Tel-Hai Magazine 2022


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Index and credits

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Opening words Prof. Eliezer Shalev, President

Promoting wellbeing through applied research The Galilee Research Center for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Innovation in education and teaching

The Board of Trustees welcomes its new Chair an interview with Zeev Feldman

Tel-Hai College trains the teachers of the future at the Katzrin campus


Breaking barriers The inspiring success of Maoz Tzeiri

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Can Artificial Intelligence help fight food loss? Research by Prof. Ofer Shir and Dr. Dan Gamrasni Pomegranates: an ancient fruit with an exciting future Prof. Rachel Amir talks about her research Making a dramatic impact in the community The Drama Therapy Graduate Program International exchange and collaboration Researchers and students from all over the world find Tel-Hai College and the Upper Galilee an exciting place to conduct research

The Laila Schwartz Collection By Dr. Gal Shahar, Director of the Tel-Hai Institute of Art Student support system Dean of Students Office

Student Entrepreneurs

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Making a difference Hila Schwartz

MA-SA – Optimizing the logistics of rehabilitative care Roy Caspi, Udi Rozenblit, Eden Valdman

On the menu: quinoa-based beer Hila Schwartz

Editorial team Reut Diamant, Tamar Dinur, Daniella Elmaliach, Sandra Shapira, Oshrit Shita, Sigal Siroha Contributing writers Julie Adar, Gail Diamond, Natalie Edelman Porat, Karin Stevenson Editing Julie Adar Production Manager Tamar Dinur Photography Dror Miller, Avihu Shapira Design Studio Panda - Moshe Kakon

Student tests herbal remedies for Alzheimer’s Balkees Katesh

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Dear Friends and Partners, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my predecessor, Prof. Mekori, for all that he has contributed to Tel-Hai College, to its successes and development, and to its progress towards becoming a university. I shall endeavor to continue this work, and bring about the realization of our vision for the college and for a flourishing Galilee. Throughout this academic year, during which I assumed my new role as president, the college has continued to promote and to achieve excellence in many fields - innovating in agrotech, education, food tech, and more, while constantly working towards our goal of becoming the University of the Galilee. As I see it, Tel-Hai is not just an institution that strives to excel and to gain university status; we have a wider vision and a sense of purpose that inspires and motivates us: to promote the development of the Galilee, generate growth, create employment, and provide a solid base for investment in the region, while respecting our natural environment and its unique resources. Tel-Hai is part of a regional ecosystem in which research, academia, business, local communities, and agriculture evolve together in a symbiotic relationship that contributes to the sustainability of the region and enables all to flourish. The academic affiliation of MIGAL – the Galilee Research Institute, the merging of Ohalo College, and it becoming Tel-Hai’s Campus of Innovation in Education and Teaching, our partnership in the newly-launched Foodtech Valley, our active Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub, our collaboration with local industries, farmers and communities, and our cooperation with the Ziv Medical Center in Tsfat, all form part of this ecosystem, and play a significant role in realizing Tel-Hai’s goal and its vision for the region. Looking to the future, as the University of the Galilee, Tel-Hai will continue to encourage excellence, innovation and entrepreneurship, while continuing to endorse values of equality, tolerance and diversity in Israeli society. I wish us all fruitful years to come and success in our mutual endeavors. Prof. Eliezer Shalev

President, Tel-Hai College

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The Board of Trustees welcomes its new Chair: an interview with Zeev Feldman In an interview shortly after he took up his new role as Chair of the Board of Trustees at Tel-Hai College, Zeev Feldman talks of his viewpoint on assisting the college achieve its goals, and of his personal interest in education and in contributing to the development of the region.

with support for the rehabilitation cen ter in Mevo’ot HaHermon. I was also the first business partner in MIGAL, together with Meir Shamir and David Forer, 20 years ago. I really enjoy the at mosphere and the sense of purpose here - and the natural beauty in this area is inspiring.” “The key to promoting the college and to boosting activity is funding” As a former member of the executive committee of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Col lege, and a member of the Friends of Tel Aviv University, Feldman is aware of the difference he will face at Tel Hai, in terms of fundraising potential. “Donating to an academic institution in the center of the country is almost a default choice for many donors ; here it will be more challenging, but I find that much more interesting. As trustees, our main objective is to strengthen the col lege and expand connections. The key to promoting the college and to boost ing activity is funding, and that’s where I intend to invest my efforts. I welcome any member of the board who can help with this mission. Furthermore, I would like to expand the board, and broaden its diversity, including foreign members, which is a direction that I’m examining.”

Feldman brings with him a wealth of experience. He worked for many years at the Ministry of Finance, has been very active in the philanthropic sphere, volunteered in academia, and has man aged family offices. He is renowned for his active approach, his informal style, and the close relationship he builds with his clients. Feldman arrives with great enthusiasm. He says he enjoys working with people and connecting between them, and gains great satisfaction from seeing resources enable the creation of new opportunities and bring about pos itive change. Feldman was born in Jerusalem in 1951, to parents who were Holocaust survi vors. He grew up in Moshav Batzra, served in the IDF as an officer in the artillery corps, and later, during his re serve duty, he served as a battalion com mander in parallel to his work in the civil service. He now splits his time be tween his family home in Tel Aviv and his home in Har Eliezer, near Tel-Hai. He is married with a daughter and an adopted son, whom he met in the course of his philanthropic work. He has two grandchildren. For almost twenty years, Feldman served as deputy director of the Tax Authority and, concurrently, over the course of a

