Israeli Neuroscience: New Paths to Knowledge, from the Heart of Jerusalem


Buy your tickets for our upcoming Achshav Yisrael program!

"Israeli Neuroscience: New Paths to Knowledge,from the Heart of Jerusalem" will take place on Sunday, June 10, 2018, 3 - 5 p.m., in Koret hall.

Achshav Yisrael invites you to explore the mysteries of the brain with Professor Adi Mizrahi. Professor Adi Mizrahi is the director of the Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences, and a professor in the Department of Neurobiology, both at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His work there includes leading a team involved in developing new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, among other projects.
Currently on sabbatical from Hebrew University, he is a visiting professor of biology at Stanford University.

You already know that Israel is a world leader in many areas of scientific and technological innovation. Would you like to learn more about pioneering Israeli research into the biology of the human brain? Professor Mizrahi will share his expertise in this fascinating field. His presentation will cover:
• Brain plasticity: How much do our brains really change?
• Brain function: The brain as a prediction machine
• Brain repair: Can we replace damaged brain circuits?
• Parenthood: Brain changes when you become a parent
• New treatments: Medical advancements in diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s

A light Israeli buffet will be included.

Adults advance registration: $15
17 & under (or still in high school): FREE
Advance registration required for all ages (below or call Beth Jones at 415-940-7092).

Those wanting to attend who can not afford the standard admission fee due to financial hardship should contact the CBS office in advance to work out an exceptional fee.

ABOUT ACHSHAV YISRAEL: Achshav Yisrael’s mission is to provide quality programming about Israel to Congregation Beth Sholom and the broader community. Achshav Yisrael programs are open to all age groups and will occur on a regular basis. We intend to create a safe space at CBS for community exploration of Israel.

Achshav Yisrael Steering Committee Members: David Agam, Eileen Auerbach, Becky Buckwald, Sandra Cohen, Betsy Eckstein, Ira Levy, Ephraim Margolin, and Maureen Samson

VaYelekh -- Deuteronomy 31:1 – 30

facebook_coverdesign_vayelekhA remarkable conversation between two Jewish luminaries took place a few years ago, when neuroscientist Eric Kandel (b. 1929) and survivor-activist Elie Wiesel (1928- 2016) – both Nobel Laureates – reflected on memory and forgetting. Wiesel reminded us that we must never forget, while Kandel taught that the best way to do this is by remaining active, social, and creative into your golden years.

As we struggle moment to moment in our over-programmed lives to continuously remember a present called consciousness, we should heed the words of these luminaries: "Keep the past alive in you, and actively use it to create a better future."

This week’s reading of Parashat VaYelekh reminds us to never forget the exemplary life of Moses, who reaches his 120th year fully active (even in his short-lived retirement!). Among his final acts recounted here, Moses announces the transition in leadership to Joshua and also concludes the writing of the Torah scroll, now entrusted to the Levites for safekeeping in the Ark of the Covenant.

Additionally, he explains that every seven years, during the festival of Sukkot, the entire people of Israel are commanded to "gather" together in the Jerusalem Temple in a rite that comes to be known as the mitzvah of hak’hel. The gathering is a sacred moment of communal assembly, one during which those present hear the king read from the Torah scroll. Yet alongside this injunction to gather and read together, there is the acknowledgement that the Israelites will inevitably turn away from their covenant with the divine. When this turning happens, they will experience an eclipse of the divine face, as it were, even though the words of Torah will never be forgotten.

Judaism is both a day-to-day spiritual practice as well as a legacy project never to be forgotten – our challenge is how to strike the appropriate balance.

- Rabbi Aubrey Glazer

Artwork note: This week's artwork is inspired by Deuteronomy 31:16–17: "And they will forsake Me and violate My covenant which I made with them. And My fury will rage against them on that day, and I will abandon them and hide My face from them..." The image can be interpreted in many different ways, but it was informed by specific and rather literal thinking. Having worked for almost a decade in the neuroscience lab of Paul Greengard, who shared the Nobel Prize with Eric Kandel, I was thinking of the electric thicket of neurons and synapses contained in each of our brains, and how physiological changes to these cells can lead to perceptual deficiencies (e.g., hidden faces). Illustration by Christopher Orev Reiger.