WOMEN OF THE WALL HOLDS SHOFAR WORKSHOP










(l-r) Aharon Avital, Tomer Tzinani, Yossi Cohen, Yaron Golan, Limor Golan, Adi Avivi, LIor Filshteiner, and Naftali Friedman - During the hospital visit. - With family's permission - Credit United Hatzalah


JERUSALEM – On Motzei Shabbat before Rosh Hashanah, United Hatzalah volunteer EMTs Aharon Avital, Tomer Tzenani, Yossi Cohen, Naftali Friedman, Adi Avivi, and Lior Filshteiner were summoned to the home of Yaron and Limor Golan in Hod Hasharon. Limor had just suffered a heart attack. To complicate matters more, Limor was 39 weeks pregnant when the heart attack occurred.

“I was sitting in the living room watching TV when I heard a noise in the bedroom,” Yaron recounted. “I saw Limor on the floor and I rushed over to her and tried to wake her up. She didn’t respond. I called a neighbor for help. He began performing CPR on her. I didn’t know what to do so I called the emergency number for an ambulance.”

Aharon Avital, head of the Hod Hasharon team for United Hatzalah together with EMT Yossi Cohen were the first responders at the scene. The pair arrived in less than three minutes and immediately took over CPR from the neighbor. Aharon and Yossi attached a defibrillator and administered an electric shock. The duo spared no resource in their efforts to save the life of the young mother and that of her unborn baby. Moments later they were joined by 4 other volunteer EMTs from their local team who joined their efforts.

A mobile intensive care ambulance arrived sometime later and after more than 30 minutes of active CPR, the combined team managed to restore a steady pulse. Limor even started breathing again independently. She was rushed to the maternity ward at Meir Medical Center for an emergency C-section, which was successful in saving her child’s life. Limor was then treated in the hospital for her heart attack and later regained consciousness in the hospital and awoke to meet her healthy little boy, the couple’s first.

This past Friday, the United Hatzalah volunteers were invited by Yaron to reconnect with the family in the hospital. During the meeting, Yaron and Limor shared their profound gratitude with the team of first responders and thanked them for their quick arrival and lifesaving intervention.

Yaron thanked the volunteers for saving the lives of his wife and son. “You saved my wife’s life and my son’s and in truth mine as well as I’m not sure I would have survived this had they both died. You arrived so quickly and treated my wife with expertise, commitment and caring that I have no words to thank you. You’ve literally saved us. I now know that I have to do a CPR course. Every family should do this. It is imperative. I was upset at myself that I didn’t know what to do when my wife collapsed. You people, who don’t know me and don’t know my wife came to save her life. You volunteered their time. I too will now volunteer to go out and help others. I am committed to this and it will happen.”   

“This was the most moving CPR I have ever done,” said Aharon, who has performed dozens of emergency CPRs during his years volunteering as an EMT.  “As I ran into the house I saw what tragedy could befall the family if Limor wasn’t saved. Limor who was unconscious, the baby who was about to be born, and Yaron whose life was literally crashing down around him in a moment. I knew that we needed to save Limor and prevent this tragedy from occurring.”  

Aharon added: “When Limor woke up on Monday, two days after the incident, Yaron called me and asked if I could come with the team who saved her to visit them and meet the new baby. I gathered the crew of volunteers and we ended up coming in to visit them a bit later in the week so as to give Limor time to heal after her ordeal and surgery. We spent some time with them and I was pleased to see that everyone was recovering. I have never seen a miracle quite like this.”

Limor and her son, being fully recovered, were released from the hospital before Yom Kippur.


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A NEW ROUTE TO BLOCKING CHILDREN’S BONE CANCER


REHOVOT, Israel -- Ewing sarcoma is a bone cancer that appears mainly in teenagers. Caused by a single defective gene, once it spreads to distant organs it is hard to treat. Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have now discovered molecular interactions underlying Ewing sarcomas and proposed a potential treatment that has shown promise in a study in mice. These findings were published in Cell Reports.

