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September 3, 2014 / 8 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘birth’

MK Tzipi Hotovely Names Her Baby ‘Ma’ayan’

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely announced Monday that she and husband Or Alon, an attorney, have named their new baby girl “Ma’ayan.”

The Likud-Beyteynu Knesset member gave birth last Wednesday morning at Hadassah Mt. Scopus Medical Center in Jerusalem.

Hotovely’s family Facebook page was filled with “Mazel tovs!” in numerous languages Monday morning in response to the announcement.

The Israeli lawmaker was raised in Rehovot and educated in the national religious movement

Bnei Akiva girls’ schools in Tel Aviv. After graduating high school she served two years in National Service (Sherut Leumi). She and her husband were married in May 2013.

The ‘Demographic Time Bomb’ Debunked Again

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Originally published at The Ettinger Report.

The following are excerpts from an essay by Yakov Faitelson, the lead expert on the Jewish-Arab demographic balance:

“Since 2003, the annual population growth rate [birth, mortality and migration rates] of Israeli Jews has grown steadily from 1.48 percent to 1.81 percent while the aggregated annual increase of the Arab Middle Eastern countries has decreased to 1.45 percent….

“While the natural increase rate [birth and mortality rates] for Israeli Jews rose by 41.6 percent from 1995 to 2012, the Arab natural increase rate declined during the same time by 30.6 percent – due to rapid modernity [e.g. urbanization, family planning, expanded education among women, higher wedding-age] with the rate in 2012 at its lowest level since 1955.

“For example, in 2000, the number of Israeli Arabs born was 39,579 (including 34,667 Muslims). By 2012, the number of Israeli Arab newborns was 40,080 (35,730 Muslim). The number of children born within the Jewish population rose from 90,900 in 2000 to 125,492 in 2012 and in the expanded Jewish population [including Olim from the USSR who are not yet recognized as Jews by the Rabbinate] from 94,327 to 130,460 in 2012. Thus the share of babies born to Jews increased from 67.9 percent in 2000 to 73.6 percent and of expanded Jewish population from 70.4 percent to 76.5 percent in 2012 [The trend persists during 2013]….

“From the beginning of the twenty-first century the TFR [number of births per woman] of Israeli Muslims decreased considerably, from 4.7 in 2000 to 3.5 children per woman in 2011. The TFR of all Arabs decreased still further to 3.3 children per woman, very close to the 3.09 for Jewish women born in Israel….

The shape of Israel’s age-pyramid clearly shows that the younger the age, the more the number of Jews increases while the number of Arabs either decreases or remains stable. During the last ten years, the share of Israeli Jews versus Israeli Arabs within the overall young Israeli population has increased, indicating that the Jewish population has started to become younger while the Israeli Arab population is getting older. With existing life expectancies factored in, the natural aging of Israeli Arab ‘baby boomers’ will significantly increase their mortality level over the next two decades, causing an accelerating decline in the overall Arab natural increase rate.

Continuation of current trends will result in a convergence in 2025 of the natural increase rate [which does not include migration!] for Jews and Arabs in Israel. For the first time in the modern history of the Land of Israel, the Arab natural increase rate may not be higher but rather equal to the natural increase rate of the Jews. Given the possibility of continued Jewish immigration, one can expect an intensification of the steadily rising Jewish share of the total population of the Land of Israel.

The decline in the Palestinian natural increase rate in Judea and Samaria [caused by modernity] is accelerating even faster than among Israeli Arabs. Combined with a massive emigration of Arab youth from these territories, especially from Judea and Samaria, the size of the younger age group will be reduced and coincidentally, the elderly age cohort of the population will increase, resulting in an increased mortality rate in the near future. Following these trends, the natural increase rate of Arabs in Judea and Samaria will be decreasing even faster.

“Any proper analysis of demographic developments in the Land of Israel must take into account the critical role of the migration balance. Aliya—Jewish repatriation—has been a significant factor in narrowing the difference between Jewish and Arab natural increase rates. Israel may experience a substantial Aliya wave into the near future, including an influx of skilled professionals, a welcome addition to Israel’s fast developing economy. The recent discoveries of huge gas deposits create an enormous momentum for the Israeli economy that is bound to change the geopolitical situation in the Middle East.

Many Israeli expatriates may also seriously consider returning to the Jewish state. During the years 2000-10, the number of returning Israelis was 21.3 percent higher than the previous decade. These developments would lead to a further increase in the annual growth of the Jewish population.

