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Rachel Landman

Scientist wearing gloves, a mask, and protective glasses examining a computer chip

On my most recent visit to Israel – in preparation for this summer’s URJ Sci-Tech Israel program – I noticed the presence of U.S. companies. Throughout Israel’s “Silicon Wadi,” the counterpart to our Silicon Valley, are research and development facilities for Google, Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and others, intermixed with a vast array of Israeli start-ups, including Mobile-Eye, Orcam, StoreDot, and others.

The foundations for many of these research collaborations were establish during Israel’s third decade from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. Motorola, the first U.S....

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Yellow flowers on a cactus blooming in the desert

Water is essential to human life and Israel is more than 60% desert. During the years the State of Israel was being established, pioneers faced the challenge of creating a self-sufficient society in an environment without easy access to food or water.

The answer? Innovation.

Most of the pioneers who arrived in Israel during the many aliyot (waves of immigration) leading up to 1948 were not the Nobel laureates, scientists, engineers, or entrepreneurs who make up Israeli society today. During the early aliyot, many of the pioneers were teens and young adults with few skills...

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solar eclipse

Each morning at 6 Points Sci-Tech Academy – one of 16 URJ Camps – whose unique focus explores the connection between Judaism and science and technology, we recite this special blessing to prepare ourselves for a day of exploration, challenges, and new discoveries: Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-Olam, who has given us a world to explore, questions to ask, and a community with which to share them. We are thankful that God has created a world with such amazing natural wonders that raise new questions for us to discuss every day, and provide light in times of darkness.

One such...

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In July, the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME Church), one of the largest and oldest black churches in the United States, passed their first ever resolution dedicated to climate change in the Church’s 200-year history. The resolution highlights the disproportionate impact of climate change and pollution on certain communities, including black and low income communities in the United States, and communities in developing countries around the world. This disproportionate exposure of people and communities of color to pollution and toxic material, which can lead to many adverse health...

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With the Olympics having begun last week in Brazil, we are extra-aware of the threat of Zika. Brazil, a country that is a hotspot for mosquitos, and as a result Zika virus, we are reminded of the continued need for the United States to approve funding to combat Zika.

Primarily transmitted through mosquitos, Zika causes microcephaly, a serious birth defect resulting in a small head and underdeveloped brain. Because of seasonal changes and significant attempts to control the virus, the World Health Organization has said that hosting the Olympics in Brazil will not increase the...

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