Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy Sukkot

Israel's Cabinet approves deal with Hamas: Schalit to return home

Deal passes 26-3 in cabinet vote; Israel to release 1,000 prisoners in two-stage process, including 1/3 serving life sentences; Netanyahu: "My heart is with the families of terror victims." -- Jerusalem Post
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The Schalit deal: 1,027 prisoners to be freed in 2 stages
In exchange deal passed by the cabinet, 450 Palestinians and Israeli Arabs will be released to West Bank, Gaza, east Jerusalem, overseas. -- Jerusalem Post
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Noam Schalit thanks Netanyahu for signing deal
"It took 1,935 difficult days and long nights to bring Gilad home," captured soldier's father says after cabinet approves exchange deal. -- Jerusalem Post
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Israeli clinical study offers hope to ALS patients

Could enhanced adult stem cells halt the progression of a neurological disease for which there is no treatment or cure?
The bone marrow lab at Hadassah University Medical Center.
Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90
The famous physicist Stephen Hawking has lived with the progressive neuro-muscular disease ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease) for decades. But ordinarily, the disease usually causes death within five years, as patients gradually lose the ability to move, swallow and breathe.

Since there is no known cure for ALS, it's little wonder that patients from across the globe are clamoring to be included in a groundbreaking clinical study started recently at Jerusalem's Hadassah University Medical Center. Researchers are looking at the ability of enhanced autologous stem cells (taken from the patients' own bone marrow) to stop the progression of ALS and perhaps even improve the condition of sufferers. -- Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21c

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Israel's public gardens

From north to south, landscaped refuges offer visitors serene, colorful settings to commune with nature in the Holy Land

The Haifa Bahá'í Gardens feature 19 landscaped terraces
You may have heard about Haifa's spectacular Baha'i Gardens or Jerusalem's Botanical Gardens. But what about Ramat HaNadiv on Mount Carmel? Or the Utopia Orchid Park at Kibbutz Bahan? Israel's public gardens span the country. Let's start at the top. -- Avigayil Kadesh, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Report: Egyptian lulavs smuggled to Israel, U.S.

Thousands of palm fronds for Sukkot lulavs reportedly have been smuggled out of Egypt despite a ban on their export.

The Egyptian palm fronds have surfaced in Israel and the United States, Haaretz reported, citing veteran palm frond traders. -- JTA

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jerusalem from above

Jerusalem is often explored on foot, but another way to see the city is to climb to its rooftops and look down on some of its amazing sites.

Today's tour with guide Madeleine Lavine starts at the YMCA, an architectural landmark built in 1878 and well known for its vision of coexistence. Inside, there is a Jewish-Arab preschool, and a hotel and sports center with a mixed staff.

From there, we look due East across to the Mount of Olives and see the white dome of the newly reconstructed Hurva Synagogue in the Old City; the Windmill in Yemin Moshe, the Old Jerusalem Train station and Independence Park downtown.

We continue atop the Old City walls to the roof of Aish HaTorah Yeshiva, providing a close view of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount with its golden Dome of the Rock, Al Aqsa mosque and Wilson's Arch, and in the distance, the Orthodox Church on the Mount of Olives. --Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Click on the image below to view the virtual tour of Jerusalem.

State seeks injunction against residents' resignations

Physicians demonstate outside Knesset [file]
Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem 

Medical residents announce resignations at press conference; prime minister asks for two week delay in resignations; National Labor Court will convene hearing following state's urgent request. -- staff and Joanna Paraszczk

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New monitor could revolutionize diagnosis of bladder cancer

RealView's implantable imaging system is a win-win, providing relief to patients and more accurate information to their physicians. -- David Shamah, Israel21c

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Ethiopian aliyah hindered by overload at Israeli absorption centers

Newly arrived Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia attending
a rehearsal for a Passover seder at
the absorption center in Mevasseret Zion, April 14, 2011.
(Kobi Gideon / Flash 90)
It’s a typical Friday morning in Israel’s largest absorption center: A handful of local residents, all immigrants from Ethiopia, mill about examining wares for sale at a small, unofficial souk.

Located in Mevasseret Zion, a town just outside Jerusalem, the center has become more like a town within a town. Run by the Jewish Agency for Israel, it is meant to provide immigrants with basic language skills and cultural tools needed for their new lives in Israel. -- Ruth Eglash, JTA

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McCartney attends Yom Kippur services, marries next day

Nancy Shevell and Sir Paul McCartney emerge,
with Sir Paul's son James to his left.
Photo: AFP

Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney reportedly spent the night before his wedding at Yom Kippur services.

McCartney married Jewish-American heiress Nancy Shevell in London on Sunday. They reportedly attended Yom Kippur services and a break fast at a local London synagogue, where Shevell, 51, received a blessing in honor of her upcoming marriage.

The couple married Sunday in a civil ceremony at London's Marylebone Register Office, followed by a small reception at McCartney's north London home.

