by Devin Heroux
She came from nothing and now has the world wanting more. Soon she’ll be appearing on Oprah. It’s Jamila’s secret – I got the chance to meet her and here her story.
Savta Jamila is a 70-year old woman that has one of the more compelling stor
ies heard on this trip. A Druze citizen, Jamila grew up under a religion and societal framework that did not allow women to work – they were not seen as equals. Gamila did not accept that.
Her family was poor, very poor, and she wanted to do something about it. She left the Druze settlement and went to work. You can imagine how much criticism she faced.
During her time away from home she began to master a creation that today has made her one of the most recognized woman in the area. Her mother taught her the magic of herbs and olive oil (the Druze settlement is surrounding by Olive trees) and how by heating them to the right temperature, the herb can be very powerful. So she created soap by mixing herbs and Olive oil.
In the beginning while she was working she would give away free soap, under the condition that everyone who used it gave her feedback so she could make it better. Year after year she perfected it… and to this day she still craves letters, emails, and whatever feedback she can get.
Today her soap is recognized around the world by leading skin specialists as being the most beneficial to skin treatment. Her soap gets letters of recommendations all around the world from top universities, wins awards at competitions; it has yet to breakthrough into the North American market.
When she spoke to us (by way of translator) she stood tall, proud, and sure, but apologized for not being able to speak her language. (she’s learning English right now). Jamila talked about her leaving the Druze community, about how hard that was, and about what it was like to return with great success and triumph. Men who shunned her for years now recognize her as their hero.
She only hires female employees at the soap shop in the Druze community, giving women an identity and purpose in a place that still struggles with seeing women as equals. This has had incredible positive benefits, including translating into her daughter being the first Druze female to get her drivers license.
On Independence Day in Israel all of the different religions are represented by one member – just recently, Savta Jamila was the representative for the Druze people to light their candle. This was groundbreaking for the Druze community
But about this soap (and I bought a lot of it); since I’ve been using it, well, I’m sold that it can only be of huge benefit to the health of your skin, and when I look at Savta Gamila, it’s kept her looking young. We were joking – forget botox, just use the soap!
This isn’t a story about soap. It’s a story of hope, vision, and a duty to be more. At 70 years old Savta Gamila is on facebook, sends emails to people who write her all the time, and is taking online English courses. It’s no doubt that when I hear her story and see the way she carries herself that she has a youthful spirit that is always look to move forward.
Watch for Savta Jamila on Oprah – she’s truly an inspiration.
Source: Devin Heroux’s blog
Tourists from both Israel and abroad can travel the country and enjoy activities that have minimal impact on the environment and build environmental awareness.
Environmental tourism options in Israel are growing apace, especially in the verdant Galilee region. If you want a healthy holiday, check in to the Mizpe-Hayamim Hotel, Spa and Organic Farm.
Dating from the 1960s, the complex was the vision of Dr. Eric Yaros — a physician and homeopath who emigrated from Berlin.
The vegetarian restaurant gets a personal recommendation and while you’re there, be sure to walk up the hill to the 28-acre farm that supplies every single one of the restaurant’s seasonal vegetables, fruits and dairy products.
The valley below the hotel is home to the bird-watching paradise of the Hula Valley and Lake Agmon. More than 500 million birds — 400 species — stop over in the valley, as they migrate between Europe and Africa in the spring and fall. Visitors can rent electric golf carts or bicycles, and set out alone or with a resident ornithologist for a tour of the restored wetlands
For a more intimate green getaway, try Hemdatiya in Moshav Sejera–Ilaniya. It’s a small B&B with five rooms, in carefully-restored stone farm buildings dating from the early 20th century. Vineyards, goats and seasonal organic vegetable gardens, provide salads, wine and cheese for guests.
Another attractive and practical eco-feature for drought-plagued Israel — all the water from the rooms is channeled down to the wetlands, to irrigate the orchards.
Atalya Trua, one of the owners of Hemdatiya, is passionate about the importance of the eco-holiday site: “The ecologic life is the only way to live today… for the environment, and for the next people, the next generation.”
The Jerusalem-based Shalem Center has received a $1.1 million contribution from a Canadian couple to pay for the translation of dozens of classic works of nonfiction into Hebrew. The works selected will be taken from a list of 100 of the most important books studied by American college students. The project will being funded by Gilbert and Elisa Palter of Toronto.
The donation will enable the center to translate about 35 classics, including John Milton’s 17th-century “Aeropagitica”; the 18th-century treatise “A Treatise of Human Nature,” by Scottish philosopher David Hume; and the 1936 work “Ideology and Utopia” by Hungarian-Jewish sociologist Karl Mannheim.
