By: Joanie Cox-Henry Contributing Writer
Just 11 days after the tragic synagogue shooting in San Diego, hundreds of local residents and international visitors walked through multiple security check points and metal detectors to attend Imagination Israel May 8 at B’nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton.
“The lesson we keep learning in our community is we don’t give up and we don’t stop,” said Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County as President and CEO Matt Levin. “We have security outside, but we’ll continue to gather and come to synagogue and tell our story. Keep coming to synagogue and events like this and show people how Israel changes the world. Israel is the start up nation.”
Five speakers from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem were invited to make presentations and discuss their latest findings as part of Imagination Israel. Presented by The Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach Florida and the American Friends of the Hebrew University, the professors vividly discussed breakthroughs in bioengineering, disease-focused research, new drug discoveries and computational medicine.
A liquid biopsy is in the works that would involve a simple blood test to detect diseases of genes in the blood such as pancreatic cancer and the “liver-on-chip” device mimicking human physiology to test how new drugs could affect the body has already come out of Hebrew University.
“We’ve done this event in 2014 and 2017 and this year, since Israel just turned 71, we wanted to highlight what Israel does best and that is changing the world,” said Levin said. “Israel is doing incredible research in all areas of medicine and we’re extremely proud to have these brilliant speakers here. The technology for cell phones and MRIs—this all came from Israel.”
Israeli biomedical engineer and Hebrew University professor Yaakov “Koby” Nahmias discussed tissue engineering the university is working on. “The life science industry is the fastest growing sector in Israel,” Nahmias said. “More than 1,350 life science companies currently operate in Israel and they are first worldwide for medical patents.”
Professor Nicole Adler who heads up the Department of Operations Research and Operations Management at Hebrew University has been researching how to use genetic algorithms to solve optimization problems in society. “There’s a lot going on between biology computation and business,” Adler said.
National Director of Development at American Friends of The Hebrew University Monica Loebl was proud to be a part of Imagination Israel. “Imagination Israel shines a much needed spotlight on all the innovations coming out of Israel. Hebrew University is home to eight Nobel prize winners and more than 60 percent of students are international,” Loebl added.