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May 4, 2016 / 26 Nisan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘body’

Israeli Team Discovers Stem Cell “Bodyguards”

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

A research team headed by Professor Tsvee Lapidot of Israel’s Weizmann Institute’s immunology Department has discovered that the body’s precious stem cells – special bodies which can morph into many different types in order to provide vital services to the body in cases of need – have a little help in the immune system.

According to the paper, reported on by Israel21c, stem cells have backup from a sub-group of activated immune cells whose sole purpose is to defend them.

While the presence of mesenchymal cells – cells which provide support to stem cells in order to keep them healthy and strong – was already known, Dr. Lapidot’s team discovered that a subgroup of cells exists which prevent the differentiation of stem cells, secreting prostaglandins which preserve the youthfulness of the stem cells and prevent them from turning into anything else – also helping them survive chemotherapy or respond to infections.

Lapidot’s study further showed that introducing prostaglandin treatments can improve the quality and increase the number of the stem cells, an important discovery which may impact the strength and amount of cures to patients with leukemia.

Malkah Fleisher

It’s My Opinion: A Place To Mourn

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Eighteen-year-old University of Florida student Christian Aguilar went missing on September 20. His frantic parents, Carlos and Claudia Aguilar, came to the college campus in Gainesville to search for their son. They held daily press conferences and begged for help. They handed out flyers. They organized vigils. Hundreds of law enforcement professionals, as well as volunteers from every background, were prompted to join in the effort.

The prognosis seemed grim. Another boy, Pedro Bravo, who had known Aguilar from high school in Miami, disclosed some very disturbing information. Bravo confessed to having had a fight with Aguilar. He said he beat his friend unconscious and dumped him out of his car.

Hopes for finding Aguilar dimmed as the weeks went by. The area Bravo had shown authorities yielded no sign of the missing young man. Police found blood in Bravo’s car and backpack. They found a receipt for the purchase of a shovel and duct tape. As time passed, the parents who originally had hoped to find their son now sadly realized that he probably had died.

It was quite possible that Aguilar’s body would never be found. There would be no burial, no accounting, no chance of any type of closure. The thought was excruciating.

Last week Christian Aguilar’s body was found in a private hunting club more than an hour away from the vicinity of the search. Identification was confirmed by dental records. Carlos called the find a “miracle.” He said the discovery would “give honor” to his son. Carlos and Claudia Aguilar could now bury their child and hopefully find some comfort and solace in this horrific tragedy.

There is something very poignant about the societal norm of burial and the marking of a gravesite. A human being who lived on this earth deserves to be interred with a certain dignity. Those who remain behind benefit from having a place to mourn and mark the final resting place of a departed loved one.

One of the most heartrending aspects of the Shoah is the fact that the mass graves and ashes of the crematoria have disallowed this basic human need. The Nazis tossed out the slaughtered victims as garbage. It was their final dehumanizing action.

Jewish tradition deals with the importance of burial in the Tanach. The cave of Machpeilah, purchased to bury our matriarch Sarah and the grave purchased to bury our matriarch Rachel are important parts of our history. The final act of chesed Hashem performed in the Torah was the burial of Moses. The lessons, of course, are for all time.

The Aguilar family will be able to bury their son and know where he lies. They will be able to visit his grave, grieve and process the tragedy. The survivors of the six million were deprived of this opportunity. This is a reason why the Jewish world is dedicated to building Holocaust museums and shrines.

Shelley Benveniste

Lawyers Deny Rumor that Controversial Pathologist Yehuda Hiss Was Fired

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Attorneys for Pathologist Yehuda Hiss, considered the man who knows “where all the bodies are buried” (including the questionable circumstances of the assassination of a prime minister some seventeen years ago) are saying the rumors about his being fired by Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman on Monday are premature.

Hiss has been a controversial figure for years, and his Abu Kabir forensic lab has been involved in a number of strange controversies and scandals revolving around the collection of bodies organs as well reports of missing body parts and other organs from dead bodies that passed through his lab.

Families have complained for years that the bodies of dead family members they received back were missing organs, and the bodies were stuffed with other materials to hide the missing parts.

