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A Health Information Management professional, I survived a life-threatening emergency with information that only a person of my professional experience would know. And I’m sharing it!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Haveil Havallim Parshat Vayetzay Roundup!


7 Kislev, 5775  

Chanuka happens in a few weeks and I sort of celebrated early at the start of the Kislev month.

Thanks to my friends Chava Levin and Batya Medad, I spent time in Shilo, home of the Mishkan last Shabbat. 

​​It was a spiritually spine-tingling time to be in Shilo at Rosh Chodesh. When the men announced the molad (astronomical moment of the new moon's "birth") as "AKHSHAV!" ("NOW!") during rosh chodesh (new month) tfilot (prayers) on Shabbat, I felt spiritually electrified. That confluence won't happen again for another 30 years, I believe. 

Batya Medad (she blogs at told me that it's a special segula (special portent) for brakhot (blessings) and gosh I felt it. 

Here I am in the white coat, praying for the welfare of the world at large, with women who arrive at this site for the start of every Jewish month. That's Carralee Harwood from Eli, in the denim skirt and orange striped top.

Chava (a local) is in the blue and white snood.

As for praying at Tel Shilo (the archaeological site of Shilo) on Sunday, rosh chodesh (start of the new month), well, I had a mantra during my 3-hour bus ride back home: "I live in the holy land. I live a holy life. I live in the holy land. I live a holy life. I live in the holy land. I live a holy life..."

Miriam Blum, in the middle gave us a guided tour of the area, 
with fascinating information. 
Inside that building behind her are relics of 
several civilizations. 
All over the area, as in all over Israel, 
relics of conquerors are atop
what had been there in the first place: Jewish artifacts!

Miriam mentioned that the conquerors 
destroyed earlier structures without concern.
I responded that, no, they'd done it with
calculated contempt for their enemies.

(Remember Rabbi Sacks' words: 

"To be free, you must let go of hate.")

She agreed with me.

Let's move on. Real life acquaintance and IDF truck driver Sgt. Shem Tov Sasson brings us along for the ride and another of his excursions around the Israeli countryside in

Mitzpe Oded and Kever Yosef 

Long a beacon of good sense for the Jewish and wider worlds, Gail Winston carries on her late husband Manny's work. Check out the Jewish State Law coverage at

Gaza War Diary Mon. Nov. 24 Day 140 11pm

Oh, you want to know what the heck the Haveil Havalim thing is all about? OK, I borrowed this succinct explanation from fellow (fellowette?) HHer and former homie, Ruti Eastman:

.A blog carnival is a round-up of blog posts, sort of an internet magazine. 
Haveil Havalim is the most veteran of the Jewish blogger carnivals
and probably one of the longest running blog carnivals

Haveil Havalim, the international Jewish blog carnival, 
was established by Soccer Dad,
and was then run by Jack.

Now it is run via the HH facebook page. Anyone interested in contributing to Haveil Havavalim should join the group.

[The term “Haveil Havalim” is from Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, which was written by King Solomon. It means “Vanity of Vanities”.]

Back to me, YG again. My take on the Haveil Havalim phrase for Jewish blogging purposes is that no matter how we try to keep Am Yisrael on track with a pro-Israel, pro-Torah set of priorities, GOD will have the final say in everything. We mortals just do our best  ;^D

Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod shares lotsa good stuff with...

Israel's cheap coffee obsession!

The five-shekel coffee obsession started in the centre of the country, but it’s spreading out, propelled by chains like cofix – the original five-shekel fixed-price coffee joint.

Awesome new aliyah book:

How do you write a book about something as momentous as moving to Israel? One Facebook post, one bus ride, one limonana at a time.

It would be a joke... if my foot didn't hurt so much:

My problem is that it only hurts when I’m barefoot.  Put on a pair of shoes and I’m Wonder Woman.  I leave everybody in my dust.  Take them off… and I’m Little Red Riding Hood’s grandma, barely able to get out of bed.

Are you smarter than a third grader when it comes to mental illness?

