randomness...: May 2004

My opinions, updates on my life, all sorts of "randomness"...

Monday, May 31, 2004


Not the best editing job, but I just wanted to throw something together to say that pictures are up from the reunion. Enjoy!!

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Terrorism’s toll on mental health: Kids who can’t play, teen alcoholics
By Dina Kraft

AFULA, Israel (JTA) — The 10-year-old boy’s dark eyes widen and he shifts nervously in his seat. He has trouble falling asleep many nights, says he doesn’t feel safe outside of his home and never watches the TV news after a terrorist attack.

It’s been this way since a pair of Palestinian terrorists sprayed shoppers with automatic gunfire outside the bus station in the northern town of Afula more than three years ago. Among those running for their lives were his parents. The boy found out about the attack while watching the news and was stunned to see footage of his father being taken away from the scene in an ambulance.

"I’m scared it will happen to me," says the boy, who is one of numerous students receiving trauma counseling at a new school-based treatment program for victims of terrorism.

On the other side of the political divide, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy in the Gaza Strip trembles constantly and finds eating and sleeping difficult ever since an Israeli bomb fell on his house, killing his sister and spraying pieces of her flesh on the walls.

With no end in sight to the violence and uncertainty of the Palestinian intifada, researchers are finding high levels of post-traumatic stress disorder among Israeli and Palestinian children. This week, Herzog Hospital’s Israel Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma, in Jerusalem, and the UJA-Federation of New York are holding a conference to examine the effects of terrorism on children and adolescents in Israel and the United States.

About half the children in Jerusalem, the city hit hardest by Palestinian violence during over the past three and a half years, experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, according to one Israeli child psychiatrist. That’s two to three times higher than the rate of children suffering from other causes of trauma...

Many suffer acute anxiety of public transportation and public places. Others have problems with insomnia. Increasingly, behavioral problems are emerging at school.

"The impression is that the rates are higher because terror exposure in Israel is not just a one-time event, but a way of life," said Dr. Esti Galili-Weisstraub, who heads Hadassah Hospital’s child psychiatry unit and has helped open two clinics in Jerusalem for children suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. She presented her findings at a recent Hadassah conference in Jerusalem.

With every new terror attack, she said, past traumas are relived and this "raises the question of the responsibility of the state not to take it lightly that children are exposed to terror trauma." In Palestinian areas, even more children witness violence first-hand. On average, every Palestinian child has witnessed about 10 traumatic incidents, according to some Israeli researchers.

"We found the Palestinian children are in a terrible situation . . . showing the range of symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as not sleeping, being hyper-vigilant, agitated, having nightmares," said Zehava Soloman of Tel Aviv University. "When you see traumas, and then the hunger and poverty, future orientation is catastrophic: They do not see themselves growing up."...

Researchers say that teenagers are at increased risk of psychological disorders because — at an age where they’re supposed to feel increasingly independent — terrorism places more and more restrictions on where they can go and what they can do. Additionally, many teens with problems fall through the cracks because they don’t want to burden their parents with their problems.

In her Dr. Ruth Pat-Horenczyk] survey of 300 Israeli adolescents, about 50 percent reported use of alcohol, with the number rising to 90 percent among those suffering from post-traumatic symptoms. Some 16 percent reported driving recklessly, with the number doubling for those experiencing post-traumatic disorders.

"In a way, they say to themselves what is considered not dangerous — such as taking a bus to school — has now become fatal, so maybe drugs and sex are not dangerous. The borders of danger and non-danger have collapsed," Pat-Horenczyk said...

Such a crazy world we're living in, when the dangerous antics of teenagers are in many cases actually safer then taking a bus. When the places that are considered "safe" no longer are, where do you turn? I remember feeling that way after the bombing at Hebrew University on July 31st, 2002. The bombing was in the Frank Sinatra Cafeteria at the Rothberg International school at Hebrew U. About a month earlier I was there with other American students on an Israel Advocacy Mission to Israel. The trip took us to Hebrew U and set up a Ben Yehudah-type sale in the courtyard of the Rothberg school, since the real Ben Yehudah was not "safe." Dinner was at Frank Sinatra. When the places that are considered "safe" no longer are, where do you turn?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

"If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her cunning. May my tongue cleave to my palate, if I ever think not of you, if I ever set not Jerusalem above my highest joy."
Psalm 137

Today is Yom Yerushalyim, when in 1967 Jerusalem was re-unified in the Six-Day War. Check out these articles and Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday)!

Friday, May 14, 2004

Check out this crazy controversy:

"A Hair-Raising Fear of Idols," by Tamar Rotem

David Ben Ezra, a Bnei Brak shopkeeper who sells wigs made of real hair, cannot handle all the telephone calls he is receiving from worried customers wanting to know where the hair comes from. Another wig-seller, A., said that her customers are demanding proof of the hair's origins, and are refusing to accept her word. The customers have been in a panic ever since rumors began flying that hair from India - which is where most of the hair used in natural wigs comes from - was originally used in an idol-worshiping rite. As a result, ultra-Orthodox women - who, according to Jewish law, must cover their own hair once they are married - are suddenly switching to synthetic wigs, or even to hats or kerchiefs (which, though preferred by the religious Zionist camp, are usually shunned by the Haredim)...

After a month of tension, Rabbi Shalom Yosef Elyashiv (the leading rabbi of one of the two main branches of ultra-Orthodoxy) finally issued his ruling on Wednesday: Wigs made of human hair from India may not be worn...

The storm began four weeks ago, when someone told the rabbis that most natural wigs imported from Europe are actually made of Indian hair. Two years ago, rumors had begun circulating that this hair was bought from Indian priests who gathered it up after the women cut it during a Hindu religious ceremony. This would be a serious problem, since Jewish law forbids the use of objects employed in idol worship (which in Judaism means all polytheistic religions). Apparently many wig-sellers concealed the fact that their wigs, though made in Europe, used Indian hair.

Crazy, right? Orthodox women all over not wearing their shetyls (wigs)... Here's another article about it...

Shabbat Shalom!!

Monday, May 03, 2004



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