Initially the Health Ministry wanted to try to reunite the found body parts and bury them with their original bodies, but the job of identifying each unlabeled organ and sample to their their original owner has proven to difficult to do.

Hundreds of people have contacted the Health Ministry to try to reclaim body parts over the past few months since the initiative “Final Resting Place” was launched, where the Health Ministry tries to link as many parts to their owners as they can so they can get a proper burial.

But due to the difficulty in identifying all the parts to their original bodies, the Health Ministry created a mass grave for many of the 8288 body parts, many of them not documented, that Hiss and his lab had collected over the years.

Some are upset their family member’s body parts went into a mass grave.

Others have wondered why it took so long for Hiss to be fired, and that is a whole other story.

Shalom Bear

Man Who Found Majdi Halbi Wants His Reward

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Ibrahim Kozli, the man that found the body of missing Druze soldier Majdi Halbi is demanding the NIS 10 million reward that the organization “Born to Be Free” (L’Chofesh Nolad) was offering for information leading to his (and other missing soldiers) being found.

“Born to Be Free” was established as an NGO in 2004 by former military personnel and public figures, with the goal of locating all of Israel’s missing soldiers.

One of their main tools was advertising in Arab countries and territories a NIS 10 million reward for information leading to the finding and return of the missing IDF soldiers.

In 2011, the Israeli government decided to stop funding the NGO, which they had been doing at the cost of NIS 11 million per year. It was decided that the NGO was not bringing in results – information leading to the missing soldiers.

In 2012, the NGO announced that it was shutting down for financial reasons.

This greatly upset the families of the missing soldiers at the time, and the government stated that they were still searching for the missing soldiers using other means.

Related story: Remains of Druze-Israeli Soldier Missing for Seven Years Identified

Jewish Press News Briefs

How Do You Answer Evil? Ten Years After the Bali Terror Bombing

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Today marks ten years since jihadist terrorists carried out a ghastly bombing attack on night club spots on the Indonesian island of Bali. The Kuta Beach massacre was the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia: 202 people were killed that night. 164 were foreign nationals, 38 were Indonesian citizens. 209 people were injured.

Almost immediately after it happened on 12th October 2002, the then editorial team at the Melbourne (Australia) Herald-Sun newspaper contacted Arnold Roth. This was only a year after the death of the Roths’ daughter Malki. Arnold and Malki had both been born in Melbourne. The Herald-Sun requested a first-person response, an open letter to the families of the Indonesian attack victims.

Malki‘s death, like those of the Bali massacre victims, came at the hands of terrorists acting in the name of Islam. Arnold felt he had something to say and set everything else aside to quickly write an op-ed [background here].

He sent it off to the Herald-Sun. Then… silence. For reasons that have never been explained, his article never appeared in the pages of the Melbourne newspaper. The paper’s editor at that time never responded to several emails asking for an explanation.

Eventually, the Jerusalem Post picked it up and published it in the paper’s December 9, 2002 edition. Here are excerpts:

A letter to the families of the Kuta Beach victims 

By Arnold Roth, Jerusalem

I never felt more like a father than when taking the hand of my little daughter Malki and crossing the street with her. There is something so right and solid about being your child’s protector.

I never felt more wretched, frightened and alone than on the night the call came saying her body had been identified. My daughter was murdered by a deliberate act of explosive horror. I was not there to protect her.

If you’re asking what can be done, I want to offer this. When a young life ends, a huge empty space is left behind. How do you fill it? With hatred, thoughts of revenge, evening up the score? After our daughter’s death, we sat down as a family and asked ourselves how her life and actions should be remembered. We decided to raise money and give practical help to families raising a child with disabilities. Malki, a very practical teenager, did this herself and believed in it. It would have made her smile.

Perhaps it’s not politically correct to say this, but I believe evil does exist in the world – a great deal of it.

How do you answer evil? For us, the right response has been to do things which we hope will increase the stock of good in the world. We know this will have no impact on the barbarians who killed our children and loved ones. But we’re absolutely determined that they won’t be impacting us any more than they already have. They and their values are irrelevant to our lives.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Frimet and Arnold Roth

Things to Do on Chol Ha’Moed: Tigers

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Here’s a bunch of tykes staring at a tiger at the Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo (full name: The Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem – The Biblical Zoo) during Chol Ha’Moed, the intermediary period between the two holiday ends of Sukkot.

