The rabbi’s medieval recipe to beat stress

By Anthea Gerrie, February 18, 2010

As a professional stressbuster, Rabbi Marcia Plumb is used to being greeted with the heartfelt cry: “Houston, we have a problem.” After all, the Texas-born guru has made Jewish angst the focus of her life’s work since leaving the USA, being ordained and setting up in London as a spiritual coach.


A bitter pill: beware the treif vitamins

By Ruth Joseph, February 11, 2010

Although we think of supplements as a modern innovation, Hippocrates is said to have cured night blindness with raw liver soaked in honey, while 3,500 years ago, King Amenophis IV ate liver to help his night vision. Now supplementation is huge business and the western world spends hundreds of millions on vitamins and minerals yearly.

We constantly seek to improve our health and arguments rage as to whether supplementation is necessary. Some firmly believe that eating a balanced diet will provide adequate nutrients for good heath and that taking vitamins is a shortcut to health.


Chemical cocktail, anyone? It's kosher

By Judy Jackson, February 4, 2010

Kosher supermarkets are comforting places to visit. The aisles are widely spaced and there is a feeling of abundance: shelves groaning with every supervised product on the planet. No need to check the labels for gelatine or beetles’ blood — everything is kosher. Yet lurking in the chilled and frozen meals, the soups, condiments, sauces and, above all, the sweets, are the additives — chemical concoctions that could make you shudder.


When baby drives you mad (literally)

By Anthea Gerrie, January 28, 2010

When Jackie Benjamin gave birth to her first son 18 years ago, the last thing she expected was a descent into manic depression. “I felt elated and euphoric, and so keen to write down all the details of Alex’s birth I didn’t feel like sleeping,” says the Birmingham-based lawyer.

But gradually she became more and more fraught trying to breastfeed, while the lack of sleep made her “so tired, I thought I was going to die. No-one mentioned they thought I was going mad, but when a social worker called, I did wonder if they wanted to section me or take my child away.”


Is soya the food it’s cracked up to be?

By Joan Wides, January 21, 2010

The value of increasing soya in Western diets has been much debated. Is it healthy or harmful? It has its detractors, but this is a healthy food with some interesting qualities.


'Sorry' for victims of Thalidomide

By Marcus Dysch, January 21, 2010

Two Jewish Thalidomide victims visited Parliament last week to witness the government’s long-awaited apology to those who suffered the consequences of the drug’s use 50 years ago.

Guy Tweedy and Nick Dobrick heard Health Minister Mike O’Brien express “sincere regret and deep sympathy” and confirm a £20 million package, worth around £40,000 each for more than 460 survivors and their families.

Mr O’Brien told the House of Commons the money, to be distributed by the Thalidomide Trust, would be used to meet the health needs of survivors.


Reasons to be cheerful about SAD

By Anthea Gerrie, January 14, 2010

For his November trip to London, Dr Norman Rosenthal has packed a very important piece of bedside equipment with his shaving kit and toothbrush. It is the size of a paperback, but it is not a book or even an alarm clock — it’s a portable lightbox.

“I don’t go anywhere without it,” says the man who learned the hard way that he needed a daily turbo-infusion of wattage to get him through the winter. For Rosenthal is the man who discovered that diminishing daylight brings on SAD — the seasonal affective disorder which translates to one in five of us as winter blues.


Swimming without that sinking feeling

By Lianne Kolirin, January 7, 2010

Instead of focusing on resolutions for 2010, I am basking in the glory of a last year’s achievement.

In 2009 I learned to swim front crawl — a big deal for someone who consistently thrashed around in the shallow end during school swimming lessons.

Rebecca Adlington I am not, but at 37 this old(ish) dog has just learnt a pretty nifty new trick. And I am happier and fitter for it.

I owe my achievement to Steven Shaw, a 47-year-old Londoner who has been described as the “horse whisperer of swimming”.


Thalidomide campaigners win payout

By Marcus Dysch, December 30, 2009

Two Jewish thalidomide victims have welcomed the success of their long-running campaign which will see the government pay sufferers £20 million in compensation.

Guy Tweedy and Nick Dobrick, who were both born with shortened upper limbs as a result of being given the drug, had called for greater recognition for sufferers for the past seven years.

The Department of Health has now agreed to spread payment to the Thalidomide Trust over three years. The charity will share the money among Britain’s 463 surviving thalidomide victims.


Top surgeon tells Limmud of campaign to have him struck off

By Leon Symons, December 30, 2009

One of Britain’s leading cancer surgeons has told a conference how his support for the Israel Medical Association sparked a campaign to have him struck off by the General Medical Council (GMC).

Professor Michael Baum told a packed session at the annual Limmud conference at Warwick University that colleagues — including Jews — in the medical profession had turned on him after he challenged the accusation made by some that the Israel Medical Association (IMA) was complicit in the torture of Palestinian prisoners.