If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem, I Must Be in Brussels

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

The city of Brussels refused to register the name of a locally born Israeli baby as “Jerusalem” because the name does not appear on a list of approved names for children born in the country.

That gives Israel’s capital, which is not recognized by almost any other country, the miserable distinction of not being allowed to written as “Jerusalem, Israel” on American passports and not allowed to be used as a name in Brussels.

“Alma Jerusalem” was born to Alinadav and Hagar Hyman, Israelis who have lived and worked in Brussels for the past three years, JSS News reported. Hagar is a security agent with Israel’s El Al Airlines, and Alinadav works for the Israel lobby in the European Parliament.

“We are both Jerusalemites, we grew up in Jerusalem, we met in Jerusalem and we very much miss the city, so we decided to call our first child Jerusalem,” Alinadav said. “We actually argued over whether Jerusalem would be the first or middle name, and in the end decided it would be our daughter’s middle name.”

It would be fair enough to say that “Jerusalem” is a bit of an unusual name and that the clerk’s refusal wouldn’t smell of anti-Semitism except for one other little fact: Bethlehem is on the list of approved names.

The clerk, out of ignorance or chutzpah, suggested that the Hymans names their baby with the charming Jewish name of “Bethlehem.”

Despite Jewish history in Bethlehem, one wonders what kind of Bat Mitzvah speech ‘Alma Bethlehem” could deliver in 12 years to explain her name.

Not surprisingly, the Hymans declined the generous offer.

Allinday was not even sure if the clerk was serious about refusing to allow “Jerusalem” as a name since a Finnish man in line next to him was allowed to register his baby with a name that was 25 letters long.

“I cannot say if the refusal to call the baby Jerusalem is political, but the speed with which the clerk refused us compared to how quickly the [unpronounceable] Finnish name was approved raised suspicions,” said the father.

But all is not lost.

The Brussels clerk agreed to allow “Jerusalem” as a name if the Hymans could bring an official letter from the Israeli embassy confirming that it is a valid name, then it would issue a Belgian birth certificate for the baby.

One speculative question remains unanswered: What would the clerk have said if a Palestinian Authority Arab had tried to register a babe’s name as “Jerusalem”?

By the way Mohammed for years has been the most popular name in Belgium, where Muslims compromise more than 25 percent of the population.

Cancer Patients at High Maternity Risk, Says New Israel Research

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Cancer sufferers and survivors are at increased risk of major obstetric complications, according to new research by Israeli researchers to be presented next week at the Annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

It is well known that cancer treatments decrease fertility, but very little has been known until now concerning pregnancy outcomes in cancer sufferers and survivors. Tel Aviv’s Sheba Medica Center researchers Drs. Richard Lawrence and Nir Pillar interrogated a large database of U.S. inpatient statistics and identified 15,191 births in which the mother was a cancer sufferer or survivor. Compared with other women, these births were at very high risk for a range of complications ranging from blood clots and premature labor to maternal and fetal death.

“Parenting has been defined as one of life’s greatest fulfillments, and parenthood is a major concern among cancer survivors”, explained Dr. Lawrence, the abstract’s senior author. “Increasingly we are seeking to understand and improve the life-experience of cancer survivors, once cancer treatment is behind them… Our recommendation is that these pregnancies should be considered ‘high-risk’, and very closely monitored.

Birth Under Fire with Israel’s Doulas

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Throughout the country, thousands of reservists have been called to the border with Gaza. These men left behind wives, mothers, children and friends. Some have had to say good-bye to their pregnant wives; whether in the first stages of their pregnancy or approaching their due-dates.

For some, the constant threat of rocket fire doesn’t matter. For the doulas of the Israel, there is work to be done. A professional doula is certified to assist at natural births. The doula, unlike a midwife, begins working with the expecting mother long before the birth, and accompanies her during and after the birth, offering both physical and emotional support.

Israeli doulas have formed a group of volunteers who are offering their services free of charge to the residents of the south, women whose husbands have been called to the reserves and any pregnant woman feeling distress due to the security situation. The doulas are divided into smaller groups, based on their residence, and offer immediate support to expecting mothers all over the south. These services include meetings in which the doula visits her client’s home and performs services such as reflexology, massages, and shiatsu. In addition, women who wish to consult a doula can do so via their Facebook group called “Women Supporting Women- Operation Pillar of Defense.”

Doulas at doulas-only tea party.

Doulas at doulas-only tea party.

