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Spiritual Muscle For The New Year: A Body And Soul Workout

Spiritual Muscle For The New Year: A Body And Soul Workout

Diane Cole, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Week, is the author of the memoir “After Great Pain: A New Life Emerges” and writes for The Wall Street Journal, NPR online and other publications.


It’s January, the perfect time to combine virtues both spiritual and physical by renewing your membership to the synagogue as well as to the gym. Doing so will result in a remarkable synergy — especially if you don’t just resolve to, but actually participate in, the services offered by both.

Our Revolutionary Spirituality Through Strength Training Program* (*patent pending) is available year-round, but honestly, if not now, when? Hillel himself would have tweeted this very question were he alive today.

For your own sake (if not God’s), come in from the January cold for some communal warmth. Believe me (just ask your mother!), body and soul alike will thank you.

At the gym, try warm-up sets on a weight-training bench or a seat-warming spin class. At shul, get your heart rate going as you daven with fellow congregants (and remember, the bigger the minyan — not to mention the stronger your diaphragm muscles — the more heat and heft to the singing! Your niggunim will rock the heavens!) Tip: For maximum benefit, power-walk to shul and feel the endorphins rush in from multiple sources.

And that’s not all you’ll get from our Revolutionary Spirituality Through Strength Training Program! Try our exclusive (patent-pending) Body/Soul Enhancement Routines adaptable for any level of practice:

The Standing On One Leg Special: Two Jews, three opinions — and all too often the winner is the last person** (**our Revolutionary Spirituality Through Strength Training Program is absolutely egalitarian, gender-neutral and applicable to all religious streams) standing.

Yes, in addition to The Sandwich, Hillel also inspired the Single Leg Dumbbell Press. Balance on one leg, pointing one foot straight in front of you, knees slightly bent. Hold the dumbbell in one hand at shoulder height, fully extend arm upward, return to start position; repeat 5-10 times; switch sides and do the same. Variation without dumbbell: point forefinger upwards to invoke a higher power. Side benefit: improves physical (if not other types of) balance for disputants. Warning: Increased ability to stand longer than usual on one foot could lead to wordier than desired explanations.

The Aleynu Squat: How deep can you go on bended knees? A traditional move easily confused with what trainers call a full-body squat.

Kiddushah Toe Lifts: Welcomed by all whose legs have fallen asleep from sitting too long, rising up and down on the balls of your feet keeps you in step with the service while also strengthening toes and arches. Extra benefit for runners who would rather be outside on the track than inside at shul: they double as preventive therapy to avoid shin splints.

And if that’s not enough … Our Revolutionary Spirituality Through Strength Training Program has just introduced our Hagbah Deep Knee Bends Technique* (*patent pending) for lifting even the heaviest Torah scroll. Never fear dropping one in front of the entire congregation again!

Remember that Maimonides the sage was also a practicing physician. That’s why we urge you to imagine him reading Talmud on the treadmill in a selfie gone viral. Let Spirituality Through Strength inspire you today!

Diane Cole is the author of the memoir “After Great Pain: A New Life Emerges” and writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal, among other publications.

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