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Offbeat Israel: The Great-Great Grandfather of Jewish Law

A broad alliance of people, from politicians to market traders, are worried for the heath of Israel’s less well-off, as reported in today’s edition of the Forward. Just as that row brews, we learn that the health of a staggering number of Israelis is suffering due to financial factors.

According to research released by the Israel Medical Association, 21% of people who live in the north of the country and 17% of those in areas of economic disadvantage said they forewent buying medications because of their cost.

Some 21% of Northern residents — and 15% of Israelis living in a low socioeconomic locality — passed on some form of medical care for their children for financial reasons. One in two people who forewent medical care due to financial factors said that their health had declined in the past year.


Yiddish was once the nemesis of the Zionist enterprise, but this week it entered its inner sanctum. The Knesset held its first ever Yiddish Culture Day on Tuesday, during which lawmakers were given Yiddish phrase books, treated to a Yiddish concert, and asked to take part in discussions about how to preserve the language. Ironic though, that it took longer for the Knesset to give a platform to Yiddish than to German — just over a year ago German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the chamber in German.


When Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, the most influential authority on Jewish law in Israel (if not the world) is in the news, it’s usually because of a new prohibition he is instituting or because of the political power he wields as the mentor of religious lawmakers. But now he is the subject of a cutesy human-interest fascination. He has just become a great-great grandfather. Hug Sameach!

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