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Bazman Hazeh

“In These Times”

Tammuz - Av/Elul- Tishri - 5776

VOL. 49 NOS. 10/11


Aliza Goland, Executive Director Marcy Goldberg, Director of Education Donna Becker, ECC Director

Peggy Frank, President, Board of Directors Alan Greenbaum, Rabbi Emeritus

Andrew Straus, Rabbi David Shukiar, Cantor

From the Rabbi’s Desk Attend Shabbat Services and Live Longer

I bet you never thought that there was a connection between attendance at Shabbat services and life longevity. Well, according to a new study of nurses, those who attend services on a regular basis live longer! Researchers looked at data on nearly 75,000 middle-age female nurses in the United States as part of the Nurses’ Health Study. The participants answered questions about whether they attended religious services regularly – every four years between 1992 and 2012 – and about other aspects of their lives over the years. After controlling for more than two dozen factors, they found that compared with those who never went to church, going more than once a week was associated with a 33 percent lower risk for death from any cause, attending once a week with a 26 percent lower risk, and going less than once a week a 13 percent lowered risk. Risks for mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancer followed a similar pattern. Women who regularly attended religious services also had higher rates of social support and optimism, had lower rates of depression and were less likely to smoke, said Tyler J. VanderWeele, professor of epidemiology in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. VanderWeele led the new research, which was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. “Our study suggests that for health, the benefits outweigh the potentially negative effects, such as guilt, anxiety or intolerance,” VanderWeele said. He went on to say, “This suggests that there is something powerful about the communal religious experience. These are systems of thought and practice shaped over millennia, and they are powerful.” (As published in the N.Y. Times on June 12, 2016 and May 16, 2016 by CNN)

There are numerous benefits to attending services on a regular basis - besides living longer. Perhaps most important is a sense of connection to a community that knows you, supports you in difficult times and celebrates with you in times of joy. Attending services on a regular basis gives us the time that we so desperately need in our lives – to slow down, stop, think, appreciate and reflect on what is going on in our lives. Being together with our community on Shabbat gives me the time to reflect on my life in the context of the values, morals and ideals of Judaism. Being at services gives me a chance to connect to the non-physical, non-intellectual: the spiritual side of me. As the saying goes, past performance is not a guarantee of future results; but assuming you want to live longer, I will see you in shul!


Rabbi Andrew Straus

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