THE STAFF of Ben-Gurion University went on temporary strike this week to protest changes in their terms of employment. Just another example of life being a balance of positive and negative. On the positive side, in addition to the recent honoring of British-born Prof. David Newman by Her Majesty the Queen, BGU president Rivka Carmi was awarded an honorary doctorate by Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The honoring of Carmi along with an array of presidents of other leading universities from many parts of the world was in tandem with the installation of Dalhousie University’s 11th president, Richard Florizone.In congratulating Florizone, Carmi noted that Dalhousie University has become one of Canada’s leading research universities, while working to increase diversity and engage in community outreach: “Their welcoming atmosphere and commitment to go beyond the classroom is the future mandate of all institutions of higher education,” she said.Earlier on the same day, the university presidents participated in a panel discussion on “The Future of Universities.” Carmi spoke about the tension that all universities are undergoing as they try to balance their mission of creating and expanding new knowledge, while trying to make a difference in their communities.“People talk about basic and applied research, when the real division is between good and bad scholarship. Good basic research has brought about incredible breakthroughs that lead to vital applications. Universities should remain focused on enriching the world’s knowledge and disseminate it, while being open and receptive to and inspired by the needs of the community,” she said.REUTH, ONE of the oldest of Israel’s social welfare organizations, which had its beginnings a decade before the founding of the state, will celebrate its 75th anniversary on November 25 with a gala performance by Kobi Aflalo, Shiri Maiman and Rami Kleinstein at the Opera House in the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center. Reuth provides sheltered living in a relatively independent environment, medical care, occupational therapy, leisure-time activities and much more. It also guides the people it helps through the difficult warren of Israeli bureaucracy.ALSO ON the verge of celebrating its 75th anniversary is Rambam Medical Center, which likewise was established in 1938, during the period of the British Mandate. In fact, it was inaugurated by the High Commissioner of Palestine Sir Harold MacMichael and was initially known as the British Government Hospital of Haifa. The architect was Bauhaus icon Erich Mendelsohn, who also designed the home in Rehovot of Israel’s first president, Chaim Weizmann; the Hadassah Medical Center on Mount Scopus; the home of Salman Schocken and the Anglo Palestine Bank in Jerusalem; and several buildings in Tel Aviv.ISRAEL IS more important to other countries than most Israelis realize. After years of being brainwashed about Israel’s isolation from the rest of the world, many Israelis believe this to be true. But the fallacy lies in the extent to which countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel are promoting or participating in cultural, economic and sporting events designed to strengthen bilateral ties, such as the Japanese and Polish culinary festivals that are on the immediate horizon. The Embassy of Cyprus is promoting a photo exhibition titled “Famagusta: a European Ghost Town” that will open at the Einav Center in Tel Aviv on November 6 with the participation of Dimitris Hatziargyrou, the ambassador of Cyprus, and Alexis Galanos, the mayor of Famagusta and president of the Cypriot Union of Municipalities. The exhibition will feature 40 photographs documenting the glorious past of Famagusta and the dreary present of one of the oldest cities in Cyprus, which turned into a ghost town following the deportation of its citizens during the 1974 Turkish invasion.