At the other side of a lifetime a long time ago. In a northern industrial city there was a poor working class estate. In this estate there was but one Jewish family. The head of that family aspired to be a Doctor. My fathers dream became his sons life long goal. This liberated Jew, my Dad, was as dictatorial and demanding as the most orthodox of Rabbis. The path was inviolate and the destination a single one. Be a Doctor. My mother was more worldly wise. But even more insidious in her missive ‘ When they come, when you have to run , a Doctor only has to take his head.’
In the industrial north we walked in the shadows of walls. For us it was not the factory walls it was the walls of Auschwitz. My home was always shrouded by palls of grimy smoke. Not the smoke from the ever present factory stacks that were always to be seen. We saw the smoke billowing from the gas chambers.
Our family Doctor was a Jew. He drove in and drove out from the place where Jews lived. He was a God. His word was irrevocable. But if Jews could argue with Moses so my Mum could argue with him. ‘Your lads’ consumpted’ ‘ was an insult to the Polish Princesses eldest. Unforgivable. ‘ Don’t talk bloody nonsense’. A Princess , maybe, but also a Yorkshire lass our Mum. This duet was recited at every visit. There were many. As they say up North ‘he’s a sickly lad’.
Life was hard then. I was pushed mercilessly to do well scholastically. Get into the local Grammar School. Then it was the three R’s. Reading writing & arithmetic. Then they didn’t diagnose ADHD or dyslexia. A good clout took the place of Ritalin. But my dyslexia was incurable. Being deaf didn’t help. But then we had hearing support maneuvers. They consisted of being told ‘you heard’ or being ridiculed. So I learned to guess and joke. To everyone’s incredulity I got past the entrance exam to the Grammar School.
How? The essay was about the man I most admired. I wrote about my Mums antagonist & Dad’s alter ego- the family Doctor.
To my Dad’s relief I got into University to learn Medicine. To my Mum’s chagrin Dr Sherwood was proved right. The first test showed that I had suffered a mild TB as a youth. Not only a Doctor but a seer.
Getting into Med School is harder than becoming a graduate. Enter one Jewish student. Exit one Jewish Doctor. Lots of fun in the meantime. It was the sixties. In that decade we discovered, perfected and patented sex, music and liberalism. The graduation was almost an inevitable side product. Any good Jewish Doctor who doesn’t have a religious identity either slinks off and releases the generation of shackles. Or he goes to Israel.
Israel will always provide you with a war. The Yom Kippur War was the ultimate baptism into devout and unwavering Zionism. A passage of riots for any Jew of that generation. Born into rabid socialist families, all believers from Europe. Plunged into generation of believers in the sixties. We could and would heal the world. All you needed was ‘love’ and belief. In the crucible of the Yom Kippur war my ability to belief was forged into my unending pristine belief in my own, for my own and with my own. Israel. The last magic word in a then magic world.
In this ultra charged world I met Rafi. We struggled to cure the traumatised soldiers. We, with them , gazed into the depths of hell. We like them, saw the labyrinths of Jewish despair. We saw the wretchedness of death and destruction. We were weighed down. We sometimes lost hope. Rafi was never that or that. Rafi , a rotund ball of a man bounced. Rafi always smiled. Rafi’s eyes always radiated when our were shadows in our faces. Rafi never gave up. There was always a way. Rafi had paid his way through Med School. He was a magician. Rafi learned Medicine but he never forgot magic. I got through the Yom Kippur war as if by magic. By my side not only a great Doctor but a magician, Rafi.
Like many who adapt in war I found it long and hard to adapt to peace. Israel was to be rarely at war and never at peace. So was I. Drifting, unsure, lurching from hope to disappointment in an en ever ending see saw.
I lacked resilience. It was my luck to meet up with my eventual boss. Resilience in name and deed was he to be. Little things where he gave trust hope and above all the knowledge that if you were with him he’d be with you. Never spoken , never implied but always understood. Stand with me & I’ll stand with you. A guy who allowed those around to function and express themselves but made it so clear where we were going and why. As in all organisations we had highs and lows. On one very low point he assembled the many hundred of us. He spoke frankly. Graphs, accounts details, all there. A planned expounding on how we got where we are and how we will get to where we need to be. Then the prepared notes were lowered. Weary eyes moved from the written notes to us, his audience. ‘I worry that we may not be able to provide the health care to those whose health we are responsible. I worry that a family of one here will not be provided for.’
Words of genuine caring and leadership.
Not only a Doctor. A leader.
So here I am. a pensioned off shrink. Mum was right I did make a living. Dad wasn’t altogether wrong. His mistakes that I tried to correct in my fatherhood caused problems that my kids will try correct and probably get wrong too.
I respect medicine. I respect Doctors.
But I am not a seer, I am not a magician, I am not a magician. I am the reluctant Israeli Doctor.
I fulfilled Dad’s goal. I look at Iran and wonder about Mum’s fears,


תסכול או פטרון ?

לאחרונה שוב העם נותן ביטוי לתסכול. שוב פוליטיקאים זולים מחפשים איך להצטרף לתסכול ולהרוויח הון פוליטי.

מנהיגות אמתית חייבת להגדיר מקור התסכול ולהציע פטרונות.

מה הבעיה האמתי?

קיימים שלשוש פלגי אולקוסיה שאבדו כל קשר זה עם זה. כל אחד רואה את עצמו כמאויים ופלגים אחרים כמאיימים. במצב כזה אף מנהיג של אף פלג לא יוכל לגייס תומכיו.

בקשר לגיוס התשובה היא פשוטה:- כן לגיוס לצבא העם. אבל גיוס לצבא העם של דאז בהקמה מדינת ישראל. צבא שלקח על עצמו לבנות גשרים חברתיים, לסגור פערים כלכליים ולבנות ולהוציא המשותף בינינו.

בואו נהיה ראליים. הצבא לא יוכל להשתמש בחייל חרדי או ערבי כחייל קרבי. לגייס במטרה זו היא לשחרר קיטור ולפוצץ המנוע.

כל ילד וילדה במדינת ישראל חובה להתגייס לצבא העם. כל מגויס יעשה שלושה חודשים טירונות . בשלושה חודשים אלה יחיה אחד על יד השני. ילמד ההיסטוריה, הדת והתרבות של כל אחד. לכל פלג דגש על שני פלגים אחרים. לכל פלג ההזדמנות בסיום הצבא לרכוש מימניות רוחני או מקצועי שיסייע לו או לה בהמשך דרכו בחיים

לחלק שירות צבא למסלולים שלאו הכי De Factoקיימים.
מסלול ראשון : שירות מלאי קרבי
מסליל שני:שירות מלאי לא קרבי
מסלול שלישי: שירות חלקי.

אורך כל מסלול אותו אורך. לכל מסלול תשלום בהתאם לשירות. תשלום המקסימום במסלול ראשון ומינימום במסלול השלישי.

היתרונות של מסלול שלישי הם:
אינם מאיימים
מבצעים תפקידים ש קרבים עושים ואין צורך שיעשו [ שמירת מחסומים]
תורמים לרווחת רבתי בקהילה [ תרומת בנות שירות היא תרומה אדירה]
גורמים לשינויים להבנה חברתית שאפשר יהיה לבנות עליהם.
נותנים אפשרות לרכוש מימניות עתידות גם רוחניות וגם תעסוקתיות

לא מטפלים בתסכול מתייחסים לגורם התסכול


רפורמה זו קשורה ברפורמות אחרות שחייבות גם לבוא:
רפורמה במבנה צה”ל ומשרד הבטיחון שעיקר הרפורמה היא התייחסות והגדרת לוחם ואע”צ
רפורמה במבנה משרד החינוך. עיקר הרפורמה רשות אחת ללא התייחסות לדת וביזור מתן ואחראיות שירותים לדרג המוניצפלי.
רפורמה במבנה הפוליטי. עיקר ההשינויים בחירות ישירות כל ארבעה שנים בלבד לכל תפקידים ייצגתי [ נשיא, ונציגי כנסת ורשויות מקומיות], נשיא ייצגתי כעכשיו לשמונה שנים מתכתו נציגות עובדי ציבור. כנסת עם שני בייתים. המחוקק שכולל רק נציגי מחוז שלכל מחוז נציג אחד בלבד. , בית עליון שיכולה לדחות פעמיים חוקה שכולל בחירות לפי רשימות. .נציגות עובדי ציבור שמנהל מכרז לכ תפקיד ציבורי כולל: מבקר המדינה,רבנים, מנכ”לי משרדי
רפורמה במשרד משכר תעשייה : עיקר הרפורמה לגייס הון, תשתית ומודל עסקי לתעשייה MIDDLE TECHNOLOGY להתבסס ולהשתתף ישיבות [ מין COTTAGE INDUSTRY בעידן הדפסה תלת מדדי]


Where I was born they have saying: ‘Ah, the birds fly backwards there’.
Leeds is known to be ugly. ‘Dirty Leeds’ refers to the football and the city. Both are untrue. But why spoil a good story?
Leeds is supposedly the epitome of ‘where’s there’s muck there’s money’. A Lowry picture with its billowing smoke stacks is a typical Leeds view. It’s as true as we Leodensians all having cloth caps, rhubarb filled allotments & whippets.
But the remark about birds flying backwards has endured. I like it. In fact it captures my whole philosophy. I view my life is the same as the birds are imagined to saying as they viewLeeds. Both the birds and I say in common ‘Thank God that’s behind me’.

With the birds it’s a joke. With me it’s a reality. I enjoy my doings in retrospect.

I identify with birds. My favourite film is Mary Poppins. My favourite character therein is my name sake Michael. Like me he causes havoc with the best of intentions. And my favourite song? Well of course– it’s ‘feed the birds’.

I, like my birds migrated. I went to Israel. There is a beautiful song about birds inIsrael. A group left Tel Aviv on horseback. In the evening they decamped at a place where there was not a bird to be heard, All but one fled. This was a bad portent — it meant death. But in the morning, Doctor Solomon was greeted on awakening by the singing of birds. He founded the, on the banks of theYarkonRiverfirst settlement outside Tel Aviv. Petaq Tikva– literally the glimpse of hope.

‘ — and till this day,

 there are those who say,

that the length of the Yarkon,

the birds all sing their song,

to Moshe Solomon.’

Like my medical colleague, Dr Solomon, I was a co-founder of a village. As then there were no birds. We planted 1,200 trees and every house added another 2-3 of their own. 2,000 trees and so many birds in each one.
As in everything else there are seasons in life. It’s now the golden august and we birds have a lot to look back on. The seasons change quite quickly. A lot to look back on and enjoy in retrospect.
Yesterday I looked up. Again, as  is twice yearly, the birds are flocking. The most awesome are the storks. No one has seen so many storks circling in a pure blue sky.
Oranit, our village is directly under their flight path. The most amazing of sights. The most eternal of events and we are part of it.
From Leeds where they fly backwards to  Oranit where they will fly forever.
So much to be thankful for.
A lesson learned:  don’t look back, look to the skies.


Darwin was the scourge of the then doctrinaire clerical thinking.  Darwin’s postulates challenged God and the church who ‘represented him’. Darwin elevated man by explaining him as not God’s ultimate and finite effort that just happened . In short we became an ongoing process and not a definitive immutable point. Darwin was more so much more than survival of the fittest. But that is what Darwinism came to mean

From this  simple subset was born ‘Laissez faire’. Hard core capitalism is an example. Hard core capitalism which unbridled trampled down all in a righteous virtue. The ‘survival of the fittest’.  It was glorified by the likes of Ayn Rand and she in turned gained many adherents. One of the most famous adherents being Alan Grenspan. In the Clinton administration he was hugely instrumental in dismantling any form of regulation. Regulation was deemed as an ‘unfair means’ of interfering in market forces. Market forces were to be the supreme, Darwinian adjudicator.   The now unencumbered  market forces managed to bring the world economy to its collective knees.

In short time order was re- established.  The economy consists of many sectors. They are all inter related but they must be kept distinct, managed separately, have their own goals but be part of an overall strategy. In short we  left the red blood , savage jungle to a regulated economic civilization. Just as we emerged from the jungle to live in regulated so our economy must be similarly ‘regulated’.

This lesson was particularly hard to accept. Why? Because we in the ‘free world’ had defeated communism. So capitalism won. But it had not. Communism was and is an extremely poor form of regulation. Greenspan et al. proved that Laissez Faire is as equally disastrous. Communism lost but not government by planning, regulating and evaluating.

In sort order we the world paid and rectified the economic mayhem and are struggling, yet succeeding to set the world economy aright.

