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‘Fiddler on the Roof’ – What traditions are we passing down? By Devorah Kur

Posted by on Jul 27, 2020 in Meaning | 0 comments

‘Fiddler on the Roof’ – What traditions are we passing down? By Devorah Kur

This article was recently published in The Jerusalem Post. I grew up hearing my father singing the songs from Fiddler on the Roof with such gusto; so on the occasion of his 22nd yartzeit, I was in New York (last year when we could still travel,) and went to see Fiddler, in Yiddish! I was a bit worried about the Yiddish, but was pleasantly surprised to see that while the English subtitles were a huge help, I have a large vocabulary of Yiddish words and sayings. Wow, what a show! It was like my childhood came to life. Seeing Tevye as the dedicated family and community man was very nostalgic for me. My dad was so much like Tevye! Tevye This time I watched with different eyes, more mature, not little “Mammela” anymore, but a grown woman with grown-up children. The story is actually quite tragic and has deeper meaning and ramifications for how we continue our rich Jewish tradition and religion. One of the highlights is the opening song of “Tradition.” I can see in my mind’s eye how my father would shake his forefinger, singing, “Tradition… Tradition!” any time a situation arose that veered off the path a bit. When the song was sung in the show it got me thinking deeper as to how exactly we have survived as the Jewish people. What is the secret? It is said that Napoleon, upon seeing the Jews crying about the destruction of their temples on Tisha Be’av, exclaimed, “A nation that can mourn for so long the loss of its land and temple will return one day to see it rebuilt.” How is it possible that we have survived for thousands of years in spite of every imaginable persecution? No matter where we have been exiled to, we have clung to the continuation of our past through the rich culture and nuances of our tradition. Furthermore, Tevye demonstrates a connection with God as a way to maintain tradition. Throughout the show he is always quoting “The Good Book” and is constantly in dialogue with God. He explains that God’s laws keep the lives of the people in balance, and if they didn’t have their traditions, their lives would be “as shaky as a fiddler on the roof.” This deepened my understanding of how we have survived; it is through commitment to our heritage. When we were threatened with death and annihilation, we chose to enmesh ourselves in our laws. Two important traditions that have ensured our survival are that of marriage and Shabbat. Enters Yenta, the dedicated matchmaker, a feisty nagging old lady who never lets up! I feel there is a piece of her in each of us as it doesn’t matter what our religious level is, we have a strong pull to set people up, almost as if it is part of our DNA. Judaism’s deeper idea behind marriage is not just physical love and commitment, but the spiritual union of two souls. The traditional aspects of the ceremony which have been performed for thousands of years weaves something from past generations into this new couple and they, in turn, form a link with the past for future generations. Watching the play, I felt sad to see that as each of Tevye’s daughters married, this concept...

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Published in the Jerusalem Post “In Jerusalem” Section – Shvat: The month of self-nurture

Posted by on Feb 9, 2020 in Mental Imagery, Wellness | Comments Off on Published in the Jerusalem Post “In Jerusalem” Section – Shvat: The month of self-nurture

Published in the Jerusalem Post “In Jerusalem” Section – Shvat: The month of self-nurture

