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The honey will be flowing in Israel this Rosh Hashana thanks to an ambitious multiyear program aimed at increasing bee forage in Israel.
The Jewish National Fund (www.jnf.org) and The Israel Honey Board are working together to identify and grow trees that produce prolific amounts of nectar, which bees need to manufacture honey. Over 100,000 trees are distributed every year to beekeepers, who plant them in the area of their hives.
David Brand, head of JNF’s Department of Forestry and Development, has led the search for these “mega-producers” and explains that one of their major advantages is that “they are more reliable than wild flowers because they produce a consistent amount of nectar over an extended period of time.”
Beekeeper Yanay Sachs, from the southern town of Tzofit in the Arava Desert, has been planting trees supplied by the program for several years, and he has noticed a significant change in the condition of his hives. “Although some of the trees are still young,” says Sachs, “in some places I can now leave my hives by the groves most of the year, and they are producing more honey.”
Bringing Up Baby
Dr. Harvey Karp wrote the book on how to soothe the kvetchiest of kids. Years after their original publications, his two works, The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block(Bantam;
www.thehappiestbaby.com), each with companion DVD, remain best sellers.
The California-based pediatrician (left) has developed the concept of the “fourth trimester” (from birth to 3 months). He urges parents to recreate womblike conditions for their infants using his “5 S’s”—swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking.
“The sound in the womb is a shush sound,” Dr. Karp, 56, explains. “All people around the world make a shush sound to calm their babies, and that sound has even become incorporated into the words we use to say be quiet—silence, hush and sheket in Hebrew.”
In his toddlers’ book, rereleased last month, Dr. Karp, a Hadassah Associate, argues that 1- to 4-year-olds are developmentally akin to Neanderthals; caregivers must approach them on a primitive level, speaking “Toddlerese”—repetitious, short phrases accompanied by loud, childlike tones and appropriate facial expressions and body gestures.
So popular is his methodology that over 2,500 educators are teaching his techniques worldwide, from teen pregnancy clinics to army bases.
Blood Ties to Israel
Janey Barnhart, a nurse from Tacoma, Washington, found an unusual way to express her support for Israel. During her most recent visit, in May 2008, she donated blood.
Blood donations by tourists are a growing trend in Israel, according to Jonathan Feldstein, the Israel representative of American Friends of Magen David Adom. In 2007, tourists donated 802 units of blood, and more than 500 units were donated by mid-May 2008.
Feldstein sets up donation centers in hotels or other venues for groups; he also handles individual inquiries (email@example.com), trying to ensure in advance that prospective donors are indeed eligible.
Barnhart gave her pint of A- blood, which is relatively rare, as part of a blood drive of the Christian Friends of Israel during its conference in honor of the state’s 60th anniversary. Conference donors came from many countries, including Germany and Austria.
“Part of my heart is here,” Barnhart said. “Now my blood is here, too.”
Inspired Jewish Organizing
Devorah Rosen Goldman always wondered how Martha Stewart would tackle weekly Shabbat preparations and menu planning for the Jewish holidays. “Whether you are a veteran in the kitchen when it comes to preparing for Shabbat or coming at it for the first time, nothing can prepare you for a three-day yontif,” Goldman says.
With this in mind, Goldman set out to create a weekly planner that captures the glory and rhythm of Jewish life. The Jewish Woman’s Weekly Planner (www.inspiredjewishliving.com) includes organizational tips, inspirational messages and tear-out recipes with grids on the back to record the week’s menu, shopping lists and Shabbat guests.
In time for Rosh Hashana, the Christmas-free, 16-month, 152-page spiral organizer starts with September 2008 and goes through December 2009.
Remembering and Helping the Forgotten
Seven years ago, while on hiatus from producing and directing television sitcoms, Zane Buzby (at left in photo) journeyed to Eastern Europe to search for her grandparents’ hometown. There, she met Lithuanian professor Dovid Katz, who documents and helps Holocaust survivors—most of whom are ill and isolated without basic necessities. Buzby’s subsequent encounter with eight elderly Belarussian Jews changed her life as well as the lives of hundreds like them.
Today, her grass-roots nonprofit, The Survivor Mitzvah Project, provides food, shelter, medicine and friendship to 850 East Europeans who lived through that dark period.
The “forgotten survivors” have responded to Buzby’s efforts with photos and letters that she is now collecting in a book and online atwww.survivormitzvah.org.
“People who have experienced firsthand the horrors of the Holocaust shouldn’t have to suffer one more day,” she says.
—Sara Trappler Spielman
The Talmud translated into…Korean? Jewish visitors to Korea have been surprised to find shop owners, businesspeople and bus drivers reading the Talmud.
According to Myungduk Choi, professor of Hebrew at Seoul’s Konkuk University, “Most Koreans know about the Talmud, and many of them have read [sections of] it. Koreans believe the Talmud contains a great deal of wisdom that helps people live better.”
The Talmud is so highly regarded that it is part of the standard curriculum in many Korean high schools: Koreans believe the process of Talmud study sharpens the intellect.
“Koreans admire Jews for being astute [in business],” says Menachem Mendel Sudkowitz, a rabbi in Tokyo who works with many Koreans. “Koreans study the Talmud to enhance their critical thinking and debating skills.”
Power Suit for Summer
Looking for a swimsuit to protect you from the sun, maintain modesty and support a new Israeli enterprise?
Sara Bank Wolf—a Hadassah life member—and Daniella Teutsch, both formerly of the United States, have created Hydrochic (www.hydrochic.com), a swimwear line that uses materials with a sun-protective rating of UPF 50+, blocking out 98 percent of the sun’s rays.
Dr. Debbie Jaotkowitz, a Hadassah Medical Center dermatologist, says, “From what I’ve seen, I would say that [Hydrochic’s] protection is more reliable than sunscreen.”
Wolf, who used to rely on cover-ups while swimming due to religious laws of modesty, came up with the concept for Hydrochic while she was at the beach with her family. Now diving schools and specialty stores are buying the Israeli suits, which come in a variety of two-piece styles that can be mixed and matched.
“My mom wears [our suits] for sun protection after having survived colon cancer,” says Wolf. “Daniella’s mom wears them for coverage ‘in the right places.’”
—Toby Klein Greenwald