But there is a an even more ominous remnant of ‘distilled Darwinism’. The remaining remnant has survived and is more deeply entrenched. It goes by the name of ‘Intellectual Darwinism’. Intellectual Darwinism is virtually the survival of the best ideas. If an idea is no good it will not survive. All Psychoses and neuroses are eminent proof that this is a fallacy. But the concept prevails.  Libertine Ayn Rand supporters clung  to economic aspects.

Modern liberal thinkers are as guilty in every other sphere. Ideas and concepts exist in their own rights. These ideas are the ones that survived. They are ‘strong’ ipso facto they are correct.  They are upheld, are immutable and only challenged by those who are prepared to be ostracized.  Many if  not all are incorrect yet the upholders are conferred with a given definite advantage.  The upholders are the modern day equivalent of the pre-Darwinian clergy. An example being that of the modern day judiciary. But the mind set exists in almost if not all professions. It is blatant in most political parties. Thinkers and movers have become closed, self centered, self serving sects. They adhere to the concept and the concept defines them. It will invest in them a power and aura.

Yet this mind set has crept into every aspect of our modern life. Our modern life  consists of giving and receiving services. Nothing more and nothing less. In our modern day life these services are to a greater or lesser degree  given or greatly influenced by elected bodies– generally governments.

To suggest regulation to Rand’s followers was an anathema. It is equally so to the liberal free thinkers who have hi-jacked so much.

We can and must do so.  Just as true Darwinism explained a  process then true regulation must supervise a process. A process that has  an aim and a means. Thus any professional service must be regulated in this light. Services must have an aim and a means. Not a self serving concept.

Democracy is meant to be an equitable sharing and provision of services. The role of Government is to state the aims, provide the means and audit the results.  Regulation is an essential part of this process.

For true democracy to work the ultimate regulator is Vox Populi  - the voice of the people. For the people’s voice to be heard we must ensure that the people are the active and only adjudicators in naming a candidate for any party and then to name the peoples representative in an election between different candidates

In this way, and in this way only will we resort from faux Darwinism to the true Darwinism. We will allow social evolution to unfold no longer hi-jacked by concepts and the priests of concepts


What do you care?
Let them kill each other! The Muslim Brother hood will attack us. WMD’s will fall into the hands of gangs like Hezbollah…
You’re a hypocrite— Israel kills children too.

Well I do care. And here’s why …..
The dream of the ’60′s has all but been realised. The brotherhood of man and freedom for the people is nigh. It is attainable.It is real.
The democratic process means that we alone are responsible to and for our our elected leaders . Our elected leaders are responsible to and for us alone.
We change our leaders at the voting station.
If that leaders leads us astray we change them. If we wish another direction we change our leaders. We listen, we weigh  and we act.
In general our decisions are based on the welfare and well-being of our children.
It is a  simple it beautiful process.  With the onset of instant information and the openness of the democratic process we have all become equals. Knowledge and understanding have made us brothers and sisters. Every child is fast attaining the ability to truly and equally express the potential to which he is born.
No one man can deny these inalienable and tangible rights.
We are all free. We are all members of the brotherhood of man. This can no longer be denied to any brother or sister. To do so is a threat and insult to us all.
With democracy, true democracy comes responsibility. Indeed comes true responsibility.
If our leaders choose a path that is wrong for us then we must change them.  If our leaders cannot deliver our basic rights to seek health, wealth and happiness we must replace them. If our leaders cannot gives us peace and security we must discard them.  Calmly and bloodlessly in the electoral process.
We the electorate are responsible, directly to and for, our leaders actions.
In the case of Gaza the Hamas openly and coherently stated it wishes  and intentions. The Hamas was voted in to power democratically. The Hamas has since behaved in complete accordance to its stated agenda. It had no option. The electorate had an option. Now the electorate of Gaza must bear the brunt of its democratic choice. In choosing the Hamas the people of Gaza chose to endanger the lives of its neighbours Israel. The electorate did so knowingly and willfully. It was their decision to make. It was the decision that they took. And it is their fate to face the consequences of the same government that acts in their name.
The people of Israel democratically elected a government who is beholden to defend and further the children of those whom it represents.
It is egregious to state that Gaza is not a democracy.Gaza is a democracy.
It is egregious   to place the responsibility for the safety of   and well-being of the electorate of Gaza   on the government of Israel.
It is egregious  to expect the government of Israel to abrogate its contract with its electorate by withholding from its electorate the right to peace and security.
The democratic process breaks down in two circumstances.
As in the case of Gaza, where the world community tacitly or implicitly changes the rules. In doing so the world community has belittled the role of the electorate of Gaza.  In doing so it has condescendingly belittled the ability, rights and obligations of the electorate in Gaza.
In Syria one man has broken all the rules. He cannot be removed. The electorate is powerless. He will not defend his electorate. He will actively endanger his electorate. By standing idly by we have all besmirched democracy and all it stands for. By refusing to act we have endangered those who are yet to suffer. And suffer they surely will.
The brotherhood of man is attained via democracy only.
Freedom is attained via democracy  only.
If one man is not free then no man is free.
The brotherhood  of man is not partial or conditional. The brotherhood of man is universal.
Syria must  be free. Syrians must be free.
The rights of Gaza to choose must be respected by all. As must be the consequences of their choice.



Junk in my mind just floating around
Resurfacing every now and then
In the grey seas a storm roaring
Pounding a little indiscriminate ship.
In the sky a dream is soaring
just a tin can , just a tin can.
The sea breaks the ship but not the man
Karlsen by name stays all alone
They beg him please leave
The sea will take you
Karlsen will not …
In sky a the tin can is sailing
From it mens voices talking
Hawser to the boat are sent and broken
In the tin can words are spoken
Men heard men for the first time in space
This little tin can with immaculate grace
Dante jumps from his tug boat across the sea
Together alone Karlsen and he
Two heroes together the world watched and prayed
Two voices talking with everything to say
The boat went down the two heroes were saved
The tin can broke contact that it gave
Both the tin can and the boat died that day
The junk lives on – it has so much to say
Man can touch man, man can save man
Just a tin can, just a tin can

Thank you: Flying Enterprise, Captain Karlsen, Tugman Dante, Telstar, Richard Dimbleby & Goonhilly Bank, for those memories


 A child of the ‘60’s has a curse and blessing. We have musical ADHD. We think in terms of either song or film titles. Or at least that is my excuse. 

Let me encompass my recollection my way. They are mine to encompass. They are personal. So, selfishly, I will present them to assuming that you too have my presentational preferences. 

MOON RIVER A song about a man and his river.

 “Two drifters off to see the world. There is such a lot of world to see……………………

…But we are after the same, Rainbows end — it’s waiting round the bend —

Moon River and me”

Like a river we flow with our experiences.. Rocks like experiences become part of that river. We flow with it. Sometimes our river is placid. Sometimes it is a surging torrent casting all before it. Sometimes it breaks its banks. Experiences are forever entering the river. The river carries them along. Sometimes it does so with ease. Sometimes they cause eddies and turbulence.  Sometimes the experience dams the stream. The dam causes flooding mud and devastation. Afterwards the stream is reduced in its vigour and richness.

But all in all the quality and richness of our river is the sum of our experiences and how we flow with them.As we navigate the river of our life we are aware that we may hit a rock. That brings me to my next point of departure: 

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME: A Shakespearean quote used as a book and film title. It means so many things. But the bottom line concerns conceptualisation and reality.
At time of extreme stress we tend to a few things to cope.

1.      In acute danger we survive. We do so by either running, freezing so as to avoid attention or crying for help. They are highly efficient mechanism. We survived the jungle with these gambits. They do not need changing. They are certainly not a cause of remorse, shame or self-rebuke. When your life is at threat that is what you do. We secrete massive amounts of adrenalin. The adrenalin turns off everything that is superfluous. This includes thinking. At this moment we react. Adrenalin turns on everything that we need. I speeds our heart, it cools us with sweat, and it prepares our muscles to run. It causes us to cry, literally for help. Crying is a highly efficient way of gaining attention and help. Screaming is even more so.  Most important it changes our sense of time. Past and future al virtually erased. The present is as if slowed down.
At that moment our stream has stopped.. This stage is called fear. It is a distinct, well-coordinated reaction to a highly defined cause. Our life is in real danger.

2.      Immediately after the danger there is a stage of recuperation. The danger has passed. The adrenalin is still highly active. Time is still slowed down. It is still hard to think in our usual logical way. We are still in a state of arousal. It takes adrenalin a good few hours to burn off. Afterwards there is a feeling similar to a hangover or ‘crash’. We feel tired and listless. We may feel sad. It is the adrenalin. That is all. Our appreciation of time is still not as it was.  We can drift back to the event. But now it is a memory. We remember the event as a memory. The memory can be vivid. The memory of our pain and fear can be almost as if they were re-happening. But they are not. The sadness and pain diminish slowly but surely. We all remember when we lost someone dear. Maybe through death. Maybe someone you loved very much loved you less. But we have all experienced the first day. As if there will never be another day. But there is. This is a real pain. The sense of sadness and tiredness is real.

3.      The recuperation becomes in the days to come a memory. It is an unpleasant memory. You have learned the hard way that your experience could have ended your life.  A lesson learned the very hard way. You will be reluctant to remember. But you will be equally reluctant to endanger yourself in ant similar way. This is how we have not only coped but learned how to avoid danger.


Now what has this to do with “A rose by any other name”? Because these stages are blandly called ‘anxiety’, ‘depression’ or ‘adjustment disorders’. They most certainly are not. They are normal healthy reactions.

 So what is anxiety? Anxiety is the fear of something unknown. Now I will say something that may seem odd. Please be patient with me. It is not the event that is the fear but the inability to know the likelihood of it happening. Anxiety is not merely the fear of something unknown. Anxiety is caused by the inability ascertain the likelihood of the event happening.

Let me give you an example. We all know that we will die. We are anxious obout death only when we are not certain that it is not imminent. Generally but always the sufferer can point to the cause of his anxiety. When he cannot as he has so many the same principles applies. The anxiety is the inability to say what the likeliness is.

We not only flow with our river of experiences. We navigate our river too. In our river here are rocks. We know that. They are only important when we do not know at what depth they are. If they are near the surface then the navigator is alert. He is anxious. If the rocks are defined then he suffers from ‘specific anxiety’. If he feels that there are undefined rocks but he cannot ascertain if they are not immediately imminent then the navigator suffers from ‘General Anxiety’. The shallower the river, the more it is blocked ‘upstream’ the closer the rocks are to the surface.

So what is depression? Depression is a sense of loss accompanied by grief and often anger. After, any event for better or worse, the river of your experience continues to flow. If you have left something behind that you wanted with you, there is a sense of loss. Your river of life has lost its richness and quality. This is true depression.

So you see life’s quality is about the depth and quality of our own river of experiences. How we flow with them. How we deal with events is called coping. Coping is a mixture of ability, expectation and complexity of the problem.

At critical moments when a bomb falls we can do but a few important things.

1.      Expectation: By carefully explaining what is happening to the traumatized person one can efficiently and effectively change expectations. In the early stages[ hours to days] it is generally more than enough to simply explain to the person what is happening to him as it happens. In other words to minimize his criticism of himself. Avoid the ‘name of the rose’ mistakes. Avoid labeling.

2.      Strengthen and enrich his ‘river of experiences’. Help him identify with the events, to feel actively involved in a struggle that he identifies himself with. To use examples in his past where pain passed.

If you can get into his river, help him enable the flow to restart then you have helped. To survive remember to get out of his river and back into your own.

