When the Israeli Health Ministry decided to provide the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to 8th grade girls in 2013 and to boys in 2015, the mutterings online about opting-out surprised me. To date, HPV vaccination coverage in Israel hovers around 10% – compared to the United States where 60% of preteens have completed the full course of vaccination. The continued low rate of vaccination despite the availability of a very safe and effective vaccine is deeply troubling, and misconceptions about the two available vaccines – Gardasil and Cervarix – abound. [Read more…]
Mazal tov! Your child is engaged and amidst the hustle and bustle of choosing gowns, wedding hall, flowers and caterer, you want to be able to talk to your son or daughter about the upcoming marriage – not just the wedding.
If the topics of relationships, intimacy and sexuality have been part of the overall dialogue in your home, then speaking freely and openly with your children as they embark upon their married life will feel comfortable and natural.If you have not established an easy and comfortable language for discussions of this nature, don’t worry, you are not alone. Regardless, now that your child is getting married, there are many important facts about sex and relationships that you will want them to know. Here are a few that are important to emphasize to a couple as they embark on married life: [Read more…]
There is an expression in Hebrew: “Al Rosh Haganav Boer Hakova” – on the burglar’s head is a burning hat, translated from Yiddish אויפן גנב’ס קאפפ ברענט דאס היטל, the guilt of the burglar shows on his face. This is the way I feel each time my mikveh night falls out on Shabbat evening. I walk the streets alone, not in the direction of my shul and I am sure that it is written all over my face that my destination is the mikveh! How embarrassing?! If I’m holding a bag I am sure that everybody has X-Ray vision and can spot my towel inside, and if I’m not holding anything I am sure that it looks even more suspicious. As the passers-by wish me “Shabbat Shalom” I prepare explanations, excuses, of where I am going…. “To visit a friend who is in town”, “I’ve run out of chrain for the fish”, “Going to visit a relative who isn’t feeling well”. I’m aware that many women feel the same. Perhaps these feelings cause some women to postpone their Friday night tevilla(immersion)? [Read more…]
Immersion before Yom Kippur
We traditionally immerse 3 times. Here is one possible framework to use for an immersion on Erev Yom Kippur:
1st Immersion: Reflection and Retrospection
Think about positive aspects of the previous year and areas of your life where you felt blessing. Think about what you want to take with you, what you are thankful for and what things were most meaningful over the past year. Appreciate God’s role in those and invite His Presence to envelop those thoughts as the mikveh water surrounds and embraces you. You can also choose an area or behavior that you would like to improve and invite God into that endeavor.
2nd Immersion: Introspection and Acceptance
Focus on the present—embrace where you are now. Give thanks and appreciate the space or processes you are in; recognize the blessings God has bestowed upon you, and embrace the special opportunities at this time of year.
3rd Immersion: Hopes and Direction
The final immersion focuses on your hopes and aspirations for the coming year— what you want to work on, your dreams for yourselves and your family, and what you will strive to accomplish. Again, invite God to partner with you in the journey ahead as you submerge and submit to His Will
On Yom Kippur eve, amid the hustle and bustle of logistics and preparations, I took a moment for myself and left the house to go immerse in the mikveh. This is the first time that I had ever thought of this idea.