Post 104: Designing products for the disabled, Eating Healthy Affordably

Designing products for the disabled.  Israel’s Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM) held a 3-day make-a-thon – a unique marathon in Tel Aviv, geared to producing affordable and cutting-edge products that will significantly improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

– This system allows people who are paralyzed from the neck down to turn pages in a book. (ZOA Productions)

This system allows people who are paralyzed from the neck down to turn pages in a book. (ZOA Productions)

For three days in Tel Aviv, a group of innovators and makers recently took part in a unique marathon geared to producing affordable and cutting-edge products that will significantly improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

The TOM:TLV make-a-thon brought together technologists, designers, therapists, and people with disabilities  who developed ideas and products that address the challenges of people living with disabilities, their family members, and health-care professionals.

Participants had access to 3D printers, laser-cutting machines, and CNC machines (computer-operated milling devices). They built models and prototypes of aids for people with disabilities that organizers intend to develop for widespread use in the near future.

These unusual crutches allow people to simultaneously use cellphones while also relieving shoulder pressure. (Photo credit: ZOA Productions)

TOM (Tikkun Olam Makers), an initiative of the Reut Institute and ROI Community, is a movement of makers, technology developers, and innovators who seek to solve unmet social challenges in disadvantaged communities and nations, fulfilling the traditional Jewish value of Tikkun Olam – repairing the world.

The Ruderman Family Foundation, who is spearheading innovative efforts to include people with disabilities throughout the global Jewish community, joined TOM:TLV as a strategic partner, with the hope of producing affordable and cutting-edge products that will significantly improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

The most recent event focused on product development teams to help people with disabilities be more independent and get more involved in their communities.

This prototype turns physical therapy into a game, allowing users to play while making significant progress in their rehabilitation. (ZOA Productions)

8 Tips on Ways You Can Eat Healthy for Less Money from Fertility Diet Tips

1. Buy in Bulk-Join the various “Schoonatis” around Jerusalem-at no fee. Go to: Post 21: Israel Food buying Co-op: Get ready for a Balagan for details

The key to saving money on organic food purchases is to buy in bulk. If   you can find a purveyor of staples and frozen items that’s the best way to go. Suppliers are willing to work with you for cash up front. Our family works with two sources and restock every month or two. Delivery is not always included.

Purchasing food from bulk bins eliminates the cost of fancy, glamorous packaging and waste from that packaging. Dried fruits, nuts, seeds, seed and nut butters, honey, grains, beans, granola, and tea are available from bulk bins, or available in larger packages if a bulk bin retailer isn’t available in your area. Purchasing rice and dried beans in one and two pound bags is less expensive in the long run than purchasing canned beans and prepared rice side dishes in boxes (there’s also less packaging, less sodium, fewer preservatives and less processing involved).

Should your local grocery store not have a bulk aisle, there may be a membership-only warehouse food buying club in your area. These often carry a variety of fresh and pre-packaged food items, with many organic options. This option may not be ideal for those of you also looking to cut out excessive packaging, but does allow for you to buy more, for less. This means less trips to the grocery store, more food in your fridge and pantry and more money in your pocketbook.

The not-for-profit Center for the Study of Services conducted the Consumers’ Checkbook survey that found that Sam’s Club prices were on average 33% lower, BJ’s prices were on average 29% lower and Costco’s prices on average 30% lower, than the largest supermarket chains.

Another option is to join an organic food-buying club. If you live in a city, you may be able to find a local one. If not, I know you can find some online organic buying clubs where purchases are all done on a website and then they ship directly to you.

Food-buying clubs also create the opportunity for families to coordinate shopping trips, go in on larger purchases (think rice, beans, oats, apples, onions), share membership fees and shop together.

2. Choose Minimally Processed Foods

Foods that are handled less are often cheaper. Are you thinking, “what?” Bare with me… If the food item you choose has been broken down in a way to create ease of preparation, the cost will be more. The best example is chicken. A whole fryer chicken (skin, bones and often giblets) for sale costs less than prepackaged boneless, skinless chicken breasts. In my local grocery store a whole cage-free chicken can cost as little as $5.99/lb., but a package of two or three chicken breasts of the same brand costs $6.99/lb. Purchasing an entire chicken may also provide meat for several meals versus just one.

3. Eat Seasonally and Locally

Farm to Table

Most areas of the world experience at least two different seasons, some of us experience four each year. Different plants flourish and produce more fruits and vegetables in different seasons. Fruits and vegetables are less expensive in the seasons in which they are grown. I often think of blueberries. Where I live, in the Spring blueberries can often be purchased by the carton for anywhere from .$98 to $1.99 a pound and prices quickly spike to $3.99 to $4.99 a pound in the late Fall and Winter when they aren’t growing here or anywhere near here.

Late in the summer a local CSA, Community Supported Agriculture farm, had an overabundance of peppers and if we are willing to drive to the farm, peppers could be purchased three for $1.00… locally and organically-grown, vibrant, large peppers for cheap.

