By Orel Fichman
Since I arrived here at Sci-Tech West, we’ve been talking about technology and science. As a part of the Mishlachat(the Israeli delegation brought to camp as counselors and specialists) living in a new country, I was amazed by the technological advancements in the USA, and started noticing how much Israeli technology is used here. From Waze to Mobileye, it’s eye-opening to see how much technology we share and how it can bring us together.
Every day at camp, we talk about Jewish scientists. We specifically, as Shlichim (a synonym of Mishlachat), talk about more Israel-focused science and technology during our J-lab (Jewish Laboratory) periods at camp. So how do Israel and
technology here at camp relate to each other? We have been teaching our campers during J-Lab about Israel’s contribution to Game Theory as well as the chemistry and reactions that happen when you make Falafel or Shakshuka, some of our favorite foods!
Game theory in its most basic form states that life is made of a series of games, and in every encounter, it eventually pays off to act in your own self-interest. A professor named Israel Aumann made a breakthrough in the world of game theory, by proving through continuous testing and research that in repetitive games (such as life, where “games” repeat themselves time and time again) it’s best to collaborate and support others rather than try to trip your opponent. His discovery was that collaboration leads to the betterment of people and society as a whole. Israel won a Nobel prize in economics for his findings. This idea, that in the long run it’s more beneficial to collaborate and support your community than to act selfishly, is directly in line with our core value of B’tzelem Elohim, or radical acceptance. We teach that, if everyone is made in the image of God, we (particularly at camp) must treat others as we would want to be treated – with kindness, respect, and care.
The Israeli kitchen is not just yummy, but full of chemistry to explore! During our food-focused J-Lab, we talked about what the heat of cooking a Shakshuka dish does to the proteins in tomatoes and eggs, why Falafel floats when it’s ready, and the chemistry of fried foods. We then let the kids try Hummus, Pita, Falafel and Shakshuka (it was the first time for some of them!) and they LOVED it, because how can you not? Being able to share our favorite foods with our campers was a beautiful community experience, demonstrating how the little things can really bring us together and bridge culture gaps (I mean, Israeli Hummus. For real – it brings everyone together!)
Orel Fichman is a member of our Pioneer Mishachat this year at Sci-Tech West. He’s a counselor and specialist in the field of IT, electronics and programming, with certification from the IDF academy of computer sciences. He likes reading, coding, (israeli) dancing and goofing around!