Monday, October 29, 2007

DNR, Unless it Benefits the Party

The topic of DNR requests ("Do not resuscitate") and Living Wills became the topic of a heated discussion today, in the Women's locker room at the pool. Many Israelis do not even have a will which would protect their family, as was unfortunately the case with the 11-year old boy who lost his entire family in a car accident last month. Many women in the locker room today did not know with whom to consult regarding a will or the specific issue of the DNR, but most agreed that they would like to control their health care, and their death, as much as is possible.

Ariel Sharon, the former Prime Minister and current vegetable, has been kept in stasis for approximately the last two years, since he had his second more deadly stroke around the time of the elections. Initially, he was kept alive to give voters the impression that the party he founded, Kadima, would eventually return as their leader and as the political leader of the Israeli people. It made it easier to vote for Kadima, knowing that Ehud Olmert would be a temporary caretaker for the Lion of Judah.

Sharon then needed to be kept alive for the first 100-days, after the elections, so Olmert could technically solidify his power and create alliances, according to the Kadima charter. Now and again, the Sharon family leaks the condition of the former PM to the press, to keep the hope alive. Apparently, Sharon enjoys being sat in front of the television, along with all the medical gear keeping him alive, and particularly enjoys programs on National Geographic. He is, in Orwellian speak, "stable."

Those who may have disagreed with Ariel Sharon's politics would still applaud him for the energy and dedication that he exhibited for Israel in all his years of involvement in the army and then in party politics. He was a vital, stubborn man. By keeping him alive, it shows a total lack of respect for the legacy of his life, and the dignity of the human body.

Dignity of course can be variously defined by medical doctors, family members, Rabbinic authorities and philosophers. A cannibal might define respect of the human form by saving the brains for last; I wouldn't know, I have not been invited to their parties. Walt Disney felt it was totally dignified to sever his head from his body and put the housing for his brain in cryo-stasis, so that someday his consciousness and collective memories may be transplanted into a new vessel. The actor who played Mr. Scott (the engineer of Star Trek fame) had his remains launched into space.

I say that a person most definitely should make his/her wishes regarding their death - in both natural and unexpected cases - clear to their family. Each person deserves the right to say when they have had a proper (albeit relative) quality of life. If you do not want to be hooked up to machines that breathe, eat and go to the bathroom for you, let your loved ones know.

I have a will, not because I am actively planning my death, and not because I must provide for guardianship of children. I have a will, which includes a DNR, because I have already been shot at once and almost died, and I live in a country where deaths from terrorism and war are overshadowed by deaths from traffic accidents.

I may not have much to say, but I believe that it is important to make my wishes known. I need to make sure that my patients, and my cats, get place with caring people.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tall People

A song called "Short People" came onto the radio this morning, and I paid attention to the words, and the chorus in particular disturbed me: "Short people got no reason to live." I don't think a folk song should be advocating suicide, just because someone is height challenged.

I also challenge the world to consider the detriment of being tall. Only a tall woman can relate to the following painful memories of childhood:
1. Wanting to shop at the same stores where all the other girls buy their clothing.
2. Wanting to buy your first pair of high heels, and realizing that none of the cool stores carry a size 11 or 12 women's, and having to go to the Ugly Shoe Store for Old Ladies to buy some hideous Orthopaedic pair of "comfortable shoes."
3. Never being "cute."
4. Going to a bowling birthday party and being told in front of all your friends that they don't have your size in a women's shoe, you will have to wear one of the men's bowling shoes. (Like you don't feel awful enough already in a bowling shoe...)
5. Maintaining poor posture and slouching to the height of the group, so that you can feel like you are at eye-level.
5. Having limited dating options, or actually dating someone who is at least a head shorter than you, and seeing your reflection as a couple in the mirror for the first time, and feeling like you are Shrek and he is Princess Fiona, when she is not an ogre.

One of my grandmothers had a size 12 shoe, quite rare for a woman of that generation, and unlike today, there were zero options to walk into a normal store and buy normal fashionable foot ware. My other grandmother bought me a book called The Tallest Girl in the Class, a story about this girl in the fourth grade felt like an outsider and a freak, until she was picked to play the Christmas tree in the pageant, because she was the tallest person in the class. The children's book does not specify if she needed therapy later in life.

