Good News

Bible Scenes Uncovered in Ruins of Ancient Synagogue

Fish swallowing an Egyptian soldier; “Parting of the Red Sea” mosaic, Huqoq Synagogue. (Photo: Jim Haberman/UNC)

Fish swallowing an Egyptian soldier; “Parting of the Red Sea” mosaic, Huqoq Synagogue. (Photo: Jim Haberman/UNC)

Archaeologists excavating a Roman-era synagogue at the site of Huqoq, Israel, have uncovered two new panels of a mosaic floor with instantly identifiable subjects—Noah’s ark, and the parting of the Red Sea during the Israelite exodus from Egypt.

“You can see the pharaoh’s soldiers with their chariots and horses drowning, and even being eaten by large fish,” says excavation director Jodi Magness, from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Such images are extremely rare in this period. “I know of only two other scenes of the parting of the Red Sea in ancient synagogues,” Magness explains. “One is in the wall paintings at Dura Europos [in Syria], which is a complete scene but different from ours—no fish devouring the Egyptian soldiers. The other is at Wadi Hamam [in Israel], but that’s very fragmentary and poorly preserved.” Read more at National Geographic.

Tel Aviv University study may lead to melanoma cure

Metastatic_Melanoma_Cells_Nci-vol-9872-300Story Via: Times of Israel

Researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) say they have unraveled the metastatic mechanism of melanoma, the most aggressive of all skin cancers.

According to a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Cell Biology, the scientists discovered that before spreading from the epidermis — the outer layer of the skin where the disease originates — to other organs, a melanoma tumor sends out tiny vesicles containing molecules of microRNA. These cause morphological changes in the dermis — the inner layer of the skin — to prepare it to receive and transport the cancer cells. The researchers also found chemical substances that can stop the process and are therefore promising drug candidates.

“The threat of melanoma is not in the initial tumor that appears on the skin, but rather in its metastasis — in the tumor cells sent off to colonize in vital organs like the brain, lungs, liver and bones,” said research leader Dr. Carmit Levy of the Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at the TAU’s Sackler School of Medicine. “We have discovered how the cancer spreads to distant organs and found ways to stop the process before the metastatic stage.”

The TAU group worked in close collaboration with researchers from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, the Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer, Israel and the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, Israel.

Melanoma, the most aggressive and lethal type of skin cancer, causes the death of one person every 52 minutes according to data from the Skin Cancer Foundation, and the number of diagnosed cases has been on the rise for the past three decades. Despite a range of therapies developed over the years, there is still no full remedy for this life-threatening disease. The new study proposes new and effective methods for diagnosing and preventing this most deadly of skin cancers, the TAU said in a statement.

The researchers began by examining pathology samples taken from melanoma patients. “We looked at samples of early melanoma, before the invasive stage,” Levy said. “To our surprise we found changes in the morphology of the dermis — the inner layer of the skin — that had never before been reported. Our next task was to find out what these changes were, and how they related to melanoma.”

Read more at Times Of Israel

 

Jewish ‘Stone Age’ factory from time of Jesus surfaces in Galilee

Story Via: Times Of Israel

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 9.19.02 PMIn a limestone cave halfway between Nazareth and the biblical town of Cana, archaeologists recently unearthed a first century CE workshop that produced stone vessels similar to those that held the water Jesus turned into wine.

Several stone bowls and cups in various stages of completion were found in the bowels of the cave, suggesting the cave may have been been home to an active stone goods manufactory. The site, known today as Einot Amitai, is the first stoneware manufacturing site of its kind to be found in the Galilee from the Second Temple Era, researchers said.

While evidence of chalkstone vessel production has been found at other sites in the Galilee, only at Einot Amitai have archaeologists found a quarry and workshop where they were made.

The cave was found in 2001 when residents of the nearby town were bulldozing a plot of land and breached the cavern. A limited survey of the site indicated it may have been involved in the production of limestone goods, but archaeologists only launched a more comprehensive dig this August.

Read More At Times of Israel

With cardiac surgery, Israeli team saves Afghani boy’s life

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Story Via Times of Israel

A baby boy born in Afghanistan with multiple heart defects received life-saving surgery in Israel thanks to a Facebook friendship and a covert operation that traversed enemy borders and diplomatic lines.

During a trip to their homeland they spoke with an English-speaking relative, Farhad Zaheer, living in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, who reached out on social media to his contacts. Anna Mussman, 69, a daughter of Holocaust survivors living in Israel, answered his call. According to the Times report, Zaheer remembered Mussman because she had commented kindly on his previous posts.

Mussman contacted Simon Fisher, executive director of the Israeli charity Save a Child’s Heart. “I realize helping a child from a country which Israel has no diplomatic relations is not easy, but perhaps possible,” she emailed him. “Thanks so much and Shabbat Shalom.”

It was not simple to arrange, and involved calling in all sorts of favors and using many different contacts, but ultimately Yehia was brought to Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center, and was operated on in an eight-hour surgery.

Read more at: Times of Israel