ISRAEL21c content is part of the information included on CHAT's Wall of Truth.
Behind the scenes at ISRAEL21c

CHAT students discover ingenuity through ISRAEL21c

ISRAEL21c content is part of the information included on CHAT's Wall of Truth.

ISRAEL21c content is part of the information included on CHAT’s Wall of Truth.

We recently shared a Shabbat meal with a “gap year” student from Toronto. When I told her I write for ISRAEL21c, she said her history teacher at the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT) uses material from our website on a regular basis to keep kids informed about Israeli innovation.

So I called Mahra Hart to find out more.

Hart, a Jewish history teacher at one of CHAT’s two campuses, began an Israel Advocacy Club three years ago. “I wanted to inspire our students to speak up on behalf of Israel, especially on university campuses where we know they will come across extreme anti-Zionist propaganda,” she says.

As part of this initiative, she produces a weekly bulletin, “Israel in the News,” for CHAT’s Jewish history teachers to review with the 598 students.

“So that the students don’t come to understand the essence of Israel as a conflict with the Palestinians,” she gathers news of groundbreaking medical, technological, humanitarian and agricultural advances happening every day in Israel, drawing on reports from ISRAEL21c as well as other sources such as the Jerusalem Post and Israel National News websites.

“I just showed the ISRAEL21c video of Happy Tel Aviv-Yafo,” she reported on March 18. “Everyone danced along. It’s so nice to see that dimension of Israel in video.”

She also uses ISRAEL21c in her 12th grade course on Israeli society.

“We do a unit on the economy, and I have each student research an aspect of Israeli innovation from ISRAEL21c specifically,” Hart relates. “They have to prepare an ad for an innovation that they found on ISRAEL21c, and I use these ads to make a wall display, ‘The Wall of Truth,’ for the entire student body.”

Hart says she was inspired to use our website in the classroom because she had detected some indifference among her students toward Israel and toward anti-Zionism.

“Knowing full well they will confront it on college campuses, I wanted to prepare them and inspire their sense of Zionism and ability to speak for Israel,” she says. “I’m not Israeli, but Israel is the Jewish state so it represents me and them. It’s part of being Jewish.”

The payoff is hearing from former students about how the Israel Advocacy Club experience came to their rescue.

“Right after the first year of the Israel Advocacy program, I started getting emails from students about their experiences on campus and how the background they got from CHAT inspired them to be leaders. They tell me of their pride and their successes, or ask for additional resources to fight anti-Zionism. The program has had an immediate and important impact.”

By the way, ISRAEL21c writer and associate editor Viva Sarah Press is a CHAT alumna (class of 1993).

If your school is using our content in a creative way, write to us at info@ISRAEL21c.org.

elminda
Behind the scenes at ISRAEL21c,Gadgets,Innovation

14,000 see Israeli innovation showcase at AIPAC

The four Israeli companies invited to present their futuristic technologies in front of 14,000 attendees of the 2014 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington last week received an enthusiastic response from the largest gathering of America’s pro-Israel community. Jews, Christians, African Americans and Latinos from all 50 states were in attendance, including thousands of college students.

The Israel Innovation Showcase has become a favorite highlight of twice-yearly AIPAC national events (http://www.israel21c.org/blog/behind-the-scenes/israel21c-feature-stories-star-in-aipac-innovation-showcase/). ISRAEL21c’s Nathan Miller was at the Policy Conference to speak with the four executives, whose groundbreaking companies have all been featured on ISRAEL21c for their potential to improve lives.

“We are overwhelmed by the positive reaction and interest,” ElMindA CEO Ronen Gadot told Miller.

The 32-person company, in R&D mode since 2006 and poised for commercialization this year, just completed large clinical studies to validate its technology – a non-invasive functional brain mapping to diagnose and monitor cognitive impairments such as in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson diseases, ADHD, brain injuries and other neurological disorders affecting millions of people.

“We have filed with the FDA two years ago, and are in advanced review by the agency,” Gadot said. “We are preparing an infrastructure to market our tools in the US and Canada. We are positioned as an international company because our market is global, and we have many partners in the US — industry, pharmaceutical companies, universities, medical schools and hospitals.”