In elementary school, because I towered over both the girls and the boys, I was chosen to play Mordechai in the Purim musical, which we performed in front of the whole school. In retrospect, I would like to question the intelligence and sensitivity of putting a shy tall girl in a beard. My best friend at the time, Karen Zomick, got to play Queen Esther, because she was petite and "cute."

Today as an adult, I appreciate the many ways in which I am outside the box, my height being only one factor through which I stand out in the crowd. Tall people have stature and authority; my three brothers each stand over six feet. If I were thin enough, I could be a super-model. Quite content with my body and my build, I have no desire to lose a few inches, I will lose an inch and a half from my spinal discs as I get older anyway (as all humans do over time).

Maybe I ought to sue my elementary school for my not being married, because they caused gender confusion and set back my self-confidence. Anyone want to take on the case?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Professor Dumbledore, Will You Please Come Out of the Closet

On behalf of Harry Potter, an orphan who has no parents to speak in his defence, I would like to report his beloved mentor, Professor Albus Dumbledore, for molestation. That's right, now that the esteemed teacher and fighter of evil has been outed, one cannot help but wonder what Harry Potter and he were really doing in all those late night study sessions. For that matter, didn't Professor Snape also spend a lot of one-on-one time with Harry in detention?

Of course, Professor Dumbledore is deceased, and lives only in the portraits on the wall, but dammit, if the various magical persons in all the paintings at Hogworts can interact in real time with students and each other, they can be jailed post mortem.

Why is it that magic must be associated with deviance of a sort? What did JK Rowling gain by declaring that Dumbledore prefers the Wizard over the Witch?

Much like the hullabaloo over the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, literature makes statements and passes along morality on multiple levels. As a Jewish girl reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, the Christian references flew way over my head, and I simply enjoyed the series as a tale about adventurous children in a parallel universe who receive the protection of a kindly magical lion. Aslan doesn't even sound like Jesus...

The television show Sesame Street began when I was one year old, and Big Bird's friend Mr. Snuffleuppagus was conceived initially as a real friend of Big Bird's, who just happened to disappear when any human adult showed up on the scene. (Much like Clark Kent and Superman, they are never around at the same time, hmmm...) In time, the show revealed the melancholy Woolly Mammoth to the remaining residents of Sesame Street; they feared that a child who had been abused or bullied would not approach adults for help, because he/she believed that adults are either stupid, or would not believe their story.

This of course did not go far enough for the liberal "gay" 90's, when speculation ran rampant regarding Bert and Ernie's sexual orientation. I would like to point out that they were roommates, sharing a one-bedroom flat in a very expensive New York real estate market, and that they slept in separate beds. Not once in my growing up and watching the show did I consider another more insidious insinuation.

In Israel, they forgo any subtlety, and the two Ernie and Bert-like puppets who appear in the ads for the Electric Company are known to be gay; one is the "female" and the other is the "male." The verbal pun on an electrical socket works better in Hebrew, but you get the idea.

Perhaps, Rowling created a gay character in the importance of Dumbledore to give courage to children reading her books, children who may have questions about their sexuality but may be afraid to announce it or discuss it with adults. In that case, make Neville gay, he emerged heroic at the end of book seven and in fact in the future, teaches at Hogwarts. Hooray for macho gay Neville and kudos to his Alma mater for have a non-discriminatory hiring policy.

This Dumbledore incident raises the same concerns for me as the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem. Call me a prude, but I believe that every person is entitled to his and her privacy as regards choices of intimacy. I don't need to see a heterosexual couple having sex in their car or snogging at a street corner, and the same applies for me with homosexuals, bisexuals and the magical folk. (Being politically correct, I must immediately apologize to any other active sexual group for not mentioning you, I actually don't want to watch you in the bedroom either.)

What happens in the bedroom should stay in the bedroom, across the board.

