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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘health’

Guess What? High Cholesterol Helps Elderly Live Longer

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

A new Israeli study suggests that people in their 80s should throw away the low cholesterol diet and go for the French Fries and steak.

Researchers at the Belinson Medical Center in Petach Tikvah, located adjacent to Tel Aviv, tested 500 elderly patients over a period five years and reported that those with higher cholesterol live longer. The average age of the patients was 82.

Dr. Abraham Weiss, deputy director of the Department of Geriatrics, said that cholesterol, long thought to be risk to good health and a contributing cause to heart disease and brain damage, is actually good for people once they reach the Golden Age.

The Maariv newspaper reported the researchers’ conclusions Thursday and pointed out that the patients were not given any drugs to reduce cholesterol during the study.

Every person is different, but Dr. Weiss estimates that the surprising findings indicate that cholesterol has a reverse effect for the elderly and actually helps soften the arteries.

He warned that the study should not be accepted as conclusive but that doctors should think twice before assuming that it is advisable to give the elderly drugs that lower cholesterol.

Those under the age of 80 should continue to keep their cholesterol levels low.

February is American Heart Month in the United States, and the U.S.-based Home Access Health Corporation advised this week, “We all know people who have suffered a heart attack or stroke unexpectedly; that’s why it’s important for people to manage their cholesterol levels as part of an overall approach to good health.”

But once you get to the 80s, you might be able to healthily go back to eating chicken liver, b utter, whipped cream and lots of puddings.

RCA Statement on Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

In the years since the Rabbinical Council of America’s first comment about JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality), “the only Jewish based organization dedicated to assisting individuals with unwanted same sex attractions move from gay to straight” in January, 2004, in which we suggested that rabbis might refer congregants to them for reparative therapy, many concerns about JONAH and reparative therapy have been raised.

As rabbis trained in Jewish law and values, we base our religious positions regarding medical matters on the best research and advice of experts and scholars in those areas, along with concern for the religious, emotional, and physical welfare of those impacted by our decisions. Our responsibility is to apply halakhic (Jewish legal) values to those opinions.

Based on consultation with a wide range of mental health experts and therapists who informed us of the lack of scientifically rigorous studies that support the effectiveness of therapies to change sexual orientation, a review of literature written by experts and major medical and mental health organizations, and based upon reports of the negative and, at times, deleterious consequences to clients of some of the interventions endorsed by JONAH, the Rabbinical Council of America decided in 2011, as part of an overall statement on the Jewish attitude towards homosexuality, to withdraw its original letter referencing JONAH. Despite numerous attempts by the RCA to have mention of that original letter removed from the JONAH website, our calls, letters, and emails remain unanswered. As Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, president of the RCA, stated in 2011, “We want it taken down. JONAH said it was a letter of support, but if you read the letter it is not. They took an informational statement and reprinted it, and the use of that as an endorsement is an error.”

We believe that properly trained mental health professionals who abide by the values and ethics of their professions can and do make a difference in the lives of their patients and clients. The RCA believes that responsible therapists, in partnership with amenable clients, should be able to work on whatever issues those clients voluntarily bring to their session. Allegations made against JONAH lead us to question whether JONAH meets those standards.

Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, Chancellor of Yeshiva University and author of the 1974 Encyclopedia Judaica Year Book article, “Judaism and the Modern Attitude to Homosexuality,” the first contemporary article to address the issue from the perspective of Jewish law and philosophy, had originally commended the work of JONAH. In response to the negative reports about JONAH’s activities and concerns expressed to him by respected mental health professionals, Dr. Lamm withdrew his endorsement of JONAH.

About the RCA:

The Rabbinical Council of America, with national headquarters in New York City, is a professional organization serving more than 1000 Orthodox Rabbis in the United States of America, Canada, Israel, and around the world. Membership is comprised of duly ordained Orthodox Rabbis who serve in positions of the congregational rabbinate, Jewish education, chaplaincies, and other allied fields of Jewish communal work

For further information about this statement, you may contact:

Rabbi Mark Dratch Executive Vice President

Rabbi Shmuel Goldin
President

Please, America, Learn from Egypt’s Experience: Avoid Socialism

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

If America opens its borders without restrictions, more than half the world’s population will come here. It is America’s capitalist system that is still a dream come true to many who are happy to leave their stagnant, dysfunctional economies, burdened with both class envy and the redistribution by government bureaucrats of hard-earned money. Many immigrants risked their lives to trade their substandard, government-run health insurance for life in America, where hard work is rewarded with a better standard of living for most of its people than anywhere ever before.

