web analytics
December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘health’

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.

Debt Ridden NY Times Squeezing Writers, Golden Parachuting CEOs

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Is it time to say kaddish for the New York Times?

Investors in the paper may already be doing so.  The last time they received a dividend was in late 2008.

The NYT, considered by many to be the global paper of record, has incurred more than $300 million in net losses since 2005, and its advertising revenues have been declining for five consecutive years.

In fact, the paper’s own financial report made headlines when its third quarter revenues were so much worse than expected that the value of its shares plummeted 22 percent, its biggest one-day drop in at least thirty years.  Investors were warned to expect dismal news for the next quarter, as well.

But while the newspaper industry as a whole has been in a funk for years – with Internet news, blogs, and other ’round the clock news sources available—many for free—there are elements of the NYT‘s precarious financial position that make it unique.

The most significant is the stench of hypocrisy hovering over the differences in the way the NYT handles its executives versus its writers.

Remember how the New York Times lionized the anti-capitalist Occupy Wall Street vigilantes?  What a shock to learn about the barrels-full of money it has thrown at even departing bigwigs, while keeping its proletariat writers at stagnated pay levels, and, in the words of its own union leaders, trying repeatedly to “decimate their health plan.”

For nearly two years, the daily writers at the New York Times (whose union members are represented by the Newspaper Guild of New York), have been working without a contract. Those approximately 1100 workers have repeatedly been met with what they have described as “draconian” efforts to force not only pay cuts and alterations to their health and pension plans, but also forced, unpaid, increases in their work week.

In fact, less than two weeks ago, on Oct. 8, approximately 400 NYT reporters staged a brief walkout because the sides were so far apart and the writers felt increasingly under siege.  In a video interview during that walkout, a member of the union talks about the paper’s hypocrisy.  In a July editorial, the Times attacked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for his anti-union activity, saying:

“Labor, so long in decline in the private sector, is also losing its clout in states and cities, unable to match or withstand the unfettered bank accounts of industry. The people who kept Mr. Walker and his policies in power are just getting started.”

And yet, the NYT writers have been stonewalled for nearly two years, with management doing its best during that time to wring out still more concessions from them.

At the same time that the Times has been refusing to increase salaries or benefits by even a minimal amount, it has been throwing multiple millions of dollars at its top executives, past and future, this year alone.

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. is the great-grandson of the founder and owner of the New York Times Co.  He is the Chairman of the board of the NYT and its publisher.  Sulzberger appointed Janet Robinson CEO of the paper in 2004. Robinson had spent nearly twenty years rising through the ranks on the business side of the paper, and was long viewed as a quiet complement to her boss.

Although the NYT is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange, it is, essentially, a family-owned business, and in addition to rapidly declining corporate financial health, alleged competition from family members in executive positions led to Robinson’s abrupt ouster in December, 2011.

And while the NYT allowed the door to hit her backside on her way out, the bundle of dough they threw after Robinson must have made for a somewhat softer landing.  Her severance package amounted to nearly $24 million — more than the company earned in the previous four years.

But that’s not all the paper has given away to bigwigs in the last year.  The new CEO, Mark Thompson, is about to slide into place in early November, with his path greased by a total pay package of $10.5 million.  That package includes a signing bonus worth as much as $4.5 million.

Thompson’s new annual salary is an increase from what he made at his last position, as the director general of the British Broadcasting Corp.  His role in that position was to cut jobs and save money through office and plant consolidation.  That reputation isn’t likely to make him a hit with staff writers.

The NYT  announced this week, just days before Thompson is set to come on board, that it has reached a tentative agreement with the Newspaper Guild.  Nothing, it has been repeatedly stressed, is yet set in stone, let alone laid out on paper, concerning this agreement.  Nevertheless, the Guild’s president Bill O’Meara, wrote that “the agreement preserves the workers’ pensions, protects medical benefits and boosts compensation.”

