Special Sections

Where Aleppo Feels Closer Than Manhattan

03/06/2009

I was only 16 when I left my community of Syrian Jews in Brooklyn, convinced I was on an upward trajectory. I was, after all, trading the prospect of Brooklyn College for Vassar, abandoning the staid, simple streets of Bensonhurst for the lush opulence of the quad in Poughkeepsie and later Manhattan, leaving behind the little shul where I sat with my mom in the obligatory women’s section for the vast progressive egalitarian temples that were sprouting everywhere in America.

A Walk in the City

03/06/2009

The Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt. Stay in the land that I shall say to you. Sojourn in this land so that I may be with you and bless you….”
— Genesis 26.2-3

Isaac is the only patriarch who does not leave the Land of Israel. Abraham and Jacob both go to Egypt, but when famine strikes in his lifetime, God says to stay put.

The Question Of Community

03/06/2009

"What indeed is "community"?


Are we bound together by common purposes and goals? (This approach is beloved by the community organizers.) Or is there something deeper, more intimate, in the idea of community, something that reaches down to family? In this construct, the community provides the individual much of what the family provides; it’s the idea of kinship.

Setting Limits Is An Act Of Love

Special To The Jewish Week
01/30/2009

One of the most dramatic changes I have observed over the course of my 35-plus years practicing psychotherapy is that when a phone call interrupts a therapy session nowadays, it is most often the patient’s phone that is ringing and not the therapist’s.

Trying to resist the urge to tap my foot to the lively beat of the ring tone, I could not help smiling as a patient of mine recently retrieved her blaring cell phone from her purse.

Health Briefs

01/30/2009

* (JTA) — Jewish groups praised President Obama for reversing a Bush administration order banning U.S. assistance to overseas groups that provide abortions or information about other providers.

“The repeal of the Global Gag Rule represents a major victory for international family planning programs and renews America’s position as a leader in the global community,” Mark Pelavin, the associate director of the Union for Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center, said Friday.

Attacking Cancer At Its Roots

Special To The Jewish Week
01/30/2009

I didn’t know what real loveliness was until I saw my Aunt Nomi in the hallway of Sloan Kettering Cancer Center wearing a visitor’s gown and a face mask.
   

“Where are you coming from?” I asked her. I had just left my grandfather’s room, Nomi’s father, when I saw her exiting a different room.

The Stem Cell Fast Track

Staff Writer
01/30/2009

In a city where so many cultures seek spiritual reawakening, scientists in Jerusalem are harvesting their own type of rebirth, as they develop more ways to save lives through the use of undifferentiated stem cells.

The laboratories of Israeli universities boast some of the newest advancements in molecular biology, and two potentially life-changing stem cell projects are unfolding at Hebrew University – Hadassah Medical School.

The God Vitamin?

Staff Writer
01/30/2009

In an era when religion and science seem divided by a gaping chasm, one group of scientists is showing how these two belief systems may be a little closer than we think.

Shal — Ohmmm

Special To The Jewish Week
01/30/2009

Aimee Beyda steals away for 45 minutes every morning to the quiet of her second bedroom, where she engages in an ancient practice that has transformed her life. Wrapped in a soft blanket, Beyda focuses on her inhalations and exhalations, the ebb and flow of her breath. She allows thoughts to wash over her, but not to drag her in or under.

“Meditating is like a pill. It takes the edge off things a little bit,” says Beyda. “If I’m down, I just say it’s OK. I can deal with that.”

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