Rosh Chodesh Elul

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Rosh Hashana is just around the corner – its time to shape out… inside and out!

Just when you thought we have done it all! NOPE! This month we are brining you the hottest new exercise trend – Piloxing! This is an exciting inter- disciplinary class that has attracted lots of attention when it spread through Hollywood like wildfire. Piloxing uniquely mixes Pilates and boxing moves into a fat torching, muscle sculpting, core-centric interval workout guaranteed to whip you into shape using a class format that’s both fun yet challenging. It blends the power, speed and agility of boxing with beautiful sculpting and flexibility of pilates. The class will be taught by Milana Levin, AFAA Certified Instructor!

Additionally, we are bringing back by popular demand Ellie Kumayama of www.ElliesEcoCollective.blogspot.com !!! Ellie maintains that true beauty begins from within and has build a strong reputation as a life coach and lecturer on a variety of topics. This month, Ellie will be doing a presentation on nutrition, including a how-to demonstration with a few easy guilt-free recipes that will make your mouth water.

We will end off the evening with a bit of R&R in the spa… so bring your gym and spa gear (sneakers, bathing suit, towel, etc) and join us for an evening dedicated to you.

7:00PM Sushi and Snacks
7:30PM Class starts SHARP
8:30PM Nutrition
9:30PM SPA

ALL DONATIONS ARE WELCOMED AND ENCOURAGES SO THAT WE CAN KEEP BRINGING AMAZING LADIES!

Please RSVP on FB here so we have the right amount of food!!

Here are some links on Piloxing:

Bit on ABC: Click here

Piloxing on The Doctors: Click here 

Coming Full Circle: A Jewish Woman’s Journey through Christianity and back

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Coming Full Circle: A Jewish Woman’s Journey through Christianity and back.

What happens when a Jewish girl raised in a secular home discovers Christianity on her search for spirituality and then after 17 years in Christian leadership realizes that most of what she believed was a lie?

Come join us for an evening of inspiration as we hear the captivating story of Penina Taylor’s spiritual journey which led her through Evangelical Christianity, Messianic Judaism and finally to a revelation that turned her world upside the faith of her forefathers.

A story that is at times more unbelievable than fiction, this is an event you just won’t want to miss.

$10 SUGGESTED DONATION

Time: Thursday, September 8
7:00pm – 9:00pm

Venue:  2915 Ocean Parkway

Please RSVP by clicking HERE

Taylor Penina Taylor is the Executive Director and Founder of Shomrei Emet Institute and Torah Life Strategies, two organizations devoted to helping Jewish people experience a more meaningful and relevant connection to God and Judaism.

Restoring Courage

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Anyone else wondering what’s up with Glenn Beck and his restoring courage movement?? I mean the guy isn’t even Jewish! Why does he care??  So here is what I think based on reading up on this……I don’t care where you come from or who you believe in.  This is about good and evil and which side will you be on.  Simple.  I personally decided to commend Glen on his effort.  I think his motives are sincere………yes he benefits from this for his image. But so what?? Look what he has managed to put together!

This three-night event to demonstrate to Israel and the world that the Jewish state does not stand alone.  This is critical! We need this. Especially in this media war.  For example, as most of you have posted on Facebook:

* Over the weekend more then 100 rockets have been fired into Israel – No world response.
* Illegal border crossing from Egypt murders 8 civilians in Israel – No world response.
* Schools destroyed by missile – No world response.
* Israel fires back at Hamas terrorists – UN condemnation, UN resolutions, falsified reports, false cries of brutal oppression, anti-Israel PR agenda set, and world rallies to end Israeli “oppression”

Nuuuu????? I view it as the more positive and correct exposure that we can get -the better!

Allow me to direct you to a few articles:
- Should Israel Welcome Glenn Beck’s Support? by Alan M. Dershowitz
- Video Highlights from Night One of Restoring Courage by Scott Baker
Glenn Beck is Correct on the Middle East; Let’s Analyze Why That’s True by Barry Rubin

There is of course criticism on these events such as Al- Jeezera’s take on this in an article called “Glenn Beck is exploiting Israel“…yes shocker from them, I know.

I myself am curious and will tune in tonight at 8pm for “The Journey to Restoring Courage” where Glenn will be visiting (or did and its a documentary??) Auschwitz.

Here is the little clip on this

Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?

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Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?
By JOHN TIERNEY
Published: August 17, 2011

Three men doing time in Israeli prisons recently appeared before a parole board consisting of a judge, a criminologist and a social worker. The three prisoners had completed at least two-thirds of their sentences, but the parole board granted freedom to only one of them. Guess which one:

Case 1 (heard at 8:50 a.m.): An Arab Israeli serving a 30-month sentence for fraud.

Case 2 (heard at 3:10 p.m.): A Jewish Israeli serving a 16-month sentence for assault.

Case 3 (heard at 4:25 p.m.): An Arab Israeli serving a 30-month sentence for fraud.

There was a pattern to the parole board’s decisions, but it wasn’t related to the men’s ethnic backgrounds, crimes or sentences. It was all about timing, as researchers discovered by analyzing more than 1,100 decisions over the course of a year. Judges, who would hear the prisoners’ appeals and then get advice from the other members of the board, approved parole in about a third of the cases, but the probability of being paroled fluctuated wildly throughout the day. Prisoners who appeared early in the morning received parole about 70 percent of the time, while those who appeared late in the day were paroled less than 10 percent of the time.

The odds favored the prisoner who appeared at 8:50 a.m. — and he did in fact receive parole. But even though the other Arab Israeli prisoner was serving the same sentence for the same crime — fraud — the odds were against him when he appeared (on a different day) at 4:25 in the afternoon. He was denied parole, as was the Jewish Israeli prisoner at 3:10 p.m, whose sentence was shorter than that of the man who was released. They were just asking for parole at the wrong time of day.

There was nothing malicious or even unusual about the judges’ behavior, which was reported earlier this year by Jonathan Levav of Stanford and Shai Danziger of Ben-Gurion University. The judges’ erratic judgment was due to the occupational hazard of being, as George W. Bush once put it, “the decider.” The mental work of ruling on case after case, whatever the individual merits, wore them down. This sort of decision fatigue can make quarterbacks prone to dubious choices late in the game and C.F.O.’s prone to disastrous dalliances late in the evening. It routinely warps the judgment of everyone, executive and nonexecutive, rich and poor — in fact, it can take a special toll on the poor. Yet few people are even aware of it, and researchers are only beginning to understand why it happens and how to counteract it.

