Archive for December 23rd, 2009

Rifqa Bary Case Takes a Positive Turn

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

There has been a positive development with Rifqa Bary, the teen who ran away from home, in fear of her life, after she converted from Islam to Christianity. Recently, she was going to forced to meet with her parents, so they could “explain” Islam to her. It now appears that won’t be happening any time soon, if it happens at all.
Please continue to pray for this young lady.

Fathima Bary

The magistrate in the Rifqa Bary case ruled today that the 17-year-old who ran away from her Columbus home in July does not have to sit down for mediation with her parents.

There were several issues resolved today at the hearing in Franklin County Juvenile Court, including:

* Mediation. Magistrate Mary Goodrich said issues now being discussed would best be resolved with individual counseling instead of group mediation.
* Third-party messages. Bary’s parents don’t want her to receive any cards or letters directly, and had filed a motion that any messages first go to Franklin County Children Services. Omar Tarazi, the family’s attorney, withdrew that motion today.
* Rifqa’s mental health. Assistant County Prosecutor Chris Julian said that a counselor was trying to determine whether 17-year-old, whose full name is Fathima Rifqa Bary, has post-traumatic stress disorder.

In July, Rifqa ran away and moved in with two pastors — a married couple — in Orlando, Fla., whom she had met on the Internet.

Rifqa said her father, Mohamed Bary, had threatened to kill her for leaving Islam — the family religion — for Christianity.

Authorities in Florida and Ohio could find no credible threat to her safety, and she returned to Franklin County on Oct. 27 and has been living in a foster home.

A case plan that Franklin County Children Services filed recently with the court says the family should try to work out its differences, with the goal of having Rifqa move back in with her parents. But only Children Services signed the plan, which is not binding unless it becomes a court order.

The next hearing is set for Jan. 19.

See our previous post about Rifqa Bary.
Court Issues Reunification Plan in Rifqa Bary Case.
Rifqa Bary Returns to Columbus.
Hamas-Linked CAIR Supervised Police Interview of Rifqa Bary’s Parents on Abuse Allegations.
Florida Investigation Finds No Credible Threat to Teen Christian Convert.
Teen Christian Convert Who Fled Muslim Family Gets Online Threat.
Muslim Teen Who Converted to Christianity Says Family Threatened to Kill Her.
Updated: Judge Decides Fate of Honor Student, Cheerleader Who Fears “Honor Killing” After Converting to Christianity.
Parents of Muslim Teen Who Converted to Christianity Have Ties to Mosque of Alleged Terrorist.
Political Asylum Suggested for Rifqa Bary, Teen ‘Muslim to Christian’ Convert.
Teen ‘Muslim to Christian’ Convert Order Back to Ohio by Florida Judge.
Rifqa Investigation Ignored Facts About Islam.

In Remembrance of Sarah and Amina Said. Stop Muslim “Honor” Killings
In Remembrance of Sarah and Amina Said. Stop Muslim “Honor” Killings

Pain Before Gain in Health Care Overhaul

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

One aspect of the health care overhaul is the fact that it doesn’t take affect until 2014. If it so very important to do this so overhaul, why would the Democrats want it to take so much time implementing it?
Now, on top of that oddity, we have the overhaul tapping our money almost immediately. Many people will be heavily taxed well before the so-called benefits of this plan even start to show up.
Why are the Democrats being so underhanded about this.

WASHINGTON — The costs of health care reform being pushed through Congress by Democrats will be felt long before the benefits.

Proposed taxes and fees on upper-income earners, insurers, even tanning parlors, take effect quickly. So would Medicare cuts.

Benefits, such as subsidies for lower middle-income households, consumer protections for all, and eliminating the prescription coverage gap for seniors, come gradually.

“There’s going to be an expectations gap, no question about that,” said Drew Altman, president of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “People are going to see their premiums and out-of-pocket costs go up before the tangible benefits kick in.”

Most of the 30 million uninsured helped by the bill won’t get coverage until 2013 at the earliest, well after the next presidential election.

More than two-thirds of Americans get their coverage through large employer plans and their premiums won’t go up because of the legislation, according to number crunchers at the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

But Congress can’t abolish medical inflation, so don’t hold your breath waiting for premiums to drop.

For people who buy their own insurance policies — about one of every six Americans — premiums will go up. But that’s for better benefits prescribed under the legislation. And about half of them would get tax credits to substantially lower their costs.