A study in mice showed that reducing a particular hormone signal keeps the cancer from growing and spreading.  Dr. Swati Srivastava, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Yosef Yarden in the Department of Biological Regulation, conducted research together with colleagues that focused on glucocorticoids: receptors for steroid hormones. These receptors are present in virtually all human cells, conveying hormonal messages related to stress, wakefulness, and a host of other important functions.  But sometimes glucocorticoid receptors stimulate malignant growth by moving to the cell nucleus, where they physically interact and bind with transcription factors -- molecules that turn genes on or off. The researchers wanted to learn more about the role of these interactions in malignancy.

A highly sensitive protein interaction analysis that can be used on living cells revealed previously unknown interactions: once activated by hormones, glucocorticoid receptors were found to be binding, within the cell nucleus, to transcription factors of the E-twenty-six (ETS) family, together forming a physical complex.  One of the transcription factors in the ETS family is known to drive the development of Ewing sarcoma; its gene fuses abnormally with another gene, creating an oncogene: a cancer-causing gene.

When the study turned up this link between the Ewing sarcoma oncogene and glucocorticoid receptors, the researchers set out to test a hypothesis: that these receptors boost the growth of the sarcoma. Indeed, a series of studies supplied evidence that this is indeed the case.  Physical binding between glucocorticoid receptors and the protein made by this oncogene increased the growth and migration of Ewing sarcoma cells in a laboratory dish and gave an even stronger boost to the growth and spread of the sarcoma in mice.

The major medical significance of these findings is that they open the door to a new treatment option for Ewing sarcoma.  When the researchers implanted human Ewing sarcoma cells into mice, the tumors grew much more slowly when the mice were treated with metyrapone, a drug that is approved for treating adrenal insufficiency and works by reducing glucocorticoid synthesis. In other experiments, also in mice, the drug mifepristone – which blocks the glucocorticoid receptor and is approved for other clinical applications – prevented the metastasis of Ewing sarcoma via a major cancer cell dissemination route: from bone to lungs.  In contrast, when the researchers increased the activity of glucocorticoid receptors, the sarcomas grew and spread much faster.

Furthermore, the team performed a genetic analysis of tumor samples from patients with Ewing sarcoma and identified seven genes regulated by the glucocorticoid receptors that were expressed in higher-than-normal levels in patients with particularly lethal tumors. These genes might serve as a genetic signature enabling a selection of patients for treatment: those with upregulated “signature” genes are especially likely to benefit from treatment aimed at neutralizing glucocorticoid receptors.  The signature genes may also help predict the course of the disease, as their increased expression could signal a poor prognosis; reduced expression, on the other hand, may signal better chances for survival.

If research in human patients confirms the study’s findings, they offer new hope to youngsters with this malignancy, especially in cases when the sarcoma has metastasized beyond the bone.

“Our findings provide the basis for a personalized approach to the treatment of Ewing sarcoma,” Dr. Srivastava says. The fact that the study made use of drugs that have already been approved for other uses should facilitate the implementation of this approach.

Study participants also included Dr. Nishanth Belugali Nataraj, Arunachalam Sekar, Dr. Soma Ghosh, Diana Drago-Garcia, Dr. Donatella Romaniello, and Dr. Ilaria Marrocco of the Department of Biological Regulation; Dr. Chamutal Bornstein-Ovits and Professor Ido Amit of the Department of Immunology; Professor Adi Kimchi and Drs. Lee Roth and Yuval Gilad of the Department of Molecular Genetics; Dr. Mattia Lauriola of the University of Bologna, Italy; Dr. Ron Rotkopf of Weizmann’s Life Sciences Core Facilities Department; Professors Olivier Dellattre and Andrei Zinovyev, and Drs. Olivier Mirabeau and Didier Surdez of Institut Curie in Paris; and Professor Heinrich Kovar of the Children’s Cancer Research Institute of the Medical University of Vienna.

Professor Yosef Yarden’s research is supported by the Dwek Institute for Cancer Therapy Research; the David and Fela Shapell Family Foundation INCPM Fund for Preclinical Studies; the Moross Integrated Cancer Center; the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation; the Willner Family Center for Vascular Biology; the Rising Tide Foundation; the Marvin Tanner Laboratory for Research on Cancer; the Comisaroff Family Trust; and the European Research Council. Professor Yarden is the incumbent of the Harold and Zelda Goldenberg Professorial Chair in Molecular Cell Biology.