Decision fatigue helps explain why ordinarily sensible people get angry at colleagues and families, splurge on clothes, buy junk food at the supermarket and can’t resist the dealer’s offer to rustproof their new car. No matter how rational and high-minded you try to be, you can’t make decision after decision without paying a biological price. It’s different from ordinary physical fatigue — you’re not consciously aware of being tired — but you’re low on mental energy. The more choices you make throughout the day, the harder each one becomes for your brain, and eventually it looks for shortcuts, usually in either of two very different ways. One shortcut is to become reckless: to act impulsively instead of expending the energy to first think through the consequences. (Sure, tweet that photo! What could go wrong?) The other shortcut is the ultimate energy saver: do nothing. Instead of agonizing over decisions, avoid any choice. Ducking a decision often creates bigger problems in the long run, but for the moment, it eases the mental strain. You start to resist any change, any potentially risky move — like releasing a prisoner who might commit a crime. So the fatigued judge on a parole board takes the easy way out, and the prisoner keeps doing time.

Decision fatigue is the newest discovery involving a phenomenon called ego depletion, a term coined by the social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister in homage to a Freudian hypothesis. Freud speculated that the self, or ego, depended on mental activities involving the transfer of energy. He was vague about the details, though, and quite wrong about some of them (like his idea that artists “sublimate” sexual energy into their work, which would imply that adultery should be especially rare at artists’ colonies). Freud’s energy model of the self was generally ignored until the end of the century, when Baumeister began studying mental discipline in a series of experiments, first at Case Western and then at Florida State University.

These experiments demonstrated that there is a finite store of mental energy for exerting self-control. When people fended off the temptation to scarf down M&M’s or freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies, they were then less able to resist other temptations. When they forced themselves to remain stoic during a tearjerker movie, afterward they gave up more quickly on lab tasks requiring self-discipline, like working on a geometry puzzle or squeezing a hand-grip exerciser. Willpower turned out to be more than a folk concept or a metaphor. It really was a form of mental energy that could be exhausted. The experiments confirmed the 19th-century notion of willpower being like a muscle that was fatigued with use, a force that could be conserved by avoiding temptation. To study the process of ego depletion, researchers concentrated initially on acts involving self-control ­— the kind of self-discipline popularly associated with willpower, like resisting a bowl of ice cream. They weren’t concerned with routine decision-making, like choosing between chocolate and vanilla, a mental process that they assumed was quite distinct and much less strenuous. Intuitively, the chocolate-vanilla choice didn’t appear to require willpower.

But then a postdoctoral fellow, Jean Twenge, started working at Baumeister’s laboratory right after planning her wedding. As Twenge studied the results of the lab’s ego-depletion experiments, she remembered how exhausted she felt the evening she and her fiancé went through the ritual of registering for gifts. Did they want plain white china or something with a pattern? Which brand of knives? How many towels? What kind of sheets? Precisely how many threads per square inch?

“By the end, you could have talked me into anything,” Twenge told her new colleagues. The symptoms sounded familiar to them too, and gave them an idea. A nearby department store was holding a going-out-of-business sale, so researchers from the lab went off to fill their car trunks with simple products — not exactly wedding-quality gifts, but sufficiently appealing to interest college students. When they came to the lab, the students were told they would get to keep one item at the end of the experiment, but first they had to make a series of choices. Would they prefer a pen or a candle? A vanilla-scented candle or an almond-scented one? A candle or a T-shirt? A black T-shirt or a red T-shirt? A control group, meanwhile — let’s call them the nondeciders — spent an equally long period contemplating all these same products without having to make any choices. They were asked just to give their opinion of each product and report how often they had used such a product in the last six months.

Afterward, all the participants were given one of the classic tests of self-control: holding your hand in ice water for as long as you can. The impulse is to pull your hand out, so self-discipline is needed to keep the hand underwater. The deciders gave up much faster; they lasted 28 seconds, less than half the 67-second average of the nondeciders. Making all those choices had apparently sapped their willpower, and it wasn’t an isolated effect. It was confirmed in other experiments testing students after they went through exercises like choosing courses from the college catalog.

For a real-world test of their theory, the lab’s researchers went into that great modern arena of decision making: the suburban mall. They interviewed shoppers about their experiences in the stores that day and then asked them to solve some simple arithmetic problems. The researchers politely asked them to do as many as possible but said they could quit at any time. Sure enough, the shoppers who had already made the most decisions in the stores gave up the quickest on the math problems. When you shop till you drop, your willpower drops, too.

Any decision, whether it’s what pants to buy or whether to start a war, can be broken down into what psychologists call the Rubicon model of action phases, in honor of the river that separated Italy from the Roman province of Gaul. When Caesar reached it in 49 B.C., on his way home after conquering the Gauls, he knew that a general returning to Rome was forbidden to take his legions across the river with him, lest it be considered an invasion of Rome. Waiting on the Gaul side of the river, he was in the “predecisional phase” as he contemplated the risks and benefits of starting a civil war. Then he stopped calculating and crossed the Rubicon, reaching the “postdecisional phase,” which Caesar defined much more felicitously: “The die is cast.”

The whole process could deplete anyone’s willpower, but which phase of the decision-making process was most fatiguing? To find out, Kathleen Vohs, a former colleague of Baumeister’s now at the University of Minnesota, performed an experiment using the self-service Web site of Dell Computers. One group in the experiment carefully studied the advantages and disadvantages of various features available for a computer — the type of screen, the size of the hard drive, etc. — without actually making a final decision on which ones to choose. A second group was given a list of predetermined specifications and told to configure a computer by going through the laborious, step-by-step process of locating the specified features among the arrays of options and then clicking on the right ones. The purpose of this was to duplicate everything that happens in the postdecisional phase, when the choice is implemented. The third group had to figure out for themselves which features they wanted on their computers and go through the process of choosing them; they didn’t simply ponder options (like the first group) or implement others’ choices (like the second group). They had to cast the die, and that turned out to be the most fatiguing task of all. When self-control was measured, they were the one who were most depleted, by far.

The experiment showed that crossing the Rubicon is more tiring than anything that happens on either bank — more mentally fatiguing than sitting on the Gaul side contemplating your options or marching on Rome once you’ve crossed. As a result, someone without Caesar’s willpower is liable to stay put. To a fatigued judge, denying parole seems like the easier call not only because it preserves the status quo and eliminates the risk of a parolee going on a crime spree but also because it leaves more options open: the judge retains the option of paroling the prisoner at a future date without sacrificing the option of keeping him securely in prison right now. Part of the resistance against making decisions comes from our fear of giving up options. The word “decide” shares an etymological root with “homicide,” the Latin word “caedere,” meaning “to cut down” or “to kill,” and that loss looms especially large when decision fatigue sets in.

Once you’re mentally depleted, you become reluctant to make trade-offs, which involve a particularly advanced and taxing form of decision making. In the rest of the animal kingdom, there aren’t a lot of protracted negotiations between predators and prey. To compromise is a complex human ability and therefore one of the first to decline when willpower is depleted. You become what researchers call a cognitive miser, hoarding your energy. If you’re shopping, you’re liable to look at only one dimension, like price: just give me the cheapest. Or you indulge yourself by looking at quality: I want the very best (an especially easy strategy if someone else is paying). Decision fatigue leaves you vulnerable to marketers who know how to time their sales, as Jonathan Levav, the Stanford professor, demonstrated in experiments involving tailored suits and new cars.

The idea for these experiments also happened to come in the preparations for a wedding, a ritual that seems to be the decision-fatigue equivalent of Hell Week. At his fiancée’s suggestion, Levav visited a tailor to have a bespoke suit made and began going through the choices of fabric, type of lining and style of buttons, lapels, cuffs and so forth.

“By the time I got through the third pile of fabric swatches, I wanted to kill myself,” Levav recalls. “I couldn’t tell the choices apart anymore. After a while my only response to the tailor became ‘What do you recommend?’ I just couldn’t take it.”

Levav ended up not buying any kind of bespoke suit (the $2,000 price made that decision easy enough), but he put the experience to use in a pair of experiments conducted with Mark Heitmann, then at Christian-Albrechts University in Germany; Andreas Herrmann, at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland; and Sheena Iyengar, of Columbia. One involved asking M.B.A. students in Switzerland to choose a bespoke suit; the other was conducted at German car dealerships, where customers ordered options for their new sedans. The car buyers — and these were real customers spending their own money — had to choose, for instance, among 4 styles of gearshift knobs, 13 kinds of wheel rims, 25 configurations of the engine and gearbox and a palette of 56 colors for the interior.

As they started picking features, customers would carefully weigh the choices, but as decision fatigue set in, they would start settling for whatever the default option was. And the more tough choices they encountered early in the process — like going through those 56 colors to choose the precise shade of gray or brown — the quicker people became fatigued and settled for the path of least resistance by taking the default option. By manipulating the order of the car buyers’ choices, the researchers found that the customers would end up settling for different kinds of options, and the average difference totaled more than 1,500 euros per car (about $2,000 at the time). Whether the customers paid a little extra for fancy wheel rims or a lot extra for a more powerful engine depended on when the choice was offered and how much willpower was left in the customer.

Similar results were found in the experiment with custom-made suits: once decision fatigue set in, people tended to settle for the recommended option. When they were confronted early on with the toughest decisions — the ones with the most options, like the 100 fabrics for the suit — they became fatigued more quickly and also reported enjoying the shopping experience less.

Shopping can be especially tiring for the poor, who have to struggle continually with trade-offs. Most of us in America won’t spend a lot of time agonizing over whether we can afford to buy soap, but it can be a depleting choice in rural India. Dean Spears, an economist at Princeton, offered people in 20 villages in Rajasthan in northwestern India the chance to buy a couple of bars of brand-name soap for the equivalent of less than 20 cents. It was a steep discount off the regular price, yet even that sum was a strain for the people in the 10 poorest villages. Whether or not they bought the soap, the act of making the decision left them with less willpower, as measured afterward in a test of how long they could squeeze a hand grip. In the slightly more affluent villages, people’s willpower wasn’t affected significantly. Because they had more money, they didn’t have to spend as much effort weighing the merits of the soap versus, say, food or medicine.

Spears and other researchers argue that this sort of decision fatigue is a major — and hitherto ignored — factor in trapping people in poverty. Because their financial situation forces them to make so many trade-offs, they have less willpower to devote to school, work and other activities that might get them into the middle class. It’s hard to know exactly how important this factor is, but there’s no doubt that willpower is a special problem for poor people. Study after study has shown that low self-control correlates with low income as well as with a host of other problems, including poor achievement in school, divorce, crime, alcoholism and poor health. Lapses in self-control have led to the notion of the “undeserving poor” — epitomized by the image of the welfare mom using food stamps to buy junk food — but Spears urges sympathy for someone who makes decisions all day on a tight budget. In one study, he found that when the poor and the rich go shopping, the poor are much more likely to eat during the shopping trip. This might seem like confirmation of their weak character — after all, they could presumably save money and improve their nutrition by eating meals at home instead of buying ready-to-eat snacks like Cinnabons, which contribute to the higher rate of obesity among the poor. But if a trip to the supermarket induces more decision fatigue in the poor than in the rich — because each purchase requires more mental trade-offs — by the time they reach the cash register, they’ll have less willpower left to resist the Mars bars and Skittles. Not for nothing are these items called impulse purchases.

And this isn’t the only reason that sweet snacks are featured prominently at the cash register, just when shoppers are depleted after all their decisions in the aisles. With their willpower reduced, they’re more likely to yield to any kind of temptation, but they’re especially vulnerable to candy and soda and anything else offering a quick hit of sugar. While supermarkets figured this out a long time ago, only recently did researchers discover why.

The discovery was an accident resulting from a failed experiment at Baumeister’s lab. The researchers set out to test something called the Mardi Gras theory — the notion that you could build up willpower by first indulging yourself in pleasure, the way Mardi Gras feasters do just before the rigors of Lent. In place of a Fat Tuesday breakfast, the chefs in the lab at Florida State whipped up lusciously thick milkshakes for a group of subjects who were resting in between two laboratory tasks requiring willpower. Sure enough, the delicious shakes seemed to strengthen willpower by helping people perform better than expected on the next task. So far, so good. But the experiment also included a control group of people who were fed a tasteless concoction of low-fat dairy glop. It provided them with no pleasure, yet it produced similar improvements in self-control. The Mardi Gras theory looked wrong. Besides tragically removing an excuse for romping down the streets of New Orleans, the result was embarrassing for the researchers. Matthew Gailliot, the graduate student who ran the study, stood looking down at his shoes as he told Baumeister about the fiasco.

