Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement.
The coronavirus vaccines administered in Israel are effective at curbing infection rates, the incidence of serious COVID-19 cases and at protecting against the British variant of the coronavirus, according to new studies conducted by an Israeli health maintenance organization based on real-world data and reported here for the first time.
The first study, conducted by Leumit Health Services on the basis of patient data collected since Israel's vaccination campaign began in December, provides invaluable insight into the effectiveness of the vaccine in the real world, as opposed to efficacy rates measured in the course of controlled experiments in laboratories. According to the second study, the Pfizer vaccine is similarly effective at affording protection against the U.K. variant – which is becoming the dominant strain – with respect to the original coronavirus.
The studies' findings are especially encouraging in Israel, where multiple factors have concocted a situation that is worlds apart from the sterile laboratories where controlled efficacy tests are conducted. Infection rates remain high despite a massive vaccine drive and the country's third nationwide lockdown, amid intensifying social unrest, new and fast-spreading variants and a public split between those who want to be inoculated and those who do not.
"Ten days after [the second dose] there are almost no new confirmed cases,” says Prof. Shlomo Vinker, the head of the medical division at Leumit Health Services, of the first study, explaining that “In the first days following the first dose, there is an increase in the number of confirmed cases since the vaccine is not yet effective. But beginning on the tenth day, you start seeing a drop. When you move to the second dose, you see another downward step, with a further drop a week later."
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According to Vinker, the study's findings demonstrate that the vaccine is effective in the real world, protecting both the individual and the wider community. However, he notes that "the vaccine does not afford 100 percent protection" and is less effective “when there are many infected people all around … because one is constantly exposed to the virus."
In conducting the study, Leumit's team collected and cross-analyzed various data points: how many people had contracted the virus after having received at least one vaccine dose, whether they contracted it after the first or second dose, the number of days that lapsed from the last vaccine received. The team also drew on other metrics at their disposal, such as coronavirus test results, and information about the trajectory of each confirmed case, such as whether they became seriously ill or were hospitalized.
Prof. Eran Segal, a computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in RehovotCredit: Prof. Eran Segal, a computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot
Leumit began to collect and analyze the data on December 20, when Israel's vaccine drive began. According to Vinker, "2,300 of our customers have fallen ill after the first dose, to date. We checked how many sick people and how many vaccinated people there are for each day after the first dose was administered, and then we did the same for the second dose. We then constructed a graph showing the incidence of sick people per 1,000 people inoculated as a function of the number of the days following vaccination.”
The Pfizer vaccine is similarly effective at protecting against the British variant of the coronavirus, according to the second study conducted in collaboration with Dr. Ariel Yehuda, Leumit's head of research.
Although at first glance it seemed to researchers that most of the people who had contracted the virus after having been vaccinated had been infected by the U.K. variant, which suggested that the vaccine was less effective against this strain, Vinker explains that upon closer examination, this no longer seemed to be the case: “After a complex analysis that averaged different populations, ages and location along a timeline, we concluded that the vaccine protected against the British mutant equally effectively as compared to the original virus.”
The study cross-analyzed some 9,000 samples taken from patients who had contracted the virus since Israel's vaccination campaign began. Laboratory testing allowed researchers to ascertain whether infection had been caused by the British mutant or not.
"Of the 9,000 infected people, 800 had been vaccinated” says Vinker. “That’s not surprising since in the first days after the vaccine there is no protection. The more time elapses, the more protection there is.”
Although Leumit is the smallest of four health funds in Israel, in global terms, it is a large health organization that insures and provides health services for some 730,000 people. According to Vinker, almost 200,000 Leumit patient-clients have received the first jab, with at least ten days having lapsed since 153,000 of them received it, and slightly more than 100,000 of them having received the second dose.
Israel plans to provide Free Vaccines for Holocaust Survivors Around World;
After I saw this story, I saw another story in the Post that it is not practical for Israel to do this. So the jury is still out if this will happen
It is our collective obligation to safeguard this treasured yet vulnerable population in the spirit of mutual responsibility.”
By Erin Ben-Moche, Jewish Journal via JNS
Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevich announced on Tuesday the launch of an extensive operation to vaccinate Holocaust survivors around the world against Covid-19.
The Israeli Cabinet minister directed Shalom Corps, the international youth service nonprofit, to convene and coordinate partners around this effort. This project will ensure that all Holocaust survivors around the world are vaccinated and provided proper guidance and support.
