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Rosh Hashanah: May We Be Blessed With A Happy, Healthy, & Peaceful New Year

by on September 11, 2014

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Unlike all the other Jewish Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah, The Jewish New Year, is not linked to the remembrance of national liberation or to the commemoration of a national tragedy. In fact, Rosh Hashanah does not focus on the experience of the Jewish people in history at all. Rather it serves as a lens to examine central universalist themes of Jewish belief and values, such as mortality, change, and meaning, Unlike other holidays, Rosh Hashanah is associated with a mythological moment in time – the creation of the cosmos. The Machzor — prayerbook – for Rosh Hashanah returns to this image again and again with the words Hayom harat OlamToday is the birthday of the world. This is not a story about Jews but a story about humanity. In its most salient formulation, the creation of one world, presupposes one God, and one humanity, which implies that all people are brothers and sisters. This theme of the unification of all life is again replayed on Yom Kippur –  (some would say At-one-ment) – again our religious mythos has the One God sitting in judgment of all of humanity, and each person is judged not by the color of their skin or by their creed or ethnicity, but by their actions.

There are many blessings appropriate for this season of the year, blessings for health and prosperity among others, and we wish for them all. There is however one blessing particular apt for this time of year: the Blessing of Shalom. Most of us know that Shalom in Hebrew means hello and goodbye , meanings derived from Shalom’s more basic translation as “peace.” But Shalom has an even more basic meaning: Shalom means wholeness, completeness, harmony, serenity, and the absence of friction, agitation and discord. Shalom means having everything in its right place ( for example there is no need to work on the Sabbath as everything is already just right.). Shalom means an acceptance of everything that arises just as it is with no need to grasp on to it and no need to change it or fix it. Our sages say that Shalom is the greatest of blessings; it is also the most elusive. At a time when our world is in turmoil we can ask to be blessed with shalom on two levels: first, may we know wholeness of mind, body and spirit and reveille in the serenity and harmony that rises from such peace. May we learn not just to pray for peace but to embody peace in our whole selves. Second, may we open our hearts ever-wider to all peoples of the earth who are in struggle and experiencing violence and disease. May they too come to a place of harmony and wholeness where the thought of raising arms against another would be unthinkable.

May the One who makes peace throughout the cosmos make peace for each of us in ourselves, make peace for the People of Israel, and make peace for all peoples of the Earth. And may we be blessed with a happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year.

 

ROSH HASHANAH RESOURCES:

  • Holiday Information – Learn more about the High Holy Days.
  • Recipes - Celebrate the New Year with a delicious Honey Almond Cake or Kale & Pomegranate Salad!

 

Homemade Honey & Oats Granola Bars

by on September 12, 2014

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Healthy, Tasty, Portable.  What’s not to like?

Finding a snack that will provide you with energy and is easy to pack and carry isn’t always easy.  Granola Bars fit the bill but can be pricey. This recipe for homemade granola bars will be satisfying and easy on the pocket book!

And, an added bonus, oats are known to lower cholesterol levels, provide fiber in your diet, Continue reading

The Meaning of Life – As Seen through The Eyes Of My Patients

by on September 3, 2014

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As we approach the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur this month, I find myself becoming more reflective, particularly about what’s important in my life. Twenty years ago I was asked to complete a biographical survey for a physician newsletter about my personal interests, which included questions such as the latest book I read, my favorite movie, etc. There was one question that stood out, “What is the meaning of life?” My response, “God knows.” It occurred to me a few years later that I could delve into a better understanding of this existential question by probing my patients for their stories about what has been meaningful in their lives. You may wonder how during a 15-20 minute visit with patients I could have time for such a discussion. One cannot come out and say, “Tell me the meaning of your life,” but I felt I could approach the Continue reading

Dear New Kindergarten Mom

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KSimon-PhotobyTraciBianchi-625Dear New Kindergarten Mom,

This morning, I bundled my boys into the stroller and went out for one last impromptu morning walk. Max will be starting kindergarten next week, and the days spent hanging out in our jammies and meandering to the nearest park or Starbucks are almost over. My best friend texted me a picture of her own 5-year-old a few minutes later, standing in front of his new elementary school. “How did we get here?!” I texted back. It was yesterday that we were pregnant together. Visiting the fire station with toddlers together. Welcoming second babies together. “How did we get here?!”

Well, Mama, I want you to take a break from packing lunches and tucking pencils into binders. Continue reading

What Do Employers Want? Hint—It’s Not What You Think!

by on August 26, 2014

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At a recent employer panel on the peninsula, I had the opportunity to ask four high level executives (VP and Director levels) from four large organizations what type of technical training we should be providing our job seekers.

Strangely there was an awkward silence following the question. Finally, the HR person from the large, well established tech firm spoke up. His answer, paraphrased here, was that by the time he saw a candidate that person had already established that he had the technical skills needed. What he needed was someone who had empathy. WHAT?!?!  EMPATHY? What the heck does empathy have to do with tech? Continue reading

Container Gardening

by on August 19, 2014

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There’s nothing quite like fresh produce harvested at its peak. Even if you live in a space with only a small patio or balcony, containers provide a wonderful way to enjoy your favorite foods year round.

Make The Most Of The Space You Have
Most plants require between 5 –7 hours of sunlight a day to thrive. Choose a location that receives adequate sunlight, is protected from too much wind and temperature extremes, and is in a convenient location for care and harvesting. One of the benefits of container gardening is Continue reading

Perfect Recipe For Summer Tomatoes

by on August 13, 2014

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Don’t know what to do with all of those delicious summer tomatoes? You probably have some day old bread around too. Try this delicious Panzanella Salad. It is the perfect dish for any summer meal!

Panzanella Salad

Serves 8 |  Hands-On Time: 25 m |  Total Time: 25 m

Ingredients
5 cups 1-inch bread cubes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil1/4 cup red wine vinegar Continue reading

High Blood Pressure – The Hidden Killer

by on August 5, 2014

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On April 12, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was sitting in his living room having his portrait painted by artist Elizabeth Shoumatoff, who later became most renowned for “Unfinished Portrait” of FDR. Also present was Lucy Mercer, Eleanor’s social secretary, but most notorious because of her affair with the president. His dog, Fala, and two cousins were in the room as well according to biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin. At 1:00 pm, FDR complained of “traffic pain at the back of my head,” and collapsed, unconscious. His cardiologist quickly arrived and recognized the signs of a cerebral hemorrhage, a type of stroke. One could argue that one of FDR’s visitors that day triggered his stroke, but it is much more likely that years of untreated high blood pressure led to FDR’s demise at the age of 63.

High blood pressure or hypertension still remains a hidden killer at large. It is estimated that high blood pressure kills approximately 1000 Americans each day due to its effects on Continue reading

Yearning For Peace

by on July 31, 2014

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Marla (left) and Stephanie.

I can’t read the news about Israel and Gaza. It is too violent. Too heartbreaking. Too familiar. And I also can’t stop reading the news about Israel and Gaza.

It is too important. Too urgent. Too familiar.

The situation is complex. There are no easy answers. There is no clear right or wrong anymore, except for this: too many people are dead. Too many people are being left to grieve and mourn those they love. Too many fathers are without their children, too many wives are without their spouses, and too many young people have lost their parents, friends, and siblings. Enough is enough. There has to be a better way.

Wednesday, July 31, 2002
The world woke up to news of a bombing at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. It was the first Continue reading

Looking for a Low-Impact Workout? Try Battle Rope Training

by on July 28, 2014

by Christopher Nash, PJCC Personal Trainer

Kevin, a fit software engineer, wanted to pursue cardio training. However, the 50-year old was concerned that running would be hard on his already-bad knees, the collateral damage of a 30-year love for soccer. He had also had a hip replaced the previous year. When Kevin asked me Continue reading