Breaking News: as of tomorrow Exercise, Sports Restrictions to be Lifted After Independence Day and Have a meaningful Yom Yom Ha'atzmaut under unnecessary (see my blog 2 days ago) under Quarantine and What if People Rise Up Against Coronavirus Lock-downs? Israel Has a Plan and The central theme of Kaddish is magnification and sanctification of G-d's name and Israel's Population Reaches 9.2 Million as It Prepares to Celebrate 72 Years and Social Distancing hurts many!
Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column
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Breaking news-Exercise, Sports Restrictions to be Lifted After Independence Day
Good news for Israelis: restrictions on movement will be lifted after Yom Ha'Atzma'ut (Israeli Independence Day) for those who are exercising or involved in sports activities.
Effective Thursday morning, Israelis will be able to move more than 500 meters (about a third of a mile) from their homes when they're engaging in sports activities or exercise.
Organized sports are also to be allowed on condition the "two meter" distance between participants will be observed, as will other hygiene rules.
Cabinet ministers voted this weekend to lift the restrictions immediately but reached a compromise with Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov to delay the effective date until after Yom Ha'Atzma'ut.
Social Distancing hurts many!
Social Distancing is Painful for many!
Not everybody is happy with our new Social Distancing policies
One of my readers sent me her thoughts:
I can think another interpretation for social distancing since I think it has been forced upon us by forces of evil, if you will, is more like "it is not good for man to be alone" idea from Bereshit (Genesis) when God creates Chaya (Eve) as a partner for Adam. I think a lot of people are instinctively feeling this is so true.
Some doctors are even saying that social isolation will make people especially many elderly sicker! Older people thrive from social interaction and stimulation in ways that screen time does not permit.
Being there face to face is just different than face through the screen to face. Touch. Hugs. So much that is lost in a world of social distance and screens. Older people need exercise and sunlight and fresh air which are things that work better when done with other people, even one other person.
Older people have usually accumulated many losses in their lives and the social isolation practices hurt the immune system and do not strengthen it making the older person more susceptible to infection!
Individuals will exercise their bodies, minds, and spirits when with someone else or in groups. Same for eating patterns. Of course, being trapped in some social isolation situation with another or people who don't get along has potential for positive ends but it will take more work. I admit that one.
But still, it probably can be done if people can decide it is necessary to work together since they need to deal with reality. Those truly by themselves really run higher risks in the end. We don't know how long these virus regulations are going to last, do we?
In the recent world before social distancing society was disintegrating as so many people were wanting connection but finding it difficult to really find and establish in a world of alienating technology and societal demands.
We were being programmed for alienation and this awful virus situation may have a benefit of revealing it for what it is a taste of new world tyranny and more alienation. If we can turn this around through common purpose and effort with prayer and reliance upon The One True G-d maybe we can avoid the dark predictions of the birth pangs of the Moshiach period and be redeemed.
Although it seems impossible for Jewish unity at this time, perhaps with G-d's help it will be for with G-d all things are possible.
This year on the Hebrew calendar is 5780 which might mean the twelve tribes, five plus seven is twelve, are entering 8 a world to come of some sort, and the zero may be a symbol of space for how we fill it. The coming year in 5781 might mean that God Who is One will enter actively in the picture. The one is on the right meaning God is Good and that his "Hand" the five, his "left hand" will work to accomplish 7, holy rest, and 8, the world to come.
The secular calendar goes from the war of 2020 which is a balance of forces in the material world between freedom and tyranny, in the spiritual world between good and evil, and a looking back as in hindsight evaluation and lead to 2021 where again God represented by the 1 is on the right claiming victory over the opposing forces in this world.
The two twos add up to four. Four refers to Pesach where the number four is symbolic of so many things. Twenty times two
is forty which is also meaningful for Jews. Think forty years of wandering in the desert, for example. Two minus two is zero which leaves one which is God the beginning and the end. Two divided by two is one which indicates the unity of the Jewish People or of the world with the One God. On that day He shall be one and His Name shall be One. Just impromptu thoughts.
These were my friends' thought's, they are born out by what Doctors are telling us:
How Social Distancing May Hurt People With Chronic Pain
Our society is in the midst of an unprecedented global public health crisis. As social distancing laws become increasingly more stringent, and government-mandated quarantine becomes our "new normal," the next few months will, undoubtedly, take a toll on all of us—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
With that in mind, there is a specific group of the population that is under-represented in the midst of this pandemic—the 100 million Americans (try to figure out how many in the rest of the world to which this applies) who suffer from debilitating chronic pain. While vastly underappreciated, it's not a medical problem that's going away anytime soon. According to Consumer Reports, prescriptions for pain medication have climbed 300 percent in the past decade.
According to the CDC, chronic pain is the number-one cause of long-term disability in the United States. A very common problem especially seen in older adults, it's often associated with other issues, such as depression, insomnia, social isolation, and poor quality of life. In the age of COVID-19 and social distancing, these individuals are at an even higher risk for getting sick, since the CDC also reports that anyone with "serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19."
So, what does this mean for those diagnosed with chronic pain—an already self-isolating condition that doesn't necessarily impact the lungs, but can still have an adverse effect on overall well-being and lead to a compromised immune system?
Here's what we know for sure. A recent study, "The Impact of Social Isolation on Pain Interference," published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, shows just how devastating loneliness and social distancing can be to individuals diagnosed with chronic pain. The research indicated that "patients with higher social isolation scores reported significantly higher levels of pain interference and significantly lower levels of physical function."
Which means now, more than ever, is a critical time for people struggling with chronic pain on a daily basis.
With an uncertain future ahead of us, it's crucial for anyone—whether they struggle with migraines, arthritis, fibromyalgia, or any type of pain—that they double-down on health practices and refrain from letting social isolation worsen their condition.
Children don't understand social distancing:
A Helping Hand
Friday afternoon, 5-year-old Moishie Sherman came in while his parents were setting the table for Shabbos Dinner. Quite surprisingly, Moishie asked if he could help. His mother said, "No, but I appreciate your asking."
Little Moishie responded, "Well, I appreciate you saying no."
Ideas, that help explain how the world works
Under the new way of live, even the world's oldest profession has changed. Now the ladies of the evenings charge to hold their hand, since men are so desperate to have physical contact. Like in previous life where the price was higher without a condom, without the glove costs more.
Israel's Population Reaches 9.2 Million as It Prepares to Celebrate 72 Years
Majority of the country is Jewish, according to official figures, and 21 percent is Arab
Israel s population on the eve of its 72nd Independence Day now numbers 9.19 million, according to figures published Sunday by the Central Bureau of Statistics. .
The figure is made up of 6.806 million Jews (74 percent of the population) and 1.93 million Arabs (21 percent) and 454,000 people (5 percent) defined as "other."
The Arab population, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, consists of Circassians, Christian Arabs (including Armenians) and Druze. It does not include the Palestinians in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip or East Jerusalem who are not citizens or residents of Israel. However, it does include Jews who live in the West Bank settlements. "Others," according to the statistics bureau, include non-Arab Christians, members of other religions and people for whom no religion is listed, usually immigrants from the former Soviet Union who are not registered as Jews.
Israel saw a population increase since last Independence Day of 171,000, or 1.9 percent. During this time 180,000 babies were born, 32,000 people came to live in Israel and 44,000 people died.
The figures do not include citizens of other countries living in Israel, among them asylum seekers.
When Israel was founded, there were 806,000 people in the country. Since the state's establishment 3.3 million immigrants have arrived. In 2030, Israel's population is expected to reach 11.1 million, and in 2040, 13.2 million. On Israel's 100th Independence Day in 2048, the population is predicted to reach 15.2 million.
Israel's population is young. About 28 percent are children 14 and younger, and about 12 percent are 65 and older. By comparison, in other countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, on average approximately 18 percent of the population are children under the age of 15, and about 17 percent are adults over the age of 65. In Israel, there are nearly 950,000 children up to age 4, and some 50,000 people are age 90 or older.
The data also reveal that 45 percent of the Jewish population in the world lives in Israel, and about 78 percent of the Jews in Israel were born here.
What if People Rise Up Against Coronavirus Lockdowns? Israel Has a Plan
In a document obtained by Haaretz, Israel's National Security Council charts a course of action if coronavirus restrictions lead to civil unrest. They even propose a toast
A National Security Council committee handling the coronavirus pandemic has debated the possibility of a popular revolt over growing economic, psychological, and health problems.
In a document obtained by Haaretz, the panel describes a list of possible triggers for unrest against law enforcement, and methods to confront such unrest.
Representatives from the NSC and the military participated in the discussion held two weeks ago that resulted in the document, as well as a group of 30 figures from academic, defense, law enforcement, and government circles.
The document they produced lays out two scenarios, a "popular revolt" or "large-scale civil unrest," and "a sense of distress that could lead to public resentment or anger."
The first scenario "bears the potential to inflict long-range damage to democracy and Israeli society," according to the document. As for the second option, it states that distress and anger alone "won't cause sweeping social effects, at least in the near term."
The document lays out a list of possible causes for a revolt, based on research conducted by the military's Home Front Command in March, including an online survey. In this poll, 88 percent of respondents said the coronavirus crisis had affected their lives to a great extent or a very great extent. Seventy-five percent said they leave their homes only if they must, while 19 percent said they don't leave their homes at all.
Other potential triggers for unrest include a sense that authorities have lost control, a loss of confidence in the political system and a loss of trust in those issuing orders on behalf of the authorities. The authors also give great weight to economic hardship as a central factor, especially people's inability to pay rent, mortgages, and bills, or to buy food – as well as fears, justified or not, of a food shortage.
They also cite a possible trend toward focusing on a "scapegoat" for the crisis, such as the ultra-Orthodox, Arabs or foreigners; a feeling within a specific population group that they've been neglected by the authorities, such as those in protected housing; a drop in personal security; and the potential for groups or individuals to take law into their own hands.
For all these reasons, the document says, the public could act out against state institutions in a way that could put "democracy and Israeli society" at a long-term risk.
"The entirety of living routines such as work, leisure, [and] social life, have been broken off at once for the vast majority of the public," the document says.
It further states that the fact that "the end of the period of uncertainty is unknown, and the public is exposed to assessments ranging from a few weeks to many months to come" may affect the degree to which the public adheres to instructions and the law.
The document acknowledges how at the first stage of the closure, "consideration of the population's comfort was sidestepped due to a need to curb the outbreak." Now, it says, "with the extension of time spent in social isolation, attention and resources must be drawn to handle the public's distress." It cautions that unless resources are budgeted for citizens' welfare, they may reach a point of popular revolt or uproar.
'Less ammunition, greater compassion'
Also included by the authors is a list of possible solutions for moving toward a resumption of routine life as a way to confront the threat of revolt. Among the proposals is a call to recruit thousands of young people from a cross-section of the population to work at hospitals in jobs that don't require any complex training or to the police's volunteer Civil Guard for "community safety" work, such as visiting the elderly on a daily basis, conducting nightly patrols, distributing food, doing infrastructure work, and preserving public parks.
Another suggestion is setting up "community emergency squads," groups of volunteers with basic emergency training, based on the format used in communities along the Gaza border. The same kinds of groups could operate in cities, where they would be assigned a building or a street, says the document.. The authors also propose that the military work on an awareness campaign to reduce public unrest. Also put forward is the possibility of government ministries establishing a panel responsible for public awareness and measuring public opinion, with the goal of spreading a message of a shared responsibility among all segments of the population.
In addition, the document recommends that Home Front Command officers reinforce efforts in underserved areas to reduce disparities. Another ideat proposed is using associations and aid organizations to help handle people with "greater suspicion of the authorities."
The document floats a demand to change the police's approach toward citizens, under the heading of "changing the consciousness level of law enforcement." It recommends changing the attitudes of the police and the Public Security Ministry, under the slogan of "less ammunition, greater compassion." The writers cite a need "to break out of the enforcement framework. For example, unarmed police can do house visits to elderly people and see to the distribution of food and so forth., and entering a framework of common work, with thousands of police handing out food during Ramadan."
Holidays are cited as particularly sensitive, and the authors recommend encouraging residents to mark these days symbolically within the limits of instructions: "For example, all the neighbors going out onto the balconies and toasting to the holiday; recruitment of artists and celebrities to raise a feeling of community, like performances that can be experienced from balconies (in the style of military troupes that perform before soldiers in wartime); preserving morale among medical teams and their families with packages sent by the public or the state; performances at hospitals; and a YouTube channel like the one made by firefighters during this year's great blazes in Australia, on which medical teams describe their experiences.
The 'how are you' program
With regard to a situation in which the public does not engage in a popular revolt but rather shows "resentment," as described by the document, the authors recommend handling things on an individual basis. The factors likely to create such a problem, the document says, are "loneliness, especially among the elderly and isolated; families and individuals at risk who have lost their permanent frameworks – boarding school pupils sent back to dysfunctional homes, women at risk, pupils in special education programs, the disabled, trauma victims and victims of other psychological disorders; a loss of emotional support resources such as a religious or secular community, religious framework or meetings with friends."
The document points to other factors as well, such as "gaps between local/city authorities working well and those that are weaker, which worsen in time of crisis; personal health concerns that have nothing to do with corona[virus]; families, especially in urban settings, deprived of the ability to breathe in a little air, to enjoy some quiet and some private space; the loss of sources of leisure – nature walks, entertainment, sports," and the lack of access to information.
Among the ideas suggested to overcome these are increasing leisure time as one of the plans for exiting the closure, access to psychological counseling by video via the health maintenance organizations, and short-term couples and family therapy. The authors also mention a program called "How Are You?:" "The main focus of this program is about establishing a framework for Zoom meetings with diverse population and geographic groups."
In addition, the document recommends operating preschool frameworks once a week and organizing hikes with parents and teachers in a nature reserve with clear instructions and supervision.
The council's team also said during their discussion that since the crisis is neither specifically "Jewish" nor "Zionist," it creates a sense of common identity for "all segments of Israeli society," and that they saw this as an opportunity for these groups to grow closer.
"The required tasks are civilian ones in principle and this permits active participation and belonging on the part of all segments of Israeli society," the document says.
The NSC said of the document that "this is an appendix to part of a document containing recommendations presented to the National Security Council by a team of experts headed by Prof. Eli Waxman. During the discussions, several programs drawn up by a number of expert teams were presented."
Holocaust Survivor Never Thought She'd See This
The unbelievable moment Holocaust survivor Lila sees her grandson flying over her home in Israel!
From the arts to Zoom: ToI's subjective look at winners and losers amid COVID-19
Ranging from Amazon to weddings, hairdressing to germaphobia, an interim list of those who are gaining and losing in a locked down world By Shoshanna Solomon
As some countries, including Israel, have started easing restrictions imposed on their citizens in response to the coronavirus pandemic, now may be a good time to try to identify the winners and the losers of the havoc that has befallen the globe.
The death toll and the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 continues to rise, even as unemployment soars, educational and cultural programs wither, and isolation reigns under social distancing regulations.
For the lucky ones, streaming media is consumed as avidly as hand sanitizer is applied.
But with baby steps being taken gingerly toward a resumption of commerce and schooling, The Times of Israel has compiled a preliminary tally of those who have come out ahead, or behind, thanks to the crisis. The list is purely subjective, and only time will tell if there will be others that need to be added.
Germaphobes: Yes. Hard to believe, but those neurotic people that used to go around pre-coronavirus disinfecting everything, opening bathroom doors with their elbows and constantly washing their hands have finally been vindicated. The masses of the cheerfully unhygienic are the ones who have been proven wrong.
The internet: Things would have been very different had we not had the internet to help us communicate, work, learn, buy, and stay sane during our social distancing. Online banking and shopping and movie streaming have all become possible due to the strides in internet connectivity over the past almost 30 years.
Zoom Video Communications Inc: The Silicon Valley-based videoconferencing-tech firm is definitely one of the stars of the coronavirus pandemic, allowing for businesses to hold online meetings, schoolchildren to continue classes and families to stay in touch — including joint virtual Passover Seders, funerals and other religious services. Founded by Eric Yuan in 2011 and listed on the Nasdaq a year ago, Zoom has seen its market value skyrocket to some $42 billion, even as the company's user security policies have come under scrutiny.
President Reuven Rivlin meets family members over Zoom as Israelis are under a national lockdown as they celebrate the last day of Passover on April 14, 2020 (Twitter)
Digital health, telemedicine: Traditional healthcare gets a tech boost as robots and technologies are used to remotely monitor patients and find ways to keep the virus under tabs. Tytocare allows physicians to remotely examine patients using stethoscopes, thermometers, and lung monitoring; EarlySense has developed a technology for the real-time delivery of actionable data along with patient data management tools that allow physicians to pinpoint and prevent potentially serious medical situations before they escalate. These technologies and others are set to play major roles in medicine as healthcare and tech continue to merge.
E-commerce retailers, supermarkets: With people were told to hunker down at home to avoid the deadly virus, e-commerce retailers have flourished as consumers turned to online shopping for their needs. Amazon, for example, the world's largest online retailer, could emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever, according to Bloomberg. The Seattle-based company, which sells books, household goods and other products through its flagship website, also controls the Whole Foods grocery chain and offers cloud computing and video streaming services. Jeff Bezos, the company's founder and CEO who owns 11% of the US giant, has seen his wealth surge by $24 billion in 2020, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, reaffirming his position as the world's wealthiest person.
