8-14 Adar, 5777                                                     March 7-12, 2017 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES  --  598th Web Ed.





HAIFA, Israel –  Israel Sci-Tech Schools network brought together over 200 students from 18 schools around the country at its annual Young Engineers Conference on February 27th at the Churchill Auditorium at the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion).

The student teams, enthusiastic inventors backed by academic advisors and industry professionals, presented creative solutions which focused on a variety of ideas connected to social responsibility. The conference consisted of two presentation rounds and concluded with an award ceremony; prizes included various scholarships for the first year of studies at the prestigious engineering faculties at Tel Aviv University, Technion, Ben Gurion University, and the Givat Ram campus of the Hebrew University.

Winning first place in the category of originality and inventive presentation was Sci-Tech Kiryat Tivon school for their weapon protection and monitoring system, WISDome. The system prevents registered firearms from being stolen by alerting the owner and competent authorities when a weapon is disconnected from its holster, removed from a home, or detected in a public area where the owner is not present. The students came up with the idea upon recognizing the rising rate of law-abiding citizens in Israel and in the US who own firearms who might be unable to protect their weapons from being stolen for harmful purposes.

Standout projects for innovation include Sci-Tech Modi’in school’s autonomous pollination device, which uses a drone to identify suitable flowers and brush them with pollen, addressing the recent suffering of global agricultural production by the disappearance of worker bees. Another outstanding project was for road safety by Sci-Tech Rehovot. The system identifies car speeds as they approach yellow or red traffic lights and adjust the length of the opposing traffic light accordingly to minimize road accidents.

“This year’s Young Engineers Conference brought together hundreds of our students for an impressive display of their hard work,” said Israel Sci-Tech Schools Director General Zvi Peleg. “We had high expectations for these aspiring young engineers who devoted much time and energy into their projects, and they didn’t disappoint. Under the tutelage of Sci-Tech, the students developed innovative, practical solutions to improve the quality of life around them.”

The science and engineering program created by the Sci-Tech network was established 17 years ago, the first of its kind. The program’s goal is to meet the needs of the era in which they live, and currently operates across 32 schools in Israel.

Friends of Israel Sci-Tech Schools is a U.S.-based 501-C3 dedicated to supporting the 206 institutions and 100,000 students that represent the largest independent network of science and technology educational institutions in Israel.


Partners for Progressive Israel mourns the death of Harold M. Shapiro, our founder, President Emeritus, Chairman, and supporter of PPI since its inception.
Harold was a man of his time and he became a man for all seasons.  He was born in Opelika, Alabama, a rabbi’s son. Harold made his fortune in plastics. He shared this during one of his many visits to Israel with the PPI Symposium, a study tour of Israel and the West Bank, which he originated.  Harold was a Jew who had justice “etched into his bones."

When Harold Shapiro arrived in Israel with the Symposium, Meretz party members would greet him with joy and enthusiasm, not only because of his generosity, but also because of his wisdom of mind and heart. Harold believed that Israel must be a light unto the nations.   
He is survived by his wife Myra Shapiro, daughters Karen and Judith, their respective spouses Syud and Ariel, and grandsons Ben and David. May his memory be a blessing.

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(r-l) Archbishop Alexander Winogradsky Frenkel, Limmud FSU Executive Director Roman Kogan, French Envoy to Denmark François Zimeray, Limoud France Co-chair Delphine Dahan, Limoud France President Denis Ktorza, Limoud France former President Elie Lobel, Limoud France Executive Director Ruth Ouazana, photo by Albert Ouazana.

PARIS, France -- The organization for Russian-speaking Jews Limmud FSU (former Soviet Union) launched a special exhibition this weekend honoring the memory of the late Nobel Prize laureate, renowned author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. Wiesel, who passed away in July, 2016, maintained a lifelong connection to France, and to Paris in particular, where he arrived after the war and learned French, studied at the Sorbonne and began his career as a journalist.  

An opening ceremony took place at the annual Limoud France event, with the participation of more than 600 young people and officials, including M. François Zimeray, the French ambassador to Denmark and a close friend of Wiesel.

Limmud FSU first launched the exhibit, “Elie Wiesel: from Sighet to Ukraine via France and Israel" in August, 2016 in Moscow and since then has mounted the show in London, New York, and Jerusalem. Limmud FSU Founder Chaim Chesler initiated the exhibition, which was curated by Dr. Joel Rappel, founder of the Elie Wiesel Archive at Boston University.  

The exhibition includes dozens of photographs of different milestones in Wiesel’s life, including his birthplace and family in Sighet, Romania; his imprisonment at Auschwitz and subsequent liberation from the Buchenwald concentration camp; his life in France and work as a journalist; his many published books, such as The Fifth Son, The Trial of God, The Jews of Silence, and Night; his receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986; as well as his decades of activism on  behalf of Holocaust commemoration and remembrance.