At this time of year, the nights are still longer than the days, but we have turned the corner on this. The darkness that prevails at night is beginning to lessen. Every month brings a spiritual energy with it. Two key themes empowered by Shvat are 1) nurturing and 2) igniting our potential and realizing it. First let’s look at nurturing. At this time of year, the nights are still longer than the days, but we have turned the corner on this. The darkness that prevails at night is beginning to lessen. “Darkness” is often compared to dark times in our lives or when things are not going according to plan for us. This could be on a personal or national level. Shvat is the month that brings us out of the darkness. The zodiac sign for the month for Shvat is Aquarius. The symbol for Aquarius is the water carrier, who transports water in the simplest way possible: using an empty vessel. When there are no pipes bringing water, we resort to the old-fashioned bucket to transport it. Today we are the “bucket” in our daily activities in the way we give of ourselves to others. The problem that arises regardless of the age or stage of life we are at is that we are primarily givers. Beyond to our spouse, partners, siblings, parents, grandchildren and friends, we give of ourselves to our school, community, organizations or shuls. IT is a beautiful thing to be a giver, but it is important to understand that when the bucket is empty, it needs to be refilled. We can’t keep pushing ourselves without replenishing. We need to find the balance here and know that it is essential to fill ourselves up, as well. You wouldn’t drive your car on empty, telling it, “Please just 10 more kilometers and then I will stop to fill up!” Yet, we do that constantly to ourselves. Eventually, we will be running on empty and be too depleted to give anymore if we don’t find the balance. Many people feel uncomfortable in a “give-and-take” relationship. I prefer to call it a “give-and-receive” relationship. “Receiving” has a different energy than “taking.” For me, receiving (whether from self or others) is actually a beautiful, beneficial and nurturing act of giving as well. I enjoy helping people find this nurturing place and space of inner well-being, where life is something that nurtures them, where they are enjoying and actively participating in it. With Tu Bishvat coming up, the Mishna tells us that the sap begins to rise in the trees for new fruit to grow. Fruit is not really part of our staple diet, but it enhances our tastes and gives us pleasure. So, the message of fruit is that the journey is meant to be joyous as well. God has provided fruit for us, which is a message that life is not supposed to be just lived and survived; we are supposed to enjoy the ride and take pleasure in the gifts He has given us. We need to identify what the “fruit” in our lives is, what adds to or enhances our existence, and how we can start “bearing fruit” today. The Torah tells us (Deuteronomy 20:19) that humans are like the trees. We grow up out...

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Published: ‘Telfed Magazine’ “What’s attitude got to do with stress & challenge?”

Posted by on Dec 2, 2019 in Logotherapy, Wellness | Comments Off on Published: ‘Telfed Magazine’ “What’s attitude got to do with stress & challenge?”

Published: ‘Telfed Magazine’  “What’s attitude got to do with stress & challenge?”

What determines whether tough times turn out to be beneficial or whether good times will make us miserable?

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Published in the Jerusalem Post magazine: “What’s the difference between being ‘healed’ and being ‘cured’?”

Posted by on Nov 16, 2019 in Wellness | Comments Off on Published in the Jerusalem Post magazine: “What’s the difference between being ‘healed’ and being ‘cured’?”

Published in the Jerusalem   Post magazine:              “What’s the difference between being ‘healed’ and being ‘cured’?”

When I was 25, my father was diagnosed with end-stage colon cancer. His diagnosis pulled the carpet out from under me, and changed the course of my life. He was only 54 at the time, and by 55 he died! He was given a book by Dr. Bernie Siegel, Love, Medicine and Miracles; in my spare time I devoured this book, hoping to find a way to help my dad. It was a phenomenal read, and I couldn’t believe that a doctor was writing this way. He believes in empowering patients to be active participants in their healing journey. Siegel says, “It’s not about curing the disease, but healing the life; then the physical benefits come.” This was my burning question, “Was everything up to doctors, or does the patient play a role?” His book delivered a resounding YES, but not from the medical perspective that I was expecting. He spoke about life, relationships, love, nutrition, dreams, intuition, being passionate and authentic, and about feelings! This was revolutionary. He says, “Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.” I was strongly pulled by these ideas about healing that I eventually changed careers to accompany people on their own healing journeys. The etymology of the words “healing” and “health” are linguistically related to “whole” and “holy” – a “restoration of wholeness, becoming whole.” The word “cure” means “restoration to health – eliminating all evidence of disease.” Siegel speaks about illness coming to an “address.” The “address” being the patient as he is today, not just the physical body; but mind, body and soul all combined together. When we are able to change the “address,” then the illness is in the wrong place and can leave. We have to look at the WHOLE person to come to a place of healing. Lissa Rankin, M.D., says, “You can cure without healing, and you can heal without curing. In medical school and residency, most of our training focused on curing. Very little attention was focused on healing. You might heal a fracture or heal a gaping surgical wound. But healing a person? Nah.” It’s important to note that the goal of life is not to live forever. The greatest of human beings have not achieved this, like Moses, Mandela and Gandhi. The goal of life is to fill our years with life and not to just fill our lives with years. From this perspective, it helped me to understand that even although my father was only given 55 years, by the time he died, he had come to a place of his own “healing” and acceptance of the time he was given and what he had been privileged to achieve in that time. Cures are only effective if healing takes place on a deeper level. This is the partnership between doctors and patients. The role of the patient is to look deeper into his/her life. The symptom or the disease is just a bodily “wake-up call” that something internally (mental, emotional or spiritual) needs to be addressed. I call this “unfinished business.” Everybody has challenges in life. Nobody lives in Disneyland. It doesn’t matter what race, religion, sex...

