Metro

Grapevine: Speaking at the Salon

Naftali Bennett, who heads the Bayit Yehudi Party, will be speaking at Federation Hall.

Bayit Hayehudi's Naftali Bennett.
Photo by: YouTube Screenshot
■ ON SUNDAY Naftali Bennett, who heads the Bayit Yehudi Party, will be speaking at Federation Hall, Hangar 11 at the Tel Aviv Port at the invitation of the Tel Aviv International Salon. The Salon was established in 2009 to provide a challenging, thought-provoking and intellectual discussion forum for the young Tel Aviv international and Israeli community. It provides this ever-growing community with opportunities to learn about, debate and discuss Israeli, Jewish and world politics, history, media, economics, social, cultural and environmental issues with top leaders in these fields.

Previous speakers at the Salon have included former CIA director James Woolsey; Tzipi Livni; Yair Lapid; Natan Sharansky; Silvan Shalom; US Ambassador Dan Shapiro; Dr. Dan Schueftan, director of the National Security Studies Center; war reporter Itai Anghel; Knesset members Danny Danon, Isaac Herzog, Avishay Braverman and Einat Wilf; and Ido Aharoni, Israel consul general in New York.

The invitation issued by TAIS contains an extensive biography of Bennett, illustrating the different areas in which he has worked, thus providing fodder for discussion if what he has to say politically fails to stir his audience.Attendance is for young professionals and by invitation only.  To request access, please visit http://NaftaliBennettSalon.eventbrite.com

■ ACTRESS, PRODUCER and model Noa Tishby is on a frequent commute between Hollywood, where she has been living for several years, and her native Tel Aviv. She was back again for the gala opening on Sunday of Gindi TLV Fashion Week, where some 20 of Israel’s leading designers got together in the Gindi project in the heart of Tel Aviv to exhibit their concepts of urban chic. Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, who attended the opening, at which there were also visitors from abroad, said that events of this kind bring honor to Tel Aviv.

In a previous incarnation, the name of the game was Israel Fashion Week, but the fact of the matter is that Tel Aviv is Israel’s fashion capital and has been since long before the establishment of the state. Many of the country’s top designers are products of Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, which though it is located in Ramat Gan, comes within the range of wider Tel Aviv.

While there are fashion design schools in Jerusalem and Haifa, as well as in Tel Aviv proper and possibly elsewhere in the country, Shenkar rules as the hallmark of Israel’s fashion history and fashion education. Many of its alumni whose names have become household words return to teach or to give an occasional lecture demonstration.

Designers showing at Gindi TLV Fashion Week, which concluded yesterday, ran the gamut of long-established fashion icons such as Gideon Oberson, Dorin Frankfurt, Raziela Gershon, Hagar Alembik and Sasson Kedem to rising young stars such as Eynav Zini, Lee Grabenau and Alon Livne. Among the 1,300 or so people in the audience at the opening were Spanish actress and international model Rosie de Palma and Israel actress and model Ayelet Zorer. On the runway were Israel’s supermodels past and present, including current queen of the catwalk Bar Refaeli and former models and beauty queens Ilana Shoshan and Heli Goldenberg.

There was one sad note at the opening – a brief memorial tribute to long-time Yediot Aharonot fashion writer and editor Nurit Bat-Yaar, who succumbed to cancer last week. A front-row seat was reserved for her at almost every fashion show long after she had retired.

■ EVEN WHEN money is globally very tight, there are still individuals, charitable trusts and institutions that are giving it away. One such philanthropic enterprise is The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust Fund, which is providing more than $6.2 million to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev for multidisciplinary, application- oriented robotics research and systems development. The grant will be used to establish the ABC Robotics Center at the university. ABC stands for agricultural, biological and cognitive robotics. Research and development will focus on medical, service, industrial and agricultural robotics.

Fully autonomous robots, capable of performing new tasks in complex and unknown environments and interacting with people, do not yet exist. Robots require human-like cognitive capabilities to successfully enter real-world settings and cope with dynamic and unstructured human environments. This requires robots to be equipped with advanced perception and dexterity, as well as the ability to adapt to changing conditions and to efficiently learn new tasks.

“The human interface is also critical to the successful integration of robots within society,” says Prof. Dan Blumberg, deputy vice president and dean for research and development at BGU. “Robots will need to be equipped with specific physical and behavioral characteristics to make interaction comfortable and natural to humans.

This important component will be addressed by research seeking understanding of cognitive processes in humans and animals in order to create autonomous robots that can interact intuitively with humans and in human environments,” he says.

Another aspect of the research will be to gain an improved understanding of the principles of intelligence based on insights from these robotic experiments. A portion of the grant also provides fellowships to postdoctoral and doctoral students, updated technological equipment and additional faculty positions.

“The Helmsley Charitable Trust is proud to partner with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in advancing the science, technology and human interactivity of robotics, which will be so critical to medicine, industry and agriculture in the future,” says Sandor Frankel, a Helmsley trustee.


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