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August 31, 2016 / 27 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘system’

Israel’s Hospitals Go On Strike to Demand More Resources For Public Health System

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

The Ministries of Health and Finance continue to find themselves at odds with the Israel Medical Association as hospitals went on strike in Israel on Thursday morning, insisting that more resources be allocated to the public health system.

Although employees at all government hospitals and psychiatric facilities will be on strike, hospitals will still run at limited capacity and continue emergency medical treatment. Nevertheless, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman said that the strike itself would not at all contribute towards reaching a solution.

“This strike is unnecessary and without any real reason,” Litzman told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “It has no real goal and will bring little benefit to public health and to the health system.”

The health minister also dismissed complaints from the doctors about a new clause that had been added to the Economic Arrangements Law that would prevent senior doctors from practicing private medicine.

“The main concern of the doctors regarding the restriction of department managers from engaging in private practice does not exist since that legislative clause was removed from the draft of the Arrangements Law,” charged Litzman.

Even without the change to the Economic Arrangements Law, the doctors are still insisting that the 2017-2018 budget proposed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon include an additional several hundred million dollars (NIS 1-2 billion) to be spent towards extra hospital beds, doctors, and manpower.

Finance Ministry officials and representatives of the union for doctors appeared to be on the verge of reaching an agreement on terms at a certain point during negotiations last night. However, Yossi Cohen, director of the Finance Ministry’s salary division, sent an ambiguously worded letter to the doctors that did not include an explicit commitment to agree to the terms in writing, which quelled hopes for an agreement.

A doctor working at Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem spoke with TPS on condition of anonymity about her dissatisfaction with the current allocations in the public health system and with doctors’ salaries in particular.

“Are doctors satisfied with the current numbers? In a word, no,” she told TPS. “We must examine the basic salary as a measure of comparison and not doctors’ combined salaries that include other jobs and being on call. When doing so, the average gross salary of a doctor in Israel drops to only NIS 16,360 (4,292 USD).”

“Doctors believe that a reasonable basic gross salary for a doctor given his education, training, and earning capacity outside the public system should be NIS 30,000 to NIS 40,000 a month before any on-call work, shift work, or any other forms of work,” the doctor explained.

Health Minister Litzman said that his ministry has been engaged in efforts to improve and increase the amount of financial resources invested in the public health system as well as in its doctors in particular.

“The Ministry of Health has intensive contacts with the Ministry of Finance to strengthen the public health system with additional beds, manpower, and other resources,” Litzman told TPS. “This is in correlation with the many other moves we made for the benefit of the patients, doctors, and healthcare system.”

Michael Zeff contributed to this report.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Analysis: At Last, Potential Buyer for Iron Dome System: the Pentagon

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

One of the problems with Iron Dome, the short-distance anti-missile system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Raytheon and battle tested successfully in two Gaza wars was that, despite its stellar reputation and the great interest in it by high profile visitors to international weapons shows, no country so far has actually purchased the system. Israeli newspapers have reported on state visitors who expressed an interest in the system: NATO, South Korea, the US, Azerbijan, and India. But in the end all these interested buyers ended up going for something else.

The reason must be that Iron Dome was tailor-made to fit the bizarre, even grotesque relationship between Israel and Hamas. The system functions as a means of perpetuating an intolerable reality whereby an entity much weaker militarily than its neighbor nevertheless deigns to shoot hundreds, even thousands of rockets into its neighbor’s civilian centers without fear of annihilation. The Iron Dome does nothing to discourage the firing of rockets, it only works to keep the casualties to a minimum. Where else on the planet would such a relationship exist between two bordering countries?

But now, Defense News reports, the Pentagon wants to purchase a modified version of the Iron Dome’s Tamir interceptors for the US Army, to defend against a variety of threats, including rockets, artillery, mortars, and even cruise missiles and UAVs.

According to Defense News, the Israeli-designed Tamir interceptor has already been adapted for launch from a US Multi-Missile Launcher (MML), and last April, at the Army’s missile range in New Mexico, the MML-launched Tamir scored its first intercept on US soil against a target drone.

It turns out that the Iron Dome, too, much like most US military aid package components, is generating mostly American jobs, as half of the funds for the development program are already going to Raytheon, which operates many facilities in the US.