Michael ‘Row the boat ashore’ Benjamin












I’ll tell it the way that it was. No simplification or glorifications– just as it was.
As so often I was living in the partial guilt of a mistake I’d made. In itself not a terrible one. My brother Gerald laughed. Mum would have been very annoyed . I had broken a few cardinal rules. I’d have got her rebuking glance. A partial smile, saying ‘ you ninny’ , a glimpse of anger, a tinge of regret, a hint that she expected more , was really expecting no more, but hoped for ever more.
The Poles are masters of saying nothing and imparting everything. My father was of Russian descent. Born of a nation destined to talk. To talk for ever. My Russian dad spoke. My Polish Mum imposed. You can ignore Dad, Mum lives on forever. Selective attention let me escape Dad’s harangues and discourses. I didn’t miss much. Dad never changed his mind or attitudes. If asked I could have readily given the impression I was listening. Like being in the rain with a good raincoat. With Mum it was like being in a river. With luck you could keep your head above water. Only on swimming in the direction of the current.
But what had I done? Well the day before my little brother Laurence, in his terminally fastidious manner informed that the Rabbi and burial society wanted Mum’s wedding contract. We wanted Mum and Dad are buried alongside each other. To have similar head stones. But first he wanted to see the marriage contract.
On hearing this I went ballistic. I angered at the Rabbi and the burial society. I’ve inherited Dad’s long windedness. Yorkshire’s sensitivity to exploitation and manipulation are also of me. So the letter was terse, sarcastic and bitingly bitter. I demanded to know why? I enquired after the sanity of the Rabbi and burial society. I briefly but thoroughly delved into the morality of all in sundry. I wondered if they unhappy with the document would they dig one of our parents up?
In fact the letter was many things. Of one thing it most definitely was not. It was not my intentions that the recipients of my ire were to be the recipients of the diatribe. In this wonderful era of technology we are envelope free. There are no free meals. The bad taste left by licking stamps and envelopes has gone. On hitting the reply button to my brother unfortunately the Rabbi and burial society were blessed with my opinion of them. Thus replacing one bad taste with another.
I had broken the ‘golden rules’. Never make anyone feel ashamed or embarrassed. Behave like a gentleman. You kill more flies with honey than vinegar. The last aphorism was Dad’s favourite. It would appear anywhere and everywhere. So even if out of place here it would have been trundled out.
Mum and Dad would have been united. The ‘clot’ had done it again. The failed experiment that was their first born had run his predestined course of lunacy. They would have been delighted with their third attempt at perfection, my little brother Laurence’s somehow elegantly managing to diplomatically put some kind of gloss on the issue with a beautiful excuse.
So we ended the day united as one. Three brothers. My lunacies respected, Gerald’s humour loved and Laurence’s diligence and good sense loved and respected.
But fate did not let it pass at that…
I am a liberated Jew. I’ve been liberated from all the gibberish clap trap that observance demands. I don’t need it. God has something to say, then I’m here. I don’t ‘need’ an intermediary. Judaism is not a franchise. God is not McDonalds. So the years mourning after Mum’s death is not for me. I go my own way. That way, that evening was to a wedding .
Dressed to the teeth, one of my friends said I look like a funeral director. So I was overdressed. But I was there. At the beginning of the evening we have the ritual ceremony. The Rabbi did his bit. The groom did his bit. The bride did her bit. And God did his bit. He addressed me. Not directly but I was given a very stark message.
The Rabbi is our village Rabbi. Like most I cannot decide if I like him, if I admire him or even if I support him in his unending war of the Jews that involves his day to day existence. But I heard his ceremony patter before. But being fore warned was no to be fore armed.
The Rabbi told the young couple to keep their wedding contract and he blessed them with the prayer that they can forget it’s existence and just abide by its contents. The same wedding contract that had elicited my diatribe.
In my native Yorkshire the weather is not that of my native Israel. Squalls unexpectedly appear and drench you. Warmth is replace by an all pervading sense of misery. I was back in Yorkshire, sad and unhappy. I was in an Israel where I was observing a year of mourning. But more so much more….
In my minds eye I was at the wedding of the young couple that were my parents. I saw a composite that was my dear Mother as she went down the aisle. There she was on the arm of the one man she adored. Her father, the man from whom she adopted all his philosophies and attitudes. She made them her own. Pride, loyalty to the family, love of justice were her and then our DNA. But two things were overlooked. Dada was a fun loving man. He was impish and irreverent. Mum could only manage wryness and the occasional giggle. The other was Dada had let Mum down. When Mum’s mother had died when she was fourteen she had been cast aside. Subtly, probably less than she felt but it was there. Hidden under the carpet. Hidden from all except those who knew and they were bequeathed never to acknowledge. That was why the man she loved was leading her down the aisle to a man she would never love. Her husband and our Dad was to be respected, loyal to, obeyed and erstwhile , but only erstwhile, loved. Mum would never be let down again. One big unexpected disappointment traded in for one perpetual small aching disappointment. All under the carpet, but never to be acknowledged. In later years the couple would oppose any of their children if they wished to marry for love. A ‘tradition’ that I unwittingly maintained. But I digress. I saw me and Mum as a boy. How close we were. I bore the brunt of her angers and she was my perpetual confident. How I’d circle the kitchen table being debriefed after school. I simply loved my Mother. I knew she was unhappy. I used to have a fantasy. That I was her father and I could ‘fix’ her sadness. I became a shrink and as a surrogate I failed too. I married a wife who would never love me and, like Mum, never admit it. Imitation is the most sincere of compliments. Even inadvertent imitation. Mum had fears of death. Again never to be admitted to. She admitted to nightmares about the dead. They were there all her life. Only as she approached death did they cease. I felt that if I stayed young she would never age. Death would never take her. Even now I feel her still here. I still look to see what the weather is like in Leeds. Mum liked good weather.
This collage of memories and sensations all around the vows. Even in death they appertain. The vows are of all. Death does not us part.
I entered the wedding as a irreligious celebrator. I left the wedding as a chastened mourner.
I left alone.
I drove home alone.
I left with Mum.
I drove home with Mum.
She’s reading this with you.
I miss you Mum. It takes more than a year. It takes forever


I was sat watching Rambo.
Now what the hell has Rambo got to do with you?
Because Rambo really happened.
I want to tell as many people as I can about the ‘accidental’ Rambo I met. I met Aric in October 1974. A tall almost emaciated Yeminite soldier. He was admitted into our Shell Shock Unit. He had been in a general Psychiatric hospital –where he had thrown the director into a decorative pool.
To the directors credit he got out and threw Aric in the pool.
Then he sent this misfit to our unit of complete misfits… The shell Shock Unit.|

Aric was almost mute.
All he would say was incomprehensible.
We could follow nothing.
So I gave him Pentothal.
Until Aric we could always trace the cause of the trauma and recycle in a way that somehow made it ‘psyche-digestible’. But Aric just went berserk. In those awful long nights I was obsessed not by the mayhem that we were seeing. why was it not working? An injection then complete mayhem. Till then it had been the opposite. I had to get Aric back…. and I could not.. Then one night I reasoned like this:-
Aric under Pentothal is virtually Psychotic. So why not give him an injection of antiPsychotic intra venously? At midnight I phoned up my boss and asked permission. Tomorrow I would inject both Pentothal and an anti-Psychotic.

At eight in the morning we started. In went the Pentothal and we lost Aric again to his demons. In went the anti-Psychotc and Aric stated repeatedly :
‘Carol, how big he is. So small he is.’
That was it.
Nothing more.
But something.
Like all successful Pentothals Aric woke up. But this time I was at a loss as to what had happened. I asked him what ” How big he was –How small he is.” meant? Who is Carol? Aric simply looked amazed. “How do you know?” “Did I say that?” . As in a very few other Pentothals we had gone to the wrong place in time. The ‘wrong trauma’. With Ephraim we had blundered into Auschwitz. With Mike, a hysterical blind victim we had found ourselves in a tank battle in 1971. With Shalom we were in a Moroccan prison. Aric had gone back to 1967— the six day war. …….

Aric had a son called Shai. Shai, his only son had died before the 6 day war started. In the 6 day war Aric was a non combatant. He was a driver of the Burial Corps. He was present when the Clergy tried to piece enough body parts to bury.
Some times there was not enough.
What there was they put in ammunition caskets and nailed that in the coffin and filled the rest was earth to make up the weight.
Carol was Aric neighbour. There was barely enough of Carol, a very tall guy to put in the ammunition box. Aric sat by his neighbour, Carol’s, coffin all night. He asked Carol to look out for his dead son Shai when they met. He muttered to himself — well you know what….After all Carol was very tall and now there was not enough to fill the ammunition box. Aric and all his unit had sworn to keep the secret of what happened when preparing the dead that week.

The Chief Military Rabbi then asked them made them swear an oath never to tell. Honour the dead and their memory. But Aric had told. Under Pentothal. Six years had passed. Inadvertently he had told us. This in his eyes was unforgivable.
I want to jump forward a month. We worked a lot in Aric and made real progress. The Chief Military Rabbi in the Yom Kippur War visited us. It was a warm spring afternoon. We sat on thee grass and the Rabbi answered questions. Aric asked if what he had done was excusable? Aric was well known and respected. So there was a very heavy silence.
The Rabbi turned to his two assistance. “I now declare this a Rabbinical Court and we are now in session.
Aric Chatuka cover your head.” The rabbi then placed his hand on on Aric’s head. ” This court absolves you from all your oaths that you took in 1967. This court absolves you from all guilt” Aric said. ” Rabbi, these guys have fought hard for me , to help me, but no injection helped like this”. We were all in tears.

But I have still to explain why Rambo?
What happened in 1973?
First a bit of history and a brief explanation. The Egyptian were helped by the Sudanese commando brigade as they crossed the Canal. In accordance with Soviet doctrine they were doped to their eyeballs with Ritalin. The Sudanese were the bane of our soldiers existence . They were big, fearless with bulging ferocious eyes. They were unstoppable. Well almost unstoppable. Aric stopped one. But at what a price Here’s how. ….

Aric was a tank driver. They were trying to stop the Egyptian advance. They were surrounded by Sudanese.
The Sudanese were unstoppable.
They were like a swarm of locusts.
They were everywhere.
Aric’s tank commander was a greenhorn. This irritated Aric who felt he had a liability and responsibility. Aric wanted to get everyone home safely. He drove over Sudanese. He mowed them down. Aric was doing well. He was getting out of the mess. Then it went awfully wrong.
The tank commander was sat half out of the tank.
A Sudani killed him. Aric went after the Sudani. Aric got out of the tank and fired a machine gun at the Sudani.
The Sudani kept coming .
Aric was screaming at him “Die — you are already dead.” More rounds and still the Sudani is running.
So with one long burst Aric cut the Sudani into two.
But still the legs of the Sudani kept running.
Aric past out and was mute.

Months went by.The treatment was working.
Aric then did something that no other soldier of mine did. He went back into reserve duty. My mistake maybe but also fate played a hand.
Aric was posted to almost the exact spot where he had fought his Sudani. Then it was the demarcation line between the Israelis and Egyptians. Aric dissociated.
He saw the Sudani and Aric attacked.
Aric was running , weaving and firing as he advance on the now docile Egyptians.
There was only one way to stop him.
We ran Aric over with a command car. In the turmoil Aric was shot in the leg. There was an enquiry. There always is. This one was fair. The investigators told me that Aric was a few yards from starting the war all over again. There was grudging admiration for Aric’s soldiers craftmanship. My mistake was generously overlooked. The authorities let it pass.
I went to see Aric in hospital. The Orthopedic Surgeon asked me if this was another faked malingerers suicide.
I told him that it was not.
No this was a real genuine fucking hero.

Aric almost started another war. But his own never ended. The Sudani never left him. He drifted. Aric was in and out of trouble. Often they wanted to put Aric in a closed ward. I stopped them. But it was getting harder. Aric’s wife and neighbours were all suffering outbursts and wild behaviour. Then one day the Police phoned. It was three in the morning.
They were laughing at this lunatic that admitted to a murder.
“Did he murder someone?” I asked, a bit nervously.
The reply was negative ” Only some Sudani” .Accompanied by more laughter. I said OK — tomorrow we’ll put him into the closed ward and I put the phone down.
Then it hit me. So I phoned back to the Police.
” Are you sure that he said a Sudani?”—” Yes very sure” was the answer.

At three thirty in the morning I got Aric out of the holding cells. ” You realise that the Sudani is dead — no more night mares”. I took him home. Nothing sensational. We were both very tired –of everything. Things got reasonably manageable but never any where like normal. Aric made a living as a Taxi driver.
Very rarely I saw him.
One day a journalist came to my clinic.
She asked if what she had heard was true?
—- A taxi driver had told her his story without identifying himself. He had picked her up as a fare by the clinic. How did she find me? Aric had said that whenever he felt bad he would drive by the clinic. He knew if things got really bad he always go in. That was enough for him.

Aric’ s wife died of cancer. So did Aric. They are all together with Shai, Carol and the two Rabbis. Wars are fought and payed for by heroes. But heroes who did not ask to be heroes. Aric was an accidental hero and a great guy. I don’t know what this did to you. If you think on Aric for a minute — that is good. I sent this to people I know well, people I don’t know well, people that will understand and people that will not. If anyone is offended — well I am sorry. I simply wanted to share and honour Aric. I hope that you do too.


*’My oh my how did things get so crazy?
Did I get tired?
Or did I get lazy?’

Are more than lyrics.
Let’s see why………………….

I was born in the shadows of the walls of Auschwitz.
My Grandfather emigrated to the only country in Europe that managed to save its Jews, Britain.
As I grew up my Mother searched for the remains of his almost completely annihilated family.
From his despair my Zionism was engendered.

I know that this can happen again.
Only by Jews standing together can it be avoided.
The holocaust was not a crime against humanity.
It was crime committed by humanity against me and my people.
Wherever and whenever a nation, people or religion has had the opportunity and the means and opportunity to persecute Jews,it has done so. It will do so.

Israel was reshaped by the survivors. They built their dream by day.
They screamed their nightmares by night.
The lessons of the holocaust were to meld and form part of our national psyche.

A generation came and replaced these heroes who are all but gone from us. A generation that fought wars , lost its sons and fathers.
A generation that was once worthy to inherit the survivors.
A generation that blossomed.
But the blossom has faded.
The scent is of decay and decadence.
Ideals, that were meant to be, have all become mocking caricatures.
The survival of the reverent, revered and respected religious was won and lost
Where and why did they turn their back on their fellow non observant Jews?
The erudite, ethical and emancipated pursuers of Law and Justice won and lost.
Where, how and with who’s blessing did the judiciary hi-jack and impose their opinion?
The representatives of the citizens are neither represent nor are they civilised.
The Police are corrupt.
The Defense Force ejects Jews from their homes. Jews who are who are in their ranks.
Yet dare not touch the home of those who will kill us. Why?
Jewish parents now regularly murder their children.
How did this happen?
What has happened to us?

Protecting our fate from an imminent nuclear attack are an establishment that gave us:-
A serial rapist for a President.
A Minister of Treasury who stole from Holocaust survivors.
A Prime Minister who is a serial embezzler.
A Minister who marked his decision to send soldiers to war by sexually violating one of them.
A Commander In Chief who on the outbreak of war was deeply troubled by the future of his stock portfolio.
A Chief Of Police replaced because of criminality.
A future Prime Minister appointed by votes obtained in one Arab town and burnt in another.
A war that was fought with no plan.

Yet no one pays a price.
No one has to.
Incompetence is rewarded.
Deceit is the accepted norm.
Have we become Chelm?
Are we Alice living through the looking glass?
No we are not………………………

We are living in Israel.

In Israel to day there is no shame and no guilt.
There are certainly no mirrors.
No one sees themselves.
We see what is not their. Our vanity and inflated sense of self worth.

We do not see what is there.
We do not see ourselves.
We do not see our unmitigated blame.
We refuse to see where we are being led.

This is all our faults.
We are all guilty.
We are all sinners.

This Yom Kippur we cannnot say “I have sinned”
— we are continuing to sin=

We were all given our people and land to protect, preserve and pass on.
We are custodians. Nothing more. Nothing less.
We are failing.
There will be nothing left of either the land or the people.
Yet we are all letting this happen.

My prayer is not to ask forgiveness for what was.
Neither I nor you deserve forgiving.
We need to atone.
We must mend that that is broken.
We must start by becoming part of the blame.
We must start by being ready to be part of the solution.
The way is not complex.
The resolve is key.
If we accept our responsibility we can and will change all.
The time has come to do that.

As a non religious Jew my one prayer for Yom Kippor is that you accept this truth:-
You are at fault.
You are the answer.
Just ask, ” How?”

Gammar chatimma tova


Where to begin?

Jokes about a Polish Jewish mother. Should I start there?  My Mother really was and is Polish Jewess. May God allow her to be so many more years.

At the time the jokes weren’t funny. They were just part of the way it was.

Mum thought that we could survive by being prepared to run.

‘Learn medicine. So when you run you take everything with you in your head’.

‘When you run’. Not if you run. Even in the mid 20th century in Yorkshire, in the goyish of goyish places we had to be ready. It was coming again. We had to have clean under pants too in case we got run over. We cannot show Mum up.

A joke— ? No that’s the way that we existed. Ready to run. The day would come.

But my Father was anglicized. He knew we could have a better life. It was quite simple for Dad. ‘If there are 10 Jews you can make ‘them’ feel as if you are a 100 or 1. Make them feel that there is only one. Better still none.’ That was it. Just disappear – if you didn’t want them to get you.

Two parents one message camouflage yourself and be ready. Always be ready. Look out for other Jews, but if they draw attention to themselves avoid them. Remember that your behaviour can lead to them being gassed. Thiers  could lead to you being gassed. Jews were unwilling guarantors to each other. And never trust a Goy. ‘Just scratch them. It’s under the surface. It’ll come out. Never trust them’.

But Dad had other ideas too. You could not let the goys walk over you. If you cringed and hid and did not go out provoking anti Semitism and you got it — then hit back.

That was the rules. They left you alone if you retreated into your mobile schtell. But if you got a pogrom hit back. This was our freedom. Rules on how to exist.

So when  Barry Regan thumped me Dad went into action. Barry was my friend. A big goy who towered above me. I cannot remember why he hit me. But he did and hard. So home I went crying. What did Dad do? He threw me out. ‘The goy hit you. Go back and hit him. Don’t come back to you do. If not he’ll bully you as a weak Jew’.

So off I went to Barry’s house. Terrified and weeping I pressed the door bell. Barry opened the door and I hit him. He burst into tears. I ran. Still crying I raced home.

This is true. If it was a fable I would have had a positive experience. I should admire Dad for making me tough. I don’t. I still feel the terror. I wanted to be Barry’s pal. I ended being terrified of both him and my Dad.

So here I am in Israel. Nowhere to run to. But still not safe. Still sure that they’ll come and get me. Sure I can hit out. In fact I do. But wishing someone once would protect me. Someone once would be my friend. But above all just let me be. Let me be. Let mine be.

Dad’s dead, Barry is a memory but all the shadows and nuances live on in me and in the shadows that follow me.

I am an Israeli.



Unfortunately I am a psychiatrist.
Even more so I am an amateur history buff.
Compound this by being an Israeli.
Now listen to what I have to say.

Yesterday there was no doubt in my mind. By any standards anyone speaking in the tones of Ahminajaad would be forcibly hospitilised.
The man is delusional, paranoid & megalomanic. His thinking is both rigid and rambling. His logic is unassailable and uncontestable.
The man’s themes are destruction and messianic redemption. Justified hatred and vindication of mayhem are his promised actions.
To allow this man any access to national might and indeed weapons of destruction is more than lunacy. It is a crass and criminal dereliction of duty.
The writing is plainly on the wall.
The writings were written in the hand of Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot.
Yet world leaders,as led by Obama refuse to read the writing on the wall.
They insist on colliding full force with the wall.

In a conceit verging on delusional Obama refuses to hear or consider what is said. What is said is of no import to he. What he, Obama, thinks and how he thinks is the lingua franka of any and every mindset. Obama cannot and will not accept that his genius and persuasion will never stop the Persian lunatic. Obama cannot and will not gain any insight into anything that may suggest any flaw in his own divinity.
Obama has learned nothing.
Ahminijaad has learned everything.

If this was not enough both men are intertwined in an all encompassing obsession with the Jewish State. The Black hole that is Obama’s vanity has disposed of the fact that the Palestinian cannot make peace. That Hamas are the legally elected representatives not Abbas and his Kleptocrats. That Hamas are the more powerful. That Hamas object to peace. That Hamas object violently to Israel’s existence. That Hamas share with Ahminijaad the vitriolic hatred of Jews and the justification of their eradication. That Hamas and the Hezbollah are armed to the teeth by Iran.
Both see the Jewish state and the Palestinians as the pinnacle of their preoccupations and delusions.
The proclamation of the gospel in the words of Obama
The missing Imman as discovered by Ahminajaad.
Both will be performed in Jerusalem.
Both will arise, vindicated, from the Armageddon

The erudite professor did not notice that any attempt at making arrangements in the middle east can only start after the end has been promised before the start. Sadat, Oslo and the Jordanian treaty are the examples.
Obama did not realise that any and very failed process has led to violence that got out of hand and control. It took a year to realise that the settlement freeze was a fatal tactical flaw that only a neophyte could make. The Palestinians cannot negotiate without it and Israel cannot with it. Why, is not important. Who imposed it? Obama. Why? He doesn’t like Bibi.

So we are now in a process that cannot succeed any way with a built in detonator placed there by Obama. With a promise of an Iran precipitated mayhem when it inevitably goes kaput.

I have learned that obvious things happen. It was obvious that a neophyte who by the age of fifty thought his life experiences were reason for not one autobiography but two would be dangerously ill equipped to be President. There was a vain hope that he would learn. He has not.
It is obvious that paranoid psychotics will act on their delusions.

Both players are encumbered and paralysed by a deep flaw which has taken over completely. Ahminijaad psychotic messianic paranoia and Obama’s all embracing narcissism.

The big bang meets the black hole.
The testing ground: Israel.


Bored listening to this loser I looked up and day dreamed Looking through not too clean widows at a perfect Mediterranean sky.
Not even a good thief the stupid sod kept getting caught.
As with all good thieves he had started life early by being delinquent. Running away from home. Sleeping anywhere he could.
Teddy annoyed me. There was no need. His Mother had struggled and his Father had known nothing but surviving.
A family that had fought and had born every pain with varying degrees of success. Apart the shame from their thieving son.

It started before Teddy was born. Just after 1945 a young man wandered into a peaceful village by the forest in Poland. A quiet guy very good at fixing things. Kept himself to himself. No one was surprised when he married one of the village girls. No one was surprised when within 5 years they were a family of six.

Everyone was amazed when he told his wife that he was a Jew. Not a religious Jew. He had given up on God. God had given up on him. Life began with his footsteps into the village. Nothing before. It was all erased. The Germans wanted to erase every memory of all thing Jewish. Teddy father wanted to too.
Despite their efforts both failed.
Teddy’s wife then did the strangest thing possible. She demanded that this stranger took her and her children to a strange land and to live with strange people.
Teddy’s father was forced to come to Israel.
Teddy’s father insisted that they, his children were brought up as Catholics. Teddy’s father had given up on his Jewishness. She reluctantly agreed. Slowly the kids became Israelis in every way. In the army they became Jews. God remembered.  But Teddy’s father’s past was locked. No key was to be found.
No one knew his name. The family name was unknown. They did know that he went to bed only after he made sure that were a few slices of bred hidden away. Bread was never thrown out. Teddy’s father never really trusted anyone. Drifted in and out of jobs but provided. A tense closed man. Always angry and disappointed at Teddy’s behaviour.

So we sat as I heard some more inane explanations about how Teddy could beat the system. No shame no sorrow. I was drifting letting the hours pass by. Both Teddy and me were playing the Therapy game.
He came.
I listened.
Both of us knew that this was a waste of time.
But that was what I did. Not every therapy works.

Like every one else I got annoyed at Teddy. So annoyed I attacked him. Because I was annoyed and I am human.
‘If you’re such a good thief how the hell do you get caught so often?’
Spiteful but as I said I am human.

The answer was – well you judge. I’ll just say that I never expected it.

‘I like standing outside the house I’ve burgled, in the shadows and watch the Police arrive?’

‘You do what !?‘
‘I stand in the shadows under the trees and watch. I wonder if they’ll catch me.’

‘Just like in the forest. Teddy , you must really love your Dad if you want to be so much like him.’ That wasn’t spite. I was awe struck.

They say a picture tells a thousand words. Teddy face was a picture of revelation, a picture of amazement and then a picture of aching sadness. Shadows flitting across his face , winds whispering in his memories and emotions rustling in a breeze of feelings that were always there but locked. Thousands and thousands of words. None spoken. Just like his Dad. You can say so much by saying nothing.

Teddy never stole gain.

If this was a story I could invent that the father and son bonded. They didn’t. Teddy made a lousy marriage. He had two kids. He showed tremendous strength by bringing up his children on his own. Teddy’s a great dad.

Teddy’s mother died. She was buried as a non Jew. Around her grave were at least twenty children, grandchildren and great grand-children.
All of them Jews.
All because of her.
Beneath the ground a non Jew.
Above it, in heaven she was a great Jewess.

Before she died Teddy’s father told them all his story. Who he was, where he’d been, what he’d done and what he was called. They kept it to themselves.

Teddy’s dad has one person in this earth he talks to. Teddy’s nephew. One day Teddy’s dad was very ill. We thought that he was going to die.
He didn’t but he said some thing.
Teddy’s nephew is religious. He has a beard.
Teddy’s dad suddenly said ‘My grandson reminds me of my father. He was a religious Jew too. ‘

In the woods in Poland. In the echoes, if you listen you can hear the sound of a lonely Jewish child crying.


