The fourth day of ConnecTech was filled with discovery in the social and academic aspects of Israel. As a Ph.D. student and entrepreneur, I’m always on the look to explore what new technologies are being developed and implemented around the world. Moreover, as a Jew, I also feel intrigued to understand the complex socio-economic divisions and interactions that exist within Israel, and what actions are being taken to improve the state of affairs. Overall, we could sum up the day on the following categories:
We began the day by visiting the neighbor city of Caesarea. Beyond the beautiful beach landscapes we observed along the way, I was immediately struck by the major technological presence in this city. Modern office buildings covered with startup logos adorned the coastal skyline and gave us a peek of what we were about to observe. We centered our visit with a tour of the company Habana Labs, which was founded in Israel during 2016. Habana focuses on the development of high-performance processors for machine learning applications, one of the fastest-growing markets in the software world. The team at Habana was very warm and welcoming and gave us a peek into the technological ecosystem in Israel. As a testament to their contributions, Habana Labs was acquired by Intel in 2020 for approximately $2 billion USD.
Once we departed Habana and visited a piece of the Caesarea coast, we stopped to enjoy one of my favorite dishes. Kubbeh is a dish brought to Israel by the Iraqi Jewish community and consists of a wide array of filled dumplings in a soup. As expected from Mizrahi foods, it was incredible—a tasty reminder of the cultural and ethnic diversity of Israel. I have a personal connection to this dish as well, since it was a common lunch option at my home growing up. (My family loves food from different Jewish and Middle Eastern ethnic groups.)
We departed from lunch ready to explore more. We returned to Technion Israel Institute of Technology with the goal of visiting several research labs from the department of material science. We visited two research labs and met with several professors. We saw how Technion explores material interactions at a nano scale, with a detailed tour of the complex microscopes and equipment required to run their experiments. We also learned about the study of carbon nanotubes that has taken place within the department.
It was impressive to see the high quality of the research being performed at the university. Coming from such a young country, we were impressed to see research published in Nature and Science journals as commonplace within their research labs. I find impressive to remark how many alumna from top U.S. universities actively worked leading research at the Technion.
We concluded the visit with a neat workshop on 3D printing and how it can be used to solve even practical problems we find on a daily basis.
We departed from Technion ready to explore Haifa again. We visited a small park in the city, where we learned about the initiatives being pushed forward to socially include less affluent segments of the city. We were happy to see CJP involved in the social development of the city. Covered by beautiful art, we learned about initiatives that show how different ethnic groups can collaborate and build the foundations for a harmonic society in Israel.
Back at our hotel, we closed the night as a group and were joined by the Israelis. We finished our day by enjoying sushi, sharing stories, and watching movies. The people on this trip are a part that will stay with us forever, with meaningful relationships and memories that will last us forever.
ConnecTech is a year-long fellowship for MIT and Technion Jewish students. The primary focus is on student interaction—creating personal bonds between small core groups of students at each institute and strengthening a sense of Jewish peoplehood. For more information or to read our Fellows’ bios, visit our website.
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