When the gay and lesbian community feels the need to have a parade in Jerusalem, specifically after they have marched in several other cities in Israel, it tells me that they themselves are not comfortable enough in their own skin and their own status. They must be "in the face" of the rest of the presumed intolerant population, in a city that is holy to all religions. Because if there is a parade that divides the city, and starts civil and religious war, people will have to notice them.

As a Jewish woman, I also don't have a great need to attend a synagogue that is egalitarian, simply because it gives women a larger role in the Orthodox ritual. I am content with my personal relationship with G-d, and I don't need the boys' club to let me in to feel better about myself spiritually, or to prove something.

We are all so busy trying to be "tolerant" and "inclusive", that we lose our internal truths. Instead of pulling over a suspicious 25 year old Muslim male in the airport, the 86 year old woman bringing donuts to her grandchildren is stripped-searched, because the cream inside the pastry might be an explosive. International travel may not be any safer, but at lease we did not offend the Arab terrorist.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Art of Apology

Regardless of race, religion and country, I believe that humans can be divided into two basic groups: those who know how to say "I'm sorry," and those for whom ego or mild psychosis prevents them from ever admitting they are wrong.

I grew up in a house where I observed both extremes of that behaviour, and I try to emulate my father's example of generally taking responsibility and apologizing in a timely manner, ie. not three days later when the argument has festered into a septic sensitive sore. This week was a test of that commitment.

Earlier in the week, I was standing in the copy shop preparing some documents for work. An elderly woman came up to me and asked "Are you done yet," when I clearly was not. Most days I would either ignore the silly question, or respond firmly and yet kindly. That day, I turned around, sneered at her, and said, "Does it look like I am done?" (I plead insomnia, I had slept less than three hours the night before.) She was both offended and intimidated, and it was only after I left the store that I felt badly about my exaggerated and belligerent behaviour. I considered going back and apologizing to this woman, but did not, and instead let myself feel guilty about it for several hours.

Sometimes you need to know when to swallow ego and the need to be right. Two days ago, a patient - obviously in pain - called to see if she could schedule an emergency appointment. I was unable to create an opening, and suggested that she see someone else while I placed her name on a Waiting List, or try palliative measures for two days and receive treatment today (Friday). We tentatively scheduled, and I assured her that as soon as there was a cancellation, I would contact her.

Yesterday, she called to remind me that she was in pain, that she would like to get an appointment as soon as possible, and to make sure that I remembered her state of suffering.
I apologized for her perception that I had been anything but accommodating and understanding, but that I truly would have seen her sooner if I could have. She hung up sounding sad and angry.

For several hours afterwards - while cooking, while swimming, while running errands - I obsessed, not about potentially losing a patient, but knowing that I had in fact done everything within the natural limit, and knowing that she was sitting at home moping about this. My perceptive house cleaner pointed out that if I was mulling over the relatively minor event to this extent, surely she was suffering as well, and I ought to call her to clear the air.

Which I did; I called her and in as kind a tone as I could muster, explained that I truly tried to see her when she had initially called, but that there are only so many hours in the day. I proceeded by emphasizing that my actions were not to be taken personally in any way, that I wish to continue to help her in the future, and I don't want "bad feelings" driving a wedge between us.

She thanked me for calling back, and I thanked her for listening. After hanging up the phone, while there was still a part of me that felt that I was compromising myself for the Greater Peace, I felt like I had faced and dealt with the consequences of the words that came out of my mouth.

And now that I have spilled all this out to you, dear reader, the obsessing ends.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rebecca Danzig Keller, In Memoriam

Last Thursday was the eighth anniversary (Yartzeit) of my grandmother's death, a woman who very much impacted my life and with whom I was quite close growing up. My mother (her eldest daughter) had suggested that we children and grandchildren do something "meaningful" to mark the day, to honor her memory.

Not coincidentally, the Universe gave me a slow Chiropractic work day, and I was able to look through letters and journal entries from the time immediately before and after her death, which in turn gave me a burst of almost overwhelming creative energy, which I used to channel into photography and creative writing.