decade he lectured in the fields of eco nomics and accounting at a university in the center of the country. After leaving the civil service some twenty years ago, Feldman entered the private sector and became a partner in a large accountancy firm in Tel Aviv. Later, he served as the General Manager of the parent com pany of the First International Bank of Israel, following which he opened a pri vate practice, establishing family offices for families that have a deep connection with Israel. “There’s a consensus regarding the college, and a common sense of pur pose in the region” When asked why he decided to take this new role upon himself, so distant from the center of the country, Feldman’s an swer was immediate: “I am very happy to be here. There’s a lot to be done here and I like the fact that, where the college is concerned, there’s a consensus, whereas, in the rest of the country, many things are argued about. I’ve been active in the Galilee for many years now, through my business activities in the past, and through the philanthropic activity of the family of fices I manage. I’m involved with the do nations to The Agamon Hula-JNF, and

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I want to contribute to the development of this area; the strength of Tel-Hai College is central to that process

A ‘one step at a time’ approach “This is a part of the country that I feel connected to, not only through my ac tivities here, over the years, but also as a resident. I want to contribute to the development of this area; the strength of Tel-Hai College is central to that pro cess. For some time now, there’s been talk of a university in the Galilee. This is a wonderful vision, a long-term goal, but I’d prefer to talk about taking one step at a time to achieve that goal, look ing first at the short-term steps we can take in that direction. For example, if we have the resources to attract some ‘stars’, say, in Food Science and Psychol ogy, and can offer their mentorship to doctoral students, together with our af filiation with MIGAL, then we’ll have a university. In addition, I’d like to bring business concerns that would, for exam ple, establish a development center that would be connected to the Computer Science Department at the college. My dream would be to bring in a company like WIX.” A strong academic institution acts as a solid anchor that will support its environment Feldman's vast experience of working with the Investment Center, and of au

thorizing support and assistance to the north, and other parts of the country, have provided him with insight into the type of investments that would best serve the development of the region. He explains that, in the past, large sums of money have been invested in the north, but these investments were directed by the considerations of financial and eco nomic bodies. This resulted in a situa tion where, as soon as the tax benefits and incentives the body received were exhausted, the motivation to remain or to maintain involvement in the Gal ilee, dissipated. “But it’s different, when it comes to academia,” says Feldman. “What characterizes academia, as op posed to the business sector, is that it’s not as affected by economic trends. A strong academic institution acts as a sol id anchor and, if that anchor develops, it provides stability and a good base for growth. What interests me is how this anchor can influence and benefit its en vironment.” “Donors can become involved, and become partners in the develop ment of Tel-Hai” “Tel-Hai is an excellent place. Our standpoint is that we are good, but we can do even better. I meet people with

enthusiasm, and there is potential for cooperation and involvement for the families that invest here, as with the Car asso family, who have already become very involved in the activity of the col lege. Donors here can take an active role in developing the college. I bring with me several donors from the business world, and I aspire to bring in contri butions that are not solely financial, but also involve contributing knowledge and experience. I believe that the more an institution connects with its donors and makes them full partners, the greater the chance that they will stay." In the short time between taking up his new role and this interview, Feldman has already become acquainted with the heads of local authorities in the region, and gained an understanding of the dynamics of investment in the Galilee. Feldman says his experience in working with government offices, and his famil iarity with the politics of investment will assist him in navigating his way to recruiting leaders in Jerusalem as part ners in his plans for Tel-Hai, and for the Galilee.

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of these learning environ ments in the new era. Prof. Alt will work to promote excellence in the fields of learning and teaching placing an emphasis on the teaching of core values, with the belief that graduates, who become leaders in education, must be role models of the values they wish to instill. We would like to welcome the new Dean and wish her success.

Tel-Hai College welcomes its new president - Professor Eliezer Shalev Elected by the Board of Trustees to serve as the new president, Shalev is Chair Professor Emeritus at the Technion, where he served as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. He was appointed by the Technion to assist in the establishment of the Guang dong Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, China and has since served as its Pro-vice, and later, Vice Chancellor, until assuming his role as President of Tel-Hai College several months ago. “Being chosen to serve as the President of Tel-Hai College is an honor, a challenge, and an opportunity to contribute not only to the development of Tel-Hai, but also to the develop ment of the entire Eastern Galilee and the northern areas of the country. Tel-Hai has already built strong foundations that will enable the establishment of the University of the Galilee. Accomplishing this would be a major force in the develop ment of the economy, education and health services of the north of Israel. Our goal is to ensure that the cooperation with stakeholders, industrialists, farmers and other parties in the area, will continue to flourish. Cooperation and partnership are the key to revolutionizing the Galilee and should be the guiding principles in the development of a new University in the Galilee." We are proud to have Professor Shalev as a partner and lead er in our mission, and wish him success. Professor Dorit Alt has been chosen to head Tel-Hai's new Department of Education and Teaching Prof. Alt has extensive experience in the development, appli cation and evaluation of future-oriented technological learn ing environments, and her research deals with the evaluation

Every year, Tel-Hai hosts and orchestrates a range of events that attract guests from around the country and from abroad. Here is a taste of some of the events held this year: Tel-Hai-MIGAL Galilee Research Institute’s Annual Water Conference, in memory of Eitan Gedelson, Z’L which focused this year on agricultural water. The 7th Galilee Panhandle Convention, in memory of Elad Erlich, Z’L, which discussed the significance and the impact of establishing a university in the Galilee. Among those participating in the convention were Minister for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee, Oded Forer, Min ister of Tourism, Yoel Razvozov, Minister of Education, Yifat Shasha-Biton, mayors and chairpersons of the surrounding municipalities.