I was born in the shadow of death. 1944 and the walls barbed wire fences of Auschwitz yet stood. The gloom and haze of the smoke and ash from its chimneys were above all Europe. The UK was a mere 10 miles from the Nazi army. The UK Jews were saved by a strip of water and a great country led by two great men and one woman. Churchill we all acknowledge. We must always remember the man who led the country and was the country. A man whose call to his people was clarion clear even, like our Moses, he had a profound stammer. A great King. By his side a Queen. She stayed with her people and endangered her family. She stood behind her husband, our King, and was his voice.

This is the UK to which the generation of Millibands Jews was born.
A community of Jews who never forgot the deep debt to the British.
A community with a love and respect for British tradition.
The community brought with it the political activism of the European Jewry.
Europe then was in turmoil. Jews were deeply involved.
In Russia the Jews were aiming for the redemption of man by trying to form a new society.
In Germany the Jews’ complete annihilation was the key to the redemption of the Aryan society.
In Palestine the redemption of the land of Israel was the answer to the Jews’ awesome aching problem to survive —‘A light unto nation’ ‘A nation alone’.

Jews through out history have never ever been able to solve one problem.
How to integrate and how to survive as a people?
Through out our history we have been polarized into two camps. One that would have us integrate and eventually loose our identity.
The other will maintain our identity by preventing integration. The integrators have often salved their consciences by being’ light unto nations’ now’. The messiah of the socialist revolution is the balm that soothes the pain of leaving their fellow Jews behind.

For some in every generation the personal pain of being a Jew was too hard. They hid. They only came out of hiding as in the receding light of their final years. As their sights dims with age their visions, memories and longings come to the fore.
A gentile friend who was told by his octogenarian Dad, for the first time, son I am a Jew. He had fled Europe and never wanted his pain to be felt by him or his children.
Vast numbers of Israelis, in their 70’ s and eighties, who remember they had another name when they were hiding. That name is their real name. Not the one that have used all their lives. One friend told me in tears, Mike I had so many names when I was hiding that I don’t really know which one is me. I do know that I had to be perfectly behaved in every role or I’d get my Mother killed. I am a Jew. I have to survive.

One girl, who as a patient, never stopped chatting. Non stop chattering. Small talk to the nth degree. Drove me nuts. One day unannounced she brought her Mum.
‘Please look at her …I think she depressed. ‘
‘Well she doesn’t talk at all’
I thought ‘with you around no one gets a chance.’
So I asked a few questions. To all of which the daughter answered.
In the end I walked out of the room.
I was in tears.
The Mother as a kid had spent 4 years in a pig sty with no one to talk to and forbidden to make any noise because that may give her away. This woman had brought up a loving daughter. But she was almost mute. A daughter, who in her deep love of her mother fulfilled her mother’s dream. Like every daughter she wanted to be for her mother the dream that her mother could not attain. So she spoke. She spoke non stop. All the things the mother could not say or feel she felt and said. A surrogate?: No—just a loving Jewish child. She could have run, or rebelled. But she chose to stay and bear the pain.

Again the one question came to mind. Since I understood what had been done generation after generation to my people I ask but one question.
‘What have you done to us?’
Not why. That’s your problem.
I want you to know that no answer satisfies.
I want you to know that you can fuck off. Just that, fuck off, because you’ll never do it again.

We are a nation alone.
We are a stiff necked race.
We are arrogant and proud.

Do you want to know why?

We have every reason to be so. That’s why.

We are ordered to be ‘a light unto nations’.
We have the ability to be so.
We will be so.
We will stand alone.
We will be accountable to our own.
We will be accountable for our own.

There is a new phenomenon in the Jewish world. Three revolutions affected the world in the last century. Only one, Zionism still exists and is true to its cause.
The call to Zion was enough to mobilize our Ethiopians. There were no questions. The call was heard. Two words echoed down the generations in every village. They believed and answered the call. Tens of thousands heard the call of those two words: Zion and Jerusalem. They left everything. After so long the time had come. They marched thousands of miles. An incredible amount died. There was no time to bury them. Families were decimated. But on they came. They were ambushed and robbed, but on they came. They were tortured and imprisoned but on they came. As a final act of deepest faith they got into contraptions that they had never seen and went into the heavens. To heavens and to Zion; The Promised Land.
The two words that had echoed through the generations were answered. Zion and Jerusalem – home – Israel.

Pain if we stay together. Not all do stay.

The Millibands have gone down their path. They have left Judaism and become humanitarian socialists or whatever. They are still Jews. In our eyes they are Jews. In their own eyes they are Jews. In the gentiles’ eyes they’ll always be Jews. Some will disperse and be lost to us. Some will rejoin us.
When they do we will accept them as what they are:
They are Jews that belong to us and with us.
They can be sure in the knowledge that no matter what we will watch and wait.
From the villages of Ethiopia or from the suburbs of North London.
It makes no difference.


Strange to say I’ve never seen an ear consultant.
Well strange if you were born deaf.
Or at least I think that I was.
Stranger to say that when I did see a consultant it was like Moses parting the water.

My Moses is a lady and she is deaf.
But strangest of all was that I opened a very closed and very large dark room that no one had been allowed into.
Certainly not me.
A room full of shadows and strange echoes.
The decision to go finally to a consultant was to see if I was suited for a Cochlear implant.
Till now I just bought hearing aids on my own.
In time they got bigger and better and my hearing go smaller and worse.
So I had a solution or so I thought.
No questions.

I just wanted an answer:
Yes or No.
Was I suited for an implant?
Yes or No.

Thats when the shock set in.I was examined patiently and extremely thoroughly.
I started saying things that I would never admit.
All very clinical but gentle and humane.
Then the clincher.The Professor saw me surrounded by her staff and she introduced them.I was a wee bit nervous.
‘Well your functioning and hearing are much worse than your hearing test would indicate’.
‘Does that mean there is something wrong with my brain?’
‘Certainly not– If I talk loudly you understand. It is in your ears . We have to find out how you are incapacitated and then find solutions. ‘
I must have looked blank.So she added,
‘ You are suited for the operation but that is the easy way out. We may be able to improve things without one.’
‘Does that mean that you can make me hear better?’
‘Of course, but first sit a few hours to do some more tests especially with the Communication Therapist.’
I went out with tears in my eyes.
I agreed to make more appointments.Starting with the Communication Therapist.
Went home and in the night alone it all became clear.
I went through my mind what I was going to say.
The Prof had said that it would include questions like do I avoid going to the theatre because I cannot hear?
Yes I do and more much more:I cannot really hear what anyone says.
I hear something as words.
Somethings I cannot hear at all.
I hear somethings as words but as if in a foreign unknown language.
Sometimes I know the possible translation and can fit one in,sometimes I cannot.
Every sentence is like in a process whereby I am fitting in the missing pieces and trying to store the next sentence to be processed.

Sometimes I don’t manage.Sometimes I can re-synthesise missing sentences.Sometimes I cannot.
If the person has a high pitch voice it is harder.Nigh on impossible.
Low and booming is easy.
Two people together is impossible.
All this means that I don’t go to Theatres.
But more than that.
Much more.

All the family meet on a Friday.I haven’t a clue what they are talking about.
Not a clue.
They think that I am rude or eccentric because I read a paper.
Conversations are like watching fish open and close their mouths.But I am the one with my head under the water.Everything is muffled and distorted.
We have a family custom of celebrating birthdays at restaurants.
There I am the life and soul of the party .
I speak and joke.It’s a monologue with a friendly crowd.
The minute audience participation kicks in I am kicked out.
Back into the real world with the goldfish.

Certain people, very close would be amazed.
I haven’t heard what they have said for years if at all.
Not really ever understood them.
There is a guy at work.
I have worked with on and off 40 years.He tells jokes.He must think that I am his biggest fan.
I’ve never heard one of them.He smiles at the end of his jokes.If it’s a good joke he laughs.
So do I .
Thats how I get by.
I don’t trust him.I cant hear him so how can I?
He doesn’t trust me because he must feel that I am very false.
But all is unspoken and undealt with.
Pity as I think that I would have enjoyed him.
Something else that slipped by whilst I was coping.
Coping that’s the name of the game.

You noticed I said I think that I was born deaf.I didn’t know that people heard better than me.How could I?
Every time I said ‘What?’. The answer was ‘You heard’.
So if I heard it meant that I had to produce something so I guessed.
I am a good guesser.But if I guess wrong then it’s a mess.
So I learned to fudge.Never answer directly.Never compromise yourself with an initial answer that leaves you open.
Keep things going so that you can verify quietly.
Either let the subject drop into vagueness and then re ascertain or give vague answers or jokes to make sure that you are on the right page and on the right line.
Make jokes about yourself, because you are going to make a fool of yourself anyway!
I learned a new trick. To ask the person to ‘restate that clearly and slowly so that the point would be absolutely clear’.
It gives the impression that there are a few possibilities that I can see and they cannot.
I do it with a smile so not to intimidate the other.
But it gives me time.

So here I am floating alone in a fog.I can hear others hailing me but it’s all very distorted.
But I have coped.
Quite successfully as a Therapist.administrator and even in local politics.
Well firstly I can manipulate clarity and vagueness.I make sure that everything is clear to everyone.
But as I can tolerate a certain level of vagueness once I know that everything is clear I leave people alone to function.
I have leaned to pick up non verbal cues when things are going wrong.
I make sure that any vagueness is only ‘allowed’ by me.
There will be clarity when speaking to me and that I say serious things very clearly.
It took me time to realise that it was confusing to work with me and for me.I come across a nice guy.Then a demanding one.
So I cling to the ‘nice guy’ part by being nice and considerate. [Which I find easy as I do like people].
Above all I smile.I smile a lot.

I cope at work and in politics.
But all this wrecked a normal family life.
No spontaneity and lots of misunderstandings and anger.
Sounds pretty miserable.
When I started out writing I thought so too.
But there are pluses.Quite a lot.
I learned that people are nice.They can do horrible things but we all can.
Leading this way of life means I can give more lee way to people and events.
I have the skills to read things and the ability to improvise.
I have learned that smiling is for others and its nice.Laughing is for all of us and we all love it.
I laugh a lot lately.
I have learned that determination is more than ability but you do need ability too!
Experience is the best teacher.
Whilst fudging and fighting I realised that I’ve done a lot.
Got a lot.A wonderful family who I want to enjoy, a wonderful profession that I can still add to , a wonderful country that I want to change for the better and believe that I can.
But to do this I have to do more than cope.
I have to converse.

I am ready.
I look to my deaf Moses of the deaf to part the seas and take me across.




I know almost noting about he American health system. But I am an Israeli, UK educated physician working in management dealing with mental health care reform.

So here is my twopenneth of thoughts.

I do know that no one buys a pig in the poke. Today’s medicine is expensive, incoherent and economically unsound. These conditions make a ‘tax led’ expansion nigh on impossible. 

I think that we should consider what can be done and how?

The driving force for change may be political. But change has to encompass both delivery and payment.

I will develop a theme that states basically that costs and delivery can and must be altered before payment can be tackled.

Payment is pivotal in the making of universality.


There is no such thing as reform in medicine. There are far too many vested interests, preconceived ideas and established practices.

To make life easy lets call the involved parties shareholders.

Shareholders must want change. The change has to be as a constructive evolution and not a threatening revolution.

There can only be small, graduated and, hopefully coordinated incremental changes.

All reform has to have both a strategy and tactics.

Each change must be seen as being beneficial to most and detrimental to none.

In other words every shareholder must see some befit before he will take some risk. The benefit must be tangible and the risk less than such. It cannot be the opposite.


What do we want to do?

Most encouragingly all the shareholders agree about what they want and do not want.

They want comprehensive, coherent professional care.

They do not want to have their economic status threatened. The user does want affordable health care. The industry member wants to maintain their income level. 

So far so good.

So let’s take the first step that is accepted by all.

Lets just save money.


 We’ll examine but two issues.


  1. Litigation:

    The cost of insurance coverage is enormous.

    We could offer an alternative coverage. The choice would be of the individual but the premium would be affected accordingly.

    We would need to set up a State Quality Monitoring Board[SQMB]. The SQMB initially would have the following powers:

    1. Arbitrate in all litigation concerning mal-praxis.
    2. Set maximum sums to be paid according to misdemeanor.
    3. Set and monitor accepted practices in utilization of ancillary medical diagnostic services.
  2. Reduced expenses:

    On signing to being in a program that is under the aegis’s of the SQMB the premium could be reduced if the patient also agrees to:

    1. Wherever possible, as the treatment of choice, use generic medications.
    2. That all laboratory services would be done in accordance with absolute, medical needs. Put bluntly, not because I may get sued or it would be nice to have the tests but because I need this test to do good medicine.

If we get this far, and we can, we will see savings.

So we can move to the next step.


Medicine is a system of services. More often than not the patient is not doing what he should. Quite often he is doing what he should not be doing, or could be doing it somewhere else cheaper.

As a rule of thumb the patient:


  1. Should know what he is to do.
  2. Be followed up to ensure that he is doing, as he should.

This means evolving a system of care that has a case manager.

This involves profound conceptually and structural changes in the delivery of medicine. 

As the patient is liable to have many needs his medical needs are holistic and should be dealt with at the community or primary care level.

The care manager should know:


  1. What is needed?
  2. Where is it best done?
  3. Has it indeed been done?

This means several things:


  1. We resort to the idea of the centrality of the Family Doctor.
  2. A nurse does the case working.
  3. Case management is a ‘medically based decision’. It is not fiscal. It is an essential part of an efficient delivery.
  4. Cases are managed at the level of the family Doctor.

    1. Referrals and recommendations are from and to him alone.
    2. The ‘specialist’ is redesignated  as a ‘consultant’.   

For this stage to work effectively the Family Doctor Practice should be reasonably large so that it can negotiate with experts and providers in the field. THE FAMILY DOCTOR IS THE TEAM LEADER .

The enlarged family practice should subscribe to the SQMB.

The setting up of the family practices would be the corner stone of health reform

I would consider favorably:


  1. That subscription to a practice would be:

    1. Per annum at a fixed fee with a basic health basket [Number of visits, hospitalization days, lab costs] per family.
    2. FFS above the basic basket. This aspect would be monitored and authorized by the SQMB.
  2. That the SQMB would offer assistance in negotiating between the Family Practices and between both insurers and other health providers [hospitals, labs and etc.]


In other words we now have three well-delineated bodies:


  1. The professional hub – based firmly on the Enlarged Family Practice
  2. The administrative hub- based firmly on the state based SQMB.
  3. Payments – Private and non-private insurers.


Only when medicine has been rationalized can it become universal. We cannot expect the State to foot the bill when the medicine is neither rational nor cheap. Medicine has to become professionally and fiscally rational. Only then can further decisions be made.


The decision is twofold:


  1. Political.
  2. Fiscal:

    1. What is the State paying for?

      By my proposals the Sate would know what are the expenses involved.

    2. How does the State pay?

      This decision is purely fiscal. Medicine, as such, has no part in this discussion.

    3. How will the State know that I got what it paid for?

      By setting up and developing the SQMB we have the basis for an answer.

Universality has a temporal dimension. The SQMB should also be placed in charge of evaluating, developing and training professional man power so that future needs will be met.

In summary:

I suggest series of changes none of which threaten any one. A clear distinction should be made between means of payment and means of service. Limiting expenses in medicines, procedures and insurance coverage should initially reduce costs.  Service should be rationalized by developing in tandem the ‘Enlarged Family Practice’ and the ‘State Quality Monitoring Board’ [SQMB].

When costs and services have become coherent and rationalized the cost of universality of care and the political implications can begin.




Imagine a flock of birds. Imagine them migrating a cross a clear blue sky.

The flock flies as a unit. They are led. But the leadership and the formation change. The direction in general is clear. At any one time it might not be so.

Our flock is called Medicine. The birds are the patients, the Doctors, the health providers and the pharmaceutical companies.

There is an ever-changing flux. But they same as one flock.

Their aims are but one. A healthy society with healthy individuals. Their secondary goals and limitations are different. But they have more binding them together as a flock than anything else.

But today’s flock is leaderless. There are tensions, a lessening of cohesion. The flock is not really getting to where it wants to go.

Let us look why? Maybe we can find a way to re-instate cohesion.

The patient understands health as an absence of overt illness. When he is not ill he is well. The Doctor understands things a little differently. A person may not be overtly ill and yet not healthy. The pharmaceutical company understands that he has to back the Doctor but is suspected by both as having ulterior motives. So who is to lead? Who can regenerate cohesion?

We have to now discuss two new terms. The first is attrition and the second compliance. Attrition simply means that the patient stopped doing what the Doctor said. Compliance means that he does what the Doctor says but not as he was told. For example e takes his tablets but not every day. Not as often as he should.

Life would be so easy if there was a linear relationship between the words that leave the Doctor’s mouth and the tablets that enter the patients. But there is not.

Why is this so?

Let’s take a look at the Doctor. He hasn’t the the time to explain. He hasn’t the skills of presentation or indeed communication. He even sometimes does not have sufficient knowledge to answer questions. Now for our patient. He is more erudite or at least so he believes. He has to hand many facts. He has not the power to integrate them. If before he was ignorant then now he is confused. It is harder for him to get to his Doctor. He has to pass a myriad of barriers: Automatic answering services, cumbersome switchboards, services that he does not feel intimate with; changing Doctors schedules. For him the medicine has become mechanistic. There is an all pervading feeling of distance if not alienation from his Doctor. When he does get to see him his Doctor is hidden in part at least by a computer terminal screen. His eyes riveted either on the screen or on the key board. His Doctor is no longer the soothing parental figure of the past. He is a harassed bullied technocrat. The Doctor – Patient relationship is not dead. But it is certainly moribund.

As medicine has progressed so has it’s basic goals. In day’s gone by Doctors either prevented death or witnessed it. The patient either died or got well. Today they do nether. Today we are into the age of either preventing illnesses or preventing them from becoming worse.

Now we can see where the difference in expectations about health arise and why it is so important.

The patient has to both avoid attrition and comply to the Doctors instructions.

And this is where the flock is faltering.

The flock as a whole has to realise that there are six stages:

1.      Understanding: A simple but efficient way of explaining to the patient what he can understand.

2.      Knowing: The patient not only understands but accepts fully the explanation.

3.      Applying: Doing as he should but not ‘automatically”.

4.      Using: Doing as he should as part of an accepted routine

5.      Stopping:The inevitable stage. It will always happen in any chronic treatment.

6.      Restarting: Easy to do if there is someone to tell him


In short we need good explanations and good follow up. Ideally this should be the Doctor. Unfortunately we know that he is incapable. He has neither the time or training. The patient as we have stated has not the inclination. So we are left with the health providers and the pharmaceutical companies. Of the two it is the companies who have a true vested incentive to undertake the task. There is but one pitfall. There is a natural suspicion about motives. This suspicion is ill founded but certainly present . It is just as certainly circumvented. Unfortunately it is not enough to state, correctly and succinctly that although drug companies have a vested interest this in no ways diminishes from the need to supply information and follow up.


So what is needed?

1.      A vehicle that promotes understanding and the acquisition of knowledge.

2.      A vehicle that detects drop out. It detects the inevitable stage five and shorten stage six to a minimum.

This vehicle is the Internet.

In order to overcome the hesitancy about the pharmaceutical companies the vehicle should be sponsored by but be autonomous from the Companies.

I am suggesting adding a gosling to the flock.

A gosling sired the pharmaceutical companies.

A gosling that is autonomous.

The gosling will promote compliance and prevent attrition.

The patient and Doctor benefit by the improved health. The health authority benefits by increased efficiency and less recidivism. The companies by increased sales.

A gosling who can cause cohesions and increased well being to the whole flock.

In the fullness of time the gosling can grow. The goslings functionality can increase.

It can facilitate easier contact with the Doctor by anticipating when he should visit to say renew his prescription batch. At a later stage he can anticipate possible problems with possible solutions.

As an example a stressed 35 year old woman receiving anti-depressants can be screened for possible learning dysfunction in her children or maybe an otherwise non-discussed male sexual dysfunction. Suggestions can be made. Appointments may be made.

As the system beds down confidence in it will grow. The Doctor, seeing his patient attaining the results he so desired will openly and gladly cooperate with it.

The flock is short of one member. The gosling as a case worker. As in all case working the case load should deepen and become intricate and complex.

But in every situation the flock as a whole benefits. As in all flocks the increased well being of the flock is represented by the increased well being of each and every individual member of the flock.

Can we migrate to this system?



‘She is a very beautiful lady. I have never really seen her. Just glimpsing the occasional glimpse. I have sent her letters and I  have received answers. Maybe one day I will see her.’

That incredible description was written by a Pharmacologist about receptors.
There was another beautiful lady,  by the name of Barbara. Her boy fried dedicated his Ph. D. thesis with these words  ‘To the beautiful Barbara’.
This how Barbiturates — the first ‘non natural’  sleeping pill came into being.
Judith is a beautiful lady too. She cares about her beauty. So she is worried about being overweight. This article is for her.
Judith knows that I am deaf. But strangely the conversation that invariably I did not hear was when my body spoke to me.
But this ‘self deafness’ is the root cause of being overweight.
Normally your body says to us very clearly that you are hungry and when you ‘have had quite enough thank you’.
But you stopped listening a long time ago. So your body resorts to new strategy. It goes onto an emergency footing. It is as if your body no longer trusts you to look after it in a normal and regular way. In fact your body stopped talking to you. It adopted a new ‘independent strategy’.
And the new strategy is:
* Eat as often as you can. Grab snacks.
* Get on board as much high calorie food as possible.
* Eat as much as you can till you feel full.
Not hard to see why you are putting on weight is it?
How do you start listening and trusting what your body is telling you?.
Well you have a problem with that. Your body has lost faith in you. It is not telling you when it is hungry, really hungry that is.
Your body does not really trust you enough to again abandon it and it’s needs. Your body depended on you for a regular supply of calories. And you let it down.
You have to prove to your body that you are reliable.
You have to prove to your body that you are really listening.
But to do that you have to convince your body to speak to you again.
And that is quite a long process.

You can do it in stages.
* Start eating three regular meals at set times. The adage about breakfast being the most important meal of the day is true.
* Between meals religiously eat a fruit or raw vegetable.
After a while something interesting will happen. You will start feeling hungry. Just before eating you will feel hungry.
Congratulations. Your body is speaking to you. Don’t be too overjoyed. You have not entirely regained its trust. But your body will start telling you something else. It will start telling you when you are satiated. It is a different feeling from that of ‘being full’. At this point your body is prepared to rely on you to give it the calories that it needs at the time it needs them.
But if you want you can encourage your  body to speak. Chew slowly. Sometimes it is not too clear to you if yur body wants to calories or water. At each meal drink water as you eat.
We are almost there.
Now that you are talking to each other you can begin a dialog. But you both must be honest and open.
Don’t fool your body into thinking that it just got sugar by using an artificial sweetener. Be fair. Either use natural sweeteners or don’t use them at all. Sweeteners do not satiate your need for sugar. If you pull a trick on your body, your body will trick you in return. Just by avoiding all sweeteners, included in soft drinks,.
You can now set yourself a realistic diet that you can maintain.
My tip would be this. Never eat potatoes, rice or bread on a weekday. Eat vegetables instead. I won’t go into Glycine Index. Or even how beneficial exercise is.
There you have it, Judith. My letter to a beautiful lady. I hope it gives you all that you want.


Medicine is always looking for the magic bullet. Unfortunately it does not exist. But there are even more dramatic forms of cure. They are prevention and early intervention

No surgical technique has been more successful than having Surgeons wash their hands. The most dramatic medicine of the last century was the virtual eradication of Smallpox and Poliomyelitis. The cessation of smoking, healthy eating and exercise have all helped to prolong life. Quality of life has also improved. Social intervention and rapid intervention have helped enormously in our fight against AIDS.

We have delayed and prevented onset of Diabetes and Hypertension. When they occur they are dealt with rapidly and effectively.

We are screening for cancer of the breast, bowel and pancreas with great success.

Modern medicine knows what causes an illness. Modern medicine can take steps to prevent it.

I t seems that if we act 10 years ‘in front’ we can eliminate or minimise the diseases that the most expensive of medications do not cure effectively.

Can Psychiatry orientate itself similarly? It would seem that Mental-Health has not even changed its approach. We know that over twenty percent of the population will suffer from Anxiety, Panic and Depression. The illness can last a month or more. It will return, on average three times or more times. We know that approximately two percent will have serious debilitating Psychotic disorders. The majority are Schizophrenics. The majority of the Schizophrenics will never return to what they were. They will need support and care for large part of their remaining lives. This is even more distressing as the illness tends to start relatively early in life.

Mental illnesses start earlier than other illnesses. Yet we treat them as we treated Depression and Diabetes twenty years ago. We are waiting for the disease to develop, waiting for the damage to occur and then apply rehabilitation and damage control.

Are there steps that we can take that prevent, delay onset and intervene at an early stage?