The day of her funeral, eight years ago, I wrote the following in my journal:

"There is a whole life in this house, from large details like her car to small details like her basement office organization, her color coordinated towels, her books. How does one dismantle a life? How does one distribute and incorporate it? Everyone keeps saying that her legacy is us, her grandchildren, we are the proof that she did something worthwhile, that each of us carries her within us. Why can't she be here to see it, I feel like everyone has a time, and this was not hers.

What will people say about me when I die? What will be my legacy?"

In speaking to a friend today, a woman aware of my issues at being single and childless in my late 30's, she challenged me with that exact question: What is my legacy? Can I say that I am an inherently worthwhile and important person, regardless of the standards imposed by society or by my family? Why do I exist?

For now, I have a sufficiently unconvincing answer, with the only fact on the ground being that I EXIST. I would even venture to say that I exist for a reason, and that I have faith that the Universe and its Higher Powers generally knows what it is doing. But I cannot answer the "Why," and it terrifies me, because I am afraid that if I explore these answers and possibilities, I will not like what I find. Perhaps it will come to me in a dream.

I do, however, have an opinion on the subject, and it starts with the classic philosophical question, if a tree falls in the middle of the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? And actually, my answer to that is a definitive NO; hearing, like the other five senses humanity has been programmed with as part of their genetic package, is dependent upon relative perception. While the sound and the loss of a tree in the middle of a random forest will most definitely impact the Greater Universe - in keeping with the principles of Chaos Theory - if it has not been perceived by another, it gets lost.

To apply that theory on a micro level, I assert that I am in fact a worthwhile person, deserving of love and being in a loving relationship, and I assert that I value my own company. Ultimately, I wonder if I count, if I leave no trail behind me when I die, genetic or otherwise; if there was never one person in my life who loved me unconditionally, who wanted to be my husband and raise a child with me not out of obligation, but out of eagerness and interest and a desire to grow old with me. Surely, the heavens will cry when I leave this Earth, and somewhere in the cosmos there will be a ripple, but will any human miss me or remember me?

As a child, fame and global recognition represented my idea of meaning and legacy in life, I would not be considered a success until I had been featured on the front page of the New York Times for saving humanity, or until at least one of my works of art was hanging in the Metropolitan Museum. That template has dramatically shifted, I do not need nor want to save the world. Right now I want and need intimacy, physical and emotional, the knowledge that for at least one person on this planet, I am their first and most precious priority. You can argue that it means that I don't love myself 100%, or that I err in using an external measure of my worth, but I am human living in a society of other humans. Robinson Caruso had it much easier.

I don't know how to express or explain that feeling of total acceptance, except to say that I received that affirmation from my grandmother, and that is a large part of the reason why I miss her.

I close with a Celtic sonnet that someone read to my family when they visited the shiva house, eight years ago, and I dedicate this poem to my grandmother, and to myself, that I may have a long, fulfilling and happy life, and will have left it a better place for my being there.

Grieve not
Nor speak of me with tears
But laugh and talk of me
As though I were beside you.

I loved you so
"Twas Heaven here with you.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Get the Nobel Prize, Save the World

First of all, kudos to former Vice President Al Gore, for being the first VP in history to not only win the Nobel Prize, but also an Oscar. Like other politicians before him, he has been able to turn his position and access into an asset, for the planet and its citizens; I personally hope he does not run for President in 2008, so that he may devote his time to the cause of the Gaea and her ecology. One recent report stated that after the year 2050, Planet Earth will not be habitable for humans, leaving only the roaches with their Devil Dogs as sustenance. At that point, I will G-d Willing be in my 80's and will have lived a full life, though I find it difficult to stomach that my children and grand-children will not be able to breathe the air or drink the water.

Another politician, former President Jimmy Carter is a far better ex-President, his project Habitat for Humanity has aided so many lower-middle class Americans. I do wish, however, that Carter would keep his nose out of Middle East negotiations, he already screwed Israel over once and we don't need any more "help" from the outside.

Recently, the television program "Commander in Chief" started airing in India and the Middle East, and I found their take on the possibility of a history-making female President intriguing. Clearly, Geena Davis - the star and Executive Producer -has no problem with a female in charge, as long as it is not Hilary Clinton. Bill Clinton as First Lady? Hardly. Donald Sutherland's portrayal of the gaunt, white haired, evil Republican Speaker of the House left me feeling terrified and impressed, and more determined than ever to reconsider all our choices for the next American President.

How much should shows like "Commander in Chief" or "The West Wing" influence the average American voter and the upcoming Presidential primaries? And can we really control the overwhelming and dangerous effect of the media and entertainment industry on every other aspect of society? That compartment of Pandora's Box will never be closed again, nor will the demons of politics be tamed, we can only hope that our leaders, locally and internationally, will internalize Al Gore's message, the imperative to save the planet, and therefore save humanity.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

And the Award for...

the World's Worst Patient is: Me! (I'd like to thank my immune system for breaking down...)

Last Thursday I felt a small irritation in my throat, and assumed it was allergies, as the transition season has arrived and I expect to suffer a little. The next day I woke up and I was congested and could not breath, and every time I blew my nose my sinuses made this bizarre creaking sound. I also became unusually clumsy, dropping things, and cutting my finger when I was cooking, and so decided that i might even be ill, above and beyond the dust in the air and the pollen count.

With the combination of good genes and Chiropractic care, I get ill very infrequently, and it can take several days before I listen to my body and rest. Always grateful when people offer to assist, I cannot help but wonder why, since I spend the entire time groaning and making my caretaker's life miserable. (I suppose it is a good thing that I am single and alone, I generally end up complaining to myself.)

I start with homeopathic remedies, and when that does not control the symptoms, I switch to the conventional fare of syrups and medicines. I have officially announced and acknowledged that I am ill when I agree to drink tea. An arm must be falling off for me to arrange a visit to the GP.

A doctor is not supposed to be ill, and sometimes my clients will seen surprised if I sneeze or blow my nose; it makes me human just like them, and it shatters the illusion that those of us in the profession of servicing human beings somehow live above the rules of nature. I see this realization as a positive step toward resetting the professional and personal boundaries in the office.

My eldest cat, Harry, has a similar love/hate relationship with his veterinarian. He will allow himself to be placed in the carrier cage, and does not complain in the car on the way to the vet's office. At the initial stages of the treatment, he submits his body to examination. But when he randomly decides that he has sufficiently amused us humans with his obedience, the doctor or his assistant may very well lose a finger or two. I am convinced that Harry is "red flagged" in their computer as a small dangerous tiger, and that they would love to automatically drug him at the beginning of the visit, if only to preserve their limbs. When we leave the office, Harry wears a Cheshire Cat grin on his face, knowing he has taken control of the situation, and that we got kicked out as quickly as possible.

Like feline, like owner.

I canceled my Pilates class today at the last minute because I remembered from my medical training (aha!) that when a person ill, the body needs to rest, and not use up its resources with rigorous exercise. I will take a shower instead, change out of the pajamas I have been living in for the last 48 hours, and prepare myself for treating patients later today, because unfortunately, my little head cold cannot get in the way of my work.

I will try not to sneeze on anyone.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Showdown at the Supermarket

Or: Life in Israel, an Anecdote

Two days ago, as I entered the supermarket in the industrial area of Talpiyot, I saw a UN soldier in full uniform (gun, camouflage) standing at attention at the entrance, scanning each customer with a focused gaze. The patch on his sleeve said, "Military Observer."

I asked him what exactly he was 'observing.' He answered that he is a military observer sent by the UN to keep the peace between Israel and its neighbors. At which point we both chuckled simultaneously, and I said, "Peace, is that what they call it?"

And yet he stood there as a sentry, and alarmed, I inquired if there had been a terrorist threat for this particular area of Jerusalem. "No, I am here to do some shopping!"