The Palters said they are providing the funding in an effort to further plans by the center to open a liberal arts college called Shalem College in 2013, which will combine studies in the humanities and political science. Specifically, the curriculum is to include economics, sociology, literature, history and study of the Bible. According to Shay Porat, vice president for external affairs at Shalem, the college will aim to enhance its students’ abilities to express themselves verbally and in writing.
The Palters have in the past supported Jewish educational institutions serving children and adults around the world, but this is their first donation to an Israeli institution. The donation is expected to cover an estimated cost of thousands of dollars per translation, which Porat noted will include meticulous editing.
Decisions regarding which books to translate have been made jointly by the donors and the steering committee of the center’s Shalem Press.
Windows; ICQ (known today as AOL Chat); anti-virus software; cell phone technology – you name it and Israel has had a hand in the development, if not the outright invention, of many of the most important tech components of modern life. And Israel’s high-tech brain trust is still brimful of ideas. This may come as a surprise, but one of today’s newest, hottest, up-and-coming gadgets, Amazon’s Kindle, was largely developed in the heart of Israel’s high-tech center in the Herzliya Industrial Zone on the central coast.
“Four years ago, Amazon contacted Sun (which was acquired by Oracle last year) in California and said they wanted a small device that could be used to read e-books,” says Lilach Zipory, the leader of the team that helped to develop the Kindle application. “They had already acquired the software to run it, but were looking for the right technical design, and especially a platform to run the software on. My team in Herzliya is in charge of developing Java for small non-cell phone devices, so they gave us the project.” And the rest, of course, is history.
It’s a history that wasn’t well known until recently, since Oracle chose not to reveal too much about its role in the development of the Kindle. Now, however, the company has come clean – and in the process, Zipory’s team is receiving some much-deserved credit.
Israel gets credit for Kindle performance
Not that the team was aware of the far-reaching implications of the project when they took it on. “We see a lot of small devices here, and they’re all very nice. But I would never have expected an e-book reader to take off like the Kindle did,” she confides to ISRAEL21c.
Perhaps that’s because the Kindle was not the first e-book reader, and as a technical expert, Zipory may not have realized the extent of Amazon’s willingness to invest in marketing the device. Still, the Kindle would not have succeeded as it did if it wasn’t such a top-functioning, high-performer. And the credit for that performance success is based on the customized Java platform written in Israel by the Herzliya team.
Zipory’s group has worked on a wide range of devices, from industrial valves to set-top boxes, so they took the Kindle development in stride. One of the main goals was to develop a version of Java that would support the Kindle’s electronic ink, one of the device’s greatest charms, says Eran Vanounou, director of the Oracle development office in Herzliya.
“We were impressed with the business model for the device and the e-ink technology, and we decided to develop a version of Java to specifically support the Kindle,” he says. A flexible platform, Java supports devices of all sorts, including most of the world’s cell phones, PC software, printers, industrial equipment and much more.
Most devices use “off-the-shelf” versions of Java, with programmers applying the components needed to run the device they are supporting, but in the case of the Kindle, several deeper, driver-level adjustments were needed, Zipory says.
“We had to adjust the refresh rate of the operating system software to accommodate grayscale screens, which require more unique refreshing methodology than the normal color screens that most devices use today, and which the most up-to-date versions of Java are designed to support.”
Oracle’s status rises
The Herzliya team worked with Amazon for several years on developing a prototype, and when they were satisfied, manufacturing commenced. “They initially ordered 100,000 pieces, and we were frankly skeptical they would sell all of them,” Vanounou says. “But when they sold out a couple of months later, we realized what we were involved with.”
The success of the Kindle has of course been a source of pride for the Herzliya team – and a boon for Oracle whose Java, first developed by Sun, and now proudly bearing the Oracle brand name – has seen its status rise among developers. “Of course Java was well-known before,” says Vanounou. “But the Kindle gives us something new to show potential customers who are looking for an easy-to-use and develop platform. It’s made Java cool all over again.”
Now when they travel, Vanounou and Zipory proudly look on as passengers on planes pull out their Kindles and start reading. “As a platform technology, Java runs in the background, and it powers many important devices,” Vanounou says. “We know there are many devices out there using our technology. Each device we develop and each partnership brings new successes, and new connections based on those successes. But the Kindle is different, because it’s such a phenomenon.
