MUSINGS OF A DIETICIAN IN LOCKDOWN  

 By Justine Friedman       

Daily, social media inundates us with memes and messages claiming that by the time we leave lockdown status our health status and physical bodies will be worse for wear. I constantly see pictures of what we will supposedly look like on the beach, on our couches, merely wearing a mask and gloves that fit our new bodies as no clothes in our wardrobes can cover our expanded forms.

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As a dietician and holistic coach these images concern me as it depicts quite clearly what people are emotionally experiencing. In making light of the need to throw caution to the wind and give into all kinds of physical cravings and urges when it comes to food and drinks we are falling prey to potential chronic diseases that will last longer than the corona epidemic.

It is very frustrating to be trapped indoors and not be able to do regular exercise, either due to lack of motivation or due to lack of access. I am very grateful that I have my trusty treadmill and that we are now allowed to move a distance of 500m within proximity to our home. The problem is I still need to motivate myself to utilise these avenues. In the first week or two of lockdown I found myself more motivated. But as time goes on and the full weight (excuse the pun) of this experience takes its toll, it becomes harder to stay focused and really set goals that will keep one healthy both physically and mentally.

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There is a clear relationship between sun exposure and the ability to produce hormones in the body that trigger feelings of well-being and emotional calm. Then there is the food component that either enhances or detracts from this balance that we so desperately need at this time.

I have always educated my clients on the effect that food plays in our physical and mental well-being. We literally are what we eat! When making food choices that are less processed and are preferably void of simple sugars and simple carbohydrates, our bodies respond with better energy levels and we produce higher levels of serotonin (the “happy” hormone) in the body. This follows a pattern of better thought processes and leads to our actions being less reactive and emotionally charged. The opposite is also true, by eating processed foods, high in sugars, salt and saturated fat we, in fact, produce less serotonin and as a result, our thoughts, emotions and moods jump on the roller coaster of being more irritable, reactive and causes further cravings of the foods that made us feel this way to start off with. It becomes a terrible cycle of cravings, low energy, anxiety, depression, irritability and frustration.

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Our bodies, however, are amazing vehicles that have the ability to regenerate. Just a few days of staying off foods that cause rebound cravings and mood cycles allow for a calmer and more focused state of mind. We also start to feel our energy levels improve and sleep patterns are also enhanced.

So how does one get into this mindset? How do we pull ourselves up off our couches and find the motivation to make better choices? The old adage that life is not a sprint but a marathon that must be tackled one step, or a couple of hundred meters at a time fits perfectly. We cannot look too far ahead and compare our position today with our final goal. Expecting instant results is what trips us up every time and sets the stage for failure. There are very few people who can just put their minds to it and never lose focus. Does it take effort YES, is it always easy NO! But all it takes is one day at a time and sometimes one hour at a time.

I have found that ensuring that I set a daily alarm and break the day down into sections of time helps immensely. Literally saying by a certain time such and such needs to be done clears the path for building a routine. Don’t wait for mealtime when you are hungry to start preparing food. It is moments of hunger like this that triggers impulse eating and before you know it you have made poor choices based on a body/ emotional response instead of a well thought out mind response.

Ask for help!

Today more than ever there is are an abundance of dieticians who are working online and who are medically trained to give individualised and realistic advice on meal planning and food preparation. Most people who say they never have the time to address this due to lives that are busy with work, lifts and travel are now in the best possible position to implement positive lifestyle changes that can be long lasting. It’s not always about being weighed and measured by a dietician. The relationship with a dietician goes far beyond this. One of the aspects of my work that I am most passionate about is working with a client to truly bring about positive lifestyle changes in all areas of their life not just when it comes to food choices.

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Eating sensibly for a sensible lifestyle.

Each and every one of us has the ability within the scope of our unique situation to take one step in the right direction. Don’t use the excuse that when this is over I will start (…fill in the blank…). Each day and moment that we have now is a gift (that’s why it is called the present). Believe in yourself enough to give yourself the gift of coming through this time a healthier more motivated person and your time behind closed doors would have been very well spent.

 

 

 

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Justine Friedman (née Aginsky) made aliyah from Johannesburg, South Africa in November 2019 with her husband and their two children. In Johannesburg she was a successful clinical dietician, coach and speaker who ran her own private practice for 17 years. Justine is passionate about helping people, and women in particular, achieve greater degrees of health in their mind, body and soul. She is based in Modi’in and loves the challenges and successes that living in Israel has to offer.

The Organ Courier

Without leaving airport terminals to avoid quarantine, Israeli volunteer organ courier travels the world saving lives

By David E. Kaplan

In every moment of darkness, it seems, there are countless moments of light. Time and again, individuals, communities and organizations have demonstrated that the direst situations tend to bring out the best in people. Literally illuminating this in the ‘Age of Corona’ is Omri Nahmias’ article in The Jerusalem Post (April 13) “The Israeli Who Never Leaves Ben-Gurion Airport”.  Well, not quite –  he does leave but mostly to other airports.

Of all the endless articles on Corona, Omri’s one resonated the most – I read it and then again three times!

While people the world over are rightly preoccupied with the health and wellbeing of themselves, a 47-year-old Israeli family man remains committed to the lives of people he does not even know. Mishel Zrian is a volunteer organ courier for awaiting recipients; whose lives are dependent on such organs arriving “on time”.

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Israeli Life Saver. Voluntary organ courier Mishel Zrian on a flight to the USA delivering bone marrow during Coronavirus pandemic (photo credit: Courtesy)

He has been volunteering for 20 years mostly transporting bone marrow to patients across the globe.

Corona now complicates the process and procedure.

When Mishel’s employer told him last month that he was about to be furloughed until the end of April because of countries’ policies of lockdown and isolation, Mishel thought about the lives at stake and decided to take his volunteering work to the next level and “do it full time.”

But with “full time” came immense complications, inconveniences and personal sacrifices like not seeing his wife and children.

Since that fateful decision, he has landed in Israel five times but never left his country’s airport in order to avoid the mandatory 14-day quarantine!

Explaining to local media, Mishel says he has an agreement with the Israel Airports Authority that he is permitted to stay at the airport lounge “until I need to get back to carry the next bone marrow delivery. Sometimes, I can land in Israel from New York at 5.00 p.m., and by 10.00pm be on a flight in the opposite direction.”

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Confronting Global Enemy. Israeli soldiers are asked upon induction to voluntarily donate bone marrow samples that could be transplanted to recipients anywhere in the world. (photo credit: courtesy Ezer Mizion)

 

This type of selfless travel during a global life-threatening pandemic is proving to be hugely challenging but does not deter the intrepid volunteer.

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Israeli “ARM”y. An army recruit has his arm out to donate bone marrow.

Something to chew on

One of the many challenges is finding the time to eat – something most folks take for granted.

For this organ courier during Corona, “It’s hard to find an open restaurant when you are traveling,” he explains. “If I’m at the airport and I see an open place, I will eat chicken at ten in the morning. Why?  Because I don’t know when the next time will be to eat.”

In the hotels, “the situation is odd as well,” he continues. “Rooms are not always clean because of different guidelines regarding staff work, and if you need a towel or shampoo, you need to go down to the reception and ask for it. I have been in hotels with no breakfast or even coffee.” It is not uncommon for Mishel, he says:

for me to travel 24 hours without eating!”

But the main challenge, he said, is getting insurance cover.

“I couldn’t find anyone who would allow me to take out an insurance policy for the US,” he said. “I am worried about the possibility that I will get sick; so I do my best to practice social distancing while traveling.”

