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Jerusalem Weekly

Aardvark Jerusalem

This week was both emotional and challenging, but also filled with exciting and meaningful moments.

As I’m sure you know, last weekend, 45 people were crushed to death and more than 150 people hurt, including many in critical condition, in a stampede at a mass gathering to celebrate the Lag B’Omer holiday at Mount Meron. Sunday was declared a day of national mourning.

The students marked the event on Sunday’s Apartment Peulah by sharing some thoughts and feeling about the situation. The Madrichim explained about what had happened and each apartment lit a candle and took a moment to talk and share their feelings and thoughts.

45 people were crushed to death at Mount Meron

For Tiyul Tuesday, we went to Nahal Katlav for a hike. The name Nahal Katlav comes from the Hebrew and Arabic name for a tree that is common in this nahal and is popularly known as the “Eastern Strawberry tree.” 
According to local folklore, the name “katlav” comes from the words “katal,” meaning he killed, and “av”, meaning father. According to one version of the legend, a shepherd got into a conflict with his son. The quarrel spun out of control and the son grabbed a piece of wood, and using it as a club, killed his father. The bloodstained stick turned red and grew into the katlav tree, with its reddish bark.
It was a hot day, but the students were real troopers and made it through!

Stalactite Caves
After lunch, we drove to the Stalactite Caves to see the wonderful rock formations that were created over millions of years and were discovered during works that were done in a quarry around 50 years ago.

On Tuesday, some of the students started the Magen David Adom course; we wish them lots of success And good luck in saving lives.

This week in (th)INK! on Wednesday

This week in (th)INK! on Wednesday we had a great session addressing a few different questions that the students posed. We started by discussing conversion, and meandered to a deep discussion about Christianity and in particular about how early Christianity (which began here in Israel) related to the Jewish world around it, both theologically and practically. We also moved on to discuss the Messiah, and a few students stayed long after the session engage in a fiery debate about atheism. Looking forward to next week!

Talia De Beer with the ruins on Temple Mount
Hagar and some of her students in front of the Dome of the Rock
Alin Cohen and Bruna Jasinowodolinski on the bridge overlooking the Western Wall
On Thursday, students who chose the Extreme Track went to Ben Shimon Forest, where they drove on Easy Rider vehicles through the forest. What a fun way to start their weekend!
Extreme Track Ben Shimon Forest
Internship in the spotlight-Koby Rosen

Internship in the spotlight-Koby Rosen
Since February, I have been lucky to intern at SynergyMed –a medical start-up founded by Dr. Anan Copty– that is developing a system to treat cancer by injecting nanoparticles in a tumor and heating them up with targeted electromagnetic waves to ablate the tumors. From February until my arrival in Israel, I researched what would be the ideal regulatory pathway for SynergyMed regarding FDA and CE approval and created a PowerPoint presentation for the company leaders. Since coming to Israel, I (along with my friend Noah Willis) have shifted focus to examining the SynergyMed system’s software, our job being to analyze the system, debug and clean up what may need editing, and brainstorm innovative ways to improve the system. As someone interested in a career in medicine, the work I have been doing with Dr. Copty at SynergyMed has given me valuable, hands-on experience and has inspired me to continue on my pre-med path.

Billy Galeota-Alpern from Brooklyn, NY

Next week, we will be taking a trip to Masada for sunrise, and then to the Dead Sea.
And on Tuesday, we will celebrate 45 years of the unification of Jerusalem.

Madricha Hagar is on call this weekend. 

Have a great weekend,


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