Purim and the Gift of Genetic Testing: Reflections of a Genetic Counselor

Written by Estie Rose for JScreen on . Posted in Health & Wellness

I was recently sent a cute “Countdown to Passover” ticker, reminding me that Passover is only 63 days away. And while I almost had a conniption about this (How will I ever pull it together by then?), I remembered that we first get to celebrate the more joyous and upbeat holiday of Purim.

I have always felt a connection to Purim because I am so interested in the many themes of the story of Queen Esther, the biblical heroine for whom I was named. The name Esther is a Persian name, derived from the word ishtar (star), but there is another meaning to the name in Hebrew, which is “hidden.” One of the themes of the story of Purim is how G-d is hidden in everything, and often sends us the “remedy before the plague.” In the story of Purim, He placed Esther, the ultimate heroine, in the palace of the king before the decree to kill all the Jews was made. Once the evil Haman had suggested the murder of the Jewish people, Esther had already earned her keep in the palace and was able to convince her husband to stop this decree from moving forward. By placing Esther in the good graces of the king early on, G-d had performed a miracle for us, regardless of whether the Jews of the time were aware of it.

A Homecare Home Run

Written by Michelle Smith on . Posted in Health & Wellness

Determined and devoted to helping others, Lydia Glucksberg founded STAR Medical Staffing to provide high-quality in-home healthcare and concierge services. She turned her personal family experiences into a successful, innovative business model: a hands-on, family-run homecare service that treats both clients and workers as family.

Lydia Geller Glucksberg recalls all the challenges she faced over the years caring at home for her now-adult autistic son as well as elderly parents and friends. She took a hard look at “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of finding reliable in-home healthcare and realized her calling. She knew what had to be done to fill the void and she does it like no one else. “It takes character and high standards. Providing reliable in-home healthcare is based on kindness and respect,” she says.

A Key Component of Managing Parkinson’s Disease: The Right Fitness Program

Written by Justin Walls on . Posted in Health & Wellness

“...the simplest human contact could come to the rescue. One had only to take her hand, or touch her in the lightest possible way, for her to ‘awaken’...” –– Oliver Sacks, “Awakenings”

In the course of my work, I have borne witness to several clients experiencing the onset of Parkinson’s disease. They are dealing with and adjusting to the degenerative nature of this disease, and wondering how to deal with the possible loss of independence.

Therapists are Human: The Experience of Guilt from a Therapist’s Viewpoint

Written by Jonathan Lasson on . Posted in Health & Wellness

The phone call came from a rabbi friend of mine.

“Joe is dead, and they believe it was a suicide.”

My reaction was typical for my personality. I asked the rabbi some basic questions, expressed my sympathies without becoming overly emotional, and then I obsessed.

Joe had been a client of mine for close to a year. It all began with some testing required by Joe’s school because he was having difficulty, both academically and socially. The testing revealed that Joe possessed superior intelligence, but he also had a strong tendency to misread social cues. This led to social alienation and feelings of inferiority. Joe was becoming more and more reserved, which concerned his parents to the point of referring him for therapy. His interests had become narrower, and he seemed to take very little pleasure in activities that he once enjoyed. His siblings and friends had also noticed the change, but were too afraid or ambivalent to get involved.

Getting the Family into Activities

Written by BY: Justin Gedalia Walls on . Posted in Health & Wellness

One of the challenges active people face is trying to find activities that everyone in the family can enjoy. Too often, a spouse, parent, or child can be supportive of the active person in their life making time to pursue the fitness activity they especially enjoy, but without finding a common joy in it. I know that I personally have that struggle, so I’d like to share three tips for finding a fitness activity you can enjoy together.

A Clinical Psychologist’s Tips for Creating Safe Schools

Written by Dahlia Topolosky on . Posted in Health & Wellness

Recently, I led a session for fifth graders at a local private school on the topic, “Putting Yourself in Someone Else’s Shoes.” As part of the workshop, each child was invited to share an instance where they had felt disrespected (“Last week, a boy told me that I was the dumbest kid he ever met.”) and a peer was invited to reflect on what that student might have felt in that moment (“He must have felt really embarrassed.”).

Incorporating lessons into school curriculum, such as this one on empathy, can help children learn to respect others coming from various cultures, religions and socioeconomic backgrounds. As a result, they are less likely to engage in negative behaviors that can cause physical and emotional harm.

Internet Addiction

Written by Super User on . Posted in Health & Wellness

“I’ve had enough! I can’t take it anymore! You love that stupid computer more than you love me!” Jonathan’s wife is heartbroken. It is the umpteenth time she has seen him spending time his time online, reading the news online, playing online games, and catching up on all the latest on ESPN. In between his copious amounts of cyber activity, Jonathan manages to hold down a job that he never found fulfilling. Unfortunately, he "never had the time" to find a job that actually suited his abilities. How does he even manage to hold down a job with all the time that he spends glued to his phone and computer screen? Well the first things to go were all the activities that John liked to do in his free time – playing guitar and sports hanging out with friends and going to Synagogue. The next thing to go was his sleep. After that, his relationship with his wife and kids deteriorated – they were just distractions from his internet life anyway. Jonathan didn’t start out as a cruel and thoughtless person who didn’t care about his wife and kids, but the more time he spent online, the more he craved it. He began to fantasize about chatting online, even when he was spending time with his kids. He couldn’t stop it even when he tried. He felt guilty and ashamed and he vowed that he would stop! And he did – for a week. But then he figured he would go online for a just a few minutes to check on his fantasy football team. The minutes turned into hours and somehow the football turned into chatrooms. This happened time and again. No matter what Jonathan tried he could not stop. Jonathan is the quintessential prototype of an internet addict.

Maintaining Balance and Equilibrium in Turbulent Times

Written by Simeon Pollock on . Posted in Health & Wellness

If you’re like me, you’re probably feeling that perhaps the world at large and even your own world is unbalanced at the moment. Perhaps, like me, you find it is easy to feel a lost sense of equilibrium and balance. These feelings can be unsettling, and the body absorbs the effects of a constant state of flux.

How can one find balance when extremes become the norm? When our emotions and perspectives are constantly under assault by those who are not in agreement with us; when all the rules we knew, or thought were correct, seem no longer applicable by those who want to impose new rules–– it can be difficult to feel a sense of calm. Trying to keep up with information in a world that seems to be moving faster and functioning with less patience and more anger can be disconcerting.