Tag Archives: Health


Worth Its Salt

(Photo Provided)

(Photo Provided)

One of the most common stops on a first tour of Israel is the Dead Sea, in Hebrew Yam HaMelach. It’s the place where visitors can change into their bathing suits, saunter to the water’s edge and float — literally unable to immerse in the water due to its high concentration of salt.

After the traditional photograph is taken — Mom or Dad holding a newspaper (perfectly dry) while floating on top of the water — family members lather themselves top to bottom with the deep black and strikingly curative mud from the Dead Sea. The mineral-rich mud body mask has high cleansing properties that improve skin texture and tone — and through companies like the popular Ahava, people worldwide have experienced the Dead Sea’s wonder.

Now, it is time for Dead Sea foods … well, salts.

Meet Ari Fruchter, 42, a self-proclaimed Dead Sea evangelist, and his new product Naked Sea Salt, a line of gourmet Dead Sea salt in all sorts of bold and exotic flavors, such as sweet orange and chili, green seaweed, mint, sun-dried tomato and aromatic rosemary. The company launched a Kickstarter campaign in late July to raise funds to manufacture and produce its product; in just two days it reached it first-level goal of $10,000. Now, with less than two weeks to go (the campaign ends the day before Rosh Hashanah), Naked Sea Salt is on its way to hitting the $50,000, $100,000 or $250,000 marks. Hitting stretch goals will enable it to roll out up to five new “secret uber premium” flavors, said Fruchter, pull together leading chefs to create a Naked Sea Salt cookbook and roll out a line in commemorative containers.

Said Fruchter: “We’re not just hoping to put together a product line, but a community.”

The Story Behind The Salt

How did a Gen-X  corporate high-tech guy turn into an environmental activist? Fruchter said it all started two year ago when he brought his friend, American photographer Spencer Tunick, to Israel to do one of the large-scale nude shoots that have gained international acclaim. The event brought 1,200 Israelis to the Dead Sea, to bare it all for the photographs. Fruchter used the hype — the project reached more than 500 million people — to raise awareness about the environmental plight of the Dead Sea.

The Dead Sea is disappearing, dying because the waters that used to feed the Dead Sea — the Jordan River — are no longer flowing. The Dead Sea is dropping at a rate of 5 feet per year; one third has already dried up. This happened because Israel, Jordan and Syria have all been diverting it for water to drink and to irrigate desert crops. This has left a widening landscape of sinkholes and mudflats.

Fruchter and Tunick’s project, said Fruchter, became known as one of the leading efforts done for the Dead Sea from an environmental perspective.

“I wanted to continue that in a way that would be meaningful,” said Fruchter.

While working on the photo shoot, Fruchter came across a mom-and-pop Palestinian company, West Bank Salt Works, run by Hussam Hallak, which has been harvesting Dead Sea salt since 1964 — when the area was still under Jordanian rule. Fruchter tasted the salt, harvested using methods that have been around for centuries, and was blown away by its taste. He then brought in an NGO to do an environmental assessment of the salt company. The NGO reported the company “environmentally green, not doing any damage [to the Dead Sea],” Fruchter said, noting that Naked Sea Salt will have no significant impact on the Dead Sea’s water levels or the surrounding environment.

So a shidduch was made — and then another one with Alon Lior, a Haifa-based foodie. West Bank Salt Works supplies Lior with the salt, and he then blends it with other spices and herbs to create the multicolored and multiflavored seasonings of Naked Sea Salt.

“The best way to be good neighbors is to break bread — to be in business together,” said Fruchter.

“[Hassan and his family] have been doing all of this work by hand,” said Ari Gottesmann, founder and CEO of Nomadigo, who is handling Naked Sea Salt marketing. “For the first time, someone is appreciating the quality of the work he is doing and putting it on the shelf.”

Well, on the virtual shelf …Fruchter is likewise partnering with Abe’s Market, an e-commerce company with more than 12,000 natural, organic, health and wellness products.