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Make today meaningful

Posted by on Sep 23, 2019 in Wellness | Comments Off on Make today meaningful

Make today meaningful

Today is my birthday. Last night before I went to sleep I decided that I would make full use of every moment of my day. I would feel each blessing of the gift of life and another year. Reflecting back on my day, this is what I learned and what I would love to share with you. I woke up at 6:30am to meditate. This is something that brings me joy and I thought back to the years when I was a kid when waking up on your birthday was filled with exhilaration. I connected to this feeling and welcomed it into my day (even if I was turning 48 and not 8.) Sometimes we do things by rote because we do the things we do, but this time I first connected to the joy that meditation brings me and how lucky I feel to have found this inner peace with which to start my day off on; before anyone was awake. Time for me. And me time! Even although breathing is not something we choose to do, when we actually notice it, it is a magnificent gift; every breath is life granted again and then again. Off to the gym, where I am so grateful for the strength of my body to be able to keep me fit. Last year on my birthday I could not do a head stand, and this year I can. I feel wonderful about this as it has shown me how dedication and commitment to something brings rewards. This has been a life lesson for me. I never thought it was possible. Then I took some moments to pray under a beautiful oak tree whose leaves spread out in every direction. The shade is such a blessing in this heat, and the greenery brings me joy. I heard a concept recently that I thought about as I prayed. “Imagine if you woke up tomorrow with only that which you thanked for yesterday.” Wow. Gratitude for every limb, bodily function and blessings that I have been gifted with, and everything that I need, I already have. What a way to start off the day. Next up, a fun ladies pool party & green juice! A power zing of ginger (lots of it), carrot, cucumber & celery. For those of you who know me, you might be wondering where cheesecake is fitting in, but that’s later on… Came home to enjoy my 1000 piece puzzle of puppies drinking water, coffee and connecting with my daughter and then lunch and mushroom cheese lasagna with my best friend! The day is just getting better and better, with a constant flow of loving WhatsApps, FaceBook messages and phone calls from all over the world. Before lunch I sat in my garden which is filled with bright flowers that are so happy. I poured myself a Baileys, ice and milk in my crystal glass, and sipped it slowly while enjoying my garden and feeling thankful to be alive. Finally, afternoon cheesecake time arrives with bonding time with another daughter. The blessing of connection! They say that gratefulness is a great fullness that you feel. This was me! Wow, my heart was so full (and my tummy), but, keeping the best for last, still made space for sunset, sushi and...

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Today I become 21- My Post Traumatic Growth (PTG) experience.

Posted by on Oct 18, 2018 in Wellness | 0 comments

Today I become 21- My Post Traumatic Growth (PTG) experience.