Bracha Zisser, founder and director of Ezer Mizion Bone Marrow Donor Registry and Collection Center, told the Post that before the coronavirus outbreak, hospitals around the world used to send a courier to pick up the bone marrow.

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Ezer Mizion is an Israeli health support organization offering a wide range of medical and social support services for Israel’s sick, disabled and elderly. One of Ezer Mizion’s most important services is its world’s largest Jewish Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

But things got complicated in the past few weeks. It is hard to deliver the bone marrow and to allow couriers to enter the country. So we are now working with Royale – a courier company with whom Mishel is volunteering and with El Al – that are helping us with no cost, in full volunteering,” she said. “They understand that it is about saving lives.”

Zisser revealed that in March 2020, Ezer Mizion was able to deliver 26 bone marrow donations:

– 14 to EU countries

– 10 to the US

–   1 to Argentina

–   1 to Panama.

Mishel says that despite all the challenges, he is determined to keep traveling because he knows that his work saves lives.

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Marvelous Milestone. Omer Babi was the 1 millionth potential stem cell donor in the Ezer Mizion Bone Marrow Registry.

The hardest part is to land in Israel without seeing my family. I have a wife and two children. Fortunately, they are supporting me.”

Mishel Zrian hails from the Israeli city of Petah Tikva, which aptly translates from the Hebrew: “Opening of Hope”.

Mishel does his city proud by living up to its name.

Israeli Company Revolutionizes Protective Masks

In the vanguard of cutting-edge fiber technologies, Argaman is protecting lives

By Gina Raphael

Outside of my family and business, my entire life’s focus has been working on behalf of the State of Israel. Each year, I look forward to a summer adventure focusing on philanthropic projects and visiting friends, bringing this mission to life. Memories of my summer adventures live on through pictures on Facebook but also through lives changed and bridges built.

 As Chair of the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) in Los Angeles, I am so honored to lead an amazing movement of Chaverot working on behalf of women and families in Israel. We are proud of our Women’s Shelters, Day Care Centers, Youth Villages, after school programs focused on Ethiopian Youth and so much more. It has also been a gift to work with and build connections between elected officials in California and our City of Beverly Hills with the State of Israel.

While my love for Israel has been expressed through philanthropic and leadership opportunities, we have continually pursued ways to carry products at Mickey Fine – our small chain of pharmacies – that are made in Israel. The goal has been to bring Israel to life in our stores in Beverly Hills not just through our love of the country but by bringing unique Israeli products into our stores.  Yes, there has been the occasional skin care, gift item and food product; and of course, the Israeli pharma company Teva, through our distributor McKesson Pharmaceuticals has been critical in our ongoing inventory.

What brought us this long-sought business connection to Israel from a commercial perspective has ironically been the Covid-19 pandemic. While Teva Pharmaceuticals has been an essential part of fighting the virus with its hydroxychloroquine product, our strongest connection ever has come from a leader in the scientific break-throughs, Argaman Technologies, their amazing founder, Jeff Gabbay and their BioBlocX Reusable Face Mask. Seeking a way to better protect our family, team and community, we literally sought out Argaman to bring a fresh perspective to the traditional face mask in this most challenging of times.

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Chief Scientist and President of Argaman Technologies, inventor Jeffrey Gabbay with copper-infused cotton fibers. (photo credit: FELICE FRIEDSON/TML PHOTOS)

Originally pursuing unique materials to cure hospital infections and better deliver cancer therapies, Argaman utilized revolutionary new applications that have been modified in face masks to battle the current pandemic.  The textiles have been tested on RNA viruses like bird flu and swine flu and have been applied to the current Corona virus. The cotton fiber of the mask is infused with compounds that are bad for bacteria but benign for humans. They use ultrasonic waves that are used to attach to the fibers.

According to Jeff Gabbay, President & Chief Technology Officer of Argaman, “the virus will wane but we have to make sure while the virus slows down that we are proactive and do what we can now to protect ourselves in  the event there will be a second wave; only we don’t know when. It means acting now to avoid the disorganization and anxiety we all suffered with this wave.”

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Jeffrey Gabbay at Argaman Technologies in Jerusalem. (TML Photos)

With mandatory usage of face masks in Los Angeles and in other cities as well, finding a reusable mask that provides a super level of protection became critical. In just a few short weeks, we have placed several orders and brought face masks for local and customers across the country. With the uncertainty of the virus, the belief in mighty Israel and brilliant Argaman to protect us is comforting at every level. Building distribution of this product line has been a top priority for us at Mickey Fine with the double mitzvah of protecting people while highlighting the innovation that Israel brings to the world.

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The writer demonstrating the revolutionary Israeli mask at her pharmacy in Beverly Hills, California .

While I am optimistic that my annual summer Israel adventure to Jerusalem will take place this August to work on behalf of philanthropic projects in Israel and finally meet my new friend Jeff Gabbay, I know that the world in which we live will remain forever changed. Most likely face masks will become a standard part of what we put in our purse and take on the plane. But we are also more confident that Israel is providing us that extra protection every day in our stores and for the community.

 

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Gina Raphael and husband Jeffrey Gross at Mickey Fine, a pharmacy with a soda fountain (JNF Impact – May 2016)

Gina Raphael and her husband Jeff Gross own Mickey Fine Pharmacy & Grill (www.mickefine.com), the leading independent pharmacy chain in Beverly Hills. gina@mickeyfine.com

 

 

“The Show Must Go On”

Can’t go to concerts, then ‘Corona Concerts’ come to you as top Israeli musicians perform nightly in our living rooms

By David E. Kaplan

How accustomed are Israelis that when the chips are down, they will not be denied culture and entertainment! It’s a hallmark of the character of this country and its people. Through wars, intifadas and incessant missile attacks, the message projected is that ‘The Show Must Go On’.

It’s in our national DNA.

Over a decade before Israel emerged as a state,  culture was foremost on the minds of those navigating its destiny.

On 26 December 1936, The Palestine Orchestra – the forerunner of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) – was born.  Its genesis coincided with The Great Arab Revolt (1936-1939) that began in April 1936 when a Jewish convoy was attacked, and two drivers killed. If frightening violence against Jews prevailed in Palestine, it was the impeding genocide of Jews in Europe that was the impetus for the formation of the IPO.

The great Polish-born Jewish violinist and musician, Bronislaw Huberman, who foresaw the Holocaust, persuaded 75 Jewish musicians from major European orchestras to immigrate to Palestine, creating what he called the “materialization of the Zionist culture in the fatherland” on the sand dunes of Tel Aviv.

Striving for excellence, Huberman invited the greatest conductor of the time, Arturo Toscanini, to conduct the opening concert, to be performed at the Levant Fair in Tel Aviv on 26 December 1936. Toscanini abandoned his renowned NBC Orchestra for several weeks “to render paternal care to the newly born…”

Having escaped the rise of Fascism in his homeland of Italy, the great Maestro said:

“I am doing this for humanity…”

That thirst of a people for music prevailed and is embedded in Israeli culture.

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Origins Of An Orchestra. Violinist Bronislaw Huberman founder of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) and Moshe Chelouche, Chairman of the Palestine Philharmonic – forerunner of the IPO – (centre), greets Arturo Toscanini (left) on his arrival to conduct the inaugural concert of the Israel Philharmonic orchestra in Tel Aviv on December 26, 1936. Moshe Chelouche was a descendant of the family that founded Neve Tzedek in 1887 and later Tel Aviv in 1909 and 2nd mayor of Tel-Aviv.

