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Surprises for Soldiers with the Help of the IFCJ with Yael Eckstein

Sometimes the challenges that people face do get recognized – and rewarded. Israel has many lone soldiers – boys and girls who come to serve in the Israeli army on their own. And without their parents in the country to do their laundry and cook them a meal, they are left to fend for themselves. Recently, when 20 such lone soldiers were honored as outstanding lone soldiers in a ceremony at the Kirya military headquarters, they got quite a surprise.

Their mothers, and a few fathers, walked up behind them and hugged them. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews paid for the surprise, bringing 20 mothers and three fathers to surprise their hard-working children. The parents came from Canada, the United States, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Mexico, Argentina and India.

IFCJ, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, founded by Rabbi Eckstein and with Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein, treated the families to a 30 minute cruise along the Tel Aviv-Jaffa coast, a steak dinner and a visit to Independence Hall. They also received (in addition to their flights, of course), spending money to go out for two more dinners and a week’s stay at the Crowne Plaza luxury hotel in the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv.

Some of the parents had amazing journeys getting to Israel. Shlomo Touthang’s mother lives in Manipur, India and he last saw her three years ago when he set out for Israel. He’s now serving in a reconnaissance unit of the Golani Brigade. It took two days for his parents, Daniel and Hoikhoneng, to reach Israel. As he said after seeing his parents, “I was so surprised and excited when I saw her on the stage. It was my dream for my mother to see me as a soldier.”

Marharyta Zaitsava from Belarus also shared details about her son, Gnadi Steinman. He is a corporal in the Teleprocessing Branch. She said, “My son couldn’t even voluntarily enroll in the army in Belarus because he had health problems. But when he went to the IDF, he felt much better, and that made me feel much better.”

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Using Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving is over…but the leftovers aren’t. What should you do with all of that food? Here are a few quick and easy suggestions to help you out. Enjoy those leftovers before you have to start focusing on the next holiday.

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Music Really Does Soothe the Soul

woman-977020_640Most people realize that music can have a calming influence and that it’s used for therapy in many ways. Now, the benefits are even more pronounced. Dr. Diana Vetter and her team at the University of Zurich have found that patients who listen to their favorite music have lower blood pressure and heart rates than do those who don’t. The benefits of the music, interestingly enough, were most pronounced when the patient picked his own play list. Their analysis covered research in the past 15 years. Their findings were published in the Annals of Surgery.

In their study, music was linked to 31% less pain, 29% lower odds of using pain medications and 34% less anxiety.

Marianne van der Heijden, a researcher at Erasmus Medical Center – Sophia Children’s Hospital in Rotterdam explained the potential impact of the study. As she said, “Music interventions are not yet part of the system because for an intervention to be formally adapted in medicine and hospitals, efficacy needs to be shown. There now seems to be enough evidence to support the formal adaptation of music interventions in clinical guidelines. Self-selected music interventions shouldn’t be difficult to provide at all and could be realized by creating awareness among hospital staff, patients and their family members about the positive effects of music.”

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5 Easy Heating Tips This Winter: IDT Energy

fire-917411_640Winter is upon us and it’s time to think about the heating bill. Heating and cooling account for 56% of the energy used in a typical American home, as reported by the Department of Energy. But there are ways to save on winter heating bills and to be more careful as the winter sets in. Certainly, companies like IDT Energy and others want you to conserve your energy and to use it smartly this winter. Here are five tips for doing so.

1. Believe it or not, the worn weather stripping around your doors and windows could be costing you in your heating bills. These worn and torn areas let in drafts and cold air. Somewhere close to 10% of heat loss in a home occurs due to window and doors. Make sure your weather stripping isn’t worn out or torn.

2. There are other key areas where drafts can enter. These include under the front door and around electrical outlets. If you can see the daylight under your front door, then you’re losing air there. The door should be in contact with the threshold. If you see a bit of light in the corners, it’s alright, but you don’t want much. Your electrical boxes on exterior walls can also be creating drafts. Insulation isn’t always placed correctly behind and around them. You can solve this problem by removing the cover plates and filling small gaps around the boxes with acrylic latex and caulk. Use foam sealant if you have large gaps.

3. Adjust the temperature during the day. If you’re home and awake, set the thermostat as low as is comfortable for you. When you’re sleeping or out of the house, turn it back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours. This will save you a great deal during the year. As companies like IDT Energy can explain, a programmable thermostat will help you to keep the temperatures monitored without any effort.

4. If you have a fireplace, there are key things you should be doing. First, keep the fireplace damper closed if you don’t have a fire burning. This is a huge place that air can escape. When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox or even open a window nearby slightly, about 1 inch. Close doors leading into the room. Check your seal on the fireplace flue damper and make sure it’s tight.

5. Your attic is another place that you might be losing heat and spending too much. Check your attic access door to see if it’s warped or if it won’t lie flat. This is a place that air could be leaking out. You may want to use adhesive to attach fiberglass batt insulation to the attic side of the door.

With these five tips, you should be able to head into winter with lower heating bills and with a home that is well sealed and insulated. No matter which energy company you use, whether it’s IDT Energy or another one, there are always ways to save a bit extra this winter with these key tips.

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Unique Exhibit: Helly Nahmad Gallery & Phoenix Ancient Art

abstract-867306_640The Helly Nahmad Gallery in New York is about to open a cutting-edge exhibit called “Mnemosyne: de Chirico and Antiquity.” Partnering with antiquities dealer Phoenix Ancient Art, owned by brothers Hicham Aboutaam and Ali Aboutaam, the gallery will display paintings by Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico next to Greek and Roman antiquities.

The paintings about to go on display will include Chirico’s Neo-classical style which is a less explored aspect of his work. And they are being paired with marble statues, vases, bronze armor and other works by Phoenix Ancient Art. These pieces from the Phoenix private collections have never been exhibited alongside each other – let alone alongside Modern art.

As a release for the exhibit explains, “The exhibition hopes to help cultivate an environment where antiquity is appreciated in a modern context and vigilantly guarded for future generations to study and enjoy.”

Mnemosyne: de Chirico and Antiquity opens to the public on November 4th and will continue until December 23rd at the Helly Nahmad Gallery at 975 Madison Avenue. Due to the fragile nature of the antiques and the value of the works, attendance will be limited and large groups will need prior consent to enter.

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4 Safety Tips for Halloween Night

autumn-20461_640Unfortunately, in addition to the fun to be had on Halloween, there is a lot of danger to be had as well. With so many kids out on the streets, there are bound to be more issues and accidents than usual. Here are four safety tips to ensure that everyone has a blast and stays safe.

1. Decorate your child’s costume and candy bag with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, put them in a light color. Many accidents occur on Halloween when children are crossing the street or moving from one location to another, and cars don’t see them.

2. Make sure that your child’s costume is flame resistant. Terrible accidents have occurred on Halloween when children have been burnt, or killed, by costumes that catch on fire.

3. Always stay with your child, particularly those younger than 12. If you do let older children out on their own, remind them to stay in a group, not to enter a stranger’s house and to stay in familiar areas.

4. Monitor what candy your children are getting and only allow them to take things that are wrapped and clearly labeled.

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