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June 26, 2016 / 20 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Food’

New Bill Revokes Get-Refusing Inmates’ ‘Mehadrin’ Kosher Food, Boarding Privileges

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

The Knesset on Wednesday debated a bill submitted by Habayit Hayehudi Chair MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli revoking the special privileges of prisoners who refuse to grant their wives a get-religious divorce. The bill singles out Orthodox Jewish prisoners who are entitled while behind bars to stay in the prison’s “religious” section, participate in Jewish studies, and eat a stricter-standard “kosher l’mehadrin” meals. The idea is to use the loss of these privileges to force the prisoner to set his wife free.

To be clear, the law does not deprive the Orthodox inmate of his basic Jewish needs, it merely takes away elements of his “ultra-Religious” lifestyle.

Some Orthodox prisoners are actually sitting in jail for their refusal to grant the get, so that by freeing their wives they can set themselves free. But in the case of these Orthodox men, prison often resembles their normal everyday life, and in some cases may be an improvement — in prison they can sit and learn all day with a group of other Orthodox men, celebrate Shabbat and the holidays, and not have to worry about parnossah (making a living). MK Moalem hopes that removing those prisoners’ ability to live a full Jewish life behind bars and inserting them in the general population might help change their outlook on life in prison.

MK Moalem-Refaeli said, “A man who turns his wife into an aguna and refuses to obey the judges’ order to stop abusing her is not truly a man who values halakha and maintaining a Jewish lifestyle. He tramples the most essential Jewish principle, Love your fellow man as you would yourself, only to make his wife’s life miserable. Therefore he is not worthy of enjoying the plethora of privileges prison affords religious inmates.”

JNi.Media

Annals of Obesity: Israeli Kids Drink More Soda than Americans, Arabs More than Jews [video]

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

At least 50% of the world population suffer from overweight and obesity, compared with the situation in the 1980s, when only 10% of the population was obese, according to worldwide management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. If the rate of weight gain remains as it is today, close to half the people on planet Earth will be obese by the year 2030. Israel’s figures are relatively good compared with the rest of the OECD countries, but still, according to the Israeli Health Ministry, 1.7 million Israelis, or 25% of adults and 14% of children, are obese, and out of those 700 thousand are considered pre-diabetic, and 500 thousand already suffer from type 2 diabetes. Also, adding those who are overweight (BMI of 25 and up) to the 25% who are obese, shows that almost half the population in Israel is overweight.

To illustrate, according to The Marker, in one of the meetings of the commission to promote a healthy diet, Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov said ironically, “We fail to understand how come 50% of the population are not overweight, considering the current consumer culture.”

The Health Ministry has recently launched a campaign against the consumption of soda drinks, which are a kind of statewide plague. A survey conducted in local schools has shown that Israeli children are at the top of the world average in their daily consumption of sweetened drinks. The world average for consuming sweet drinks is 25% of girls and 32% of boys. The average in the US is 30% among girls and 37% among boys.

In Israel the average is 41% for girls, 45% for boys — while for Israeli Arab children it is even higher, as 51% of Arab children ages 11 to 15 consume a sweet drink at least once a day.

© JNi.media

© JNi.media

It is well-known today that an overweight child will likely suffer from obesity in adulthood. In Israel every fifth first grader (20%) is overweight, and by the seventh grade 30% — one in three children — are overweight.

Among Arab children the situation is even worse, with close to 40% of Arab seventh graders suffering from overweight.

In Israel, some 70% of the food being consumed is processed, which is why Israeli children and teens consume 12 grams of sodium daily, easily double the recommended amount.

Diabetes in Israel harms the weaker population strata, most notably the Arabs. The rate of diabetes among the poor is three times higher compared with middle and upper class Israelis. An estimated 25.5% of Israeli poor are diabetic, compared with 7.1% Israeli middle and upper class. The rate of the rise of diabetes among the poor in Israel is swift and alarming, jumping in 12 years from 7.8% in 2002 to 25.5% in 2014.

According to the Health Ministry, the cost of obesity is estimated at $1.55 billion annually, with a third of the cost coming from direct care for obese patients and two-thirds from indirect losses, such as reduced earning ability, sick days and nursing care. Israel’s largest HMO, Maccabi Health Services, has submitted to the Health Ministry data suggesting it spends on diabetic patients 53% more than it does on the average insured member.


