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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘assistance’

Palestinian Suffering from Parkinson’s Disease Receives Israeli Treatment

Monday, September 24th, 2012

A 51-year-old Palestinian man suffering from Parkinson’s disease received successful therapy treatment in Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center this past summer.

Tarik Sadek Abu Baker, an accountant who lives in Judea and Samaria, was treated for debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease through a special treatment known as Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), used to treat a variety of neurological disorders.

While medication is normally used to treat the disabling symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, which include tremors, rigidity, slowed movement, and walking problems, within 12 years, Abu Baker had stopped responding to Parkinson medication.

Consequently, the Palestinian Authority directed Abu Baker to the Movement Disorders Center at Haifa’s Rambam hospital, lead by Senior Neurologist Dr. Ilana Schlesinger.

The French neurosurgeon Professor Alim-Louis Benabid developed DBS therapy in 1987. The treatment became available in Israel in 2003. Since 2008, the Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center has treated 25 patients with DBS therapy.

According to the Rambam Medical Center website, the hospital Movement Disorders Center has been building a quiet reputation for its medical advancements in the Middle East. Inquiries into treatment programs come as far as Iran.

The medical staff at Rambam described Abu Baker’s situation as especially difficult. “He could barely move or talk because of severe rigidity and tremors,” said nurse, Ilana Erikh, after Abu Baker’s hospitalization. “It hurt me to see so young a person entirely disabled and trembling, who couldn’t do anything without assistance. He obviously needed extraordinary measures.”

Deep brain stimulation is used for people whose symptoms cannot be adequately controlled with medications for Parkinson’s disease. The treatment delivers electrical stimulation to block abnormal nerve signals in targeted areas of the brain. Many people who undergo the therapy, experience significant improvement in their symptoms and can also reduce the amount of Parkinson medication.

While DBS therapy and medication cannot cure Parkinson’s disease, these treatments can ease the symptoms that impede quality of life and allow patients increased mobility.

At Rambam, Professor Menashe Zaaroor, Director of the Department of Neurosurgery, implanted leads and neurostimulators into Abu Baker. After three weeks, Abu Baker returned so that neurologist Dr. Maria Nassar and nurse Ilana Erikh could switch on the neurostimulators’ batteries and adjust the voltage.

Following the visit, within an hour, Abu Baker could walk and move freely and showed no visible signs of the disease.

Ginan Salim, Abu Baker’s wife, described the warm treatment at Ramban. “We were made very happy last week because my husband, who has needed me to help him with personal hygiene, eating and preparing for sleep, has improved and doesn’t need my assistance anymore. We didn’t expect such quick results,” she said on the medical center’s website.

This is not the first time that the Rambam Medical Center has been engaged with Israel’s Arab and Muslim sector. During Ramadan last year, the medical center engaged in research to help fasting Muslims suffering from diabetes to better deal with the monthly holiday fast. Rambam’s Professor Naim Shehadeh discovered that particular types of insulin help patients avoid suffering from side effects and health complications that develop during the fast.

Professor Shehadeh conducted research among 300 diabetic patients treated at clinics in northern and central Israel in 2011. “We proved that this special protocol significantly reduced patients’ chances of developing adverse events during the Ramadan fast,” said Professor Shehadeh.

Professor Shehadeh further added that these particular types of insulin have been made available by the Israel Ministry of Health and are included in the ministry’s list of subsidized medications which can be acquired in pharmacies across Israel.

Jewish Agency Provides Emergency Assistance to Netivot Families whose Homes Were Damaged By Rocket Fire

Monday, September 10th, 2012

The Jewish Agency for Israel will provide emergency financial aid to three families whose homes were severely damaged this week after they were hit by a Grad rocket fired from Gaza. The emergency funding is provided through the Jewish Agency’s Fund for the Victims of Terror and will be transferred before Rosh Hashanah in order to allow the families to complete their preparations for the festival.