The initial plan is to establish inoculation centers in designated countries, according to a statement from the ministry. Medical personnel and volunteers will travel directly to the residence of recipients to perform the vaccination. There will be no charge to any survivor for this service.
“During this global crisis, we have an opportunity to support Holocaust survivors whose resilience continues to guide and inspire humanity today,” said Yankelevich. “It is our collective obligation to safeguard this treasured yet vulnerable population in the spirit of mutual responsibility.”
Yankelevich, an attorney, educator, social activist and politician for the Blue and White Party, has been a member of the Knesset since 2019. She made history as the first haredi woman to serve as a cabinet minister. This past November, she visited Los Angeles for a 72-hour trip for meetings on college campuses, including the University of Southern California, and with officials from the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League.
She told Jewish Insider following the trip that she wanted to create a “global Jewish education hub” for Jews around the world who have been impacted by COVID-19.
As of now, there is no definite plan to finance and manage the vaccination project, including the involvement of Jewish philanthropic networks. Solutions for other expected hurdles, such as obtaining permits from foreign governments and the purchase of vaccines by the ministry, are also being examined. The statement also notes that vaccines for this initiative will be acquired separately and in addition to Israel’s current supply.
There are approximately 190,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel and 130,000 more around the world. The Israeli Health Ministry told Reuters on Jan. 10 that 19.5 percent of the Israeli population has been vaccinated, “including more than 72 percent of the over-60s.”
The Holocaust Survivors Vaccination Operation will be administered through Shalom Corps and will operate globally. Shalom Corps is active in several fields including education, agriculture, teen leadership development, health and female empowerment. Founded as a joint initiative of the Diaspora Affairs Ministry, the Jewish Agency and private donors, Shalom Corps reaches thousands of Jewish volunteers worldwide.
While Yankelevich hasn’t been able to meet with members of the Jewish Diaspora due to the pandemic, she is hoping she can partner with Jewish institutions from every city internationally to provide aid to Holocaust survivors in each community.
“Now is the time for all of us, Jewish institutions and leaders from across the world, to come together in this operation,” she said. “Together, we can ensure that Holocaust survivors are efficiently vaccinated, wherever they live.”
Refusing the vaccine
Insights into Judaism's attitude to refusing the corona vaccine, Rabbi Dr. Raymond Apple , Jan 26 , 2021
REFUSING THE VACCINE
Q. Does a Jew have a religious right to reject the Covid-19 vaccine?
A. If they decide not to be vaccinated it could endanger both himself and other people.
Rabbi Yaakov Emden said, "Once the doctor recognises a definite need to administer a tested treatment, a patient, even if he objects, must submit under all circumstances. The matter does not depend on the consent of the patient since he is not free to destroy himself" (Mor U’k’tzia to Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayyim 328).
Note that the rabbi says, "Once the doctor recognises a definite need". This excludes being swayed by rumours and unscientific opinions.
Josephine Baker - Hava Nagila (live in France, 1964)
Israelis Invent and Launch Pain-Free Corona Spit Test
By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel
Israel’s world-famous Technion Institute university rolled out its accurate, inexpensive and rapid COVID-19 test, launching a campus-wide test program for faculty, staff and students at its Haifa campus.
“To support a gradual return and to maintain health, the Technion is opening a rapid testing station in the student union [building]. The tests are based on technology developed in the laboratory of Prof. Naama Geva-Zatorsky of the Ruth and Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine.
The non-invasive test analyzes saliva in a cup, which provides results in an hour or less. The campus testing program is free and is being performed as part of an experiment approved by the Helsinki Committee in Israel, which validates pharmaceutical innovations.
The field test is expected to confirm that NaorCov19 not only works, but can be marketed as a home-test that people can do by themselves. The Technion’s commercial partner is already ramping up for commercial production
The launch of the testing system came at the same time as the infection rate in Israel spikes to the highest levels in months, with a dramatic increase in the number of patients hospitalized across the country.
That state of affairs intensifies the importance of the rapid-test rollout on campus, the university said.
The technology is being commercialized by the Technion for further development by Rapid Diagnostic Systems Ltd.
The technology is modular, permitting anything from individual testing (a home-testing kit) to large-scale tests at testing stations or laboratories. The same workstation may run dozens of samples simultaneously.