The glass partition provides an intimate closeness to the scary beasts that I haven’t experienced in any other zoo I’ve visited. When our daughter was three, she stood for a long time staring up close at this tiger or his older relative, not paying attention to the tension that rose in the body of the gorgeous beast, until he leaped at her in a long and silent arc and smashed into the (thankfully) sturdy glass.

You’d think he’d know better after a few of those disappointing attempts to eat his small visitor. The tiger in this picture seems to have accepted the facts of life and modern animal confinement concepts…

Yori Yanover

Goodbye World, I’m Off to the Mountains!

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

After analyzing the many different facets of t’shuva, Rabbi Kook explains what happens to a person who sets out on a path of return. The first thing we should know is that there are many barriers to t’shuva. To begin with, when someone is not accustomed to the sounds of holiness, his ears are blocked to t’shuva’s constant call.

Life’s inner moral demand calls out to man, “Turn back from your sins!” Sometimes this inner moral compunction begins as a soft echo barely audible in the conscience. Was it a voice? Did I hear someone calling? Little by little, it gains in volume and insistency until it thunders, SON OF MAN, RETURN FROM YOUREVIL WAYS!

Occasionally this voice calls out so loudly, it rings in a person’s ear wherever he goes. It won’t give him rest. “RETURN!” it calls out in the disco. “RETURN!” it calls out at the beach.  “Leave me alone!” the hounded soul cries out. No longer can he pretend not to listen. No longer can he remain in the chains of crass material existence with all of its vices and pulls.

At this point, Rabbi Kook says, a person must rise to a higher spiritual level in order to find inner peace. He must summon inner courage to face this spiritual crisis. Sometimes, however, the moral demands of t’shuva seem so great, a person despairs of ever being able to escape the clutches of sin. His transgressions, like thorns, pin him down on every side. Outside forces seem to control him. He sees no possible way of making amends.

Once again, Rabbi Kook offers hope by telling us that it is precisely from this point of despair that God’s mercy will shine. “A broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou will not despise” (Tehillim, 51:19).

Sometimes when a person has a passionate desire to do t’shuva, he longs to perfect everything all at once. Discovering a world of greater morality, he immediately wants to actualize it in life. A sudden spiritual illumination has raised him out of his darkness, and he wants all of his actions, thoughts, and character traits to be immediately on the same holy level. With all that needs to be corrected, he does not know where to begin. It is easier to contemplate a state of absolute morality than to achieve it in everyday life. The more t’shuva he does, the more he feels the gap between where he is and where he should be. Without a firm foundation in the realm of the holy, he can easily grow discouraged and lose his resolve to become a more moral person. As a result, people who begin learning about Judaism, and about their inner spiritual world, often put on the brakes in fear of experiencing further letdown in not being able to reach their ideals.

“If a person wants all of his inner sensitivities and powers to be instantly renewed in line with the spiritual elevation which he has discovered, and expects all of his immoral ways to be immediately straightened and perfected — he will lack inner stability, and he will not be able to fortify his will to follow the path to true perfection” (Orot HaT’shuva, 13:6).

The solution, Rabbi Kook says, is to do t’shuva in stages. First of all, one should console oneself with the knowledge that the very thought of t’shuva, the very desire to perfect the wrongs of one’s life, is t’shuva itself. This very understanding brings great inner correction in its wake. With this recognition, a person can feel more relaxed, feeling certain that the t’shuva process is already underway.

Next, a person must intensify the illumination of holiness within him. This is to be found in the study of Torah. As we have learned in our previous blog, the study of Torah strengthens the will to do t’shuva and refines character traits and modes of behavior. As the saying goes, “Where there is a will, there’s a way.”

After the will for t’shuva has been firmly established, the person is ready for the details of t’shuva. This stage has two aspects: t’shuva over behavior in the future, and t’shuva over transgressions in the past. Once again, the Torah provides the guidance and light. The Torah translates the ideal moral standards which the person has discovered into the details of day-to-day living. Rabbi Kook writes:

Tzvi Fishman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/felafel-on-rye/goodbye-world-im-off-to-the-mountains/2012/09/23/

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