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July 30, 2016 / 24 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘study’

Study: German Extreme Left also Extremely Anti-Semitic

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

An online survey of 36,000 people conducted by the Free University Berlin (FU) suggests that anti-Semitic attitudes among the German far-left are more widespread than has been generally believed, Die Welt reported.

34% of individuals identified by the study as belonging to the “extreme left” agreed with the statement that Jews had “too much influence” in Germany.

Among the “radical left,” — which, unlike the “extreme left,” supports democracy and the German constitution, 16% agreed with the statement.

Altogether, 10% of Germans surveyed agreed Jews had “too much influence” in Germany.

The Freie Universität Berlin, often abbreviated as FU Berlin or just FU, is one of the most prominent universities in Germany.

Individuals identified by the survey as being on the extreme left and radical left made up 17 percent of respondents.

A high proportion of the far left agreed with the anti-Semitic stereotype that Jews are “greedy.” 34% of the extreme left, and 13% of the left agreed with the statement, while across the entire political spectrum only 8% did.

The researchers, Monika Deutz-Schroeder and Klaus Schroeder, also examined the use of violence by the far left, concluding that while the far left does not represent an immediate threat to German democracy, its propensity to violence is probably going to increase.

14% of respondents on the extreme left consider politically motivated violence to be justified, compared with only 7% across German society.

Schroeder complained to Die Welt that the extreme left’s connections to many politically motivated acts of violence are not reported. For example, according to the official report, 600 violent crimes each year are carried out by leftists who are not identified as “extremists.” But Schroeder argued that, by definition, “anyone who tries to create political change through violence is an extremist. Period.”

David Israel

New Harvard Study Debunks Racist Cop Narrative

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

A timely new study just released by a Harvard economics professor concludes that while blacks are more likely than whites to be confronted by police, there is no evidence that blacks are more likely to be shot by police officers. In some instances, blacks are actually less likely to be shot.

These results fly in the face of the contentions of groups like Black Lives Matter and some government officials that African-Americans tend to be singled out for lethal treatment by law enforcement personnel – contentions that have helped fuel the violent reactions to recent fatal shootings of blacks by police.

The author of the study, Rolando G. Fryer, Jr., an African-American economics professor, looked at more than 1,300 police shootings in Texas, Florida, and California between 2000 and 2015. He described the findings as “the most surprising result of my career.”

The study does not address individual instances of police bias and excess, but it does make a compelling case that the problem needs to be approached more realistically and with greater nuance and precision.

Editorial Board

If You Will Labor In Torah Study

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

“If you will follow My decrees and observe My commandments and perform them…” – Vayikra 26:2

 

The Torah lays out two divergent destinies for the Jewish people: “If you will go in the ways of my statuesI will give you rainfall in its time, the land will give forth with abundance, the trees of the field will produce fruityou will eat until you are satisfied…. There will be peace in land…”

However, “If you do not guard my statutes you will suffer diseases and famine…you will plant and not harvest…your enemies will chase you the skies will turn to iron…wild animals will attack…[and finally] an avenging sword will come into the land.”

Rashi explains that the pivotal point of these two paths is if you will labor in Torah. If you will labor in Torah, then you as a nation will find great success. Your enemies will fear you, and you will rise ever higher. If, however, you cease to labor in Torah study, then curses will befall you. In short, our success or failure as a nation hinges upon this one activity.

However, as Rashi also points out, this concept of laboring in Torah study is not found in the pasuk. The words are “If you will go in the ways of my statutes.” Nowhere does it specify what this refers to. Rashi explains that it cannot refer to keeping the mitzvahs because that is specifically mentioned at the end of the pasuk. So by process of elimination, he reasons that this must be referring to laboring in Torah study.

This Rashi is difficult to understand. There seems to be no indication of the concept in the pasuk. Granted, learning Torah is very significant, and we may know from other sources that laboring in Torah study is central to serving Hashem, but there doesn’t seem to be any indication here that this statement is speaking about laboring in Torah study. How does Rashi know that this statement of “If you will go in the ways of my statutes,” refers to laboring in Torah study as opposed to any other mitzvah?

