Hip-Hope is worn like a belt and has deployable airbags to cushion falls by seniors. Photo from Israel21c

Hip-Hope cushions falls to prevent fractures in elderly


When his elderly mother fell and broke a hip for the second time, former Israeli Air Force pilot and industrial and management engineer Amatsia Raanan searched for a product to prevent this most common serious injury in older people.

“Through her suffering, I learned about the epidemic of hip fractures,” Raanan said.

Each year, nearly 3 million seniors worldwide are hospitalized because of hip fractures. Many of them experience a drastic deterioration in quality of life. And the direct annual cost of treating hip fractures exceeds $15 billion in the U.S. health care system alone.

Rather than focus on better ways to treat the broken bone, Raanan decided to leverage cutting-edge technology to protect the pelvis upon impact and avoid injury in the first place. He and three co-founders developed Hip-Hope, a smart wearable device designed as a belt.

Once Hip-Hope’s multi-sensor detection system senses an impending collision with a ground surface, two large airbags are deployed instantly from each side of the belt to cushion the hips, and a connected smartphone app sends an automatic alert message to predetermined recipients.

The 2.2-pound device even has a built-in emergency call button that the user can activate in any situation of distress.

The patent-pending Hip-Hope has earned medical-device certification from the CE (Europe), FDA (United States), Health-Canada and AMAR (Israel). In studies carried out at a major Canadian lab, the Israeli device was shown to reduce impact by 90 percent.

Now, 150 Hip-Hope units for beta testing are being manufactured at Medimor in Tiberias. Distributors in Europe already have placed orders for Hip-Hope, intended to be the first active hip protection device on the market. Designed by Jonathan Bar-Or Industrial Design in Pardes Hanna, the device will be available in a range of colors and styles after entering mass production by the end of 2017, Raanan said.

The target users — seniors at high risk for falls and fractures at home and in a wide variety of care facilities — will be able to purchase Hip-Hope or lease it on a monthly basis.

“Over the years, I’ve been exposed to several ideas for developing active hip protectors that will prevent hip fractures in the event of a fall. I find the technology of Hip-Hope to be especially innovative and promising in this regard,” said professor Stephen Robinovitch of Simon Fraser University in Canada, a renowned researcher on the prevention of falls and fall-related injuries in older adults. He joined the company’s scientific advisory board to help develop the technology.

Established in May 2011 in Hod Hasharon, Hip-Hope Technologies was co-founded by Raanan with two friends, Amos Shattner and Yoram Romem. They later recruited Ran Manor as vice president for research and development (R&D).

Funded by private investors, angel groups and Israel’s Innovation Authority, Hip-Hope Technologies now has 10 employees.

Raanan isn’t a typical 30-something Israeli startup entrepreneur. “I served for many years as a pilot in the Israeli air force, in the development of airborne and information systems,” he said.

Raanan earned a degree at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and worked first as a business consultant, then for Amdocs.

A father of two and grandfather of five, Raanan also is a photographer. One of his exhibitions, sponsored by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has been shown in Israel, the United States and Canada.

Though his mother still was alive when development of Hip-Hope began in March 2012, her second hip fracture led to slow, steady decline and she died before seeing Hip-Hope win the Innovation Award at the March 2015 MEDinISRAEL international conference and exhibition.

Since then, the product has been refined in a continuing R&D process.

In future iterations, the wearable device also will enable remote activity monitoring, keeping track of the user’s movement data to recognize and alert to changes in personal motion patterns and fall risk level. These features are meant to enhance its preventive capabilities.

Tel Aviv Emerges From Capital’s Shadow


Why aren’t you living in Jerusalem?”

I used to date a guy from Tel Aviv, and whenever we’d spend the weekends in my city, the capital of Israel, he’d get this question thrown at him every place we went.

“Are you a student?” people would ask, bemused. My Anglo immigrant friends could not understand why anyone would move to Israel and choose to live in Tel Aviv instead of the capital.

So many American Jews — from the ones that live in Israel to those who visit occasionally — love Jerusalem but know nothing about Tel Aviv, which is a sister city to Los Angeles.

“It’s just like New York, and if I want New York I’ll stay home,” they say, ignorantly.