Whereupon his friend arrived, also dressed in full uniform, and they walked into the store. (I am sure they will fit in very well in the produce section.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

After the Holidays

In Israel, from approximately the week before Rosh Hashana through the week in which the Jewish holiday of Succot ends, you hear the phrase, "After the holidays..." As in "After the holidays, I will:
- Start my diet
- Call my literary agent
- Deal with my taxes
- Apply for jobs
- Clean out my closets
- Take the car to the garage to fix that dent
- Sit all morning in the random government office and take care of those parking tickets
- Schedule my annual medical exam

Because all citizens know that there is no point in trying to achieve closure on any procedure that demands government bureaucracy and cooperation, or any body issue that demands not eating continuously for three days in celebration of the various events at the beginning of the Jewish calendar.

This week provided a considerable challenge, that of waking up in the morning and knowing that there would be no two-day work weeks, that life resumes its "normal" pace and that the only vacation is one which you schedule yourself, one that is not mandated by religion. And yet, in the United States, consumerism rose to the challenge, by beginning its pre-Holiday (Halloween? Thanksgiving? Christmas?) sales. Wal Mart, Toys R Us and LL Bean stand out in the crowd; Toys R Us, particularly hit by the defective Chinese toy recall, stated that "Everyone can use a little Christmas right now."

Good for them, taking advantage of an economy collapsing because of George Bush's inept policies and once again I find myself saddened that the spirit of the holiday season has been lost for another year. I myself am a huge fan of Christmas carols, and challenge everyone in the holiday marketing business to listen carefully to the words of "The Little Drummer Boy," a song which encapsulates for me the true meaning of giving and receiving: it tells a story of child - the demographic targeted by the hype of the sales - who cannot afford to bring an expensive gift, and instead plays his drums, giving straight from the heart. In other words, it's not about how many presents sit under the tree, little baby Jesus isn't tallying the amount each person spent on his gift, he values love and intention.

The Jewish holiday of Chanukah, which in principle should stress the defense of core values and the receiving of miracles, has adopted the American Western value of the more presents the better, and whoever dies with the most stuff wins. Instead of one giant bonanza under the tree, we spread the spending over eight days. In my house, my parents tried to teach the importance of family and intention over commercial gain; most nights they presented us with an individual small gift, one which they thought about and tailored for each of us children. One night out of the eight, the family as a whole shared one giant expensive addition to the household, I can most vividly recall the Atari game player; who doesn't like Pong?! And for one of the nights our whole extended family got together for a party at my aunt and uncle's house in Westchester, where my grandmother talked about her childhood without family and how much we should cherish the time we spend together.

So get out those credit cards and start applying for your payment plan now, with only 75 shopping days until Christmas, items are going fast!

Cable Crash

Yesterday, for several hours, my cable service crashed. For several hours I had no television, nor did I have an Internet connection. No email, no web surfing or downloading, no mind-numbing TV programs.

What is a technology addicted 21rst Century human to do?

This human sat on her porch and ate dinner while the stars came out. And then she read a good book with a purring feline on her lap.

Could be worse, and it wouldn't be such a bad thing if it happened every once in a while.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Rabbis, Reiki, Idol Worship and Wall Street

Or: "Sea Monkeys Invade New York, Possessed Wigs Attack Unsuspecting Heads"

I received today from a colleague an online article about an Ultra Orthodox Rabbi named Yitzchak Fanger, who had previously held the titles of Reiki Master and Buddhist Priest. The article describes his vision quest to India after the army - a typical journey for many non-religious Israelis - where he discovered spirituality and religion (someone else's religion), and after a series of non-coincidental miraculous events, returned to religious Judaism and Israel and to his family.

I am of course pleased for him that he has found satisfaction with his life and has reconciled with his upbringing, but have issue with his rejection of his Reiki training. He tells the story of his million dollar Reiki clinic, and how one day a group of Ultra Orthodox women wished to study with him, and insisted upon a "Certificate of Kashrut" (The Rabbi Stamp of Approval) before they could begin the class. He went to his local Rabbinic Authority, and this supposed community leader told Fanger that not only would he not issue any Certificate of Approval, but that Mr. Fanger must close his clinic immediately - the source of income for him and his entire family - because the teachings and techniques of Reiki were based in Idol Worship.

The now born-again Rabbi Fanger complied immediately, and concludes his interview by saying that he now has six children who are worth more than any of the money he made as a Reiki Master helping clients, and that his life as an Ultra Orthodox Rabbi gives him everything he needs. (Because now someone else is footing the bill...)