“A mutual friend introduced me to Ari,” said Abe’s Market co-owner and founder Jon Polin, who is originally from Chicago (where the company’s American branch is located) but lives in Jerusalem. “Ari told me, ‘We are building this from scratch, and we want to do it direct to consumer, not through brick-and-mortar [businesses].’”

Abe’s Market offers Naked Sea Salt a unique platform because of its more sophisticated consumer. It vets all of its companies and products and selects to sell items that tell a story — that better the world and people’s lives, explained Polin.

“We are largely hoping to create the platform and give a voice to the Naked Sea Salt guys. … The product has many compelling angles,” Polin said, who noted that the salt is kosher certified, too.

And he’s right. There’s the Middle East peace side (a successful Israeli-Palestinian collaboration), the environmental component (Naked Sea Salt has committed to donate a portion of its profits to the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies to fund Dead Sea environmental protection programs, such as the efforts to promote the rehabilitation of the Jordan River and Dead Sea in its Center for Tran-boundary Water Management; Arava was unable to comment at this time) and the health angle (salt from the Dead Sea contains 32 different minerals, 21 of which are concentrated in higher levels than in any other).

“People love it,” said Fruchter. “It’s very unique — very special.”


Benefits of Naked Sea Salt

Naked Sea Salt is the very first gourmet cooking salt from the Dead Sea, and it has the richest mineral content of any salt in existence, according to the company’s Kickstarter page.


Here are a few other benefits:
• All-natural
• Low sodium
• Harvested using traditional, sustainable methods
• Free of chemical processing, additives and refinement
• Blended with herbs and spices in 15 different flavors

Back to School 101

Your children are enjoying every second of summer vacation but you need to get ready to send them back to school. Don’t think your list stops with pencils, backpacks and new clothes. You also need to prepare a back to school health checklist. Children need to be healthy and alert in order to do well in school. That means you need to prepare for everything from physicals to home schooling on germ warfare. Where should you start?

1. Call your child’s school and ask about required immunizations. Different schools have different requirements. Many school websites have a page of health-related requirements.

2. Your child’s doctor should perform a school physical. This physical can identify health problems, including hearing and vision issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about one in four school-age children have a vision problem.

3. Talk with your children about germs and how they spread. Teach the kids when and how to wash their hands properly. Use warm, soapy water after using the bathroom, before eating and when they come home from school. It may sound simple, but it is the best way to battle germs that hitch a ride home on the school bus. Also, make sure your children know what to do when they need to cough or sneeze. They should carry tissues or, if necessary, sneeze into the inside of their elbow instead of in their hands. While it may be nice to share some things, it’s not good to share germs, so talk with your children about not sharing food, drinks, clothes, hats and hairbrushes with their friends. Head lice are another classroom pest that may be slowed by these good health habits.

4. Children fall out of their school day routine during vacation. Don’t wait until the night before school begins to get back into that routine. Ease your children back into their sleep schedule by gradually imposing an earlier bedtime a few weeks before school begins.

5. Have a plan for sick days. Pediatricians stress that you should not send your child to school with a fever. A fever means the immune system is trying to fight off something, and your child may be contagious to other children and adults. Have a plan in place for last minute sick child care. You will probably need it before the school year ends.

6. Do your children use their backpacks correctly? It is uncertain whether heavy backpacks cause permanent damage in children, but overloaded and improperly work backpacks can cause temporary back pain. Pediatricians urge parents to look for backpacks with individual compartments for sharp objects pike pencils. Heavier items should be placed closer to the body. Your child’s backpack should also have two should straps for even weight distribution.



Be Your Best Self

071213_be_your_best_selfFor many, summertime conjures up images of long days basking in the sun, swimming in the pool and unwinding from the rigors of a hectic school year. It’s a time to recharge one’s batteries, to get in shape.

But, said Amy Schwartz, fitness and wellness director at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Baltimore, although it may seem as if summer is a more relaxed time of year, people actually seem more programmed and have less time.

First of all, for families with young children, schedules change during the summer months — camp starts later than school, and older children have more sporadic schedules, where they may be home some weeks while attending different camps with different schedules. At the same time, because summer offers so much to do, parents often run around to keep their children occupied.

