Sunday, January 31, 2010

Intubation Solutions:
Israeli Innovation Continues to Improve Emergency Medicine

Reported by Shalle McDonald for Front Page Jerusalem

Israelis are renown world-wide for their skills and innovation in the field of emergency medicine, as was demonstrated in the aftermath of Haiti's earthquake. An upcoming Israeli invention is poised to make another significant improvement in emergency care that will have patients and first-responders breathing easier.

Endo-Tracheal Intubation (ETI) is one of the most common procedures used in emergency medicine and anesthesiology. It is utilized to establish an airway when a patient fails to breathe independently. In the U.S. alone, there are over 25 million ETI procedures annually.

According to the emergency guidelines of the American Heart Association, intubation should not last longer than thirty seconds. Longer intubation procedures put patients in danger of hypoxia with consequent death or irreversible brain damage.

Today's laryngoscope medical devices have no means for calculating time. Yuval Bar, Israeli inventor, businessman and former paramedic, is working hard to change that.

Bar worked for more than 6 years as a paramedic for Israeli Magen David Adom and served as a medical instructor for emergency care at Tel Aviv Medical Center. He also participated in several international humanitarian medical missions organized by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

While training his students and foreign colleagues to provide emergency care, Mr. Bar found a simple yet elegant solution to the timing issue, a built-in timing device on the laryngoscope. He quickly filed a patent and built a team to transform his idea into a life-saving device.

“For a surgeon in the safe, controlled environment of an operating room, the lack of a timing device is not so critical. But for emergency providers such as a medic on the battlefield or a paramedic on the road, it could mean the difference between life and death.” Bar told FrontPage.

The malpractice research project of the American Society of Anesthesiologists demonstrates the lack of a timing device makes intubation procedures prone to dangerous mistakes. Analyses of 2,000 malpractice claims reveal that prolonged and persistent intubation attempts were the most common events that led to catastrophic respiratory events including brain damage and death.

Dr. Pinchas Halpern, Chairman of the Tel Aviv Medical Center's Emergency Department quickly joined the venture. With over 30 years of experience in the EMS field, he saw the potential medical and financial value the patent. Avraham Jaeger serves as Marketing consultant and engineer Ronny Shabbat, joined the team to help construct a prototype with funds awarded to Mr. Bar by TNUFA, Israel's Ministry of Industry Trade and Labor.

Bar now holds a second patent for what he termed the “Smart Blade,” a larygoscope fitted with a pulse oximeter monitor placed on the blade which will instantly indicate the patients values of oxygen saturation on the device.

Bar established, Intubation Solutions LTD (, and is in the phase of seeking investment partners to begin manufacturing. The U.S. Army and American EMS suppliers have already expressed enthusiastic interest.

“Several suppliers want to orders” said Bar, “We just need investments to begin production,” Despite the global economic downturn, Bar remains determined to get his start-up company off the ground and his devices to market.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Roses from Sderot

by Taylor Innes

During the past eight years, Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip have been bombarded by over 10,000 Kassam rockets fired by Hamas, leaving these border towns with only 15 seconds to find shelter. But Yaron Bob, a 38-year old local computer teacher and blacksmith from Moshav Yated, has decided to turn the constant battle against terror into a positive.

Yaron Bob began taking spent Kassam shells collected at the police station in Ofakim and, using his artistic talents, began shaping the scrap metal into the shape of beautiful roses. He heats the metal shrapnel until it glows bright orange and then hammers and fashions it on his anvil into lovely rose shapes.

His roses have suddenly become a message of hope that is impacting hearts throughout the world. Some have even been delivered to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and US Sen. John Kerry.

“I had close encounters with two rockets that fell within 5 to 10 meters from me,” Bob recently told The Christian Edition. “I wanted to make something beautiful and good out of this disaster. I thought about what I could do and thought roses are beautiful. I will create roses out of the Kassam rockets as a new symbol of hope.”

During the recent Feast of Tabernacles celebration for Christians in Jerusalem, Bob reserved an exhibitor’s booth through the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem to see if there was any interest in his unique “product” – and indeed there was. One Feast pilgrim from California was thrilled to buy one of the roses.

“It represents great art. Not only is it artistically unique but it has redemptive value. Hopefully it is the beginning of us humans finally beginning to beat our swords into plowshares as the Bible tells us will eventually happen,” said David Schlosberg. “Everybody loses in war and so we must re-learn to follow the gospel of peace and take up swords no more. I commend the Jewish artist who made this piece of peace.”

“In the end of all our struggles, all the people in the world need to know the Jewish people are starving for peace. Everybody wants to live in peace, harmony and quiet. This is the bottom line,” Bob said.