Yosi Druker, head of Rafael’s Air Superiority Systems division told Defense News that the Tamir would be modified to meet US standards, and would be produced entirely in the US. It would be “100 percent Raytheon,” he said, adding, “The minute that the US decides to procure Iron Dome, we will transfer all the knowledge and production file to Raytheon.”

Mind you, that purchase is yet to be made, and, judging by the Iron Dome’s track record so far, the deal could still go south. Still, Druker is hoping the low cost and excellent performance record of the Iron Dome should give it an advantage over the competition. “It’s clear that according to price and capability and maturity of the system, Iron Dome has advantages,” he said.

But John Patterson, a public relations director for Raytheon Missile Systems who spoke to Defense News, declined to comment on the chances of the system to sell to the Pentagon, and only stated that Raytheon has “an excellent working relationship with Rafael.”

Incidentally, if no other state in the world envisions a situation where they would be facing an absurd battle theater such as the one Israel has faced with Hamas since 2006, could it be that Israel is doing something wrong?

JNi.Media

Is the Central Banking System on the Verge of Another Crash?

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Why do investors need to know about the central banking system? Have the banks learned anything from the 2008 market crash? Neil Irwin, The New York Times economic correspondent and author of ‘The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire,’ discusses whether the economy is on the verge of another crash, the impact of having banks that are considered “too big to fail”, and how the central banking system affects the decisions of individual investors.
When planning your investments or for retirement, you don’t only need to look at the central banking system, but also at the circumstances in your own life, such as your age. Doug gives focused investment advice on how to plan for retirement when you are in your 30s, 40s, and 50s. Find out how your age affects your risk level, what kind of expenses you may have, and the best kinds of investments for you, depending on your age.

The Goldstein On Gelt Show is a financial podcast. Click on the player below to listen. For show notes and contact details of the guest, go to www.GoldsteinOnGelt.com

 

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Fizzing SodaStream Stock Bubbles Over Homemade Beer System

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

SodaStream, which claims it is the leading global manufacturer and distributor of Sparkling Water Makers, has announced the release of its new home beer system, the Beer Bar. If you own SodaStream stock, you’ll probably want to ride them for a while: SodaStream International Ltd. SODA, -0.43% shares surged 10.1% after the release of the home brewing system. SodaStream shares are down 7.9% for the past year, but up 19.7% for the year to date. The S&P 500 is up 2.7% for the year so far. So if you wait it looks like it’ll be soaring from this point on.

The brand concept is about making quality home-crafted beer using sparkling water and a unique beer concentrate brewed to perfection. They unveiled Beer Bar with a light beer they call Blondie, with “a smooth authentic taste, and a hop filled aroma.” The Beer Bar enables consumers to concoct crafted beer in seconds by adding Blondie concentrate to Sparkling Water. Blondie contains 4.5% alcohol by volume, which the manufacturer says is the average level found in most global beer brands. A one liter Blondie bottle yields approximately three liters of beer.

And that is a reason for concern, according to Men’s Journal, which called the SodaStream release “Today’s Beer Atrocity.” They argue that “SodaStream didn’t consider is the science of bubbles in beer. Since the concentrate comes uncarbonated, once you open the bottle of Blondie, there’s no CO2 to push away oxygen that will spoil the brew — assuming you don’t make all three liters of the diluted beer at once. A growler (beer bottle) of ale or lager that’s been opened only tastes fresh for up to a week, and that’s with the benefit of carbonation. So once you open the Blondie, you better drink it fast.”

Daniel Birnbaum, Chief Executive Officer of SodaStream, who brought the company up from $20 million to $500 million annually in a few short years, is not bothered by the critics. “We are excited to launch a brand dedicated to serving the global growing trend of home crafted beer,” he says. “Our core carbonation technology and distribution infrastructure provide a great platform for us to extend our business into this emerging category, and we choose to do so with a dedicated beer brand.”

We still think you shouldn’t let it stand in the fridge once you opened it, because in a few days you might find it had gone flat.

JNi.Media

The Torah’s System Of Self-Perfection

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

“A cow or a sheep, it and its child, do not slaughter on one day.– Vayikra 22:28

 

In one of the many commandments that teach us how to deal with animals, the Torah commands us not to kill a mother and its offspring on one day.

The Sefer HaChinuch explains that one of the rationales behind the mitzvah is “to train ourselves in the trait of mercy, and to distance ourselves from the trait of cruelty. Even though we are permitted to slaughter animals to eat, we must do so in a merciful manner. Killing both the mother and the child in the same day is merciless and will train us in brutality. Therefore, the Torah forbids it.”

