Health

Can religion boost your immune system?

January 13, 2017

When I was young, I remember being taught that the laws of kashrut derived from a pre-modern understanding of hygiene. Pigs were “dirty” and you took the risk of contracting trichinosis if you ate raw or undercooked pork. Keeping kosher, as a result, was a way of staying healthier. Indeed, today even non-Jews will buy […]

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Electro shock therapy meets the iPhone

August 2, 2016

Over the last three weeks, I’ve been zapping my brain with small jolts of electricity. Does the new Thync device work? Or is it placebo?

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Lost in the woods: cognitive defusion on vacation

September 1, 2015

Google Maps said it would take just under two hours to hike from Oslo’s Frogsternen café, with its world famous homemade apple pie, to Sognsvann lake via the rolling hills and blueberry patches near Ulyovata. Weather.com said the temperature would get up to lovely 25 degrees and there was a zero percent chance of precipitation. […]

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Multifocals and the wisdom of Inside Out

August 21, 2015

“Let me take care of him. He’s very sensitive,” my optometrist Nadine whispered to her coworker in Hebrew behind the counter as she brought out my new glasses. “I heard that!” I snapped back, indicating that, while my Hebrew is famously fragile, I had command of enough basics to know when I was being insulted. […]

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Mystery Maladies and Quality of Life: Is 75 Enough?

July 7, 2015

It’s common to divide people into two opposing types. There are optimists and pessimists, extroverts and introverts, people who love cilantro and those who think it tastes like dirty dishwater. Add to this, people who run to the doctor at the first sign of something wrong and others who wait, trusting that the body will […]

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Smoking at an Israeli Wedding

February 9, 2015

Is this a thing: smoking on the dance floor at a wedding? My wife and I attended the nuptials of a friend’s son a few weeks ago. It was a lavish affair with an endless appetizer bar and a DJ crew that could compete with the best Tel Aviv clubs. But as the hundreds of […]

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Detox: A Sleeping Pill Addict Goes into Voluntary Rehab

January 28, 2014

There’s no easy way to admit this: I’m a drug addict. My particular addition is relatively benign and not in any way illegal – it’s sleeping pills. But I’ve been hooked on them for 13 years now, since the days when helicopters would fly above my house during the Second Intifada on their way to […]

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Toughing It Out: A Colonoscopy in Jerusalem

January 13, 2014

The waiting room in the gastro clinic at Shaarei Tzedek hospital is pleasant enough. Recently refurbished, there’s free WiFi, extra padded seats (a thoughtful touch given the nature of the work done there) and clean walls. The wall-mounted TV hums away, but not too loudly. I was at Shaarei Tzedek as the “designated driver” for […]

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Hair No More

November 26, 2013

The queue (well, more of an amorphous, fast talking crowd) was already 30 girls long when my daughter Merav arrived at the Malcha shopping mall in Jerusalem. The girls – teenagers and young adults mostly – were from all kinds of different backgrounds, from completely secular to haredi. But they all had one thing in […]

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Castration Clinic

February 1, 2012

At first glance, it looks like any other veterinarian’s office. Pictures of dogs and cats on the walls, efficient and busy animal doctors flitting around in blue cotton smocks. But the pets coming this morning to the Jerusalem Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (JSPCA) in Jerusalem’s Talpiot Industrial Zone all had one […]

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