Written by Eliana Benador
by Eliana Benador
As we prepare for Yom Kippur 5772, in 2011, we are culminating 10 days where we have devoted most of our time for reflection, meditation, introspection, identifying our mistakes, our sins, accepting willingly our duty to feel guilty -and repenting. And, as we repent, we raise from the ashes of guilt into the glory of sincere repentance that will take us to a clean beginning, so that our lives may enjoy a brand new year.
Yom Kippur is a day of fasting and abstention of work, among many other things. It was on the day of Yom Kippur that Moshe came down from Mount Sinai after his third stay there with the second set of tablets, and G-d forgave the Jewish people from the sin of the Golden Calf.
We are led by the most holy principle of Tikkun Olam: Tikkun Olam is found in the phrase mip'nei tikkun ha-olam ("for the sake of tikkun of the world") to indicate that one of the goals of the Jewish people must be to try to help “repair the world.”
Sure enough, principles as care for the elderly; bikur cholim or visit to the ill; tzedakah or charity; or chevra kadisha, which is a holy group that prepares a body for burial, and so many more, are among our fundamental principles of caring for, and helping those in need.
Just as we are going to initiate the celebration of Yom Kippur, the world has welcome the astounding news that five out of seven 2011 Nobel Prize winners so far, are Jewish.
Saul Pelmutter and Adam G. Ross, both American Jews, are two of the three Nobel Prize winners in physics and have been recognized "for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae.”
Israeli scientist Daniel Shechtman has made headlines at home for winning the 2011 Nobel Prize in chemistry, and together with the other four members of the tribe, they are presenting a strong showing this year in both medicine and physics.
Ralph Steinman and Bruce Beutler were awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine for their discoveries on the immune system along with French biologist Jules Hoffmann. Steinman will receive the award posthumously, passing just three days before the Nobel committee announced that he was among the winners.
But, just how much have actually Jews contributed to the well-being of mankind?
While one could argue that the human gift of intelligence seems to be more of a failure in the average -given the catastrophic, destructive and suicidal choices of mankind at large; the Nobel Prize, on the contrary, provide a net barometer of the rarest and highest intellectual production, the creativity, the innovation capability in human species.
Let’s turn, therefore, to the Nobel Prize influx of Jewish contributions since its inception.
According to Jinfo.org, at least 181 Jews and people of half- or three-quarters-Jewish ancestry have been awarded the Nobel Prize, accounting for 22% of all individual recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2010, and constituting 36% of all US recipients during the same period. In the research fields of Chemistry, Economics, Physics, and Physiology/Medicine, the corresponding world and US percentages are 26% and 39%, respectively. Among women laureates in the four research fields, the Jewish percentages (world and US) are 38% and 50%, respectively. Of organizations awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, 25% were founded principally by Jews or by people of half-Jewish descent.
Jews currently make up approximately 0.2% of the world's population and 2% of the US population.
Jewish Nobel Prize winners in Chemistry are 20% of world total and 27% of US total.
Meanwhile, Jewish Nobel Prize winners in Economics are 42% of world total and 55% of US total. Jewish Nobel Prize winners in Literature represent 12% of world total and 27% of US total.
Likewise, Jewish Nobel Prize winners in Physiology or Medicine are 28% of world total, and 41% of US total.) In Physics, the Jewish Nobel Prize winners represent 26% of world total and 37% of US total.
And, in Oslo, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee has awarded the prize to nine Jewish winners, representing 9% of world total and 10% of the US total -among them: Henry Kissinger (1973), Menachem Begin (1978), Elie Wiesel (1986), Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin (1994), among others.
Those Jewish, Israeli laureates come from a special part of the world, where the word “excellence” is the rule and not the exception: The Israeli academic world, comprised of many scientific academic venues such as the Weizmann Institute of Science, the Technion, the Hebrew University, and many more.
And, while we witness the brilliance of the mind coming from the tiny country, we are at the same time astonished at the downside of human intelligence, suddenly popping up in the shape of none other than the Swedish Academics, who in a schizophrenic move, are calling for nothing less than... an academic boycott of Israeli institutions!!!
This vicious move from the Swedes, breaks a tacit pattern of non-interference between science and politics and brings back the looming presence of rampant Antisemitism in the current upside down world -and its many gray zones. It’s time to really wonder if the human species is all that intelligent -besides the few handful of geniuses, a majority of whom, come from that tiny land called Israel.
As Jews, the Torah commands us to reach out to all men with friendship and live peaceably with all if possible. As Isaiah said, "You shall be a light unto the nations" (Isaiah 42:6), and so we are. We not only talk the talk -but we also walk the walk.
May your introspection have been fruitful, may you have felt deep inside you, the guilt needed to regret and feel remorse. And may your repentance be accepted over Yom Kippur as we begin this evening listening to the cantor singing Kol Nidre and while we fast during 25 hours.
Gmar Chatimah Tova
May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for Good
Goodwill Ambassador Eliana Benador is a national and international global strategist and the former CEO and founder of Benador Associates. You can find her at the Goodwill Ambassador or at her website. Follow her on Twitter, or her political page on Facebook and her business page on Facebook