When in 1948, South African Dr Jack Medalie the grandfather of famed Israeli songwriter Doron Medalie volunteered to serve in Israel’s War of Independence as a doctor in the front line, he recounted how  in the thick of war, “I was surprised one day  when we were taken to a desolate place in the Negev where our soldiers sat listening to an orchestra under the baton of a young American.” The name of that “young American” was –  Leonard Bernstein, who was touring the war-ravaged country with an ensemble of 35 members of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra performing to civilians and soldiers alike  – a grueling schedule of forty concerts in sixty days.

Conducting several Beethoven pieces, “with a gusto of physical movement the like of which I had never seen,” recorded Medalie, “it was an amazing spectacle of an orchestra playing to an appreciative brigade of soldiers behind enemy lines.”

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Bernstein In Be’er Sheva. Leonard Bernstein at a concert given with members of the Israel Philharmonic for the armed forces, Be’er Sheva, November 20, 1948.

War might be raging, but culture was no casualty.

Recovering from his surprise, it did concern Medalie that between Beethoven and Bernstein “a few enemy bombs could have destroyed most of the Palmach in the Negev.”

Bernstein would later describe that of all his experiences in the nascent Jewish state during its war for survival, “the greatest being the special concerts for soldiers. Never could you imagine so intelligent and cultured and music-loving an army!”

Has any army anywhere been so described?

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Band On The Run. Hurrying from one base to another under fire, the Palmach’s musical and entertainment troupe, ‘Chizbatron’ is seen here with Chaim Hefer, the bands founder and chief songwriter, seated center right with the piano accordion.

Maintaining high moral during that war was critical, and whose ‘VOICE’ was most prominent was polish born Chaim Hefer who joined the Palmach in 1943 and took part in smuggling illegal immigrants through Syria and Lebanon. In January 1948 he was one of the founders of the Chizbatron, the Palmach army troupe, and was its chief songwriter. Hefer and his troupe would travel to combat units in the front line -their stage often a bed of rocks, a dusty dirt road or their tour truck. With the lighting furnished by a jeep’s headlights, the sun, the moon, or simply from a bonfire, the band often performed four to five times a day, each time before a different squad and sometimes sustaining casualties when some of its members were injured as their truck hit a landmine on the way to a performance. The fact that the ‘Chizbatron’ performed in the most dangerous places during the war, contributed to raising the morale, and some even say that “the Chizbatron was a battalion in its own right.”

 

‘Golden’ Oldie

This is little doubt that one of the most iconic Israeli songs of all time is  “Jerusalem of Gold”. Written by the  “first lady of Israeli song and poetry” Naomi Shemer and released three weeks before the beginning of the Six Day War in 1967, the paratroopers who first liberated the Western Wall – then more commonly called the Wailing Wall – sang this song in triumph after the Old City’s liberation after 2000 years of “occupation”.

Written during neighbouring Jordan’s occupation when Jews could not enter the Old City and worship in their holy places, it describes the longings of the Jewish people for Jerusalem.

After the war, Shemer added the last verse and is a heart-wrenching ‘reply’ to the lamentable second verse:

“We have returned to the cisterns

To the market and the square.

The shofar calls on the Temple Mount in the Old City.

And from the caves in the rocks, a thousand suns glow again.

We will go down to the Dead Sea by way of Jericho. “

 The album “Jerusalem of Gold” was the most widely-sold album in Israel and there was hardly a home that didn’t have a copy of this record. The lyrics and tune resonated to Jews across the globe, awakening their eternal longings  – a musical affirmation of a people’s desire to survive and strive.

Maestro Mehta

Another “Classical”  illumination was revealed to me in an exclusive interview in 2016 with former IPO lifetime director and conductor Zubin Mehta who regaled on his solidarity concerts in Israel during the First Gulf War (1990-1991) when he, and violinist Isaac Stern, were presented with gas marks  “just in case.”

“We never needed them,” he said, “and we only performed during the day, as the scuds were mainly at night when the country was in total darkness.” However, what fascinated the Maestro was  “the grit of Israeli audiences. People were rightly worried of scuds landing anywhere in the country with possible chemicals,  and here we were, the Israeli Philharmonic, performing to packed  audiences. Israelis were undeterred – they wanted to hear the music they loved.”

Deafening alarm sounded in the hall, disrupting Mozart’s Concerto No. 3 for violin and orchestra. The orchestra players went offstage to wear their masks, and Stern stepped off the stage, too, wanting to continue with the concert, but it was impossible to continue playing the concerto while the musicians wore masks. He decided to play the Adagio from Bach’s Sonata Violin No. 1 in Bach Minor, with the alarm still wailing in the background, and the audience stood up and burst into applause, which was accompanied by a siren. Stern wore no mask.

 Play On

Fast forward to 2002 and in the midst of the Second Intifada, when people avoided public places due to random suicide bombings on busses, bus stops, malls, clubs and restaurants, the South African Zionist Organisation in Israel – Telfed – organized a solidarity concert at Yad Lebanim Auditorium in Kfar Saba, aptly titled – “The Show Must Go On”.  Actors, musicians, dancers and singers from all over the country  – including a dance troupe from Eilat – performed and while it was feared, “no one will come, people are scared to go out at night”, the auditorium of over 800 seats was a sellout.

The people’s spirit of solidarity through culture prevailed, and snippets of that show can be enjoyed by logging below (As the movie begins on YouTube halfway, you will need to ‘rewind’ to the beginning):

Corona Concerts

Clearly, come hell or high water, Israelis from the past to the present, love their music, so no sooner had the government introduced regulations limiting gatherings due to concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus – including the cancellation of all cultural events until further notice –  many of Israel’s top performers signed up  to entertain Israel’s populace  stuck at home.

Writing in The Jerusalem Post,  Hannah Brown  expressed that “The missile barrages last November that drove residents of the south into shelters were a good dress rehearsal for the current health crisis. In that case, musicians went to the shelters and played for small audiences. But this time, even small numbers of spectators are not permitted, so the musicians are performing in empty auditoriums” and televised to the nation. Some of the musicians are performing in their own homes, like last Monday night’s concert in the garden of Omer Adam, whose music fuses elements of eastern “Mizrahi” and Western pop instrumentation.

Israel’s  2020 own “The Show Must Go On” series, kicked its first concert on a Saturday  night in March with Idan Raichel, one of the most well-known  Israeli artists abroad.

The diverse group of performers  appearing on Israel’s Channel 12 includes Harel Skaat, Amir Dadon, Maor Cohen, Asaf Amdursky, Dudu Aharon, Danny Robas, Knessiat Hasechel, Netta Barzilai, Marina Maximillian Blumin, Monica Sex, Natan Goshen, Idan Habib, Miki Gavrielov, Elai Botner, Amir Benyun, Kobi Aflalo, Karolina, Keren Peles, Shiri Maymon, Rami Kleinstein, Shuli Rand, the Shalva Band, Shimon Buskila and more.

Golan Einat, owner of the Zappa Group that is cosponsoring the ‘Corona Series’ together with Keshet, said: “In these difficult days, it is a great privilege for us to try to bring Zappa’s live performances directly into the homes of hundreds of thousands of people in Israel.”

And now all of you who might have missed these extraordinary concerts, can ENJOY at your leisure at home by linking onto the various performing artists below:

Omer Adam

Idan Reichel

Harel Skaat

Amir Dadon

Knessiat Hasechel

Danny Robas

Marina Maximillian Blumin

Nasrin

Ran Danker

Idan Habib

Elai Botner

Amir Benyun

Kobi Aflalo

Itay Levy

Keren Peles

Shiri Maymon

Rami Kleinstien

Shalva Band with Kobi Marimi

Shlomi Shabbat

Rotem Cohen

Liran Danino

Beit HaBubot (Dolls House)

Muki & DJ Jello

Roni Dalumi

The Revivo Project

 

Staying Healthy During Corona Crisis

In order to put up “The good Fight” we must boost our Immune System

By Lionel H. Phillips

In a 2012 article to understand the link between pandemics and what humans are doing to nature, disease ecologist and the president of EcoHealth, Peter Daszak asserted:

Any emerging disease in the last 30 or 40 years has come about as a result of encroachment into wild lands and changes in demography.”

It is our obligation to help virus-fighting cells to function efficiently in keeping our body protected from bacterial and viral infections. This is what could be called the ‘second line of defense’.

  • Remain calm
  • Keep occupied
  • Regular walks even in confined spaces
  • Stretching
  • Nose breathing which helps filter and clean the oxygen
  • Keep fully hydrated.

It is necessary to note that the ‘first line of defense’ against these invaders are the skin and the membranes that line the entrances to the body. These entrances are the nasal passages, the eyes, and the respiratory and digestive tracts. This is why the CDC  states that the first line of prevention is to wash your hands often and thoroughly as well as avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, as well as why so many people are rushing to buy face masks.

The immune and lymphatic systems are two closely related organ systems that share several organs and physiological functions. The immune system is our body’s defense system against infectious pathogenic viruses, bacteria, and fungi as well as parasitic animals and protists. The immune system works to keep these harmful agents out of the body and attacks those that manage to enter. We will deal with possibly the most active of these defenses.

The lymphatic system is a system of capillaries, vessels, nodes and other organs that transport a fluid called lymph from the tissues as it returns to the bloodstream. The lymphatic tissue of these organs filters and cleans the lymph of any debris, abnormal cells, or pathogens.

The lymphatic system also transports fatty acids from the Intestines (the intestines are vital organs in the gastrointestinal tract of our digestive system). Their functions are to further assist in the digestion by absorbing bile and pancreatic juices, which will help the nutrients released from that food to enter into the bloodstream.  The lymphatic system also transports fatty acids from the Intestines into the circulatory system.

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Bone Marrow and Leukocytes

Red bone marrow is a highly vascular tissue found mostly in the ends of long bones and in the flat bones of the body. Red bone marrow is a hematopoietic tissue containing many stem cells that produce blood cells. All of the leukocytes, or white blood cells, of the immune system are produced by red bone marrow. Leukocytes can be further broken down into 2 groups based upon the type of stem cells that produces them: myeloid stem cells and lymphoid stem cells.

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Leukocytes are the major cellular components of the inflammatory and immune system. While they only make up about 1 % of the blood in the body, leukocytes play an important role in protecting the body from infections/diseases caused by various microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, amoeba etc.) and other types of parasites such as filarial worms.

While essential nutrients are critical for the production and maintenance of key germ-fighting cells in the immune system, a balanced diet also has a strong effect on vascular function. The immune system is dependent on blood flow because the bloodstream is the route along which infection-fighting cells travel throughout the body to wherever they are needed.

Maintaining a well-balanced diet and keeping a healthy eating habit are your best assurance to keep the immune system functioning correctly.

Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins A and C. They also have phytochemicals that lend fruits and vegetables their colors. These food groups also contain antioxidants that promote the body’s built-in anti-viral and anti-bacterial functions. These nutrients help ensure that the lymphocytes can divide and reproduce properly in response to a virus, and that the neutrophils and macrophages that engulf and kill invading bacteria can do their job efficiently.

Maximizing the variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can be achieved by eating up to six servings of fruits and vegetables per day. It is necessary to consume two different colors of vegetables and fruits with each meal, and one-third of lean protein.

Include in your diet a generous amount of protein to ensure production of more white blood cells to help combat the invading antigens. The building blocks of all the body’s cells, including the cells that power the immune system, are the amino acids found in protein. Protein and amino acids are essential in increasing immune cell proliferation. It has also been reported that one crucial amino acid called, arginine, is required to let the body know that it’s being attacked by an infection, so that all those good virus fighting cells can react more quickly in a second-line of defense against a human coronavirus. It is also claimed that Arginine increases your blood circulation when it comes to fighting viral infections.

According to WHO, coronavirus causes respiratory diseases.   In short, COVID-19 virus begins to attack your lungs and two things can possibly happen – either it will end in your lungs or it can spread to other parts of your body, such as resulting in liver or kidney failure.

It is widely reported that once you have been attacked, it could take more than 12 months to fully recover.

Many Reasons to Drink Water Regularly Every Day

The most important items required for our Human Body Machine to function efficiently, is Fresh Air and Clean Water. Unfortunately, the majority do not consume sufficient of this most important commodity. Now is the time to improve, if there ever was one.

Now is the time to move beyond whether one likes or dislikes. WATER & MORE WATER IS THE ORDER OF THE DAY. Force yourself if necessary.

The various systems of the body use and store different amounts of water. It is imperative that every system works well, so that the other systems can also work in a healthy state.

Every system relies on the efficient functions of the other systems. So, if one system is not working well, other systems will be adversely affected.

Below is a listing of a few of the body systems that need and rely on sufficient water –

  1. Water boosts your Immune System
  2. Keeps you looking young and fresh
  3. Helps to keep your Kidneys healthy
  4. Gives you energy and helps avoid muscle and joint pains
  5. Prevents Headaches and Lightheadedness
  6. Improves the circulation of Blood
  7. Helps your Muscles to remain in good condition – even stops them from Cramping
  8. Important for your Digestive system – Avoids Constipation

  9. Prevents Bad Breath and a Dry Mouth.

The percentage of Water in your various body parts are –

Brain – 80%;        Blood – 85%;   Bones – 25%; Cells – 90%;    Muscles – 80%

There are three stages of the attack of a virus:

First stage

Flu-like symptoms with or without fever. At this stage it is hard to ascertain whether the coronavirus will continue to spread. It can stay dormant for at least 10 days before it goes to the second stage of attack. Hence why people are diagnosed with coronavirus can go past the thermal scanners at the airports without any early warning signs.

Second stage

Many diagnosed with coronavirus will develop pneumonia in both lungs and this is usually accompanied by symptoms like shortness of breath, fever, cough and other forms of breathing difficulties.

Third stage

Lung damage continues to build — which can result in respiratory failure depending on your health condition and age. In severe cases, you will witness coughing blood and other extreme conditions. Some may survive this stage or recover with permanent lung damage.

How does it Transmit?

When an infected person coughs or sneezes, coronavirus contained in micro droplets of saliva, mucus, or other bodily fluids can be easily transferred through skin contact (i.e. touch), kissing or airborne. So, if a person sneezes or coughs next to you, then you need to take extra caution by not touching whatever may have been on the receiving end, with your hands.

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Human pathogenic microbes, bacteria causing respiratory and enteric infections, infective endocarditis

 

The immune system is a complex system made up of organs and vessel systems including a network of individual cells and proteins.

It is “highly intelligent” and keeps a record of every germ it has ever defeated, so it can recognize and destroy the germ in the future.

The main parts of the immune system are:

  • White Blood Cells, also called leukocytes or leucocytes, are the cells of the immune system that are involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders.
  • Antibodies are a blood protein produced in response to and counteracting a specific antigen. Antibodies combine chemically with substances which the body recognizes as alien, such as bacteria, viruses, and foreign substances in the blood.
  • The Complement System which plays a critical role in inflammation and defense against some bacterial infections.
  • The Lymphatic System is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body.
  •  Bone Marrow is the spongy tissue inside some of the bones in the body, including the hip and thigh bones. Bone marrow contains immature cells, called stem cells. Healthy bone marrow and blood cells are needed in order to live.
  • The Spleen is an abdominal organ involved in the production and removal of blood cells.