It is universally accepted by professionals that the use of addictive drugs including the ‘safe drugs’ can and does precipitate psychosis. There is alarm at that use of Ritalin. All in the profession agree that Ritalin is prescribed far too easily. People are not given Ritalin in accordance with ‘accepted practice’. It would seem that people who have received Ritalin are more liable to later be treated with medication used in psychosis than people who did not receive Ritalin. Strangely the same group, who received Ritalin, receives fewer medications for Depression than those who did not receive Ritalin. We know that children brought up in social stress and with a poor family support system are more prone to mental illness. We know that Schizophrenia has genetic loading. We know hat certain behavior traits in childhood are prone to develop Psychoses. We could make a list of loading factors. We have a pretty good idea who is prone to develop Schizophrenia. We know what the prodromal signs occur before the first Psychotic breakdown. Psychotic breakdowns do not occur overnight. They are festering for weeks before the break. More distressingly we can prevent a Psychotic breakdown if we intervene at the right time. Yet we do nothing.

We know that not everyone will develop Depression or Anxiety. The family Doctor is never surprised when one of his patients does develop theses illnesses. We know how is going to develop the illnesses. He or she is typically of two types. They are either the rigid worrier or the very dependent personality. They have in common a defect. Their Coping Style is inadequate. We can readily and easily correct this defect. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, CBT, can improve coping. CBT is made available Online. Over forty percent of people feel that they want to improve the way that they cope. By doing so they would prevent Depression and Anxiety and improve significantly their quality of life.

It would seem that Mental Health will start to re-align itself with the rest of Medicine. We can reasonably hope that prevention and early intervention will become as important as they are in the other fields of Medicine.


Can we explain Psychosis?
I believe that we can but we must first define certain paradigms.
A conventional definition is ‘A disorder in Reality Testing and Judgment.’
Psychotics are unable to place time and space on a continuum. Places, objects, boundary and time become fractured, jumbled and confused. But what is reality and what is judgment? Both are subjective. They are based on experience. Reality is a linking and amalgamation of a present experience to a previous or accepted event. Judgment monitors the bonding as acceptable or not. Reality testing and judgment are ways of coherently storing and monitoring experience. We are now postulating that the mind is forever increasing its experiences. It does so by adding onto previous experience. To do this the mind must possess a very powerful and accurate filing system. It must be able to recognize the ‘new input’ by categerising it. Then by use of the category it is able to run a quick match. Finally it incorporates the two. The mind has a new or newer experience
In a previous article I described how thinking and thoughts are interrelated. Briefly we postulated thoughts are mere predictions. The one to get closest to correct prediction is kept. In other words thoughts are in competition. Only the fittest survive. Initially thoughts are like buds on a tree. They store a prediction and an emotion. If the thought is maintained it can be the starting point of a new bud. It as if it has become a twig. A twig becomes a branch. Each has its own emotion. Each has its ever present buds competing to survive. This way thinking can be done more quickly. But we are faced with a new problem. How does the sorting process work so quickly? There must be a mapping or registry. I believe that this is a fair assumption. As far as technology is concerned man tends to unconsciously imitate himself. Today information is stored by use of registries that inform where the information is. There is a similar mapping process in the brain. Our brains contain distinct areas which map sensation and muscular activity. They are called homunculi. I propose that the ‘Knowledge Tree ‘that we are all perpetually building is ordered so to maintain spatial, temporal and experiential integrity of experience. We are capable of ‘turning off’ this process. We do so when we daydream or use our imagination. This is an important process that allows us to voluntarily ‘place buds’ in places on the tree that otherwise would not be placed there. But this process is voluntary and can be turned on and off at will.
Using the paradigm ‘Tree of Knowledge’ we can describe and explain psychosis. The psychotic cannot correctly maneuver through different branches and twigs. He gets to the wrong place. He associates the wrong things. He experiences the wrong emotions. He hears or sees that is on the tree not that what he really is hearing or seeing. Often I have heard patients tell me it as if they were dead. They cannot ‘get in touch’ with their inner world or experiences. They are there but as if cut off. The psychosis of misplacement generally passes. In this we see things that were not there before like delusions and hallucinations. We call these the positive symptoms. Unfortunately the loss of contact with the inner world is more lasting and often permanent. We call these negative symptoms.
The phenomenon of ‘loss of responsiveness’ is not unknown. There are at least two illnesses with a similar mechanism. The root cause of diabetes and one cause of thyroid is a basic lack of responsiveness. In both cases there is a compensatory process. The compensatory processes are inefficient and cause symptoms.
Are the positive symptoms a similar unsuccessful compensatory process? Is the basic defect the negative symptoms?


I was playing with Harry. He is my five month old grandson. We were playing ‘ Peepo’.
Peepo is a game where I repeatedly move my head and say ‘peepo’.
At first Harry was baffled.
I moved my head behind and in front of the pram. It took him a few turns to start anticipating where I was going to be.
He got it right and was extremely proud of himself.
So we made the game more complex.
I added the right and left positions as added possibilities.
Harry got those under his belt even faster.
Now what had happened?
Let me make small detour. I’ll tell you when we get back to the point.
I met a very clever guy a few days a go. He described clearly what had being creeping in the shadows of my mind for a long time.
Very simply he said that thinking was a Darwin evolutionary like process.
He meant that the brain produces a lot of thoughts. They are in ‘competition’.
The best thought wins. The best thought is maintained till a new one comes along and beats it.
But how is this done?
He spoke and I pictured a picture. Here is my picture.
Picture the brain as a dynamic tree. Picture an ever growing tree.
Imagine this tree growing filmed in a delayed frame film.
You can see the tree growing can’t you?
Look at just one of the twigs. A bud develops. A series of buds develop. But one becomes stronger and healthier. It grows faster. It becomes a twig. New buds may grow from it. It may become a branch itself. From it develop myriads of new buds. New twigs are formed and so on.
But how is the bud chosen? Which bud wins? How is the twig developed? When does a twig become a branch?
In other words ‘OK I accept competition’ but what are the rewards? Survival of the fittest thought is acceptable. But what is the fittest thought?
Why we are thinking at all?
Thinking is more or less predicting. Some may say that we are predicting what will give pleasure and what will cause pain.
It is our way of seeing into the future.
In Harry’s case he was predicting where I might be.
If buds have no predictive power they are low in the evolutionary order. The higher or more relevant the predictions are the more likely is a twig or branch likely to occur.
Let’s go back to Harry.
Harry did two things. And he got two things. More precisely he got the same thing twice. Harry got to predict where I was. He was happy that he had found me. He was happy that he had got it right. I then moved my head to new places. Then Harry used his experience at predicting when faced with a new situation. He got that right faster than previously. So he was again pleased twice. He was pleased that it was me. He was pleased that he had worked it out.
Harry built a bud. Then he built a twig. Then a new twig branching off from the one he had just built. Harry’s twigs have two elements. The elements are deduction and pleasure. It may have been deduction and avoiding fear.
So far so good.
But I am a Psychiatrist. Unfortunately I look at the process to see where it can and does go wrong. We all know that it does go wrong.
Often we develop buds that are simply on the wrong twig. Twigs are convenient. They give us a quick start. Look how they helped Harry. They make us more efficient. We tackle things almost in ‘automatic pilot’. But we do not always have the ability to see if the bud is on the right twig. Often it is an inappropriate place. It might even be on the wrong branch. But we are not aware.
We are doing ‘as if’. But in reality it is ‘as if something else’. This leads to frustration. This new unexpected experience ‘grows buds’ of its own.
Relocation of twigs and branches is really called Psychotherapy. The original Psychotherapies discovered why and how the twig and branch got to their present position.
Latter day Psychotherapy is based on how to discover where the twig is and relocate buds in a more appropriate place. This is one explanation of CBT [Cognitive Behavioural Therapy]
Computerised CBT enables you to discover traits as you are presented with repeated similar ‘inappropriate placements’.
You can learn more about the theory of theories by reading Piaget. Winnicott is an excellent reference for the role of parenting. This link will explain how CCBT works.
If you want to learn more about Harry, simply drop me a line.
Dr. Michael Benjamin


Cope better.
But how can you?
Make your coping styles more effective.
But how?
The answer is free Online Self-Help CBT.
Let me explain why. My name is Dr. Michael Benjamin. For 38 years I have studied how people cope. As a Psychiatrist I learned how central coping styles are. Let me share what I have learned:

Coping styles are a mixture of experience and personality. By personality I mean the way that we think, feel and behave in given situations.

Are you getting a little edgy? How do I change my personality? Don’t worry you will not.

There is a dyad that we all accept as true. Feelings and thoughts, they interact and effect each other. Feelings and thoughts are the reaction to an event. Very often we have thoughts or basic assumptions which are completely wrong. The assumptions are unchallenged. They generate feelings. These feelings generate thoughts. Vicious circles are in the offing. A reaction to an event becomes prolonged. The reaction outlasts the event. The thought feeling dyad has led you into a mood. The mood makes it harder for you to cope.

Some people are very bad with their basic assumptions. They exaggerate. But by their very nature basic assumptions are unchallenged.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy [CBT] is the way to challenge and change theses assumptions. Online Self-Help CBT is a very effective, easy tool to use. Almost immediately you feel a sense of mastery. You start to cope better. You will rapidly observe traits. Similar, wrong assumptions crop up regularly. You change them individually. Then you will soon see and change traits.

Maybe you wish to exchange experiences. A burden shared is a burden lessened. Online Self-Help CBT allows you to participate on a e-Group designed to do just that.

Dr. Michael Benjamin.


myRay: Free Online Self-Help CBT


We know that thoughts and feelings interact. But how do they do so? Why is it important that we know?
We are thinking all the time in two ways. The first is the obvious one. It is the headlight attention thought. It focuses on the subject that we are paying attention to.

But we are always aware of our surroundings. We have a sort of scan or radar scanning what is going on. It may be something in our vicinity. But it may be a relevant subject. Say we are nearing an exam.

This scanning process defines the importance of the subject that it is scanning. It has three levels of grading. The first is to tell us that the subject is of no significance. It is virtually telling the headlight attention ‘there is no need to refocus.’

 The next level is ‘Well I am not too sure ‘. ‘You can stay focused but I am putting you on standby’. This is object or event is labeled. But how is this done? By marking it with an emotion. So we have one subject in our ‘headlight’ but a feeling can occur. We are unaware of why we are feeling it. Obviously the event in the ‘headlight’ too can evoke an emotion. The event in the ‘headlight’ can evoke subjects associated with it to appear in the ‘scan’.

We are subject to a range of emotions. Many of which we are completely unaware of the source.

Now some people do this labeling process badly. They tend to over emphasize the possibility of something happening. Events are given emotions where they need not be.

We know this person. He is the worrier, the over conscientious, ever ready guy we all know. He is permanently tense. Happiness for him is not being unhappy. Relaxation is the absence of tension. Eventually he may well develop depression or anxiety.

Now  we know the problem can we find a solution?
CBT – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – is that solution. CBT allows us to examine easily the thoughts that were previously ‘hidden’. On doing so they are automatically corrected. More so we can see that very often the same thought and emotion occur. People can rapidly discover traits. They can readily correct theses traits.
Online Self-Help was designed to specifically help correct erroneous traits. 

Dr Michael Benjamin



You want to loose weight.
You feel that handling stress will help.
You are correct.
You can do this simply and effectively. Use myRay the Online Self-Help site
Within no time you will gain a sense of mastery and control.
At this point you must be wondering who is this guy?
My Name is Dr. Michael Benjamin. I am a Psychiatrist. I have learned that coping style is a mixture of of personality and experience.
I know that we can easily change coping styles.
We do this by the changing the relationship between your thoughts and feelings.
You can discover why this important. But mostly you will want to utilise the fact.I have designed free online site to do this.
The site myRay, will help you improve your coping styles
You can readily  regain a sense of mastery bu using
You can readily improve your quality of life by using
myRay is a free Online CBT site.
Use as often as you wish.
With kindest regards.
Dr. Michael Benjamin


I learn from my patients. As we push the myRay, the online CBT site to its maiden voyage I have gained two valuable insights from them.
As good as any explanation can be it must be plausible. It has to be very firmly supported by the trusted Family Doctor. I will deal with the second point in a later blog.
I have described the relationship between Appraisal of an event, (Automatic Thinking), Feelings & Mood. I explained the interaction between Mood, Personality & Automatic Thinking. On using this information we can easily, rapidly and efficiently choose the correct therapeutic intervention.
The concept Automatic Thinking needs clarifying. We notice every event that occurs. The “noticed event “ is categorized according to its importance and significance. We react emotionally to the results of this categorization.
Very often we are completely unaware of this process. This process allows us to both react appropriately and yet not be easily distracted.
 We often are only aware that we have a feeling but not why.
This categorization process is profoundly influenced by Mood & Personality.
What does this mean?  It means that what emotions are not irrational. They are formed and driven by a “submerged “ thought process.
But what if the categorization process is incorrect? We can feel erroneous feelings and react to them without really knowing why. Even worse these feelings will eventually and persistently fuel our mood. In turn mood modifies the categorization process. We can get into a vicious erroneous cycle without knowing why or how to correct it. To compound the problem we are not aware of the error. We act as if the information we are being fed is always correct.
The pure simplicity and beauty of CBT is its ability to examine and find a fast remedy for this process. CBT enables us to raise the process above the water line. It makes it observable. We can review it systematically. Correction then becomes easy.
The free online CBT site myRay offers an added value. By using web technology we can rapidly observe and correct trends. Why is this extremely important? Personality and mood influence the process. One definition of personality is the collection of trends in the way a person acts feels and thinks. Need I say more?