This Sefer HaChinuch is difficult to understand. If the Torah is concerned about the good of the animal and its suffering, then the logical thing to do would be to forbid slaughtering it. If, on the other hand, the Torah is concerned about man and the damage such actions will have on him, then slaughtering another living creature to consume its flesh is about as barbaric an act as one could imagine.

Surely the act of killing the animal should be forbidden altogether. Yet the Torah allows you to kill animals for any productive reason: whether for their hides, their meat, or any other use. Not only that, you may slaughter as many of them as you like. You may butcher a thousand cows in one day to make shoes to bring to the market – this won’t lead you to cruelty – but make sure that none of these animals are related. If two of those cows are mother and child, it is barbaric – don’t do it!

This mitzvah seems very difficult to understand.

The answer lies in our understanding how our middos are shaped.

In many places the Sefer HaChinuch stresses that a person’s actions mold his very personality. If he acts with kindness and compassion, these traits become part of his inner nature. He will then feel other people’s pain, and it will become difficult for him to ignore their pleas for help. He will become a kind, compassionate person. The opposite is true as well. If a person acts with cruelty, this trait will become part of him. It will be more difficult for him to care about another person’s plight. He will have a difficult time being sensitive to the suffering of others. He will have adopted callousness into his inner essence.

According to this logic, it would follow that Dovid HaMelech should have been one of the cruelest men in history. He was known as a mighty, merciless warrior. He killed a mountain lion with his bare hands. He won the rights to marry Shaul’s daughter by killing and disfiguring 200 Philistim and bringing back their body parts to the king. When Avshalom waged war against him, Chushi advised, “Do not think of ambushing him [Dovid] at night, for everyone knows that he fights like a bear.” And Dovid said about himself, “I will seek out my enemy and have no mercy upon them.”

Yet we know that Dovid one of the kindest, most compassionate men who ever lived. Tehillim is not the expression of a cruel man. It is a manifestation of his pure devotion to Hashem, the outpourings of a heart that is pure, kindly and full of compassion. How is it possible that going to war didn’t ruin him?

Perfecting One’s Middos

The Orchas Tzaddikim in his introduction explains that perfecting one’s middos is comparable to a chef preparing a meal. The right ingredients, in the right proportions, prepared in the right manner, will yield a delicious dish. However, all three have to be correct. If, for example, instead of sautéing the onions for 10 minutes, you leave them on the flame for an hour, or if instead of a teaspoon of salt you add a cup, the food will be inedible. It is the quality of the ingredients, in the proper amounts, prepared correctly, that determines the final product.

Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier

Aliyah and the Gifted Child

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

As an education writer for the nonprofit organization, Kars4Kids, and as someone who made Aliyah from Pittsburgh 34 years ago, I decided to write about the challenges of Aliyah from western countries with school age children. See the previous piece in this series, Aliyah and the Special Needs Educator. Today I interview Rachel Moore of Neve Daniel.

Varda: Tell me about yourself, Rachel.

Rachel Moore

Rachel Moore

Rachel: I am 41 years old, expecting my 8th child. I have been working in PR and communications for the past 17 years in government and the non-profit world. I blog, sing, and study Torah whenever I can grab an opportunity.

Varda: When did you make Aliyah? How many children did you bring with you and what were their ages?

Rachel: I made Aliyah in 1995 at 22. However, I left again in 2000 and spent 12 years back in the U.S. for personal reasons, and only moved back in July of 2012.

My second time settling here was truly Aliyah for my children, who at the time were 12, 11, 11, 9, 7 and 4.

My eldest is my stepson, 19, who is a sophomore at Rutgers University in the U.S. He did not move here with us. My other 6 children are now 13, 12 year-old twins, 10, 8 and 5, and I am due with another one – today, actually[Rachel had her baby that evening, a little boy! V.E.].

Varda: Tell me about your children. What are their difficulties?

Rachel: We have at least two children who have been classified as “gifted” outside of Israel, and meeting their needs is a challenge, and also requires learning the system. In addition, I have one daughter who I suspect as having ADHD, but she hasn’t been classified – yet.

Varda: Where do they go to school?

The newest addition to the Moore family.

The newest addition to the Moore family.