Baumeister tried to be optimistic. Maybe the study wasn’t a failure. Something had happened, after all. Even the tasteless glop had done the job, but how? If it wasn’t the pleasure, could it be the calories? At first the idea seemed a bit daft. For decades, psychologists had been studying performance on mental tasks without worrying much about the results being affected by dairy-product consumption. They liked to envision the human mind as a computer, focusing on the way it processed information. In their eagerness to chart the human equivalent of the computer’s chips and circuits, most psychologists neglected one mundane but essential part of the machine: the power supply. The brain, like the rest of the body, derived energy from glucose, the simple sugar manufactured from all kinds of foods. To establish cause and effect, researchers at Baumeister’s lab tried refueling the brain in a series of experiments involving lemonade mixed either with sugar or with a diet sweetener. The sugary lemonade provided a burst of glucose, the effects of which could be observed right away in the lab; the sugarless variety tasted quite similar without providing the same burst of glucose. Again and again, the sugar restored willpower, but the artificial sweetener had no effect. The glucose would at least mitigate the ego depletion and sometimes completely reverse it. The restored willpower improved people’s self-control as well as the quality of their decisions: they resisted irrational bias when making choices, and when asked to make financial decisions, they were more likely to choose the better long-term strategy instead of going for a quick payoff. The ego-depletion effect was even demonstrated with dogs in two studies by Holly Miller and Nathan DeWall at the University of Kentucky. After obeying sit and stay commands for 10 minutes, the dogs performed worse on self-control tests and were also more likely to make the dangerous decision to challenge another dog’s turf. But a dose of glucose restored their willpower.

Despite this series of findings, brain researchers still had some reservations about the glucose connection. Skeptics pointed out that the brain’s overall use of energy remains about the same regardless of what a person is doing, which doesn’t square easily with the notion of depleted energy affecting willpower. Among the skeptics was Todd Heatherton, who worked with Baumeister early in his career and eventually wound up at Dartmouth, where he became a pioneer of what is called social neuroscience: the study of links between brain processes and social behavior. He believed in ego depletion, but he didn’t see how this neural process could be caused simply by variations in glucose levels. To observe the process — and to see if it could be reversed by glucose — he and his colleagues recruited 45 female dieters and recorded images of their brains as they reacted to pictures of food. Next the dieters watched a comedy video while forcing themselves to suppress their laughter — a standard if cruel way to drain mental energy and induce ego depletion. Then they were again shown pictures of food, and the new round of brain scans revealed the effects of ego depletion: more activity in the nucleus accumbens, the brain’s reward center, and a corresponding decrease in the amygdala, which ordinarily helps control impulses. The food’s appeal registered more strongly while impulse control weakened — not a good combination for anyone on a diet. But suppose people in this ego-depleted state got a quick dose of glucose? What would a scan of their brains reveal?

The results of the experiment were announced in January, during Heatherton’s speech accepting the leadership of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the world’s largest group of social psychologists. In his presidential address at the annual meeting in San Antonio, Heatherton reported that administering glucose completely reversed the brain changes wrought by depletion — a finding, he said, that thoroughly surprised him. Heatherton’s results did much more than provide additional confirmation that glucose is a vital part of willpower; they helped solve the puzzle over how glucose could work without global changes in the brain’s total energy use. Apparently ego depletion causes activity to rise in some parts of the brain and to decline in others. Your brain does not stop working when glucose is low. It stops doing some things and starts doing others. It responds more strongly to immediate rewards and pays less attention to long-term prospects.

The discoveries about glucose help explain why dieting is a uniquely difficult test of self-control — and why even people with phenomenally strong willpower in the rest of their lives can have such a hard time losing weight. They start out the day with virtuous intentions, resisting croissants at breakfast and dessert at lunch, but each act of resistance further lowers their willpower. As their willpower weakens late in the day, they need to replenish it. But to resupply that energy, they need to give the body glucose. They’re trapped in a nutritional catch-22:

1. In order not to eat, a dieter needs willpower.

2. In order to have willpower, a dieter needs to eat.

As the body uses up glucose, it looks for a quick way to replenish the fuel, leading to a craving for sugar. After performing a lab task requiring self-control, people tend to eat more candy but not other kinds of snacks, like salty, fatty potato chips. The mere expectation of having to exert self-control makes people hunger for sweets. A similar effect helps explain why many women yearn for chocolate and other sugary treats just before menstruation: their bodies are seeking a quick replacement as glucose levels fluctuate. A sugar-filled snack or drink will provide a quick improvement in self-control (that’s why it’s convenient to use in experiments), but it’s just a temporary solution. The problem is that what we identify as sugar doesn’t help as much over the course of the day as the steadier supply of glucose we would get from eating proteins and other more nutritious foods.

The benefits of glucose were unmistakable in the study of the Israeli parole board. In midmorning, usually a little before 10:30, the parole board would take a break, and the judges would be served a sandwich and a piece of fruit. The prisoners who appeared just before the break had only about a 20 percent chance of getting parole, but the ones appearing right after had around a 65 percent chance. The odds dropped again as the morning wore on, and prisoners really didn’t want to appear just before lunch: the chance of getting parole at that time was only 10 percent. After lunch it soared up to 60 percent, but only briefly. Remember that Jewish Israeli prisoner who appeared at 3:10 p.m. and was denied parole from his sentence for assault? He had the misfortune of being the sixth case heard after lunch. But another Jewish Israeli prisoner serving the same sentence for the same crime was lucky enough to appear at 1:27 p.m., the first case after lunch, and he was rewarded with parole. It must have seemed to him like a fine example of the justice system at work, but it probably had more to do with the judge’s glucose levels.

It’s simple enough to imagine reforms for the parole board in Israel — like, say, restricting each judge’s shift to half a day, preferably in the morning, interspersed with frequent breaks for food and rest. But it’s not so obvious what to do with the decision fatigue affecting the rest of society. Even if we could all afford to work half-days, we would still end up depleting our willpower all day long, as Baumeister and his colleagues found when they went into the field in Würzburg in central Germany. The psychologists gave preprogrammed BlackBerrys to more than 200 people going about their daily routines for a week. The phones went off at random intervals, prompting the people to report whether they were currently experiencing some sort of desire or had recently felt a desire. The painstaking study, led by Wilhelm Hofmann, then at the University of Würzburg, collected more than 10,000 momentary reports from morning until midnight.

Desire turned out to be the norm, not the exception. Half the people were feeling some desire when their phones went off — to snack, to goof off, to express their true feelings to their bosses — and another quarter said they had felt a desire in the past half-hour. Many of these desires were ones that the men and women were trying to resist, and the more willpower people expended, the more likely they became to yield to the next temptation that came along. When faced with a new desire that produced some I-want-to-but-I-really-shouldn’t sort of inner conflict, they gave in more readily if they had already fended off earlier temptations, particularly if the new temptation came soon after a previously reported one.

The results suggested that people spend between three and four hours a day resisting desire. Put another way, if you tapped four or five people at any random moment of the day, one of them would be using willpower to resist a desire. The most commonly resisted desires in the phone study were the urges to eat and sleep, followed by the urge for leisure, like taking a break from work by doing a puzzle or playing a game instead of writing a memo. Sexual urges were next on the list of most-resisted desires, a little ahead of urges for other kinds of interactions, like checking Facebook. To ward off temptation, people reported using various strategies. The most popular was to look for a distraction or to undertake a new activity, although sometimes they tried suppressing it directly or simply toughing their way through it. Their success was decidedly mixed. They were pretty good at avoiding sleep, sex and the urge to spend money, but not so good at resisting the lure of television or the Web or the general temptation to relax instead of work.

We have no way of knowing how much our ancestors exercised self-control in the days before BlackBerrys and social psychologists, but it seems likely that many of them were under less ego-depleting strain. When there were fewer decisions, there was less decision fatigue. Today we feel overwhelmed because there are so many choices. Your body may have dutifully reported to work on time, but your mind can escape at any instant. A typical computer user looks at more than three dozen Web sites a day and gets fatigued by the continual decision making — whether to keep working on a project, check out TMZ, follow a link to YouTube or buy something on Amazon. You can do enough damage in a 10-minute online shopping spree to wreck your budget for the rest of the year.

The cumulative effect of these temptations and decisions isn’t intuitively obvious. Virtually no one has a gut-level sense of just how tiring it is to decide. Big decisions, small decisions, they all add up. Choosing what to have for breakfast, where to go on vacation, whom to hire, how much to spend — these all deplete willpower, and there’s no telltale symptom of when that willpower is low. It’s not like getting winded or hitting the wall during a marathon. Ego depletion manifests itself not as one feeling but rather as a propensity to experience everything more intensely. When the brain’s regulatory powers weaken, frustrations seem more irritating than usual. Impulses to eat, drink, spend and say stupid things feel more powerful (and alcohol causes self-control to decline further). Like those dogs in the experiment, ego-depleted humans become more likely to get into needless fights over turf. In making decisions, they take illogical shortcuts and tend to favor short-term gains and delayed costs. Like the depleted parole judges, they become inclined to take the safer, easier option even when that option hurts someone else.

“Good decision making is not a trait of the person, in the sense that it’s always there,” Baumeister says. “It’s a state that fluctuates.” His studies show that people with the best self-control are the ones who structure their lives so as to conserve willpower. They don’t schedule endless back-to-back meetings. They avoid temptations like all-you-can-eat buffets, and they establish habits that eliminate the mental effort of making choices. Instead of deciding every morning whether or not to force themselves to exercise, they set up regular appointments to work out with a friend. Instead of counting on willpower to remain robust all day, they conserve it so that it’s available for emergencies and important decisions.

“Even the wisest people won’t make good choices when they’re not rested and their glucose is low,” Baumeister points out. That’s why the truly wise don’t restructure the company at 4 p.m. They don’t make major commitments during the cocktail hour. And if a decision must be made late in the day, they know not to do it on an empty stomach. “The best decision makers,” Baumeister says, “are the ones who know when not to trust themselves.”

the original article can be read here http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html?_r=1

John Tierney (tierneylab@nytimes.com) is a science columnist for The Times. His essay is adapted from a book he wrote with Roy F. Baumeister, “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength,” which comes out next month.

Editor: Aaron Retica (a.retica-MagGroup@nytimes.com)

How Can You Believe in God?

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How Can You Believe in God?
by Shmuel Greenbaum

On the afternoon of August 9, 2001 a terrorist carrying a guitar case filled with explosives entered the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem and detonated a bomb killing or wounding over 100 victims. Among the dead was my wife Shoshana who was expecting our first child.

When I speak in public, there is one question people always ask me; I imagine it’s the same question they ask the survivors of the London Subway bombing, 9/11, or the Norway attack; people always ask me “How can you believe in God?”

Our natural tendency is to focus on the bad, especially when we are immersed in a horrific tragedy. Before my wife was murdered I had been the happiest man in the world married to the most wonderful woman in the world. We had just moved into a new home and our heads were filled with wonderful dreams. Then, in an instant, I became the loneliest man in the world. I lived in fear that terrorists would track me down and kill me and perhaps kill hundreds of people in the United States as they had my wife and my unborn child.

What pulled me through this tragedy were the people who were there for me in my darkest hours—the friends and relatives who supported me with my physical and emotional needs and the strangers who opened their hearts to relieve my burdens.

Wherever I speak, I ask the audience to describe the community’s response to a local tragedy. When I speak to audiences in the United States I ask them, “What happened right after 9/11?”

Shortly after 9/11, I asked that question to several hundred students at New York’s Stuyvesant High School, located a few blocks north of the World Trade Center site. There was still tremendous stress and fear in the voices of the students as they described how the police evacuated the school and they ran for their lives as a cloud of thick black smoke raced towards the building.

Then they described the thousands of people who asked – “What can we do to help?” Volunteers rushed to donate blood, to dig through the rubble, to counsel the victims and countless other acts of kindness. According the New York Times, two-thirds of Americans donated money to the victims of 9-11.

Over the past 10 years I have asked this question to audiences of all ages and I have always heard the same responses. So I was shocked at what I heard when I spoke recently to 300 junior high school students in Kew Gardens Hills, New York, a few miles away from the World Trade Center site. When I asked them this question all they told me was that “people became patriotic” and “America went to war.”

“Are those the only things that happened right afterward?” I asked them and they looked back at me with blank stares. They were too young to remember what happened, so I asked their teachers one-by-one to tell the audience what happened right after 9/11 and each teacher mentioned a different act of kindness.

“It’s not in your history books?” I asked the children with disbelief. “Don’t you learn about it in school?” There was total silence in the room and I was left speechless. The most fundamental lesson in our belief in mankind and our belief in God was never taught to our children—if you don’t see people doing acts of kindness, you can’t believe in God.

It takes great effort to see the good. But seeing the good is the only hope we have for our sanity and for our society. Seeing the Godliness in people is the only way we can be Godly. And that is why just two months after 9-11 and three months after the attack that killed my wife, I vowed to teach the world kindness. I met with a group of friends in my community to discuss how to make the world a better place.

We decided to start a daily email newsletter to offer readers stories of kindness. A Daily Dose of Kindness was begun and the group became an organization called “Partners in Kindness.” An email list of 150 soon expanded around the world to an audience of well over 2 million. Hundreds of organizations requested permission to reprint the kindness stories in newspapers, magazines and on the internet.
Atrocities and tragedies happen all the time; most of the time we can’t control them and that makes us feel helpless. However this is something that we can sometimes overcome. It has been scientifically proven that feelings of helplessness in some cases can be overcome by helping others. It’s tremendously gratifying to me every time I receive reports that the kindness emails have made subscribers happier and in some cases have even helped them to overcome depression.

How can I believe in God? After reading about acts of kindness and Godliness every day and doing acts of kindness myself, how can I not believe in God?

***

August 9, 2011 is not only the 10th anniversary of the Sbarro terrorist bombing, it is also the date of the Jewish Holiday Tisha B’Av – A day when Jews throughout the world remember genocide and hatred throughout history and transform their mourning into acts of kindness.

***

As part of the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the terrorist bombing that killed Shmuel Greenbaum’s wife, Partners in Kindness is donating thousands of copies of A Daily Dose of Kindness to public libraries. Hundreds of US Libraries already have copies on their shelves. Distribution to libraries throughout the world begins today.

***

Shmuel Greenbaum is the founder of Partners in Kindness and the Author and Editor of A Daily Dose of Kindness, A response to terror, Stories from the Heart, Book One, In Love with Israel. He can be contacted at info@PartnersInKindness.org or http://www.PartnersInKindness.org

Drink Bid Support!

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Are you DBS?

You went to Israel and volunteered at the soup kitchen Hazon Yeshaya….cut some veggies…served it to our Russian babushka’s and dedushka’s…was touched…..now what??? Now its time to DONATE and help raise money!!!! Open your wallet as your heart!!

Join us for our 2nd Annual Drink Bid Support Charity Event for Hazon Yeshaya!

Tue Sep 13th at 7pm-11pm
Hudson Terrace
621 West 46th st (btw 12th Ave and 11th Ave)
STRICTLY KOSHER 4 PASSOVER FULL BAR

21+

Roof Top : New York City Vibe : Party outdoors under the stars overlooking the Hudson River
DJ DL NYC House & Hip Hop

RSVP on Facebook by clicking here. Just remember to BUY your ticket!

Tickets in advance are $20 ($25 at the door) and includes one free drink. Please purchase tickets below and bring the print out with you. [wpeventticketing]

WE WILL BE AUCTIONING AND RAFFLING OFF PRIZES AND SERVICES INCLUDING:

– Fight lessons with Yuri foreman a professional boxer
– A date with the new hit reality tv “Russian dolls”
– Salsa lessons with the salsa champion of the world herself
– Rebecca minkoff handbag from the 2011 collection
– Mikimoto earrings
– A case of Vodka
– Helicopter lessons

Each raffle ticket costs $10 to enter to win one of the prizes above and more!

All proceeds collected will be donated directly to http://www.hazonyeshaya.org/about.asp

* Please note this event is an exclusive production with capacity of up to 250 guests. The entire 2nd floor is rented out entirely for our guests. ALL TICKET IN ADVANCE HOLDERS WILL RECEIVE GUARANTEED PRIORITY ADMISSION *

PURCHASE YOUR TICKET IN ADVANCE VIA PAYPAL. PRINT YOUR RECEIPT & BRING IT TO THE DOOR AS YOUR TICKET. YOUR NAME AND THE AMOUNT OF TICKETS WILL BE AT THE DOOR AS WELL, PLEASE BRING YOUR ID

LAST YEAR WE RAISED $10,000 LETS BEAT THE RECORD!

Wanna know about Hazon Yeshaya? Check this out:

Hazon Yeshaya New York- An Extraordinary Event from Chaya Goldsmith on Vimeo.

1st Monthly Movie Night

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You wanted it, we made it happen! Join us for our first monthly movie night on Wed 8/31 at 7pm.  The location is TBD.  We will have refreshments and possibly corn stand from our own RAJEon Alumni.  Details are being worked out on, but def SAVE THE DATE and RSVP on FB here

Plot:

Moscow. 1992. Astrophysicist Sasha Greenberg, (Sam Robards,) returns after emigrating to the US 17 years earlier. Formerly branded a traitor by the government, he is now seen as a hero. The period of “Perestroika” (restructuring) has turned everything upside down. Old friends who had no choice but to denounce him now welcome him with open arms. Painful memories of anti Semitism return to haunt him. A former colleague and lover introduces him to a fiery young girl who may be his daughter. The entire society is in upheaval. Vodka is rationed. Old people can barely feed themselves. Films of polluted seas, rivers on fire, and dying forests, are seeing the light of day for the first time. People are saying things in public that formerly would have sent them to prison. Many expect Civil War. At the same time a new breed of entrepreneurs are born. In the midst of all this turmoil Sasha is expected to deliver a theory that makes sense of our universe. His wily but supportive mentor, Gross, (F. Murray Abraham) counsels Sasha to continue along his path, to ride out his personal and professional problems.

 About the Movie:

Perestroika” is the latest narrative feature from storied writer/director Slava Tsukerman, the director of the cult classic “Liquid Sky,” and the critically acclaimed documentary, “Stalin’s Wife.” “Perestroika” is a fictional look at a period that addresses much that is going on right now. But it is also a semi autobiographical recounting of Mr. Tsukerman’s own return to Russia during “Perestroika.” In his youth Tsukerman was among the first Jews to be admitted to the Moscow Film School. Almost twenty years before Russia’s “restructuring” he managed to emigrate to Israel, and then the US, where he made a huge splash with “Liquid Sky.” In writing “Perestroika” he called on much of his own experience.

Critics Say:

  “Slava Tsukerman’s Perestroika is a genuine cinematic tour de force: ironic and sad, loving, provocative, thoughtful, and often hauntingly beautiful. Tsukerman has managed to capture the atmosphere of a unique moment in history, when Soviet civilization imploded and the Western world triumphed – or so it seemed. But Tsukerman’s film is only on the surface about politics and history. In essence, it is a deep reflection about mankind’s current state, its metaphysical, indeed cosmic confusion and inability to come to terms with catastrophically fast changes – the new global transformation (another perestroika, so to speak) of which we all are part and of which we do not know the outcome. Tsukerman’s film maintains a level of intellectual intensity that is rarely found in today’s cinema. At the same time, Perestroika has warmth and humanity, as well as erotic vibrations; it is also a film about men and women, their attraction to each other and their all-too brief periods of mutual understanding.”

 

The Sumo Smackdown…RAJEon!

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Hey guys, this Sunday night the 1st monthly boyz night is going down, with some good ole fashioned Japanese style smackdown!! Sumo wrestling is the name of the game, yes yes it’s also a Russian sport…so get ready to get ur tackle on, ur drink on, and ur manhood rocked!! Our rabbis will be joining us for this awesome event, with some always wise words. Snacks and drinks(alcoholic and non) will be served, but byob if u want. The event will be $5(a donation to help pay for event). So get ur body, mind, and liver ready, it’s gonna be EPIC!!!

We will have full Sumo suits and Sumo Ring for the event. Bring your cameras.

RSVP via Facebook here

This Sunday August 14th 2011 at 7PM | JCBB 2915 Ocean Parkway

Gentleman here are the rules.

1st RULE: You do not talk about RAJEon FIGHT CLUB.

2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about RAJEon FIGHT CLUB!.

3rd RULE: If someone says “stop” or goes limp, taps out the fight is over.

4th RULE: Only two guys to a fight. ( we will have some 2v2 matches)

5th RULE: One fight at a time.

6th RULE: No shirts, no shoes you need to have gear on.

7th RULE: Fights will go on as long as they have to.

8th RULE: If this is your first night at RAJEon FIGHT CLUB, you HAVE to fight.

Rabbi GMoney is inviting you to Raje this shabbos

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I’ve been away for a while and I miss you guys

Friday, August 12th

7:39 PM Shabbat Candle Lighting
7:45 PM Minchah followed by Carlbach Style Kabbalat ShabbatService welcoming in the Shabbat with plenty of spirit and song.
8:45 PM Shabbat Meal with Plenty of Spirit and Soul.
10:00 PM Friday Night Live – Oneg Shabbat

Shabbat, August 13th
9:00 AM Morning Service
10:30 AM Words of inspiration from Rabbi Tokarsky
11:30 AM Kiddush
12:00 PM “What comfort after the fall?” w/ RabbiDovid Goldshteyn
1:00 PM Shabbat lunch
6:30 PM Ethics of Our Father – w/ Rabbi Dovid Goldshteyn
7:30 PM Mincha followed by the Third Meal
8:46 PM Havdalahceremony: candles, songs and guitar with our very own singing Rabbis

Tisha Bav

Tisha B’av Inspirational Videos

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Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen |  Tisha B’Av: Two Dimensional Syndrome| click here

Rabbi Doniel Katz| Tisha B’av Class| click here

Rabbi Charles Mizrachi| The Destruction Of Our Temples| click here

Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb and Rabbi Steven Weil | Live Webcast by Orthodox Union | click here

United with Israel | Jerusalem: 4000 Years in 5 Minutes| click here

Charlie Harary| All for One| click here 

Rabbi Avraham Goldhar| Crash Course on Tisha B’av| click here

Israel Movie | Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire – Focusing on the Jewish Revolution that Led to the Destruction of the Second Temple| click here

Israel TV|“9th of Av Fear and Hope” Eye On Zion| click here

12 Tribe Films and United with Israel | Home Game (Full Movie)| click here

Project Inspire| The Road Home| click here

Also visit Torahanytime.com,  aish.com, webyeshiva.org, for great lectures

All feedback is welcome…having a meaningful and easy fast.

Are the hatreds of the past returning?

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some words of reflection before the ninth of av.

Shabbat Candle Lighting – NYT

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Back in the mid nineties a Jewish advertising executive in New York came up with an idea. What if the New York Times – considered the world’s most prestigious newspaper – listed the weekly Shabbat candle lighting time each week? Sure, someone would have to pay for the space. But imagine the Jewish awareness and pride that might result from such a prominent mention of the Jewish Shabbat each week.

The advertising executive got in touch with a Jewish philanthropist and sold him on the idea. It cost almost two thousand dollars a week. But he did it.

And for the next five years, each Friday, Jews around the world would see ‘Jewish Women: Shabbat candle lighting time this Friday is …’.

Eventually the philanthropist had to cut back on a number of his projects. And in June 1999, the little Shabbat notice stopped appearing in the Friday Times. and from that week on it never appeared again.

Except once.

On January 1, 2000, the NY Times ran a Millennium edition. It was a special issue that featured three front pages. One had the news from January 1, 1900. The second was the actual news of the day, January 1, 2000. And then they had a third front page, projecting future events of January 1, 2100.

This fictional page included things like a welcome to the fifty-first state: Cuba, as well as a discussion as to whether robots should be allowed to vote. And so on.

And in addition to the fascinating articles, there was one more thing. Down on the bottom of the Year 2100 front page was the candle lighting time in New York for January 1, 2100. Nobody paid for it. It was just put in by the Times.

When the production manager of the New York Times – an Irish Catholic – was asked about it, his answer was right on the mark. And it speaks to the eternity of our people. And to the power of the Jewish tradition and its women.

The production manager explained: “We don’t know what will happen in the year 2100. It is impossible to predict the future. But of one thing you can be certain, that in the year 2100 Jewish women will be lighting Shabbos candles.

