Talk:Ada Yonath

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Sephardic Jew[edit]

is she a sepharadic jew? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:52, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

According to the reliable source that is quoted, yes. Basket of Puppies 18:09, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
How reliable is a single article in the Jewish Journal (the quoted source)? Are there any other sources for the statement that comes from a Sephardi background?Davshul (talk) 22:13, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

it doesn't seem very likely in light of her own words in the interview in the link. she says "My parents were Zionists born in Poland." ( —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:03, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

The Jewish Journal says sephardi. I'd go with the Jpost over the Jewish Journal because a) i think they're more reliable b) they quote her directly c) poor family in Jerusalem 1920-ish was more likely ashkenazi then sephardi.--brewcrewer (yada, yada) 22:24, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
she is still categorized as sepharadi jew down the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:52, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
Looks like its been removed by now.--brewcrewer (yada, yada) 02:29, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Based on the JPost article, it seems more authoritative to say she is not Sephardic. Basket of Puppies 05:15, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
I think it would be better not to state positively whether she is ashkenazi or sephardi. Indeed the vast majority of polish jews are askenazi, and Jpost article I referrd to above supports therefore that she is ashkenazi. however her family name is not, to the best of my knowledge, a very typical askenazi family (maybe it is I just don't know), and there are some jews from the sothern parts of poland who are of at least sephardic origin (for example the author Isaac Leib Peretz)see also —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:16, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
yonath is a surname commmon to both ashkenazim and sephradim. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:07, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Lots of European Jews changed their names to Israeli names. If she's Ashkenazi, her name was most probably changed. --brewcrewer (yada, yada) 13:38, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Why does the Jewish background was deleted[edit]

Someone have taken out this edit without no agreement what so ever. --Gilisa (talk) 09:24, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

The revised text clearly states that her father was a rabbi and therefore reference to a Jewish family is superfluous. Davshul (talk) 09:36, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
I don't think so. Many peoples don't even know what Rabbi is. And her Jewish background was added by many users before you decide to remove it without discussion--Gilisa (talk) 09:47, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
The previous text had included the phrase "Sephardi Jewish" and when the word Sephardi was removed, the remaining text was aukward as the use of the expression "born into a Jewish family" is frequently to indicate that a person was born Jewish but does not currently consider themselves to be Jewish, which is not the case in question. Perhaps, instead of using this expression, we could refer to her parants as "Zionist Jews". It should also be noted that there are four categories listed which refer to her as Jewish. Davshul (talk) 10:01, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Agreed on Zionist Jews. However on another issue, I don't think that "born into Jewish family" refer to someone who not consider himself Jewish.--Gilisa (talk) 10:21, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
I don't think her parents' political views (namely, Zionist) are relevant to an article about Ada's life and accomplishments. Using "Jewish" is more appropriate. Avinoamr (talk) 14:17, 29 March 2010 (UTC)


The biographical material in this article, which is spreading like wildfire throughout the media, seems dubious to me. If her father was a rabbi, it seems unlikely there were no books in her house. Eventually, she will give interviews and set the record straight.--Gilabrand (talk) 10:34, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Her father perished when she was very young. Besides she was specifically meant to elementary school books (as she said to Israeli media sources). You have a good point, I think we should specify it in the article.--Gilisa (talk) 10:41, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, "My parents were Zionists born in Poland. My father was a rabbi who didn't know much about science and ran a grocery store in the neighborhood with my mother's help." and "We were so poor we didn't even have books."are direct quotes from previous interviews. Physchim62 (talk) 11:00, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
She probably meant "rabbi" in that he was a learned and pious man, but did not mean that he was a rabbi of a congregation.--brewcrewer (yada, yada) 13:46, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Quite possibly, but we shouldn't really speculate. We're hardly going to say that he was a shtetl rabbi without sources. The subject herself has spoken in interviews on several occasions, I think it is best to leave the rest to historians for the moment. Physchim62 (talk) 14:14, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
She said rabbi, I believe she knew what exactly it means. --Gilisa (talk) 16:56, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Many Jews received rabbinic ordination - semicha - in Europe but had to do something else to make a living when they immigrated to Eretz Yisrael. I presume this is the case. About the pronunciation that someone just put in, on what basis have they put in a "J" ??? - There is no "j" sound in Hebrew. Her name is YONAT. --Gilabrand (talk) 14:04, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Actually there is J sound in everyday Hebrew language (for example: giraffe is voiced Jerafa in Hebrew) and also in the biblical one where Yemenite Jews pronounced Gefen (Hebrew for grapevine) as Jofen when reading the Torah (which is in accordance with propoer vocalization of the Bible). However, in the case of Yonat, I realy had hard time to understand where the h come from, even untill I saw your post I said nothing.--Gilisa (talk) 12:27, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
In any case, the "j" in the pronunciation is in IPA: it is meant to be pronounced as an English "y". The IPA says that the surname should be stressed on the second syllable, as in yoNAT for an English speaker, is this correct? As for the "h" at the end of her romanized name, I've no idea where it comes from, but that's how she spells it herself. Physchim62 (talk) 13:27, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it is YoNAT. "Giraffe" is not a Hebrew word. I stand by my statement that there is no "j" - Modern Hebrew had to come up with a gimmel with an apostrophe to illustrate the "j" sound. The "th" at the end is indeed her spelling. Old transliterations of Hebrew used "th" instead of "t," as in "Bnai Brith."
"Giraffe" is not an Hebrew word, but Jiraffa is the word for it in Hebrew, it doesn't matter where it comes from as there are many words in Hebrew (as in any other spoken language) that came from different external sources. Please sign your posts next time. P.S. there is no place for J in her surname--Gilisa (talk) 13:49, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Reaserch inspiration[edit]