Immigrants in America today are faced with a dilemma: they are being told that they must deny their appreciation of the capitalist system that brought them here in the first place. Their children are taught to reject their parents’ experience of hard work to get ahead and regard their parents as victims of discrimination and abuse. They are rewarded for complaining and for rejecting free enterprise, self-reliance, assimilation and all the American values that made this country the envy of the world. They are told to look at the half empty glass and are encouraged to throw out their freedoms for food stamps. They are told to hate white people, and those who do not are shamed as traitors to their race.

Today in America, every national origin and race is encouraged to find a minority group to belong to. We are encouraged to get into a system of tribalism that turns us into factions with an “us against them” mentality, something we have suffered from in the Middle East.

In Egypt, we suffered under socialism and the government’s empty promises of equality through seizing wealth from the rich to give to the poor. We ended up with terrible unintended consequences; the rich did get poorer but the poor also got poorer: nobody won. The culture of envy and punishing the rich never brought equality or improved conditions for the poor. The great thing about America is that the poor do not have to stay poor and the rich can lose their wealth if they invest it unwisely. What immigrants see is the high rate of mobility between classes.

Americans are left uninformed by their media on how the rest of the world lives. Try watching “House Hunters International,” where Americans can see for themselves that homes and apartments around the world are both unaffordable to the general public and often unlivable by American standards.

A wonderful, hard working Hispanic family, after years in which the mother worked as a cleaning lady and the father a construction worker, saw all their children graduated from college without ever paying a cent for their education, and now all with wonderful jobs. The children of that family are now are speaking of discrimination, how California was part of Mexico and how it is only fair to redistribute wealth. This was the lesson they learned in college.

It should take just one visit to the Middle East to understand what America is all about. Every American teenager should get a chance to travel and live in a third world country. Some countries might provide government health insurance, but health insurance is a piece of paper; it does not mean good health care. Many countries that provide government health care have high unemployment, terrible shortages of food and apartments and lack many other luxuries Americans take for granted. In America today, politicians are moving in the same direction, possibly deliberately, for votes: high unemployment, less home ownership and more government interference in our lives from cradle to grave.

America is heading towards a society similar to where we immigrants came from, where the government turns into the keeper of a human zoo where we all live in cages waiting for government to throw food at us every day. But even the government will not be able to sustain the zoo expenses. The U.S. government is on its way to becoming the nightmare totalitarian system from which we immigrants tried to escape.

Left on their own, immigrants are grateful to work hard and enjoy the American system, but soon after we are here, we are told by the popular culture that we are victims, must act like ones and we must not accept what America can offer. America wanted more from us when it came time to vote. We are told that the system is rigged and that “whites”, who welcomed us in the millions for centuries, are bigoted and racists. Many immigrants go along with the anti-American propaganda for the sake of approval and benefits. Immigrants are now told to hold on to their old culture, religion, traditional clothes, customs, language, and even some of the brutal, archaic laws and customs that many of us came here to escape from in the first place. The media and “conventional wisdom” now tell us that America is no better than the oppressive systems from which we fled.

I Am a Loser Today

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

First we must admit we lost the war with Hamas.

It will allow us to begin healing from our wounds. For until we make the admission that we are on the losing side in the war and remain in a state of denial about it, no recovery is possible. We are thankful to be alive, of course, there is that to be grateful for – we can write letters like these and feel some satisfaction in the small pleasures of daily life, but we lost the war, yes, we did.

If we all make the admission simultaneously it will be an even stronger spur to our recovery, for we will be able to move on and examine our options. But until we as a nation, say it out loud, we’re trapped in fear, despair and disappointment.

We lost the war with Hamas. Please, don’t be afraid to say it out loudly and clearly. Say it to yourself. Say it to your family and friends. Say it at work and in the streets. Let’s own our defeat and see how it feels before condemning it as defeatist or negative. I think it will do us a world of good, actually. Today, this Thursday morning, this week of Parshat Vayetze, we were defeated by Hamas.

We’re alive, unapologetic and eager to find the positive in the situation, but we are defeated. We lost the war with Hamas this week, you know. It hurts a lot. We were sure it was going to be a resounding win, a victory and a new beginning for Israeli citizens everywhere but especially in the south. Unfortunately, we lost the war with Hamas.

