Tag Archives: UCLA

Jew of the Week: Moshe Kai

Moshe Kai Cavalin (b. 1998) was born in Los Angeles, the son of a Taiwanese mother and an Israeli-Brazilian father. He started speaking at 4 months of age, and was reading and doing math by 3. At 6, he was rejected from elementary school because he “knew more than the teacher”, and had to be home-schooled. At 8, he became the youngest person in American history to take college classes. He got his first degree three years later, with a perfect 4.0 GPA. He then enrolled at UCLA – with a full scholarship – and earned a BS in mathematics. Meanwhile, Kai wrote two bestselling books (an inspirational autobiography, and a manual to deal with bullying). For fun, he scuba dives, plays piano, and chess, and avoids video games which, he says, are “not helping humanity in any way.” He is also an avid martial artist – thanks to his father, a former IDF special forces commando – and has won 26 gold medals. Incredibly, Kai got a pilot’s license, too. This led to a phone call from NASA in 2015. NASA needed a pilot who also knew math, physics, and computer programming to develop surveillance and anti-collision technology for drones and airplanes. Kai has been at NASA ever since, working hard to keep the skies safe. He is concurrently doing his Master’s in cybersecurity, and intends to later get a Master’s in business from MIT before opening his own cybersecurity company. Kai describes himself as a religious person and often credits God with giving him the insight to solve problems. One of his professors once said: “I think most people just think he’s a genius, they believe it just comes naturally… He actually worked harder than, I think, any other student I’ve ever had.”

Words of the Week

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
Albert Einstein

Kai at age 10 with his menorah; and more recently with his martial arts trophies


Make your Shavuot night-learning meaningful with the Arizal’s ‘Tikkun Leil Shavuot’, a mystical Torah-study guide, now in English and Hebrew, with commentary.

Jew of the Week: Jamie Zimmerman

Jamie Zimmerman (Credit: jamiezmd.com)

Jamie Zimmerman (Credit: jamiezmd.com)

Jamie Lauren Zimmerman (1983-2015) spoke her first words at just 4 months of age, read herself to sleep as a child, and learned how to ride a bike and play keyboards on her own. During her teen years, she appeared on popular TV shows like 7th Heaven, Boston Public, and The Practice. After completing her studies at UCLA, she journeyed to New York to earn her M.D. Soon after, she joined ABC News as a medical correspondent. She also wrote for the Huffington Post, Yahoo News, and others. Her main goal and passion was uniting “science and spirituality, meditation and medicine”. Zimmerman taught meditation to various groups, including her fellow staff at ABC News, children at the Hawn Foundation, and even at the U.S. Capitol. She also served as a UN Health Representative, and as a group leader for the American World Jewish Service, living and volunteering all over the world in places like Uganda, Peru, Thailand, Haiti, Burma, and Belize. During her time in Zambia she worked hard to assist Congolese refugees, and made a documentary film about their plight. She was a winner of the Charles E. Young Humanitarian Award, as well as the Physicians For Human Rights Emerging Leaders Award. Zimmerman planned to publish several books in the near future, and was ready to collaborate with Deepak Chopra on a new project. Sadly, she passed away last Monday while on a trip to Hawaii.

Words of the Week

People talk about “wasting time,” or even “killing time.” Neither term is accurate. Time does not belong to you that you can waste it. Yet neither does it have a life of its own that you can take away. Rather, time awaits you to give it life.
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe

Jew of the Week: Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks

Oliver Wolf Sacks (1933-2015) was born in London to Jewish parents who were both doctors. His mother came from an Orthodox family and was among the first female surgeons in the UK. Following in his parents’ footsteps, Sacks became a doctor in 1960. He completed his residencies in neurology in San Francisco and at UCLA, then worked as a neurologist in New York. Based on his work at the Beth Abraham Hospital in the Bronx, Sacks wrote the autobiographical book Awakenings, which became a bestseller and was adapted to the Oscar-nominated film starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. In addition to his neurology practice, for nearly fifty years Sacks was a neurology and psychiatry professor at a number of schools, including Columbia and NYU. He has written over a dozen books and countless articles and publications – all by hand or on a typewriter. His writings, translated into over 25 languages, have won numerous awards. The New York Times described him as a “poet laureate of contemporary medicine”. He contributed immensely to the field of neurology, and is credited with inspiring many of the today’s top neuroscientists. Interestingly, Sacks himself suffered from a neurological disorder called prosopagnosia, an inability to recognize faces. Despite being well-known for his great love and compassion for others, Sacks never married, and was celibate for 35 years. He spent time as a bodybuilder (at one point setting a state weightlifting record by squatting 600 pounds), nearly died while mountain climbing solo, held 12 honorary doctorates, and had a planet named after him. Sadly, Sacks passed away last week after a battle with cancer.

Words of the Week

I love to discover potential in people who aren’t thought to have any.
– Oliver Sacks