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June 25, 2009 - Image 38

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-06-25

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feature: alternative fitness

by Seth Samuels





Yoga's quest for self-realization and good health parallels Jewish thought.


he light in me bows to the light in you," or
more famously known as "Namaste." This
phrase graces the end of every yoga class
and essentially underlies the basic elements of the
practice — communal ties, self-respect, internal and
external strength and, of course, relaxation.
Few activities in today's world help us to slow
down as we all want more and faster, whether it's
an Internet connection, a slim figure or even a pay
raise. However, the teachings of yoga say much
of what we desire can be found within us. But, of
course, nothing comes free, so to get there requires
hard work, both physical and mental.
Not only is this concept of self-focus and control
key to being sure that you don't end up on someone
else's yoga mat, but also its applicability to everyday
life is infinite. Looking inside gives us new perspec-
tives and better perception; it truly puts us in time
with the workings of our bodies and the body's in-
teractions with its surroundings — quintessential in
today's movement for improved personal and global
Many of these teachings also parallel those of
Judaism, making the practice a unique experience

— almost like going to Shabbat services and getting
a workout while doing so.

and self-realization, the physical
challenges that arise from one
pose to the next, depending on
the flow's pace and style, force
people to adapt to how they can
maintain their body's size and
shape in new ways. Aside from
the cozy room, there's plenty of
sweat to be worked up; and some
could argue for this over conven-
tional workouts.

Yoga teacher Diane Bloomfield ofJerusalem took
this exact concept into her own hands as she de-
veloped "Torah Yoga" in 1991, which "connects the
Jewish concepts of Shabbat, renewal, exodus and
specific yoga postures." Through connecting how
we learn from ourselves as well as from the Torah,
Bloomfield notes, "Torah Yoga is very intellectual,
in a way, about the body. It says the body is smart.
The body knows things and you can learn things
with the body."
In addition to the mental aspect of meditation

So with the summer quickly
setting in, yoga is truly the perfect
form of exercise for a season of
both relaxation and refinement.
Nothing's better than learning about "you" in the
company of others and contributing those findings
to the community. It creates more patience, im-
proved communal ties and a better outlook on the
world. With practice, the benefits
will truly come in unique ways for
everyone. Namaste.

Seth Samuels, 18, is a 2009 graduate

of Birmingham Groves

High School and

will attend the University of Michigan

in the fall.

Israel advocacy:

by Hillary Dorman and Michelle Kappy

S hedding Light: FJA students advocate for more transparency from UNRWA on Palestinian aid.


magine you are in a very dark room and sud-
denly one candle is lit, illuminating the entire
room. Like that lone candle, each of us can
make a difference. Our Frankel Jewish Academy
Israel Advocacy class was inspired by this mes-
In the beginning of the semester, we learned about
the history of the State of Israel and the facts regard-
ing the Arab-Israeli conflict. With this knowledge,
we then were able to begin advocating for Israel.
To make a difference, we wanted to educate others
about a topic we were very passionate about.
Our class focused on Palestinian refugees served
in the Middle East by the United Nations Relief
and Work Agency. UNRWA provides food, aid
and education to Palestinian refugees, but does not
help them resettle. An avowed humanitarian orga-
nization that is supposed to use taxpayer dollars to
help refugees, UNRWA instead uses those dollars
to promote terrorism and fund hate education.
We wanted to support House Concurrent Reso-
lution 29, which calls for more accountability of
UNRWA and ensures that public dollars given to
the organization are not being redirected to terror-

B2 teen2teen June 25 • 2009

Hy Safran, congressional liaison; FJA juniors Hillary Dorman,

Jessica Goodman, Justin Farber, Rachel Margolin; teacher

Linda Baruch; juniors Alyssa Adler, Matthew Weisberg, Adam

Awerbuch, Basil Williams. Seated, juniors Michelle Kappy and

Erinn Sandberg flank U.S. Rep. Gary Peters.

ists or to "activities that support terror or promote
a culture of hatred." We received more than 300
signatures from our West Bloomfield-based school
and the community showing their support for this
To truly make an impact, we wanted to present
this information to U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloom-
field Hills. On June 7, we met to share our concerns

with him. Peters was very impressed with our prepa-
ration and knowledge. He also stressed the impor-
tance of voicing concerns because he, too, believes
one voice can make a difference.
This project was extremely successful in many
ways. We educated our fellow classmates, staff
members and community about our cause and
became strong advocates for Israel in the process.
Our presentation and petitions will hopefully bring
us one small step closer toward finding a peaceful
resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. And we will
continue to be advocates for Israel.
Though the dark room is large and the fight to-
ward peace has only begun, our advocacy candle
is starting to shed some light and make a difference
in the world.

Hillary Dorman and

Michelle Kappy will

be seniors next fall

at the Frankel

Jewish Academy in

West Bloomfield.

visit JNt2t.com

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