Requiring no specialized medical
of Jewish knowledge to appreciate this book, Jews in Medicine documents the
fascinating history of medical contributions made by Jewish physicians
throughout the ages. Profiles of more than 450 individual Jewish physicians are
divided by region and area of specialization, all within a historical context –
from Talmudic times to the modern era, from Islamic and Christian lands to the
spread of Jewish communities in Europe after the Spanish Inquisition. The large
section devoted to the modern era focuses on European and American physicians,
including the substantial number of Jewish Nobel Prize winners in the field.
The book concludes with a description of physicians who were leaders in the
Zionist movement and those who contributed to the development of medicine in
the State of Israel.
Reading through this book makes one proud to be part of a
people who have made such remarkable contributions to medical science. It is
truly amazing to read of all the medical discoveries made by Jews in so many
countries and in so many centuries.
Requiring no specialized medical or Jewish knowledge to appreciate this book, “Jews in Medicine: Contributions to Health and Healing Through the Ages” by Dr. Ronald L. Eisenberg (Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School and a radiologist at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) documents the fascinating history of medical contributions made by Jewish physicians throughout the ages. Profiles of more than 450 individual Jewish physicians are divided by region and area of specialization, all within a historical context ranging from Talmudic times to the modern era, and from Islamic and Christian lands to the spread of Jewish communities in Europe after the Spanish Inquisition. The large section devoted to the modern era focuses on European and American physicians, including the substantial number of Jewish Nobel Prize winners in the field. “Jews in Medicine” concludes with a description of physicians who were leaders in the Zionist movement and those who contributed to the development of medicine in the State of Israel.
A unique and impressively informative contribution to Jewish History in general, and the History of Medicine in particular, “Jews in Medicine” is unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library collections and supplemental studies reading lists.
Have you ever questioned the
purpose of our earthly existence? Why am I here? What is my role in the overall
scheme? And what should I do to make that purpose meaningful and fulfilling?
The answer, explains Psychologist and Mindfulness Meditation teacher and
consultant Benjamin Epstein, is by “Living in the Presence.” Living in the
present has become a therapeutic cornerstone; living in the presence transforms
the technique into a life-changing experience. With exquisite simplicity,
straightforwardness, and heartfulness, “Dr. Benjy” presents an approach culled
from the teachings of the great Jewish spiritual masters that span thousands of
This approach demonstrates
how Jewish tradition is extraordinary in conjoining the Divine and the mundane,
essentially postulating that the present moment–each present moment– holds
the key to connecting to the Divine. Imbuing workaday life with transcendent
meaning, this book demonstrates that our awareness of the divinity manifest
within the present moment consecrates the present with presence, and makes it
both meaningful and holy. This book is designed to introduce you to who you
are, as God made you, and to the gift God has placed within you. Living
in the Presence – a Jewish Mindfulness Guide for Everyday Life provides
a practical and hands-on roadmap to discover purpose in your life, to capture
and experience some of the benefits of the world-to-come…right now, in this
Rabbi Benjamin Epstein,
Ph.D. is an experienced psychologist, author, and speaker who blends
traditional Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) with cognitive
behavioral, spiritual, and acceptance techniques. Dr. Benjy works effectively
across a broad spectrum of age groups to enhance well-being by teaching how to
live more mindfully and in the present. In addition to his private practice and
mindfulness seminars, he spends his summers as the Director of Staff
Development and Clinical Research in Camp HASC.
Redeeming Relevance: Vayikra Avoidance Syndrome and the Torah on One Foot
The Jewish people has a rather peculiar relationship with Vayikra. On the one hand, almost all serious Jews are aware that many of Judaism’s most important laws and ideas are to be found in the Torah’s middle book. On the other hand, Vayikra also contains an overwhelming amount of material that the average reader will find less stimulating. And largely because of that, Jewish culture has created a type of vicious cycle around this book. Because it is more difficult, we tend to look at it less. But because we look at it less, we also understand it less, which – in turn – keeps it difficult and less appealing. In a nutshell, that is what I call Vayikra Avoidance Syndrome.
I just referred to Vayikra as the Torah’s middle book. This was not a casual turn of the phrase – that is the middle book is not a trivial matter. While we often celebrate beginnings and ends, at least two major Jewish institutions show the spiritual weightiness of something’s middle:
Hungarian-born scholar Eliezer Berkovits (1908-1992) was a highly respected Orthodox rabbi. He was educated in Berlin, Germany, where he received his PhD. He authored 19 books in several languages.
He held fast to traditional beliefs such as that the Israelites met God at Sinai where God gave them both the Written and the Oral Torahs. He felt that halakha, Jewish law, is necessary to control people from acting against their own and society’s best interest. He explained that during the Holocaust God “hid his face,” hester panim, because God wants humans to use their free will even if they do so in a harmful fashion. He stressed the importance of Zionism. Although he recognized that women are not treated well in matters of marriage and divorce, and believed that both sexes are equal, he did not encourage changes in Jewish law.
Dr. Benjamin Epstein’s book “Living in the Presence: A Jewish Mindfulness Guide for Everyday Life” is an eye-opening, inspiring, sensible, and very helpful book.
Many people will profit by reading this book and following Dr. Epstein’s advice. This includes, among others, people who not only do not smell the roses, they do not even see them. This is like a husband spending six hours preparing a colorful and tasty French Onion soup and placing it before his wife; she fails to notice it and asks, “What are we having for supper?” It is easy to see that this couple will not have a happy life. God, according to the Bible, spent six days preparing a beautiful world for people but many people do not enjoy it. Lots of people ignore the beauty God set before them. To invent a parable, this is like the man who died, appeared before God, God asks him, “Did you enjoy the beauties of the world,” and the man replies, “I was very religious, I spent my life in prayer.” God responded by slapping him across his face.
Dr. Epstein’s book tells us about life. It gives us advice on how to find purpose and meaning in life. It stresses “mindfulness.” Seeing and understanding how we can enjoy today what we hope to obtain in the world to come. He speaks about many subjects during the four parts of his book. Among them are the value of the Sabbath, how to quiet the mind, reflections on various Jewish holidays, on the ways of God, hindrances, patience, joy, on one’s essential nature, and much more.
Redeeming Relevance in the book of Leviticus by Rabbi Francis Nataf (Urim 2019) takes an honest approach to the book of Vayikra. Most scholars and teachers of Tanach would agree that Vayikra is the book of Torah which is most avoided. If a teacher or professor is given the choice of which book to teach, most would not choose Vayikra. As Rabbi Nataf points out, if a spiritual leader can speak about another topic such as an upcoming holiday thereby avoiding the book of Vayikra, they will do so.
Despite Rabbi Nataf himself only writing this book after publishing volumes on the other four books of the Torah, he brings many interesting points which are relevant to us today. One focus is looking at the origins of the korban, sacrifice while comparing it to the giving of a present. He analyzes Chava’s gift of the fruit to Adam as well as Kayin’s, Hevel’s and Noach’s sacrifices to God. He also speaks about offerings that may never be brought on the altar, chametz and child sacrifice.
Discover the breadth of wisdom provided by this generation’s giant of Torah: Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg. Rabbi Yitz is one of the most renowned leaders in contemporary Jewish communal life. His dedication to foster a more interconnected and vibrant Judaism has been felt across the academic and broader world. In this new work, the legacy of Rabbi Yitz is discussed at length by those who have been affected by his inclusive model of contemporary Judaism, his approachable erudition, commitment to fostering meaningful interfaith dialogue, and constant striving to make the world a more just place. These intellectual progenies divulge the lasting impact Rabbi Yitz has had on their lives and the lives of people around the globe.