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October 1, 2016 / 28 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘heart’

The Rabbi Who Knew the REAL Reasons for Arik Sharon’s Change in Heart

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

The death of the Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Rabbi She’ar-Yashuv Cohen, brings to mind the most stirring episodes of the history of the modern state of Israel.

Rav She’ar-Yashuv Cohen, wounded in the battle for the Old City in Jerusalem, was the last Jewish civilian who left the Old City as it fell, carried on a stretcher into captivity…And Rav She’ar-Yashuv Cohen, who served as the deputy Mayor of Jerusalem in 1967, was given the honor of being the first civilian allowed to enter the Old City in Jerusalem at the time of its liberation during the six day war.

Yet there is yet another mission to Jerusalem which went little reported.

In August, 2005, Rabbi She’ar-Yashuv Cohen traveled to Jerusalem to make a last minute plea with Arik Sharon to reconsider his plan to retreat from Gush Katif, which involved Israel’s obliteration of the 21 Jewish communities , including 325 thriving Jewish farms and 86 synagogues and Jewish study centers. Rav She’ar-Yashuv Cohen told me at the time that the chemistry remained between him and Arik Sharon had lasted since his days of captivity after the 1948 war and that Rav She’ar-Yashuv was the only Rabbi whom was ready to speak with him at the time.

Sharon gave a clear answer to Rabbi Cohen: “This is what the US is demanding that I do and I must do it.”

It does not matter that half of the 9,000 Jews who live in Gush Katif had nowhere to go, and that their relocation plans still left up in the air.

It did not matter that the Israeli government cannot offer more than two containers to each family to help them remove their possessions.

It did not seem to matter that the experts in Israel’s security establishment are warning that the result of Israel’s hasty retreat will be the creation of a new Islamic terror base.

Rav She’ar-Yashuv Cohen heard Sharon making it clear that he was under pressure from the US government and that is that, and that the myth of an autonomous Israeli policy in this regard had nothing to do with reality.

Indeed, one of the common assumptions was that the Sharon government’s plan to expel Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria, and unilaterally hand the area over to an independent Palestinian entity, had been an entirely autonomous Israeli decision.

US government was behind it all along.

In meetings with concerned American citizens, Danny Ayalon, Israeli ambassador to the US at the time, clearly stated that Sharon’s Retreat Plan was part of an overall Israeli-American agreement.

In late June, 2005, Ayalon met with representatives of the Orthodox Union, one of the largest contingents of American Orthodox Jews, and told them clearly that “Prime Minister Sharon is left with no choice. He is doing exactly what the US expects him to do.”

In an interview with the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, published on June 22nd, 2005, Ayalon reversed earlier Israeli government statements, saying that Israel does not expect the Palestinian Authority (PA) to dismantle terrorist infrastructure until after the planned expulsion. He mentioned that ending terrorism and anti-Israel incitement had been conditions Israel had demanded from the PA before carrying out the plan; however, Ayalon indicated that the agreement with the US was more important than an agreement with the PA.

The Israeli ambassador said, “Disengagement has to be viewed in the context of Israel-United States relations…. This pullout did not follow an agreement with the Palestinians, but it followed something which is much more important, an agreement with the United States. Disengagement is something that creates a common agenda between us and the United States.”

In the final interview given by Benyamin Netanyahu before his resignation from the Sharon government, to the Jerusalem Post on August 5th, 2005, he indicated that the current policy pursued by the government of Israel should be perceived as a threat to the security interests of the US and of all Western countries, since it created a terror base in Gaza, and since the Palestinian Authority incorporated the Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations instead of dismantling them.

Yet, the directive of the US State Department remained undaunted: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had to must dismantle and withdraw any and all Israeli presence from every Jewish community in the Katif district of Gaza by mid-August.

