Clark Synagogue Program Promotes Healthy Living

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CLARK—Temple Beth Or, Beth Torah has announced a new outdoor program of fitness and health, which draws on modern day nutritional guidelines and spiritual and historic precedents.

Dr. David Goldstein, Cantor Steven Stern of Temple Beth Or/Beth Torah, and participants of a recent educational event at Union County’s Rahway River Park.

Dr. David Goldstein, Cantor Steven Stern of Temple Beth Or/Beth Torah, and participants of a recent educational event at Union County’s Rahway River Park.

According to Cantor Steven Stern, who helped organize the group’s kick-off event on June 29, “our purpose is to inspire our members to follow a healthy lifestyle of good diet, regular aerobic exercise, and stress reduction. This not only makes medical sense, but is what the Jewish tradition has taught throughout the ages”.   
Before a brisk walk around Union County’s Rahway River Park, Dr. David Goldstein, a member of the TBO congregation and a noted pulmonologist, lectured the group on the latest health benefits of exercise on human physiology, and touched on the benefits of proper nutrition. The inaugural event attracted dozens of walkers of all ages, who were then subdivided into three groups according to fitness level and participated in a mile walk around the park.

Drawing from the past, Stern notes that in the 12th century, Moses Maimonides, a prominent physician and sage, taught that “exercise is the main principle in keeping one’s health and in the repulsion of most illnesses”. A forerunner to modern preventative medicine, Maimonides noted that, “exercise removes the harm caused by most bad habits, which most people have.”

Another influence on the program comes from the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, who drew on the Kabbalah and other spiritual teachings as he stated, “working up a sweat removes from the body polluting fluids and that removing the pollution which leads to depression, brings joy.”

Besides exercise, nutrition is another key element of the program. Dr. Goldstein noted it is common knowledge that a person should eat a well-balanced diet. Choosing the right types of foods within major food groups can positively affect health. After the walk, the group met for a healthy brunch of whole grain breads, eggs from free range chickens, Israeli style health salads, humus, fresh fruit, low fat cheese, and yogurt. Absent were typical breakfast fare of bagels and cream cheese, and trans fat laden pastries.
A guest speaker will be present at all future events. The fitness/nutrition group is open to all interested members of the community. Anyone interested in participating in the next event can contact Cantor Steven Stern at 908-381-8403, extension 15.


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