“I was recently on a flight when a woman told me how her Kindle kept her entertained while she flew,” says Vanounou. “I didn’t let on how much we in Oracle Herzliya were a part of her experience. But when she said ‘I love my Kindle,’” says Vanounou, “I could have sworn I felt a tear in my eye.”
French artist Laurent Lagarde has a weird hobby – he flies all over globe, photographing superhero figurines in famous tourist destinations. What started as a project during Second Lebanon War is now a worldwide exhibition soon to open in Israel
It’s already been proven that Israelis can’t create superheroes. Several attempts have been made: “Sabra man” from the days of Camp David, a carrot-eating Palmah fighter by the name of “Gidi Gezer” and even the invisible “Danidin,” who terrified the Syrians and Egyptian armies.
Artist Laurent Lagarde had no pretence to create a new Israeli superhero. Instead, he decided to import a special photography exhibition that was originally inspired by Israel.
In the exhibit, Lagarde displays photos of superheroes taken against backdrops of famous locations such as the Eiffel Tower and the Statute of Liberty.
Indeed, one can regard this as Lagarde’s personal obsession – he flies all over the globe with his toys and documents them in different tourist destinations.
The original idea for the exhibition in Israel was conceived during the Second Lebanon War. Lagarde, who is married to an Israeli woman, lived at the time with his family in Tel Aviv.
After the war broke out he wanted to leave the country, but his wife insisted that they stay. As a therapeutic tool, he then retrieved his superhero figurines and started shooting.
“It was the first war I have ever experienced,” he recalled, “My son was six months old, and I was under extreme stress. I thought to myself – what am I doing in Israel? It was a crazy time period.
“My wife warned me that we might need to go into the shelter or die from the missiles reaching Tel Aviv, and I kept thinking – what’s going to happen to us and our child,” he recalled.
Lagarde said he was extremely worried about the political situation and the war, and looked for ways to relieve his tension.
“I had a bunch of superheroes toys I collected over the years. I took them out of the box and decided that this country needs new leadership and a new superhero, because the whole world is against you and new heroes need to come and save the day.
“I put a few of the dolls in my bag and walked around Tel Aviv with my camera, looking for spots to photograph them. My hope was that this will give some sort of protection,” he added.
The first superhero to pose was Wonder Woman, who Lagarde photographed on the backdrop of the beach in Tel Aviv.
After his first successful photo shoot, Lagarde decided to launch a project – ‘Superheroes fight for Tel Aviv and try to protect it’. He photographed his heroic figurines in different locations around the city, including Azrieli Center and Dizengoff, and later expanded to include global destinations.
Lagarde, 39, was born in France and began his career as a drummer in a rock band. Throughout his many journeys around the world he has lived in several places, including England, Belgium, the United States and Israel. Eventually he returned to Paris where he currently resides.
He met his wife Yael while working together at a medical consulting company in Brussels. In 2004 they both made aliyah.
“The light (in Israel) gives photographers a lot of inspiration; especially those who are accustomed to the European light,” Lagarde noted.
“I liked Tel Aviv from the very beginning, but when I worked on the beach I saw how dirty it was, and so I started taking pictures of people throwing garbage. You’ll be surprised how good garbage can look in photos,” Lagarde remarked.
His first photographic series in Israel documented puddles throughout the city. “I shot the puddle, the people through the reflection of the puddle, and it turned out very nice. My ultimate goal is to show another side of Israel. It is the country I appreciate most, so if I can show a better image of Israel, I am happy. It is a country I love very much and one day I will come back,” he said.
In 2007, Lagarde and his family left Israel and moved to Paris. His first photography exhibition in 2006 was titled “The mutants invade Paris,” and displayed superheroes in famous locations across the globe.
Later, he launched sequel series titled “The mutants invade Tel Aviv” and “The Mutants invade NYC.”
Now, his exhibition is coming to Israel. Under the title “Mutants in the Boulevard,” the exhibit will be displayed at Dov Hoz Boulevard in Holon between December 30, 2010 and March 31, 2011.
The official opening will be held at the city’s Museum of Caricature and Comics.
“When you see X-Man on the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, you suddenly get a different perspective of the tower,” Lagarde explained.
While shooting his superheroes in Israel, Lagarde received many comments from spectators.
“Usually people react in one of two ways – they either react or pretended not to notice, and mumble something about me being crazy. I usually lay on the ground next to a superhero doll. It probably seems like a crazy person is taking pictures in the middle of the street.
“In New York some people took pictures of me photographing the figurines. Some came and asked me what I was doing, and when I explained they said ‘cool’ and kept walking.”