When Israel did go ahead with the retreat of the IDF and the expulsion of the Jewish communities from Katif and the Northern Shomron, Rav She’ar-Yashuv Cohen told me that he wanted to tell the world that this policy was implemented as a the result of this clear US dictate to Arik Sharon issued by the government of the United States. This was not meant as rationalization for Sharon’s policy. Few people want to hear the warnings of Rav She’ar-Yashuv Cohen that Israeli policy is often dictated from Washington.

ariel sharon death

David Bedein

Study of Israeli Jews and Arabs Causing Rethinking of Heart Disease

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

The idea that plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) is protective against coronary heart disease has been part of medical conventional wisdom for five decades. HDL-C has traditionally been considered the most important component of so-called “good cholesterol” HDL. However, drug trials that increased HDL-C have failed to support a causal role for the amount of cholesterol carried in HDL in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.

With advances in the separation of lipoproteins by size and functionality, research has intensified to identify HDL measures that may be better predictors of coronary heart disease than the traditional HDL-C. Recent evidence suggests that small, dense, protein-rich particles in HDL may be more atheroprotective than large, buoyant cholesterol-rich particles.

To explore this further, 274 Arabs and 230 Jews residing in Jerusalem were recruited for a new study by researchers at the Braun School of Public Health in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Medicine. This work, led by Prof. Jeremy Kark of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, was undertaken by Dr. Chobufo Ditah, a physician from Cameroon, as his thesis for the Braun School’s International Masters of Public Health (IMPH) program.

(Dr. Ditah, who received the Faculty of Medicine’s award of excellence for his MSc thesis and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the IMPH program, credits the Pears Foundation of Britain for enabling him to study at the Hebrew University. The IMPH program is made possible by donors who provide full scholarships to students from low-income countries, with the Pears Foundation endowing the largest number of scholarships and underpinning the associated alumni network. Dr. Ditah currently serves as a Medical Referent with the humanitarian NGO Doctors Without Borders, overseeing the implementation, evaluation and reorientation of medical interventions in host countries.)

The researchers used Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to identify the numbers and sizes of plasma HDL particles, and helical CT-scanning to identify calcification in their coronary arteries, reflecting the overall burden of coronary atherosclerosis. With these data in hand, they looked for associations between the concentrations and sizes of different HDL particles, and coronary artery calcification.

Their findings, published in the prestigious journal Atherosclerosis, showed a statistically significant inverse association of both the number of HDL particles (HDL-P) and the concentration of small and medium-sized HDL particles (MS-HDL-P) with coronary artery calcification, after adjusting for age, statin use, smoking, and other factors. There was no association between large HDL-P and coronary artery calcification in either population group. The association with HDL-C was weaker and inconsistent between men and women.

“Our findings indicate that HDL-P and MS-HDL-P are better independent markers of coronary artery disease, as reflected by coronary artery calcification, than HDL-C, at least in this bi-ethnic population of Israelis and Palestinians,” said Dr. Chobufo Ditah.

“With a better understanding of HDL’s complexity and a better ability to measure its components, it is now possible to move past HDL-C to more refined measures that better reflect HDL’s role in coronary heart disease risk. Based on the accumulating evidence, incorporation of MS-HDL-P or HDL-P into the routine prediction of coronary heart disease risk should be considered,” said Prof. Jeremy Kark.

“These findings support previous reports, based on studies in other population groups, suggesting that small dense HDL particles are protectively associated with risk of coronary heart disease. The consistency of this finding in a new population of urban Arabs and Jews, using different disease outcomes and different separation methods, add more strength to those findings,” added Dr. Ditah.

Participants in this research are affiliated with the following institutions: Hebrew University-Hadassah Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine; Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine; Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem; Mankon Sub-Divisional Hospital, Cameroon; LipoScience, Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, USA.

JNi.Media

A Good Heart Above All

Friday, June 10th, 2016

I closed last week’s column on shidduchim with the recommendation that singles be more realistic and learn to move on. Too many singles, I noted, can’t acknowledge the fact that while they desire to get married, they insist on living in the past, clinging to visions that are no longer realistic and refusing to move on.