The Jewish Agency’s Fund for the Victims of Terror, which is supported by donations to the Jewish Federations of North America, as well as foundations and individual donors across the globe, provides additional material assistance to victims of terror and their families. The Fund works in coordination with the Ministry of Defense and the National Insurance Institute and since its foundation has provided financial assistance of 10 million dollars to hundreds of families.

In addition to the Fund for Victims of Terror, the Jewish Agency maintains an emergency fund to provide immediate assistance to victims of terror who have suffered injury or damage to property, in order to help with their initial recovery.

Immediately after the attack, a representative of the Jewish Agency visited the families in Netivot in order to ensure that they received the necessary support. Immediately after the visit, a decision was made to transfer emergency assistance before the Jewish New Year.

Granting Tuition Reductions In Day Schools: A New Approach

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Many American parents are passionate about providing their children with opportunities to participate in sports and develop as great athletes. A recent article in the Financial Post posed the question “Are your kids’ athletic dreams worth breaking the bank for?” For parents of elite athletes, the costs can be astronomical. Such parents designate “tens of thousands of dollars of their household budget to help their child’s athletic career blossom, a sacrifice that impacts everything from daily spending to retirement.”

Take the case of the National Ski Academy. The mission of this private full-time school is to “provide an environment for student athletes to maximize individual potential through the pursuit of alpine ski racing excellence, academic achievement and personal growth.”

Its director, Jurg Gfeller, says parents have to be committed financially to be part of the program. “If you are here five years, you are spending $150,000 on your kids and they have already spent money before and sometimes it’s probably not finished after [you graduate],” said Gfeller.

The financial sacrifice many of these parents make for their children to excel in athletics is tremendous. Their commitment to sports is so great that they see no choice other than to provide their children with the foundation to become great athletes, regardless of the cost. “You can’t say no” says one parent, Susan Remme, who had three children attend the academy.

Now suppose for a moment that this school suddenly introduced a new scholarship program for qualifying students offering up to a 70% reduction in tuition. The only stipulation for receiving this grant of over $100,000, was that the parents must sign a moral obligation agreement requiring them to put forth a good faith ‘best effort’ in donating back to the school as much as possible while at the school and after their children graduate. The funds received from this moral obligation would enable the school to provide the same assistance to others in need.

What would you say the reaction would be from the parents? Astonishment. Disbelief. Then, when the reality set in that the offer was genuine, can you imagine the level of heartfelt gratitude and endless appreciation? In exchange for well over $100,000 in tuition assistance in training and educating these budding athletes, the only requirement is the expectation for the parents to do their sincere best to allocate as much of their charitable donations as possible to the school. Is there any doubt the parents would feel so indebted to the school that they would go to great lengths to financially demonstrate their appreciation for years thereafter?

Jewish day schools across the country have been providing parents precisely this type of financial aid for decades. Yet how much do parents of day school students who receive this financial help give in donations while at the school and after their youngest child graduates? While to my knowledge there has not been a statistical study done on this subject, based on my experience and informal discussions I have had with other school administrators over the years, in general, it doesn’t seem to be an amount of any significance. Unfortunately this seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

Why is this so? Perhaps it is because our culture is so ingrained with a sense of entitlement that some parents feel tuition assistance is a “right” – along with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Their outlook is that despite the tens of thousands of dollars they received in reduced tuition, they have paid enough in tuition over the years to their school and choose not to allocate to it any further donations.

To be clear, I realize full well that parents have many financial obligations on their plate. Upon the graduation of their youngest child from day school, many parents have new obligations to the high schools and post-high schools their children now attend. In addition, some parents help support their married children and have other critical, sometimes even crushing, financial obligations. I am not proposing taking from these funds and directing these monies to their former day schools.

There are, however, many local, national and international organizations vying for support. Many of them serve good and vital causes. The organizations can be attractive and provide an opportunity to be part of something “exciting” or to really “make a difference.” Some even promise miraculous segulos and yeshuos. But these are discretionary charitable funds. In contrast, there is a moral obligation to make day schools a top-priority recipient.