In an interview to Israeli media mrs Yonath has told that her inspiration came from pole bears ribosms crystalliztion during hibernation. My English is not good enough to translate it from Hebrew, but here is the source [1]--Gilisa (talk) 15:45, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

What she is saying is that, when polar bears hibernate, their ribosomes are arranged in a crystal-like form, and remain stable until they wake. This inspired her to attempt the task, previously considered impossible, of crystallising insect ribosomes ro study them. She comments that so many scientists had failed in and rejected this task, that she was considered "the global village idiot", and she praises the Weizmann Institute for providing the facilitieds for her work for twenty years despite this. My understanding of biochemistry is negligible, and I would not be happy ro put this in the article myself, but I would be happy to help an editor who understands the subject, if we cannot find an English-language source. RolandR 19:01, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

Removing non relevant information from the article[edit]

The opinions she expressed on Hamas prisoners an interview after the Nobel winning are not notable for her biography section, shouldn't be there any way, she spoke out after was specifically questioned on that subject and she is not a political activist. She also told on the same interview exactly that radical Jewish right wing activist should also be released from preason. As it seem now the inclusion of suce redunant information that have nothing with her scientific work or known influation on her personal life in her bio make no sense at all.--Gilisa (talk) 22:03, 25 November 2009 (UTC)

Why is this not relevant? We include such information in other similar biographies. For instance, among other Israeli biochemists, we note that Israel Hanukoglu is chair of Professors for a Strong Israel; among other Israeli Nobel laureates, we note that Robert Aumann is also a member of PSI; among other Weizmann Institute faculty, we note that Haim Harari made a speech in 2004 on terrorism; among other Nobel laureates in Chemistry, we note that Dorothy Hodgkin "was concerned about social inequalities and stopping conflict"; among other Israel Prize women recipients, we note that Hanna Maron "was a peace activist"; among other Women biologists, we note that Esther Orozco is "a prominent pro-choice activist"; etc. Ada Yonath's views on political issues atre just as relevant as theirs. Her statement was widely reported and commented on in Israel, and is certainly notable. The source I read and cited makes no mention of radical Jewish right-wing activists; if you can find a reliable source for this, and consider it to be equally notable, then you should add it, not delete what is already there. RolandR 23:07, 25 November 2009 (UTC)
Bad choice of examples: All are political activists and Ada Yonath is certainly not, she was asked to tell what are her political views, and then she spoke out shortly, dryly and without passion -she also told as far as I know that radical right wing prisoners, like Yigal Amir, should be released as well. But let's return to the examples: Hanukoglu is the Chair of a non profit political organisation, spending much of his time in this position and notable also for that. Aumann spoke out on his political views many times, in conferences-many times political ones and is notable for his political views in Israel. Haim Harari not just spoke out against terror, he also wrote a book on that matter and spoke out against terror, out of his own intitiation many times. Hodgkin was a political activist and so does Maron and Orozco. Ada Yonath was never an activist and never spoke out on her political views in political or scientific conferences. It's not notable part in her life, at least not to the extent that will justify a reference for her views on the biography section. You may open specific section for that at the bottom of the page -but please cite her correctly and fully. P.S. I have now rememberd that Yonath told in regard to her political views, that she believe in what Aaron Ciechanover said, that scientist should speak only on what they are understand in (i.e., not politics) --Gilisa (talk) 06:53, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
The question is not whether she is a political activist, but whether she has expressed political views. Her interview on Israel Defense Forces Radio was widely reported, and she has not resiled from her views. The interview has led to public controversy; on the left, she has been acclaimed by Uri Avnery, while on the right she has been denounced by Steven Plaut. There are over 10,000 Google hits for a search on "ada yonath"+hamas. Her views are relevant and notable; stop trying to censor them.
On the other issues you raise, I can find no evidence that she called for the release of Yigal Amir or that she argued that scientists should not speak of political issues. If you find a reliable source for these comments, and consider them notable, you are welcome to add them. RolandR 10:06, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
RolandR, I understand that you have a very good grasp of Hebrew, maybe googling in Hebrew will raise the outcome I was talking about. Anyway, I must admit that I didn't hear the interview myself and as for Yigal Amir, I only read talkbacks on it so I maybe well wrong here (...). Anyway, for sure I can tell that not real controversy was raised and the issue hold on the Israeli media for one-two days only, and on the back pages. And you can't compare her one statment the to intensive political activity of thos you mentioned. In any case, it's not relevant in her bio-I suggest you open a new political views section which will include this citation. It seem like the best option. Thanks, --Gilisa (talk) 11:34, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
I would have thought that making a separate section would increase the perceived importance of her political comments. I would prefer to leave the comments where they are, unless others share your view. This is not uncommon in Wikipedia. I haven't the time to search right now, but many articles about non-politicians who have made occasional political comments include these in the biography /life section, rather that creating a new section. RolandR 15:04, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Higher resolution photo now available[edit]

As part of Ada Lovelace Day, we've released a high resolution photo of Ada Yonath, on commons at

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