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PAGE 16A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 28, 2014 OO By Ruthie Blum (ISRAEL21c)--A first- in-class pocket-sized me- tered-dose cannabis inhaler helps patients and doctors control, monitor and fine- tune dosages. As medical marijuana debates heat up across the globe, a government-backed Israeli startup has developed the first device of its kind to administer cannabis as a pharmaceutical. Unlike the current meth- ods smoking joints, imbib- ing oil, rubbing in a salve or eating laced brownies--this medical device enables the patient to inhale metered doses of vaporized cannabis granules. The Syqe Inhaler is the brainchild of Perry Davidson, an entrepreneur who was instrumental in launching the Israeli Health Ministry's Medical Cannabis Program in 2007, for the treatment of chronic nausea, pain and other conditions. Some 20,000 Israelis today take doctor-prescribed cannabis, and Israel is at the forefront of research and development in this field. Pilot testing of the inhaler will start in hospitals around the country by the end of 2014. Ahomeversion of the device is expected to go on the market sometime in 2015. Davidson formed Syqe Medical --a homophone of the word "psyche"--to tackle some of the problems surrounding the use of this controlled substance as a mainstream drug. He sought a scientific way to separate marijuanas stigma as an il- licit recreational drug from its proven health benefits. "As early as the 1990s, cannabis has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of cancer treatments on young children," Davidson told IS- RAEL21c at the company's offices in Jaffa, home to a 20-strong staff of physicians, pharmacologists, chemists, biologists and engineers. "But it was discontinued, due to the negative associations it elicited. And this is a shame that I thought needed to be rectified." Just the right amount One of the problems with administering cannabis, he explained, is that "physicians have been unable to control, monitor or fine-tune dos- ages. And patients who wish to alleviate their symptoms without being too inebriated to function properly have a tough time reaching the right amount." According to CEO Davidson and his partner and general manager James Amihood, the Syqe Inhaler will elimi- nate this problem, as well as make it more difficult to resell the product on the black market. Their goal is for the pocket-sized device to serve in the future as a platform for administering other medications, too. The hand-held, battery-operated device has two versions, one for use in hospitals and clinics, and a more compact version for self-medication. They con- tain four main components: a real-time thermal controller and air-flow controller, a lung interface and a clinical data logger. Most of their parts, including a tiny motherboard, were created in-house, mostly on 3D printers. And they are wirelessly enabled in order send critical info to the phy- sician. The innovative air-flow controller has a special mech- anism to ensure uniformity of vapors inhaled regardless of the user's age and capabilities. This, said Davidson, "is one of the keys to dosage precision and low variability in the bloodstream between patients. These technologies had to be developed in-house, particularly since the chal- lenge of metered-dose delivery of raw botanicals has rarely been undertaken." As a result of what they said was slightly misleading reportage in the international media, Davidson and Ami- hood stressed that the point of the Syqe Inhaler"is not that it is aimed at preventing its user from getting high; rather that the patient and doctor are able, with 100-microgram increments, to have control over the level ofpsychoactivity and symptom relief, allowing them to find the optimum balance." Swap out at a pharmacy The inhaler has a remov- able cartridge with up to 100 miniature slots, each of which holds 15 milligrams of can- nabis granules to last more than aweek. Users will be able to swap empty cartridges for full ones at pharmacies every month or so. Currently in Israel, patients receive about five times this much (30-100 grams) per month in cannabis flowers from approved distribution centers, and each patient pays the same price (NIS 370, or The Syge Inhaler allows a measured and monitored way to inhale cannabis. approximately $100), regard- less of the quantity. Use of the Syqe Inhaler will be in a similar price range. The effects of the in- haler A report on the effects of the Syqe Inhaler appeared in the September 2014 issue of the Journal of Pain and Pal- liative Care Pharmacology, written by Elon Eisenberg, director of the pain research unit of Rambam Medical Center in Haifa; Miri Ogintz, a registered nurse at Rambam's Institute of Pain Medicine; and Shlomo Aimog, from the physiology and pharmacology departments of the Tel Aviv University medical school and the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Sheba Medical Center. According to the report, a high percentage of patients tested found that the inhaler was more effective, and less disruptive to normal func- tioning, than other forms of marijuana intake--some- thing that has the medical community in Israel enthu- siastic. Since its inception more than three years ago, Syqe Medical has received more than $1 million in R&D funding from Israel's Of- fice of the Chief Scientist of the Economy Ministry, and additional funding from Israeli angel investors. To enable mass production for sale in the multibillion-dollar U.S. market, the company is in the midst of a $20 million fundraising round. $ Adas Israel A Torah reading atAdas Israel Congregation, a Conservative synagogue in Washington. By Steven M. Cohen and Jack Wertheimer