McCartney's first wife, Linda Eastman, also was Jewish. She died in 1998 after a battle with breast cancer. -- JTA

Monday, October 10, 2011

1 million hits on virtual Dead Sea scrolls

Less than a week after launching the Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Project, the Israel Museum counted more than a million hits on its new website featuring high-resolution photographs of the scrolls.

The museum, together with Google Israel, launched the new site that allows users to examine and explore these ancient manuscripts from Second Temple times. The website also gives short explanatory videos and background information on the texts and their history.

The real scrolls are part of the Israel Museum's Shrine of the Book collection in Jerusalem. They were photographed using a special camera before being uploaded to the site. -- Viva Sarah Press, Israel21c

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Op Ed: Jordan is Palestine: Arieh Eldad’s Two-State Solution

With a petition for Palestinian statehood presented before the United Nations last week, the issue of the disputed right to the land of Israel seems to many to be on the verge of an historic, if unsatisfying and controversial, resolution. But Dr. Arieh Eldad, a Member of Knesset and chairman of the Jewish nationalist Hatikva party, insists that the root of the issue is not territorial, and thus any peace plan based on the concept of dividing the land is destined for failure. -- Mark Tapson, FrontPage Magazine

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Demographic optimism in the New Year

On the eve of the Jewish New Year 5772, the Jewish fertility rate of 2.97 births per woman exceeds the fertility rates in most Arab countries.

In defiance of conventional wisdom, Israeli Jewish fertility has been robust -- primarily due to a surge in secular Jewish birth rate -- while in the Muslim world rapid modernization has led to a sharp decline, down to 1.7 births per woman in Iran, 2.8 in Jordan, 2.5 in Egypt, 2.5 in most Persian Gulf states (except for Saudi Arabia, with 4 births per woman), and 1.9 in North Africa. -- Yoram Ettinger, Israel Hayom

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Young Jews reveal secret thoughts for art project

Postcards on which young Jews expressed
their deepest feelings about their Jewish identities
were recently on display in a Montreal café.

A five-month-long community art project called Signed, Anonymous encouraged young Jewish people to express their secret thoughts and deepest feelings about their Jewish identities on the backs of homemade postcards. -- Marlee Wasser, Canadian Jewish News

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Israel, the Jigsaw Nation

A team of Israelis tackled the world’s biggest puzzle.
With sales of some 1.2 million puzzles annually, Israelis are among the world's leading jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts. -- Viva Sarah Press, Israel21c

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

What Happend to...?

This picture is for those of you who ever wondered what became of those soldiers pictured at the Western Wall, after the liberation of Jerusalem in 1967.

Zion Karasenti, 64, now a director and choreographer, living in Afula....

Yitzak Yifat, 64, now an obstetrics and gynaecology surgeon....

Haim Oshri, 63, emigrated from Yemen to Israel in 1949....-- Israel Coolblog

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Wheelchair-Bound Sivan Comes to Israeli Sesame Street

In an effort to increase what Sesame Street producers call "Muppet Diplomacy," the Israeli version of the show, Rechov Sumsum, teamed up with Beit Issie Shapiro, a non-profit that promotes the inclusion of people with special needs, to introduce Sivan, a disabled Muppet who sits in a wheelchair. In the episode above Sivan shows kid viewers that just because you're in a wheelchair doesn't mean you can't have fun at a playground.

The Isreali version of the show has also focused, albeit not without controversy, on increasing diplomacy by showcasing friendly interactions between Israeli and Palestinian Muppets. -- Katy Steinmetz

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To view accompanying video, click on image below.

Vandals paint swastikas on walls of Jewish holy site

Jewish worshippers pray outside Joseph's Tomb on 4 July, in the northern West Bank city of Nablus
Worshippers who came to pray at Joseph's Tomb, a Jewish holy site in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, found swastikas and graffiti sprayed on the walls. -- Michal Zippori, CNN

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Discovering Europe's non-Jews who kept the faith

Bozodujfalu, spring, 2011.
The Transylvanian village was once home to a host of religions −
including Catholics, Unitarians, Jewish converts
and Shabbat-keepers − all living in harmony.

Although neither Jewish nor Christian, the Szekely Sabbatarians honored the Sabbath and kept many Jewish rituals, with their activities centered around the village of Bozodujfalu in Transylvania. The Jewish world had its doubts about them, but the Nazis didn't. -- Shay Fogelman, Haaretz

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Op-ed: Remembering Steve Jobs

Apple's announcement  Photo: AFP

News of the death of Apple’s founder and CEO, Steve Jobs, spread across the Internet just as quickly as reviews of the brand new iPhone 4S....

I found myself saddened upon learning of his passing. It’s not just because of my addiction to my MacBook, iPhone and iPad – some of the revolutionary technology he designed in recent years. Jobs was inspiring. He possessed a passion, a drive, and a vision that is so rare to find today. And he inspired me. -- Rabbi Shimshon Nadel, Ynetnews

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