The Simpsons travel with Flanders to the Holy Land, and an eccentric tour guide (Sasha Baron Cohen) takes the group to Jerusalem’s most famous landmarks.
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A Jaffa youth choir that combines the voices of Jewish and Arabs girls isn’t just sharing its message of coexistence, it’s practicing it out loud.
A group of pre-teen and teenage girls in Jaffa is proving to their societies, their families and themselves that peace is attainable. Singing together in the Voices of Peace Choir, these young Arabs and Jews are bringing a new tune to the neighborhood.
Founded in 2002 by Shlomo Gronich an eminent Israeli musician, and the Arab Jewish Community Center in Jaffa, the Voices of Peace Choir has performed in a wide variety of venues throughout Israel and abroad, conveying its message of peace and friendship through its songs and through the very fact of its existence.
Founder Shlomo Gronich with some of the children from the Voices of Peace Choir.
Since 2008, Iddan Toledano has been the musical director, with vocal direction supplied by Dorit Lubriani. The choir sings a program of songs in Hebrew, English and Arabic to open its members – and audiences – to the different languages and cultures.
Singing for school groups and at community centers the choir has also performed before some of the country’s most distinguished guests and leaders, including the Pope, the President of Israel and visiting diplomatic delegations.
Arab choir-member Iman says, “I always thought Jews hated Arabs and Arabs hated Jews and if it was possible they would fight from here to Eilat, but it’s not true because we are a choir that is half-Arab and half-Jewish and we always fit together.”
Doctors at Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva earlier this month performed the country’s first kidney transplant involving a donor and recipient with different blood types – a breakthrough that could increase kidney transplants involving live donors by 40 percent.
The kidney recipient was Ortal Mahlev, 18. The Herzliya resident, who has type B blood, received the kidney from her father, 51-year-old Shlomo Mahlev, who has type A blood.
“Blood type indicators are antibodies found on red blood cells and on the internal lining of blood vessels, and they attack a foreign blood type that enters the body,” said Dr. Alexander Yusim, who heads the Renal Transplantation Unit and Nephrology Institute at Beilinson.
Yusim’s team of doctors carried out the transplant by neutralizing the antibodies, he said.
The method for neutralizing the antibodies takes at least two weeks, making it impossible to use for patients who need a new kidney immediately.
The procedure is based on technology developed a decade ago in Japan, where organs are rarely transplanted from dead bodies due to restrictions of the ancient Japanese Shinto religion. Western doctors, particularly in the United States, Germany and Sweden, subsequently began using the method.
Nearly 700 Israelis are awaiting a kidney transplant, but medical officials believe 40 percent of those suffering from kidney failure have so far been unable to receive the organ from their relatives due to differing blood types.
Last year 83 kidneys were transplanted from dead donors and 69 from live donors.
The transplant process involves several stages, said Yusim.
“First the recipient’s blood is transferred into a machine that executes a blood plasma fractionation, a method whereby blood is broken up into red blood cells that are later re-inserted into the body and the blood serum which contains the antibodies that are removed from the body,” he said. “The serum is then replaced by a protein with water solubility (albumin). The body is then injected with gamma globulin in order to prevent the antibodies from acting.”
In the next stage, the patient is injected with a chemical preparation known as rituximab, which neutralizes B white blood cells that manufacture new antibodies. Doctors can implant the organ from a donor with a different blood type after the process is repeated three or four times and the number of antibodies falls to zero or nearly zero.
The movie drew 63,000 theatergoers, which fell short of the 70,000 Israelis who bought tickets for “Avatar”‘s debut weekend.
The Israeli distributor of both movies, Forum Films, told Haaretz that “Alice in Wonderland” is the most successful Walt Disney production to ever open in the country, even topping the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series.
According to the Box Office Mojo Web site, “Alice in Wonderland” has generated $462 million in revenues worldwide since it hit theaters two weeks ago.
“Avatar”, which opened in mid-December, has netted $2.6 million in ticket sales.
“Coexistence in the Middle East” is an initiative that promotes coexistence through the training of future leaders using both academic and experiential seminars in Israel that allow first hand contact with different cultures. These programs are sponsored by the Israel National Commission for UNESCO and taught by The International Institute of Leadership and the Rothberg International School atThe Hebrew University of Jerusalem in collaboration with The Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel
Check out the website @ http://coexistencetrip.net