Kosher Highlights

Receive Kosher Highlights in your Email Inbox or RSS Feed!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Prime Minister Olmert Has A Blog?



In an age where everyone and their little sister is dying to have their thoughts expressed online, it looks as if the Prime Minister of Israel has decided to follow the trend and start a blog himself.

Unfortunately it seems as if he has delegated the task to other to write on it.

(Israel National News) The travel blog is being written by officials in the Prime Minister's office and not by himself. "The goal is to allow those surfing the website to learn directly about the course of the visit and to obtain regular updates about its developments," the current blog states. "This is another tool to increase the transparency of the Prime Minister's activities in general and to reveal some of his wide-ranging diplomatic work.... We would be pleased to receive comments about the blog and its contents."


Readers can visit the blog over at PMO.gov.il/PMOEng and can even subscribe to his RSS feed, although it looks as if the Prime Minister has not enabled comments on his weblog.

His latest entry details his recent trip towards Japan, which will hopefully help bring in some extra revenue towards the Jewish state.

US Investors: Israeli Med Tech Is The New Black?

With the American economy not doing so well, one would expect to see investors more cautious about spending their money, especially over seas.

But it seems as if a few US investors are taking another glance at Israel's medical tech industry, which may be the sign of a new trend.

(Israel 21st Century) "We planned to raise $150 million but the fund is already oversubscribed at $162 million," says Jeff Dykan, managing director of the Tel Aviv-based fund, pointing out that the fund could end up turning away investors. "We won't go over $200 million," he says.

SCP Vitalife's success in raising money at time of global economic uncertainty is based on the track record of Dykan, and co-manager Avi Ludomirsky who just four years ago set up a $50 million fund that invested in 17 Israeli startups that have done exceedingly well.

Their success stories include the sale last March of Haifa-based Sightline to Stryker Corp. in a $140 million deal. Sightline is the developer of a new flexible endoscope for gastro-intestinal procedures. Stryker's satisfaction with the deal is reflected in the fact that it has now also invested in the new SCPVitalife Fund.


This comes to no surprise to those already familiar with the real Israel as the tiny nation continues to lead the way in medial breakthroughs.

Hopefully in the future we will be able to see other investors from Asia and Europe get involved within Israeli Med Tech scene, as having it dominated by "US Americans" can get a little old after awhile. ;-)

Important Note: Before you invest in any company you should do your own research to cover your own "rear end." Google Finance may be a great place to start.

Microsoft Gobbles Up Israel's YaData

(Hat Tip: TechCrunch and VC Cafe)

In its eternal quest to conquer Google, it looks as if Microsoft has assimilated another Israeli company--one with the potential to help the Redmond giant compete against Google's AdSense.

(Globes Online) YaData's technology will enable Microsoft to provide its advertisers with richer targeting capabilities so they can connect with their audience in more efficient and engaging ways, at the same time providing its customers more relevant and focused ads. The YaData team will join Microsoft's R&D center in Herzliya and YaData’s solutions will be deployed through Microsoft’s Advertiser and Publisher Solutions group. [...]

YaData CEO Amir Peleg said, "YaData fully believes in the potential of behavioral targeting to enhance the value of online advertising for publishers, advertisers and users. Microsoft has the resources to unlock the potential in YaData's technology and create a truly innovative online advertising solution. We're excited to see what the future holds."


Microsoft has previously bought out another startup, not to mention the fact that they have been scouting out Israeli's with super geek skills for quite some time now.

It will be interesting to see whether or not YaData, which means "You Knew" in Hebrew (hat tip: Eze Vidra of VC Cafe) will be able to help Microsoft defeat the search engine king in the near future.

2014 Olympics: Russia To Include A Jewish Synagogue

It looks as if Russia (a country that is slowly opening up to Israel) may build a Jewish Synagogue/community center as part of its plans in hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics.

(Israel National News) Sochi, a city of 400,000 people, is located on the Black Sea. "We love Russia and the city in which we live, and bless the state corporation...for the accomplishment of all the tasks set forth by President Putin to continue making this the best in the history of Olympic villages," the rabbi said.


This is good news for Jews planning on attending the event, which is now easier thanks to the lack of visas required to visit the "mother land."

While Russia is not exactly known for its warmth, it may be a great opportunity for citizens of both countries to get to know each other, and perhaps root for their athletes at the same time.

Japan And Israel To Partner In Space?



(Image: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, Credit: Moshe Milner, GPO via Ynet News)

While Prime Minister Olmert was "out and about" convincing Japan to increase the economic ties between the two nations (to a tune of $5 billion), it looks as if Israel and Japan may have a future together in the heavens above.