Today marks 21 years since my father Harry Bloom died. I was only 26 at the time, pretty young to lose the most influential person in my life. Turning 21 is seen as a time of reaching independence and maturity. Today, it would appear, and it feels like I have arrived at this landmark. So to mark this milestone in my life, I’d like to reflect on how much has changed, and how I have come to ‘earn’ my independence and maturity. Wikipedia describes Post-traumatic growth (PTG) like this: Positive psychological change experienced as a result of adversity and other challenges in order to rise to a higher level of functioning. My father was the greatest ‘cheerleader’ in my life. From a young girl he always believed in me and built in me the ability to believe in myself as well. He was a hard worker; left the house before I woke up in the mornings and often came home late. Despite this, he always made time for me, and when we were together he made me feel like I mattered, what I had to say was significant, and that I was important to him. One of the warmest feelings I remember is how proud he was of me and all my achievements. The more he felt proud of me, the more I wanted to make him proud, so this became the nature of our relationship. I thrived on his approval. He didn’t always approve of my decisions, and often I would change my plans just to please him. The result of this was always in my favor. The reward was love and approval. Before I went to university in the then Apartheid state of South Africa, he warned me not to get involved in politics on campus. At the time I wasn’t even curious about politics, and because of his warning, I didn’t even question if it interested me or not, he said no, so I listened. It was as simple as that. My father was a man of principles. He could afford to buy anything we wanted, yet he never fell into the trap of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ or buying items because of peer pressure. To this end, we didn’t have labelled clothes because he didn’t see the purpose or difference in wearing a shirt with or without a crocodile on it. A shirt was a shirt. I believe that this has been one of his examples that has allowed me to grow up being true to myself, and being able to own my decisions and not feel pressured into what others are buying, where they are holidaying or what they have. What a gift. If I was interested in something my father wanted to hear all about it. And when I spoke, I always had the feeling that he was listening to me and was interested in me. One time after I had changed courses to study Interior Design, I wanted to learn in depth photography including bulk loading my own film. (Nothing was digital in 1991!) He bought me all the equipment and he bought himself a camera as well, and joined the course with me. At the time I remember feeling how he had just stepped into my world, not because he...

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How to heal after the loss of a miscarriage

Posted by on Oct 7, 2018 in Bereavement, Infertitlity and Pregnancy, Reflexology | 0 comments

How to heal after the loss of a miscarriage

What can you do to ease your pain and loss after a miscarriage? For many couples having a baby is not a simple exercise, and there are countless obstacles and stages to pass before that baby is brought home. From my work as a Therapeutic Reflexologist, Bereavement Counselor, Logotherapy practitioner and mental imagery for healing practitioner, I have come to believe that the support women need on their journeys to conception and birth is a whole-istic (holistic) approach where the MIND and BODY are treated as one. We can’t just focus on getting the body right for conception; we have to deal with the emotions that come with the experience as well. Often the beginning stage of conception is filled with struggles and difficulties and many couples today are battling here. This challenge comes with lots of emotions, highs and lows, and intimacy often becomes a huge challenge for the couple. Then there is the devastating news from the doctor that there is no heart beat….. Women will report feeling so shattered or empty after a miscarriage and are not supported for the deep loss that they are experiencing. This lack of support may be from doctors, spouses, family or friends. This loss is all about the potential that will not materialize, and will never be. Doctors give reassurances that next month is another month or “Wait a month and you can try again.” This approach does not help one bit, because the pain is so real and has not been acknowledged. They know that they still want a baby and every passing month is precious time wasted, but they don’t know what to do with the pain! What can you do with the hurt, the pain, and the loss? Couples don’t know what to do with this new reality. There are two aspects to deal with; the physical loss as well as the emotional loss. From an emotional perspective I always encourage speaking to a psychologist and working through the emotions. That pain that you are experiencing needs to be heard. My recommendations to couples are that both aspects need to be addressed. We can work towards building a strong internal reproductive system, and bring in healthy eating and lifestyle. We can take the vitamins and omegas, but we need to deal with the loss as well. In the course of life when there is a death, this is marked with some type of ceremony or funeral. This is a very important step towards healing. However in the case of a miscarriage, there is no ceremony, and too often the event passes without recognition. How can you mark this event so that you can move towards healing? Emotional healing can take place once the pain has been acknowledged. My suggestion to couples is that just because there was no funeral; it doesn’t mean that there should not be some kind of ritual to mark the event. I like them to think of something meaningful that they can do that will help them to begin healing. Ideas or suggestions that have worked are: • Buy something from the nursery to plant in the garden, something that appeals to you, something meaningful or special. It could be a rose bush, a fruit tree or a water feature. Dedicate this in your...

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Did you know REFLEXOLOGY could do this??

Posted by on Aug 30, 2018 in Reflexology | 0 comments

Did you know REFLEXOLOGY could do this??