This concept of moving on regarding shidduchim has a Torah source. The first person in the Torah commissioned to take on the role of a shadchan was Eliezer, the loyal servant of our father Avraham. Eliezer is charged with the mission of finding a shidduch for Yitzchak. Avraham tells him specifically what the qualifications of the bride must be.

Miraculously, Eliezer finds the perfect girl. She not only meets Avraham’s expectations, she exceeds them. Despite all this, when Eliezer proposes the shidduch to Rivkah’s family, he tells them, “Give me a yes or a no so that I may know whether I should move on to the right or to the left” (Genesis: 24:49).

This is a lesson the singles population should take to heart. Yes, we recognize you have a vision of a perfect shidduch, but if it doesn’t work, if it’s not happening, take your cue from Eliezer and move on. Don’t become stagnant.

When my own children were in the shidduch parshah, searching for their soul mates, my saintly father, HaRav HaGaon Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, advised me to be careful never to beseech Hashem for a specific shidduch, no matter how attractive the person seemed.

“No one knows,” my father would say, “who is the ‘right’ one or the ‘wrong’ one. That is strictly in the hands of Hashem.” So whenever my children dated, my father’s berachah was “G-tt zol feeren auf gittens – May G-d guide you to the one who is good.’

Thus, the first requirement in finding “that right one” is heartfelt prayer, especially Minchah – the afternoon service – for it was after davening Minchah that our father Yitzchak met our mother Rivkah.

Over the years, Baruch Hashem, I made shidduchim for people from every walk of life and always kept my father’s words in mind. In our society however, when it comes to making a shidduch, people rely on two big words: “chemistry” and “electricity.” We choose to forget that, even in New York, the world’s most powerful city, a power failure can occur.

As for chemistry, there may come a time when that formula loses its magic and the marriage disintegrates. Painfully, our society idealizes a vacuous, meaningless lifestyle that is of no substance. To illustrate this, I’ll share with you an incident that occurred some years ago at my Hineni Torah class. I have related the story a number of times, but it is as pertinent today as it was yesterday and bears repeating, for the priorities the story illustrates are the foundations for a good marriage and should never be compromised.

A young woman approached me following my class. She was a television personality who was truly beautiful. “I am Jewish”, she announced as she approached me. “Over the years, I have been in many relationships but now I’m ready for marriage and children. I understand you know many quality people, so I thought I would consult you.”

When I challenged her to explain exactly what she meant by “quality,” she enumerated five “musts” on which she was not willing to compromise.

  1. Good looking – “Looks are important,” she explained. “There has to be a certain chemistry.”
  2. Bright – “Someone who is well educated but also has ‘street smarts.’ ”
  3. Wealthy – “He has to support me in the lifestyle to which I have become accustomed. At this stage of my life I can’t go backward.”
  4. A great personality and good sense of humor – “I have no patience for moody people. I like a man who is fun and with whom I can have a good laugh.”
  5. Someone who is athletic – “I love tennis.”

“Good luck to you,” I said. “That would take five different guys all wrapped into one. But more importantly, your ‘big fives’ are a bunch of zeros and do not add up to anything.”

“Why?” she asked.

“Simple – zeros don’t add up to anything unless there is a digit in front of them.”

She looked at me quizzically, so I repeated, “Five zeros without a digit in front of them are what we call in Yiddish ‘Gurnisht mit gurnisht’ – G. M.G., nothing with nothing.”

“I don’t think I’m obtuse, but I still don’t get it. What digit are you referring to, Rebbetzin?”

A Torah digit. The first letter of the Torah is ‘B’ – beit – and the last letter of the Torah is ‘L’ – lamed. Those two letters spell ‘lev’ – heart. If he doesn’t have a good heart, his good looks will become repulsive overnight, his sharp mind and wit will be used to denigrate you, his wealth will control and manipulate you, and his ‘great personality’ will eclipse and suffocate yours. As for tennis, you can always get him a trainer. But how can you train him to acquire a good heart?”