Lower your debt ceiling – Devarim

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There was a shocking new discovery was made this week. Out of all the time during the year this discovery was made at a miraculous time. We are approaching Tisha B’av where we commemorate five tragic events amongst other calamities that had befallen our people. Two of the five tragic events are of course the destruction of two of our temples. These temples were the focal points of our faith and our holy of holies. It is where we would make sacrifices, where we congregate to, and where we pray to. Our temples were glorious complexes magnificent by sight and even more by spirit.

The discovery is that scientists had just made is that they started locating vast amounts of treasuries they believe belonged to our temple all across the world. This discovery is alarming because they are claiming that they have identified every single block and treasure of what was taken from our temples. In addition, they claim that they are able to identify every crook that possesses even one small piece of our temple and this is even more alarming. The main criminals of the treasures and blocks of our temple are to a shock ourselves…the Jewish People.

Our temples were a place of sacrifice; it was where we atoned ourselves, and where we were all judged equally in front of Hashem. Breaking down what our temple served us for we essentially understand that the Beit Hamikdash is what makes us happy and represents the things we need in life. It is our biggest desire, biggest happiness, and biggest sacrifice which we can ever make and at the same are all equal to each other.

Desire=Sacrifice=Happiness

In the same way which the Beit Hamikdash was where we obtained pure happiness so too are the blocks that it was constructed from and treasure which filled it. We too are made up on the outside of what we have inside of us. How then are we identified as crooks if it was our own temple which was looted? We are the one who have all the pieces, treasures and blocks of our temple because of the way we looked and treated our two temples. Because we all looked at each other negatively and did not work together, and established different classes and treated the poorer worse than the rich and elite. We no longer viewed ourselves equal and started seeing the negative and bad things in one another rather than the good things. We had no longer relied on the temple to sacrifice and atone and provide for us pure happiness as a whole as we started focusing on the individual happiness.  With this individual happiness and self purpose is how we still live today. Today everyone is way too quick to attack each other, take from one another, slander, and gossip amongst many other sins. These sins are the result of us seeking individual happiness and thus redirect our desires and sacrifices for ourselves instead of our temple and others.

Since the Beit Hamikdash is our temple we are then not considered to be pure thieves or crooks because you cannot steal from yourself, rather we are just borrowing from ourselves. And thus just like things that go up must come down; the things that go down like our temples must come back up. The easiest way to get out of debt is to pay back what you owe. The word build is defined as to increase or develop toward a maximum, as of intensity, tempo, or magnitude. As we took from our temple we have took from it the ability to sacrifice ourselves for personal gain and thus taking down our temple block by block with negativity. So by extinguishing the negativity and acting positive towards one another we can repay our loans. We can say that no longer do we need to be selfish in our pursuit of personal happiness and we do by judging everybody favorably.

In this week’s parshat Devarim Moses begins summarizing the law for the nation of Israel in that “Hear [disputes] between your brothers and judge justly between a man and his brother, and between his litigant. You shall not favor persons in judgment; [rather] you shall hear the small just as the great; you shall not fear any man, for the judgment is upon the Lord” How is this related to rebuilding our temple though? Because this is the same verse which is given to us in parshat Kedoshim which tells us how to do Kiddush Hashem. Kedoshim goes on to tell us “You shall commit no injustice in judgment; you shall not favor a poor person or respect a great man; you shall judge your fellow with righteousness.” Kiddush Hashem means to sanctify G-d and thus any action by a Jew that brings honor, respect, and glory to God is considered to be a Kiddush Hashem . Just as the Talmudic passage in the tractate of Shabbat says that Hillel taught the proselyte the whole Torah on one leg which was, “That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it.” Hillel clearly recognized that the importance of how we treat and act with one another is the foundation of the whole torah and the underlining principle. The ultimate act of Kiddush Hashem is when a Jew is prepared to sacrifice his life rather than transgress any of God’s three cardinal sins: Serving idols, committing certain sexual acts (such as incest or adultery), or committing murder.

Let’s all take from this week’s parsha and remember how we can rebuild our temple, how we can do Kiddush Hashem and how we can learn how to be equal with one another. Like I said before we had all been guilty and began acting for our own personal happiness. We all in one way or another have violated Hashem that he had exiled us all from the land and has still not rebuilt our temple. So since we are all guilty of acting selfishly over the years why don’t we return what we borrowed from the temple. In this week’s parsha we see that by simply judging the poor and rich alike we have pure equality. When both the poor and the rich are acting for selfish reasons they are both guilty up above, but when they both realize this and do not blame each other for one another’s problems, this is how they are able to go back to the bank and repay their loans of the temple’s sacrifice. Our sacrifice need to come back for one another, we need to put on glasses of truth and see that  everyone will have their own problems and we cannot solve nor help all of them . We can all simply do our part by judging everyone the same. Hear the small just as the great; you shall not favor a poor person or respect a great man; you shall judge your fellow with righteousness; and that which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow. So the next time we look at one another and communicate know that we are all guilty of something, but we are not our own judges. We can increase our happiness by adding to someone else’s happiness. Making a personal sacrifice for someone else is what shows true justice, mercy, and equality. We have to remember Rabbi Akiva that eloquently sums up our financial responsibilities within this life stating in Mishnah 20 – Perek 3: “Everything is given on collateral and a net is spread over all the living. The shop is open; the Merchant extends credit; the ledger is open; the hand writes; and whoever wishes to borrow, let him come and borrow. The collectors make their routes constantly, every day, and collect payment from the person whether he realizes it or not.”  So when you have an opportunity to interact with someone make sure you repay your debt to the temple of acting positively and sacrificing your own personal happiness for that other person’s happiness. This is the true way to bring back our temple of happiness and sacrifice.

Shabbat Shalom,

Bezalel

Tisha B’Av Beginners Service and Meditation

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Monday, August 8th 2011 Jews around the world begin mourning one of its national greatest losses. FIND OUT WHY.

6:00 PM  Join us for dinner and the Seudah HaMafseket the “separating meal” eaten before the fasts.
8:04 PM – The Fast Begins
8:15 PM – T’sha B’Av Service and Mediation

Service will take place on 55 Water St (50th floor a valid id is required) at the exclusive boardroom of the CEO of Forex!

Please RSVP by clicking here