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December 11, 2009

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, DECEMBER 11, 2009 PAGE 23A TAU defining leap from unconscious to conscious mind TEL AVIV--There is a tiny period of time between the registration ofavisual stim- ulus by the unconscious mind and our conscious recognition of it--between the time we see an apple and the time we recognize it as an apple. Our minds lag behind our eyes, but by how long? And how does this affect our reactions to the world around us? Some estimates say the time delay lasts only 100 milliseconds, others say 500 milliseconds. A new study by Tel Aviv University psychologists says that the answer is somewhere close to the latter but can vary depending on the complex- ity of the stimulus. Researcher Moti Salti and his supervisors Domi- nique Lamy and professor Yair Bar-Haim of TAU's Department of Psychology reported their findings in the "Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience." "We are hunting for the brain activity associated with conscious perception," says Salti. "When you wan- der through this world, you see and hear things that may reveal themselves to your conscious mind--and others that don't. We are interested in what cues the brain gives us to open that unconscious perception to the conscious mind--what makes our conscious mind tick." This basic science, Salti says, won't immediately provide marketers with the basis for a new and advanced kind of subliminal adver- tising. But it may answer long-debated questions about the mysterious nexus between our conscious and unconscious minds. In their study, the re- searchers measured neural activity related to conscious perception. They connected test subjects to an elec- troencephalograph (EEG) that measured their brain activity, then exposed them to rapid visual stimuli-- square cubes on a computer screen that flashed on and off very quickly. Partici- pants were instructed to indicate whether they had seen the stimulus and to report its location on the screen. Some participants were able to identify where the stimulus appeared, but could not identify it as a square cube, allowing the researchers to explore how brain activity correlated with conscious perception. The study sought to map what the eyes do not "see," but the brain or uncon- scious mind registers. The EEG data showed that the conscious mind kicked in about a half second--300 to 400 milliseconds--after exposure to the stimulus. "The time it takes for the conscious mind to kick in depends on the complex- ity of the stimulus," says Salti. "The more complex the stimuli--like eye color or words written on a pass- erby's T-shirt--the longer the conscious mind will delay. Our new discovery isn't only about timing this effect, but also about using unconscious perception as a tool for studying conscious- ness." Until about 20 years ago, science neglected the field of consciousness, saying it was too subjective for pre- cise scientific examination. Now the very complexity of the problem encour- ages young psychologists to study the mystery of consciousness; they argue that the conscious mind is a "splendor of creation" and helps us understand humanity itself. Salti is about to begin a post-doctorate study posi- tion at INSERM in France, the European equivalent of America's National Insti- tutes of Health, under pro- fessor Stanislas Dehaene. Shalit From page 1A were returned in body bags. In July 2008, Israel released five Arab terrorists and the bodies of about 200 Arab fighters in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, who were captured and killed in the July 2006 Hezbollah raid that sparked the Lebanon war that year. In discussing the pos- sible Shalit deal, Israelis are haunted by a deal that never happened: a trade for missing Israeli airman Ron Arad, who was shot down over Lebanon in 1986 and was held captive before his trail went cold. Arad is now widely presumed to be dead. His wife, Tami, has spoken out in favor of a swap for Shalit's release. "There is only one way to bring back a prisoner of war: to pay," she said. "Ron did not succeed in enjoying the efforts to bring him back because they were made too late. The mistakes made with Ron must not recur with Gilad. The State of Israel's deterrence will not be made or broken on the back of its POWs." The video of Shalit look- ing wan but healthy, re- leased two months ago, has helped boost public support for a swap of this scope. The video was the first such recording since Shalit, then a 19-year-old tank crew member, was captured in a cross-border raid and spirited into Gaza in June 2006. "Now there is clear-cut evidence that he is alive and well, it makes him even more a family member," said Alon Liel, a former director- general of the Foreign Ministry and a political sci- entist at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, who said Shalit has become a quasi-family member for all Israelis. The video, Liel said, "has built momentum." For its part, the Shalit family has kept up its cam- paign. Noam Shalit has made countless trips abroad to lobby international leaders and diplomats, reached out to the families of Palestin- ian prisoners and lobbied Israeli politicians. Since the rough terms of the potential deal became public, Shalit family members have met almost daily with Cabinet ministers to press them to effect a swap. The main voices in Israel against a prisoner swap are families who lost relatives in terror attacks and now face the prospect that the perpetrators could go free. A group of such families submitted an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court ask- ing that the potential pris- oners' names be released, so a proper public debate on the subject could take place. But the court this week sided with the state and said the names would not be released before such an exchange, citing a com- mitment to the German mediator conducting talks between Hamas and Israel to keep such details confi- dential. Students from several pre-military academies also have voiced their dissent in letters sent to Prime Min- ister Benjamin Netanyahu asking him to resist the heavy public pressure for a deal. In one letter, students from the Atzmona Academy wrote that their sense of "duty to lay down one's life also takes into account the reality of falling into captiv- ity, with all the pain this involves." "We, who stand before our induction into the IDF, hear with astonishment about the intention to release terrorists and mass murder- ers," the letter said. "We love Gilad and want his return, but as soldiers in the near future we would not like to limit the decision-making echelon to considerations in which the pain of the individual stands above all." By contrast, Shimshon Libman, who heads the main grassroots group for Shalit's release, argues that cutting such a deal "broadcasts strength." "Our strength comes from our ethos that we do not abandon our people in the battlefield," he told JTA. "If we could see him released any other way we would. But there is no other way." Adlers From page 1A amendment was proposed to grant citizens of the District of Columbia the right to vote. And of course, that was the year Rabbi Rudolph and Rose Adler moved to Orlando. To help make this an- niversary event even more special, the Visions singing trio, the well-known group who got their musical start as bat mitzvah students at COS, will be featured at the tribute program. "Rabbi Adler and Rose have touched so many people's lives over the years" said JoAnne Kane, event co-chair. "We hope that many people in the congregation and the community will want to join us to show their regard and affection for the Adlers, and enjoy a beautiful evening of warm friendship, good food and the wonderful music of Visions." All of the funds raised by this event will help support the many activities and services COS provides to its members and the com- munity. When the Adlers arrived in Orlando with their three children, Rae, Allan and Paul, Rabbi Adler immediately com- menced not only pulpit duties at COS but also running the Hebrew school. Rose, too, became involved in synagogue life and together both their family and the congregation flourished. Along the way, the imprint that Nazi Germany left on Rabbi Adler's young life led him on a pa,th to work for tolerance and diversity in the greater Orlando community. He taught classes at Rollins and the University of Central Florida, served as the Jew- ish chaplain at the Orlando Naval Training Center, was active in the local Interfaith Council and the National Conference of Christians and Jews, where he served a term as president. After 30 years on the COS pulpit, Rabbi Adler retired. He not only remained active as Rabbi Emeritus, but he also continued to teach and lecture throughout Central Florida. He even became the spiritual leader of South Orlando Jewish Congrega- tion Ohalei Rivka, until its congregants could find their own full-time rabbi. For 64 years, Rose Adler has been by her husband's side and shared many duties with him. She is a loving and generous woman, deeply de- voted to her husband, family and community. "For 50 years, Rabbi Adler and Rose have served this community with honor and distinction, and now it is our honor to show our gratitude, admiration, and love for them on this special occasion," said Sharan Schwartz, co-chair. "Rabbi and Rose will always be part of the heart and soul of Ohev Shalom." The community is invited to attend. For more information, call the COS office at 407- 298-4650. Peril From page 5A in Jewish education and teach Hebrew school or day school. This is what you will wind up doing once you have children anyway." One professor told me, "More important than any- thing you learn in school will be to get married and have babies." Another, asked how long an assignment should be, replied, "Like a woman's skirt: Long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to be inter- esting." I was shocked and appalled by these comments. This was 1994, not 1954! I seriously considered leaving school. Studying Jewish texts, which in and of themselves are patri- archal documents, combined with a sense that today's community did not want to hear my voice because I was a woman, was almost too much to bear. My faith that God does not see me as less than my male counterparts propelled me through my years in rab- binical school. I chose to focus my rabbin- ate in the Jewish communal nonprofit world. After ordina- tion, I worked for eight years in a Jewish community center. I loved my position. I was able to experiment with new and cutting-edge programs. I learned management skills. I grew stronger in my identity as a rabbi. However, from day one, the power structure was clear. The top three positions-- executive director and two as- sistant executive directors-- were men. Ninety percent of the rest of the JCC staffwere women. The same was true in the local Jewish family service and the federation. In addition, the salary gap between the top positions and those below was as much as $100,000. When I was ready for a new challenge and began looking for a new job two years ago, I again seriously considered leaving the Jewish communal professional world. Where was my growth potential? I entered the rabbinate because I wanted to be a leader in the Jewish world, but it seemed that my opportunities were slim. As a rabbi, I was directed to look (again) at Jewish edu- cation positions, not manage- ment positions. But this was not my career goal. After eight years of man- aging a half-a-million-dollar budget, raising the bulk of the money needed for that budget, creating programs and supervising several staff- ers, I had strong management credentials. I was in a position to lead, and I wanted to use my talents as a female rabbi with management skills in our community. Luckily I found a position at CLAL-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, where I hope I can grow into my true potential. However, had this job not materialized, there is avery real chance that I would have left the Jewish communal field. The world is in flux; bor- ders everywhere are coming down. If the Jewish commu- nity wants to continue to be vital, exciting and attractive to postmodern American Jews, then we have to make way for different voices to be heard in our leadership structure. We need Jewish leaders who are female, gay, black and Asian. This is our community now. The face of the Jewish community is literally changing more and more each year, and the leadership needs to reflect these changes. Frankly, the Jewish com- munal world needs to be shaken up. Now is the time to do it. The current economic crisis is an opportunity to turn old assumptions on their heads. It is time to turn in a new direction, take some risks and open our community to new ideas. I am confident that we will benefit. I am also just as confident that we will lose very talented people to other communities and causes if we don't do this. My story is not atypical. There are hundreds of women, if not thousands, like me. I am asking you to support me, teach me and mentor me, so 39 74 25 52 17 86 91 68 43 that I/we can be part of our collective future. Rabbi Rebecca W. Sirbu is the director of Rabbis Without Borders at CLAL-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. 1472865 8615923 6938741 3187496 9364258 4259137 5723684 2541379 7896512 Solution to Sudoku on pg. 7