Israeli Health Ministry’s anti-soda drinking campaign

JNi.Media

Jewish Agency Launches Food Co-Op in Druze Village

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israel Venture Network (IVN) this week launched their fourth food co-op in the Druze village of Beit Jann. Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky, IVN cofounder Itsik Danziger, spiritual leader of Israel’s Druze community Sheikh Mowafaq Tarif, and leaders from Beit Jann and the Druze community attended the grand opening.

The new chain of food co-ops is a joint venture of the Jewish Agency and IVN, in partnership with UJA-Federation of New York and the United Jewish Endowment Fund of Greater Washington, aimed at lowering the cost of living and strengthening communities across Israel. The first three branches are located in the southern Israeli communities of Sderot, Yeruham, and Arad. The new branch in Beit Jann was launched in partnership with Ofakim LaAtid (“Future Horizons”), a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering young leadership in Israel’s Druze community. The food co-ops operate as social business ventures, offering consumers significantly less expensive groceries and investing profits in local social empowerment initiatives. The chain is expected to reach forty branches across Israel and is based on close cooperation with local communities and various nonprofit organizations.

Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky said: “I first heard about the ‘covenant of blood’ between the Jewish people and the Druze community while I was still in the Soviet Union, fighting for our right to immigrate to Israel. But that bond must also generate a covenant of life, and we must do everything to ensure that that covenant is strong and enduring. I am confident that this new joint venture between The Jewish Agency, Jewish Federations, and Israeli business leaders will enable us to help narrow the socioeconomic gaps within Israeli society and strengthen Israel as a whole.”

IVN cofounder Itsik Danziger said: “This new chain represents a substantial new step by IVN to promote the model of social businesses, an innovative model aimed at correcting market failures in Israel. The launch of the fourth food co-op in Beit Jann demonstrates that social businesses can generate sustainable, socially conscious activity while fortifying their financial viability with independent profits. The new chain helps lower the cost of living in Israel and we look forward to expanding it into additional communities across the country.”

Spiritual leader of Israel’s Druze community Sheikh Mowafaq Tarif said: “The decision by The Jewish Agency, headed by our friend, Natan Sharansky, and IVN to launch a branch of their new food co-op chain in Beit Jann is more than a statement – it is a fitting act, because Druze communities are worthy of investment and constitute an integral part of the State of Israel.”

JNi.Media

Israeli Food Exports Gain Popularity as Economic Ties Expand in East Asia

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

{Originally posted to The Tower Magazine website}

As Israel’s economic ties expand across East Asia, so does the popularity of the Jewish state’s food products.

Costco stores throughout Japan hosted an Israeli food festival last week, featuring pita, matza, Wissotsky teas, Angel cookies, Adafresh spices, Hanasich tahini, and a variety of Israeli wines. The festival was sponsored by the Israel Export Institute and the economic attaché of the Israeli Ministry of Economy office in Tokyo.

“In 2015, the government decided to take steps to strengthen the economic relations between Israel and Japan. The Israeli and Japanese prime ministers held reciprocal visits over the past several years under this framework,” Ohad Cohen, exports manager for the Ministry of Economy, told Ynet. “We’ve seen great interest for Israeli products and technological cooperation from Japanese companies in a variety of fields including the medical, communications, pharmaceutical, and automation fields,” he added.

The initial contacts between dozens of Israeli and Japanese companies has led to over $1 million in exports.

Another promising market for Israeli food products is opening in Vietnam, which last week hosted an Israeli food festival in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The events featured cooking demonstrations by Israeli celebrity chef Ruthie Rousso and others. Israeli dishes prepared at the festival included majadra, musabaha style hummus, fresh pita made on site, malabi with pistachios, and sweet Israeli meatballs made with date honey, Ynet reported.

“Over the last several years, Vietnam has greatly developed economically and presents a great opportunity for Israeli industry and food exports,” said Caroline Nevo, the head of the Food and Drink Branch of the Exports Institute. She added that her organization has “seen more interest and demand for Israeli flavors and products in the east, and conversely, we have been expending great efforts to open up markets which will facilitate the entry of Israeli products and fully realize the potential of these markets.”

In addition to the food festivals in Japan and Vietnam, four Israeli wineries — Adir Winery, Morad Winery, Psagot Winery, and Binyamina Winery — attended the China (Guangzhou) International Wine & Spirits Exhibition this year, the largest exhibition of its kind in China.

 

The Tower

Colel Chabad ‘Charging’ Ahead on Passover Preparations

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

The nationwide Colel Chabad social services organization is already moving full speed ahead on its pre-Passover preparations. The organization, which has been running programs in Israel since 1788, is working with the government to implement a food security project for the holiday.

