Being a successful musician is a lot like being a trauma room physician. You need to collaborate harmoniously with others, practice a lot and perform expertly in real time.
One might think that performing on some of the world’s largest stages and at high-profile venues like the White House is nothing like working in a tight space in a hospital emergency room. One involves art, the other science; one happens in public, the other behind closed doors; one appears beautiful and clean, the other can be messy and bloody. But the two actually have a lot in common.
Dr. Tal Patalon, the head of Kahn Sagol Maccabi (KSM), the Research and Innovation Center of the Israeli HMO Maccabi Healthcare Services, highlighted this when she hosted Grammy Award-winning violinist, producer and UN Goodwill Ambassador of Music Miri Ben-Ari on her podcast, “A Matter of Life and Death.”
“It is as though I am meditating on the highest frequency when I am in front of a live audience,” Ben-Ari said. “It is like an out-of-body experience.”
Patalon, an active clinician specializing in family and emergency medicine, said, “The same thing happens to me when a patient comes in. Every decision is one of life and death. You have to be in the moment. You have to give your everything to perform at your max.”
Musical trendsetter Ben-Ari has brought the violin to the fore in commercial pop music, collaborating with artists including John Legend, Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson and Jay Z.
The unusual and popular podcast — now in its third season, but the first in English — is an opportunity for Patalon to talk with thought leaders from a wide variety of backgrounds and fields, including medicine, academia, technology and the corporate world, and she brings to listeners unusual conversations that wind their way from the esoteric to the profound. Recent guests on the program have included astrophysicist Avi Loeb, former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, and psychologist and happiness expert Tal Ben-Shahar.
KSM has unique access to Maccabi’s professional medical data and conducts medical research, helping scientists, tech companies and entrepreneurs through various partnerships; uses a unique cloud-based platform that relies in part on AI technology; operates a bio-bank with over 1 million biological samples that assist companies in genetic sequencing and genetic research; and supports a range of other big data and clinical research projects.
Patalon thinks broadly, seeking inspiration from all corners.
Born in Tel Aviv, violinist Ben-Ari, 44, grew up playing classical music and at one point studied under the legendary Israeli violinist Isaac Stern.
“But something switched for me when I heard a recording of Charlie Parker,” Ben-Ari said. “He wasn’t playing the saxophone; he was talking to it. I wanted to do that with the violin. So I studied jazz in the United States and played with the best.”
Ben-Ari, who remained in the United States and lives in New Jersey, felt she was finally in her zone. “Now I could do me. I could integrate, harmonize and collaborate,” she said.
Over the past two years, Ben-Ari has branched out even further by working with African artists such as Nigerian producer Young D and Tanzanian superstar Diamond Platumz, who plays bongo flava — a melange of American hip hop and traditional Tanzanian styles.
“It’s been fascinating working with African artists,” Ben-Ari said. “Africa is so close to Israel, so it was natural for me to go in this direction. The music is different in each country, and in each region of the continent.”
Patalon asked Ben-Ari on her podcast what it has been like to move from classical music training to experimentation with so many genres.
“I actually gave a TED talk about how to take a skill from one place to another,” Ben-Ari said. “You first have to have a firm foundation, then you can let your imagination take over and think outside the box.”
But it’s not easy, she said. “You find your own individual way of expression. It takes a lot of chutzpah, drive, persistence, dedication and bravery to keep continuing when you get a lot of no’s along the way.”
According to Patalon, the process bears some similarities to medicine. Just as Ben-Ari had to have years of classical training behind her to be able to innovate as she does, trauma care doctors need to have their basics intact before trying new approaches, Patalon said. One can only innovate on top of a deep foundation of expertise, experience and competence.
“It’s more than just knowing the basics. You need to be able to do them as an automatic response behavior. I need to know how to resuscitate a patient with my eyes closed and one hand tied behind my back,” she said. “We have to be experts.”
At the end of every podcast episode, Patalon asks her guest whether they think about death and how they would like to be remembered.
Ben-Ari said that the prospect of death doesn’t regularly occupy her: “I am busy with life, and I don’t think about what will happen after I die.”
When Patalon asked Ben-Ari what she would like the epitaph on her gravestone to say, she said she didn’t want an actual place of burial.
“I don’t believe in graves,” Ben Ari said. “I want to be an NFT or something technological like that. I would want there to be one private one just for my child, and a different version for my fans.”
Patalon suggested that she wasn’t surprised that Ben-Ari doesn’t think much about death, noting how common it is for people to fear death because they fear pain and losing relationships with loved ones — and are afraid of the unknown.
In the last episode of her popular podcast, Patalon offers some intriguing insights into the future of medical treatment: how technology will help predict a person’s medical future, how therapies can be tailored to the individual’s level, and the ethical questions that arise from these advances.
Ultimately, Patalon concludes, our well-being will be determined by what we do outside medical establishments: “I hope that we will all learn how to take the time to introspect, to develop relationships that are meaningful, because at the end of the day that’s what really keeps us happy.”
To listen to this episode and others from Season 3, visit ksminnovation.com/podcast.
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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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