The Inner Workings of the Human

The answer to this question stems from understanding the inner nature of man. Chovos Ha’Levavos (Sha’ar Avodas Elokim) explains that Hashem created man from two very distinct elements. Part of man is pure intellect and wisdom. This part of the person only wishes to do that which is noble and proper. It desires to be generous and giving. It needs to do that which is good and right. This part deeply hungers to experience Hashem. Chazal call this segment the nefesh ha’sichili – the pure soul.

However, there is another component of the human personality that is pure instinct and desire. That part of the individual doesn’t care about anything but fulfilling its needs and wants. It is comprised of base appetites and inclinations. This is referred to as the nefesh ha’bahami – the animal soul.

When Hashem created man, He took these two diverse segments and mixed them together, creating a new synthesis called man. Man has two competing sides to him, each one crying out to fulfill it needs, each one demanding its fill. These two elements are in competition for dominance of the person. Much like a muscle that grows stronger with use and atrophies with disuse, each side is constantly being strengthened or weakened. If a person gives in to his animal instincts, those instincts become stronger and more dominant. If a person listens to his spiritual soul, it becomes stronger, gaining primacy over his personality. The human is in constant flux, with one side or the other always growing, always gaining supremacy and control over the person.

Man was put on this planet to grow. By resisting the pull of the animal soul and allowing the pure soul to flourish, man elevates himself and reaches the state of perfection of which he is capable. On the other hand, if he gives in to the cries of the animal soul, he elevates it, allowing it to take control of him. His appetites become stronger and dominate him until they effectively rule over him. He becomes more animal than man.

The Ultimate Guide for Human Perfection

The Torah, which is the ultimate guide for human perfection, warns us against certain activities that give an unusual advantage to the nefesh ha’bahami. These are the sins as outlined in the Torah. We are cautioned to avoid certain foods, and we are warned against certain activities because they give an unfair edge to the animal soul.

However, any activity a person engages in strengthens one side or the other. When a person eats, sleeps, works, or goes about all of his daily activities, these physical actions strengthen the nefesh ha’bahami. In a sense, there is an unfair lead given to the animal soul. All day long it is in its element, and by being utilized, it is thereby strengthened.

To bring balance to the equation, Hashem gave us specific mitzvos to nourish the nefesh ha’sichili. The single greatest nutrient of the neshamah is learning Torah. When a person learns Torah, his neshamah is strengthened and invigorated. It becomes fortified and then takes the lead in the battle against the nefesh ha’bahami. However, without it, the neshamah doesn’t stand a fighting chance because the animal soul is so much more in its element in this world.

This seems to be the answer to Rashi. Since the expression “If you will go in the ways of my statutes” is the pivotal point of the Jewish people’s destiny, it must be referring to that element that is the key to the equation: laboring in Torah study.

There is a great lesson for us in this concept. The Jewish nation is never stagnant. We are either going up toward great heights or down to the lowest abyss. The single greatest nourishment for the soul of the individual, and therefore for the soul of the nation, is laboring in Torah study. If we engage in it, support it, and actively pursue it, we will flourish as a people and enjoy unparalleled success. But if not….

 

To view Rabbi Shafier’s parsha videos, click here.

Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier

Haifa U Study: Educators Should Watch for High-Functioning Autistic Children with Handwriting Difficulties

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

The handwriting performance of children with high-functioning autism differs from that of children without autism. Accordingly, the education system should consider the types and formats of tasks given to these children when they are integrated in regular schools. This conclusion emerges from a new study undertaken at the University of Haifa. “The typical process of handwriting performance among children with high-functioning autism is unique, but while the education system addresses reading skills, it pays almost no attention to handwriting skills,” explains Prof. Sara Rosenblum, the author of the study.

