Happy healthy and wise

As we move forward towards the festival of Rosh Hashanah, we often send our family and friends these three good wishes for the New Year. There were fortunately many articles of news last week that echoed this theme.
Israel’s biotechs certainly provided medical support for Health improvements. WideMed has obtained US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its Morpheus Ox home monitoring system so that those suffering from sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated. Sleep also keeps the neurones in the brain happy. Happier and more optimistic men have 20 percent more chance of staying alive than pessimistic ones. So Israeli biotech Synapsot has set-up what they call a ‘toolbox for optimistic health.
Israel’s humanitarian programs improve the health of millions of people around the world. Last week IsraAID dispatched a team to the border of Kenya and Somalia to help refugees displaced by the worst drought in the horn of Africa for over sixty years. Israel and France have just signed a cooperation agreement to provide aid to Haiti and to emerging countries in Africa. It covers agriculture, irrigation, public health and gender.
Israel aid mission members to Haiti
Photo: Reuters
Israeli citizens also have health issues, so we are grateful to organisations like Christian Friends of Magen David Adom who raise funds for urgent projects. The MDA ambulance station in Kiryat Shmona can now be completed thanks to their support. The Israeli organisation HAMA (Humans and Animals in Mutual Assistance) has developed a clever ‘win-win’ solution to a health issue. It matches up rescued animals with elderly, holocaust survivors, ADHD and PTSD sufferers. Both the animals and the humans attain happiness from the new relationships.
Wisdom is regularly demonstrated in Israel’s universities and technical institutions. Microsoft invited 300 students to design innovative new software for their mobile phones. The winners included musical, transportation and financial applications. And a paper written by Israel Technion members about Team Management has won first prize in the European Business School’s Innovation Management competition.
The Israeli economy is still looking very healthy. The latest edition of the OECD Observer magazine, however, contains so much information that it needs to be read by someone wiser than me. The health of the Dead Sea has been of concern for some time. So its good news that a survey conducted by the World Bank has concluded that a canal channelling water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea would be financially worthwhile. Israel is keen to protect the health of the environment and the people who need its resources. The 2011 WATEC (Water Technology) conference and exhibition in Tel Aviv will demonstrate Israel’s wisdom and how it continues to be a world leader in this field, 46 years after Netafim invented drip-irrigation. Boys Town Jerusalem, which has looking after the health and education of orphans and children of destitute parents for over 60 years, has just completed a wise environmental project. It is now generating electricity, thanks to its new rooftop solar field.
There are many entertainers making us very happy at the moment. Proving that you can have a river without water the energetic Irish troupe Riverdance is defying the heat and flowing through Tel Aviv, Haifa & Jerusalem. Israel’s very own jazz prodigy Gadi Lehavi is making New York smile. The 15 year-old jazz pianist has a six-night spot at the Village Vanguard with grammy-nominated saxophonist Ravi Coltrane. This video of him, by the way, was recorded when he was barely a Bar mitzvah!
Two other entertainers have wisely decided to come and see Israel up close. The American lifestyle guru, magazine publisher and TV show host Martha Stewart made her first visit to Israel. Her plans included scouting for a possible episode of her show here. Robyn Hitchcock used to play for the 80s punk group ‘The Egyptians’. Now a ‘respectable’ UK solo artist, he returns to Israel 40 years after working on Kibbutz Givat Haim. Let’s hope that Helen Mirren’s next role is a wise choice. She will portray a Mossad spy in the US remake of the 2007 Israeli film "The Debt."
The next batch of stories links several individuals and organisations that are directly concerned with the health and well being of citizens in the Jewish State. Tania Didio left her Las Vegas home to join the Israeli scouts working at Kibbutz Magen. Regular barrages of rockets from Gaza frequently shake her up. But the calmness shown by kibbutz children under fire has made a big impression on her. Meanwhile, the IDF troops defending our people were surveyed to ask them what they most wanted donations to go towards. Their top answers included workout rooms, medical clinics and clubhouses. Last week 15,000 Israelis started National Service. Volunteers work in day care centres, teach Judaism in secular schools, support hospital staff, help the physically or mentally handicapped and assist with environmental and aid groups. We also can be uplifted by the life of Ayala Zacks Abramov, who passed away last week aged 99. Her bequest of numerous valuable works will bring pleasure to thousands of visitors to the Israel Museum and the Tel Aviv Museum. Her trust fund already benefits many young students of the arts.
Finally, New York wine expert Seth Weiser demonstrated his knowledge of the subject with a special guest appearance at Clara Bar on the beach in Tel Aviv. I’m sure he also knows the health benefits of a glass of wine and its ability to enhance the happiness of Pesach and Purim. I wonder, though, whether it was his love of Israeli wines that influenced him to make his wisest decision to date. To make Aliya of course!
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.