This group of dedicated volunteers was established by Ravit Stern-Ginat, 33, who has nine years of experience working as a doula. Ravit lives in Alfei Menashe, a community in Samaria. The idea to establish the group came to her when she saw a picture of a pregnant woman hugging her husband as he departed for the reserves. Her immediate thought was that she finally found a way to help. ”Whether before, during or after the pregnancy, being a new mother is no easy task”, Ravit told Tazpit News Agency. “Especially for those who no longer have the support of their significant other. I wanted to help them.”

Ravit turned to her friends and fellow doulas, and their response was, “of course.” Thus began the Facebook group “Women Supporting Women—Operation Pillar of Defense,” currently numbering 1,347. Members of the group include professional doulas, women seeking advice in pregnancy related matters, and some who just seek moral support. Ravit was amazed by the success of the “operation” and at the positive results, just two days after she first thought of the idea. Besides the ever-growing Facebook group, companies have contacted her to offer free gifts for the mothers under her care.

Ravit’s goal is to reach as many women as possible to ensure that they receive the help and support they need. She was interviewed by Israel TV Channel 1. They were impressed by the initiative and the readiness of the volunteers. “We’re making a lot of noise so that we can help as many as possible. We want to help; this is the purpose of our job”, Ravit said.

Yifat and Orly are two of the hundreds of volunteers. Yifat Hovev, 26, mother of three, is living in Jerusalem. She heard of Ravit’s group and loved the idea. To her, this is proof that “we, the Israelis, are all brothers. This is the least we can do.” Yifat’s husband has not been called into the reserves yet, but has been told to be on standby. If he is called, Yifat will continue providing the support.

Orly Kalush, mother of ten and grandmother of four, has dreamt of being a doula since giving birth to her first child. She lives in Maon, a small community south of Hebron. When she saw Ravit’s Facebook page calling for volunteers, she joined immediately. “We are ready to give support everywhere, all areas are covered.” Orly has not yet had the chance to care for an expecting mother affected by the situation in the south. She explains: ”There are just too many doulas who signed on to help!”

Gedolim Are Human

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

And Hashem said to Avram, “Go for yourself from your land, from your birth place, and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you.” – Bereishis 12:1

With these words begins one of the ten great tests of Avraham. The Ramban explains that these were trials by fire, designed to bring Avraham’s greatness to the surface, taking it from the potential to the actual. They helped form him into the singular tzaddik he became.

Rashi notes that in this test, Hashem is very expressive about the place Avram is leaving, but does not mention where he is to go. “Leave your land, your birthplace, your father’s house, and go. . .” Rashi explains that this was all part of the test and added to the reward he would receive when he passed. Each description of the place he was leaving increased his longing and attachment to it, making it more difficult. Rashi continues that this is similar to the akeidah when Hashem challenged Avraham: “Take your son, your only son, the son that you love.” Each phrase further increased the test because it highlighted and stirred up the love Avraham felt for his son.

This Rashi is difficult to understand. The Avos were spiritual giants, men whose feet may have been on the ground but who lived up in the heavens. Avraham lived in a world of spirituality, barely cognizant of his physical surroundings. And what makes this question even more pointed is that it is hard to imagine that Avram was particularly attached to either his birthland or his father’s house.

There is a well-known midrash that says that at a tender young age Avram recognized the folly of idol worship. He set out to teach the people of his town the error of their ways but they were less than accepting of his teachings. His father in particular was dead set against them, as he owned a store that sold idols. One day his father asked him to watch the idols, and when he came back, he found that all the idols had been smashed. He turned to Avram and asked, “What happened?”

Avram answered, “Someone brought in food for the idols. One of the smaller ones took it, the bigger idol got jealous, and they had a fight, punching, kicking, and smashing. This is what is left.”

Avram’s father was not impressed with the cleverness of his son. In fact, he was so unimpressed that he took him to Nimrod the king, who pronounced him an enemy of the state and attempted to execute him. That resulted in another of the tests of Avram: the fire of Ur Kasdim.

This being the case, it is hard to imagine that Avram felt any great attachment and connection to his homeland and his father’s house. So what does Rashi mean that each expression made it harder for him to leave?

Gedolim Stories

Despite this being a very long and difficult exile, we have we have succeeded in creating our own Torah culture. We have our own manner of dress and speech; we have our own goals and priorities. We have our own newspapers, music, and books. We now even enjoy a vast body of Torah literature. Whether stories of gedolim or fictional novels that convey Torah values, it is a great accomplishment and necessary to remaining an exalted nation.