“The organization is working to help thousands of Israelis who are struggling with poverty,” said a spokesperson. “To prepare for the holiday, food and staples for Passover will be delivered to the homes of more than 20,500 families around the country,” she said.

An additional 20,000 people will be provided with full seder meals at Chabad houses around the country, the spokesperson added.

In addition, the organization has launched a debit card program that enables its clients to go to designated supermarkets and purchase their own chosen holiday necessities.

“They can do so with dignity and self-respect, without having to feel embarrassed that they cannot afford what they want or require,” Colel Chabad director Rabbi Mendy Blau told Chabad.org.

The program began at Purim time and is now in full force as Passover arrives. Blau noted that “a debit card program such as this also enables us to channel and monitor funds so that they are being used in ways that will truly help the beneficiary.”

Colel Chabad has partnered with local supermarket chains, as well as with IsraCard (the local operator of MasterCard) to create the smart card. Purchases can be made for any items at the designated markets, other than hard liquor or tobacco products.

The cards are funded by charitable donations. Donors can designate beneficiaries who fall within a specific category, such as widows, Holocaust survivors, lone soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, victims of terror, etc. Anonymity is maintained to prevent undue embarrassment to the recipient.

Hana Levi Julian

Finance Minister Raises Number of Customs-Free Items

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has signed an order to exempt more food products and production items from customs fees upon their arrival in Israel.

In addition, existing exemptions have been extended, new exemptions have been added, and the “customs-free” imports quota has been expanded.

The moves are designed to ease future costs for Israeli business owners and increase their ability to compete in the international marketplace.

The Finance Ministry is beefing up efforts to maintain a healthy economy despite Israel’s somewhat sluggish growth rate earlier in the year.

Hana Levi Julian

Zomet Institute Chief: Time to Appoint Women Kashrut Supervisors

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

(JNi.media) Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, head of the Zomet Institute, an Israeli high-tech non-profit organization specializing in IT equipment and electronic appliances designed to meet the requirements of Jewish Law, last week called to integrate women in the kashrut supervision system in Israel. After reviewing the various halakhic positions on the subject, Rabbi Rosen said, “As someone who already deals with voicing social and public positions, I think you have to open the doorways wide and let women into the world of kashrut in Israel, here and now.”

According to Rosen, there is no doubt that a woman is reliable as a kashrut supervisor (Mashgiach), but there is a question about the subject of modesty. Rabbi Rosen cited halakhic scholars who object to employing women as kashrut supervisors because of modesty, but insisted nevertheless that the field must become inundated with women, pointing out that the High Court has ordered the rabbinate to let women take exams for kosher supervisor applicants.

Modesty issues, according to the predominant rabbinic views, refers to the potential of social interactions between men and women leading to unwanted intimacy.

“I think this area is suitable for women in terms of capabilities, and the time requirements — women would be able to spread their schedule according to their household’s needs,” said Rosen. “If we all employ female teachers, disregarding the Mishnah and the Gemara and the Halakha where it was determined that women must not teach children because of the fathers who come in, and the press is full of stories about the harassment of teachers and yet Orthodox schools do not refrain from employing female teachers, there is no reason not to let them into this field, just as they have entered the field of being rabbinical court advocates.”

“I think women can raise the standards — in light of what we hear about the norms of the kashrut supervisors,” Rosen said, adding, “If they’ll give women in today’s generation of feminism, who are looking for challenges, a chance to enter all kinds of areas in religious life, I think they can turn it into a challenge.”

Rabbi Rosen noted that there is still a problem according to rabbinic sages in terms of giving women the power of coercion, but suggested it can be resolved by designating the rabbi who awards the kosher certification to a business as the authority, rather than the female kosher supervisor. “And if you need to define their role so that they won’t have the power of compulsion, so let’s define it this way,” said Rosen.

Forum organizer Rabbi Ratzon Arussi of Kiryat Ono, who is member of the Chief Rabbinate Council, wished to qualify Rabbi Rosen’s statement, so that a female kashrut supervisor’s appointment may be strictly confined by the rules of modestly. “The Chief Rabbinate has indeed examined the issue and approved letting women become Kashrut supervisors,” he said, “but it should be emphasized that there is a need to examine each case to avoid problems of modesty,” Rabbi Arussi said.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/zomet-institute-chief-time-to-appoint-women-kashrut-supervisors/2015/12/20/

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