In a city where so many cultures seek spiritual reawakening, scientists in Jerusalem are harvesting their own type of rebirth, as they develop more ways to save lives through the use of undifferentiated stem cells.
The laboratories of Israeli universities boast some of the newest advancements in molecular biology, and two potentially life-changing stem cell projects are unfolding at Hebrew University – Hadassah Medical School.
Wednesday, March 11th, 2009
(In 1996, when Bibi Netanyahu first became prime minister, I took a look back at his high school years in the United States and a girl who knew him when. With Netanyahu about to become prime minister again, and with the article no longer available in The Jewish Week’s online archives, here’s a reprise in response to several requests. — JM)
Bibi Was There – And Then He Wasn’t
By Jonathan Mark
Thursday, February 26th, 2009
(Because of a formatting error on the main site, here’s a corrected version of this week’s “Edge of Town” column).
Uncanny Tales Of Survival
“Small Miracles of the Holocaust,” and the mysteries of coincidence
by Jonathan Mark
Lifnei seiva takum, v’hadarta p’nei zaken — “You shall rise up before the elder, and you shall honor the old person.” Kabed et avicha v’et imecha — “Honor your father and your mother.” These two normative biblical principles, separate albeit related, inform much of Jewish life and by extension our larger society, often — and sadly — more in the breach than in the observance.
One day, millennia ago, next to a fire or hearth, someone found that their flatbread dough — a dough made daily, eaten at every meal — had gone bad. Dough that should have been firm was misshapen. It was puffy and elastic. It would have smelled of something unfamiliar, and, to an inexperienced nose, probably unpleasant. Most likely, they tossed it to the birds or dogs, and started anew. But this “off” dough, had it been baked, would have been one of the first leavened breads.
What’s the Jewish language? Or, more to the point in 2009/5769, what is not? Seventy years ago, Yiddish was the lingua franca of the Jewish people. Today it is not Hebrew, it is not Yiddish, it is not Ladino, it is not Russian (a small flowering of Russian literature in Israel notwithstanding) — it is English.
Eight years after the Twin Towers crumbled over downtown Manhattan, rescue worker Charlie Giles still wakes up regularly with nightmares of the North Tower collapsing on top of him, enveloping his body his flames and in suffocating debris. One night recently, he even woke up to find himself throwing things.
“I said to my wife, ‘He’s in our room, he’s in our room,’” Giles remembers. “She said, ‘Who’s in our room?’ I said, ‘bin Laden.’”
Israeli researchers say they are already able to reverse some defects, and may soon be able to take on diseases.
In a city where so many cultures seek spiritual reawakening, In an era when religion and science seem divided by a gaping chasm, one group of scientists is showing how these two belief systems may be a little closer than we think.