I performed half of my Chiropractic internship with the Ojibwe/First Nation (that's American Indians to the politically incorrect), and they told me a story about the four original peoples who were placed on this planet by a Higher Power: the White, the Yellow, the Black and the Red. Each was given a heritage of healing which specifically addressed the energies and the history of their color, so to speak, and only recently have the medicines and their techniques become mixed.

I have always operated under the credo taught to me by one of my first mentors in Chiropractic School, "more tools for the toolbox": the more I study and the more techniques I gather into my consciousness and daily routine, the more I can help each person who comes into my office. When I work on a patient, I use up to eight different systems, both Western and Eastern, thus providing a more complete and effective treatment that last longer than traditional care. I don't need a Rabbi, untrained in medicine and in the real world, to tell me what I can and cannot provide for my clients, especially since he would probably tell me to stop treating men, as they insist that it is improper for a woman to be alone with a man and touch him. Never mind that I am a doctor, a professional, and never mind that my father, also a Chiropractor, takes care of the wife of the Bostonner Rebbe, and her husband doesn't seem to have a problem with them being alone in a room for treatment.

Several years ago, a group of Rabbis in America declared that natural hair wigs - worn extensively by Ultra Orthodox women and costing up to $3000 a pop - could not be worn because some of the hair came from Indian women, who practice Idol Worship in their own religion, thus their hair was tainted and impure. All over the world, a flurry of wig burnings ensued, with families who cannot afford to feed and clothe their children burning these items of Evil, and buying synthetic wigs in their place. The Jewish wig merchants with their Certificates of Kashrut certainly did well on that venture.

Until the Rabbis recanted and decided that if anyone had not yet burned their wigs, they need not. And to fill the void and to fill certain merchant's pockets, they instead declared that the water in New York was contaminated with microscopic lobster derivative bugs, and that all proper Jews must immediately buy a high end water filter system (from a proper Jewish vendor, of course) to eliminate the dreaded impurity. Upon which Ultra Orthodox seminaries, largely supported by external donations so the men can sit and learn all day while their wives work several jobs, installed the best systems possible, and happily their Talmudic students are no longer infected by micro-organisms that only their spiritual and religious mentors can see.

To quote Alanis Morisette, "It's all about the money." (It's all about the dumb, dumb dumbe de dumb.)

Religion does indeed fill the need of controlling the masses, and the rich historical heritage of despots, cult leaders and con men can be proud of the application of their theories among the Ultra Orthodox.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Adolescent Invulnerability

When I started college, I represented a typical 18 year old high school graduate; which means that I was depressed, so ready to get out of my parents' house, invulnerable and idealistic, and of course, knew everything and was ready to conquer the world and save it from itself.

Now I know better.

All truth has 1,000 facets, and we as news consumers and citizens of the planet will never reveal the full story. Sadly, the Jerusalem Post lags behind the times.

In response to the Iranian President's speech at Columbia, they featured several op ed pieces, including a "recent high school graduate," who in his infinite wisdom and life experience, declared the lecture a victory for Democracy; Lee Bollinger, in his infantile and CYA* introduction, hurt the feelings of the anti-Semite Holocaust denying Jihadist politician. Score one for the good guys, said the man-child in his superficial piece, Bush's Axis of Evil is really smarting from having the opportunity to use the very gifts that Freedom of Speech offers, in order to further his own agenda. The author of this editorial did not actually attend the speech, nor was he even standing on American soil at the time it occurred.

I omit this Jewish boy's name - and I use the term "boy" in the kindest sense of the word - to spare him the embarrassment of coming off as a naive patsy.

In truth, the Jerusalem Post - a supposedly objective internationally circulated yellow rag - should be embarrassed for providing a forum which expresses under-researched "news," and then claims the moral high ground while they regularly align themselves with the Israeli political right.

The medium is the message, and this message reaffirms that we Israelis don't know how to protect ourselves, from ourselves.

*CYA = Cover Your Ass. He couldn't un-invite the man, so he insulted him instead.