(Ynet News) The joint declaration, signed between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, states that the two countries will deepen their cooperation in economic and political issues. [...]

The two governments vowed to operate direct flights between the two countries in order to deepen the economic ties between them. The statement also notes the cooperation in terms of science and technology. A meeting on this issue will be held in Tokyo later this year.

The two countries also welcomed the continued cooperation in the field of space research.

[Note: Emphasis mine.]


While Israel has been pursuing a relationship with Japan for quite some time, it would be interesting to see both of these hi-tech countries conquer the final frontier together, especially after Japan previously launched their "all too cool" lunar satellite.

Video: Israeli Designer Turns Tires Into A Fashion Statement





Despite the fact that the government of Israel "encourages everyone" to recycle their tires instead of dumping them, it looks as if one fashion designer has gone the extra step by turning abandoned tires into attractive wallets and purses.

(Israel 21st Century) Some women send their husbands out of the house to get rid of the trash. Israeli Elanit Neutra, 37, sends her husband to fetch it in: in this case used rubber inner tubes from old tires at a local garage.

After a scrub and clean, Neutra cuts the rubber to a desired shape, patches the pieces together and creates one-of-a-kind designs - wallets, purses, notebooks, and laptop bags - all making treads in the fashion world, both in Israel and in the US. [...]

Wallets are her most popular item, she guesses, but people also like the messenger bags and purses - the trendy accessories that look like leather, but which have distinctive patterns and qualities of their own.


While her products are available at certain stores in Los Angeles and New York, American readers can order her goods over at i Design which features a host of Israeli made products awaiting American hands.

Readers can check out small sample of her work over at Neutra.co.il, although there does not seem to be a way to order these eco chic sensations online (editor's note: that's unfortunate, as I was looking for a laptop bag too).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Israel Baseball League Players Heading For The Major Leagues?

It looks as if joining the Israel Baseball League (which launched last year) may actually help one enter the major leagues internationally.

(Israel National News) Eladio Rodriguez and Jason Rees have signed up with the Yankees, and the Red Sox are trying out Josh Doane and Noah Walker. Four other players have signed up with minor league teams and with teams in Japan and Mexico. Other players are planning to play on university teams this summer.


This is great news to hear, as it may encourage even more Jewish players to join their fellow brethren in the holy land. Hopefully this trend will continue, as it would not only encourage more coverage of the games in Israel (hint, hint ESPN) but also eventually lead towards their acceptance in the major leagues worldwide.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Test Post (Permalinks Down)

It looks as if this blog is experiencing some bugs related to permalinks not showing (at least for most of the articles).

Will update post when problem has been fixed.

Update: Permalink errors have been resolved (through no power of my own). Also fixed a few cosmetic errors, although one still remains. Will continue publishing articles for today (and tomorrow).

Update 2: Will begin publishing articles starting tomorrow.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Israeli Med: Cartilage Regeneration For Those Bad Knees

(Image Credit: Sharon Kanon / Regentis Biomaterial)

Whether you are a simple jogger or a sports fanatice, injured knees are no laughing matter. Especially if one happens to damage the cartilage, which can be a "show stopper" for many active people in life.

Fortunately it seems as if an Israeli company has come up with a unique way to rejuvenate damaged cartilage without involving major operations or a "larger than life" dent in ones wallet.

(Israel 21st Century) Israeli company Regentis Biomaterials has developed an innovative biosynthetic hydrogel plug-in, called Gelrin, which promises to stimulate tissue regeneration. The hybrid material, which has undergone pre-clinical trials, looks a little like a jellybean, and can be placed in situ in the knee to help cartilage regeneration and seamlessly integrate new cartilage with the surrounding environment.

The patented platform technology could be a medical breakthrough, and while the company's first application is for cartilage regeneration, it is also suitable for other regenerative processes, such as bone repair and spinal fusion. [...]

Synchronized tissue regeneration and biodegradation is the key to Gelrin's innovation. "During production of Gelrin, the structure is engineered to degrade away," explains Tal. "Degradation is synchronized with the growth rate of new tissue. We improve on nature, which lacks a control system. More PEG slows the biodegradation process and gives the cells time to properly heal the injured tissue."


What makes this technology really innovative is that this "jellybean" can either be placed in the injured area, or injected via liquid form to fill in a cavity. This will not only help out patients with busy schedules, but also help cut down costs to treating this fairly common problem.

Unfortunately this technology is still in clinical trials, although Regentis Biomaterials CEO, Yehiel Tal, expects this product to launch within the medial market in about two years.

