Welcome to American Friends of The Hebrew University’s new podcast series, Discoveries. Hosted by award-winning journalist and the radio producer Rob Sachs, Discoveries examines the life and achievements of the faculty and alumni of The Hebrew University.

DRG_1357--Photos-by-D-Guthrie-croppedAn Einstein Centennial: The Theory of Relativity and General Relativity

During 2015, the world will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s discovery of General Relativity.  In recognition of this important centennial, AFHU spoke with Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Professor Hanoch Gutfreund.  Professor Gutfreund is the incumbent of the Andre Aisenstadt Chair in Theoretical Physics  and director of the Einstein archives at Hebrew University, where Einstein’s intellectual property resides.  Professor Gutfreund discusses two theories of relativity: the special theory of relativity which Einstein formulated in 1905, his “miraculous year,” and Einstein’s 1915 presentation to the Royal Academy of Science in Berlin on the General Theory of Relativity.   The renowned physicist was a founder of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Podcast narrated by Brad Garoon

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Deborah Levine Gera

Long before there was Joan of Arc, Mulan, or even Laura Croft: Tomb Raider there was Judith. Back in biblical times she saved the Israelites from an imminent attack by the Assyrians – how’d she do it? First, she sweet talks her way into the enemy camp, then gets their general drunk, and finally she winds up decapitating the guy. Some pretty graphic stuff. It’s all chronicled in the book of Judith – which although not part of the Hebrew Bible is still considered to be a sacred Jewish text. Hebrew University Classics professor Deborah Levine Gera recently wrote a new translation of the Book of Judith which includes a verse by verse commentary. It contains all the gory details but also new insight into Judith as a feminist figure. Deborah Levine Gera joins us now from her office on Mount Scopus welcome.

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Professor Ronnie Friedman

Israeli agriculture has always been defined by doing a lot with a little.  The country is only about the size of New Jersey and 80% of its land non-arable.  Yet remarkably, Israel produces about 95% of the food requirements for its 8 million residents.  It’s a testament to both Israeli scientists who have pioneered innovative farming techniques such as drip irrigation and to the Israeli people who for decades have heeded the call of their first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion to “make the desert bloom”.  Now new threats from global warming and increasing population are putting a strain on Israel’s already over-taxed resources. Professor Ronnie Friedman, Hebrew University Vice President for External Relations and University Advancement and former Dean of the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food, and Environment, talks about these issues and more.

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Professor Yuval Shany

AFHU recently held the 44th Annual George A. Katz Torch of Learning Award Luncheon, honoring eminent attorneys, Susan E. Brune and Edward G. Turan, in recognition of their professional and humanitarian achievements.  In attendance was Professor Yuval Shany, Dean of the Faculty of Law at The Hebrew University, and member of the United Nation’s Human Rights Committee.  Professor Shany discusses his legal career in human rights, how his research is influenced by Israel’s political situation, and his time at The Hebrew University.