ElMindA was one of the “wow” technologies demonstrated to President Obama during his March 2013 visit to Israel due to his interest in advancing brain science – an interest shared with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

“Focusing on a variety of indications, we are working toward a reality where our brain health will be much more closely monitored so disease can be diagnosed earlier and treatment will be more effective,” said Gadot, adding that this has relevance for everyone – from kids with developmental disorders and concussion, to the early detection of our own cognitive impairment, or dealing with parents suffering neurodegenerative diseases such as  Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

 AIPAC delegates were lined up at ElMindA’s booth for free demo brain scans. “I didn’t realize how many doctors and neurologists would be here, and they want to test drive this in their clinics,” said Gadot. “It’s been an amazing experience.”

Everyone wanted to try it

Turning to water technology, TaKaDu founder and CEO Amir Peleg demonstrated his company’s “add-on” software solution to help municipalities and companies detect water leaks and save some of the $15 billion lost each year due to leakage in the carrier infrastructure.

“We showed live what we can do for leaky systems,” Peleg told Miller. “The response was overwhelming – unbelievable — not only because what we do is special and unique and easy to understand, but because the crowd here is so supportive of Israeli technology.”

During his two days at the Policy Conference, Peleg was approached by potential customers, such as the owner of a soft-drink factory; by movers and shakers who want to help open doors for TaKaDu in the United States; and by students inspired by the company’s green mission.

Peleg predicted that if TaKaDu could help utility companies conserve one-third of the water flowing through the pipes that is now wasted, their impression of Israel will be radically changed. “Every time I have an interaction with a foreign company,” said Peleg, “I’m sure they are one notch more friendly to Israel than before.”

Erez Naaman, vice president of business development and engineering at OrCam, presented the company’s assistive device for people with vision impairment, in development for the past three and a half years.

“It’s a smart camera that sees for them, understands what it’s looking at and tells them discreetly in their ear,” he explained to Miller. Based on an invention by Prof. Amnon Shashua, OrCam’s invention is built into a tiny computer that clips onto a pair of eyeglasses.

“We came to AIPAC to help us reach the American public,” said Naaman. “And everyone’s been incredibly supportive. I was quite surprised at how deeply it touches people to see an actual user of the device, to appreciate what it does for them. A few people wanted to purchase one right here.”

Others at the conference told him about relatives whose lives could be changed by the OrCam device, which is in a pre-launch phase with its first paying customers.

“We’re here to help and we want people to know it,” said Naaman. “The coverage we’ve been getting is crucial in getting the word out to our public, who don’t consume mainstream media.”

Amir Be’eri, founder and CEO of Camero, explained the capabilities of his company’s security cameras with advanced micro-power radar technology that can “see” through walls to provide real-time surveillance of concealed stationary and moving objects.

“We were proud to be selected to present at AIPAC among the many technologies in Israel,” Be’eri told Miller.

“We are getting a fantastic response. Everyone is astonished to see such Israeli technology in use. The United States is our biggest market, and we make something that can literally save lives in rescue operations, drug raids, urban combat, high-risk arrest and many other applications. We can show Israel has great ideas that can be used all over the world.”

Plastic surgeon Jacky Govrin, left, and his brother, biomedical engineer Dael Govreen-Segal.
Behind the scenes at ISRAEL21c

ISRAEL21c story on new breast implant sparks global interest

On January 9, ISRAEL21c broke the news to the English-speaking public about a revolutionary Israeli invention now entering the European market: B-Lite – the world’s lightest-weight breast implant.

Dael Govreen-Segal, the biomedical engineer who worked for years to perfect B-Lite on the suggestion of his brother, plastic surgeon Dr. Jacky Govrin, tells ISRAEL21c that the article spawned a flurry of interest from would-be patients as well as distributors, marketers and other professionals eager to learn more about the G & G Biotechnology product.

“The initial awareness snowballed,” he says. “For us, the article on ISRAEL21c was the first one we did in the English language, and that gave us significant exposure in that there is quite a diverse readership. Following the article’s publication, we got a lot of approaches from women, from distributors and from various service providers offering marketing, legal and IT services. We also had two approaches from potential investors.”

These inquiries, to his surprise, came not only from North America but also from South Korea, New Zealand and various European countries.

B-Lite, the product making waves.

B-Lite, the product making waves.