Tel-Hai hosts The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities - Tel Hai hosted the academy for the first time in December 2021, and has had

Yifat Shasha-Biton Minister of Education at The 7th Galilee Panhandle Convention, in mem ory of Elad Erlich, Z'L

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the pleasure of hosting them again this year. Academy mem bers, Nobel Prize winner Prof. Avraham Hershko, the Tech nion, and Prof. Nira Liberman, Tel Aviv University, delivered two fascinating lectures on biochemistry and psychology re spectively. The discussion was led by the academy’s president, Prof. David Harel. The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities comprises 131 of Israel’s most distinguished scientists and scholars. Its goals are to enlist as its members distinguished scholars and scientists resident in Israel; to cultivate and promote scholarly and scientific endeavor; to advise the government on activities relating to research and scientific planning of national signif icance; to maintain contact with parallel bodies abroad; to ensure the representation of Israeli scholarship and science at international institutions and conferences; to publish writings calculated to promote scholarship and science; and to engage in any other activity serving the aforesaid objectives.

Marking step towards building the home of Food Tech in the Galilee, an agreement between Tel Hai and the Stella and Yoel the first

The signing of the agreement between Tel-Hai and The Stel la and Yoel Carasso Family Foundation – Beyachad

Carasso Family Foundation, Beyachad, has been signed. This brings about the realization of what will become the home of the National Food Institute and of all academic and research activities related to food and Food-Tech at Tel Hai College. The Carasso Center for Food Science will be built on Tel Hai’s western campus with the generous donation of the Beyachad Foundation. The new center will serve as a nexus of innovation and re search, bringing together academia, the food industry, and Food-Tech entrepreneurs under one roof. The center will play a vital role in the advancement of Food-Tech and Agro-Tech, both locally and globally. The Beyachad Foundation has been fulfilling the longlasting philanthropic tradition of the Carasso Family. The family’s strong commitment to creating and maintaining partnerships in Israeli society, is reflected in the foundation’s name – Beyachad – which, in Hebrew, means together. We are proud and honored to have established such a close and meaningful partnership, and we deeply appreciate their support and con tribution to the growth and development of Tel-Hai College, the Eastern Galilee and of Israel as a whole.

The 9th Annual Food Science Con ference - In addition to the new and

Food-Tech Conference 2022

exciting food innovations introduced at the conference, the representative of the Ministry of Economy and Industry an nounced the business partner: the Avnon Group, that will join us in operating the National Food Institute, together with the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute. The National Food Insti tute will be housed in the Carasso Center for Food Science.

New Academic Programs:

ö Organizational Behavior, M.A. Department of Social Sciences & Humanities ö Design and development of learning and teaching, M. Ed. Department of Education and Teaching ö Developmental Psychology, M.A. Department of Social Sciences & Humanities

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Research and Grants Dr. Loai Basheer, of the Food Sciences Department, Tel Hai College, together with an EU consortium, competed for a PRIMA (Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area) grant on evaluating the health benefits The Azrieli Foundation Israel was established in 2008 by David Azrieli. The foundation’s mission is to promote education, medical and scientific research, the betterment of society, welfare, art and culture, through programs and projects in Israel, and by awarding grants to organizations operating in fields that are in line with the foundation’s objectives. For more information on Azrieli Foundation and its programs, visit nation - the Azrieli Foundation Israel has awarded a 1.5 mil lion ILS grant to the Tel-Hai College Support Center for Stu dents with Learning Disabilities and Medical Limitations, to strengthen the center’s meaningful, life-changing mission. Recognizing the danger in letting potential languish, Tel-Hai established the Support Center in 1995 as part of its commit ment to making higher education accessible to all. The center breaks new ground by providing personalized guidance to students with a wide range of challenges and from a diverse set of backgrounds. The center’s remarkable success draws students from all over Israel to Tel-Hai, where their talents and motivation are fully appreciated, and they are given the tools to realize their dreams. Tel-Hai welcomes the partnership with the Azrieli Foundation and looks forward to many more years of friendship and col laboration. About the Azrieli Foundation Israel

Tel-Hai College is in constant growth, and we are excited to update on new construction that is underway: In a moving ceremony, accompanied by Minister of Finance, Avigdor Lieberman, and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Oded Forer, the cornerstone was laid for the new multi-purpose building of the Katzrin Campus. In Kiryat Shmona, supported by a donation from KKL-JNF, two more dormitories are currently under construction to house an additional 132 of Tel-Hai’s students. The Helmsley Science Building for Health, Environment and Biotechnology Studies, to be inaugurated in 2023, is progress ing, lab equipment is being moved in and several classrooms are already in use.

The building is supported by dona tions from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, UJIA UK, ICA in Israel, and the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education.

