coming to Israel in the early 30s both from Bnei Akiva and from other Zionist organizations, with one or two degrees to their names.

Over the past 60 years, the true “crème de la crème” have come and contributed to build Israel. If it wasn’t for the early American olim, the recent immigrants would not have a highly industrial nation to come to.

Just look at what these “less educated” olim of the past have accomplished. Early American olim included people like Prime Minister Golda Meir; Dov Joseph, government minister; Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah; Rabbi Shlomo Riskin; Al Schwimmer, founder of Israel Aircraft; Jonathan Kolber, CEO of Koor Industries; Naomi Ragen, author; Rabbi Chaim Brovender; Prof. David Hartman; Defense Minister Moshe Arens; Judah Magnes, founder of Hebrew University; and many others. Just look in the 70th Anniversary Journal of Bnei Akiva of North America and Canada to find hundreds of additional names.

* * *

David Goldfarb grew up in New York City. He attended the Bnei Akiva Hachshara in 1979. He received his BS degree in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At MIT, David worked with an MIT group to develop the Internet TCP/IP protocols and has been an avid user of the net ever since. He worked at Symbolics – a startup that grew to 1,000 employees and was known as the foremost Artificial Intelligence (AI) company in the 1980s. At Symbolics, David helped to install the first AI work stations in Israel, at the Weizmann Institute, in January, 1985.

In October 1985, David and his family made aliyah. They decided that they could lead at least as good a life in Israel as in Boston. In Israel, David was involved in numerous startups, and created a wealth of technology here. In the early 90s, David championed and spearheaded a rewrite of software for HBOC Pegasus, an Israeli software company developing a Windows application for the medical market. He designed and wrote major portions of the application, guided in-house developers, and advised management regarding the latest advances in Windows. Later, he co-founded 2AM Development Ltd., and served as VP of Technology, heading its software development and design, patent coordination, and technical strategy practices.

In 1988, David created Degel, a consulting company offering software management, technical direction, programming services, graphical user interfaces, image processing, and internet information retrieval.

* * *

Mitchell D. Mittman and his wife arrived in Israel with their two small children 13 years ago. He and his wife, Helene, lived in Flatbush and had been married eight years before they made aliyah.

Prior to his aliyah, Mitchell had worked as a financial strategist for seven years at Goldman, Sachs and Co, reporting to the currency and commodity options desks. Before that, he was a senior consultant in the international auditing department with Price Waterhouse. While he enjoyed the work tremendously, his youth leaders in Bnei Akiva had done their jobs so well that he and his wife knew that the only place for them was in Israel.

Many of their friends from Bnei Akiva had already moved to Israel, and they knew that they would have a warm support group waiting for them to arrive. Some of their friends were on kibbutz and some of them were in the cities, but all were happy that they had made the move.

When they arrived in Israel, Mitchell spent a year at Contahal, a software development company. There he led the team that was responsible for localizing some of HP’s software products, as well as interfacing with a number of companies in Silicon Valley that were interested in exporting their software tools to Israel.

After that, he joined a small hedge fund that specialized in trading foreign exchange options. While the firm did well, Mitchell decided to return to his original love of creating software and he started a company to focus on the software requirements of traders, specifically in foreign exchange. He started out as a company of three people; now they have grown to more than 40 staff members, and Mitchell is the Chief Technology Officer.

The research and development group is based in Ra’anana, and the firm’s main sales office is in NYC. The company client list represents some of the largest financial institutions in the world.

Mitchell and Helene live with their four children in Tzur Yigal, a suburb of Kochav Yair. Their eldest, Eliyahu, currently in Mechina Peduel, is enjoying his time there and is eagerly awaiting his draft into the Israel Defence Forces. Their second child, Elisheva, is a madricha (counselor) in the local Bnei Akiva snif (branch) Nitzana, their other daughter and first Tzabarit, is in seventh grade, and their youngest, Gilad, is happily ensconced in kindergarten.

Neither Mitchell or Helene ever “shnorred” from their parents and neither of them was running away from anything. Rather, they were running towards their dream of living in Israel.

* * *

Shalom Lampert made Aliya one month after finishing his Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering at MIT (Boston) in 1983. He left behind his wonderful family – parents and siblings – and came. His wife, Chaya, also an MIT grad, left her warm and loving family in Brookline, MA to move to Israel (two days after their wedding).

In Israel, Shalom worked for 12 years in Research and Development for Israel Chemicals.

He worked for five years in Patent Law for a large Israeli IP Law firm and as a consultant in the Chemical Processing Industry. He started two IP companies to manage the chemical technologies that he developed (related to the fields of salts processing, recovery of salts from sea brine, crystallization, and waste treatment).

In Maalot, he teaches Torah to Olim from the former Soviet Union. He also gives a class to English-speaking Olim in Karmiel. Both are sponsored by “El-Ami BaTzafon”. He, his wife Chaya and their nine children live in the “development town” of Maalot. Chaya, also an MIT graduate, teaches computer science at Maalot’s Ulpana. They belong to a people with great ideals, and they made aliya “for the right reasons”.

(To Be Continued)

Comment may be sent to
dov@gilor.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/true-role-models-part-six/2005/01/12/

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