They won, you see, because they have two advantages over us, superior tactics and a superior strategy. I’m not writing an analysis; that’s for the historians and the war-college professors to do. I’m merely stating what needs to be said out loud for our health’s sake, today. We lost the war with Hamas.

I cry for us, for those who survive unscathed and for those who mourn their losses, all our collective losses. Their children are our children, their parents, our parents. We are all living in Sderot, we are all about five seconds from a devastating trauma – we all have the scars this morning from the war with Hamas which we lost.

We are a noble people, for the most part. God knows we seek no one any great harm, and rarely dream, as a nation, of committing genocide, rapine or plunder. But we must, for our health’s sake, admit that we are locked in a deathly embrace with Hamas who have beaten us this week, who have reduced us to the role of the vanquished, to the point where we were forced to sue for peace on their terms, on any terms. We need to internalize the simple fact that Islamists have forced us to settle, not for peace on any terms, but with a lull, a not-even-truce. They have graciously, as the victors, agreed to allow us a short respite, for as long as it takes them to rearm, regroup and reposition for the next battle in the war we have lost.

I am not ashamed to say I am an Israeli Jew, I am a loser today in the war with Hamas.

I’m ashamed of the men and women we voted into political power, whose duty it is to protect us, let us not sully our lips with their names, they know who they are. I will look for more savage politicians to vote into power next time, lesser practitioners of the reasonable arts – with frothier spittle and madder eyes.

I am ashamed for us, I’m crying for us. We seem to have lost our vision and our insight. We are lost in broad daylight, blinded by the truth and crippled by common sense.

Because it’s true, I admit it. We lost the war with Hamas.

Join with me, friends and family. Let us make the admission with contrition in our our hearts and all the earnestness at our command; We lost the war with Hamas.

Goodbye Dairy: Hello Tofutti!

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Tofu.

For most of us, the word conjures up images of a spongy white unpalatable mass that is best left on the shelf of our local health food emporium.

But for New Jersey resident David Mintz, tofu is a magical substance that holds endless possibilities, particularly for the kosher consumer. For over thirty two years, Mintz’s Tofutti Brands has waved its magic wand, transforming soybean curd into numerous non-dairy delights, most notably, Tofutti, a non-dairy ice cream substitute available nationwide – and in thirty foreign countries.

There is no doubt that Mintz comes by his obsession for feeding people honestly. The son of a Williamsburg baker, he began his career in the food business in the mid 1960′s with a Catskills grocery store, quickly discovering that the real money was in selling prepared foods. He augmented his own recipe base by recruiting help from experienced cooks, by placing an ad in a local publication asking grandmothers to share their cooking secrets with him. Eventually, Mintz relocated to Brooklyn, opening two restaurants there, with a third on Manhattan’s East Side, in addition to a thriving catering business. While customer’s enjoyed Mintz’s menu, he was besieged with requests from those who wanted ice cream for dessert.

“Obviously I couldn’t serve ice cream after a meat based meal,” recalled Mintz. “I lost a lot of business that way. I even had people who would ask me to supply the food for an event and then they would bring in their own ice cream for dessert, but I couldn’t go along with that. I wondered what I could do to solve this problem and that was what spurred me on.”

Having read about tofu, which had long been used in China, Mintz ventured to Chinatown in order to conduct his own trials with the chameleon-like soybean curd. At first taste, tofu left a lot to be desired.

“It tasted like biting into a pillow,” reminisced Mintz.

Undaunted, Mintz began to experiment, discovering early on that while tofu made an impressive non-dairy sour cream substitute and incorporated it into numerous recipes, including quiches and dips. But turning tofu into ice cream was a much more difficult process, ultimately it took Mintz ten years.

“I would close my restaurant at nine and then would begin ‘Tofu Time’, when the ladies would work with me till two, three or even four in the morning, trying to create a passable ice cream product,” said Mintz. “There were so many disappointments and I can’t even begin to count how many times I nearly gave up.”

In fact, it was the Lubavticher Rebbe who provided Mintz with continuous encouragement during his ten-year odyssey.

