Avoiding headaches over Yom Kippur, Jerusalem-style.

Ok, coolest thing ever.

It’s not the fact that there might be a way to prevent headaches over fast days; I’m not much of a headache-sufferer myself.

It’s the fact that Shaare Tzedek – the Jerusalem hospital that is conducting the study – totally started it and framed it in a way trying to ease fasting headaches so people can enjoy Yom Kippur for what it’s meant to be, a holy day of reflection and angelic experience rather than a torture chamber of hunger and headaches.

Here’s some info about the study; I emailed them at ykheadache@gmail.com and got this message right after:

Thank you for your interest in the the Yom Kippur Headache Study.

Please make sure that you have emailed us a phone number where you can be reached, so that we may contact regarding the Study.  You may contact us at any time at 054 627 2867.

The following is an overview of the study which should answer any of your questions, and help you decide if you would like to participate.

The intention of the study is to test whether taking a pill before a prolonged Fast will decrease the incidence of Headache during the fast, and to test whether it will decrease the incidence of people breaking their fast.  The drug being tested is in common clinical use for pain control and is not an experimental drug.   If the drug is found to be effective in preventing Headaches during a Fast, we stand to ease the fasts of Headache Sufferers.

Who is eligible for the study?

People who are generally healthy, are between the ages of 18-65, and usually suffer from headaches when fasting are eligible.

How will the Study be Performed?

Study Participants will be divided into two groups.

A. One group will take the study drug when eating their Seudah Mafseket.
B. One group will take a placebo drug (“sugar pill”) when eating their Seudah Mafseket.

We intend to investigate the incidence of Headaches in the two groups during the fast.

When will the pill be taken?

The pill will be taken a short time before the fast, which lasts 25 hours.  After the fast, each participant will fill out a questionnaire about their fast.

How do I stand to benefit?

We anticipate an easier fast for a significant portion of participants. The pill being studied is not inexpensive, and we will be providing it, obviously, free of charge.

Are their any risks involved?

We do not anticipate any significant risks from taking one dose of the drug.  There is, as with any drug, a possibility of an allergic reaction.  Extremely rare complications of gastrointestinal Bleed, Renal, and Liver Problems have been reported.

Could there be any side effects?

Abdominal Pain, Dizziness, and Diarrhea have been reported as side effects of this medicine, although rare when taking one dose of this medicine.

How do I volunteer for the Study?

Please email us your phone number, and we will contact you. Signing up for the study will only take you a few minutes.

Here’s an article from the Jpost reporting the study details.


Here’s how you know you’ve developed as a student over years of Israeli grad school:

First semester of Israeli grad school, three long years ago, you were told to write an end-of-term paper using the proper guidelines of the university’s thesis policy. You scrambled to find it after being told it was ‘somewhere on the website.’

After hours of searching through the terribly laid-out university website, you find the downloadable pamphlet, print out all 42 pages, staple it, and then begin to panic. Obviously it’s a Hebrew document. But it’s so official. So wordy. So haughty.

You sit and struggle and manage to pick up whatever little pieces you deem most important and leave the rest behind; you’ll worry about it later when you really need it for the end-of-degree project paper.

And now, three years later, you’ve come dangerously close to the deadline of the last project you’ll have to do in this degree. You’ve got 40-60 pages to write, and somehow have to squeeze that in between work and the holidays before the back-to-school date. You’re not too bothered by it though and the time has come to start.

You dig out that old paper-writing manual and brush it off. You flip through the three-year-old pages and scan for details. Suddenly, there’s so much more to learn here. When to use quotes, when to skip lines. When to spell out terminology in English instead of transliterating in Hebrew (though, that’s not your problem).

This pamphlet of guidelines is quite pleasant at this point, like an old friend who you’ve been weary of but have now learned they like to bake cookies. The 42 pages that seemed scary before seem like just enough. You settle into your chair and begin.


On second thought, that’s not developing as a student over years of Israeli grad school; it’s actually more like being the student you’ve always been, but developing as the speaker of a second language, making it your own through pamphlets, thick and thin.

Weather or not.

Last week the weather in Israel freaked out and it gave us (what seems like premature) rain, wind, chills, head colds… Well, premature in my opinion because it hasn’t been Succot yet and that’s when it’s supposed to happen in my head.

Now we’re a little obsessed with knowing what the next day will bring, since the new season has officially started. Since May, Israelis don’t have to think about it since the forecast is exactly the same every single day: hot, sunny, hot, sunny, hot, sunny. Makes for a more relaxed wedding season.

We’ve been mainly using IsraelWeather.co.il. For the most part, it tells you like it is. Until you try and use the icons they have for different weather scenarios…

Thundery stroms! You better watch out; that yellow stripe in the middle of outer space looks like it wants to get freaky with your outdoor pool.

The Rain Showers seem pretty tame; there’s no actual rain in sight.

Sleet actually doesn’t seem that bad; kind of like a drizzle of Heavy Snow.

Wouldn’t it be fun to just be walking down the street and see Windy gusting around you…

I’d watch out for the Heavy Rain, though – if you happen to be standing in that one spot where the rain comes down directly from the one cloud, you are – heavily – screwed.

And that Clear and Hot sun – wow. Who needs rose-colored glasses?

Local Rain can’t be that bad; it’s a burnt sunny-side up egg. Once in a while, you just have to deal with it, you know? (And what is the difference between Local Rain and Partly Cloudy?)

Personally, I’m hoping for High Cloud this week.