Children with high-functioning autism experience difficulties in the social, sensory, and movement fields, but differ from other children on the autism spectrum in terms of their linguistic and cognitive development. Among other differences, these children are usually integrated in regular schools where they are required to perform routine activities such as reading and writing. Writing tasks play an important part in academic progress: writing-related activities account for 30-60 percent of daily activity time in schools. Despite this, the education system places a strong emphasis on reading, whereas skills development, monitoring, and assistance in handwriting performance are much less frequent. There is also a lack of teacher training in this important area.

The present study is unique and the first of its kind in the world. The study was undertaken as part of the thesis prepared by Hemda Amit Ben Simhon of the Neuro-developmental Center at Maccabi HMO, supervised by Prof. Rosenblum, and in consultation with Dr. Eynat Gal, an autism specialist, both from the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Haifa. The study included 60 children aged 9-12 from the 3rd through 6th grades at various schools. Half the subjects were children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder with IQs above 80, while the other half were children with normal development. The children were asked to complete three writing tasks: writing the first name and family name; copying a paragraph; and writing a story describing a picture that was shown to them.

The writing tasks were completed using a special system developed by Prof. Rosenblum that provides objective, computerized data relating not only to the rhythm and speed of handwriting, but also to the degree of pressure applied on the page by the writer, the length of time the pen is in the air, the degree of slant of the pen during handwriting, and so on.

The study findings show that in 91.5 percent of the instances the objective indicators provided by the computerized system enabled the identification of children with high-functioning autism as distinct from children with normal development. In other words, the handwriting performances of the two groups showed statistically significant differences. The children with high-functioning autism produced taller and broader letters; waiting times on paper and in the air were longer; and the degree of slant of the pen was smaller.

It also emerged that the differences between the children with high-functioning autism and those with normal development were particularly prominent in the copying task, and less so in the free writing task. The text copying task required significantly more time. The researchers suggest that the need to invest a long period of time in the handwriting task may exacerbate fatigue, impair concentration, and even hamper the ability to produce handwritten content. This investment in the handwriting task may come at the expense of availability for other academic tasks the children receive, as well as their availability for social challenges in the classroom. “When a child has difficulty writing, they effectively have to cope with this difficulty over many hours a day, making it harder for them to cope with the additional challenges they face (social, cognitive, and functional). For example, if a child has to stay behind in recess to copy text from the board, they will have less time to practice social skills,” the researchers explained.

JNi.Media

Study Shows Many UK Muslims Hold Extremist, Anti-Semitic Views

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

{Originally posted to the IPT website}

The former head of Britain’s Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), Trevor Phillips, argued that Muslims are establishing “nations within nations” in the West and admitted that he “got almost everything wrong” about immigration, in a column for the Sunday Times.

Phillips analyzed the findings of the most comprehensive study on Muslim attitudes in the United Kingdom (U.K.), which will serve as the foundation for a documentary commissioned by Britain’s Channel 4 entitled “What British Muslims Really Think.”

Many Muslims maintain significantly different values from the rest of society and prefer to live in separation, Phillips claimed.

The Channel 4 program is based off an ICM poll. It finds that more than 20 percent of British Muslims believe the country should be governed by sharia law, while close to 40 percent of Muslims – both male and female – believe a woman should always be obedient to her husband. About a third of Muslims respondents say it is okay for a man to have more than one wife, while more than half want homosexuality outlawed.

Moreover, two-thirds of British Muslims surveyed would not inform the police if they believed that someone they know became involved with terrorists. The findings also show that more than 100,000 Muslims in Britain sympathize with terrorists and suicide bombers.

The poll also revealed that British Muslims were more likely to have anti-Semitic beliefs than other British citizens. Over a third of Muslims in Britain believed that “Jews have too much power in the U.K.” and dominated the media and financial institutions. More than 25 percent questioned believe Jews are responsible for most of the world’s ongoing wars and 27 percent reported that people “hate” Jews because of their behavior.In 1997, Phillips commissioned a report about Muslims in Britain which introduced and popularized the ‘Islamophobia’ label that is now synonymous with any criticism of Islam or Muslims. He now admits that report failed to predict many individuals within Muslim communities hold radical views and do not seek to integrate into British society.