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Surely PREVENTION is as, if not more important, than CURE. It is never too late to Start.

Prevention is the age-old wisdom that never goes out of fashion, except for the fact that most fail to live by its importance.

There are non-invasive ways and means to assist us in living a healthy and energetic lifestyle. One of the many benefits is a stronger immune system.

 Best wishes to all – Stay Safe.

Lionel H. Phillips D.O.

 

About the Author:

Staying Healthy During Corona Crisis6.JPGLionel Phillips is a Doctor of Osteopathy (1975), an International Fitness & Health Instructor, Consultant and Lecturer. He has  researched and designed ‘The Needs & Functions of the Human Body’ as an educational subject for inclusion in all School Curriculums World-Wide.

A past Federation Member and Israel Liaison Representative of IHRSA (International, Health & Racquet Sportsclub Association) and member of their world-wide “Panel of Experts”, Phillips is a recipient of the “Prime Ministers Award of Merit” (PM Menachem Begin).

 

 

Interested in keeping fit alone or together with the whole family?

Lionel Phillips’s website www.globalhealth-education.com which he launched in 2000  is a free site offering advice and explanations on the needs of The Human Body and how to cater to those needs.

Below you will find the link to website pages that illustrate and explain every movement.

(All of the routines can be copied and printed.)

Exercise and Stretching Routines

Pandemania

By Martine Alperstein

בס”ד

א׳ בְּנִיסָן תש״פ     Rosh Chodesh Nissan 578

25 March 2020

The lights dim. The camera rolls. A roaring male lion fills the screen. All is quiet except for the sound of crunching popcorn, the shlurping of soda and the soundtrack of the movie starting on the screen.

90 mins of sci fi hell as we are glued, fixated and sitting on the edge of our seats. The credits roll, shoulders relax, and we hear a common sigh of relief. It is over. It was just a movie. It was not real.

Except it is.

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It is real and we are living it, breathing it, experiencing it …….. every day and in every corner of our earth.

Covid-19. The corona virus that has spread its way across the entire globe and has changed our lives and our realities. It has brought with it fear, panic, distress, suicide, cruelty, dishonesty. It has reduced the world to latex gloves, a ridiculous amount of alcohol gel and all sorts of masks of varying types and qualities. It has crippled business and left many unemployed and unable to provide for their families. It has separated neighbourhoods, communities, families and people. It has left a trail of many dead.

What the hell is going on?

How on earth did this happen?

What does this mean now? What will this mean in the future? Will we ever understand it? What can we learn from it? How can we stop it? What can be done to prevent it? How do we flatten the curve? How do we kill the graph completely? How do we eradicate this virus from our world?

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I am an observant Jew. I believe in G-d and I believe everything happens for a reason. But there are some things that I don’t think I will ever understand. And Covid-19 is one of them. Is G-d trying to tell us something? Is G-d punishing us? Is G-d trying to help us put an end to pollution and save our environment? Is this G-d’s way of culling, of controlling population? Is G-d giving us a lesson to learn? What is G-d thinking?

I am desperate to find some meaning, some understanding, some clarity in this terrifying chaos. And I keep replaying the idea that these emotions and questions are not just pertinent to now. History is overflowing with records of atrocities, of cruelties, of war, of disease, of death.

There are some incredible people out there doing amazing work. Giving of themselves, sacrificing time with their families, sleep, rest and so much more to do whatever they can to help. The medical teams are putting themselves at risk in order to help save those already infected. People are reaching out to others to support where they can, to donate what they can and help where they can. There is many a shining light amongst us, who make the choice to turn on their torch in full.

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Tel Aviv. People in Tel Aviv take to balconies to applaud medical staff battling coronavirus, March 19, 2020 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

And yet, this feeling of loneliness is overwhelming. Overwhelming for me who has a husband and children with me at home, overwhelming for me who is surrounded by an incredible network of really amazing family and friends who are constantly in touch, supporting me and being supported by me. And still, I feel so alone. Days on end of not leaving the house, of very little human touch, of keeping distance. Zoom is still just a picture on a screen, WhatsApp video is just another variation on a different device.  And as much as I am so grateful for this technology which makes a huge difference to our communication and our being in lockdown, it still does not replace human contact, human touch and face to face conversation.

I don’t know what the lesson to learn is, what the takeaway should be. And maybe I never will. But one thing Covid-19 has highlighted in bold with flashing lights is that we are us. There is no distinction. There is no discrimination. There is no privilege. There is no advantaged and no disadvantaged. Covid-19 does not care if you are black, white, yellow, green or purple. Covid-19 does not care if you pray to G-d, Hashem, Allah, Buddha, a totem pole, the Sun God or to nothing at all. Covid-19 does not care if you are straight, gay, bi-sexual or transsexual. Covid-19 does not give a damn if you have millions in the bank, are just getting by, struggling to put food on the table or living on handouts. Fame and Fortune mean nothing at the end of the day.

Covid-19 has humbled me.

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Jerusalem. Women in Jerusalem applaud medical staff battling coronavirus, March 19, 2020 (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Covid-19 has reinforced my belief that the only thing that counts is the way you behave, the way you conduct yourself, the way you treat others and the way you relate to others. Ego, arrogance, importance, high and mightiness is a waste of time, of emotion, of your time on this earth.  We need to focus on what counts. On what brings value. On what creates meaning. And on what really makes a difference in this lifetime of ours.

 is how we shine and make a mark on this world   מצוות שבין אדם לחברו

The choice is yours.

I light a candle to our love

In love our problems disappear

But all in all we soon discover

That one and one is all we long to hear

(Pipes of Peace – Paul McCartney)

 

 

So Nu, What Are You Doing These Days?

Coping With Corona

By David E. Kaplan

Travelling anywhere?

Yes, too frequently! To the kitchen and sometimes a pitstop at the bar cabinet!

And for those in for a little more adventure, I hear:

We, wife and I, are going away for the weekend; we just haven’t decided which room to move to!”

This is the “new normal” or as one headline so poignantly warned, “If your weekend felt normal, you are endangering us all.”

‘Social distancing’ and ‘washing your hands’ we are told is our “only hope”. With Corona accelerating, we have little protection other than our behaviour, which requires us to keep apart.

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While people are unable to control events, they can control how they cope with them.

This is literally in their hands – both figuratively and literally.

With the entire Israeli  public under strict lockdown, Lay Of The Land was  intrigued how this boisterous and socially gregarious public was handling being cooped up in their homes.

“You have to keep going and keep busy,” advocates Pauline Borsuk, a senior citizen resident at the South African retirement home Beth Protea in Herzliya, Israel. “I keep engaged by phoning my brothers on WhatsApp in the States – Boston, Houston and Washington and my kids and grandkids in Israel.  Then I go to pottery, walk and sit in the public areas of Beth Protea – keeping our two-metre distance of course, and have my hair done once a week. We can’t leave the place; we can’t receive visitors and we no longer have meals together in the dining room.”

So how is that managed?

“All the meals are now wonderfully packed and brought to our rooms. So we adjust; we manage. I was a professional social worker, so I understand what is required to cope. You have to keep going and do the best under these trying conditions. This is the way I think. I had a mother like that and a grandmother like that – it’s in my genes.”

