a different side of Israel

Tag: Health Concerns

Kissing a Mezuza Risks Swine Flu? Doctors Say Yes

swine flu virusIn a country where it’s a nearly ubiquitous custom to kiss a Mezuzah upon entering and exiting a building, at a time when said country is all up in arms about Swine Flu, is probably a bad combination. But the question has already been asked. Can kissing a Mezuzah contribute to the spread of the disease?

What’s the need for the question? Of course yes. Flu is extremely contagious, and it stands to reason that an object that collects bits of saliva from passersby can function like a hub for H1N1. But the Rabbis were asked anyway. Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar had this to say on the subject, “If a specific order is given in the matter, the mezuzah must be kissed from the air, to ensure that the custom is not forgotten.” That’s a pretty fair compromise, but why must an order be given? We all know that the flu spreads from salivary contact. Do we need an order to tell us so?

Dr Ilan YoungsterMeanwhile, six out of seven doctors interviewed on the subject declined to comment about Mezuzahs in particular, for fear of getting in trouble with the Rabbis. No comment. There was only one doctor brave enough to tell the truth. Kissing Mezuzahs (sans Rabbi Amar’s air-kissing technique) increases the spread of Swine Flu, is dangerous, and people should refrain from doing it. His name is Ilan Youngster, and he based his warning on research he presented a year and a half ago sampling 70 Mezuzahs, which all turned out to contain many dangerous bacteria.

“Perhaps,” he continued, “because of the fact that the mezuzah is a religious object, people are afraid to sterilize it.”

Rabbi Amar responded to Youngster’s recommendation with ambivalence. On the one hand, he didn’t want the Health Ministry to issue an advisory against the practice, however, he recommended that anyone who wants to follow Youngster’s advice, “…put his hand near the mezuzah and kiss it, so as not to miss out on this good and important custom.”

I would ask Rabbi Amar about the commandment of “shmor et nafsheha” which is a Biblical obligation that a Jew watch over his health and well being, which I’m guessing should override a mere custom, but Amar wasn’t available for comment. I also didn’t call him for one either, for fear of getting in trouble with the Rabbis.

Pot Bellies can be Health Hazards

fattyGot a pot belly or “beer gut” as we Westerners often refer to them? If so, you could be likely to have all kinds of health problems, including being susceptible to a number of serious (and even fatal) diseases.

In a recent study by Ben Gurion University’s Clinical Biochemistry Department, people who carry a large amount of abdominal fat have fat cells that send the wrong kind of internal “communication” to other parts of the body; which eventually results in the onset of a number of serious diseases, including those affecting the heart, liver, pancreas, and other organs.

This Shawarma has nothing to do with the post - but look at it. Now you understand why people in Israel have pot bellies?

This Shawarma has nothing to do with the post - but look at it. Now you understand why people in Israel have pot bellies?

The study, carried out jointly with a group of German scientists (due to this increasing problem among their own citizens) from the University of Leipzig published their findings in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. The findings determined that large amounts of fat calls store a number of secretions and other unhealthy substances that cause problems in the effective communication between healthy cells and various parts of the body. These communication problems send the wrong messages to important parts of the body, including the brain, resulting in “miss-communication” that can cause problems with proper body metabolism and weight management.

Dr. Assaf Rudich, a senior lecturer in BGU’s Clinical Biochemistry Department, noted that “in obesity, fat (adipose) tissue becomes dysfunctional, and miss-communicates with the other tissues. This places fat tissue at a central junction in mechanisms leading to common diseases attributed to obesity, like Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.”

As fat cells become overgrown, they cause a problem with proper amounts of oxygen being delivered to various body tissues, causing inflammation and even death to important body cells. The fat cells also result in high amounts of glucose and fatty acids being send through the bloodstream which put a lot of stress on vital body tissues, resulting in diseases and other harmful conditions.

Samples of abdominal fat tissue were taken during operations in order to study how these tissues affect the normal body “pathways”. In addition, a body protein known as ASK1 was also monitored, as this protein is tied closely to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, as it predicts whole body insulin resistance. The conclusion is that people need to reduce abdominal fat as much as possible; especially people over age 40.

Think Twice Before You Forward

Three babies died in Israel in the past week. Although this is a very rare coincidence, these tragedies appear to be unconnected to each other.

However, a virtual chain letter that gained momentum in the past few days has claimed that Bamba consumption caused all three incidents. THIS IS FALSE. Bamba, the yellow peanut butter snack, has nothing to do with the death of these 3 babies.

But thousands of people who received an email cautioning them to stay away from Bamba, didn’t think twice before forwarding the email to all their contacts. The rumor spread out, and this caused the Osem stock to plunge down yesterday morning (Osem is the company that manufactures Bamba).

Today I read that Osem wants to file defamation lawsuit against the original author of this hysteric Email. So I guess sending Emails can be a risky business.

State Sponsored Poison

In case you didn’t know, Israel is the only country in the world which intentionally adds Fluorine to its drinking water. Why? Because the Ministry of Health thinks it would help you keep your teeth healthy, whether you’d like it or not. Fluorine is the stuff that’s used to cool down your refrigerator, or to kill pesky insects. Being exposed to too much Fluorine causes Fluorosis.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about this:

Skeletal fluorosis is a bone disease exclusively caused by excessive consumption of fluoride. In advanced cases, skeletal fluorosis causes pain and damage to bones and joints. […] Common causes of fluorosis include […] consumption of fluoride from drinking water, and consumption of fluoride from the drinking of tea. […] In India, the most common cause of fluorosis is fluoride-laden water derived from deep bore wells.

Dental fluorosis is a health condition caused by an overdose of fluoride. In its severe form it is characterized by black and brown stains, as well as cracking and pitting of the teeth.

One needs to remember that the amount of fluorine added to our tap water is intended for adults, but small children and breast-feeding women consume it as well, and it affects them more severely.

This is why in Israel there is such huge demand for Mineral Water. In part, we do it to avoid the danger of artificially added fluorine in our water supplies. However, we can’t avoid it completely, because the same tap water is used for irrigation and for breeding edible farm animals.

Now we’ve learnt that the Ministry of Health is bent on poisoning our mineral waters as well. Why? Because many people intentionally choose to avoid tap water, and that might harm their teeth!

Perhaps the Ministry of Health believes in the principles of fascist communism. Or perhaps a top bureaucrat in the Ministry received a hefty envelope from the fluorine industry.

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