Tel Aviv is one of the hippest cities in the world. Unfortunately, probably the only people who know this happen to live there. Tel Avivians are a breed unto themselves: cosmopolitan, fashionable, absurdist and cynical, these hipsters are so phat they make cool seem outdated. They are a new category of Israeli stereotype, different from the ones we are with: the kibbutznik, the Chasid, the settler, the soldier, etc.

Israel has always been somewhat of a stereotype or ideal to those who don’t live there. And Jerusalem — its capital status not always recognized by the rest of the world — is the epitome of that ideal. With its religious icons like the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and its sparkling white architecture of Jerusalem stone, in history, appearance and political importance it has outshined for years its sister city of Tel Aviv.

But now Tel Aviv’s second-tier status may change, as UNESCO — The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — will inaugurate Tel Aviv as a World Heritage Site on June 6, 2004, for its treasure of Bauhaus architecture.

Tel Aviv includes 4,000 buildings representative of the modern movement — a synthesis of architectural styles popular in Europe during the early 20th century, heavily influenced by the Bauhaus School of Art and Design. These buildings, built between 1931-1948, were designed by immigrant architects trained in Europe, who adapted the modern style to suit Tel Aviv’s culture and climate.

Bauhaus, which is also called International Style, is typified in Tel Aviv by right angles, flat roofs, stilt columns, balconies and asymmetry. Tel Aviv, which was established as a suburban alternative to Jaffa in 1909, with Jaffa becoming part in 1949, adapted Bauhaus because of the emphasis on practicality over style, and its stress on the social aspects, like housing for workers. Bauhaus was also quicker and cheaper to build; in addition, 17 Bauhaus architects lived in Tel Aviv. The buildings were painted white, giving Tel Aviv the nickname “The White City.”

The city was constructed based on an urban plan by Sir Patrick Geddes. Today, though, many of the buildings have fallen into disrepair. With its new designation as a World Heritage site, some might be restored. As part of the World Heritage Convention treaty adopted by UNESCO in 1972, the organization works to protect and preserve cultural and natural sites around the world considered of outstanding value to humanity.

“In these challenging times, receiving this extraordinary honor from UNESCO not only helps preserve our rich architectural heritage, but also reaffirms Tel Aviv’s place on the map as a choice cultural destination,” said Ron Huldai, mayor of Tel Aviv, prior to the June 6-8 celebration, which will include photography and urban planning exhibits, an architectural conference, a folk-song singalong, a party at the Tel Aviv Port and a boat race from Jaffa to Herzliya.

Tel Aviv is also the business capital of Israel. With more than 50 percent of Israel’s jobs in banking and finance, the city provides an overall source of employment for 14 percent of Israel’s workforce. Tel Aviv-Yafo is home to 400,000 residents, spread over an area of 50 square kilometers. That’s what gives the city its hustle — and at times pretentiousness: we are important people, with important ad campaigns/diamond deals/stock trades/TV shows to get done.

But Tel Aviv is really not like New York. In contrast to the more “uptight” Jerusalemites — as Tel Avivians call the politically charged city residents — Tel Aviv really has the most laid back people in the world.

It’s easy to see this combination of business and pleasure, for example, at the strip of hotels on Hayarkon Street. The Sheraton Tel Aviv Hotel & Towers, named the best business hotel in Tel Aviv by Travel & Leisure, September 2002 edition, overlooks the sparkling Mediterranean and the lively promenade, not too far from Old Jaffa.

Just across the street from the Sheraton, modestly hidden behind a small storefront, is Israel’s top hairdresser, Shai Greenberg, who has won awards around the world for his innovation. But his real claim to fame is in North Tel Aviv, at Spa2b, one of the country’s first “day spas.” While Israel has long had spas at the Dead Sea, and two new ones up north, Spa2b represents the latest trend in Israeli health/wealth/fitness, the one-stop-shop day spa.

“We try to be first, the best in everything,” says Sharon Epstein, chair and marketing director of the spa, which offers hair, nail, waxing, massage and beauty treatments, a unique concept for the Israeli market.