Some of these phrases are so deeply ingrained that you might not even realize you're talking about mental illness when you say them. 

Batya's back with "There are many of us who write/blog to stay sane." 

Take out the hankie for this wonderful aliyah story.

My illustrated travel adventure.

Basic hasbara (public relations, literally "explanation")  helps by knocking out the lying anti-semites.

Feeling hungry for good food and some history, yet? 

Batya asks "Who remembers this cookbook?" Please read, comment and share, thanks.

Well I'm the HH hostess this week and I say "NO DESERT for the leftists!" Why? I read what Batya reveals: "That's the only way they could make their demands a reality. Please share if you agree, thanks."
New HH participant Irene Rabinowitz seems to share my sentiments, somewhat. Check out her Times Of Israel Op-EDs!

OK, OKAY, I hear you. Let's focus more on upbeat content. Check out  Adam Hopkins' message:

My wife and I just made Aliyah last week. 
We are blogging about our adventure 
There are a couple new posts this week 
that people may find interesting.

Since it's almost Hanuka (Chanuka, spell it as you wish), how about making someone feel better with information on how to lower their medical costs, headaches and frustration over a medical or mental health/emotional situation? Give the gift that doctors recommend (click the cover to buy the E-book or print edition): 

BTW, do you know how many candles we use over the 8-day Chanuka holiday?


While we're on the subject, I'll refer you to a rabbi who shares fascinating information related to that: Rabbi Pinchas Winston. See his website

Quick! Click on Jacob Richman's "Only in Israel" Photos for a photographic treat!

Heartwarmer time: Miriam Green of the Beersheva AACI has a fantastic food & family blog about her mom's Alzheimer's situation. It leaves me teary-eyed each time I read it. This post salutes her dad

Ruti Mizrachi heals some aching hearts with her message "That we are all one family is evidenced by a love note, from one beleaguered community in Israel to another" here

The next HH host/ess is Tzivia  (Jennifer) MacLeod, so send your submissions to her via 
tzivia @ (repair the E-mail address by removing the spaces I put in to prevent spam from heading to her).

Buy the E-book or print edition of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge

Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. Face Your Future with Optimism. 

Fill yourself with self-respect.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

What to do when You're Wondering Why YOU should feel Thankful...


4 Kislev, 5775 

Sorry for the delay, folks. I've been trying to post footage of the new Bnai Akiva naming ceremony. Send me a link of the action if you can.


Canadians and Americans near and far are marking the "Thanksgiving" holiday weekend with in-laws, outlaws, illnesses, debt, too much food, and overspending on Black Friday despite previous declarations of "thank yous" to GOD for their bounty.

I suspect that they are trying to soothe inner agony that increases with the social pressure to appear cheerful, despite negative circumstances, at the holiday season.

Some of the participants bemoan their fates and sufferings verbally or inwardly, wondering why anyone else sees life with a cheerful perspective.

That misery will increase as Xmas, 
and Hanuka 
come closer on the calendar 
because of:

  • Family time marred by symbolic victories by warring ex-spouses leave offspring and everybody wondering how to achieve happiness.

  • Over-exerting yourself somehow. 

  • Medical and mental health/emotional problems seeming to be insurmountable as the whole wide world smiles despite your pain.

  • A sense of "need" or social obligation to dine on seasonal foods bad for your body leaves you suffering on and off the toilet, perhaps in medical offices.

Want to prevent or minimize the suffering? 

Get your grin back as you learn how to lower your medical debts with assistance from charitable foundations worldwide. 

Read laugh-out-loud stories that validate your point of view, the improve on it.

Learn about air transport options for people in fragile health. 

Fill your need for medical equipment from modest hospital gowns to free wheelchairs, and all the stuff in between


You'll find funny stories to cheer you up, 
solutions to boredom, emotional roller coasters,
medical needs and more.

That will leave you feeling thankful.

Do you have a question about the book or your medical situation? Share you question in the "Comments" section or send me an E-mail. I just might have a satisfying answer for you.