And finally Pauline adds “don’t lose your sense of humour.”

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Under Lockdown. The garden section of Beth Protea, the South African retirement home in Herzliya, Israel.

Jokes Aside

So true as shown by the amount of time people globally are investing in the dissemination of humour through social media. A sense of humour is proving a strong line of defense in coping with stress.

A key element of jokes shared, mostly on WhatsApp is that they comically force you to look at the same situation in different ways.

With frequent references by politicians saying, “we are at war” and “fighting an invisible enemy”,  I loved this one below comparing our efforts in this “war” to the “Greatest Generation” of WWII:

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As far as keeping busy at home, people are proving imaginative and industrious, I called my Lay of the Land colleague, Rolene Marks to get her take what she is “up to” when she is not writing or broadcasting live and she did not allow me to even finish the question:

Call back in an hour. I’m just about to start my on-line gym class on Zoom!”

 This I was familiar with. My daughter Keren, a dance instructor is running  five classes for her students on-line using Zoom and hopes to raise it to twelve classes.  She has converted an upstairs spare room into a solo dance studio, “and it’s working well,” she says descending the stairway with a heavy sweat after an early evening class. “Great way to keep fit and keep up our spirits” she says.  Without having to leave their parent’s homes, her students range in age from nine to eighteen years. It does come with some dangers. With a slanted roof in one section of her loft ‘studio’, a bump on the forehead was noticeable after one energised modern jazz session!

To see Keren perform with friend Lee in the local Hod Hasharon Park before it was closed to visitors due to Coronavirus:

Inspired by my daughter’s example, I have converted our lounge into a gym and removed an unpacked GymTrim exercise machine which I had brought from South Africa when I came on Aliyah in 1987.  That’s a long time ago. Many times I considered getting rid of it. Which only gives credence to the adage – “Don’t throw away today what you might need tomorrow.”  In this case, that tomorrow took over three decades to arrive – thanks to Coronavirus!

Reflecting on my native South Africa whose population only this week has been  locked into their homes for a period of at least 21 days, the writer, Richard Poplak in his ‘Locked & LoadedSouth Africa enters the Age of Corona’ notes that “home” is “a mutable term where some will sequester themselves in palaces, others in shacks. These inequities – long nurtured and time-tested – are the conditions in which any virus thrives. Can we beat Covid-19 when we haven’t figured out how to live without a plague.”

Over 700 cases in South Africa have so far been diagnosed and the future is uncertain.

My next call was to Manof,  a community settlement established by South Africans in 1980 in northern Israel. Located on Mount Shekhanya in the Lower Galilee, about 30 km northeast of Haifa, Manof has a population of 862.

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Picturesque and Pastoral. Established by South Africans in 1980, moshav Manof in the Lower Galilee, in northern Israel.

Only a few days earlier, some 197 of its residents came out of a 14-day period of quarantine after having attended a party celebrating the Jewish festivity of Purim where also attending had been a visitor from abroad later diagnosed as having Coronavirus. .

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Resident of Manof, psychotherapist Irit Kaplan.

Fortunate in not having attended the party, Irit Kaplan escaped the quarantine.  A psychotherapist, with a clinic near Nahariya, a coastal town in the north and nearly an hour’s drive away from Manof, the writer was interested to know how she kept her practice going.

“On the phone and on-line, I am at least managing to maintain about 70% of my work and that includes supervising my fellow professionals.”

And how has Corona affected her clients?

“A spectrum of reactions, all depending on the circumstances of the individual from a divorcee feeling more alone now than before to others anxious over their economic future. Also, with the children all confined in limited space, homes become pressure cookers.”

However, it was pleasing to hear from Irit that she had not “yet” encountered “any major fears, depression, acute anxiety or panic attacks as a direct consequence of the Coronavirus.”

An hour later, I called back Rolene calculating she must have finished her online Zoom gym session. She had, but she  was about to start her online live ballet class. “It’s the only way to get through this Corona. One has to continue doing things that feel normal and structure your day meaningfully.” As an example, she cites her husband, who is in hi-tech and now working from home, “gets up in the morning the usual time, dresses the same way as if he was going to work, and ‘travels’ to the dining room where he has set up his office, sits in front of his computer and does a full day’s work.”

As for Rolene, “there are five of us in our gym class; we have a WhatsApp group, and we synchronize when to hold our classes. My ballet is with another group and if its Sunday, its Pilates.”

So Corona or no Corona, “we pursue our  lives within the limitations imposed on us.”

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Home Alone. Pre-Corona, Rolene Marks (left) exercising with friends on Tel Aviv beach. Now each in her class, exercises alone but together through Zoom.

Collective Comfort

Away from the cities and towns, Israel’s rural population living in its collective settlements are fortunate to have social infrastructures to cope with Corona.

“I think what is quite unique  about Israel,” says Irit, “are our support systems across the country on our kibbutzim, moshavim and yishuvim. Already in place, these structures of support equipped communities to absorb the unforeseen Corona.” She explains that on Manof, “We have a committee for our seniors who are constantly phoned to see how they are doing and if they require anything from food to medicine. We have organised for provisions from our local store to be delivered to households by the youth of the moshav, who are all volunteers. On our internet network, people advise when going to the supermarket or pharmacy and offer to get for those who need anything. We also have a women’s WhatsApp group called “Who’s Got A Cup Of Sugar”. We are 135 in the group and help each in need. On an ordinary day, it might be “I have run out of baking powder, ginger or garlic, these days it is more in tune with the needs of coping under Corona and that includes, sharing jokes. Above all, we need to keep our spirits up.”

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The New Normal. A man wears a face mask as he walks in a market in Ashkelon while Israel tightened a national stay-at-home policy following the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ashkelon, Israel March 20, 2020. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

Israelis are used to keeping their spirits up as well as  accustomed to staying at home and obsessively tuning into the news. Wars and constant terror have prepared and hardened this population.

This however is different.

How we should have listened to Bill Gates when he addressed the 2015 Ted Talks when he warned :

“If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus rather than a war. Not missiles, but microbes.”

These days, it’s not to bomb shelters, sealed rooms or the stairwell Israelis scurry, sometimes in their pajamas. With Corona we have the luxury of staying put on our sofas.

As Dana Kesler noted with wry humour writing in the Tablet that when this is all over, Israel can expect “a post-coronavirus baby-boom plus a long line at the rabbinical courts to get a divorce.”

A baby-boom is good; in the meantime let’s get over the virus!

 

 

VIRAL REFLECTIONS

By Justine Friedman (nee Aginsky)

One week ago, if anyone had told me that I would be sitting at home and writing this I would have thought how crazy! Surely in a weeks’ time my life will be pretty much the same. I would have done a few loads of washing, been for a walk or run, fetched my kids from school and got ready for an afternoon of studying and then extra murals.

I now sit with more time on my hands than I ever dreamed possible and I feel like I am on some strange holiday.

The exam I was meant to write on the 2nd April has been cancelled by the Ministry of Health and I have no idea when in the future a date will be set for it. I am both relieved and frustrated. Relieved as I this was really the crunch time to get through all the big sections of nutrition work and also frustrated as I was relying on writing and passing the exam so that I could receive a licence to practise the profession I am so passionate about in Israel.

One thing I certainly can see from all of this is how little control we have over most of what we are living through now. It is a reminder that the illusion of control we all felt we had was exactly that – an illusion!