Interesting that an agreement — no matter how tentative — would have been entered into before the new CEO arrives.  Given Thompson’s past experience, it is hard to imagine he was hired to do more than continue his practice of slashing costs.  The union probably should have gotten the terms in writing before agreeing to allow the issuance of a press release announcing the deal.

So Robinson and Thompson get millions of dollars. Robinson was paid to get out, while Thompson will be paid to make the lowly writers miserable enough to get out.

And this, from an October, 2011 NYT editorial rhapsodizing over the Occupy Wall Street mission:

Income gains at the top would not be as worrisome as they are if the middle class and the poor were also gaining. But working-age households saw their real income decline in the first decade of this century. The recession and its aftermath have only accelerated the decline.

Research shows that such extreme inequality correlates to a host of ills, including lower levels of educational attainment, poorer health and less public investment. It also skews political power, because policy almost invariably reflects the views of upper-income Americans versus those of lower-income Americans.

Tell that to the union. And perhaps the members will say kaddish.

Prime Minister’s Health Report

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

As he does every year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informs the public on the state of his health.

The Government Press Office reported that the Prime Minister underwent routine annual tests (a physical test and lab tests), and his personal physician, Dr. Zvi Herman Berkowitz, has determined that his medical situation is excellent.

Prime Minister Netanyahu maintains a healthy lifestyle, including a proper diet. His blood pressure is 120/80, assisted by light medication. (This is unchanged from previous years.) He has recovered from a torn tendon in his leg; it has been recommended that he continue physiotherapy and gradually return to exercising in a gym.

Will Your Grandma Be a Victim of Financial Abuse

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Have you ever met the kind of guy that would sell his own grandmother down the river?

Since more and more elderly people are being swindled and financially abused every day, it’s crucial to learn how to protect your grandmother and other seniors you care about.

Why are the elderly so susceptible to financial abuse? After all, chances are that they worked for many long years and have achieved the wisdom of experience. While they were young and fit, they surely had the opportunities to protect themselves, so what makes them vulnerable now?

Three reasons the elderly get scammed

1. Generally, as individuals grow older they tend to become more isolated from others. Perhaps their spouse has passed away and their children don’t live close by. The loneliness and isolation that this creates can make a person more vulnerable and open to parting with money… if it leads to companionship. For example, if Grandma is suddenly bombarded with invitations to free lunches and seminars, she may at first go simply for the company rather than any real interest in the subject of the event. She may find herself “befriended” by the organizers and convinced to invest in a dubious scheme because her defenses are down now that these people have been so “nice” to her.

2. Modern technology. An elderly person who has little experience with computers and knows only how to send or reply to an email may easily fall prey to scams such as fake charitable appeals asking for a credit card number in order to make a donation, a bank password for depositing some unexpected funds that don’t really exist into his account, and so forth.

3. The worst threat of all: seemingly concerned relatives and caregivers who have their own hidden agenda. One of my clients recently told me that she had to fire her elderly father’s home healthcare worker because he had almost managed to get the old man, an Alzheimer’s sufferer, to write him into his will. The caregiver was caught just in time. And then there are the unscrupulous relatives who have been given power of attorney for a relative and they gradually whittle away all their resources until there is nothing left at all.

Sadly many of these offenses go unreported because the victims may be too embarrassed to admit that they made such a big mistake, or no one is monitoring the situation.

If you’re caring for an elderly parent or grandparent, keep an eye on what’s going on, both with their physical health and fiscal health. If you have power of attorney over their bank account, review it periodically and investigate suspicious activity. Find out what’s happening if unexpectedly large sums are disappearing. Observe all caregivers, and do strict background checks on any much younger new “loves” or prospective new spouses who suddenly appear.

Protect Grandma and other seniors in your life from becoming victims of fraud by educating yourself about how to be vigilant against scams and implementing  tips against elder fraud. After all, a broken hip may be easier to fix than a broken bank account.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/goldstein-on-gelt/will-your-grandma-be-a-victim-of-financial-abuse/2012/10/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: