Increase Your Empathy
In order to empathize with the suffering of others, make mental images. When someone experiences suffering and pain, make a picture in your mind as if it were happening to you. Whatever you would want other people to do for you in such a situation, you should do for others.
This is the way to master the attribute of compassion and sharing the burden of others. Compassion may cause us a bit of pain, but it enables us to alleviate the far greater pain of others. Because when someone sees that you are suffering with him or her, it helps alleviate some of their pain.
Today, think of someone you know who is in great pain. Then ask yourself how such a person would most appreciate your help.
Love Yehuda Lave
The OU took us on memory trip for the love and death of how we formed Israel
Atlit Detainee Camp Zionist hall of heroes
Circumcision benefits outweigh risks, U.S. says
Health officials say medical evidence supports undergoing procedure, despite growing opposition.
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P - U.S. health officials on Tuesday released a draft of long-awaited federal guidelines on circumcision, saying medical evidence supports having the procedure done despite opposition from advocates who decry the pain, bleeding and risk of infections to newborns.
The guidelines stop short of telling parents to get their sons circumcised. That is a personal decision that may involve religious or cultural preferences, said Dr. Jonathan Mermin of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.
But "the scientific evidence is clear that the benefits outweigh the risks," added Mermin, who oversees the agency's programs on HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Circumcision is a brief medical procedure that involves cutting away the foreskin around the tip of the penis. Germs can grow underneath the foreskin, and CDC officials say the procedure can lower a male's risk of sexually transmitted diseases, penile cancer and even urinary tract infections.
The CDC started working on the guidelines about seven years ago, when a cluster of influential studies in Africa indicated circumcision might help stop spread of the AIDS virus.
"The benefits of male circumcision have become more and more clear over the last 10 years," said Dr. Aaron Tobian, a Johns Hopkins University researcher involved in one of the African studies.
The thinking on circumcision has swung wildly. It's been practiced by Jews and Muslims for thousands of years, but didn't become common in the U.S. until the 20th century. By one estimate, only 25 percent of U.S. male newborns were circumcised in 1900.
It gradually became the cultural norm, and in the 1950s and 1960s surpassed 80 percent. But then the trend reversed. Part of it had to do with changing demographics, as the U.S. population grew to include larger numbers of Mexican-Americans and other ethnic groups that didn't traditionally circumcise their children.
Also, opposition to the procedure was aided by the Internet and by the neutral stance of physicians groups. A wave of U.S. state programs stopped paying for newborn circumcisions. By 2010 the newborn circumcision rate was down to about 58 percent, according to one CDC estimate.
But more medical evidence came in supporting the procedure — particularly three rigorous and influential studies in Africa that looked at the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in circumcised and uncircumcised men and their partners.
In the new guidelines, the CDC says there is now strong evidence that male circumcision can:
- Cut a man's risk of getting HIV from an infected female partner by 50 to 60 percent.
- Reduce their risk of genital herpes and certain strains of human papillomavirus by 30 percent or more.
- Lower the odds of urinary tract infections during infancy, and cancer of the penis in adulthood.
Studies have not shown that circumcision will reduce an HIV-infected man's chances of spreading the AIDS virus to women. And research has not found circumcision to be a help in stopping spread of HIV during gay sex.
The guidelines say circumcision is safer for newborns and infants than for older males, noting the complication rate rises from 0.5 percent in newborns to 9 percent in children ages 1 to 9, according to the CDC. Minor bleeding and pain are the most common problems, experts say. For the next 45 days, the CDC will receive public comment before finalizing them next year.
Ambassador Prosor at the UN
by Isi Leibler
I have just read Ambassador Ron Prosor's tour de force address to the United Nations a couple of days ago. It is one of the most exemplary speeches I have ever read. It not only eruditely reiterates the Jewish case but forthrightly exposes the cynicism and double standards of the international community in relation to Israel. It is a speech that is unlikely to persuade our shameless adversaries to change their policies, , but it should give great pride to every Jew.
I am substituting it for my regular column and would urge you to read / listen to it, distribute it and retain it for future reference.
Ambassador Prosor, to my mind, is the best Ambassador Israel has had at the United Nations. It is regrettable that his term is coming to a close.
I stand before the world as a proud representative of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. I stand tall before you knowing that truth and morality are on my side. And yet, I stand here knowing that today in this Assembly, truth will be turned on its head and morality cast aside.
The fact of the matter is that when members of the international community speak about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a fog descends to cloud all logic and moral clarity. The result isn't realpolitik, its surrealpolitik.
The world's unrelenting focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an injustice to tens of millions of victims of tyranny and terrorism in the Middle East. As we speak, Yazidis, Bahai, Kurds, Christians and Muslims are being executed and expelled by radical extremists at a rate of 1,000 people per month.
How many resolutions did you pass last week to address this crisis? And how many special sessions did you call for? The answer is zero. What does this say about international concern for human life? Not much, but it speaks volumes about the hypocrisy of the international community.
I stand before you to speak the truth. Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, less than half a percent are truly free - and they are all citizens of Israel.
Israeli Arabs are some of the most educated Arabs in the world. They are our leading physicians and surgeons, they are elected to our parliament, and they serve as judges on our Supreme Court. Millions of men and women in the Middle East would welcome these opportunities and freedoms.
Nonetheless, nation after nation, will stand at this podium today and criticize Israel – the small island of democracy in a region plagued by tyranny and oppression.
Our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state.
Sixty seven years ago this week, on November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. Simple. The Jews said yes. The Arabs said no. But they didn't just say no. Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon launched a war of annihilation against our newborn state.
This is the historical truth that the Arabs are trying to distort. The Arabs' historic mistake continues to be felt – in lives lost in war, lives lost to terrorism, and lives scarred by the Arab's narrow political interests.
According to the United Nations, about 700,000 Palestinians were displaced in the war initiated by the Arabs themselves. At the same time, some 850,000 Jews were forced to flee from Arab countries.
Why is it, that 67 years later, the displacement of the Jews has been completely forgotten by this institution while the displacement of the Palestinians is the subject of an annual debate?
The difference is that Israel did its utmost to integrate the Jewish refugees into society. The Arabs did just the opposite.
The worst oppression of the Palestinian people takes place in Arab nations. In most of the Arab world, Palestinians are denied citizenship and are aggressively discriminated against. They are barred from owning land and prevented from entering certain professions.
And yet none - not one - of these crimes are mentioned in the resolutions before you.
If you were truly concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people there would be one, just one, resolution to address the thousands of Palestinians killed in Syria. And if you were so truly concerned about the Palestinians there would be at least one resolution to denounce the treatment of Palestinians in Lebanese refugee camps.
But there isn't. The reason is that today's debate is not about speaking for peace or speaking for the Palestinian people – it is about speaking against Israel. It is nothing but a hate and bashing festival against Israel.
The European nations claim to stand for Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité - freedom, equality, and brotherhood – but nothing could be farther from the truth.
I often hear European leaders proclaim that Israel has the right to exist in secure borders. That's very nice. But I have to say – it makes about as much sense as me standing here and proclaiming Sweden's right to exist in secure borders.
When it comes to matters of security, Israel learned the hard way that we cannot rely on others – certainly not Europe.
In 1973, on Yom Kippur – the holiest day on the Jewish calendar - the surrounding Arab nations launched an attack against Israel. In the hours before the war began, Golda Meir, our Prime Minister then, made the difficult decision not to launch a preemptive strike. The Israeli Government understood that if we launched a preemptive strike, we would lose the support of the international community.
As the Arab armies advanced on every front, the situation in Israel grew dire. Our casualty count was growing and we were running dangerously low on weapons and ammunition. In this, our hour of need, President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, agreed to send Galaxy planes loaded with tanks and ammunition to resupply our troops. The only problem was that the Galaxy planes needed to refuel on route to Israel.
The Arab States were closing in and our very existence was threatened – and yet, Europe was not even willing to let the planes refuel. The U.S. stepped in once again and negotiated that the planes be allowed to refuel in the Azores.
The government and people of Israel will never forget that when our very existence was at stake, only one country came to our aid – the United States of America.
Israel is tired of hollow promises from European leaders. The Jewish people have a long memory. We will never ever forget that you failed us in the 1940s. You failed us in 1973. And you are failing us again today.
Every European parliament that voted to prematurely and unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state is giving the Palestinians exactly what they want - statehood without peace. By handing them a state on a silver platter, you are rewarding unilateral actions and taking away any incentive for the Palestinians to negotiate or compromise or renounce violence. You are sending the message that the Palestinian Authority can sit in a government with terrorists and incite violence against Israel without paying any price.
The first E.U. member to officially recognize a Palestinian state was Sweden. One has to wonder why the Swedish Government was so anxious to take this step. When it comes to other conflicts in our region, the Swedish Government calls for direct negotiations between the parties – but for the Palestinians, surprise, surprise, they roll out the red carpet.
State Secretary Söder may think she is here to celebrate her government's so-called historic recognition, when in reality it's nothing more than an historic mistake.
The Swedish Government may host the Nobel Prize ceremony, but there is nothing noble about their cynical political campaign to appease the Arabs in order to get a seat on the Security Council. Nations on the Security Council should have sense, sensitivity, and sensibility. Well, the Swedish Government has shown no sense, no sensitivity and no sensibility. Just nonsense.
Israel learned the hard way that listening to the international community can bring about devastating consequences. In 2005, we unilaterally dismantled every settlement and removed every citizen from the Gaza Strip. Did this bring us any closer to peace? Not at all. It paved the way for Iran to send its terrorist proxies to establish a terror stronghold on our doorstep.
I can assure you that we won't make the same mistake again. When it comes to our security, we cannot and will not rely on others – Israel must be able to defend itself by itself.
The State of Israel is the land of our forefathers – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is the land where Moses led the Jewish people, where David built his palace, where Solomon built the Jewish Temple, and where Isaiah saw a vision of eternal peace.
For thousands of years, Jews have lived continuously in the land of Israel. We endured through the rise and fall of the Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek and Roman Empires. And we endured through thousands of years of persecution, expulsions and crusades. The bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish land is unbreakable.
Nothing can change one simple truth - Israel is our home and Jerusalem is our eternal capital.
At the same time, we recognize that Jerusalem has special meaning for other faiths. Under Israeli sovereignty, all people – and I will repeat that, all people - regardless of religion and nationality can visit the city's holy sites. And we intend to keep it this way. The only ones trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount are Palestinian leaders.
President Abbas is telling his people that Jews are contaminating the Temple Mount. He has called for days of rage and urged Palestinians to prevent Jews from visiting the Temple Mount using (quote) "all means" necessary. These words are as irresponsible as they are unacceptable.
You don't have to be Catholic to visit the Vatican, you don't have to be Jewish to visit the Western Wall, but some Palestinians would like to see the day when only Muslims can visit the Temple Mount.
You, the international community, are lending a hand to extremists and fanatics. You, who preach tolerance and religious freedom, should be ashamed. Israel will never let this happen. We will make sure that the holy places remain open to all people of all faiths for all time.
No one wants peace more than Israel. No one needs to explain the importance of peace to parents who have sent their child to defend our homeland. No one knows the stakes of success or failure better than we Israelis do. The people of Israel have shed too many tears and buried too many sons and daughters.
We are ready for peace, but we are not naïve. Israel's security is paramount. Only a strong and secure Israel can achieve a comprehensive peace.
The past month should make it clear to anyone that Israel has immediate and pressing security needs. In recent weeks, Palestinian terrorists have shot and stabbed our citizens and twice driven their cars into crowds of pedestrians. Just a few days ago, terrorists armed with axes and a gun savagely attacked Jewish worshipers during morning prayers. We have reached the point when Israelis can't even find sanctuary from terrorism in the sanctuary of a synagogue.
These attacks didn't emerge out of a vacuum. They are the results of years of indoctrination and incitement. A Jewish proverb teaches: "The instruments of both death and life are in the power of the tongue."
As a Jew and as an Israeli, I know with utter certainly that when our enemies say they want to attack us, they mean it.
Hamas's genocidal charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews worldwide. For years, Hamas and other terrorist groups have sent suicide bombers into our cities, launched rockets into our towns, and sent terrorists to kidnap and murder our citizens.
And what about the Palestinian Authority? It is leading a systemic campaign of incitement. In schools, children are being taught that 'Palestine' will stretch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. In mosques, religious leaders are spreading vicious libels accusing Jews of destroying Muslim holy sites. In sports stadiums, teams are named after terrorists. And in newspapers, cartoons urge Palestinians to commit terror attacks against Israelis.