As Senate Democrats cleared the second of three 60-vote procedural hurdles, over unanimous GOP opposition Tuesday, it looked like the White House was already celebrating. “Health care reform is not a matter of if, health care reform now is a matter of when, and I think the president is enormously encouraged by that,” declared spokesman Robert Gibbs.

Republicans, bolstered by opinion polls that show a majority of Americans opposed to the legislation, aimed their fire at dozens of deals Democratic leaders cut to line up the 60 votes needed in the Senate. “Senator so-and-so may have gotten his deal,” said GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “But the American people haven’t signed off.”

If the Senate passes the bill Thursday, as now seems likely, the pressure will be on Democrats to quickly sort out House and Senate differences and get final legislation to Obama’s desk. That would end a divisive debate that has soured the public mood.

But there are significant differences between the bills, including stricter abortion language in the House version as well as a government-run insurance plan that is missing from the Senate package. The Senate plan also embraces a tax on high-value insurance plans, something strongly opposed by unions and many House Democrats.

One thing that won’t emerge in the end is a government takeover of health care. The government-run insurance plan some liberals were hoping would be a step to Medicare-for-all lacks support in the Senate. If negotiators put it back, moderate Democrats in the Senate say they’ll oppose the final bill. And Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., needs every one of his party’s 60 votes.

Instead, the final package could end up looking like the Medicare prescription drug benefit, delivered through private insurance companies but subsidized and regulated by the government.

Just as seniors now pick their drug coverage from a range of private plans, Americans who were previously uninsured would select brand-name coverage through a new kind of insurance supermarket called an exchange. As seniors do today, they would have to pay part of the cost themselves. Most people with employer coverage wouldn’t need to go to the exchange.

The exchanges could be national, regional or state-based. They’d be up and running in 2013 under the House bill, a year later in the Senate version. Around that same time, other major changes would snap into place:

–Health insurance companies would be prohibited from denying coverage to people with health problems, or charging them more.

–For the first time, Americans would be required to carry health insurance, either through an employer, Medicare or Medicaid, or by buying it themselves. Refusal would bring fines, except in cases of financial hardship.

–Federal subsidies would start flowing to individuals and small businesses buying coverage in the exchange, helping them afford the premiums.

–Most employers would be required to offer coverage or pay a tax, under the House bill. In the Senate version, employers would get a bill if any of their workers got subsidized coverage in the exchange.

–Medicaid coverage would be expanded to pick up millions more living near the poverty line.

Debated since President Harry Truman’s administration, health care overhaul would finally be in place. An estimated 94 percent to 96 percent of Americans, not counting illegal immigrants, would have coverage.

But there’s a catch.

Cost is the Achilles’ heel of the whole complicated undertaking. To keep the cost of the bill at around $1 trillion over 10 years, lawmakers had to limit subsidies for people seeking coverage through the exchange.

The aid tapers off dramatically for households with solid middle-class incomes. A family of four making $66,000 a year would still have to spend about 10 percent of its income on premiums — less than a mortgage but more than a car payment. And that’s without counting copayments and deductibles. Several million otherwise eligible Americans could still be priced out.

Altman, the Kaiser Foundation expert, thinks Democrats won’t be able to resist the temptation to keep tinkering with the legislation to improve or speed up coverage. “The legislation is going to be out there, and politics can change,” he said. “There’s a potential for modification and amendment.”

Health care overhaul could be back for an encore.

Original Link.

“DELIVERY FROM DARKNESS” a Book Review by Fern Sidman

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

DELIVERY FROM DARKNESS

A Jewish guide to prevention and treatment of postpartum depression

By: Rabbi Baruch Finkelstein, Michal Finkelstein, RN CNM and Doreen Winter, MSW

Reviewed by: FERN SIDMAN

As far as Jewish lifecycle events go, there is no doubt that childbirth is the ultimate simcha that a woman and her family can ever experience. A new Jewish life has entered this world through the kindness of Hashem, and with great excitement and awe we revel in this incredible miracle. For some women, however, the days, weeks and months following childbirth can be a personally painful and daunting time, as they fall victim to unyielding hormonal upheavals that result in “the baby blues”, postpartum depression and in some rare cases postpartum psychosis.

