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January 26, 2018     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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January 26, 2018

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PAGE 10A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 26, 2018 Why we need a National Day of Hugging By Pamela Ruben surprisinglycomfortedbythe manage depression, stress hand of a stranger, and anxiety." Like you, I was temptedI had a conversation with Intrigued by the art of the to roll my eyes when I first April Boykin, MSW, LCSW, hug, I reached out to the best learned that the calendar for of Counseling Resource Ser- hugger I know (andno, itis not late January declares aNation- vices, Inc. in Oviedo about my my'main squeeze,' sorry hon- al Day of Hugging amongst little misstep, and its warm ey!), my friend and colleague its notable monthly holidays, andfuzzyaftereffects.Aprilis Judy Appleton. Each time I Then, I thought back to all astrongbelieverinthehealing run into Judy, she makes sure the times in which I really qualities ofthe human touch, we share a "heart-to heart," needed a hug, and felt a little Shesharedthatthereisactual or a joyful embrace of our lessskeptical.Justyesterday, I science behind the benefits of moment together. Judy has tripped and skinned my knee, a hug, or even a comforting seen the power of touch up- something which hasn't hap- touch. She commented, "I've close-and-personal in her job penedsince Iwas alittle child, always heard that everyone as a'Jewish Pavilionprogram Fortunately, ajoggerwaspass- needs nine hugs a day to stay director at elder-care facilities ing by, and helped scoop me happy and healthy. The rea- intheOviedo, Tuskawilla, and upwithanoutstretchedhand, son why is because hugging Winter Parkareas. That brief second when our releases oxytocin (the love When presenting her hands touched was a calming hormone)intoyourbrainand monthly or holiday pro- one. The gentleman helped makes you feel good." Boykin gramming, Judy makes a steady me with a hand on my added, "In fact, touch such as point of engaging in physical shoulder, and asked me if I hugs or massages increases contact with the seniors she was alright. Suddenly, I felt dopamine and serotonin serves. While working her slightly less frazzled by that in the brain which are two way around the room, Judy unexpected 'trip,' and was neurotransmitters that help will stop and touch the hand or shoulder of each resident. Knowing that physical con- tact is infrequent for many of the seniors, Appleton knows that this may be the only touch they receive all day that is not medical in nature. Judy commented that even her small touch receives a great response from the crowd. She recalled an after- noon when she put her hand on the shoulder of an elderly resident, who reached out and grabbed her hand right back. The senior became teary eyed, and Judy stood there for several minutes, connecting with this woman who literally needed a hand right at that moment. Judy remarked, "A hug or a touch makes someone feel like they matter right at that moment of contact. They are no longer an invisible person in that room, but someone worthy of your attention." Who will you hug in late January? I hope you stumble upon someone special to share a "heart-to-heart." *The Jewish Pavilion has four part-time program direc- tors who bring community to seniors in more than 70 senior living communities throughout Orlando. Jewish Pavilion Program Director a hug with a senior resident. Tidbits from the Sand- wich Generation is a series of blogs by Pamela Ruben, Jewish Pavilion marketing director, about managing the multi-generations. Check out additional posts at www. Judy Appleton shares For no cost help for issues pertain- ing to older adults contact the Orlando Senior Help Desk, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, at 407-678-9363 or visit www. of [ili By B.J. Epstein "didn't like Jews" rather an of DVDs the farm had, we understatement? But, then, thought we'd watch a film. (Kveller via JTA)--"The what exactly should you tell After all, we don't have a TV Nazis were bad people who such a young child about the at home, so watching some- didn't like Jews," I heard my- Holocaust? thing seemed like a relaxing self saying to my 3-year-old. I was in this predicament plan for two sick people and I immediately questioned because of "The Sound of their dedicatedcaretaker(aka this rather disappointing ex- Music." That's right, I blame my wife). planation. Bad people? What Julie Andrews for this.Though I hadn't seen "The does that mean? Haven't my We were on vacation, stay- Sound of Music" in years, I wife and I always told our ing in a lovely cottage on a had fond memories of it. In child that people aren't"bad" farm in Cornwall. My daugh- my mind, itwasalighthearted or "good," even if they do bad ter and I were both ill--so film--one filled with charm- or good things? And isn't when we saw the collection ing songs--about a novice deciding whether to become a nun or to marry and gain seven children. I knew they escaped from the Nazis at the end, but I thought the war wasn't the primary focus of the story. I was wrong. I was sur- prised, by both the length of the movie--you try getting a 3-year-old to sit still for 174 minutes, no matter how sick she is!