 BTW, here's a doctor's advice for getting through Thanksgiving a bit healthier than you might without the insight!

Buy the E-book or print edition of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge.  

Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. Face Your Future with Optimism. 

Fill your holidays with solutions you or a loved one need.


Buy the E-book or print edition of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge

 Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. Face Your Future with Optimism. 

Fill yourself with self respect. 


Friday, November 21, 2014

Shmita is Good for Spiritual Health!


28 Heshvan, 5775

My mind and heart are weary from recent events. So, I spent time nurturing my soul by reading a fascinating book. It abundantly reminds us mortals that GOD is in control. It's a terrific boost to spiritual health. 

Israel's Jews are commanded to let the land lie fallow every seventh year (based on the Jewish calendar). This is how we obey GOD's commandment about the Sabbatical year. It is a time when land rests for a yearlong Sabbath to GOD (Exodus 23:10-11). The commandment makes a significant impact on us while we honor it.

An adventure in securing sufficient groceries while observing associated halakhot/Jewish laws, Shmitta (variant spellings exist among English-speakers) year is the result. It makes for an interesting, exciting time of life for farmers, home gardeners, anybody who wants to eat, plus sellers of flowers, produce and trees - even house plants!

The Sabbatical year is very good for inner, outer, plus spiritual health. Fallow land is able to rebuild its strength. That translates into more nutritious foods later on, instead of depleted soil unable to sustain more than weeds. Human minds adjust to the fact that GOD makes the rules, not us. You can learn more about that and some spiritual matters at Aytzim.  

You can click here to learn about some of the miracles that have resulted due to Shmitta observance.

Confusion about relevant laws for observing shmitta abounds, however, and different books address those topics. I have a favorite among them.

Here's an excerpt from the publisher's page:


From the Sources to Practical Halakha

By Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon
Shemita examines the underlying principles and practical observance of the Jewish agricultural sabbatical year, leading readers from the sources in the Torah, Mishna and Gemara to the rulings of leading halakhic authorities, including Rav Kook and the Chazon Ish. The most comprehensive and systematic guidebook on the subject, Shemita considers the laws' numerous challenges and solutions pertaining to topics from tree pruning to fruit buying and soup making. Includes diagrams, illustrations and photographs.

Here's my review of the English-language version of this ground-breaking book, which is updated every seven years, to reflect recent agricultural realities:

Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon's masterful Shemita, From the Sources to Practical Halakha provides readers with a comprehensive background into the minutiae of relevant laws, the solutions to relevant controversies and a can-do guide to practical behavior. Readers come away educated, confident that they appreciate, and comply with, the scope of religiously legal issues.

The book's awe-inspiring photography is as beautiful as it is educational. Readers are also treated to an array of rabbinic opinions based on various Biblical passages that address Shmitta observance. 

There is no need to worry about Rabbi Rimon's copious coverage of relevant Jewish laws about Shemita. His colorful charts simplify otherwise confusing details. The at-a-glance information empowers the reader, aka consumer, to dine in completely shmitta-compliant comfort. 

There are other riches in this 558-page hardcover. Each chapter addresses specific concerns such as the laws, and their practical applications, in the garden, kitchen market, and wider society. How-to instructions for planting, pruning, weeding, grafting, fumigating, fertilizing and nurturing all kinds of plants during the Sabbatical year are accompanied by easily understood photographs. Page 188 for example, holds a how-to-do-this-correctly pictorial lesson for, among other plant-growing activities, removing stones from a field (considered to be a form of plowing, a somewhat forbidden activity that must be adapted to Shemita time).

The array of halakhically compliant though diverse methods in which a person may or may not acquire, use and dispose of shmitta-compliant produce (fruits, vegetables, flowers and saplings) can lend itself to fierce debates. Rabbi Rimon deftly handles the controversial topics with class and simplicity. Without a judgmental word, he explains the methods and rationales for the applications of different, yet halakhically valid, points of view. 

Information is underscored with chapter summaries, and with appendices for specific chapters. A chapter entitled The Various Solutions begins on page 386. It ties up many loose ends by posing questions, then providing answers (e.g., Is there a way to permit harvesting an entire crop of Shemita produce?) and expounds of specific solutions to multiple Shmitta issues. One example is that pages 359-369 address hothouses and soil beds detached from the ground as alternatives to the prohibition of eating and/or selling foods grown in the ground. Other alternatives are given equal time, too.

You'll unknot your brow as the author resolves the tension-filled question of Does the Yerushalmi (Talmud) contradict the Mishna (writings from a different historical period)? by citing distinctions in specific passages of text that neatly resolve the controversy. Readers who are very familiar with Jewish law or beginners wending their way through details upon details for the first time will enjoy the sensibly sorted out thoughts in this section.

While reading Shemita, From the Sources to Practical Halakha, I noticed a profound comparison of the Shmitta year and Shabbat, the Sabbath, on pages 29-31. The sentence that made magic for me is on page 31; "Resting from work during the shemita year connects us to the world of the Garden of Eden... the world of God. The people of Israel who reach their unique sanctity in the land of Israel elevate themselves to an even higher world - a world in which there is no competition or jealousy, a world of mutual assistance and fraternity, a world in which Torah study and connecting with God are natural and expected... Come let us go out to agree that Shabbat queen!"

So much for lofty aspirations and complicated agricultural tasks ruled by Jewish law. Trying to memorize many practical matters and finessing Shmitta-related controversies can tax the highest IQs.  And, it is difficult to maintain an ever-serious demeanor even when we should. 

The necessity for Jews to render their cared-for farmland ownerless during Shmitta year is a hot topic whenever it is addressed. Maggid Books (a division of Koren Publishers) and Rabbi Rimon, though, break up the monotonous legalese and somber tone of the surrender with visual humor on pages 416-420. Faux parchment missives appear in antique colors, holding the opinions of historical rabbinic figures who permitted the Heter Mechira mechanism of coping with Shmitta. A means of transferring ownership of farmland to non-Jews, so that the foods grown upon it will be completely edible and income-producing during the Sabbath year, it has been a hotly debated topic throughout the ages, what I'd call "The rule of the way out," pun fully intended.

By the time you reach page 436's Practical Guide to Purchasing Fruits and Vegetables in 5775 and 5776 (yes, Shemitta compliance will matter then, too) chart, you might exhale a breath of relief. Further guidance about this matter is followed by calming, cogent commentary until page 448. 

More marvelous information for minds that must take complicated subjects one at a time appears on page 263. It begins the chapter of The Laws of Produce with Shemita Sanctity: Navigating the Opportunity. The author focuses on upbeat messages such as "opportunity" rather than disheartening vocabulary such as "myriad of details" or some other stultifying word/phrase. There's a heartwarming treat that will bring tears to many eyes at the last page of this section. It's about a naive little boy who ran to the author with a concern about a rainstorm disrupting the land's rest during the previous Shemita season. The purity of that child's devotion to the mitzva of Shemita is too good to summarize here. Read it first-hand, and come away with warmer love for GOD, little ones, and Torah life. 

An education about The Release of Debts in terms of Jewish law and Shemitta commences on page 450. More faux parchment missives break down complicated legal matters about Pruzbol documents - legally binding debt release documents in Jewish law - into simple presentations that can be readily understood by the average reader. It clues readers in to the compassionate Torah point of view, as do divergent Shmitta produce-permitting laws.

There are more treasures in this masterfully prepared book. It is a solid investment for years to come, as readers study up on relevant Jewish laws that they can fulfill in future Shmitta years.

Buy your copy from the publisher here.

And if you want a bit more to smile about, read about the 'Shmittah Project' to Help Poor Families.

Want to nourish your mind and body's ability to cope with the stresses of illness, as well as your soul? Buy the E-book or print edition of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge.  

Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. 
Face Your Future with Optimism. 

