Around the Jewish World

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by SA JEWISH REPORT STAFF | Apr 20, 2016

The surgery-free operating room of tomorrow is here now


HAIFA - Exablate MRI-guided ultrasound platform from Israel can fix conditions from fibroids to tremors without anaesthesia or incisions.

In March, 200 participants in the 16th International Symposium on Therapeutic Ultrasound in Tel Aviv, saw a live-streamed medical procedure to cure a woman’s essential tremor without incisions or anaesthesia.

Neurology and radiology experts at Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa used the Exablate Neuro system developed in Israel by InSightec. Guided by magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, they focused multiple ultrasonic beams of acoustic energy to heat and destroy target cells in the patient’s thalamus.

Looking on in amazement from Tel Aviv, the conference attendees saw a 65-year-old baker - who had suffered tremors for a decade despite medication - walk out of the three-hour procedure, sit down and slice a celebratory cake to share with the neurology team.

“I wanted to cry, because I could not remember when I was able to drink a glass of water, and for the first time in over 10 years I can finally return to serving people in my bakery,” she said.

The first patient to get an Exablate Neuro treatment at the Haifa hospital is still without tremor two years later, said Rambam neurologist Ilana Schlesinger.

“I think it is the most gratifying and amazing treatment that exists,” Schlesinger said. “Pre-treatment, all of our patients suffer from severe tremor and they all come out of the Exablate Neuro treatment without it. I call it magic.” - Israel 21c


Putting Jerusalem in the frame


JERUSALEM - Jerusalem Film and TV Fund director Yoram Honig’s attempts to turn the capital into a film powerhouse have begun to pay off.

Think of film industry hot spots around the world. Hollywood, of course, will top the list, and you could add New York, London, Paris, Rome and Mumbai. But what about Jerusalem?

Okay, we’re not talking about a multi-billion-dollar mega-cinematic setup, but things have really started to shift in the capital in recent years. Much of the growth has been down to the sterling work of the Jerusalem Film and TV Fund, which was founded in 2008 under the aegis of the Jerusalem Development Authority, and does its best to support a wide range of projects, from big-budget international ventures to animation productions and post-production work carried out locally.

Honig, director of the Jerusalem Film and TV Fund says there is absolutely no reason why the capital should not lead the national film industry.

“Jerusalem is the largest city in the country with 3 500 years of history, culture and architecture,” he says. “It is also the capital, and the most beautiful city in the world,” he adds. “And yet, out of 700 movies made in this country before the fund was established, over 60 years of the state’s existence, just 30 were made in Jerusalem.” - Jerusalem Post


Australian rabbis for first time address LGBTI inclusion


SYDNEY - A panel of guest speakers, including both Orthodox and Progressive rabbis, will come together on Sunday, May 1 for the first time to openly discuss issues, barriers and opportunities for greater inclusion of Jewish members of the LGBTI community.

Titled “What Place is there for Gays and Lesbians in the Jewish Community?” and moderated by NSW Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff, the forum’s line-up includes the Great Synagogue’s chief minister Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton, Emanuel Synagogue’s Rabbi Jacqueline Ninio and LGBTI activists Brando Srot, Dawn Cohen and Justin Koonin.

Forum organiser Nadene Alhadeff, who co-chairs the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (NCJWA) NSW division’s social justice and status of women committee, described the event as “an exciting opportunity for the community to explore and discuss the personal, political and religious challenges facing the LGBTI members of our community in an open and supportive manner”.

She said it was pleasing that “all the people on the panel came on board so easily”.

“I approached Rabbi Elton about being a panel member after hearing of a recent sermon he delivered about inclusiveness, and he immediately agreed to participate – there was no hesitation,” Alhadeff said. - Australian Jewish News


Heathrow's no-fly zone for Cohanim


LONDON - Cohanim have been advised not to take El Al flights to Israel from Heathrow to avoid the risk of ritual contamination from bodies being transported for burial.

The Vaad Mishmeres Hakohanim, a group which protects the purity of Cohanim, has published advice on potentially problematic flights following queries from the public.

According to Jewish law, descendants of the ancient priesthood are forbidden to come near a corpse except in the case of specified close relatives.

El Al flights from Gatwick, Stansted and Luton do not transfer bodies for burial in Israel; neither does British Airways from Heathrow.

But around 10 per cent of El Al flights from Heathrow carry a body.

Since it was usually only possible to confirm whether a body would be on board a few hours before departure, the Vaad advised Cohanim to avoid any flights where there was the possibility of a body being transferred.

Vaad member Eli Katz said most transfers took place on night flights.

Priestly purity was "one of the most complex" areas of Jewish law, he said, which is why there were "different valid halachic opinions". - London Jewish Chronicle


Hearing for Jewish hairdresser forced not to work on Shabbat delayed


MONTREAL - A Jewish hairdresser whose complaint of discrimination by his Jewish employer was upheld by the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Commission late last year, is still waiting for the unsettled case to be brought by the commission before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal.

Richard Zilberg worked for Spa Orazen (now Spa Liv Zen) from October 2011 to August 2012 when he was dismissed. He was forbidden from working on Shabbat by the main owner of the business, Iris Gressy, because he’s Jewish, Zilberg testified.

Gressy, an observant Jew, operated the spa on Saturdays, but did not work there herself at that time. Zilberg said he was fired after telling clients about what he felt was an unfair directive from Gressy.

The commission recommended that Zilberg be compensated $20 000 by the spa and Gressy for material damages of loss of income and other hardship, moral damages and punitive damages for intentional violation of his civil rights.

Zilberg’s complaint was filed for him by the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), a non-profit organisation combating discrimination. It took three years for the commission to release its decision, and the respondents did not pay him damages by the deadline set by the commission of October 23, 2015.

“Normally, in cases of non-compliance, the commission brings the file to the Human Rights Tribunal within a month or two,” said CRARR executive director Fo Niemi. -  Canadian Jewish News


Los Angeles’ Hindenburg Park sign debated at meeting


LOS ANGELES - The debate over a recently installed sign at a Los Angeles County park where Nazi supporters once rallied, heated up during a public meeting that attracted more than 100 people. 

At the centre of attention: a nearly two metre-high sign reading, “Welcome to Hindenburg Park”, which was installed at the entrance of Crescenta Valley Community Regional Park in February. 

While a historical plaque previously installed inside the park explained the site’s historical ties to the German-American community, nothing mentioned the pro-Nazi rallies organised by the German American Bund that were held there during the 1930s and 1940s. 

“Members of our community brought it to our attention, and then we decided that the sign needed to be removed and that we didn’t like the representation - not the representation but the fact that the sign does not give the entire story of what took place at the park,” Jason Moss, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, said in an interview before the public meeting held after some area residents raised concerns. 

“This is what our mission is, to serve as the voice for the local Jewish community,” he added after the meeting. – Los Angeles Jewish Journal



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