Some of the latest and unique treatments include a Euyurveda Water treatment: After you change and robe yourself up in plush terry and slippers, you enter a small, softly lit room and lay on a hot marble slab. A masseuse scrubs you down with hot water and soap for five minutes. Then you step into a small rectangular mikvah-like station and submerge in hot water as a torrential outpouring covers your head, like a waterfall. The final five-minute station is a shower with dozens of hot-spraying jets. The procedures are designed to open pores, for whatever your main treatment is. Package prices run the gamut from about $80 to $400.

Spas, in a way, are about creating a market for Israelis, who only in the past few decades have acquired wealth and the habits of the wealthy. While there are now a number of day spas in Tel Aviv, it’s less about competition, Epstein says, than introducing to Israel the concept of pampering yourself.

“We’re trying to teach clients to understand that [to get treated] on a regular basis that changes everything,” Epstein said.

In these trying times, with the second intifada coming up to its fourth year, even the generally business-oriented, politically removed Tel Avivians feel terror’s toll.

“I’ll tell you something: during the hardest times of the pigua,” Epstein says, using the Hebrew word for terror attack, “we were in our peak. There’s something contrary — the worse things are, the more they’ll run away to a spa.”

For more information contact on Spa2b, visit
www.spa2b.com or call 011-972-3-644.0090. For more information on Tel Aviv
celebrations, visit www.white-city.co.il. For information on
booking a Bauhaus tour, contact either the Association for Tourism in Tel
Aviv-Jaffa 011-972-3516-6188, or the Bauhaus Center, 011-972- 3-522-0249. For
more information on the Sheraton Tel Aviv visit www.sheraton-telaviv.com .

A magazine with attitude


She’s young, sexy, defiant and Jewish. And now, journalist Jennifer Bleyer has created a magazine that is … well, young, sexy, defiant and Jewish.

HEEB, out nationwide Feb. 5, promises to be for young Jewish Americans what Los Angeles-based Giant Robot magazine has been for young Asian Americans: a smart, postmodern celebration of cultural kitsch that subverts and reclaims stereotypes (for HEEB, that begins with its very title). A Neil Diamond centerfold, an examination of the “Jewish Afro” and a showdown between actors Steven Seagal and George Segal based on cultural relevance are some of the features that appear in the glossy quarterly’s debut.

HEEB’s 26-year-old editor grew up the cornfed, Midwest-bred daughter of Ashkenazi parents with Russian-Austrian heritage. While Bleyer enjoyed Hebrew day school, she was the mischievous kid calling up Dominos and having pepperoni pizzas delivered to class.

Bleyer says she is aware that HEEB emerges at a time when the mainstream magazine industry is suffering. Last year, industry advertising revenues fell 10 percent. Mademoiselle folded. Even Tina Brown could not keep the just-nixed, Miramax-backed Talk magazine on people’s lips.

The young, hip, Jewish niche has fared even worse. Since the mid-1990s, a half dozen attempts to repackage Jewish culture as “edgy” and “happening ” failed to go the distance.

What separates HEEB from that ilk is that it is both less pretentious and more sophisticated than its predecessors. Bleyer’s tongue-in-cheek humor permeates the first issue, from the rap

DJ-spoofing cover to CDs reviewed by somebody’s grandparents. HEEB also benefits from full-color, high-end production values and a playful visual and verbal aesthetic that is less forced than the defunct art-house Jewish mag Davka. Which makes sense, given that Bleyer — who produced the punk ‘zine (short for magazine), Mazeltov Cocktail, while attending Columbia — has built her journalism career supplying investigative pieces to periodicals, including SPIN magazine.

Initial funding for HEEB — $60,000 — comes from a grant from the San Francisco-based Joshua Venture, a fellowship for young entrepreneurs whose backers include Steven Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation.

Ultimately, Bleyer does not feel that her irreverent publication rebels against the established Jewish community. Rather, it’s another slice of that same babke.

“Jews in this country are not monolithic,” she says. “In the end we’re a bunch of kids having fun. I’m still a punk rocker. I’m just working with a bigger budget.”

For information, visit www.heebmagazine.com .

Centenarian Inspiration


Sam Dabby was 100 years old on Nov. 5, but he waited to celebrate with members of his family and friends at a Nov. 18 party given at Kahal Joseph Congregation Temple. Among the celebrants was his workout trainer, Jeremy Forte, who has been helping Dabby lift weights and exercise for the past year. “Sam has a variety of medical challenges, but it’s never too late to start working out,” Forte says. “Like Sam says, ‘You don’t have to wait a 100 years to do it.'”