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Bizarre At Ben Gurion airport. Passengers wearing masks to help protect against coronavirus arrive at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

As I sit in my apartment in Israel so grateful that I have Wi-Fi and access to live talks and programs, I feel stifled that I am unable to just hop on a plane and go anywhere. Just a trip to the shops involves wearing latex gloves and a bottle of sanitiser. So, I fill my days with trying to establish a new routine for my family so that we all have some kind of a structure. I still have my kids up by a certain time. We all still pray in the morning and then they do some schoolwork. We are luckily not in a state of quarantine, so we are still able to leave our apartment and go for walks. I am now so mindful of just how close I am to the strangers and friends on the street and even though a distance of two meters sounds like a lot, it also feels rather close!

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Few And Far Between. The Western Wall viewed from the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, March 13, 2020 where only a few were at prayer. (LH/Times if Israel)

I strongly believe that each of us now have a big role to play in how we conduct ourselves. We can easily get swept up in the fear and panic of stock piling food, masks and toilet paper. Or we can choose to focus on the gift that this invisible virus has given us, and that is time. Time to be with our families, time to discuss what is truly important in life and most of all time to reflect on how we can live our best lives and be the best human beings we can be.

An attitude of positivity and gratitude has never been more important. Instead of focusing on what we don’t have or the fear of not having, we need to enter into a mindset of the abundance of what we do have. We live in a plentiful world. We live in a world that has become so used to instant gratification. At this time the biggest gift of all is to know just how blessed we all are.

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Snapshot Of The New-normal. Two women take a selfie as they wear face masks in Tel Aviv, Israel amid coronavirus pandemic, Sunday, March 15, 2020

For those people who are truly suffering, who are unable to be with family members, who can’t hug and kiss a child, who are truly ill with this virus these musings may seem nonchalant and without empathy. I pray that all of those who are affected will be out of suffering soon. I pray for healing for all. But for those of us who are being responsible and reducing exposure and living in as much of a lockdown as we can, I pray that we all have the tranquillity of mind to know that positivity and prayer is the best remedy and is a far more powerful tool for surviving this pandemic than panic and fear.

At this time of greatest uncertainty for every human being the world over, we are united in one thing. No matter our colour, creed or religion we are all affected in one way or another. Let us choose to be united in the ability we all have, to share kindness, words of care and encouragement and support, for no virus can control our behaviour. That my fellow human beings, is entirely up to us.

VIRAL REFLECTIONS2

 

 

About the Author:

1581402634466blob.jpgJustine Friedman (nee Aginsky) made aliyah from Johannesburg, South Africa in November 2019 with her husband and their two children. In Johannesburg she was a successful clinical dietician, coach and speaker who ran her own private practice for 17 years. Justine is passionate about helping people, and women in particular, achieve greater degrees of health in their mind, body and soul. She is based in Modi’in and loves the challenges and successes that living in Israel has to offer.

 

Israel Declares War On Corona

By  Rolene Marks

When Israel started to enforce very tough measures in response to the growing Coronavirus pandemic, many thought the country’s leaders were suffering from a case of “coronoia”. Fast forward several days, and that the numbers grow around the world and it seems like no country is immune, Israel’s strict measures, first criticized by the global media and citizens alike, is now being lauded.

Israel, recognizing the threat of the Covid-19 virus almost at the outset, acted with almost military precision. This was done against the background of coalition discussions after Israel’s March 2nd election. Israel has demonstrated its magnificent crisis management capabilities.

A country that is used to adapting quickly to changing conditions, we have survived intifadas, wars and waves of terror and this has built a strong, resilient survivalist culture.

Years of dealing with threats means we have become accustomed to quickly adapting. Israel is also a country where the majority of citizens has served in the army and is accustomed to taking orders and following accordingly.

Israel’s response has exhibited the best of the country – and its spirit. Declaring war against the virus, the government with its relevant ministries, has employed all mechanisms that one would in a decisive military campaign. Counter-terror technology, the military and the extraordinary Magen David Adom have all been deployed to ensure that Israel’s citizens have what they need; that the response is quick and efficient and that we can maintain monitoring on the virus. The end goal is clear – flatten the curve.

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Prepared. Workers at Sheba-Tel HaShomer Hospital near Tel Aviv wait for Israelis who were under coronavirus quarantine on the cruise ship, Diamond Princess, in Japan, February 20, 2020. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Tight restrictions now mean that we can get a firm handle on this global pandemic and hopefully recover soonest.

The first major restriction put in place was enforcing a rule that anyone, regardless of where they came from and including Israeli nationals, had to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entry into the country. Crowds were restricted to no more than 100 (since reduced to ten), and schools closed until after Passover.  This drew widespread criticism from the global media who saw this move as somewhat draconian but days after, as the virus continued to spread, most saw Israel’s response as the right way to go about beating this virus and are now appealing to their governments to follow suit.

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No Kidding. An empty classroom in Ashdod following the closure of schools, kindergartens, universities and any gatherings of over 10 people. (Photo: Marina Schneider)

The man that many say is responsible for Israel’s rapid and responsible response is Moshe Bar Siman-Tov, the Director General of the Health Ministry. The first non-doctor to head the ministry, this economist who many call “Barsi”, has introduced this aggressive policy not only to slow the entry of the virus into Israel, but to ensure that the country’s health infrastructure does not become overwhelmed and many are applauding him.  Other countries have taken note.

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New Reality. Following Israel’s introduction of a blanket quarantine policy for anyone entering the country, an empty airline check-in counters at Ben Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv. (Amir Cohen/Reuters)

Some of them have.

New Zealand has followed Israel’s self-quarantine on entry example and South Africa, has restricted crowds to no more than 100.

Over the past weekend, it was announced that Israel would go into partial lockdown. All leisure activities like theatre, movies, restaurants and malls would be closed. No more than 10 people at a gathering and if possible, work from home. Social distancing at 2 metres is also recommended. Not touching is completely uncharacteristic for the hot blooded, tactile Israelis who mostly feel that invading one’s personal space is totally okay because we are all family!

Israelis are getting creative! Restaurants are finding ways to change their business models to deliver instead of shutting completely; kids are online schooling and faced with the prospect of having to talk to each other (heaven forbid!) a number of Israelis have been caught standing on their balconies, singing to their hearts content. This shining example of resilience was started in Italy – and it is hard to compete, but it really is proof that there is an Eyal Golan song for every occasion!

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In High Gear. An employee of Rambam Medical Center in Haifa moves equipment to a special wing being set up at the hospital to treat the coronavirus, February 29, 2019. (Screen capture: Twitter)

Like many countries, the pervasive panic over a potential shortage of toilet paper has sent many storming the supermarkets. While we have been reassured, we have no shortage of anything, including a decent roll of 2/3 ply, many are frightened that they will not survive the great bog roll shortage of 2020. It’s loo-paper-geddon! Personally I believe stockpiling whisky would be more effective – it is medicinal!

One of the greatest lessons in all of this has been the realization that we are all in this together. Israel and the Palestinian Authority are jointly working together to save lives and contain the virus so that our respective populations remain safe and through the COGAT unit of the IDF, disinfectants, sanitisers and medical supplies continue to enter the Gaza Strip.

Keeping morale high (Petach-Tikva/Israel, 16.03.2020)

As China recovers and the eye of the storm moves westwards, all we can do is pour ourselves a Quarantini (it is just a martini – only drunk alone), wash our hands multiple times and be grateful for a government who has set a shining example on how we win the war against Covid-19. It can be done.

 

 

Mega Shopping? An alternative way to spend in the queue.

 

 

*Feature Picture:Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Healing Bodies to Healing Relations

Nurses From Gaza Train In Israel

By David E. Kaplan

In the first week of January 2020, five nurses from the Gaza Strip, joined eleven fellow Palestinians from the West Bank who arrived in Israel for four days of intense but innovative medical training.