“I never thought about it that way,” she admitted. “So how does one acquire a good heart?”

“Finding a good-hearted person is no simple matter. As much as we would like to believe that basically we are all good people with a few ‘shticks’ here and there, the truth is that we are not so good and we have to learn goodness. As it says in Bereishis, ‘The heart of man is wicked from his youth.’

“We are born seeing only our own needs and must be taught to be sensitive to the concerns of others. This training must start at a tender age. Early on, children must be conditioned to be giving, patient, considerate, and kind. Even simple words like ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ must be taught and are not to be taken for granted – as evidenced by their absence from the vocabulary of so many adults.

“Unfortunately, in many homes these values are never imparted. Often, parents regard inappropriate behavior as ‘cute’ or something their children will outgrow. There are also parents who have no clue as to what constitutes a ‘good heart’; they raise their children without teaching the disciplines that foster goodness. So it is that there are so many obnoxious adults.”

“But can’t you acquire these disciplines later in life?” she asked.

“Of course you can,” I assured her, “but it’s very difficult to unlearn ingrained character traits. And for a spouse to undo them is virtually impossible. No one should marry in the hope of changing the other. The best we can do is change ourselves.”

The one “must” quality on which no one should compromise is finding a soul mate with a good heart; if that’s lacking, the entire package will fall apart.

 

To be continued

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Speaking From The Heart

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Several years ago I was seated with some friends in a Jerusalem café. At a table adjacent to ours was a group of chassidic young men. I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation. Suddenly, I heard one of them utter some inappropriate expletives – language that was better suited to the gutter than to yeshiva students. I felt I couldn’t allow this to pass without saying something.

My friends couldn’t believe I would actually approach them to voice my protest.

“They’ll be resentful,” they warned me.

Disregarding their concern, I went over to the young men’s table and said, “I am very sorry to interrupt you, but I speak from my heart, so please don’t misunderstand my words. I was terribly pained at the thought that the language I heard was voiced here, in Yerushalayim, G-d’s holy city, by, of all people, chassidishe yeshiva students.”

The young man who had dropped these offensive words turned his head away with a smirk on his face.

“Don’t do that,” I said. “I am speaking with love and concern and you respond with disdain. Have you stopped to consider for even a moment what is going on in the world? The dangers that are confronting us? The satanic schemes of our neighbors to wipe us off the map? There is only One who can help us, and you know who that One is – the Ribbonoh Shel Olam. And you are sitting here using such language!”

I continued to speak to them and they sat speechless. By the time I finished, they all apologized and thanked me for reminding them of who they were. When I went back to my table, they stood up respectfully and once again expressed their appreciation.

I am relating this story because we live in a crazy, decadent world. It’s easy for anyone to lose his way, and once the downward spiral commences, the descent is rapid. Downhill is always easy, but it is very difficult to climb back up again. If we catch the problem in time, however, we can change the world and return every lost Jew to his Heavenly Father. It’s all a matter of caring enough to involve yourself – a foreign concept, to be sure, in our self-centered, mind-your-own-business culture.

Some might protest that it’s one thing to reach people in Yerushalayim but quite another to do so in the U.S. I will therefore share another story.

I have spoken over the years at different Pesach programs. One year I was taking a walk on Yom Tov afternoon when I noticed a group of teenagers engrossed in a game of cards. Without giving it a second thought I approached them.

“Sorry to interrupt,” I said, “but it’s Pesach. Yom Tov. Do you think this is the way we should thank Hashem – by playing cards? Please do not think I am trying to be ‘preachy’ or that I am lecturing you. I would never want to do that. I am simply speaking from my heart.”

I went on to tell them many more things.

I know some readers will say such statements surely turned them off, but believe it or not, not only were they not offended, not only were they not turned off – they were turned on. We went on talking for a few more minutes, discussing the shiur I had given that day, and when I left them they thanked me.

That night, in the dining room, a lady came over to our table and introduced herself as the mother of one of those boys. Her son had spoken to her very enthusiastically of our conversation.

