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July 12, 2013

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PAGE 12A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 12, 2013 i By Linda Gradstein The Media Line Tal Shavit. 26. is studying political science at Hebrew University and was looking for a job in Jerusalem for af- ter graduation. She hooked up with New Spirit, a non- profit trying to encourage students to stay in the holy city after they graduate and they arranged an internship with Policy, a large lobbying organization. Even before her four- month internship ended. Policy offered her a job. and Shavit now plans to stay in Jerusalem. "I wanted to find a way to stay in Jerusalem because t don't really feel at home anywhere else," Shavit told The Media Line. "Jerusa- lem is where everything happens. Everywhere else in the country you can avoid issues like the ultra- Orthodox or the Palestin- ians. Here you can't avoid it which I think is good." Shavit says that she is one of the lucky ones. Many of her friends have left Jerusalem. either because they couldn't find a job or because the cost of living is too high. She says that helping these students stay is good for Jerusalem. "People are still going to be here for university but unless something changes Jerusalem is going to keep on getting poorer and cul- tural and social life will de- teriorate." Tal Shavit said. "The city will become more extremist religious and less . accepting." Jerusalem has longbeen a mecca'for students. For example there are 10 art schools in the city. Yet as soon as they graduated most students left the city.. For some itwas economic there is a large shortage of rental housing in Jerusalem and jobs are hard to find. Others said they did not feel comfortable any more in Jerusalem. with its large ultra-Orthodox population. Many of these students move to the bright lights and big city of Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv has a thriving art and culture scene and was just voted as one of the best beach destinations in the world by National Geographic. Some of them. however. would like to stay in Jeru- salem. New Spirit, a non- profit organization formed 10 years ago, is trying to solve the employment and housing issues to enable a critical mass of young, secular Israelis to stay in Jerusalem. Studies show that each year about 7.000 more young people leave Jerusalem than come to the city. Elisheva Mazia. the CEO of New Spirit, says that about half of them are young ultra-Orthodox cou- ples ,who leave Jerusalem for towns built on land that Israel acquired in 1967 where apartments are cheaper than in Jerusalem. The others are the students and young, secular Israelis who the organization wants to stay. "Beyond housing and jobs. these people want to feel that they have a com- munity here in the city," she told The Media Line. "We identify young people who can function as social change agents and who have wider circles of influence." They started an intern- ship program, similar to programs in the U.S.. and now partner with 250 com- panies. The companies get cheap labor and the stu- dents get experience that can also lead to full-time jobs in the city. New Spirit also negotiates with con- tractors in lower-income neighborhoods to arrange discounts for young fami- lies who buy together in a building. "Every year there are about 500-600 young peo- ple who we deal with and try to get them to stay in Jerusalem." Mazia said. "Many say they also want a sense of community. By living together, it enables them to stay in Jerusalem." "The two biggest problems to solve for these young pe_ople are housing and jobs. New Spirit is trying to push the Jerusalem municipality to build low-cost rental housing for young people. In Jerusalem, as in Tel Aviv. housing prices are high and there is a shortage of rental apartments. Many of those who leave also say that they are running away from the in- creasingly ultra-Orthodox character of the city. Unlike other cities in Israel, there is no public transportation in Jerusalem on the Sab- bath fromsundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Few places of entertainment or restaurants are open either. That may however be changing. A new complex called The First Station recently opened at the old train station that used to link Jerusalem with Damas- cus. In a first for the city, half of the restaurants are open on the Sabbath and the other half. which are kosher, are closed. A new movie complex called Cinema City is slated to open soon. New Spirit is lobbying the mayor to keep the theater open on the Sabbath. "I think that today the policy of the city and the government is changing," Yakir Segev, a member of the Jerusalem city council and a founder o~ New Spirit told The Media Line. "Ev- eryone knows we need to invest in young people and they have an important role in the future of the city." Jerusalem has the lowest tax collection rate in the city, because many ultra= Orthodox and Arab resi- dents of the city either don't work or earn incomes that are so low they are exempt from taxes. Encouraging these students to stay in Jerusalem will eventually increase the city's tax base. New Spirit's annual bud- get is almost $2 million. Ab6ut one-third comes from the Israeli govern- ment and municipality, and almost half from American Jews. The remainder comes from Israeli donors. By Abigail Klein Leichman ISRAEL21c Many older people already take the compound phos- phatidylserine to improve cognition and slow memory loss. There is more good news about this natural food supplement; coming out of an Israeli university: phos- phatidylserine appears to improve the functioning of genes involved in degenera- tive brain disorders, including Parkinson's disease (PD) and familial dysautonomia (FD). Produced from beef, oysters or soy, and already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, phosphati- dylserine contain~,a molecule essential for transmitting signals between nerve ceils in the brain. A team headed by professor Gil Ast and Dr. Ron Bochner of TelAviv University's depart- ment of human molecular ge- netics decided to test whether the same chemical, which is naturally synthesized in the body and known to boost memory capability, could impact the genetic mutation that leads to FD a rare ge- netic nervous system disorder that affects Ashkenazi Jews. When the supplement was applied to cells taken from people With FD, and to lab mice with FD. the gene function improved, and the cells began producing the key protein that FD patients lack. The Israeli team's findings were published earlier this year in the journal Human Molecular Genetics. Most medications en- ter the body through the bloodstream, but cannot get through the barrier between the blood and the brain. That is what makes this discovery especially significant. "That we see such an ef- fect on the brain--the most important organ in relation to this disease--shows that the supplement can pass through the blood-brain arrier even when administered orally, and accumulate in sufficient amounts in the brain." saidAst. Ast and Bochner's team applied a supplement derived from oysters, provided by the Israeli company Enzymotec. to cells collected from FD patients. Seeing successful results, they then tested the same supplement on mouse models of FD. engineered with the same genetic muta- tion that causes the disease in humans. The mice received the supplement orally, every two days for a period of three months. Researchers then conducted extensive genetic testing to assess the results of the treatment. A supplement derived from oysters, beef or soy may improve the condition ofpeople with degenerative brain disorders such as Parkinson's. "We found a significant in- crease of the protein in all the tissues of the body," reported Ast. "While the food supple- ment does not manufacture new nerve cells, it probably delays the death of existing Ones." Not only did phosphati- dylserine impact the gene associated with FD, but it also altered the level of 2.400 other genes hundreds of which have been connected{o Parkinson's disease in previ- ous studies. The researchers believe that the supplement may have a beneficial impact on several degenerative diseases of the brain. Seven to 10 million peo- ple worldwide are living with PD. While the much rarer FD affects less than 1,000 people, about one-third of them live in Israel and another one-third in the New York area. F LO RI DA Caring, for you in y," our home or facil? part- me or Laund " Range of Mobon Exercmes : Walking AsSistance Companion Services- Light housekeeping Meal prep and clean-up Medica n.Reminders Bathingrrransferdng/Toileting Carl us Y for details .... S~at( of[:LAi'tCALiceR~#NR3O211467 StateofFLAFiCALlcel'~se# 23 0121nsafedar~u~Ondad