Melanie Phillips-The most important conversation the Jewish world needs to have and Toilet dig reveals the dirty secrets of Jerusalem’s wealthiest ancients and Only 15 Myocarditis Cases Found Among Israeli Adolescents Vaccinated Against COVID and Turkey Changes Its Name to Turkiye, Ends Confusion Involving a Certain Delicious Bird By David Israel -and- five inches of snow last week in Jerusalem-now just a memory and- the real story of the world's oldest profession
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.
Last week on Wednesday night we had 5 inches of snow in Jerusalem. This was the biggest storm since 2013 when Jerusalem suffered a 10-inch snowfall that froze and put us out of commission for a full week. This snowfall melted mostly on Thursday and by Friday we were back in commission. Too much cold and snow for me, so I am vacationing for one day today in Naharyia. One train ride and you have entirely different weather. The beauty of Israel.
The History of Human Milk, the Most Controversial of All Bodily Fluids
The oldest profession isn't what you thought, and other myths about breastfeeding that have been persisting for thousands of years
Its a very long story so here is the link to read it online
Only 15 Myocarditis Cases Found Among Israeli Adolescents Vaccinated Against COVID
Hundreds of thousands of Israelis aged 12-15 have received a coronavirus vaccine shot, and a new study shows it's very rare for them to develop myocarditis
An Israeli study focusing on myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, among those aged 12-15 was published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine. The study surveyed 13 cases of people in this age group who were hospitalized after receiving the vaccine between June 2 and October 20 of last year, a period in which 404,000 in this age group received the first dose and 326,000 received the second one. As for the additional two cases, investigators believe they are unlikely to be related to the vaccine because of the length of time between administration of the shot and the occurrence of myocarditis, the study said
According to the findings, the risk of boys aged 12 to 15 contracting myocarditis after the second dose of the vaccine is 1 in every 12,361, while the risk for girls is 1 per 144,439. The researchers noted that this risk is low in comparison to that of people in the 16-24 age group, but is slightly higher than the risk published by the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S.
So far, 440,000 youths in the 12-15 age group have received the first dose, 364,000 have received the second dose, and 88,000 have received the third dose. In the 5-11 age group, 315,000 have received their first dose, with 167,000 receiving a second dose.
The study was conducted by Prof. Dror Mevorach from Hadassah Hospital's Ein Kerem campus, together with the director-general of the Health Ministry, Dr. Nachman Ash; the head of public health services at the Health Ministry, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis; and researchers from Hadassah and Shaare Zedek hospitals and from Haifa University.
"Is it advisable to get vaccinated despite these figures? Definitely," says Prof. Mevorach. "Some people told me to be careful, since people may not get vaccinated if they know you can get myocarditis afterwards, but I say exactly the opposite. The public must know that doctors view medical truth and transparency as an upmost value. Only this way can we bring people in while getting rid of fake news."
This study was preceded by another one last October that found 142 people out of 5.4 million who had been vaccinated in Israel had experienced myocarditis. It found that the highest risk was in the 16-19 age group: 1 in 6,637 for boys and 1 in 99,853 for girls among those who'd been vaccinated.
Myocarditis can be caused by a variety of viruses, including the coronavirus. It appears mainly among young males and is characterized by symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath and heart palpitations. In the vast majority of cases it is a mild illness, passing after a short hospitalization. It is rare, becoming rarer as the age of a vaccinated person rises. The rate of people with myocarditis among those with COVID is 1 out of 200, much higher than the rate associated with the vaccine.
Turkey Changes Its Name to Turkiye, Ends Confusion Involving a Certain Delicious Bird By David Israel -
photo Credit: GCIS; Mariah OConnell
Last December, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced he was changing his country's name from Turkey to Turkiye because it "represents and expresses the culture, civilization, and values of the Turkish nation in the best way." "Made in Turkiye" will appear on the country's exports, and its official tourism website URL has been changed to GoTurkiye.com.
Turkey, on the other hand, remains the official name of Meleagris, a lovely and delicious bird native to North America but tasting just as good everywhere else.
It has been suggested that the reason behind Erdogan's move is not the positive stuff about the culture and civilization, blah blah, especially because the huge Asian ethnic group associated with Erdogan's is called simply Turkmens, no unusual spelling there.
No, the real reason is the prevalence of very insulting synonyms for Turkey in the English language, and we all know tyrants are thin-skinned when it comes to public humiliation. For instance, thesaurus.com offered these synonyms for "Turkey," not one of them a compliment:
The most important conversation the Jewish world needs to have
The entitlement of shared peoplehood does not negate the particular compact of citizenship made between Israel's government and its citizens alone
(January 6, 2022 / JNS) Links between Israel and Diaspora Jews have been put under increased strain by the coronavirus pandemic.
This relationship has always been edgy. True, each side is careful to pay the other compliments and make professions of loyalty.
Diaspora Jews express love for Israel, take pride in its achievements and defend it against vilification and bigotry. Israel regards itself as the ultimate protector of Diaspora Jews and acknowledges the importance of their financial and emotional support.
Underneath these surface pieties, however, ripple numerous tensions. Of course, a proportion of Diaspora Jews are staunch Zionists. But many have always been uneasy that Israel's existence makes them vulnerable to the charge of dual loyalties.
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In recent years, an increasing number have bought into the falsehoods with which Israel is demonized and delegitimized. To others who think of themselves as totally integrated into America, Britain or elsewhere, Israel is of only peripheral interest whether in irritation or approval.
Many in Israel, for their part, view the Diaspora with a mixture of indifference, bemusement and irritation. There is no small resentment that Diaspora Jews are strident in their criticism of Israel and yet overwhelmingly choose not to make aliyah. They thus choose not to share the great project of Jewish nationhood, and not to endure the sacrifices made by Israelis—the most obvious of which is that their children are conscripted into army service, where many are put directly into harm's way.
These tensions have surfaced recently because of the Israeli government's strategy of closing its airport to foreign travelers for much of the COVID crisis.
This has caused significant distress and hardship to many diaspora Jews who have been prevented from visiting their children and grandchildren in Israel and, most painfully of all, prevented from attending funerals, weddings and other significant family events.
Two weeks ago, William Daroff, head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, delivered a strong protest against these restrictions, accusing the Israeli government of "random, capricious, irrational and not very logical" rules, and of failing to recognize the sense of disconnection this policy was causing among American Jews.
Both sides have a point. Israel's government believed that curbs on visitors from abroad were essential to keep the rate of infection down. Diaspora Jews were exasperated by the exceptions made to this strategy, such as allowing contestants into the country from all over the world for last month's "Miss Universe" beauty pageant and the Flag Football Championships.
But what really raised an eyebrow was Daroff's suggestion that Israel has a duty to accept Jews at all times, regardless of circumstances. For he also said: "The State of Israel has a contract with the Diaspora, wherein Israel is a place of refuge for us, where there is a safety net that exists for all of us. That contract has been suspended."
Since people coming from abroad carried the risk of bringing the virus with them from countries with high rates of infection, the suggestion that Israel was under an obligation to accept those potential carriers just because they were Jews went down badly among some Israelis.
Conversely, among Diaspora Jews, the idea that Israel views them as foreigners is deeply neuralgic. After all, they point out, Israelis have been able to fly out from Israel and back (other than to "red" countries), even though they might equally have brought illness in with them.
Here, though, lies an even more neuralgic fallacy.
True, Israel has a unique relationship with the Jewish Diaspora. Famously, all Jews have the "right of return" to Israel. It is the unequivocal refuge for a people who were persecuted and made to wander across the world for almost two millennia until their ancient homeland was restored to them.
But unless they make aliyah, Diaspora Jews are not citizens of Israel. The entitlement of shared peoplehood does not negate the particular compact of citizenship made between Israel's government and its citizens alone.
This compact—common to all democratic nations—confers reciprocal duties and responsibilities on each party. The most important duty of any government is to keep its citizens safe.
And although the strategy of keeping foreign nationals out was always open to criticism, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was entitled to take the measures he believed to be essential to keep Israelis safe from the virus.
With this strategy having now fallen apart under the huge wave of Omicron infections, these travel restrictions have just now been lifted. But the tensions brought to the fore by Daroff's remarks go deeper.
In a thoughtful post on his Substack blog, Daniel Gordis writes that there has never been an honest conversation between Israel and the Diaspora about the obligations and prerogatives of each side.
What has been obscured as a result is something that many Jews outside of Israel find unpalatable—the absolute centrality to Israel of aliyah. The country's founders, writes Gordis, had called for nothing other than an end to the Diaspora altogether.
Gordis is undoubtedly correct to identify this issue as important, ignored and still unresolved.
However, there's surely a yet more crucial and unanswered question that threatens to undermine the future of the Jewish people. This question, which is setting Jew against Jew, is how Judaism can stop Western hyper-individualism from snapping the cords of cultural memory and observance that have ensured Jewish survival up till now.
In America, there's particular concern over the very high rate of assimilation. This is being driven by the majority of American Jews embracing liberal ideologies such as moral and cultural relativism, victim culture and identity politics, which all repudiate Jewish moral codes.
But assimilation is also eroding Britain's Jewish community as elsewhere in the Diaspora. And these anti-Jewish ideologies are gathering pace in Israel, too.
Jews are no stranger to this problem. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E., the rabbis of the Talmud performed the astounding feat of reconstructing Judaism as a communal, synagogue-based religion. But what they also set out to do was fight off what they considered the greatest threat to Jewish survival—the pagan and idolatrous practices of the Diaspora's host communities, practices to which so many Jews were drawn by the seductive, material attractions those communities had to offer.
Today, the threat is similar although also different. Religious adherence in general is under siege, with the dominant secular culture placing religion, obscurantism and authoritarianism in one box and reason, science and freedom in another.
Yet the values that the West holds most dear—tolerance, compassion, liberty, the rule of law, reason and science—can plausibly be said to owe their existence to the Hebrew Bible.
The problem is that the great task of putting these things together in the same box isn't even being attempted in today's Jewish world.
This has chosen instead to erect barricades around two irreconcilable camps—progressive Jews who view Torah law as a barrier to essential cultural change, and Orthodox Jews who view cultural change as an existential threat to Torah law.
Just as the rabbis of the Talmud understood the magnitude of the threat to the Jewish people and responded with insight and genius, so the rabbis of today need to demonstrate that authentic Judaism offers an infinitely more reliable way of meeting people's need for contentment, rationality and purpose than the ideologies that merely offer holograms of freedom and social justice.
There's an urgent need to steer between the Scylla of progressive Judaism and the Charybdis of ultra-defensive orthodoxy. Modern Orthodoxy might be thought to provide just such an intrepid craft to lead the way through these turbulent seas.
Whoever plots the route, though, how to navigate this particular journey is surely the most important conversation the Jewish world needs to be having right now.
Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for "The Times of London," her personal and political memoir, "Guardian Angel," has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, "The Legacy." Go to melaniephillips.substack.com to access her work.
Toilet dig reveals the dirty secrets of Jerusalem's wealthiest ancients
Jerusalem's elites had the rare luxury of toilets 2,700 years ago, but poor hygiene and sanitary conditions led to chronic stomach troubles. BY ABIGAIL KLEIN LEICHMAN
An article in October reported on a rare 2,700-year-old bathroom discovered by archeologists in the garden of a seventh-century BCE royal estate on what is now the Armon Hanatziv promenade in Jerusalem.
At that time, only the rich could afford such a luxury. But a study of the contents of the septic tank underneath the fancy carved limestone toilet has revealed that the privileged people who used it were plagued with roundworm, tapeworm, whipworm and pinworm.
Tel Aviv University and Israel Antiquities Authority researchers report in theInternational Journal of Paleopathology that eggs from these intestinal parasites were extracted from the soil in the cesspit.
Subscribe to The JNS Daily Syndicate by email and never miss our top stories Archeologist Yaakov Billig of the Israel Antiquities Authority next to an ancient toilet in Jerusalem. Photo by Yoli Schwartz/IAA.
Dafna Langgut, director of Tel Aviv University's Laboratory of Archaeobotany and Ancient Environments, said the well-preserved eggs indicate that the residents of the mansion probably suffered from abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea and itching.
Some of the parasites found, she noted, "are especially dangerous for children and can lead to malnutrition, developmental delays, nervous system damage, and, in extreme cases, even death."
Intestinal parasite eggs recovered from sediment below the stone toilet seat at Armon Hanatziv (magnification x 400). Photo by Eitan Kremer.
Langgut says the intestinal infestation might have been due to fecal contamination of food and drinking water, or poor bathroom hygiene.
Other possible sources of infection were the use of human feces to fertilize field crops and the consumption of improperly cooked meat.
In those days, there were no medical treatments for intestinal worms, so people likely suffered with them for years. Today, these parasites still exist but can be treated effectively.
Dr. Dafna Langgut at Tel Aviv University's Laboratory of Archaeobotany and Ancient Environments. Photo by Sasha Flit/Tel Aviv University.
According to Eli Escozido, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "The research conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority and our partners manages to touch on the finest details of everyday life in antiquity. Thanks to advanced equipment and fruitful collaboration with complementary research institutions, it is now possible to extract fascinating information from materials that we previously didn't have the tools to handle scientifically. Today, archeological research is leading to a better understanding of past lifestyles."
Langgut is conducting additional analyses on the sediments collected from the cesspit in order to learn about the diet and medicinal herbs used in Jerusalem in the late Iron Age.