NEW YORK (JTA)--As the Jewish Federations of North America holds its annual General Assembly this week, newly emerging evidence from the Pew Research Center's 2013 "Portrait of American Jewry" points to enormous challenges facing federations, Jewish philan- thropy and organized Jewish life, more generally. Virtu- ally every Jewish institution is contending with a sharply diminishing base of people who give, join or even care. Though the Orthodox are expanding numerically and growing in strength, the num- ber of non-Orthodox Jewswho are actively engaged Jews- no matter how engagement is defined- is shrinking rapidly. As we compare non-Orthodox Jews between ages 50 and 69 with Jews of the next-younger generation (between 30 and 49), we find about half as many of the younger cohort who donate to any Jewish causes, belong to synagogues or join Jewish organizations. In ad- dition, only half as many of the younger group feel very attached to Israel, agree that being Jewish is very important to them or have mostly Jewish close friends. Of particular note to fed- erations and all who care about Jewish philanthropic giving: Just 43 percent of non-Orthodox Jews between 30 and 49 donate to any Jewish cause, sharply down from 60 percent among those just 20 years their senior. And only one quarter of the younger non- Orthodox Jews are mem- bers of a synagogue, even though they are in their peak child-raising years. Indeed, younger non-Orthodox Jews between ages 30 and 49 are substantially and consistently trailing their elders on virtu- ally every measure of Jewish identification. Two separate processes are driving these declines. First, there simply are far fewer 30- to 49-year-old non-Orthodox Jews than 50- to 69-year-olds (about 1.2 million vs. 1.8 mil- lion) because of low birthrates in recent decades. The current fertility rate of non-Orthodox Jews - about 1.7 - has now dropped considerably below replacement level. Second, compounding this population decline, high rates of intermarriage - now run- ning at about 80 percent among those raised Reform - have resulted in disengage- ment from Jewish life on the part of most adult children of intermarried parents. In short, in the younger age cohort (30- 49), there are both fewer Jews and, among them, lower rates of participation in Jewish life. Unless these patterns are reversed or at least amelio- rated, they portend rough sailing for federations and other Jewish organizations in the years to come. Though federations have done an ad- mirable job of growing their endowments and persuading affluent donors to increase the size of their annual gifts, the federation world already has experienced a precipitous drop in their total number of givers. Since the year 2000 alone, donors to federations have declined by nearly one- third. Other Jewish organizations have seen similar losses in membership, as have many Reform and Conservative congregations, along with the number of students in non-Orthodox day schools. If these patterns are to be reversed, the Jewish middle-- Conservative and Reform Jews who are inmarried or inter- married but unambiguously attached to Jewish life--must be nurtured and expanded. It may be gratifying that almost all Jews feel proud to be Jew- ish, as Pew reported, but it does little for the vitality of Jewish communal endeavors if they fail to participate actively in some form of col- lective Jewish life. How are we to counter these alarming trends? Research conducted in recent decades demonstrates that effective Jewish engagement endeavors share three critical features: 1, they expand Jewish social networks, linking Jews to one another; 2, they incorporate Jewish content, so as to demonstrate why rich Jewish engagement is so meaningful; and 3, they bring together peers at the same life stage to address common challenges. To address the weak Jewish connections among younger Jews, our ideal communal agenda calls for investing massively in immersive forms of Jewish education for youth. Critical are day schools, sum- mer camps (both day camps and overnight) with Jewish content, teen trips to Israel, youth movement activities, Hillels and other campus endeavors, Birthright trips and Masa (longer-term trips to Israel), as well as a variety of programs to involve Jews in their 20s and 30s in ongoing rather than merely episodic Jewish living. The overall goal is to ensure that young people participate in multiple Jewish venues so that synergies can develop among them. For this to hap- pen, parents must be enlisted as partners in socializing their children into Jewish life. Notwithstanding the years of demographic losses, several movements each continue to reach hundreds of thou- sands of non-Orthodox Jews. In numerically descending order, we are thinking of Jewish community centers, the Reform movement, the Conservative movement and, yes, federations. Any reckon- ing with the shrinking Jewish middle must resolve to rebuild these legacy movements on a massive scale, even as it nurtures new modes of in- novation and repairs relation- ships with the ever-growing Orthodox world. The task facing the Ameri- can Jewish community is immense, requiring boldness, not Band-Aids. In the past, American Jewry has aided, if not rescued, endangered Jewish communities around the globe. Now the challenge is to marshal the imagination, courage, will and resources to rebuild the endangered Jewish middle at home. S teven M. Cohen is research professor at the Hebrew Union College-JIR in New York and Jack Wertheimer is professor of American Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Semi- nary. Their jointly written reanalysis of the Pew study is found at http://mosaic- magazine.corn~essay~2014~11~ the-pew-survey-reanalyzed/.