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WJC PRESIDENT CALLS FOR “ACTION NOT WORDS” FOLLOWING THE FATAL ATTACK OUTSIDE SYNAGOGUE IN HALLE, GERMANY, ON YOM KIPPUR


BERLIN -- The World Jewish Congress is horrified by the attack outside the synagogue of Halle an der Salle, in eastern Germany, earlier today. Local police have confirmed that two people were killed and several shots fired. One suspect has been apprehended so far. Approximately 80 worshippers were in the synagogue at the time of the attack, which was carried out by a man in military fatigues and heavily armed, reportedly shouting “ the root of all problems is the Jews”, who filmed the entire attack from a camera on his helmet and then went on to fire shots in a near-by Turkish restaurant. The synagogue was not guarded by local police.

WJC President Ronald S. Lauder reacted by saying: “It is appalling that on this day -- the holiest in the Jewish calendar -- when Jews are sitting in synagogues all around the world immersed in prayer, yet another attack against Jews has been perpetrated. Only this morning, German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke of his concern for ‘Jews being offended and attacked in his country’,” referring to the Federal President’s speech in Leipzig on the 30th anniversary of the pivotal Peaceful Revolution demonstration there. “We are heartened that the German security services reacted so swiftly to this attack, and thank Dr. Felix Klein, Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight Against Anti-Semitism, and the German authorities for their ongoing support, but now we need action not words. Unfortunately the time has come when all Jewish places of worship and Jewish communal sites need to have enhanced round-the-clock security provided by state security services. We also need immediately to launch a unified front against neo-Nazi and other extremist groups, which threaten our well-being. The fact that, 75 years after theHolocaust, such groups are gaining influence in Germany speaks volumes. We stand with the Jewish community of Germany at this tragic time.”

Dr. Josef Schuster, President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, and WJC Vice President added: “The act of Halle on the highest Jewish holiday Yom Kippur has deeply distressed and frightened our community. First and foremost, however, we are shocked that two people were killed by the unscrupulous culprit. Our sincere condolences are with their families. We also take care of the injured and wish them speedy and complete recovery.

The perpetrator tried to invade the synagogue, and the neighboring Jewish cemetery was also attacked, so that an anti-Semitic motive is to be assumed. The brutality of the attack surpasses anything that has happened in recent years and is a profound shock to all Jews in Germany. The fact that the synagogue in Halle was not protected by the police on a holiday like Yom Kippur is scandalous. This negligence has now avenged itself bitterly. Miraculously, not more evil has happened. "


ANCHORS AWEIGH: SEAPORTS OF THE HOLY LAND











A new exhibition at Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum, “Anchors Aweigh: Seaports of the Holy Land”, presents images of the historical port cities – the points of entry to the Land of Israel – from the 16th to early 20th centuries. This extraordinary collection offers a glimpse of the country’s ancient ports over hundreds of years, documenting their important economic and cultural roles, and bearing witness to the many different types of pilgrims, traders, and adventurers who risked their lives to reach the Holy Land.

Port cities in the Land of Israel had an important role throughout history. After the expulsion of the Crusaders in the late 13th century, European rulers gave up hope of ever re-conquering the Holy Land, and religious warriors were replaced by Christian and Jewish pilgrims. These pilgrims continued visiting ruined ports on their arduous journeys to holy sites. Many of them dropped anchor off the shores of Jaffa, which was called the “Port of Jerusalem,” and from there embarked in convoys to the Holy City and other sites. The port of Jaffa grew in significance during the 19th and 20th centuries, when it became Palestine’s primary point of entry under Ottoman rule, especially for the early waves of Jewish immigrants.

Long before photography was invented, engraving and printing were the primary means for people to experience the lands beyond their reach. The exhibition features fifty-four prints, maps, and sketches from the collection of Yossi Gilben, along with pictures from the collections of the late Dan Kyram. On display are prime works by artists, including David Roberts, William Bartlett, Henry Finn, and more.

Most of the exhibition’s prints and photographs come from the private collection of Yossi Gilben, whose life was profoundly influenced by the Mediterranean Sea. As a young teen, in the 1950s he had already sailed around the walls of Acre’s Old City as a student at the Maritime Officers School. During his military service, he served on the destroyer, the INS “Yaffo,” and fought in the Suez Canal during the Yom Kippur War. The story of Israel’s ports are inextricably linked with the story of his life.

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