The Helmsley Science Building for Health, Environment and Biotechnology Studies

Scholarship Programs Hundreds of students received scholarships this past year thanks to the generous support of our partners and friends. We extend our deep gratitude and appreciation to the Jewish Federations of Canada – UIA; The Jeanne Bell Legacy Schol arship Program; Shamir Optical Industry; Bank Mizrahi-Te fahot; Kristet Center and Rothchild-Ambassadors; ICA in Israel; P.E.F.; the Orah Fund – a harbinger of our ties with Australian foundations, which we hope will bring about many more fruitful collaborations; the Azrieli Foundation Israel Do

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of the traditional Mediterranean food products, and was se lected to be granted up to 2 M€ (out of 114 submitted pro posals, alongside 3 other projects). The consortium includes 20 academic and industrial entities from 8 European countries and is coordinated by the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA), Spain. It was established to work on developing innovative plant-based, added-value food products through the promotion of LO CAL Mediterranean NUT and LEGUME crops, named the "LOCALNUTLEG" consortium project.

A new research program, conducted by Tamir Hod PhD, from Tel-Hai College, funded by the Alfred Landecker Foundation, Germany A new research program led by Dr. Tamir Hod, historian of Israeli society and the Holocaust, and lecturer at Tel-Hai Col lege, investigates and reveals the story behind the exclusive Israeli Police Unit for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes, ‘Ho locaust Survivors’ Legal Vengeance’, most members of which were Holocaust survivors. The research is being conducted at the Research Center for Holocaust Studies that was founded this year at Tel-Hai with a generous donation from the Alfred Landecker Foundation, Germany. Dr. Hod, accompanied by students from diverse backgrounds (Jews, Druze, Muslims and Christians), began an important research and educational program that incorporates commu nity activities and promotes values of tolerance and accep tance of others. The students engage in various activities, such as meeting regularly with Holocaust survivors in the Upper Galilee, recording their stories, and conducting educational activities in schools across the region. A particularly important part of the program is the international conference on Holo caust and Genocide, which took place for the first time, during May 2022. At the conference, prominent researchers and ex perts presented and discussed new studies of the Holocaust. This unique combination of research with proactive engage ment strives to make a significant contribution towards creat ing a tolerant and democratic society, and overcoming racism in all its forms. We are very grateful to the Alfred Landecker Foundation for supporting this important initiative.

PRIMA is a program supported by Horizon 2020, the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

From left to right Dr. Yoni Vort man, Dr. Roee Gutman and Dr. Itai Opatovsky

Congratulations to our 7 (!) Tel-Hai recipients of the prestigious Israel Science Foundation (ISF) research grants for 2021: Prof. Mustafa Abbasi, Prof. Sharon Snir, Dr. Yoni Vortman, Dr. Itai Opatovsky, Dr. Itai Sharon, Dr. Roee Gutman, and Dr. Yael Kedar. The Israel Science Foundation is Israel's main national body supporting breakthrough science in the country, in various scientific disciplines. This program of funding is the largest and most comprehensive of all the ISF's core activities. Re search grants are awarded on a competitive basis to individ ual researchers according to the highest standards of scientif ic excellence.

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Highlights Tel-Hai College’s long-lasting partnership with the Coast-to Coast Etzba Hagalil, P2G (Partner2Gether), is leading a new initiative together with the municipalities of the Eastern Galilee Cluster – the Regional Knowledge Center. The center aims to study regional issues and socio-demo graphic trends in the Eastern Galilee through public partici pation.

Outstanding social involvement Social involvement is embedded in Tel-Hai’s DNA and cul ture, and many of our students are active in surrounding com munities, making significant social contributions. This year, four students were awarded scholarships for their outstanding social involvement: Maha Subah – for her initiative in supporting mothers in the Druze community, and her admirable commitment to im proving the wellbeing and the empowerment of Druze moth ers from the Golan Heights. Yuval Ben Moshe & Roni Lanir – for their contribution to the Kiryat Shmona Archive, working to locate, categorize and preserve materials reflecting local history. Their efforts will benefit generations to come by communicating the area’s nar rative. Aviad Kadas – for his role in shaping Tel-Hai’s social land scape into a tolerant and accepting environment, inclusive of the diversity and multi-culturalism that comprises the fabric of Israeli society. Aviad’s activity as the Coordinator of Israe li Society at Tel-Hai College, includes the development of many cultural programs, dialogues and social gatherings ad dressing the different backgrounds of students, while bringing them together. We take much pride in our students’ determination and com mitment to bettering Israeli society. The students were grant ed scholarships in memory of Yankele Gali Z’L.

Tel-Hai students win first and third places in the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) 'Food Improved by Research, Science and Technology' (FIRST) contest that was held this year in Chicago! Oran Klein, Asaf Avner, and Shir Zemach won first place in the IFT Smart Snacks for Kids category, for their develop ment of a plant-based string cheese/mozzarella snack, Fin gerella. Tomer Katzir won third place in the research category for his study on the extraction of xylan from corn cobs and its role in baked goods. The students who participated in the contest were chosen af ter a rigorous selection process, and underwent training and workshops at Tel-Hai’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center in collaboration with the International Academic Af fairs Unit. We are very proud of our students, and would like to thank them for their impressive representation, and thank the men tors who supported them: Dr. Ofir Benjamin, Dr. Loai Ba sheer, and Dr. Keren Kles.

