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(photo credit: Associated Press)
Sunday, February 8
THE 74TH annual meeting of the Israel Chemical Society will be held at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv on Sunday and Monday. The annual meeting of the ICS, currently headed by Prof. Ehud Keinan of the Technion, is one of the major scientific events of Israeli science, bringing together researchers from academia, chemical education, R&D and industry interested in the structure and dynamics of molecules and materials. This year's meeting has been organized by the Technion's Schulich Faculty of Chemistry and will include the participation of a delegation of senior researchers from the Max Planck Society, celebrating the strong ties between Israeli and German scientists in all fields of chemical research.
The delegation will include: Prof. Klaus Muellen, Mainz; Prof. Peter Seeberger, Berlin; Prof. Benjamin List, Muelheim; Prof. Joachim Spatz, Heidelberg; Prof. Klaus Kern, Stuttgart; Prof. Werner Kuhlbrandt, Frankfurt; and Prof. Walter Thiel, Mullheim. German Ambassador Harald Kindermann will attend the opening session.
The meeting will encompass all facets of modern interdisciplinary chemical research in eight plenary lectures, 18 symposia and two poster sessions. The symposia will include invited keynote and regular talks. The two poster sessions will allow young scientists to present their most recent achievements. Three prizes will be awarded by representatives of the journal PCCP to outstanding posters in physical chemistry.
The 2008 Israel Chemical Society Medal will be awarded to Prof. Ze'ev Luz of the Weizmann Institute of Science, in recognition of his use of magnetic resonance to unravel molecular dynamics and chemical exchange in liquids, liquid crystals and solids, and his enormous contribution in establishing Israel as an internationally renowned center for magnetic-resonance research. The award ceremony will take place at the opening session.
TU BISHVAT is the festival for environmentalists; it is not only the new year for trees, it is a celebration of their fruit. There are also religious connotations attached to the various fruits, which are explained at the Tu Bishvat Seder. Anyone who has not been invited to a Tu Bishvat Seder but would like to attend and hear about the significance of trees and their fruit can attend the one being held in Jerusalem at the Vegetarian Community Center, 8 Balfour St. Seder leader Steven "Shaya" Kelter, invites participants to bring a rare fruit on which to say the shehehiyanu blessing, as well as a song, poem, humor or brief story about trees. The Seder will be held in English and Hebrew. Admission of NIS 25 includes food and beverages required for the Seder.
Thursday, February 12
Rabbi Prof. Angel Kreiman, professor of Jewish and Comparative Theology in Chile and Upus Dei Universities and former chief rabbi of Chile, will be the guest speaker of the Interfaith Encounter Association and will discuss Interfaith Dialogue in Latin America. The lecture will take place at 8 p.m. in Jerusalem at the Swedish Theological Institute, 58 Haneviim Street.
Sunday, February 15
THE HANASSI Synagogue Young Israel Rehavia Congregation in Jerusalem will host a lecture by Dr. Rael Strous, director of the Be'er Ya'acov Mental Health Center's Chronic Inpatient Unit and associate professor and director of the New York State/American Program at Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine, who will speak on Hitler's Psychiatrists: Healers and Researchers Turned Executioners and What Happened to the Jewish Mentally Ill.
Several powerful and influential doctors who provided the energy, scientific expertise and legitimacy for the process leading to Nazi crimes against humanity gained professional prominence in Germany. These psychiatrists played a critical role in the genocide, viewing individuals with mental illness as "life not worth living." Psychiatrists involved included highly intelligent, distinguished and respected leaders from the field, many with respected international reputations.
The question of how highly educated medical professionals came to participate in these crimes remains unresolved. Several explanations may be suggested. The Nazi view of Jewish mentally ill patients was unique in that they embodied both "hazardous genes" and "racial toxin." Strous, who has engaged in extensive research into the fate of the Jewish mentally ill, will describe intriguing ethical dilemmas.