I have spent my 38 years in Psychiatry trying to organize terms that seem obvious. Unfortunately they are not.

There is an ABC of Psychology and Psychiatry. The A is affect or the way that we feel. B is behaviour. C is cognition, the way that we think.

The way that they think and feel determines the way we will behave. The way that we think, feel and behave is called our coping style. Our coping style is an admixture of our personality and life experience.

Let’s discuss thoughts and feelings. Thoughts and feelings are the reaction to an event. The dyad should be limited in time. If the dyad continues after the event has ceased to exist it is now called a mood.

It is common knowledge that thoughts and feeling interact. Nice feelings good thoughts. Bad feelings bad thoughts. We can see the possibility of a vicious circle. In fact this will help us define depression. The circle may become so tight that we do not respond as before to any situation. Our mood has worsened. We are now depressed, anxious or in stress.

Let us make one final distinction. Are we talking about poor quality life? Is there a limitation in functioning? This is important. If we are merely discussing you should be offered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). In my effort to make CBT readily available I built the free Online Sef-Help CBT site myRay [http://www/] to do just that this.

Is there a limitation of functioning? Are you no longer behaving as before? If so then you should be offered medications.

In my next article I will explain how feelings and thoughts interact. This explanation explains why and how CBT works.


Real leadership is about the ability to lead.
You need to know where you want to go and make sure that you are being followed.
One important parameter is forgotten. A leader has to be aware of his team’s ability to follow.Can all your team members do this? Can they follow you?
Leadership is not only about your ability to lead.
It is also about your ability to identify those who can follow.
More importantly to identify those who cannot.
Can all his members cope? Can they function under pressure?
20% of the population is going to develop anxiety or depressive states. This does not happen overnight. Members of this population exhibit ‘poor coping styles’. They are driven, rigid and not happy. They may seem to be conscientious and even an asset. But if you could do something, don’t you think that you should?
What can you do?
I have built a free, non-commercial Online Self-Help site. myRay [] is easy effective and improves quality of life and coping styles.myRay [] is designed for people who are prone to depression and anxiety and yet are still functioning relatively well.
myRay [ ]
can be recommended with discretion and without fear of insulting anyone.
I hope that this is food for thought.
I want to stress that myRay [ ]
is free. The user is free to use it as often and for as long as he wishes.
With kindest regards
Dr. Michael Benjamin


Depression is super sadness.
Based on 35 years of experience there are a few things that I can share with you.
Sadness, like pain is not a ‘bad thing’. It is nature’s way of saying that you are not doing what you find fulfilling.
Sadness is telling you to change or adjust.
You may be chronically sad because your life has no meaning or reward. In our pursuit of happiness we concentrate on the pursuit and not what makes me happy.
There are two reasons that we do not know.
Our internal compass is missing. I cannot explain this better than pointing you to Ecclesiastes. I am not a religious person. But there is no written script that is more apt. Read it slowly and get to the end.
The second reason is our personality. Some of us make a very bad job of responding. We tend to misinterpret and overcompensate. These people are unaware the way that they perceive, think and feel about what is going on around them. They are the worriers, perfectionists, the reliable but disappointed guys that we all know. This innate coping style will lead to depression and anxiety. The dyad of thoughts and feelings can be changed. In fact it can be done easily. We call this process CBT [Cognitive Behavioural Therapy].
I am convinced that CBT should available to all. So I have built three frees sites.
myRay : is a free Online Self-Help site.
MyDoctorExplains: is a free site with audio visual explanations to answer any questions that you may have.
Please use them freely. Ecclesiastes is also free!
Dr. Michael Benjamin


I have been working with Depression for 38 years.

There are two aspects about treating depression. How do we cure it? How do we prevent it?

They are not the same. No matter how we may cure depression this will not prevent depression.

Why is it so important to prevent depression?

Depression reoccurs. People who have the tendency to be depressed suffer from a permanent poor quality of life.

I no longer believe that Medications to be a panacea. They may cure depression. They do not increase quality of life.

But this begs a very serious question. When is someone depressed and not merely very sad? When do we cure? When do we prevent?

As a rule of thumb we can use functioning. If sadness is such that there is an objective limitation of functioning then we should address the problem as ’curing depression’.

If a person is sad but is not suffering a limitation in functioning then we should address the problem as ‘preventing depression’.

VNS, ECT, and Medications cure depression. They do not really prevent it.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, CBT, prevents it.

It really is as simple as that.

If you want a fuller insight into how CBT works, or how CBT can be offered online please refer to my free Online site

If you wish to understand more about: Thoughts, feelings, emotions, moods, depression, what it means, what re your choices and how to choose please refer to my free online site

Both sites, and are non commercial and free.

Use them as often and as long as you so wish.

Dr. Michael Benjamin,



Telemedicine is an accepted and increasingly widely practiced branch of medicine.
It is now accepted practice in Mental Health that many of the aspects of psychotherapy, in particular Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be presented in a format that can be used on a computer. Tests have shown them to be as effective as conventional forms of psychotherapy. “Computerizing” the therapy does not change its effectiveness.

myRay is the pioneer in presenting a program specifically designed for use on the Internet. We have used state-of-the-art techniques for presenting and storing information. We have melded the modern psychotherapeutic techniques with the latest IT technologies.

We have made innovations in the way we use tool tips to define key words and in the way the results are presented with an ability to “drill down” to different levels. The e-Group is also completely new in its conception.

Multi-faceted, interlinking, personalized program

The program consists of the following sections, which have all been rigorously tested and examined by professionals in the field:

  • Daily Habits and Timekeeping
  • We deal with ways of indirectly reducing stress by highlighting healthy habits with reference to eating and exercise. We place great emphasis on the efficient management of time. A few very simple techniques will relieve a lot of the feeling. It occurs at the time of stress.There is a tendency to experience physical discomfort such as muscle pain, headache or stomache ache.It is often harder to cope when tension is felt and it increases the likelihood of developing psychosomatic illness..
  • Relaxation techniques
  • We introduce you to three techniques which will enable you to gain all the benefits of tension and other unpleasant feelings.The methods used here are:-
    • breathing exercise
    • muscle relaxation
    • enhanced relaxation
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • The way that you perceive what you are doing and how you think about it is of great importance. In this section we will instruct you how to identify and rectify the cause of disturbances in your thinking processes. You will rapidly gain the ability to change the way you perceive a situation.
  • Personality traits
  • Often the ways we behave and think are governed by certain personality traits. In some cases these traits can increase the likelihood of our becoming angry, pessimistic or easily disappointed. We will help you discover and rectify these personality.We will pay attention to depressive traits.
    Personality traits influence the way we cope under stress.
    If not, tension is increased and it is possible to enter into a vicious circle.see also:

    • Coping style
    • Coping strategies
  • Experiential aspects
  • The quality of experience can often determine the amount of stress felt. We will focus on two key aspects. These are: the amount of control that you feel you have over an event compared to that which you actually have and the level of desire that you think you have to be in a situation compared to your real desire to be in that situation. They are often misleading and cause cope is being tested.There is a likelihood that an unpleasant feeling may be felt, particularly tension.It can trigger entry into a vicious circle.
  • e-Group
  • We have designed a format and protocol for this form of group therapy. It has been tested on the Internet and found to be of great benefit. You can share either personal or technical problems. We strongly recommend that all our subscribers join an e-Group.

Individualized and customized

The program is customized. You can decide if you wish to read about the subjects in depth. Every section is accompanied by an easy-to-understand explanation of the concepts behind the technique. A video tutorial is also available to guide you in mastering the techniques that the program requires. You will be presented with an individualized course of treatment based entirely on the results of the assessment that you undergo every week.

Ongoing assessment

Assessment is given once a week, although you can initiate a re-assessment if you so wish. However, we recommend only one assessment every seven days. It is perfectly natural for there to be fluctuations in your results and performing an assessment once weekly tends to iron out these anomalies and allows you to get a clearer picture of the real progress you are making.

The assessment allows us to provide you with the course of therapies most likely to help you. Ongoing assessment allows you to chart and monitor your improvement which we store for you. You can readily see where and how you are improving.

Your profile

This comprehensive summary of your sessions with a breakdown of all the previous results in each section is one of the program’s most powerful features. You can see very quickly what is really going on and what still needs to be worked on.

Joining myRay

Enrolment is easy, simply take our 28 question assessment test. If your results indicate that you could benefit then you will be offered the chance to subscribe.


myRay is a modern development of a proven form of psychological treatment called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT has been widely used by psychologists and psychiatrists for many years and has been shown to be particularly helpful in the treatment of anxiety, depression, panic, stress and anger.

Traditionally, CBT has been given on a “one to one” basis between the therapist and the patient but, with the advent of the widespread use of computers, it has been possible for the patient to use a computer program to learn and practice the required techniques.

myRay uniquely takes this one step further and uses an Internet-based suite of modules that teach relaxation techniques, time management and stress reduction.

It invests heavily in teaching the patient the principles and techniques of CBT in an interactive environment. myRay has extended CBT; the program not only deals with the ways in which we appreciate an event, but also the ways in which we tend to behave and experience it too. Its main advantage is that the program monitors your responses and gives you feedback on your progress and responses.As long as you have Internet access you can use the program in any location at any time, to suit your needs and schedule.

The program contains: a glossary of terms, explanation of concepts, video tutorials, feedback scores and charts, breathing and relaxation exercises, instruction in time management and the opportunity to join a confidential e-Group where you can share your experiences and advice with other users. The e-Group, in particular, is a very exciting concept in up to date, Internet-based group therapy.

The key concept of the program is based on your working with real personal experiences to understand how you have traditionally reacted to them, how to modify your reactions, using the techniques learned in the program, so that you will become less troubled, anxious, stressed and depressed about challenging experiences in the future.

myRay has been devised by a Consultant Psychiatrist with over thirty years experience in clinical practice and a team of information technology experts. It has been thoroughly tested. The basic concept has been evaluated and published in internationally renowned professional journals where it has been shown to be very effective.

Enrolment is easy; simply take our 28 question assessment test. If your results indicate that you could benefit, then you will be offered the chance to subscribe



Emotional distress is unlike any other complaint because the sufferer diagnoses it.

There are two modes of treatment: medication and psychotherapy. A large proportion of sufferers need psychotherapy. The demand for treatment is vast. Because of a shortage of suitably qualified therapists, most sufferers receive medication.

Where medication is used, it is associated with side effects and compliance is low. This causes poor client satisfaction and a renewed search for a better solution. New medications are constantly being introduced at ever increasing costs. Psychotherapy has developed popular therapies that are educational in nature.

The widely used Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been computerized and found to be as effective as any other therapy in present use. It is now possible to mesh the psychotherapies that are educational in nature with the advances made in e-Learning. (Presentation, Immediacy, Openness, Interactivity, Data Storage, Tracking and Security) This white paper lays down the blueprint for e-Psychotherapy. The specifications cover:

  • Professional acceptability
  • User friendliness
  • Personalization
  • Client safety
  • Data security
  • Data management

e-Psychotherapy has the following advantages:

  • Efficiency
  • Reliability
  • Convenience
  • Intimacy
  • Medication free
  • Analysis of results

e-Psychotherapy, by being non labor intensive, can greatly reduce the cost of delivery. e-Psychotherapy will probably change the use of medication, leading to savings in the costs of therapy.

Read the full article.

The file is in PDF format and you will need Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader application to view it. You can download this from Adobe.

Have a friend or colleague that may be interested in this article? Why not tell them