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Hila was born on Kibbutz Evron, near Nahariya. While at high school, Hila acted as a counselor in the ‘Hashomer Hatzair’ youth movement, initiated workshops and seminars on social issues, and taught in various educational institutions with the intent of encouraging social en gagement amongst youth. Not Student Entrepreneurs

power young women to enter into politics, where they are largely under-represented. Today, the program runs at academic in stitutions around the country. However, Hila and Shai soon understood that they did not want to limit the program to stu dents at Tel-Hai. They wanted to

make it more inclusive, adapt it to the unique character and demography of the Galilee, and open it to all women living in the re gion, regardless of their age or occupation. Their goal was to empower participants to generate change in fields relevant to the communities in which they

stopping there, she volun teered for an additional year in the youth move ment, which she spent working in communities near the Gaza Strip. During this period, she helped design and imple ment programs intended to respond to the unique needs of

the communities, needs created not only by their pe ripheral location, but also because they are situated in an area where rocket attacks are virtually routine. Following her vol untary year in the south of the country, Hila be gan her mandato ry military service and enlisted in the ‘Karakal’ combat unit. When Hila began her studies in the De partment of Economics and Management at Tel-Hai, her goal was not only to earn a degree, but also to learn how to develop mechanisms that could help bring about wide-ranging and lasting social change. With this in mind, she joined the Local Government Cadet Program, which is ac tive at Tel-Hai and aims to prepare young adults for careers in local government in Israel. At the college, Hila also met Shai Rab inowitz, a student dedicated to promoting gender equality. Together, they opened the ‘Young Female Politician Program’ at Tel Hai. The program, originally established by Nitzan Senior, a graduate of the He brew University, is independent of any political party and it aims to train and em

live, and to create a diverse network of women - a lob by that could work with the lo cal authorities. The program took shape and a group of 20 out standing women participated, 10 of whom were students at Tel Hai, and the re

Making a difference Meet Tel-Hai graduate, Hila Schwartz, 28, for whom social activ ism and community engagement are an inseparable part of life

maining 10 were residents of the Galilee, from outside the college. A third of the overall number of participants were wom en from Arabic-speaking communities, from both inside and outside the college. Throughout the year, participants met with experienced female politicians and activists, and learned debating skills, pub lic speaking, and how to market their ideas. A new group has opened this year, a testament to the program’s success and popularity. Graduates of the program are now working independently to advance their respective causes and continue to meet with each other, to strengthen and maintain their network. Hila Schwartz has made valuable and far-reaching contributions wherever she has been. She is currently working in Acre Municipal Government as a business pro motion consultant.

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Can Artificial Intelligence Help Fight Food Loss?

Research by Prof. Ofer Shir and Dr. Dan Gamrasni

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies are increasingly recognized as game changers in almost every possible area in our lives – ranging from healthcare, secu rity, commerce, trade, to driving and gaming. However, AI remains very limit ed compared to human intelligence. Ma chines are still considered shortsighted and even stupid; the brightest AI systems to-date have less common sense than the typical house cat. In other words, ma chines may excel at learning certain problems and in conducting difficult and large-scale computations, and yet have no knowledge of how the world works. At the same time, AI constantly plays auxil iary roles in the discoveries and innova tions of scientists and engineers – primar ily in solving specific computational tasks, such as analyses by pattern recognition. A broadly accepted hypothesis is that AI will drive more decisions in future scien tific activities. Is this a scientist’s worst nightmare, or a dream come true? Prof. Ofer Shir has been investigating the ability of computers to drive scientific experimentation since his postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University, USA. Back then, Prof. Shir’s algorithms en gaged with experiments in the Chemistry Department (teaching lasers how to con trol molecules, with Prof. Rabitz, and boosting the yield of organic syntheses, in Prof. MacMillan’s laboratory). Since joining Tel-Hai College and the MIGAL Institute in 2013, Prof. Shir has been striving to deploy his algorithms on experimental platforms in the research

laboratories at Tel-Hai/MIGAL. Prof. Shir’s first campaign took place in Dr. Dror Noy’s laboratory, where a computer attempted to learn laboratory protocols for producing a particular protein. That is, the computer proposed instructions concerning the sequence of operations, including their activation levels, in the targeted production process. These in structions were then implemented in the laboratory, and their outcomes were eval uated, and subsequently fed back into the computer. Consequently, the algorithm then proposed a new set of instructions, and the sequential experimentation pro ceeded in the same fashion. This cam paign attained a novel production proto col of an original nature, and obtained a production level comparable with the best human practice. This led to the real ization that such AI technology could break new ground, and would be a par ticularly good match for the Postharvest Innovation Center. Postharvest refers to the collection of practices for handling crops immediately following their harvest, with the explicit goal of maintaining their quality, while boosting their shelf-life. Postharvest tech nologies constitute a cornerstone of mod ern sustainability, and influence food se curity directly, with a potentially vast economic impact on the global food sup ply-chain. Nevertheless, they impose sig nificant scientific challenges concerning treatment protocols for fresh fruit and vegetables. The demand for affordable food supplies