--and by how dark the second half was. The songs weren't nearly as cheerful once the Nazis came to Aus- tria, understandably enough. My daughter noticed the Nazi salutes and the Nazi flag and asked what they meant. I 'm of the view that children have a right to get answers to all their questions, and that there are individualized and age-appropriate ways of broaching any topic. So when she asked about the Nazis, I wanted to offer her an expla- nation that made sense--but I also didn't want to unduly frighten her. There is plenty of time in the future for her to learn about the Holocaust and other tragedies, and to grapple with their meaning (or lack thereof). And that's what led me to my anodyne and fairly unhelpful remark. My daughter questioned the "didn't like Jews" part of my statement. So I paused For Tu B'Shevat When I am among trees By Mary Oliver When I am among the trees, especially the willows and the honey locust, equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines, they give off such hints of gladness. I would almost say that they save me, and daily. I am so distant from the hope of myself, in which I have goodness, and discernment, and never hurry through the world but walk slowly, and bow often. Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, "Stay awhile." The light flows from their branches. And they call again, "It's simple," they say, "and you, too, have come into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine." Tu B'Shevat is celebrate Jan. 31, 2018. the film to clarify that there are some people who take against others simply because of their skin color or religion or sexuality or gender or for other silly reasons. I told her that we don't agree with this, and that all people should have the same rights and should be treated equally. She nod- ded and we carried on with the film. Over the next few days, as we gradually recovered, she often sang snatches of "So Long, Farewell" and "My Favorite Things" and "I Have Confidence." She wanted to act out certain (happy) scenes from the movie: "You pretend be a child scared of the rain, and I'll be Maria," she told me, before breaking into song and patting me in a comforting way. I thought that was that. But then, about a week later, when we were back home and I'd nearly forgotten about the film, she asked me, "Will the Nazis come here?" Though her voice was calm, I understood then that, since seeing the movie, she'd been pondering the plot and our brief discus- sion about what it meant. I took the opportunity to explain that, although some people still thought like the Nazis, the Nazis themselves had lived a number of decades in the past, and that we didn't need to fear them now in the same way. We discussed rac- ism and anti-Semitism a bit more and talked about our society today. I tried to explain how prejudice often stems from fear and ignorance, but this last part, I think, was a little over her head. After our conversation, she seemed thoughtful, as she was a bit quiet. She said, "I don't like Nazis. I don't want them to come to our house!" I told her that her other mother and I would protect her, and that there were lot of good people who were working for a more just and open world. I added that it was important for us to be a part of this work, too. Then she asked if we could sing "My Favorite Things" again. I realized then that she truly understood the meaning of the song: We don't have to deny the things that worry or upset us, but there are things we can do to make ourselves feel better. As our daughter gets older, my wife and I will help her develop her understanding of World War II and anti- Semitism. For now, though, it seems enough to make her aware of the issues without going into too much detail. I never would have guessed that watching a film from our sick bed in the English coun- tryside would have started us on such a deep and important conversation. And for that I thank Julie Andrews. B.J. Epstein is a senior lec- turer in literature and public engagement at the University of East Anglia in England. She's also a writer, edi- tor and Swedish-to-English translator. Kveller is a thriving com- munity of women and parents who convene online to share, celebrate and commiserate their experiences of raising kids through a Jewish lens. Visit /J ~,~J i Custom Printing ~ ~,~,Inv~tions&Announc~ments Digital & Offset Printing "','. j~" Brochures & Booklets Direct Mail Services / Forms & Letterheads Envelopes Business Cards 205 North Street Lonff>wood, FL 32750 www.elega nt Bring in this ad and receive 18% Discount