Grapevine: A tech partnership waiting to happen

President Shimon Peres frequently says that the next decade will produce the most dramatic scientific discoveries that the world has ever known.

 Hadassah of America national president Marcie Natan, Barkat (photo credit: Hadassah)
Hadassah of America national president Marcie Natan, Barkat
(photo credit: Hadassah)
■ EVER SINCE his arrival in Israel, British Ambassador Matthew Gould has been promoting scientific and technical cooperation between Israel and the UK. Such cooperation has been in the works for quite some time, but Gould wants to take it to higher levels. He will be talking about the subject on Monday when he meets with Tel Aviv University Recanati alumni. The title of his address is “Israel and Britain: A tech partnership waiting to happen.”
President Shimon Peres frequently says that the next decade will produce the most dramatic scientific discoveries that the world has ever known. One of the reasons he says this is because when presenting their credentials, almost every new ambassador listed the strengthening of scientific and technological cooperation either at the top or very close to the top of their diplomatic agendas. Israel has R&D agreements with numerous countries in the realms of science and technology.
All that collective brainpower is bound to come up with things that even science fiction writers haven’t thought of yet.
■ BLOOD WILL tell, says the old adage, and in the case of French President Nicolas Sarkozy it certainly has. It is difficult to imagine that the leader of any other country would become as intensively involved in matters related to the Jewish community as was Sarkozy in responding to the murders of Yonatan Sandler, his sons Ariel and Gavriel, and eight-year-old Miriam Monsonego this week. And before that, he was greatly involved in trying to secure the release of Gilad Schalit and in frequent contact with Schalit’s family.
Sarkozy had a Jewish grandfather and has a halachically Jewish grandson.
■ ALTHOUGH SHE seems to have faded from the limelight, Daphne Leef, who was one of the leaders of last summer’s nationwide rallies for social justice, has not been forgotten. Leef was among the recipients of special citations of recognition awarded this week at a symposium at the John Bryce Hi-Tech College in Tel Aviv. Among the other organizers of the symposium, which focused on women, social justice and the new media, were the Open University Students Association, members of the Shlomit Lir Network and Young Naamat. This was the first time that awards were given specifically to women who had used new media to promote social justice.
■ AT THE dry-run dedication this week of the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower at the Hadassah Medical Center Ein Karem, Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar had the honor of affixing the mezuza to what Marcie Natan, national president of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America said was among Hadassah’s most significant contributions to the State of Israel. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat concurred, saying that the tower was “one of the most important buildings in the city.” Amar was assisted in the mezuza ceremony by Sidney Swartz, who with his wife, Judy, had co-chaired the fund-raising campaign for the tower.
The event, which coincided with the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Hadassah organization was attended by members of the Davidson family, former Hadassah national presidents Marlene Post, Bonnie Lipton and Nancy Falchuk, US Ambassador Dan Shapiro and his wife, Julie Fisher, and many other dignitaries. Just as Teddy Kollek, the most legendary of Jerusalem’s mayors, had in 1967 returned to Hadassah the keys to Mount Scopus during the presidency of the late Charlotte Jacobson, Marcie Natan, in a reciprocal gesture, presented Barkat with a symbolic key to the tower, which is now Israel’s most sophisticated medical facility.
■ IN THE spirit of March being Women’s Month, 240 girls and their mothers will participate in a bat mitzva ceremony on Sunday, March 25, at the Makabim School in Gan Yavne, in the presence of Gan Yavne Mayor Dror Aharon. The ceremony, believed to be the largest of its kind in Israel, is a joint initiative between ZIKA-Gan Yavne and UJA-Federation of New York,.
“We are elated to take part in this amazing event that turns the bat mitzva ceremony into a community celebration,” said Dorothy Tananbaum, chairwoman of UJA-Federation’s Commission on Jewish Identity and Renewal. She added that her organization is proud to support this project along with other programs in Israel that promote Jewish identity and renewal. The 240 girls, from both religious and secular backgrounds, attend schools in the Gan Yavne area. The ceremony will feature original text composed by the girls and their mothers over the past month as well as a musical play put on by the girls, which will showcase heroines in Jewish history.
The event is a project that was initiated by ZIKA for bat mitzva girls and their mothers in order to enrich this special time in their lives with significant substance as well as to follow them as they become bat mitzva, said Orly Kenneth, director of ZIKA-Gan Yavne.
■ JUST AS Israelis and Jews in the Diaspora believe that the media presents a distorted image of them, Palestinians feel the same about the way their own portrayal.
In an attempt to change perceptions and illustrate the rich cultural diversity of Palestinians, Fadi Kattan, a Palestinian living in Bethlehem, initiated an ongoing project called “I am Palestine,” which evolved into a collection of videos and installation pieces created by Kattan, Karina Goulordava and Sean Neely.
Their collective project will have its American debut on March 24 at the Unsmoke Artspace in Pittsburgh.