Speaking at the Paris event were Zimeray and Limmud FSU Executive Director Roman Kogan. Also attending the event were Archbishop Alexander Winogradsky Frenkel of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem; Chief Executive of Limmud organization (UK) Eli Ovits; Limoud France Executive Director Ruth Ouazana and Limoud France President Denis Ktorza.  

“Elie and I were close friends. We met each other frequently and discussed many subjects, especially those related to the subject of universal human rights. I miss him so much,” said Zimeray. “Today we are aware of a serious and dangerous situation of human rights violations (such as terrorism, for example) and therefore the Jewish community tends to close itself and keep its distance from the wider world, from humanity. And this should not happen. We must stay together; it will make us stronger.”

“We are proud to launch this exhibition for the first time in France, a country where Elie Wiesel studied, and where he began his distinguished journalistic and writing career,” Kogan said. “His legacy is important for us, especially because of his contribution to the struggle of Soviet Jewry for the right to emigrate. We of Limmud FSU are also waging a struggle for the Jews from former Soviet Union, not in a physical sense but in the spiritual and educational sphere. The work of strengthening our Jewish identity is the struggle of our generation.



JERUSALEM– The Inbal Jerusalem Hotel, the city’s leading deluxe hotel and the destination for many major conference and solidarity missions, is featuring a new charity as part of their corporate social responsibility initiative. Recently occupying the space is The Frankforter Center for the Aged, a non-profit day care center for the elderly.
The Inbal’s corporate social responsibility initiative, which began in June 2016, promotes works of local charities. As part of the initiative, the hotel dedicates its lobby showcases, strategically located between the entrance and the hotel’s restaurants. The placement attracts the attention of guests to raise awareness for important causes, and encourage donation. Displayed works are also available for purchase.

The Inbal Jerusalem Hotel is a deluxe hotel situated in the heart of Jerusalem overlooking the Old City walls, and minutes away from all the major cultural and historical sites. With its Jerusalem stone exterior, the 283-room hotel is known for its intimate authentic Jerusalem character and impeccable world-class service.


A former journalist has been arrested on suspicion of making threats against Jewish community centres - in a bizarre plot against an ex-girlfriend.

Juan Thompson, 31, "allegedly caused havoc, expending hundreds of hours of police and law enforcement resources", said NYPD Commissioner James P O'Neill.

New York prosecutors said he was "stalking a former romantic interest".

The Missouri man was allegedly behind eight of some 100 threats to Jewish Community Centers (JCC) this year.

Mr Thompson was arrested on Friday in St Louis, Missouri, and will be in court later in the day.

As well as the threats against the JCCs in January and February, he is also accused of emailing a threat in his ex-girlfriend's name to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in New York City.

The next day the offices of the Jewish anti-bigotry group received a phone call claiming that explosive material had been placed inside the building.

"Today, we have charged Juan Thompson with allegedly stalking a former romantic interest by, among other things, making bomb threats in her name to Jewish Community Centers and to the Anti-Defamation League," New York-based US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

A spokesman for the White House said "it's still too early for us to say too much about it, but the process worked".

Mr Thompson is accused of cyber-stalking his ex-girlfriend - known in court documents as Victim-1 - which can carry a sentence of up to five years in jail.

He is also alleged to have made threats using his own real name, in a ploy to make it look like she was trying to frame him.

On 7 February, he allegedly wrote an email to the JCC offices in Manhattan, saying: "Juan Thompson put two bombs in the office of the Jewish center today. "He wants to create Jewish newtown tomorrow."

This was a reference to the 2012 school shooting in Connecticut in which a gunman murdered 26 people.

In several tweets presented by investigators, Mr Thompson repeatedly accused his former girlfriend of making bomb threats in his name, in order to pin the crime on him. He claimed she had hacked his email account.

"[Victim-1], though I can't prove it, even sent a bomb threat in my name to a Jewish center, which was odd given her antisemitic statement," he posted on 24 February 2017.  He also made several posts condemning the anti-Jewish threats

It was allegedly part of a months-long campaign against his former partner after they broke up in July 2016.

Thompson began by sending an email to her manager at a New York-area social service organization.

The message claimed she had been pulled over for drunk driving and sued for spreading a sexually transmitted disease.  He allegedly went on to threaten to publish nude photos of the woman, before escalating to the bomb threats this year.

On 24 February, he posted on Twitter: "Y'all know how to get a social worker in NY barred? I'm being stalked and harassed by a white nasty white woman."

Mr Thompson was fired last year from the Intercept, a news website, over "fabricated sources and quotes in his articles".

Intercept management released a statement on Friday saying they were "horrified" to learn about the arrest, and that they condemn the "heinous" threats.

At least 100 phone threats have been made to Jewish centres, childcare facilities and schools in three dozen states since the beginning of January, according to the JCC Association of North America. Three Jewish cemeteries, including one near St Louis, have also faced vandalism attacks.

The Jewish Observer,

Los Angeles