In this recently published book entitled, “Delivery Form Darkness” (Feldheim Publishers 2009), the Jerusalem based authors, Rabbi Baruch Finkelstein and his wife Michal along with certified nurse-midwife and therapist, Doreen Winter, present a most sensitive yet pragmatic guide on the modalities of prevention and treatment of PPD. Integrating both halachic and medical concepts, the authors make it abundantly clear that PPD and its related disorders are in no way reflective of a mother’s general mental state, nor does it serve as an ominous indication of her abilities to nurture her child, but rather they offer evidence that PPD needs to be cogently understood and addressed with concrete intervention. The taboo surrounding this most enigmatic of ailments often causes families a great deal of shame and guilt. In the forward to this book, renowned psychiatrist and author, Rabbi Avraham Twerski says, “Because the symptoms of postpartum depression are behavorial, many people think of them as being due to a mental abnormality. Given the stigma that this carries, the symptoms are often overlooked or explained away.”

The authors explain that while there are psychosocial components that make some women genetically pre-disposed to PPD, the major culprits are hormonal in nature that occur during pregnancy, along with both a thyroid and adrenal link as well. Family and communal support along with compassionate and educated health care professionals can make all the difference in the world in helping a woman and her family recognize that PPD is not an insurmountable obstacle on the highway to recovery. Addressing the issues of turmoil and pain that husbands often experience as a result of their spouses’ PPD, this book allows them to tell their stories in their own words, giving a personal face to the potential tragedy that can result if PPD is left untreated.

With 80% of all new mothers experiencing the “baby blues” and 15 to 20 percent being beset with PPD and in one in a thousand women being diagnosed with postpartum psychosis, the authors sound a clarion call to the Orthodox Jewish world to reach out with urgency and alacrity to those suffering. Mothers often experience daily bouts of anger, irritability, melancholia, moodiness and feel terribly frightened, agitated and distraught. An intense fear of death, or going crazy and loss of control combined with suicidal ideations are also prevalent in some cases as the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are all encompassing.

In salient detail, the authors describe the origins of hormonal shifts in pregnancy and the post partum period while also emphasizing environmental causes such as societally induced stress related factors. In some cases, medical treatments such as the use of anti-depressants have proven effective along with therapy, but the authors don’t stop there. They courageously suggest holistic approaches as well including Traditional Chinese Medicine, the use of herbs, vitamins and minerals as well as establishing a regime of the highest standards in nutrition and exercise.

Throughout this often arduous journey to recovery from PPD, we are consistently reminded by the authors that a woman’s connection to Hashem must be encouraged and bolstered as the most conducive trajectory to complete healing lies within a healthy spiritual mindset. Mothers are advised to, “Talk to Hashem out loud. Find time every day to talk to Hashem as if you were talking to a friend. Hashem listens. Tell Hashem everything. Tell Him how you feel about yourself, your family, your relationship with Him. Tell Hashem about your day, your plans, your moods. Tell Hashem your deepest fears and desires. This will be an enlightening and rejuvenating experience.” The cathartic benefits of the recitation of Tehillim will resonate in the hearts of women as we learn that they very same feelings of joy, sorrow, frustration, humiliation, anger, sadness and regret were also part and parcel of the life of the sweet singer of Israel, King David, who penned the words that we find here. Consulting rabbinic and halachic authorities on such issues as choosing the right therapist are earnestly discussed as well as sensitive issues such as the use of birth control.

The reader will be left with a sanguine conclusion as the authors offer the sagacious wisdom of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov who viewed depression as “very damaging” but also acknowledged depression as a “growth stage”. He said, “Know that all of the descents, breakdowns and confusion are required in order to enter the gates of holiness, and all the great tzaddikim went through them… All falls are necessary for the ascent.”

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Fern Sidman holds a B.A, in political science from Brooklyn College. She was the educational coordinator for the Betar Youth Movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She was national director of the Jewish Defense League from 1983-1985. She was a researcher for several books written by Rabbi Meir Kahane, ZTK”L. She was the managing editor of the publication entitled, The Voice of Judea, and is a regular contributor to its web site. She is currently a writer and journalist living in New York City. Her articles have appeared in The Jewish Press, The Jewish Advocate, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and numerous Jewish and general web sites including, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Pipes and Michael Freund.
We are delighted to have Ms. Sidman as a regular contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog