How to Realistically Change the World By Rabbi Benjamin Blech and Historian Claims US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton had Jewish Upbringing and This Guide Will Teach to Identify 8 Types of Arthritis and Keep Religion In The State Of Israel By Rabbi Steven Pruzansky and Coming soon: Isolation for those who have not received booster shot
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.
Coming soon: Isolation for those who have not received booster shot
As part of changes in the green pass to take effect in October, anyone who hasn't had a third dose will be considered unvaccinated.
The Ministry of Health on Wednesday decided to change the conditions of the green pass so that starting in October, anyone who is entitled to a third vaccine and has not received it - will be considered to be unvaccinated, Channel 12 News revealed.
As such, starting next month, those who have not been vaccinated with a third dose of a vaccine will have to go into isolation if they come in contact with a COVID-19 carrier.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health does not intend to publish new restrictions ahead of Rosh Hashanah and the Tishrei holidays. Citizens will be asked to act responsibly but no restrictions will be placed on having family meals.
The decision was made despite the high number of verified cases and due to the fact that there is a decrease in the number of carriers in serious condition.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Keep Religion In The State Of Israel By Rabbi Steven Pruzansky
The recent trial balloon, floated by a few charedi officials in Israel, advocating the separation of religion and state as a pained response to proposed government reforms in matters of religion, blithely ignores the awful ramifications of such a decision and begs the existential question of why must there be a Jewish state altogether. It misconstrues, if not completely negates, the very premise of a Jewish state.
The trite answer cannot be that Israel is the only place where Jews can feel safe. Jews can be attacked anywhere, including in Israel. And that answer sidesteps the more fundamental question – why is it important that Jews survive at all? What would be missing from the world if there were no Jews or Jewish state? There would be a drop off in scientific and intellectual achievement and civilization itself would suffer, but neither incentive has precluded evildoers from trying to destroy us for the last 36 centuries.
Why, then, do we want a Jewish state to exist and thrive, and what can be done to make it a truly Jewish state and not just a state of Jews?
These questions confound many Israelis but they certainly have not been cogently answered in the observant Jewish world, which has struggled to articulate a vision of precisely why a Jewish state is G-d's vision in the Torah for Jewish nationhood and what it should look like.
The great drama of Jewish history – a nation exiled from its homeland due to its sins, only to be promised by G-d that its sovereignty would be restored at the end of days – has played out before our eyes… and largely been greeted with indifference or perplexity. For too many Jews, the return to Israel has not included a return to mitzvah observance and Torah study – the very premise of our residence in Israel. For too many observant Jews, the return to Israel has spiritual but not national implications. Life in Israel need not be much different from religious life in Poland or the United States, aside from a handful of mitzvot observable only in Israel. Both are fundamental errors.
One of the more egregious mistakes has been the failure to contribute to the Jewishness of the state, and that is one reason why the religious infrastructure is under assault. "Jewishness" has been reduced to ensuring the technicalities of observance: kashrut, marriage, divorce, conversion and Shabbat. To be sure, those are vital undertakings that are now being threatened by the short-sighted, tendentious and foolhardy reforms being contemplated by the current minority Jewish government.
Nevertheless, the "Jewishness" of the state should be informed by far more than the provision of the abovementioned services, which, after all, is what the religious establishment always did in the exile. There should be a concerted effort not only to provide kosher food but also to impart to the public why kashrut (and Shabbat, Torah study, taharat hamishpachah, etc.) matter. Additionally, the great failing of the last century's religious establishment – truth be told, charedi more than religious Zionist – has been indifference to the application of Torah to all aspects of statecraft. There is a Jewish way (probably several) to do politics, conduct foreign affairs, guide an economy, craft a legal system, administer an army, ameliorate the plight of the less fortunate and improve the lives of the citizens. That should have been uppermost in the minds of the religious leadership rather than just being religious functionaries.
What is lacking, in short, is embracing of the vision of Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook, who perceived Israel as not merely a haven but the only place where the Jewish soul truly comes alive. It is not just the continuation of Jewish life in Vilna or Kovno but in a new location. The Torah life in the exile was enriching in its own way, but it lacked a national component. In the exile, Torah was not the foundation of the society and the prism through which all facets of life were viewed. The struggle was for individuals to keep the Torah amid physical and religious challenges to it and find a way to accommodate the demands of exile while retaining fidelity to the Torah. That had varying rates of success depending on a range of influences, but even where Jewish life was successfully maintained the Torah could hardly be perceived as the constitution of the society.
The Jewish state is designed to be different or it need not exist at all. If there is no desire to fashion a Jewish state whose institutions and politics communicate the ideals and values of Torah, then it is not surprising that outsiders (especially ones motivated by their own agendas) will perceive the utility of the rabbinic establishment only in terms of the provision of services, which to them means only sinecures, jobs, patronage, money and power.
That approach is not only false but, if people believe it, also does a great disservice to Torah.
The answer should be not the separation of religion and state but the true integration of religion and state. There are Israelis, religious Jews too, who foolishly look to the United States as the paragon nation where the wall of separation between religion and state has succeeded. Don't be misled. Yes, the First Amendment's religious freedom clause precludes a national church in America or laws that infringe on freedom of worship. It was not meant to create a secular state. Last I checked, the most important Christian holiday of the year falls annually on December 25, and that is observed as a legal national holiday. Congress and most state legislatures still begin its sessions with a chaplain's prayer and the government subsidizes any number of activities of a religious nature.
America's decline in the last half century has been accelerated by the rejection of its Judeo-Christian heritage and its unconscious embrace of the new religion of secular progressivism – a religion that has its own deities, saints, holidays, commandments and value system, and which is mostly antithetical and hostile to Torah.
Is that what these charedi spokesmen want? A separation of religion and state in Israel would not be replaced by a vacuum but by an alternate set of values, none of which is designed to foster Jewish life. Obviously, government support for Torah study would halt. The ultimate justification for Jewish sovereignty would erode. The mere suggestion betrays an exilic mentality and a gross misunderstanding of what the Jewish state should be.
So here is an alternative approach. The religious public should strive to create a more Jewish state. Infuse all national institutions with Torah values – and in yeshivot, teach how that should be done. Share the beauty of Torah, Shabbat and mitzvot with all Jews. Appreciate the contributions of all Israeli Jews and acknowledge the wondrous times in which we live and the divine blessings that have been bestowed upon us. Surely the ingathering of the exiles and Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel are not insignificant occurrences that can be belittled because they occurred differently than people had imagined they would.
The thirst for Torah in Israel is greater than the thirst for kosher Coca Cola. While providing the latter, we should prioritize the former. When that succeeds, the flirtation with the separation of religion and state will disappear amid the glories of the Torah reborn in all its fullness in the Jewish state that is the manifestation of G-d's kingship on earth.
Did you know that the most modest classification of the medical term "arthritis" includes at least 50 types of conditions? Some classifications differentiate between over 100 types of arthritis. Still, most people can only name two: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Knowing what the term arthritis means helps us understand so many types of arthritis that exist. The word arthritis is derived from the Greek arthr- for joint and -itis, medical terminology for inflammation. So, essentially, any kind of inflammatory joint condition can be defined as arthritis, irrespective of the cause. This also explains why the reported 50 million adults and 300,000 children suffering from arthritis across the US may experience varying symptoms and require different treatments. Understanding what kind of arthritis you or a family member has can help you manage the condition more effectively and choose the best treatments. These are the 8 most common types of arthritis.
Historian Claims US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton had Jewish Upbringing
A historian is claiming that Alexander Hamilton, the country's first Treasury Secretary who was instrumental in the ratification of the Constitution and whose popularity has risen in recent years due to the musical "Hamilton," had Jewish ties as a child in the Caribbean.
"The balance of evidence suggests that Hamilton in all likelihood had a Jewish identity in his youth in the Caribbean," said Andrew Porwancher, a professor of history at the University of Oklahoma and author of the book The Jewish World of Alexander Hamilton, reported Bloomberg News.
Porwancher went on to explain that he believes Hamilton's mother, Rachel Faucette, who was born a Christian in the British Caribbean, converted to Judaism to marry a Jewish merchant named Johan Levine.
"Although she bears Alexander out of wedlock to a non-Jew, in all probability she chooses to raise him in her adopted faith of Judaism," he claims.
Porwancher, who spent years studying archives in the United States and in the Caribbean, further adds that the founding father and co-author of the Federalist Papers likely had some Jewish education while growing up on the island of Nevis, where 25 percent of its free population was Jewish.
"There was a Jewish school that Hamilton later told his children that he attended, where we know he began at least rudimentary study of the Torah because he recalls how his teacher would put him on a table so it would be eye level, and he would recite to her the Ten Commandments in Hebrew."
Hamilton was born in either 1755 or 1757 in Nevis, which was a British colony at the time. He was orphaned in 1768 after his mother died of yellow fever. Upon arriving in New York in the early 1770s, Hamilton was known to have close ties with the city's Jewish population, according to Porwancher.
"We find in Hamilton a closer relationship with the American Jewish community than we find in any other founder. In a variety of forums—from the marketplace to academia to the courthouse—he's committed to securing equality for America's Jews," he said, noting that Hamilton had a particularly close relationship with Rabbi Gershom Mendes Seixas of Congregation Shearith Israel, New York City's first Spanish and Portuguese synagogue.
He also notes that Hamilton experienced anti-Semitism, with his opponents attacking him over his ties to the Jewish community and his financial programs as Treasury Secretary.
"He's pro-city, he's pro-finance, and to some extent, he's pro-outsider, and those are all things that Jews get lambasted for through history," he said. "Hamilton is the visionary for America's future, and Jews, by virtue of their marginality, were effectively forced to become modernizers in order to survive."
Despite Porwancher's claims, most historians do not believe that Hamilton was Jewish and have even cast doubt on whether or not Johan Levine (most historians spell it as Lavien), was Jewish either. As an adult, Hamilton did not identify as Jewish, and no evidence exists that he ever spoke about any Jewish heritage.
On his deathbed after being shot in his infamous duel with Aaron Burr, he accepted communion from the episcopal bishop of New York and is buried at Trinity Church Cemetery in New York City.
No matter how old you are, you should still perform flexibility exercises regularly, whether you also go to a gym or exercise at home.
At a more advanced age, flexibility has a major role in increasing your range of motion, making it easier to move about and improve your general posture. Also, there are flexibility exercises that help reduce pain and stiffness, which greatly increases your quality of life.
Below you will find the eight most effective exercises for dealing with the pain and discomfort that many of us encounter on a daily basis.
When should these exercises be performed? The best time to do these exercises is when your muscles have warmed up, which will make the stretches themselves painless. If you plan on only performing the flexibility exercises, make sure you warm up the muscles by taking a brisk walk for a few minutes. If you consider adding these exercises to your stamina or strength workout, make sure you perform them at the end of the session.
The correct way to perform flexibility exercises The most important thing to remember when performing flexibility exercises is that they are only effective if you're feeling a slight stretch in the area you're working on. Many people try and stretch to the point where they feel some pain, but you have to remember that pain is the body's response to a potentially damaging action. The moment you feel a light stretch, maintain that level and remain in the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
1. Stiffness in the lower back Exercise: Lying down ankle stretch This exercise uses the ankle to stretch the lower back, freeing the vertebrates and relieving stress and spinal stiffness. Instructions: • Lie on your back, bend your left knee and raise your leg. • Lift your right ankle and cross it over your raised left thigh. • Grab your thigh with both hands and pull it towards your chest, keeping your knee bent. • Hold for 30 seconds and slowly release, and then alternate legs
. 2. Pain and stiffness in the shoulders Exercise: Stretching your arms Pain or stiffness in the chest and shoulder regions are common in people who spend many hours in a sitting position. This exercise releases the stiffness that forms because of the sitting posture, and stretches your hands to restore their full range of motion. You will need a rolled up mat or towel for this exercise. Instructions: • Lie down on your stomach with the roll on your left-hand side. • Raise your head slightly, extend your left arm to the side and over the roll, without touching the floor. • Move your hand over your head, and then return it to the side. • Repeat 5 times per arm, and make sure you do not move the roll during the set.
3. Stiff knees Exercise: Sitting towel stretch This is a great flexibility exercise for people who suffer from stiffness in the knees, and cannot perform stretches that require reaching down to your feet. In addition, using the towel aids in stretching the correct areas without damaging your back. Instructions: • Sit on the floor with your legs stretched forward. • Place a towel under your feet and grab both ends with your hands, pulling both sides. • Inhale and try to pull the towel as much as you can without causing yourself pain. • Exhale and ease the pull, and then repeat. • Maintain this position for 30 seconds. Exercise: The "Angry Cat" exercise This exercise is nicknamed the "Angry Cat", and it allows you to release your shoulder blades, which are the source of most upper back pain. Instructions: • Stand up straight, then bend your knees a little, lean forward and hold your inner thighs with your hands. • Arch your back to resemble an angry cat and pull yourself up, using your hands as an anchor. • Hold this position for 30 seconds.
5. Pain or burning sensation in the knee Exercise: Sideways towel stretch Experiencing pain or a burning sensation in the side of either knee is a typical issue for people who have suffered a knee injury in the past. This stretch will help in reducing the load on the knees and relieve much of the pain in the region. Instructions: • Lie down on your back, with your legs flat on the floor. • Wrap one foot with a towel, raise it up in the air and move it across your other leg, at knee-height. • Grab the ends of the towel with the opposite hand. If you can't keep your knee straight, it's okay to bend it. • Stretch your other hand to touch the floor, palm up, and turn your head to face that hand. • Hold this position for 30 seconds, then switch sides. 6. Outer thigh pain Exercise: The heel bend stretch Pain in the thigh region is quite common, and can often be solved through exercises that increase your flexibility without having to see an orthopedist. Try this exercise for a couple of weeks and you'll notice the difference too. Instructions: • Lie on your stomach, while bending one leg up. • Wrap the raised leg in a towel. • Gently pull the towel back to help you bend the heel down towards the buttocks. • Maintain the stretch for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
7. Slouching Exercise: Resistance stretch If you feel like you're slouching and have a hard time holding your back straight for a prolonged period of time, this chest-expanding exercise may be what you need. Instructions: • Stand by a doorway or a tree (if you're outdoors). • Place one hand on the tree or doorway to maintain balance, and turn your body away from it until you feel the stretch in your arm and chest. • Maintain this position for 30 seconds, then switch hands.
8. Prolonged sitting damage Exercise: Sideways roll stretch This exercise is perfect after a long day at the office, and will help prevent pain in the lower back and buttocks. You will need a long, hard pillow, or a rolled up yoga mat or towel. Instructions: • Lie on your back and place the pillow/towel under your buttocks. • Stretch your hands to your sides, and lay them on the floor. • Bend and lift one knee, and turn the other leg away from it (If you've lifted the right knee, turn your left leg to face left) until you feel a stretch in the buttocks, as well as a slight twist in your spine. • Hold this position for a few seconds, then return to lying down. • Repeat three times per leg.
Feeling down about the state of the world? Hard to read the newspapers with all of the tragedies that have become part and parcel of our daily lives?
Well the month of Elul is here – the month, with its daily blowing of the shofar, meant to remind us that Rosh Hashanah is just a short four weeks away and that we have got to give serious thought to our personal responsibility to do our part to make the coming year a better one.
In light of the immensity of our problems how can we possibly do anything that would make a difference? Can anyone of us imagine that we personally could actually play a role in changing the world?