Rachel: My 13 year-old daughter attends Orot Etzion girls’ school. My 12 year-old twin boys attend Horev High School (7th grade), my 10 year-old son attends Carmei Yehuda, Mamad Hativa Bogeret boys’ school in Alon Shvut, my 8 year-old daughter attends Shirat Chanan, Mamad Hativa Tzeira in Alon Shvut, and my 5 year-old attends the Mechina of Orot Etzion in Neve Daniel.

Varda: Do your children receive additional help outside of school?

Rachel: My daughter with [suspected] ADHD sees a therapist (in English) outside of school that specializes in children with this disability. My 10 year-old son is now enrolled in a gifted pull-out program in Efrat once a week called Afikim [Eligibility is determined by both written and oral tests and only 1.5% of students are accepted], and is in mitzuyanut [gifted class]within school. We had to get him special permission to take the test to qualify for Afikim at the beginning of 5th grade, because the test is usually given in 2nd grade.

We believe that our 2nd grader would have qualified [as gifted] the year we moved here, but we didn’t know she had the option to take the test in English or with translation help. No one had explained this to us, so she took it with the rest of the class. We may still pursue an appeal so that she can retake the test, but it will probably be an uphill battle.

Varda: What out-of-pocket expenses do you have in educating your children and what is covered by the state?

Varda Meyers Epstein

Does It Bother You when your Kid Comes Home Feeling like Junk?

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

The talk of the town is how direct Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein was when talking at the Agudah convention about the effect our educational system is having on our children. For a long time now, I’ve been having an issue with trying to recognize where the Torah/Truth is in the way we live as frum Yidden.

If an outsider first learned the Torah and then did a study on how observant Jews live their lives, he/she would have many questions. There are numerous things that we do that not only don’t fit with Torah values but they are anti Torah values. We have systems set in place that make most of us live beyond our means. We are fiercely protecting an educational system that goes against everything we actually believe in. We put a huge amount of unneeded pressure on ourselves that literally dictates how we live our lives.

What is sad is that we all know it, we all think about it and it bothers us all. What is sadder is that it is a BIG deal when a Rabbi gets up and actually expresses what we are all thinking. What a strange thing, a phenomenon, that there exists a society that puts so much value on being truthful and emesdik, but at the same time has this vested interest in not only not expressing or talking about an entire educational system that is flawed at its roots, but even protecting it and making our own children suffer through it. It becomes this huge deal when Rabbi Wallerstein actually says something about it. We have to question our sanity and values around this.

What are we protecting? What are we so scared of? Who are we nervous about not impressing?

Let me ask you a question. You don’t need to raise your hand, but raise your hand if you really deep down knew what Rabbi Wallerstein was talking about. Raise your hand if these issues have been bothering you all along. Raise your hand if you are worried about your own children’s love for Torah and Yiddishkeit. Raise your hand if you think that our educational system is not giving you any fuzzy comfortable feeling that they will help your children stay on the derech. Raise your hand if you feel like you make your children do things that are absolutely ridiculous in the name of being part of our educational system. Raise your hand if this is not the system you would come up with if you were asked to develop a system from scratch. Raise your hand if you feel bad sending your children off to school. Raise your hand if you hate seeing how much homework your kids come home with and how many tests they have.

How would you do if you had a job that went from early in the morning to late in the afternoon or night and then came home only to continue working for a few more hours, knowing all along that you really won’t be paid anything extra for the work you’re doing? How long can you keep that up for? How long would we be able to keep up a real love for Yiddishkeit and learning when all it means is memorizing material long enough to regurgitate it on a piece of paper in the form of a test? We know every one of our children is different. How much does it bother you that they are all judged only by the grades they get no matter how hard or how little they try (depending on their IQ or memory).

How much does it bother you when your kid comes home feeling like junk and overwhelmed every day? Does it hurt to see your kid growing up with practically no time to actually be a kid? How natural is it for our kids to be sitting at desks for hours and hours on end learning? How well would you do with that? How many of the school rules do you really agree with in terms of tznius way beyond the letter of the law? From the way the parents dress, we know the answer to that. And I’m not talking about parents dressing un-tzniusdik. I’m talking about the parents who are dressed tzniusdik – but of course the day they left school they changed the way they dress to what was tznius and comfortable and something they actually felt good in and made sense to them.

Bezalel Perlman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/does-it-bother-you-when-your-kid-comes-home-feeling-like-junk/2013/11/20/

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