In Israel, the shares of supermarket chains such Victory Supermarket Chain Ltd. jumped 11 percent between February 10 and April 16, while another chain, Freshmarket, rose some 10%, compared to a 21% drop in the TA-125 benchmark index in the period, with demand surging as consumers stockpiled food, toilet paper, eggs and hand gel amid the coronavirus lockdown and ahead of the Passover festival in April.
Israelis shops for groceries at a supermarket in Jerusalem on March 18, 2020 (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Tracking techniques: From apps in Singapore to thermal cameras at hospitals and accessing private phone and credit card data, as done by Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency, various methods have come into play to trace our whereabouts and tell us if we have been in touch with a coronavirus-infected person. Once these technologies and tactics have been deployed, how easy will it be to roll them back when the crisis is over?
Delivery, takeout services: With restaurants banned from operating sit-down services due to social distancing restrictions, they have turned to delivery services to cater to customers. The Israeli delivery platform Wolt, for example, has seen a jump in usage and has had to hire hundreds of new couriers.
Toilet paper, wet wipes, disinfectant gels: As a fear of running out of toilet paper spread across the globe and as heightened hygiene requirements upped the demand for hand sanitizers and wet wipes, the manufacturers of these products have seen a jump in production and orders. In Israel, the shares of Albad Massuot Yitzhak, an Israeli maker of wet wipes, surged 65% between February 10 and end of day April 16. Sano-Brunos Enterprises Ltd., a maker of cleaning products, jumped 7%, bringing its 12-month gain to 32%. The TA-125 benchmark index declined 21% in the same period.
A merchant selling alcogel hand sanitizer to passersby in central Jerusalem on March 18, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/FLASH90)
Netflix, streaming services: In self-isolation, streaming services have become the lifeline of many as they binge on television shows to stave off anxiety and boredom. As long as the internet infrastructure holds up, firms of this sort will weather the coronavirus storm quite nicely.
And the losers are…
Social gatherings, hugs and kisses, large weddings and funerals: Big social gatherings, for festivals, happy or sad events, and routine gestures of affection will be among the biggest fatalities of the coronavirus pandemic. Will we ever get back to our normal huggy habits?
Travel, hotels, tour guides, cruise ships: All of these will be hit by the curbs on travel and movement. The more a country benefits from tourism, the more it will feel the pinch — such as Israel, Italy and Spain. Tour guides are seeing their groups canceled and have no idea when their income will resume. Fattal Holdings 1998 Ltd., one of Israel's largest hotel owners, with 38 hotels and 16,700 rooms under management, plunged 66% in the period — compared to a 21% drop in the TA-125 benchmark index. As cruise ships became a Petri dish for the spread of the virus — over 20 have had confirmed cases, the most notorious being the Diamond Princess, where over 700 passengers become infected — will travelers ever want to go aboard again?
Passengers stand on the deck of the Diamond Princess cruise ship anchored at Yokohama Port in Yokohama, near Tokyo, February 12, 2020. (Yuta Omori/Kyodo News via AP)
Entertainment, concerts, sports events, shopping malls: In Israel, Melisron, the owner of shopping malls including the prestigious Ramat Aviv Mall in Tel Aviv, saw a 44% decline in the February 10-April 16 period. As entertainers and concerts go online — see Andrea Boccelli's YouTube Easter concert from a vacant Duomo in Milan or the "One World: Together At Home" TV special concert that raised millions of dollars to fight the pandemic — will we ever go back to crammed concerts, rowdy sports events and packed movie theaters? What will we miss out, if not?
Illustrative image of hairdressing or haircutting tools (iStock by Getty Images)
Hairdressers, and small businesses in general: The sobbing falafel vendor who pleads to just be able to resume work has become the face of the plight of small businesses in the coronavirus crisis. These businesses are the wheels that keep economies chugging, and yet will bear the biggest brunt of the lockdowns. As women and men worldwide cut and color their own hair, some for the first time ever, will they ever go back to paying for these services? Many small businesses are destined to fold unless they get credit to tide them over this critical time.
Have a meaningful Yom Yom Ha'atzmaut under unnecessary (see my blog 2 days ago) Quarantine