It is precisely in response to this question that Judaism gave a startling answer. Maimonides expressed it by way of a remarkable illustration. Every one of us, he taught in his Laws of Repentance, needs to think that as God judges the world in His annual review before the High Holy Days, He finds it perfectly balanced between its sins and good deeds. Divine judgment withholds its final decree until you are brought into the equation. And if your deeds also seem to be almost perfectly balanced between the good and the evil, then one, just one additional good deed, no matter how small can be the one to tilt your judgment favorably, which in turn would decide the fate of all of humankind.
The most important piece of advice I can give anyone as I think about ways to change the world with the beginning of Elul are two words: think small.
It may be far-fetched. Yet the greatest philosopher of the Jewish people did not hesitate to phrase it this way in order to impress upon every one of us the truth that every person makes a difference – and every one of our actions has consequences on the divine scale of judgment.
That's why I think the most important piece of advice I can give anyone as I think about ways to change the world with the beginning of Elul are two words: think small.
Just a few years ago Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel peace prize for turning the concept of thinking small into a major innovation which has already revolutionized the banking system as well as the lives of millions of people. It was in 1974 that Bangladesh was hit by a devastating flood followed by a severe famine. Yunus decided to lend $27 without any collateral to a group of women of the city of Joba nearby the University where he worked as a teacher. Women there made bamboo baskets but were forced to sell them at such a low price that could barely pay for the raw material. They could never purchase larger amounts for lack of capital. Yunus initiated what is now known as microcredit, allowing poor people anxious to make a go of small businesses to succeed.
With the small sum they received they were able to finance their work and to establish themselves. Micro-finance, or microcredit, was born. Thinking small, something never practiced before, created a new way of life and of opportunity. One small act changed the balance of the scale – and millions today prosper.
And there is yet another way to think small. It is expressed beautifully by way of a story told in the name of the Chofetz Chaim.
At one time, he was asked how he was able to have such a great impact on the Jewish world. This is how he answered: "Originally, I set out to change the world, but I failed. So I decided to scale back my efforts and only influence the Jewish community of Poland, but I failed there, too. So I targeted the community of my hometown of Radin, but I achieved no greater success. Then I gave all my effort to changing my own family and I failed at that as well. Finally, I decided to change myself and that's how I had such an impact on the Jewish world."
"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."
Leo Tolstoy came to the same conclusion. "Everyone thinks of changing the world," he wrote, "but no one thinks of changing himself." And so the world continues with its myriad flaws, everyone complaining about the common sins of others while paying very little attention to themselves.
Most people want to change the world to improve their lives, but the world they need to change first is the one inside themselves.
There is a movement today that has taken the concept a step further into practice. It concerns itself not with the really large issues, issues which realistically most of us will be unable to influence, but with the smaller daily interactions which in fact define everyday life. It's called "small acts of kindness" and I love it precisely because its demands are so easy and yet, if universally practiced, would really change our lives.
The suggestions are simple. Choose one or a dozen:
Give a genuine compliment to somebody at least once a day.
Write down what you appreciate about another family member and pass it along.
Check in with someone who's sick.
Ask if you can help someone who may be having a difficult time in life right now.
Lend your vehicle to take someone without one shopping for their necessities.
Hold the door open for the person behind you.
Make a card for someone special.
Deliver flowers anonymously to a hospital patient.
Ask a senior citizen about their life story and truly listen.
Give a hug to a loved one or friend.
Offer to pay another person's food bill.
Lend a hand to someone doing hard work.
Donate to a homeless person, perhaps give them some food.
Leave a kind server a generous tip.
Let a person out from a side road who's waiting to get into the main road.
Help another parent out with a stroller or carrying things.
Give someone a book that you no longer need.
Give your parents or grandparents a call just because.
Volunteer at a community event.
Grandiose plans are great – but we rarely do them. Impressive ideas for changing the world are, yes, impressive but frequently impractical and unrealizable. So perhaps this year before Rosh Hashanah we could scale down our ambitions and think small – and in that way change ourselves and our own world.