Neo Nazi Discovers Jewish Roots, Joins The Kosher Side

(Image Credit: Menorah.com)

Its not everyday that one hears about a Neo Nazi leaving their previous psychotic ideals for something better, let alone the Jewish faith.

But it looks like one man, after discovering his Kosher roots, decided he could no longer fight the very thing he once pledge to destroy.

(Ha'aretz) Before learning about his Jewish roots, Pinchads Zlotosvsky from Poland was a skinhead with uncompromising contempt for Jews, the 32-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jew told Haaretz last weekend during Shavei Israel's annual conference for hidden Jews in Lodz.

The transition in Zlotosvsky's life occurred after his mother told him she comes from a Jewish family. Her parents, she said, sent her to a monastery when she was a small child so that she would survive the Holocaust.

All her relatives were murdered, as far as Pinchas Zlotosvsky knows. "I realized I was Jewish according to Judaism. I couldn't look myself in the mirror for a whole week after I found out," he recalls. After he recovered from the shock, he spent the past few years rediscovering his Jewish roots. He has also become very active with the Jewish community.


This is a great story to hear, and hopefully Zlotosvsky will be able to spread his new found love of all things Israeli to those stuck within the Nazi mindset.

While there is no mention whether or no Zlotosvsky is considering making Aliyah, hopefully the Israeli government would consider inviting him over to visit the holy land, as his story would provide a powerful testimony for the entire Jewish population.

iDigital To Israel: All Your Macs To Be Served By Us

It looks as if Israeli Mac fans are soon going to receive not only real customer support in the holy land, but also a future Apple store as well.

(Globes Online) Apple users, who are known for their enthusiasm and their passion for the Apple brand, had repeatedly complained about Yeda's failure to provide service and sales and marketing support.

[iDigital Ltd. CEO Eran] Tor promised that this would also change. "You needn't worry. The first Apple Store in Israel will open this year," he said, but declined to state when it would open and where.


iDigital is already boasting about record sales in Israel, claiming more operating systems have been sold in the past five months than in the previous five years.

While an actual store, coupled with excellent Mac service would go a long ways towards appeasing many Israeli Mac fans, hopefully iDigital can convince Apple to launch their iPhone within the Jewish state.

Helicopter Plus Elevator Equals "Elecopter?"

While to many the cross breading of helicopters and elevators sounds like an engineering project "gone wild," this combination brought about by Israeli minds may be critical towards saving lives--especially in burning buildings.

(Israel National News) An Israeli engineer has designed a "elecopter" that includes an elevator in a helicopter, enabling it to rescue people from high-rise fires or from ravines too narrow for regular helicopters to navigate. [...]

[Nehemia Cohen] helicopter's cabin is designed like a sling basket that is connected to sets of cables, like an elevator. The helicopter can lower the cabin up to 1,000 feet, a distance that would prevent the heat of the fire from damaging the aircraft. "The basis of the idea is to separate the rescue unit from the helicopter," Cohen told Globes.


Created by Olive Engineering, the Elecopter interest may expand beyond the civilian sector, as the military could use to evacuate troops from uneven terrain.

As an emergency vehicle, the Elecopter may also prove to be more useful than the electric flying car, as the chopper could stay above harms way as it rescues civilians trapped in a potential burning building.

While it has yet to prove itself in the "real world" (as they say), this Israeli invention could easily become the norm worldwide within a decade after entering the market.

(Image Credit: Olive Engineering)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Under Construction: Blog Redesign...

Just a heads up to everyone reading this.

I am not redesigning this sight with a "simpler" look, which should be finished rolling out by the end of the night.

I'll update this post once the update is complete.

Update: Redesign complete. For those wondering what's new on the site (aside from the new template layout), basically I have update my blogroll, although I am using a new feature by Google to spice up the blogroll a bit.

I should also be able to post more frequently thanks to a new feature in Blogger called "future posting," which should help me catch up on some much needed sleep (as blogging is quite addictive).

Posting should resume on Monday...until then, Shalom!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Can The Jews Save Earth From Deadly Asteroids?

(Image Credit: Don Davis / NASA)

While there are currently no known asteroids threatening our home world (with the exception of Apophis which has a slim possibility of striking Earth in 2036) a few Jewish students from Technion have come up with another approach for dealing with these deadly space rocks.

(Israel National News) The students developed their plan in response to fears that an asteroid could collide with Earth in 2036, causing severe damage over an area with a 200-kilometer radius. The students proposed a $353 million plan that would send probes into space, where they would attach themselves to the asteroid and determine the risk of a collision. If the asteroid appeared to be on a collision course, a satellite would be sent into space and would, with help from Earth’s gravitational pull, steer the asteroid onto a different course.


