Gefen Publishing House. 284 pages. Hardcover $27.00
Innovation, suggests author Avi Jorisch, is the sacred calling of modern Israel. But while many have written about Israel’s grand success in developing problem-solving technologies, this is the first study to focus primarily on Israeli innovations that extend, improve, and save lives. Presenting uplifting profiles of fifteen innovations, all framed as contributing to Israel’s success at being “a light unto the nations,” Jorisch argues that the Israeli commitment to tikkun olam, repairing the world, is a characteristic written in Judaism’s spiritual DNA.
The innovations Jorisch describes are modern miracles—miracles resulting from the genius and dogged determination of exceptional, and frequently colorful individuals. The biographical profiles of these individuals are half the fun of the book. The creation of their inventions, often in the face of enormous obstacles, is the other half.
Many of the innovators, Jorisch recounts, received nothing but scorn for their unconventional ideas. Others endured multiple failures before their world-changing concepts were transformed into successful businesses that solved monumental problems—not just for Israel, but for all who would learn how to take advantage of their breakthroughs.
Jorisch details the story of the Hatzalah ambucycle organization that sharply reduced the time between accidents and the arrival of first responders. This is a wonderful story of the interaction between informed, trained volunteerism and established professional expertise. It is also a story of cooperation between Arabs, Jews, and Christians. The influence of United Hatzalah on other nations has been enormous. . . .
To read the entire review, as it appears on the Jewish Book Council web site, click here: Thou Shalt Innovate