Thanks to its simplicity, the testing kit is suitable for testing in workplaces, airports and schools. The developers say the test has 90% accuracy in the infectious stages when the viral load in the body is medium to high.
The new test is based on principles similar to those used in laboratory testing called polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which uses a process that mixes the saliva sample with advanced chemicals and then heats the solution to rapidly reproduce DNA.
The chemical process is complex, but the results are clear. If the color of liquid changes, the test is positive for coronavirus. The Technion method avoids the need for expensive chemicals and laboratories, reducing the cost of manpower, equipment, and sample-to-lab transportation.
Testing is done Sunday through Thursday by signing up online. The test results are confidential and will be delivered to the person being tested using a secured link. Only if the person being tested approves will positive test results be forwarded to the Technion’s head of coronavirus security, who ensures the safety of dormitory residents and campus visitors. The anonymous data will also be used for further coronavirus research at the Technion.
“We are proud that a test developed in the Technion will assist in breaking the chain of infection and in maintaining the health of campus visitors, and wish you all good luck,” the university told its community.
shutterstock_152856233he innovative and low-cost ‘NaorCov19’ test was developed at the Technion and gives results on the spot.
As America reels from political trauma, Jewish continuity points way to national unity
A covenant is a commitment going beyond mutual advantage, requiring instead joint obligations in a permanent, unconditional and unbreakable union.
As ever, Judaism has the best line. “Put not your trust in princes,” said the psalmist. Amen to that.
Both the United States and Israel are about to have new governments. Next week sees the inauguration of America’s 46th president, while Israel will be going back to the polls in March to elect a prime minister.
In both countries, the populace is divided between those who regard their current leader as a prince who would rescue them from monsters and those who regard the prince himself as a monster.
President Donald Trump has just been impeached for the second time, on this occasion over his role in last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, which was stormed by his supporters. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is fighting for his fourth term in office despite facing corruption charges.
In both America and Israel, however, political divisions go far deeper than the passions aroused by Trump or Netanyahu. The political structure of each country makes it prone to fissure.
That’s because these structures did not grow organically from historic tradition. Each country created its political settlement as new—in America, through the revolution in the 18th century that sundered it from British rule, and in Israel, through its rebirth as a nation as part of the new international order after two world wars.
Coincidentally, both became independent after freeing themselves from Britain. Both, however, failed to incorporate the driving force for unity and tranquility that Britain possesses—and for which it happened to draw upon a model established by the Jews.
This was a constitutional monarchy. As explained by Daniel Elazar in a paper for the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, the power of the monarchy in ancient Israel was limited by the principle of a covenant between the king, the people and God. Other centers of power were established that also constrained the king.
A covenant is a commitment going beyond mutual advantage, requiring instead joint obligations in a permanent, unconditional and unbreakable union. Although different in certain respects from today’s democratic set-up, this model of monarchical power limited by temporal parliaments has governed Britain ever since antiquity.
True, in the 17th-century Britain had a revolution led by Oliver Cromwell and other parliamentarians in which they executed the king. But after this developed in turn into a dictatorship that eclipsed parliament, Britain returned to a constitutional monarchy and has renounced political extremism ever since.
The key point is that the unity of the country was restored through reviving continuity with ancient tradition.
By contrast, the American Revolution, like its 18th-century French counterpart, sought to wipe the historical slate clean. America’s Founding Fathers inscribed on this empty slate a set of abstract principles such as liberty and equality from which the liberated nation would construct its new, idealized society.
Instead of loyalty to the British crown, Americans institutionalized allegiance to the U.S. Constitution. But this was merely a body of laws severed from their roots in religion, history and tradition.
True, the Founding Fathers made many references to God and the Hebrew Bible, and like Britain were inspired by the Davidic monarchy that had brought the Israelite tribes together in a unified kingdom. But they ignored the key insight of the Jewish tradition—the absolutely central role of cultural memory, continuity and inheritance, and the corresponding duty to hand down history, tradition and observance to every succeeding generation.
America ruptured that continuity when it broke with the crown. It thought it could unite instead around abstract principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Instead of an inclusive and flexible balance of interests, its constitution established a rigid separation between religion and state, separated the powers of law and politics, and turned abstract and detached principles into a secular faith.
But without anchorage in their ultimate authority, principles are fragile and vulnerable.