It was conducted by Israeli physicians through a collaboration between Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHR) and the Medical Simulation Center (MSR) at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer.

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Top Training. Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, the hospital training the Palestinian nurses is one of the finest hospitals in the Middle East, treating over 1,500,000 patients annually from around the world.

The training programme proved a revelation to all sixteen participants, particularly to those from Gaza.  “It’s different than I thought,”  Akram Abu Salah, a nurse from the Gaza Strip told The Jerusalem Post. “The people are very nice. You have Jews and Palestinians working together. It minimizes the gaps between us.”

Clearly, there is no substitute for direct contact as Salah reveals.  “I could not imagine how this country would be or how it works.”

While there has been collaboration between MSR and PHR for a number of years training Palestinian physicians and ambulance drivers, this was the first time that training was extended to nurses.

The sixteen participating nurses learned new practices in the field of primary medicine, focusing on skills they might require in emergency situations such as how to  stop bleeding, intubation  – the placement of a flexible plastic tube into the trachea to maintain an open airway – and chest drains. A special session was held on advanced cardiovascular life support.

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Training To Save Lives. Palestinians, Farid Mustafa from Nablus (left) and Akram Abu Salah from Gaza train on a high-tech mannequin at Sheba Medical Center in central Israel. (photo credit: Marc Sellem)

This ‘life-saving’ training would end each day at 5.00pm whereafter in the evenings, the Palestinians engaged in social activities with their Israeli counterparts.

Four out of five of the Gazan participants had never been outside of the Gaza Strip, so the trip had been quite an experience.

All were amazed by the size of Sheba and the sophisticated training available through MSR.

The 2,400-square-meter Medical Simulation Center was founded in 2001  to lead a nationwide effort to introduce new standards and innovative approaches in health care training and patient-safety education for the benefit of the people of Israel. A press release on the center describes the facility “as a virtual hospital” that “encompasses the whole spectrum of medical simulation modalities – from role-playing actors for communication and clinical-skills training to cutting-edge, computer-driven, full-body mannequins that enable team training for challenging and high risk clinical conditions.”

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Medical Simulation Center (MSR) at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer.

 

It was “action stations” – close to real live situations. Teamwork is essential. One of the participants carefully placed an oxygen mask on the $100,000 blonde-haired dummy while another started to perform CPR as a third set a pulse oximeter around the dummy’s finger.

Communicating in English to each other, the Palestinian nurses continued to attempt to resuscitate the mannequin, as their Israeli instructor observed them. Minutes later, the “patient” woke up from ‘its’ cardiac arrest – ‘its’ condition stabilized.

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MSR – Simulation of Emergency Department Sheba.

Exposure to this kind of intense and innovative simulated training is invaluable.

Amitai Ziv, the founder and director of the Center for Medical Simulation, said that the courses at the facility aim to allow the health professionals to learn in a safe atmosphere.

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Visionary. Amitai Ziv, the founder and head of the Israel Center for Medical Simulation.

With a third most common cause of death worldwide being medical errors – estimates show 250,000-400,000 people die annually in American hospitals because of them – Ziv, a former pilot in the Israeli Air Force, explains:

The message embedded in the programs here is let us err and reflect on our errors in a safe environment.”

Working Together

“I am very happy for the chance to attend this advanced trauma course. In Gaza, we have plenty of problems, and there is so much we can learn from Israel,” said Abu Salah.

He was clear that the  Gazan Ministry of Healthwants to me to absorb this experience in Israel and bring it back to Gaza.”

Salah reveals that hospitals in Gaza are often understaffed and lack basic necessities and medications, including chemotherapy drugs.

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No Fuel, No Services. An employee of the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza at the Beit Hanun hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, after it stopped its services on January 29, 2018, when it ran out of fuel. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

However, because of the fluid security situation, it is quite a complicated mission bringing the participants from Gaza into Israel. It takes persistence and perseverance.

Despite advanced application and pre-approval, the Gazan nurses were nevertheless delayed entry for a day for reasons of security.

Abu Salah only received the call at 11 p.m. from the Gazan Ministry of Health the night before he was granted entry and told, “tomorrow, you will travel to Israel.”

He was sleeping when he received the call, “but I packed my bag and prepared to go,” he told local media. “My wife knows I am here, but my extended family does not know. I can only tell them when I get back.”

While Salah said in Israel his visit was supported by the Hamas-run health ministry, he admitted to being unsure how he would be received upon his return and uncertain of the  questions he might be asked by Hamas officials.

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Heartwarming. Together with Israeli instructors, a group of Palestinian nurses from the West Bank and Gaza Strip huddle around a high-tech mannequin that for the sake of the exercise has gone into a cardiac arrest

Going To Gaza

However, its not only Palestinian medical professionals coming to Israel but Israelis professionals traveling to Gaza.

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Professor Raphael Walden. Deputy Director of the Sheba Medical Center, in charge of Risk Management, Quality Assurance and Medical Education and recipient of France’s  “Officier de la legion d’Honneur”.

Israeli president for Physicians for Human Rights Israel, Prof. Rafi Walden, reveals how nearly every month he helps arrange missions of Israeli doctors to Gaza to perform advanced surgery and provide training to Gaza physicians by Israeli experts in the realms of gastroenterology, oncology and more.

It’s appalling,” Walden said of the situation in Gaza. “Just terrible conditions. The main hospital in Gaza has empty shelves; they are missing critical medications. There was a time they did not have the liquid needed to clean the skin before surgery. Everything is missing. It is a real humanitarian disaster there.”

Walden believes that despite the challenges, PHR is creating “a microcosm of goodwill and understanding in this crazy situation of conflict. Beside the medical aspect of the work, another aspect no less important is the opportunity to meet with people and establish common ground. It’s a peace building activity – and a little light and the end of the tunnel.” 

Physicians for Human Rights Israel covered the costs of the programme as well as the attendees’ expenses including hotel rooms, transportation and meals. Ran Goldstein, the executive director of the organization, said the total cost was approximately NIS 90,000 ($26,000).

Ziv explains that while the courses for the Palestinian health participants aims to substantially upgrade their standards of professionalism, there is also the invaluable benefit of building bridges between Israelis and Palestinians.

Since Israelis and Palestinians often meet on the killing and battle front, we strongly believe it is important that they meet on the health and education front,” he said, adding that he holds that “professional relationships among human beings can bring about trust and friendliness.”

One 42-year-old nurse from Nablus, Farid Mustafa, said that medicine is a field that transcends political and national divides.

It does not matter who you are — an Israeli or Palestinian, Jew or Muslim, local or foreigner,” he said. “In health, we see and treat everyone as a human being. We take this approach in our interactions with sick persons and our colleagues here and elsewhere.”

Supporting his sentiment, Farid recounted an incident when he had personally provided first aid to Israelis involved in a car crash near Ramallah in the West Bank two years earlier.

I saw that two vehicles had collided. I pulled over to the side of the road and helped them,” he said. “When I did that, the identity of the injured persons made no difference to me. All I saw were people in need of aid.”

So too for Ayman Ibrahaim Amaya, a 43-year-old nurse from Qalqilya , who said he hoped he would be able to return to the Center for Medical Simulation in the future.

This is my first time doing a training in Israel and it has been very beneficial,” he said. “So I wish that it will not be the last.”

Future lives depend that “it will not be the last.”

With the goodwill of people on either side of the divide, it will not be.

לבריאות  and  صحة جيدة (“To health!” in Hebrew and Arabic)