“Weren’t you resentful?” she told me she asked her son.

“No,” he responded. “The way the Rebbetzin spoke to us made us realize she was sincere and spoke from her heart.”

Even as she was telling me the story, her son approached and confirmed her words.

So what do we learn from this? If you speak sincerely, with love and from your heart without being judgmental, people will understand and be grateful. It is only when you have a “holier than thou” attitude, and your voice conveys disdain and lack of respect, that people are offended. But when you speak from your heart, it enters another heart.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

My Heart Lives in Israel

Sunday, April 24th, 2016

I was born in Lebanon in 1961, and I grew up in the streets of Beirut. Before the civil war that started in 1975, we played in the streets unsupervised, unaware of the fratricide hatred that was brewing. During the war, I saw Arabs kill Arabs, Muslims kill Muslims, and Christians kill Christians. When the war ended in 1990, a quarter million people had been killed.

We took a country that was thriving and beautiful, and we turned it into ruins. My Lebanon has not yet recovered, 27 years after that war ended.

Next door to Lebanon, I saw a country fending for its life, repelling Arab attack after Arab attack. When they weren’t fighting their attackers, they were building a nation. In only a few decades, they had made the desert bloom, and they were a light unto the nations.

We Arabs chose to fight each other, and we chose to fight the Jews. We chose to make them our enemies rather than our friends, and we chose to destroy rather than to build.

I now live in Canada, a great, beautiful, and successful country, but it will never be truly mine. When I watch events unfolding in the Middle East, my body remains here, but my heart keeps travelling back, and it invariably takes me to Israel.

When Israelis live with daily rocket attacks, my heart is in Israel.

When Israelis are stabbed for the crime of being Jews, my heart is in Israel.

When Israel must fight yet one more war that it never wanted to fight, my heart is in Israel.

When one more terror attack kills Israelis who were going to school, or going to work, or going to pray, my heart is in Israel.

When the world condemns Israel for defending itself but ignores that Arabs have rejected peace again and again and again, my heart is in Israel.

When my Lebanon and other criminal Arab regimes gang up to attempt to erase Jewish history in the eternal Jewish city of Jerusalem, my heart is in Israel.

My heart lives in Israel, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, in an office building in Haifa, or on a bus in the busy streets of Tel Aviv.

As long as Israel must fight for the right to exist, my heart will live in Israel. As long as Israel grows, invents, and thrives despite the bombs and the hatred, my heart will live in Israel. As long as my Lebanon is part of the problem and not part of the solution, my heart will live in Israel.

Fred Maroun

Peres Still Hospitalized After Chest Pains Return

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Former President Shimon Peres remains hospitalized at Tel Hashomer Medical Center after being rushed back Sunday night (Jan. 24) in response to another round of chest pains.

Paramedics dispatched to his home Sunday night found he again was experiencing cardiac arrhythmia.

Dr. Rafi Walden, his personal physician and son-in-law, told Galei Tzahal Army Radio the 92-year-old elder statesman’s heart rate has returned to normal. But it’s not clear when he will be released.

The incident was an echo of a similar experience that took place on January 14, when Peres was taken to the same hospital with chest pains.

During that visit doctors performed an angiogram and discovered a narrowed artery had caused the elder statesman to suffer a mild heart attack.

Within hours Peres underwent cardiac catheterization and then remained for further tests and observation for the next five days.

Hana Levi Julian

Minister Uri Ariel is Home After Heart Procedure in Jerusalem

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Doctors at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center have successfully removed a blood clot from the heart of Agriculture Minister and Bayit Yehudi MK Uri Ariel.

The minister was admitted to the hospital Monday after feeling unwell. He underwent a cardiac catheterization and other tests, which led to the removal of the clot.

Ariel was discharged from the hospital in good condition on Wednesday. He has been ordered to “rest for a while.”

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/minister-uri-ariel-is-home-after-heart-procedure-in-jerusalem/2015/12/02/

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