is growing, in order to meet the increase in world population, as described by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). A recent, or ganized effort to meet these food security demands is the Farm-to-Fork strategy of the European Union 1 . Sprang and co-workers reported 2 that postharvest losses might reach 20% to 30%. There fore, reduction of postharvest food loss would improve food security. Improved postharvest practices could increase food stability and availability, making food sys tems more efficient, and providing a solu tion to challenges the FAO has identified as significant. Dr. Dan Gamrasni, a Food Scientist and a Postharvest Researcher at Tel-Hai/MI GAL, captured the innovative opportuni ty in AI-driven experimentation, and decided to take a shot at it. He chose the cucumber fruit (Cucumis sativus L.) as the first experimental subject, to obtain proof-of-concept. The cucumber is a crop with a high economic value that constitutes a good source for antioxi dants, magnesium, vitamin C and dietary fiber. The cucumber fruit has a limited postharvest potential of less than 14 days in storage, due to weight loss, discolor ation of the peel, softening, fungal infec tions, and other known visual defects 3 . Cucumbers are very sensitive to chilling injuries, when stored at temperatures be low 7°C—10°C, and develop wa ter-soaked areas, pitting and accelerated decay. Hence, extending the postharvest shelf-life of cucumbers constitutes a sig nificant, real-world challenge, and it be

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came the joint research goal of Prof. Shir and Dr. Gamrasni. The sequential experimentation cam paign took place at MIGAL’s Postharvest Center throughout 2021, and involved the extensive efforts of both the Gamras ni laboratory team and of members of the Shir computational group. Once har vested, fresh cucumbers were delivered to the laboratory, measured and then treated according to the detailed instruc tions of the AI-driven protocol. They were placed in storage for 4 weeks, and then evaluated. The success-rate of the AI-driven treatment was evaluated as the degree of minimizing their post-4 weeks quality-loss, which was manifested as col or deviation, as well as a reduction in both mass and stiffness. Overall, the AI obtained satisfying results by locating a diverse set of protocols, which outperformed the best-known practices, including the so-called ‘in house protocol’. Some of the protocols obtained possess a surprising nature that will require fundamental postharvest re search. Furthermore, protocols that proved successful upon evaluation, post 4-weeks, were placed back in storage for an extended period of time (for a total of nine weeks altogether). The figure below presents a gallery of an intermediate stage. The cucumbers treated by the best protocol were placed back in storage at the 4-week milestone for an overall period of 9 weeks. The fruit exhibited a surprising postharvest quality, while the cucumbers treated by the ‘in-house protocol’ ended up com

pletely rotten (photography is excluded). To the best of our knowledge, such a postharvest accomplishment for cucum bers has not been reported elsewhere. In the future, as more experiments are AI-guided, as reported here, the roles of scientists and engineers will shift from locating solutions and designs to explain ing the nature of the results attained, while aiming for mechanistic under standing. In this respect, it is a dream coming to fruition for the young genera tion of scientists. As for food security, the current campaign constitutes another successful step in the effort to optimize the entire Farm-to-Fork process. Notably, climate change has a strong impact on food loss, and, therefore, developing new and efficient methods to improve food security is much needed. Our innovative AI-driven method can significantly im prove fast and efficient development of postharvest protocols for a variety of crops, and it has the potential to contrib ute to the global efforts to prevent hun ger. This joint research has been supported by the Ministry of Science and Technol ogy, and also by an internal grant from the MIGAL Institute. Extensions of this work have also been approved for fund ing by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 1 ics/farm-fork-strategy_en 2 ron-101718-033228 3

A broadly accepted hypothesis is that AI will drive more decisions in future scientific activities. Is this a scientist’s worst nightmare, or a dream come true?

Figure 1 (from left to right): untreated fruit, post-4-weeks; human practiced protocol (‘in-house protocol'), post-4-weeks; AI’s best results, post-4-weeks; AI’s best results, post-9-weeks.

Tel-Hai Magazaine | 2022 13

Pomegranates: an ancient fruit with an exciting future

Prof. Rachel Amir talks about her research into enhancing the nutritional value of pomegranates, her life-long passion for plants, and working at Tel-Hai

Professor Rachel Amir has been a lectur er and researcher at Tel-Hai since 1987 and is currently working on enhancing the nutritional value and the medicinal properties of pomegranates. In a recent interview, she talks of her research and of her life-long passion for plants. “Plants interested and excited me from a very young age. I already knew I wanted to work with plants when I was about 6 and, by the time I was 10, I was certain that I would later engage in plant-related research. It was my father who instilled this love in me,” Amir recounts. “After the War of Independence, my fa ther, a Holocaust survivor from Europe, found himself working as a farmer on Kibbutz Yad Mordechai. Like many oth er pioneers, he had no previous knowl edge of agriculture. However, he was moved by even trivial phenomena, like sowing seeds and seeing them grow and, more remarkably, by producing crops that supported the community. Despite having no prior knowledge, he became involved in developing new methods of cultivation. He claimed that the lack of a traditional farming background was ac

tually an advantage for Israeli pioneers because it led to an open-minded ap proach towards improvement and inno vation. When I was a child, my father took me to see the fields and his enthusi

asm gripped me too.” A Biblical fruit

Professor Amir studied many aspects of plant biology before beginning her work on pomegranates. “Here, in the Upper Galilee, I saw an abundance of non-com mercial varieties of pomegranates grow ing on the edges of modern and ancient villages, and this attracted my attention. Pomegranate trees, Punica granatum L., were already growing in the land of Isra el in biblical times, and appear in the Book of Numbers, 13:23, as one of the species brought back by the spies sent by Moses to scout the promised land and, in Deuteronomy, 8:8, as one of the seven species that bless the land. However, pomegranates originated from Central Asia and spread from there to other cli matic regions. Over time, pomegranates have diversified, as farmers and growers

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select cultivars possessing advantageous or preferred traits. Enhancing beneficial properties At an experimental farm and plantation near Kibbutz Ne’ot Mordechai, in the Upper Galilee, Professor Amir cultivated new pomegranate trees from cuttings taken from diverse varieties. Amir also teamed up with Professor Doron Hol land from Neve/Newe Yaar, at the Vol cani Institute. “Together, we started thinking about how to improve the nutri tional value and the medicinal properties of the varieties of pomegranates grown in Israel. We hope to do this by defining the role of the genes encoding the en zymes responsible for producing the bio active compounds. The study is still on going,” Professor Amir relates. It is well known that pomegranates have medicinal properties and a high nutri tional value. Studies have shown that pomegranate juice is a potent antioxi dant that reduces the effects of stress-re lated chronic inflammatory diseases in humans, and age-related disorders, such as cardiovascular diseases, and neurode generation. The juice usually contains compounds from the peel, as well as from the juicy arils covering the seeds. Metab olite analysis strongly suggests that it is the unique metabolites of hydrolysable tannins (HTs) and anthocyanins, occur ring in the juice and peel that contribute to the health-promoting properties of the fruit. Professor Amir and her colleagues have published numerous articles over the past 18 years of their research on pomegran ates, focusing on the identification of compounds contributing to the fruit’s antioxidant and antifungal activities, and also on the ability of extracts prepared from different fruit parts to inhibit the proliferation of several types of cancer cells. In addition, they also study the ef fects of different growing conditions and the developmental stage of the fruit on the level of these compounds. Now they are searching for the genes responsible

for the hydrolysable tannins, since these could act as markers for cultivating new varieties of pomegranates, containing higher levels of the health-promoting substances, and providing enhanced ben

efits from this ancient fruit. A growing focus on agrotech

and I have gained immense satisfaction from them,” she says. “The special atmo sphere at Tel-Hai makes it an inspiring place to work. “Tel-Hai is a unique col lege, thanks to the people and to good working relationships. It’s easy to speak with the administration, the staff are wonderful people, full of good will and initiative and, moreover, they care about each other. All this makes it a great place to teach, and the students are amazing, serious young people, who love to learn.” It is no secret that Prof. Amir loves to teach. She was Chair of the Environ mental Science Department and, later, served as Chair of Graduate Studies in Sciences for six years. She says she is hap py to be part of a college that is so atten tive to the needs of students and cites the Center for Learning Disabilities, the Tel Hai Arts Institute, and the Center for Peace and Democracy as unique, in terms of what they offer students at the college. College-Community connections Another important feature of Tel-Hai College that Prof. Amir emphasizes is its connection with the local community. “Every program involves connections with local schools and residents. For ex ample, students in the Environmental Science Department work with members of the local community to preserve the water and the habitat of the Ein Zahav stream, in the neighboring town of Kiry at Shmonah. In another project, students of Nutritional Science went into schools to teach children about the nutritional value of different foods.” Professor Amir also applauds the ‘Town Square Acade my Project’ that continues to develop the connection between the local communi ty and the college.

Professor Amir’s research laboratory is at the MIGAL Research Institute, which is affiliated with Tel-Hai College, where she teaches. Her research is funded by the prestigious US-Israel Binational Ag ricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD). This research is part of the growing focus on agrotech at Tel-Hai and in the Galilee region and more fund ing is becoming available. Much of the current research builds on the high level of experience in agrotech at MIGAL. According to Professor Amir, one of the advantages of conducting research in the Galilee region is the presence of experi mental agricultural farms situated only 10 Kilometers apart, but at altitudes as low as 200 meters below sea level, and as high as over 1000 meters above sea level. “We’re able to study conditions in very diverse habitats within a small radius.” The agrotech track at Tel-Hai opened over 10 years ago, in the Biotechnology Department. Graduates are now success fully working in agrotech companies, in plant tissue culture, in fertilizer compa nies, in agriculture, and in plant biotech nology. Some graduates have remained at MIGAL as research assistants or doing doctoral research. There are over 100 students in the agrotech track, with ap proximately 40 graduates each year, and nearly 30% of graduates stay on at Tel Hai for master’s degree studies. A special atmosphere Professor Amir was the first student to do her doctoral research at MIGAL, under the auspices of the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Agriculture in Rehovot, and she was also one of the first faculty mem bers at Tel-Hai College. “Tel-Hai and MIGAL are like my two eldest children,

Tel-Hai Magazaine | 2022 15

The Drama Therapy Graduate Program, Tel-Hai College: making a dramatic impact in the community By Prof. Susana Pendzik and Dr. Dovrat Harel

Deconstructing the past, constructing the future – dealing with historic collective trauma This project was initiated by Prof. Susa na Pendzik, former Head of the Drama Therapy Graduate Program at Tel-Hai, who specializes in performance-based research and the use of autobiographical theater for therapeutic purposes. The project was developed in collaboration with Ingrid Lutz and a team of German researchers. It was defined as a commu nity-based preventive approach that aimed to tackle the traces of historical and collective trauma in Germany’s younger generations. The program used drama therapy meth ods in order to gather images and narra tives concerning the historical events that occurred in Germany between 1933 1945, including the Holocaust, as per ceived today by 9th graders from two

The Drama Therapy Graduate Program at Tel-Hai College developed from Prof. Mooli Lahad’s pioneering work in Israel in the late 1980s, and has since grown to become the prestigious program it is to day. Constantly evolving, the program responds to real life needs, and social and demographic changes, integrating the basic principles of behavioral sciences and psychotherapy with the human need for expression, action, and creativity. The program acquaints students with cut ting-edge theory and practice in drama therapy, and provides advanced tools to develop their clinical abilities and thera peutic skills. It is a unique program that not only trains therapists to treat individ uals, but is also committed to having an impact on the community as a whole, addressing various social issues. Two wonderful examples of this are the ‘De constructing the Past, Constructing the Future’ project, and the ‘Tele-Drama Therapy’ project.

different schools in Berlin: an integrative community school in Neukölln (a former West-Berlin borough characterized by housing a high percentage of immigrants in the city); and at “Primo-Levy Gymna sium,” an academic high school, named after the Italian writer, Auschwitz survi vor and Jewish resistance fighter. The materials collected from the young sters were shaped into a film and present ed to them as a resonance of their input. Both the process and the performance aimed at generating a safe platform for further dialogue, focusing on how this legacy is being construed amongst Ger man youngsters today, in light of the rac ist and xenophobic attitudes that have recently resurfaced in Germany as the nation was confronted with stressful situ ations that challenged its sense of collec tive identity. The feedback from the youngsters and the schools was extremely positive. In the

Tel-Hai Magazaine | 2022 16

follow up, teachers from both schools re ported that most students had enjoyed the project and were proud of their own involvement with it. The stories and the materials elicited from the project came up again in the context of other courses, in which the topics of resistance, democ racy and dictatorship were addressed. The project and the filmed piece have been presented at several international conferences, and will be published as a chapter in a forthcoming prestigious vol ume on Trauma-informed drama thera py (Charles C. Thomas, estimated 2022). Tele-Drama Therapy: long distance emotional support As a result of the policy of social distanc ing during the pandemic, many elderly individuals suffered from severe loneli ness, which risked their physiological and mental health. In order to alleviate their distress, the Drama Therapy Graduate Program at Tel-Hai College initiated the ‘Tele-Drama Therapy for the Elderly Project’, in collaboration with the Minis try of Welfare and Social Services in the community. After a short but intensive training pro gram, under the guidance of Dr. Dovrat Harel and Dr. Shoshi Keisari, both ex perts in the field of drama therapy and gerontology, the students were paired with elderly adults. The elderly partici pants were allocated 30 telephone ses sions, each of a duration of 30 minutes, at a frequency of twice a week. Despite the limitations, and lack of face-to-face contact, the students managed to com bine creative techniques that encouraged self-expression and connected the partic ipants to their personal resources and strengths. The findings revealed the unique contri bution of these techniques in the promo tion of emotional processing in old age. The following quote, taken from an in terview with a 68-year-old woman, demonstrates how the use of a photo graph helped her process underlying emotions, and find a sense of closure: "When you have a trigger such as a pho

to or a movie, it makes it different. From my phone, I sent the student a photo of myself as a child. It was full of details, many of which I hadn't talked about with anyone else before. I shared memo ries of the Holocaust with her, memories that I had no one to share with. Follow ing the photo, it was easier for me to un load my heart to the student". Drama Therapy in Later Life As life expectancy in the western world increases, the need to prepare future dra ma therapists for the changing needs of society and for working with the elderly has become a priority. In response to this, and recognizing the significant contribu tion of the arts (particularly of theater and drama) to the wellbeing of elderly, the Drama Therapy Graduate Program at Tel-Hai will be integrating new cours es on Drama Therapy in Later Life, throughout this coming year. Students will be trained to work with elderly adults, both in the community and in in stitutions. The curriculum will include cutting-edge psychological and social theories of aging in addition to methods of drama therapy intervention that have been specifically designed for this popu lation. As part of their placement, students will be integrated into various settings for older adults in Israel, especially in Upper Galilee and supervised by specialists with a wealth of experience in this field. Stu dents will also participate in research projects focusing on the development of drama therapy methods and tools for the older population – including people with dementia, their families, and their care givers. Such research projects will in clude the ongoing research of the tele phone interventions through drama therapy that were conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as a study exploring the ‘sand-stage method’. Gaining new perspective through the sand-stage method A study by Dr. Anat Heller and Dr. Dovrat Harel explores the therapeutic effect of the ‘sand-stage method’ with

the Drama Therapy Graduate Program at Tel-Hai will be integrating new courses on Drama Therapy in Later Life, throughout this coming year

older adults. Developed by Dr. Heller, this drama therapy method involves the use of miniatures in a sand tray, through assuming different roles from the theater, such as director, performer, and audience. While the method has been implemented with various popu lations, its contribution to the elderly population has not yet been examined. Hence, the study aims to gain an in depth understanding of the effect of this intervention on older adults, in the hope of formulating an accurate inter vention protocol for applying the meth od with elderly populations. Prelimi nary findings indicate that ‘the sand-stage method’ creates a safe place, where playfulness and imagination are awakened, and self-exploration is achieved. In this way, older adults may expand their perspectives on the course of their lives with a sense of satisfac tion.

Tel-Hai Magazaine | 2022 17

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