“The whole block where my Manhattan restaurant was located was bought by Donald Trump in order to make way for Trump Plaza,” explained Mintz. “I kept asking for extensions, but they were razing the entire area and I had to leave. Rabbi Shlomo Riskin from the Upper West Side came into my restaurant and offered to help me out at a new location on 72nd and Broadway. I made all the arrangements and then I went to see the Rebbe for a bracha.”

The Rebbe categorically refused to give his blessing to the new restaurant.

B’shum oyfen nisht, (Absolutely not),” declared the Rebbe.

“Why not,” queried Mintz. “It is a golden opportunity.”

“It is not for you,” responded the Rebbe.

Instead, the Rebbe encouraged Mintz to continue with his tofu experiments, assuring him divine assistance and ultimately worldwide success.

“The Rebbe was my driving force,” recalled Mintz. “He told me I could do the impossible and he urged me to have bitachon, to believe that Hashem would help me. There were many times I was ready to throw in the towel and then I would remember the Rebbe’s words. The next day, I would pick the towel up again and get back to work.”

Mintz’s earliest test runs, at the Welsh Farms plant in Long Valley, New Jersey, were nothing short of disastrous, as the Tofutti prototypes were too viscous for the ice cream machines and literally blew out of the presses, spraying geysers of the ice cream substitute all over the ceiling.

Chief Rabbi: Stop Ingesting Pesticides to Avoid Bugs

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

Israel’s Sephardi Chief Rabbi, Rav Shlomo Moshe Amar, is stepping up his campaign against ‘bug-free’ vegetables.

He previously called on the public, in an elaborated ruling, to use leafy vegetables that hadn’t been treated with pesticides and to thoroughly clean them at home “like in the good old days.” Now, the Rabbinate has made public its intention to make the criteria even tougher, and in extraordinary cases even to remove kashrut certification from stores marketing vegetables with high level of pesticides

A letter issued by the Kashrut department of the Chief Rabbinate, describes “serious incidences where some of the supervised, ‘bug-free,’ leafy vegetable growers are using higher levels of pesticides than allowed or alternatively using forms of pesticides that are forbidden by Health Ministry standards because they are harmful to human health.”

“The national Kashrut division has been asked to instruct officials providing kashrut certification to these producers to issue certificates only to companies supervised by the Israeli health ministry on a regular basis – either directly by health ministry laboratories or by laboratories approved by the ministry,” the Rabbinate’s letter continued.

The letter stated emphatically: “Let it be clear to all food services and producers whose kashrut is certified by the local rabbinate, not to purchase, under any circumstances, produce that is not supervised, since it is impossible to check it in the public sector. As of now, there is no change in the instructions that obligate you to use health ministry-supervised produce exclusively.”

A Chief Rabbinate spokesman said that “companies which will not comply with these standards will be disqualified by the issuers of Kashrut certificates, and we will even publicize it, so that it won’t be permissible to use their products in places that are supervised by the local rabbinate.”

In a long, detailed, halachic ruling issued last week, Rav Amar wrote that it is preferable to use vegetables that were not grown by the bug-free method (using the dangerous pesticides) and to clean them at home. According to Rav Amar, the processes used to prevent infestation cause many health risks.

Rav Amar is adamant on correcting the popular misconception among Orthodox Jews that it is impossible to clean vegetables from insects, and that they, therefore, must be purged using special ‘bug-free’ methods which actually cause a lot of health hazards.

Rav Amar further argues that it is inconceivable that the population that wants to be more cautious about kashrut issues should spend more money for produce that is hazardous to their health.

According to Rav Amar’s halachic ruling, “there is no justification that people who are careful regarding the prohibition of eating worms and insects pay good money for it, and that even poor people are driven to reduce their children’s food intake, thinking they are being spared from halachic prohibitions, only to be victims of bigger threats than those halachic prohibitions.”

Mayor Bloomberg Gives Restoration Update

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg said ion Monday that an  estimated 115,000 New Yorkers are still without electrical service, down from 145,000 yesterday. The lack of electrical service is affecting the health and safety of those living in those areas, particularly during the current cold snap which is expected to continue for much of the week.

Staten Island, The Rockaways, and South Brooklyn were hard hit, and many of the those affected live in public housing.

The next storm expected on Wednesday could bring more flooding, but not on the scale of Sandy, but it does make the restoration and cleanup more difficult and urgent; and dealing with immediate human needs is top priority.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/mayor-bloomberg-gives-restoration-update/2012/11/06/

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