Currently there are various ideas on how to deal with asteroids threats, although the most promising ones tend to avoid using nukes (as that could turn one incoming space rock into ten).

Hopefully NASA and other space agencies will consider ideas like these, as incoming space rocks from above is not something people would enjoy hearing about on the evening news.

Yahoo! Opening Its First Branch In Haifa

Despite the fact that the company is thwarting a semi-hostile takeover by Microsoft, not to mention celebrating in their latest Israeli startup purchase, Yahoo! has decided to finally "take the plunge" and actually open a development center in Haifa, Israel.

(Globes Online) Yahoo! will soon set up its first branch in Israel. The company will rent a 350-square meter office at Matam at NIS 60 per sq.m. per month under a two-year lease. The company has also rented parking spaces at NIS 400 per space per month. Yahoo! will join other international giants at Matam, such as Google, Microsoft, [and] Intel Inc.


Yahoo! has been busy in Israel, as they are already forming alliances in order to wage a digital war against the Google Goliath.

Hopefully Yahoo! will find some much needed inspiration in the holy land to fight the Microsoft Borg, not to mention some really smart Israeli's well versed in "all things geek."

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Kosher Food Invading 2008 Olympics

While kosher food is slowly gaining popularity in the US, it ironically is becoming quite trendy in the far east.

With the 2008 Olympics being hosted in Beijing, China this year, it looks as if a new restaurant has opened its doors to welcome Jewish and "kosher eating" travelers to feast within its walls.

(Israel National News) A new kosher restaurant opened within the past year in the Chinese capital, catering to foreign Jewish residents, tourists, a handful of Muslims and even a few Chinese citizens.

Dini's Kosher Restaurant owner Lewis Sperber told the Associated Press this week that he might also set up a second restaurant in the northern section of Beijing, closer to the area in which the Olympic Games will be held.

"If people leave the Olympics and want a kosher meal, we could have a place for them," said Sperber. The Games are expected to draw some 55,000 tourists to the city, a potential bonanza for the new kosher start-up.


This is good news for Jewish travelers as it will present one less thing for the to worry about if they decide to watch the Olympics in person rather than on television.

Note: If restaurants and hotels in China are unable to adapt their kitchens for their kosher guests, then the might want to consider purchasing these kosher vending machines.

Israel's Fraud Sciences To Make eBay Safer?


Often seen as the prime spot to shop online, eBay is one of the largest tech companies online (at least as far as shopping goes).

Unfortunately in this day and age, there are plenty of scam artists out there who are attempting to rip off online consumers with fake deals and transactions, which can be quite a headache for companies like eBay.

In order to curb this problem, eBay (through PayPal) has purchased Fraud Sciences, a company based in the holy land.

(TechCrunch) Israel and Palo Alto based Fraud Sciences offers automated anti-fraud systems including Spotlight VFX and Spotlight T2T, merchant solutions the provide transaction verification with fraud prevention. In an October 2007 profile, Israelplug said that Fraud Sciences products "help online retailers verify the identity of buyers and accept orders that they would have seen as suspicious in the past - thus enabling them to increase their sales."

eBay said the acquisition will assist them in significantly improving trust and safety across its sites in 2008. Fraud Sciences' risk tools will be integrated with Paypal fraud management system.


This will come as good news to places like Ghana and Nigeria, which are known for being rampant with consumer fraud online.

eBay's purchase will help legitimate buyers from "troubled nations" buy the goods they need, instead of being blacklisted entirely by merchants because of "bad history" when it comes to online transactions.

France And Israel Partnering Up In The Stock Market?

It looks as if the governments of France and Israel are opening their capital markets to each other, making it even easier for investors from either side to conduct business.

(Globes Online) The Israel Securities Authority and France's L'Autorite des March├ęs Financiers (AMF) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) opening their respective capital markets to trade in securities issued by both Israeli and French companies. The agreement will be based on mutual reliance of both agencies on the regulation existing in the other's country. [...]

The Securities Authority noted, "The concept underlying the agreement is similar to the single passport principle used by EU countries in relation to the regulation and supervision of European financial markets. [...] This process permits the EU states to recognize and rely upon each other's regulatory regimes and thus to dispense with any additional regulatory requirements in excess of those of the issuing company's home member state."


This should make it much easier for French citizens to invest in Israel (and vice versa), boosting each nations respective economies.

Israel's economy is already doing very well thanks to tourism, although having more foreign money pour into the Jewish state can't help.