Dabby, who had broken his hip, began working out after his son, Frank, suggested he talk to Forte. The first session went rather well, and Dabby decided to go for it. Since starting to lift weights and exercise, Dabby has regained some of his old joie de vivre and has begun to walk without a cane. He’s presently pumping four-pound weights, five times a week.

Born in Baghdad and one of eight children, Dabby served in the British Air Force for 12 years and eventually made his way to New York during World War II. Later, Dabby moved his wife, Norma, and five children west and settled in Los Angeles. After a successful stint in business, Dabby devoted his life to philanthropic work.

“Sam is an inspiration to other people,” Forte says, “Everybody loves him. Working with him [proves] that there is always more people can do in their life – even start having fun.”

Well Versed


The trouble with reading Judith Viorst’s delightful new book of verse, “Suddenly Sixty, And Other Shocks of Later Life,” is that you recognize another decade has gone by in her life and so, presumably, in yours as well. “Suddenly Sixty “follows on the high heels of those earlier guideposts – “It’s Hard to Be Hip Over Thirty,” “How Did I Get to Be Forty,” and “Forever Fifty” – and like them charts the changes and new quirks in her life as another 10 years flit by.

Her books of light verse have always seemed to me a form of social commentary, ongoing sketches of the American cultural scene that put her in the company of Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Jules Feiffer and Nora Ephron: On stage, in cartoons, on film and in light verse we are treated to snapshots, often with an edge, of the author (and by extension, of ourselves) responding to the latest manners and mores of our time. We witness the social exchanges with lovers and spouses and parents and children and friends. The subtext could just as easily read, “The Psychoneurosis of Everyday Life.”

Is it a surprise that Nichols and May, Feiffer, Ephron and Viorst are all Jewish?

Reading “Suddenly Sixty,” I have to admit life kept intruding, kept elbowing aside Viorst’s wry lines. The fact is I know the author and her husband, Milton Viorst. When I read one of her poems about marriage, “In the Beginning,” I can’t resist comparing verse with the real thing.

What I remember, though, is a description of their early courtship. Judy and Milton had dated briefly in college in New Jersey and then gone their separate ways. (He is a little caustic about her preference for fraternity types during those years.) About 10 years later, one Sunday evening, Milton, on his way home to Washington, D.C., from Martha’s Vineyard, called his old girlfriend from college days.

It was about 1 a.m. Judy, of course, lived in Greenwich Village. She was still under 30.

The preliminaries on the telephone did not take very long, though I believe she said something like, “Do you know what time it is?” They met a half hour later at a Village coffee bar. It took about 10 minutes of how are you, what have you been doing with yourself these 10 years, do you remember what’s her name, before Milton somewhat delicately said something like, “Let’s cut all this. Do you want to have kids, and if so, how many?” Three months later they were married.

Another poem, “So My Husband and I Decided to Take a Car Trip Through New England,” also makes me smile (actually there are many).

I feel sure this poem is from experience and from the heart. It was the summer of 1976 and we all were in Boulder, Colo., determined to find a wonderful Italian restaurant for lunch that Milton knew, about an hour or two away, somewhere west of the city. And so we all embarked – husbands, wives and six children, three of theirs, three of ours.

We eventually, after some difficulty, found the restaurant – and without asking directions. The food was a tad less than wonderful, as I remember it, and afterwards, as a treat for the children and a way of walking off the lunch, we went climbing and hiking in the nearby woods and rocky hills.

Judy had designer boots, as I recall. There was much falling and sliding on one’s rump, and occasional tears from one or another child, and finally a sit-down strike with a declaration by one of the adults that holidays should be spent in Paris, not sliding on your ass in some godforsaken Colorado wilderness. I leave that for another book.

The point is that the verse is witty and speaks to our vulnerable side precisely because we recognize the truth of the writer’s feelings. Viorst is a keen observer of the social details that make up our fragile and different identities. That’s what the poems are about. And their stamp of authenticity is a reflection of a life that has been well and humanely lived, not just observed.

Gene Lichtenstein is founding editor of The Jewish Journal.