Children in most of the world grow up watching cartoons of Mickey Mouse singing and dancing. Palestinian children also grow up watching Mickey Mouse, but on Palestinians national television, a twisted figure dressed as Mickey Mouse dances in an explosive belt and chants "Death to America and death to the Jews."
I challenge you to stand up here today and do something constructive for a change. Publically denounce the violence, denounce the incitement, and denounce the culture of hate.
Most people believe that at its core, the conflict is a battle between Jews and Arabs or Israelis and Palestinians. They are wrong. The battle that we are witnessing is a battle between those who sanctify life and those who celebrate death.
Following the savage attack in a Jerusalem synagogue, celebrations erupted in Palestinian towns and villages. People were dancing in the street and distributing candy. Young men posed with axes, loudspeakers at mosques called out congratulations, and the terrorists were hailed as "martyrs" and "heroes."
This isn't the first time that we saw the Palestinians celebrate the murder of innocent civilians. We saw them rejoice after every terrorist attack on Israeli civilians and they even took to the streets to celebrate the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center right here in New York City.
Imagine the type of state this society would produce. Does the Middle East really need another terror-ocracy? Some members of the international community are aiding and abetting its creation.
As we came into the United Nations, we passed the flags of all 193 member States. If you take the time to count, you will discover that there are 15 flags with a crescent and 25 flags with a cross. And then there is one flag with a Jewish Star of David. Amidst all the nations of the world there is one state – just one small nation state for the Jewish people.
And for some people, that is one too many.
As I stand before you today I am reminded of all the years when Jewish people paid for the world's ignorance and indifference in blood. Those days are no more.
We will never apologize for being a free and independent people in our sovereign state. And we will never apologize for defending ourselves.
To the nations that continue to allow prejudice to prevail over truth, I say "J'accuse."
I accuse you of hypocrisy. I accuse you of duplicity.
I accuse you of lending legitimacy to those who seek to destroy our State.
I accuse you of speaking about Israel's right of self-defense in theory, but denying it in practice.
And I accuse you of demanding concessions from Israel, but asking nothing of the Palestinians.
In the face of these offenses, the verdict is clear. You are not for peace and you are not for the Palestinian people. You are simply against Israel.
Members of the international community have a choice to make.
You can recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, or permit the Palestinian leadership to deny our history without consequence.
You can publically proclaim that the so-called "claim of return" is a non-starter, or you can allow this claim to remain the major obstacle to any peace agreement.
You can work to end Palestinian incitement, or stand by as hatred and extremism take root for generations to come.
You can prematurely recognize a Palestinian state, or you can encourage the Palestinian Authority to break its pact with Hamas and return to direct negotiations.
The choice is yours. You can continue to steer the Palestinians off course or pave the way to real and lasting peace.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Isi Leibler's website can be viewed at www.wordfromjerusalem.com.
He may be contacted at email@example.com
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BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Born 21 October 1949 in Tel Aviv, Israel (formerly British Mandate of Palestine)EHUD BARAK, Born 12 February 1942 in Mishmar HaSharon (formerly British Mandate of Palestine)ARIEL SHARON, Born 26 February 1928 in Kfar Malal (formerly British Mandate ofPalestine)EHUD OLMERT, Born 30 September 1945 in Binyamina-Giv ' at Ada (formerly British Mandate of Palestine)ITZHAK RABIN, Born 1 March 1922 in Jerusalem (formerly British Mandate ofPalestine)ITZHAK NAVON, Israeli President in 1977-1982. Born 9 April 1921 in Jerusalem (formerly British Mandate of Palestine)EZER WEIZMAN, Israeli President in 1993-2000. Born 15 June 1924 in Tel Aviv (formerly British Mandate of Palestine)ARAB "PALESTINIAN" LEADERS:YASSER ARAFAT, Born 24 August 1929 in Cairo, EgyptSAEB EREKAT, Born April 28, 1955, in Jordan.FAISAL ABDEL QADER AL-HUSSEINI, Born in1948 in Bagdad,Iraq.SARI NUSSEIBEH, Born in 1949 in Damascus,Syria .MAHMOUD AL-ZAHAR, Born in 1945, in Cairo,Egypt.So, if I understand this correctly, the Israeli leaders, who were born in Palestine, are considered "Settlers" or more accurately, "Occupiers," while Palestinian Arab leaders who were born in Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq are called "Native Palestinians"?