Fill your mind with healthy thoughts.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Reality Check: Terrorism


27 Heshvan, 5775

I have not updated the blog lately, as Israelis, including me, are simply on coping mode. 

We are reeling from the inhumanity of the barbarians who chopped and shot worshippers to death, and of the reporters distorting reality so that Jews will be despised by conned consumers of false news reports.

This example of journalism as propaganda is chilling. 

So is this.

I happened to have been at an Israeli hospital to speak with a medical coding staff member when some of the survivors of the terrorist butchery arrived for life-saving treatment.

Almost everyone on staff was struggling to hold back their sobs as they tended to the injured people.

I spent part of today offering time and compassion to one of the mourners. Her cousin was murdered with a meat cleaver.

A world-famous educator shared her thoughts on the massacre, at A Personal Report on the Terror Attack in Har Nof (it's in WEST Jerusalem by the way, not East as CNN and other media have mis-reported. The attack happened in a synagogue, not a mosque, on land where Jewish ownership is not being disputed by anyone other than biased journalists).


Buy the E-book or print edition of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge

Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. Face Your Future with Optimism. 

Fill your mind with facts that can protect your physical and mental/emotional health.


Monday, November 17, 2014

How to Feel Safe When you Need a Second Medical Opinon


24 Heshvan, 5775

There's a substantial amount of idea-sharing in the

book about how to handle rude medical personnel, and how to convince them to respond with respect or to leave the area. 

Stress damages health. 
Calmness promotes it.

One of the ideas behind those paragraphs is that you, the patient, are the consumer, the boss, of your health care staff. A doctor is a hired hand, so to speak. You are free to fire clinicians you dislike and to hire the ones you prefer. 

Recent changes in health care law make that concept seem kind of fuzzy.

As I read an oncologist's recent essay to medical colleagues, I was struck by his compassionate insight into those realities.

You'll figure out how to feel safe when you need a second medical opinion, by reading and re-reading

When patients seek a second opinion:

 It’s not about you

Buy the E-book or print edition of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge

Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. 
Face Your Future with Optimism. 

Feel comfortable with your medical team.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Adjuvant Therapy: Tailored-to-YOU Medical Treatment!


21 Cheshvan, 5775

Sorry for my silence this week - I've spent lots of time connecting with interesting people and medical resources, plus traveling by train about the country. I've also invested time in learning some hi-tech techniques that I hope to use in the near future.

But let's focus on you, again.

One of the maddening, and terrifying, realities of medical treatment is that you, the patient, are left wondering why this doctor-recommended treatment or that would work, as if a One-Size-Fits-All solution is reliable.

The truth is, life does not have 
medical solutions.

Humanity comes with different genetic backgrounds and related medical realities. Some treatments will work, others not, with given populations.

We're also different from each other because of what we do or do not eat, breathe and drink. Medical treatment is affected by that, too.

There's more to the story, but I have a soothing resource to share with you. It was created by a man I know well and once worked with. And it solves the One-Size-Fits-All non-reality.

It's called Adjuvant Medical Solutions. Doctors are awed by its effectiveness in fostering tailor-made medical treatments to people with cancer and other chronic diseases. 

Explore the site. Consider if it can help you, too.

And yes, it's featured in 
the Global Resources section 

Explore the healing possibilities.

Buy the E-book or print edition of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge

Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. Face Your Future with Optimism. 

Find the resources you or someone you love needs.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How to Find the Motivational Answers YOU Need


12 Heshvan, 5775

Several people have confided to me that they're feeling down. Scarily "down."

Normal stuff for most people, but it never seems that way when we experience the sensation. 

Listen to the user-friendly point that author Elizabeth Gilbert makes about how to reset your focus and restore your inner happiness.


Now listen to Curly make the same point, his way.

Need more inspiration to face your issues? You're gonna LUV the Refining Silver story in

Buy the E-book or print edition of EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical (and Mental health) Challenge

Face Your Medical Problems with Dignity. Face Your Future with Optimism. 

Find out the answers you need by focusing on what your heart says to you.