That means, Schwartz says, that many parents, accustomed to attending exercise classes at specific times, are often thrown off their schedules.

“Some may miss their normal 9:30 a.m. class because of camp schedules,” said Schwartz. “I tell them it’s better to come late to a class than not at all. Forty-five minutes instead of 60 minutes is still great. You don’t have to do all your exercise in one sitting. If you can’t make it to a class, walk more.”

But exercise is critical year-round. Even in summer, it’s important to do a combination of strength training, cardiovascular training and flexibility training to keep bodies fit and healthy.

What’s New?
This summer, the JCC has added a few new exercise options to its programs. SMRT is a “smart rolling” foam roller called a grid that one rolls over muscles before a class. “We do it before and after classes like cycling or Zumba, and we roll over those muscles specific to the muscles we are using in the exercise. It’s like a massage. SMRT makes you stand taller and feel better,” said Schwartz.

In addition, the JCC has added small group personal training to address specific needs. For example, a personal trainer may work with a small group of individuals who have bad knees to strengthen their leg muscles.

Eating Healthy
There’s nothing like biting into a ripe, red tomato picked minutes before eating and summer is the ideal time to enjoy some of the freshest fruits and vegetables. Farmers’ markets and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) Center provide ways for individuals to get seasonal vegetables picked at the height of ripeness.

Families who participate in Pearlstone’s CSA pay a seasonal fee to receive a weekly share of fresh pesticide- and chemical-free produce. It provides participants a chance to learn about seasonal eating — in the heat of the summer months, members enjoy freshly picked tomatoes, cucumber, eggplants, peppers, onions and zucchini, for example.

“I am passionate about fresh vegetables. I come home every day from work and see what I can create with what I picked at the farm,” said Josh Rosenstein, farm director at Pearlstone Center. Rosenstein adds that Pearlstone, although not certified organic, engages in organic-farming methods. The farm doesn’t use herbicides or pesticides on crops, practices cover cropping and crop rotation for healthy soil development and grows mostly heirloom varieties.

To encourage seasonal eating, Pearlstone is blogging and offering recipes that feature vegetables the farm is currently harvesting. Here are some additional suggestions:

• Marinate veggies like eggplant, peppers, squash and zucchini in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sea salt, cracked black pepper and fresh herbs. Grill!

• Slice zucchini or other summer squash very thin into spaghetti-shaped pieces. Steam, and use instead of pasta.

• Cut a banana in half; stick a popsicle stick in it. Dip it in dark chocolate and freeze.

Potato, Squash and Goat Cheese Gratin
serves six

2 medium yellow squash, about a half pound
4 small to medium red
potatoes, about 1 pound
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground
black pepper
1⁄4 cup milk
1⁄3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil or thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 11⁄2- to 2-quart casserole dish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Use a mandolin or chef’s knife to slice the squash and potatoes into very thin slices, an eighth of an inch or less. Toss vegetables with olive oil in large bowl. Place a third of the squash and potato slices in the bottom of the dish — no need to layer them squash-potato-squash; just spread evenly — then season with salt and pepper. Top with half of the goat cheese, scattered evenly in large chunks. Repeat with another a third of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with remaining goat cheese. Finish by layering on the final a third of the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Pour milk over the entire dish. Top with parmesan cheese. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until top browns. Scatter on the fresh basil, if using.

Rochelle Eisenberg is PR manager at The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and an area freelance writer.


The Power To Heal

Herschel Lazaroff says that removing energy blocks is the key to healing.

Herschel Lazaroff says that removing energy blocks is the key to healing.

Twenty years ago, Herschel Lazaroff was a businessman with a background in physics and psychology. He was healthy, but not overly.

Then, in 1994, Lazaroff attended an energy workshop and was turned on to the field. He said at the workshop there was a woman who took pictures of people’s auras. She told him, “Your entire being is healing energy, and you have very powerful thoughts.”