Arab–Israeli Scam Exposed in Court

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Over the past two years, Moshe Vidal, an Israeli lawyer, has represented 520 Arabs who worked as agricultural laborers in Gush Katif and were suing their former employers for labor rights violations.

The former employers were shocked to learn about these lawsuits, many of them from ex-employees who were more than just that, who had close relationships with their employers. The employers turned to the Gush Katif settlers’ committee for legal assistance. The committee approached the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, which introduced them to Sigalit Handsher-Farkash, a lawyer specializing in labor laws and a member of the Legal Forum.

Vidal submitted lawsuits against 150 former employers, former residents of Gush Katif. Serial claims were made against the State and the employers for violation of labor laws, with each worker claiming an average of 100,000 NIS. The plaintiffs demanded currency value differences, pay for extra hours, additional pay for work on holidays and severance pay.

Handsher-Farkash decided to inquire about the credibility of the claims and began preliminary procedures, asking to hear the workers’ testimony in court. This step completely overwhelmed the court system, stalling the process and buying time.

Handsher-Farkash and her team went through each claim and discovered that they were all exactly the same, all claiming the exact same work hours, severance pay etc., leading the team to believe that all the claims were organized. They then discovered that the power of attorney on the claims was signed by a Gazan lawyer, Yusuf Hijazi. Furthermore, the forms passed on to Vidal were partially or completely empty, and some even lacked the proper authorization and authentication signatures of the plaintiffs.

Handsher-Farkash was able to contact some of the former employees. The immensity of the scam was then uncovered. Some claimants admitted to being coerced by Hamas to submit the claims; many didn’t want to submit the lawsuit, knowing that their employers cared for their livelihood, which was cut off because of the Disengagement. Some explained that they were suing the State, not the employers, and asked to withdraw their claim when they learned it was being submitted against the employers. Handsher-Farkash even had a worker state in court, via the phone, that he wished to retract his claim. In another case, one of the workers sent a letter from Gaza stating that Vidal did not represent him.

Vidal claimed to have spoken to each of the plaintiffs; however Hendsher-Farkash proved that one of them was a deaf-mute, and therefore it would have been impossible for Vidal to talk to him on the phone.

Beyond procedural tactics, a basic deficiency in the basis of the claims was discovered. The calculation of claims was based on the assumption that each worker worked six days a week, even though there had been prolonged periods during which the workers did not come to work because of security issues. In addition, some did not have specific work hours, while others worked in certain seasons, not year round.

Handsher-Farkash proved in court that the claims were not lawfully submitted and succeeded in closing all the cases.

Not all the farmers chose this venue. Some sought legal counsel from other lawyers who advised them to settle in court. They paid their former employees, only to discover that the lawsuits were a scam.

It is important to note that the State took no responsibility in regards to the lawsuits, even though the case was a result of the Disengagement, which was a political decision. The State was included in the claims, but asked to have the lawsuits against it declared invalid because it was not the direct employer. As a result, these farmers, who had already suffered the loss of their homes, communities and livelihoods, were once again left by the State to fend for themselves. They were lucky to find assistance and resolution through the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel.

Magen David Adom Races To Bulgaria

Friday, July 27th, 2012

“Wherever there are Israelis in trouble…we are there to help them,” said Yoni Yagodovsky, a spokesman for Israel’s Magen David Adom (MDA), told The Jewish Press.

Roughly eight hours after the terrorist attack in Bulgaria, a team of 12 MDA professionals arrived in Bulgaria to help their countrymen.

“Some of them burst into tears and clapped their hands in joy when they saw our medical team arriving,” Yagodovsky said about the dozens of Israelis who escaped the attack but were holed up in Bulgaria’s Burgas International Airport due to security concerns.