“The other thing that happened is that the [UK] Daily Mail on Sunday picked up the [ISRAEL21c] article and did its own article about us. Then, in a funny twist, The Marker in Israel picked up the story from the Daily Mail so it’s kind of like a ping-pong game.”

Govreen-Segal noticed as well that the ISRAEL21c article was reposted and reprinted “pretty much as is” in blogs (such as DocsTalk), Jewish newspapers and websites such as the Heritage Florida Jewish News and Shalom Life, professional websites (such as Plastic Surgery Portal) as well as a Canadian newspaper.

“We will follow up with all those who contacted us,” Govreen-Segal says. “It’s been very good exposure for us and we are very grateful to you for the article.”

Israel21c_and_Roojoom
Behind the scenes at ISRAEL21c,Innovation,Internet

Welcome to a new way of reading ISRAEL21c

The staff of ISRAEL21c and Roojoom meet for a training session.

The staff of ISRAEL21c and Roojoom meet for a training session.

At ISRAEL21c we are always looking for ways to make your experience as a reader better and to bring you content in new and interesting ways.

We especially like it when we can combine this with innovative and exciting Israeli technologies. With this in mind we are announcing a new partnership with Tel Aviv start-up Roojoom.

Roojoom, which won Most Promising Startup at the Microsoft Ventures Tel Aviv Accelerator, has developed a dynamic experience for sharing and reading content on the web.

Using Roojooms we can bundle and organize our stories and videos in a completely new way, guiding you through some of the most fascinating topics going on in Israel right now, step by step, without you having to stop and search for anything.

ISRAEL21c launches its first Roojoom today – about food in Israel – you can see it at the bottom of this story, and also in the right hand column of our home page. Just click on it to go in, and follow the path.

Week by week – sometimes twice a week – we will add a new Roojoom for you to experience on a wide range of absorbing subjects.

Using a Roojoom is fun and interesting, and we hope you enjoy this new way of reading our stories.

Look for the Roojooms on our home page, and in our Facebook and Twitter feeds, and feel free to share them widely with friends, family, neighbors and colleagues.

We’d love to hear what you think about them, and we’d love even more to know if there are any subjects you’d like to see us create a Roojoom about. Go on, get wild – if we’ve written stories on the subject in the past, we can create a Roojoom.

You can send your suggestions to info@israel21c.org.

Enjoy!

behindrhescenes1
Behind the scenes at ISRAEL21c

ISRAEL21c write-up leads to romantic match-up

Lara Porter showing off her “stellar ring” after accepting Pinhus Dashevsky’s proposal. Photo by Ira Machefsky

Just before Valentine’s Day 2012, ISRAEL21c included Astronomy Israel’s nighttime star tours in Mitzpeh Ramon as one of the top 10 romantic spots in Israel.

Ira Machefsky, the American émigré who runs the tours in the Negev town, then posted the following offer on his website, astronomyisrael.com: “Propose on a star tour and it’s free!”

On the night of January 13, he reports happily, it happened.

“The offer has been there almost two years and finally a couple took me up on it,” he tells ISRAEL21c.

Pinhus Dashevsky and Lara Porter, both New York college students, got engaged on a star tour that Dashevsky arranged in advance as the high point of their winter-break vacation in Israel.

“They met on a plane to Israel three years ago, and then a few months later they were both on the same summer program in Israel,” Machefsky relates. “They got to know each other as friends, and one thing led to another.”

In planning their vacation, Dashevsky searched online for a way to indulge his girlfriend’s love of the stars. He discovered Astronomy Israel and called to make a reservation, explaining his wish to propose marriage at the end of the session.

When the moment arrived on that chilly Monday night, Machefsky began playing one of the romantic MP3 files that Dashevsky had sent him ahead of time, and excused himself from the scene – but stayed close enough to hear the words, “Will you marry me?”

Engagement party at the Green Backpackers lodge. Photo by Ira Machefsky

“I’m happy to say she did agree, and we broke out the champagne and had a little toast in the desert,” says Machefsky.

“I got to see the ring. It was a stellar ring,” he puns. “Then we went to where they were staying at the Green Backpackers lodge, where we’d arranged a party with cake and wine.”

Machefsky stresses that his free offer still stands for any about-to-get-engaged couple heading to Mitzpeh Ramon. “Come on down and get hitched!”