So Lazaroff learned more, and a few years ago he took his part-time gig — which already had resulted in many healing successes — and made his energy-healing practice full time.

Lazaroff is an Orthodox Chabad Lubavitch individual. He said his energy work is based on the Torah and comes from a Jewish place. In ancient times, he explained, when a person was sick, he or she would visit the navi (prophet) and ask for spiritual guidance in order to heal. The navi would have the person do teshuva (repentance) and offer a sacrifice to God. Lazaroff is not a prophet, but he works with that same philosophy in mind.

Lazaroff explained that there are four types of souls, and each heals in a different way: the conventional soul (this soul responds to Western medicine, drugs), the natural soul (needs treatment with wheat grass, coffee enemas, etc.), the integrated soul (the best of all worlds — a combination of natural and traditional healing methods) and the spiritual soul. Healing of the spiritual soul is the deepest level of healing, and it affects all the higher levels.

Lazaroff explained that his healing works because he is removing energy blocks. When a person is being tested by God, challenged in some way, he or she can become stuck — and this can result in physical and emotional pain or the inability to move to a next phase in life.

“There is a block in the energy flow. … I facilitate the person removing the blocks,” he said, noting you need to understand who you are.

Lazaroff has helped people become open to marriage (women who have come to him unable to find a match are known to do so within a year), has assisted women in getting pregnant (40 out of 48 of the women who have worked with him have become pregnant within a year) and solved basic health concerns such as sore knees and back pain. He charges $350 per session. It’s a lot, he said, but it is effective and he’s not a revolving door. People come once, maybe twice, and then move on.

Rivka Malka Perlman is one of Lazaroff’s biggest fans. She said her husband was experiencing neck pain. She sent him to Lazaroff, who after one session — mostly spent talking — relieved the pain. Also, her husband was diagnosed with meningitis and hospitalized.

“Herschel came, and he was out of the hospital the next day,” said Perlman. “It’s physical healing through the spiritual realm. … Herschel opens doors.”

There are countless similar stories. Go online to YouTube and the Kosher Healing channel, and dozens of others tell their stories, too. Lazaroff is also there, explaining his healing secrets.

Said Lazaroff: “People come to me primarily to change their lives.”

Learn more about Lazaroff at creativeideal.com/happyherschel.

Baltimore County Promoting Hands-Only CPR

Civillians are more likely to perform life-saving assistance if they have the option of hands-only CPR.

Civilians are more likely to perform life-saving assistance if they have the option of hands-only CPR.

Dr. David Efron is used to dealing with serious medical cases in his role as director of trauma and chief of the division of trauma and surgical critical care at Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Department of Surgery.

He never expected to experience such a case in his own home.

That was exactly what happened a few months back after her returned home to find his wife, Anne, unconscious and in cardiac arrest. He called 911 and immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, until Baltimore County EMS providers arrived.

The combination of CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator by EMS providers helped save Anne Efron’s life. The Efrons joined other survivors, along with county leaders and members of the county fire department, June 12 at the Franklin Fire Station in Reisterstown to raise awareness of the dangers of sudden cardiac arrest and the importance of immediate use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation in giving victims a chance at survival.

“This says a lot about CPR,” Dr. Efron said. “What I provided is something everyone can do, and it’s so very important in saving lives.”

Last week’s event also provided the opportunity for the county to launch its new “hands only” CPR initiative called, “Lend a Hand, Save a Life.” This CPR approach is done without rescue breathing and consists of three steps:

  • Call 911.
  • Push hard and fast on the center of the chest.
  • If possible, use a portable defibrillator, also known as an AED.

The event was also tied into “National CPR/AED Awareness Week.”

According to the county fire department, sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the U.S., with 350,000 Americans dying annually from it.

County Fire Assistant Chief Kyrle Preis said studies show civilians are more likely to perform life-saving assistance if they have the option for hands-only CPR.

“This is as effective as traditional CPR in most cases,” Preis said.

For more information about hands-only CPR, including finding out how to take a class, visit http://baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/fire/ems/handsonlycpr.