Do some research on local organic farms in your area and see how you can keep in touch with them, so you know which foods are in season and when. There is great satisfaction in knowing where your food is coming from, and it will contain more nutritional value. Why? This is because fresh local produce, doesn’t have to be shipped cross-country, which means there is less time for nutrient loss.

5. Compare and Save – Clip Coupons and Sale Shop

I have joined two local heath food chains. The charge was minimal and I watch for their sales. Many grocery stores and markets have their own brand of organic and health food. Take time to learn if your favorite food retailer has it’s own brand, connect with the establishment on social media or sign up for eNewsletters too. This is often how stores promote products and offer coupons.

Another way to save is to stock up when there is a sale, especially on items consumed regularly.

6. Barter

Do you have a talent to share with others or enjoy a particular activity you might offer doing for someone in return for the food they grow? I have a dear friend whose mother is a large-scale gardener. They both in exchange for my herbal knowledge and the occasional herbal remedy will share produce or preserved goods.

7. Grow Your Own Food-Join a Pot Luck group like Macrolovers Jerusalem for ideas.Start a roof garden

Fertility Diet Tip - Grown Your Own FoodPlease read on because you don’t need acreage, or to be a farmer to grow your own food. There are a variety of ways to grow food. I know not everyone has land to till and sow. In fact, not everyone who will read this even has a yard. So, consider the following ways to grow your own food and  the people that you will  meet in the process of putting a roof garden together.  Accomplishing the job chik-chock (quickly), some might say would entail one stop at the  nursery choosing some annual plants, some shade loving plants,  and bags of earth. Of course raised up pots and  drip irrigation from our apartment on a pump and timer would be in place . That activity would throw some sheckels into the economy.

But, running the water seems costly in the long run and risky because we are not always here. And the piping would have to extend over 4 flights outside the window. And trial and error would have been my dad’s way to go.  The conditions are harsh six flights up. the heat and the wind are permanent factors. The need to have a pretty space was not vital. That would be later down the line.

My roof garden started  a few years ago. Friends contributed cuttings. Others shared their composting worms. I have moved the composting bin indoors to my machsan (storeroom). The weather on the roof is too harsh in the summers and winters.

Several weeks ago I came across eight wooden flats. They were standing outside the art store on the corner. They looked perfect for a base for planters.

Many of you are familiar with composting.  Simply put, composting turns green scraps from vegetables into compost,  which helps plants thrive. Compost also holds water and releases it slowly. Water consumption is taken very seriously in Israel.


  • Plant a garden – till and sow seeds in a part of your yard you are sick of mowing or that is unused, or build raised bed gardens in this space. Another option is container gardening on a deck or patio.
  • Grow Indoors – window sills are sufficient for growing herbs and microgreens which are small leaved greens that researchers are learning have nearly four to six times the nutrient levels of the mature leaves from the same plant. Some examples of microgreens are spinach, pea shoots, beets or purple mustard greens, daikon radish, arugula, cilantro, and even basil. Many of these plants just spring out of my compost.
  • Rent a community garden plot – plots of land are popping up in even the smallest towns around the US and being designated to gardening. They are available in Jerusalem at the Nature Museum in the German Colony. These spaces also encourage community around growing ones food.

Before you begin, do a little research into what grows well in your area (hardiness zone), soil types best for the veggies, herbs and fruits you are interested in growing and what levels of light are best based on which direction your windows and garden plots face. This will help you to grow your own produce more successfully.

8. Slowly Transition to Organic

If you can’t purchase organic everything, here are a few tips to start making the transition from conventional to organic:

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Focus on the dirty dozen. It is believed that produce with skins that can be removed are less likely to pass harmful pesticides and herbicide residueonto those who consume them. According to the Environmental Working Group the top 12 foods most commonly grown with pesticides and tend to have pesticide residue on them, or within them are apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, nectarines – imported, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes.
  • Meat & Dairygrass-fed, hormone-free, or organic meat and dairy options are best. Choose lean meat options and high-fat dairy. Eggs should be cage-free.
  • Focus on eating foods that pack a healthy punch like avocado, beans, flax seeds, kale, swiss chard, beets, celery and arugula. Each of these provide a variety of fertility health benefits, from healthy fats and nutrients, vitamins and minerals, to enzymes and fiber.

It is important to know that it is perfectly okay to start transitioning your diet by taking baby steps, starting small. It wasn’t an overnight transition for myself and my family and still isn’t complete. I now have jars of grains, beans, nuts and dried fruits on my pantry shelves and don’t have to purchase these staples nearly as often, allowing me to be able to put my food dollars toward organic food items more often. We recently were able to purchase a quarter of a grass-fed cow to stock our freezer.

Eating healthy is a way of LIFE. Sure, it can take a bit of leg work at first, but the health benefits are worth it.


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