This article was first published for the Jerusalem Post Christian Edition.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

International Holocaust Memorial Day

By Kasey Barr
First published for Travelujah at

This morning I picked up the Jerusalem Post to read the headline, "PM expected to draw connections between Iran's nukes and Holocaust." The article goes on to quote other leaders. "Merkel to Peres in Berlin: "Teheran's time is up." Today is the official United Nations Holocaust Remembrance Day and also the anniversary of the historic liberation of Auschwitz.  I expected to see historic articles throughout the paper, but the main thrust of today's headlines is a, not so subtle, warning that a second holocaust is waiting around the corner if the world does not act in some measure, and very quickly.

I find it eerie that on this day that we remember the atrocities of the past, we are confronted with a present day threat that could potentially kill more people in a few minutes then Hitler and his SS guards did in several years.  On Tuesday, at the Warsaw Uprising Museum, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu wrote in the guestbook, "The people of Israel have learned their lesson." I do not doubt his words, but I question whether the world has learned its lesson as well.


This past summer I visited Dachau concentration camp right outside of Munich. It was my first visit to a concentration camp memorial. There is much to say on this subject, but that is for another blog on another day. But I remember feeling like I had stepped onto the set of some horror movie. The heinous acts that were done there make the rational mind swim and finally go numb. I didn't cry as I made my way through the man-made hell. I thought that the walks through the cramped housing units, gas chambers and crematorium would be very emotional, but I found that my senses were frozen. It was not until after I was away from it all that I could sort through my feelings. Even now, I have not fully unpacked the experience.


Toward the end of the tour, my group was lead to a large stone memorial with the words "Never Again" written in English, Hebrew, French, German and Russian. "Never Again." I feel that our world is so detached from the atrocities and is so certain that the modern, educated world citizens of today could never return to such barbarism. But it was the most modern and educated people who masterminded the holocaust. Wishing hatred away has never been a successful strategy as history proves again and again.

I would like to believe the world has learned its lesson. But if it has not, have the Christians learned theirs? I often wonder what I would have done had I lived as a European Christian during the Second World War. Would I have been like Corrie Ten Boom who hid Jewish people in her home and marched bravely to a concentration camp when she and her family were caught? Could I have publically spoken against Hitler like German Lutheran Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose involvement in a plot to overthrow Hitler led to his imprisonment and execution in 1945.

Or would I be part of the silent mass of Christians who quietly dissented from Hitler. Those who abhorred his government, his policies and his practices but who would never scratch below the surface afraid of what they might find. Would I have been content to be dissatisfied but passive?

The answer may come more quickly than I would like. We may all have a decision to make very soon. We do live in a period in history where there is virulent hatred toward Israel and her Jewish citizens and where there is a madman spewing numerous promises to wipe Israel from the map. The scenario, while similar to WWII, is different. Our response cannot be the same. We are not Germans and the man making speeches of hatred is not our leader. How do we respond?

I wish I knew. But one thing I do know is that when we are faced with Anti-Semitism of any kind, we must speak out. When the nation of Israel is verbally attacked for the crime of existing, we must answer in defense.  And if ever called upon to shoulder the burden of the Jewish people, we must be ready.

 It was Deitrich Bonhoeffer who said, "It is the fellowship of the cross to experience the burden of the other. If one does not experience it, the fellowship he belongs to is not Christian. If any member refuses to bear that burden, he denies the law of Christ."

If any man has a right to make such a bold statement it is he. As I honor this day of rememberance, it is my earnest prayer that if confronted with the choice, we Christians will answer as strongly as the Corrie Ten Booms and Bonhoeffers who have gone before us.

 "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. Proverbs 24:11-12

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Anemones - Israel's Winter Wildflowers

by Kasey Barr
First published for Travelujah, the only Christian social network focused on travel to the Holy Land.

Just off of road 65, outside the town of Afula, is a beautiful reserve of wildflowers beside the Megido Airport. In Hebrew the flowers are called kalaniot, the English word is anemone. I am not a specialist on flowers and have never heard of anemone before yesterday but that didn't keep me from enjoying the beauty of these flowers found in northern Israel during the winter months of the year.

In general winter is my least favorite time of the year. I enjoy the season through Christmas and the new year but find the months from January to March something to tolerate rather than enjoy. I moved to Israel from northern, VA, just outside of D.C. where the winters there are cold, gray, and more often than not, muddy rather than snowy.

Winter in Israel is vastly different. It is the most green and lush time of year. As my husband, Yuval, and I drove to the North yesterday, I was astonished that the countryside was so alive. The fields were almost fluorescent as the sun shone down on them. Our target was the Galilee, but as we drove through Afula Yuval asked if I would like to stop and see some flowers. I'm ashamed to say that at first I just wanted to keep driving but the little saying "you should stop to smell the roses" came to mind and I quickly took his offer.

I was so thankful that I did. We drove down a gravel road into a wooded area with cars parked in every imaginable spot, as is usual in Israel. We managed to get a parking place for our car and found our way to a place where the wooded area gave way to an open field carpeted with delicate flowers of multiple colors. The area was packed with local tourists.

I was happy that so many people were out enjoying God's creations. I also laughed a little as I thought to myself, this is so typical Israeli. Israelis love to be "out" and "doing" but once they get to their destination they don't seem to want to spread out and explore. I am sure many of these Israelis drove quite far to see the flowers but only few of them ventured down the other wooded paths surrounding the open field of flowers. Americans feel intensely uncomfortable being "too close" to one another whereas Israelis seem to thrive on the community aspect of life. I don't think they have ever met a stranger, especially not while in their own land of Israel. I am learning to appreciate both ways of life.

Yuval and I decided to go farther into the woods. As we drifted further away from the crowd it was almost magical. The sun rays danced through the branches of the trees and we were met by a gentle, fregrant breeze. The anemone or kalaniot decorated the entire wooded area with a quiet beauty and I felt for a moment like I was in J.R.R. Tolkein's "Shire" - The little green village of hobbits in Middle Earth.

The experience has inspired me to come home to Ra'anana and manage my patch of earth on my balcony a bit better. Yuval and I continued on to our destination, but looking back I think that stop was the highlight of my day as we took the time to revel in God's artwork. Yesterday was an object lessons. It is true that we should live life as if the journey is the destination.

If you are planning a trip to Israel, you may want to consider winter months - especially if you are a nature lover. The weather can be a little unpredictable with some cool temperatures and possible rain, but if that doesn't bother you, you will see an entirely different Israel than that of the summer months. And if you are from a cold climate, it could be a perfect break from the snow and ice.

If you do come in the winter, be sure to stop and experience the anemone!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Therapeutic Riding in Israel

Israel in Our Day: Therapeutic Riding

Reported by Shalle McDonald
Written by Kasey Barr 
January 2010

click here to visit Front Page Jerusalem and listen online
Therapeutic horseback riding has become one of the most progressive forms of recreational therapy and is gaining recognition world-wide as well as in Israel.
According to the Israel National Therapeutic Riding Association (INTRA) “therapeutic riding is a treatment modality that uses the rhythmic movement of the horse to provide numerous physical benefits and psychological benefits. It is also strenuous aerobic activity stimulating a strong sense of mobility, power and control, balance and coordination, accomplishing co-operation, communication and concentration.”
Shlomi and Frieda Pillersdorf are the owners and managers of Chavat Chaim or “Life Farm” in Ra'anana Israel. Frieda directs the Therapeutic riding program and works with students of all ages and abilities including survivors of terror attacks, children at risk, traumatic brain injury patients, children with autism, developmental disorders, cerebral palsy and a broad spectrum of physical and emotional problems.

Frieda, who studied alternative communication, was among the first in Israel to test the waters and enter into the practice of therapeutic instruction for patients with severe head injuries. Nearly two decades ago, Frieda began using animals in the physical and mental recovery of patients with traumatic head injuries. She worked at the Medical Center in Hertzlia and saw how animals could make a change in patients that were otherwise unresponsive. Through her research and practical experience she discovered that animals are a powerful trigger for rehabilitation.  Frieda explained to Front Page Jerusalem that head injury patients need powerful stimulates to trigger a response and animals often motivate that response when little else can.

Though the main focus of the farm is therapeutic riding, Chavat Chaim also work with smaller animals such as rabbits, birds, dogs and goats. Frieda explained that in many cases small animals can make a larger impact because their response to human interaction is easier to see and influence.

Today Frieda, and her husband Shlomi, are in their eighth year as owners of their own therapeutic riding facility. A quick scan of the parent's waiting area provides an interesting insight into the philosophy of the farm. Orthodox parents, secular parents, Asian parents and group home parents all sit together watching proudly as their children learn to ride and overcome great challenges with broad smiles across their faces.

“For us we believe that in our small farm we are changing the community'” Frieda told Front Page, “If we all can learn to be together with everyone, Arab, Jew, or Christian, positive changes will come. I think if everyone can do a small change all of us can make a big change together. We need to ask ourselves,'what small change we can make today?'”

This patient approach is what makes Frieda such a successful therapeutic riding instructor. She celebrates the small victory and truly believes that each little success will culminate in an overall  victory of great impact – for her students and for the community at large.