“It’s not as though we couldn’t have seen this coming. But we’ve repeatedly failed to spot the warning signs,” Phillips wrote in the Times.

In a Daily Mail article, Phillips describes a “life-and-death struggle for the soul of British Islam,” arguing that extremists have infiltrated in some Muslim communities and drowned out moderate Muslim voices.

“Indeed, a significant minority of Britain’s three million Muslims consider us a nation of such low morals that they would rather live more separately from their non-Muslim countrymen, preferably under sharia law,” Phillips says.

Phillips also warned of Islamist hardliners taking over UK schools and imposing a radical agenda, as evidenced by the ‘Trojan Horse’ case in Birmingham. These developments led Phillips to call for more robust measures and strict monitoring to mitigate the emergence of “ghetto villages,” or ethno-religious enclaves that remain separate from the remainder of society.

Radical sentiments among Britain’s Muslim community reflect research from across Europe that suggests Muslim attitudes are becoming more extreme, particularly among younger generations.

IPT-Investigative Project on Terrorism

‘Israeli Air Force is Best in the World’

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Israel ranks at the top of the list in a new study published in Business Insider, listing the 15 strongest military forces in the Middle East. Analysts who conducted the study, however, also ranked Israel’s air force Number One in comparison with other air force worldwide.

“The balance of power in the Middle East is in disarray,” stated the article, which saw more than 720,000 hits on the publication’s website in less than 24 hours.

“Every country in the region is building up its own military.”

Israel’s $15 billion defense budget, 176,500 active front line personnel with 3,870 tanks and 680 aircraft placed the Jewish State at the top of the list.

Turkey’s military force was listed in second place.

Military analysts noted that both Jewish and Druze citizens are drafted to serve in the IDF, and that Israel has defended itself against “a diverse range of enemies” since 1948.

“A close defense relationship with the U.S. and an energetic domestic defense industry give Israel a qualitative edge over all of the region’s other militaries,” Business Insider commented.

A major scoring point was the quality of Israel’s air force, which the publication emphasized has incredibly high entry and training standards.

“Pilot to pilot, airframe to airframe, the Israeli air force is the best in the world,” said Chris Harmer, senior naval analyst at the Institute for the Study of War and an analyst in the study.

“Israel also has one of the region’s most battle-ready armies, a force that has fought in four major engagements since 2006 and has experience securing a few of the most problematic borders on earth.

“Israel’s military has also never attempted a coup or ruled the country directly, unlike several others on this list,” analysts wrote.

Hana Levi Julian

Common Blood Pressure Drug Prevents Post-TBI Epilepsy

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Israeli researchers working with an international team have discovered that a common blood pressure medication can prevent epilepsy from developing after a traumatic brain injury.

The discovery is described in an article published in the current issue of the Annals of Neurology.

Physiology and Neurobiology Professor Alon Friedman works at the Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in southern Israel. He worked with Daniela Kaufer, UC Berkeley Associate Professor of Integrative Biology at the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute and Uwe Heinemann of Charite-University Medicine in Germany on the 10-year study.

In 60 percent of the experimental rats tested, the medication – losartan (Cozaar) – prevented the development of seizures following injury in which 100 percent of controls developed seizures. Of the 40 percent that did develop seizures, the researchers said the rats averaged only one quarter of the number of seizures typical for untreated subjects.

Medication administered for three weeks following injury was sufficient to prevent most cases of epilepsy in normal subjects in the subsequent months, the researchers said.

“This is the first-ever approach in which epilepsy development is stopped,” Friedman explained, “as opposed to common drugs that try to prevent seizures once epilepsy develops… so we are excited about the new approach.”

The researcher added that the study provided a new way to potentially prevent epilepsy in patients after brain injuries occurred, and once they had already developed an abnormal blood-brain barrier. The best news, he said, is that the drug stops the epilepsy from starting, rather than simply suppresses the symptoms.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/common-blood-pressure-drug-prevents-post-tbi-epilepsy/2014/04/23/

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