MDA officials proceeded to visit the injured in two Bulgarian hospitals, offering assistance wherever they could. “Unfortunately, we’ve gathered a lot of experience in dealing with terror attack victims,” Yagodovsky said. MDA also set up a call center for families in Israel who were worried about their loved ones.

Asked whether Bulgaria resented MDA’s involvement, Yagodovsky said, “Not at all. They were very helpful and friendly. All the people I spoke with said only good things about the Bulgarians.”

White House Statement on Bulgarian Terror Attack

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Statement by President Obama on the Terrorist Attack in Bulgaria:

I strongly condemn today’s barbaric terrorist attack on Israelis in Bulgaria. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and injured, and with the people of Israel, Bulgaria, and any other nation whose citizens were harmed in this awful event. These attacks against innocent civilians, including children, are completely outrageous. The United States will stand with our allies, and provide whatever assistance is necessary to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of this attack. As Israel has tragically once more been a target of terrorism, the United States reaffirms our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, and our deep friendship and solidarity with the Israeli people.

In Outreach To Orthodox Jews, Obama Repeats Commitment To Israel

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

WASHINGTON – President Obama is spreading the word, one Jewish constituency at a time: He has Israel’s back.

Obama defended his record on Israel and on religious freedoms last week during a White House meeting with Orthodox leaders convened by the Orthodox Union.

Obama’s meeting was the second such encounter in a week; six days earlier he met with leaders of the Conservative movement.

The meetings come in an election year in which the Obama administration has intensified its Jewish outreach. Obama spoke to the Union for Reform Judaism’s biennial in December, and then to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in March. Vice President Joe Biden addressed the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly in May, and later the same month hosted a briefing day for about 70 leaders convened by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

The last two meetings have come in the form of informal “drop-bys” on meetings that various Jewish umbrella groups routinely convened with Jack Lew, Obama’s Jewish chief of staff. White House meetings have been commonplace for decades, and generally take place once or twice a year with the presidential adviser designated as the senior outreach official for Jewish groups.

Obama’s outreach, particularly last week to the Orthodox leaders – whose constituency increasingly tends to favor Republicans – fits in with a strategy that senior Democratic officials have in the past described as tamping down pockets of hostility as much as it is about cultivating the party’s natural base in the Jewish community.

The meeting last week was friendly, in depth and constructive, participants on all sides said. An OU official asked Obama what lessons he had learned about promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace, considering his perceived even-handedness.

Participants said that Obama responded by rejecting the notion he was even-handed in his attempts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Insisting that the U.S. posture was pro-Israel, he pointed to his calls for making Israel’s security needs paramount in any final-status deal.

He said his calls to freeze settlement expansion reflected the position of his four predecessors, and blamed differences with Israel in part on the quirk of history of a centrist U.S. government and a right-wing Israeli government coexisting. Obama said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wanted to act without restraints, but that he understood him – most leaders want to act without restraints.

Another OU official reiterated the group’s unhappiness with Obama’s decision to require contraceptive coverage for employees at religious institutions not directly involved in religious activity, like hospitals or orphanages.

Obama said he was proud of his administration’s record of defending religious liberty, but that the contraceptive coverage case presented him with a dilemma: How to protect the right of millions of women working at religiously run institutions. He defended his solution, exempting purely religious establishments like churches and providing the contraceptive coverage through third-party insurance companies, instead of the religiously run institution. He said the solution allowed religious individuals who objected to contraceptive coverage not to participate, but simply to passively tolerate others receiving the coverage.

Asked about assistance for students in parochial schools, Obama said he was open to expanding federal assistance to such schools.

Participants included much of the OU’s leadership; Richard Joel, the president of Yeshiva University; Rabbi Levi Shemtov, director of American Friends of Lubavitch; Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, president of the Rabbinical Council of America; and Solomon Werdiger, a member of Agudath Israel of America’s board of trustees.

(JTA)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/in-outreach-to-orthodox-jews-obama-repeats-commitment-to-israel/2012/06/13/

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