Hebrew

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Knowing when to eat is important, but there are no bad times. One of the most obese people I have known personally was our family Kosher (traditional Jewish) butcher back on the east coast.  He said his weight was immeasurable on a normal scale; I didn’t know then that I would become that way later.  He was the kind of guy who was so heavy he was in such pain whenever he got up from a chair to serve a customer, he invoked God in rapidly recited Hebrew.

He said he ate very reasonable “balanced” (which is not what obese people need) meals during the day, but every night he got “crazy hungry” and “snacked” on everything imaginable, mostly sweets, from the minute he finished after-work dinner until his late bedtime, while in front of the television. He said his doctor was irate and told him to stop eating at night because eating in the evening and before bed made people fat and sick. Read more on Meats or Sweets For Weight Loss…

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One crucial turning point in my life remains a vivid experience, I know I will remember it always. I was five 1/2 years old and had just started the first grade at Yeshiva.  I didn’t last more than two weeks or so before I was propelled into second grade.  By then I read English perfectly well. Read more on Daddy And The Torah…

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When I was very itty-bitty and went to synagogue, there were certain moments when I felt the presence of the Deity so clearly and strong that my eyes and ears would be fixed on the events on the pulpit and I would tremble. This happened at the point in the liturgy when the Cantor held the Torah over his head. The Torah is the set of scrolls that contain the first five books of the Old Testament, hand copied onto the parchment in Hebrew. This alone was a marvelous achievement for this man with a deformed hip who did not exactly look as if he pumped iron.  He sang majestically, and the whole congregation knew this tune cold. Everyone also knew the words.

The words were those of Proverbs 3:18. “It is a tree of life to those who hold it fast….” As a child I regularly visited the cemetery with my family.  My Father-Of-Blessed-Memory would speak the prayers for the dead for the whole family, as my mother did not know how and my brother was too young and I probably believed I was, too — except really I was too female, but not yet in any way ready to deal with that fact. Many graves had the shape of — or at least a drawing of — a tree of which the trunk or a major branch had been cut.  For a child in a sunshine-filled cemetery, the idea of death being like a pruned version of the tree of life was accessible and acceptable in the context of nature. Read more on From Trees To Networks…

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The first thing you get when you “in-process” into the Army — at least the first thing I got — was dog tags.  I had to decide if I wanted my religion on my dog tags, and tell the lady at the typewriter what kind of funeral I wanted. For all my ups and downs, I decided I would die Jewish, and get a traditional funeral, and make the Army find a rabbi.  I could put that on them with no thought of guilt. I had the option of putting my faith on my dog tags.  I was warned, in the most dispassionate possible way, that some enemies of the United States of America would kill me if it said “Jewish.”  I chose a resolution some co-religionaries had chosen in World War II.  I chose “Hebrew,” feeling more in common with the ancient faith than with the heavily politicized modern tripartite (Orthodox, Conservative and Reformed) ways of filling congregations.

Then I got my “Geneva Convention” card — Lavender and black and white, it said in 22 languages, roughly the equivalent “Don’t kill me.  I’m a doctor.” 

Read more on Doctors In Danger — Real, Physical Danger…

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