However, there is a small fly in the ointment. It seems that the gedolim written about in the popular books today are presented as malachim – as if they never failed, never suffered any setbacks, and never went through nisayonos. Never questioned themselves. Never felt lost or confused.

The reality is quite different. Every gadol has suffered. Every great person goes through tests and tribulations. Each of the Avos and Imahos had periods of darkness and difficulties and on some level they all failed. The true distinction between people who become world class gedolim and those who don’t is how much they were willing to pay the price, how committed they are to serving Hashem, how many times they were willing to get knocked down and get back up again.

If you find a gadol story that doesn’t include dark times, you are reading pure fiction. In the world Hashem created, fighting spiritual fights is integral to growth, and fighting means that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. It seems that in an attempt to portray gedolim as great, we have made them non-human – angels just barely wearing human form.

Rabi Yehudah And Antoninus

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Rabi Yehudah Hanasi (the prince) known as Rebbe had an amazingly warm friendship with the Roman Caesar, Antoni­nus. The friendship began at the birth of the two men and continued until their dying days.

Rebbe was born as the land of Judea lay beneath the heavy Roman heel. The Roman government, furious at the stubbornness of the Jewish people, passed severe decrees against them. One of these decrees concerned the vital mitzvah of milah (circumcision).

The Jews were horrified to learn that the Romans had decreed that any Jew who cir­cumcised his child would be put to death and were in turmoil. How could one not fulfill the mitzvah that was the sym­bol of the covenant between the Almighty and His people? On the other hand, who had the courage to risk death by defying the decree?

Rabi Shimon Ben Gamliel, descendant of the great Hillel and head of the Sanhedrin, was blessed by G-d just at that time with a son. Great was the rejoicing but equally great was the trepidation.

But Rabi Shimon never hesitated. He took his eight-day old son and performed the ritual that brought him into the covenant of Avraham Avinu.

The Romans Hear

The Roman governor soon learned of Rabi Shimon’s actions. He was furious.

“Bring Rabi Shimon before me imme­diately,” he said.

Rabi Shimon was brought to the palace and before the angry gover­nor.

“What have you done? Why have you defied the orders of the Roman Caesar and circumcised your son?”

Rabbi Shimon looked at the governor and replied: “I have obeyed the orders of a greater king than the Roman Caesar. I have obeyed the decree of the Holy One, Blessed Be He, who is Sovereign of the universe.”

“I realize that you are the leader of the Jewish people and I respect you as a great man” the governor said, “but duty compels me to take you into custody for having broken the Roman law. You, your wife and the newborn child will go under guard to Rome and Caesar himself will decide your fate.”

On To Rome

The trip took many days and when they reached Italy they stopped at a hotel before proceeding on to Rome. The Empress was also staying at the same hotel for the Al-Mighty had decreed that she should give birth about the same time.

The wife of Rabi Shimon, as the leader of the Jews, had met the Empress before and they had become good friends.

“What are you doing here?” the Empress asked in surprise.

Rabi Shimon’s wife burst into tears and poured forth the entire story,

“Because we circumcised our son, Caesar, your husband, will probably con­demn us all to death.”

The Plan

The Roman Empress listened in horror to the tale that had just unfolded and she rose to her feet, “Never! This will never happen!”

“I am afraid it will,” said Rabi Shimon’s wife, sadly, “There is nothing that we can do. We defied the law of tyranny and now we shall be punished for it.”

“No, perhaps not.” said the Empress, as her face brightened,

“What do you mean?”

“I have an idea which just might work if you are willing to try it out.”

“I will do anything if the life of my son will be spared.”

“Very well,” said the Empress. “I have just given birth to a son also. He is not cir­cumcised. Let us exchange babies temporar­ily and when you show the baby to the king he will see that the child is uncircumcised and will let you all go free.”

The Jewish mother listened to the plan and agreed to try it out.

“Perhaps if the Almighty wishes it, the plan will work and we will be saved.”

In the greatest secrecy the two women gathered up their infants and exchanged them. The uncircumcised Roman baby, heir to the Roman kingdom was given to the wife of the Jewish leader and little Yehuda, destined to be one of the giants of Torah, was handed over to the Roman Empress.

Before The Emperor

The next morning the party proceeded on its journey and was taken to the palace to see the Emperor.

“I have heard that you have defied the decree of the Empire and circumcised your child,” the Emperor said. “You realize, of course, that you are liable for the death penalty for treason.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/kidz/midrash-stories/rabi-yehudah-and-antoninus/2012/10/14/

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