The British philosopher and conservative thinker Sir Roger Scruton, who died a year ago, wrote that America was “a nation created by politics,” identifying itself explicitly as “the land of the free.”
As such, it has earned the gratitude of millions by magnificently upholding freedom at home and abroad. But liberty does not attach people to each other.
Scruton, who fought for the freedom of people oppressed under communism, also valued community and solidarity, order and decency, honor and faith. He understood that these aren’t abstract and universal principles, but are particular to distinct communities and grow organically over time.
In Britain, such principles have been guaranteed by a covenant between the monarch and the people that stands above politics as a sacred bond of trust. The people owe their allegiance not to a set of ideological abstractions but to the monarch in parliament, who therefore serves as the fulcrum of unity.
Ironically, Israel ignores its own ancient model for creating a stable and united society. In its fractured and dysfunctional political system, interests are not balanced. Instead, power is concentrated in the hands of those who win the endless struggle between competing groups.
Accordingly, it is unable to address the fundamental division between those who see the state as the fulfillment of Jewish religious belief and those who view it as a way of breaking with Judaism in favor of universal values.
All of this is why conservatism finds its most authentic expression in Britain, but is scarcely even understood as a political doctrine in either America or Israel.
Conservatism is, as the name implies, all about conserving. In Britain, despite the erosion of national unity through the culture wars, this means conserving continuity with the past and the history that binds the society together.
In Israel, these things are conserved by religiously observant people but take the form of community enterprises, not a national political structure.
While the power afforded to ultra-religious parties by Israel’s political system is disproportionate and damaging to national unity, Israel will not survive unless it defines itself specifically as a Jewish state bound by Jewish principles and tradition.
Nations that instead pin their identity on universal principles ultimately have no defense against those who wish to refashion that identity.
American conservatism, meanwhile, is narrowly defined around limiting state power. The ultimate guarantor of American freedom is the citizen bearing arms, so conservatives have found themselves conserving the national value of individualism. This has rendered them powerless to fend off the onslaught against the historic principles of Western culture.
Now unity will be even harder to establish—not just because of angry Trump supporters who will continue to believe the election was stolen from them, but because of the Democrats’ agenda.
We are already seeing their vindictive vendetta against all conservatives. They will also promote full-on identity politics, which is based on stirring up poisonous resentments, institutionalizing injustices and setting group against group in an endless struggle for power.
The point about presidents and prime ministers is that they are not princes but politicians. This baggage makes their place as leaders of the nation conditional and fragile. If they behave badly, this provokes not only political fracture but enduring national trauma.
Of course, the monarchical genie cannot be put back into the bottle where it has escaped. But rather than putting our faith in princes, we should place it instead in covenantal politics and continuity.
And the template for this, the best way of ensuring a united and tranquil society, is contained in a book that the secular West disdains at its peril.
Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for “The Times of London,”
It is now possible to purchase Kosher computers They are made in Israel by a company called DELL-SHALOM.
The price is low (wholesale), even with the shipping from Israel.
However, before you purchase a kosher computer, you should know there are some important changes from the typical non-kosher computer you are used to, such as:
1) The 'Start' button has been replaced with a 'Let's go! I'm not
getting any younger!' button.
2) You hear 'Hava Nagila' during startup.
3) The cursor moves from right to left.
4) When Spell-Checker finds an error it prompts, 'Is this the best you can do?'
5) When you look at erotic images, your computer says, 'If your
mother knew about this, she would die.'
6) It comes with a 'monitor cleaning solution' from Manischewitz that
gets rid of all the 'schmutz und drek.'
7) When running 'Scan Disk' it prompts you with a 'You want I should
fix this?' message.
😎 After 20 minutes of no activity, your PC goes 'Schloffen.'
9) The PC shuts down automatically at sundown on Friday evenings.
10) It comes with two hard drives - one for fleyshedik and one for
11) Instead of getting a 'General Protection Fault' error, your PC now
12) The multimedia player has been renamed to 'Nu, so play my music already!'
13) When your PC is working too hard, you occasionally hear a loud 'Oy Gevalt!'
14) Computer viruses can now be cured with matzo ball soup.
15) When disconnecting external devices from the PC, you are
instructed to 'Remove the cable from the PC's tuchus.'
16)After your computer dies, you have to dispose of it within 24 hours.
17) But best of all, if you have a kosher computer, you can't get SPAM.