11 areas where REFLEXOLOGY can help you Recently I was speaking with a friend who was asking me about some of the success cases I’ve worked with REFLEXOLOGY. She was so shocked with the range in which REFLEXOLOGY can be used successfully, so I decided to write them up. Please read testimonials at the end, which speak for themselves! Hopefully this can help you: REFLEXOLOGY helps to alleviate: HEADACHES when they start. There are many types of headaches. Depending on the symptoms, we use REFLEXOLOGY points for a natural release of anti-inflammatory into the system as well as all the pain points. Stop MIGRAINES while they are happening. When the reflexology pain, neck, shoulder, jaw and head points are stimulated with pressure they drastically help reverse a MIGRAINE! DIGESTIVE DISORDERS – these include Crohns Disease, Ulcerative Collitis, irritable bowel syndrome, any intolerances, diarrhea or constipation – There are many points along the small and large intestine that we work for DIGESTIVE DISORDERS. The aims here are to promote absorption, open blockages, heal the lining of the colon and to boost the immune system. We include the whole digestive system and work for pain as well. STRESS – today so many of us are multi-tasking and cramming our days full. We use our smartphones and electronics to make us superhuman without taking time out to replenish. When the body is pushed to its limits our immunity drops. Why is it that people more stressed out seem to pick up airborne viruses? REFLEXOLOGY boosts immunity and manages stress response in the body. BACK and NECK ACHE – REFLEXOLOGY gives us many options when dealing with pain here. We have reflex points on the hands and feet to relieve pain as well as loosen tight, sore and stiff muscles. REFLEXOLOGY naturally stimulates the release of anti-inflammatory and brings down pain and inflammation. ECZEMA – Red itchy burning skin is managed and relieved through REFLEXOLOGY. Hormonal eczema during pregnancy is also alleviated. Very effective! INFERTILITY – Reflexology is an amazing tool to help bring the reproductive system into balance and function at its optimal. It helps with ovulation problems, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis and amenorrhea (absence of menstruation). PREGNANCY – REFLEXOLOGY supports the pregnancy from day one until birth. It helps alleviate nausea, vomiting and exhaustion. It controls swollen feet during the pregnancy as well as back ache and sciatica. It is beneficial for natural induction post 40 weeks and can help turn a breech baby. It hormonally prepares the body for birth by naturally releasing oxytocin which softens the cervix, and prolactin which stimulates production of breast milk. Click here for more information on pregnancy and reflexology  CANCER – Reflexology supports the cancer patient through their treatments. It helps boost the immune system, and increase blood counts to be at high enough level to receive treatments. It alleviates side effects like nausea and vomiting, dry mouth and throat sores, fatigue, pain and diarrhea. It also helps manage the life stress or overwhelm that the patient could be feeling. ADD and ADHD – REFLEXOLOGY helps with the side effects of medications such as Ritalin and Concerta. Sleep problems – it helps the body to unwind and calm down naturally, It helps boost appetite, and support growth in children. It also helps to manage...

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Reflexology and Logotherapy – Where Body meets Spirit

Posted by on Mar 28, 2018 in Logotherapy, Reflexology, Wellness | 0 comments

Reflexology and Logotherapy – Where Body meets Spirit

Recently I watched an inspiring movie called UNBROKEN. Louis Zamperini was bullied by his classmates when he was growing up in California. To escape their cruelty he ran from them which became his passion. His older brother had faith in his abilities and trained Louis to be a runner. In 1936 he became a hero for his country at the Olympic Games in Berlin where he was congratulated by none other than Hitler. Later on he joined the United States Army and during WW2 his fighter plane was shot down over the Pacific Ocean where he and a few of his platoon survived 47 days floating in a raft. When all hope was lost he was rescued (and captured) by a Japanese war ship and subjected to barbaric war crimes in a Japanese P.O.W camp in Tokyo. He was thought lost forever and declared dead to his family. His jailer was a brutal cruel commander who subjected Louis to all types of abuse, but Louis was a survivor who would not be broken. His fighting spirit inspired his fellow inmates which in turn gave him the courage to overcome the sadistic cruelty. In the end we see a powerful scene where Louis while still a prisoner rises above the commander and is as if he is a free man, while the jailer who has become obsessed with breaking Louis spirit is actually imprisoned by his obsessions. I have been raving about this movie ever since, and my kids always tease me and say, “Can’t you just watch the movie and enjoy it? Do you always have to look for the meaning in everything?” The truth is yes I do. Logotherapy is such a powerful outlook and way of life that I find it inspiring and see opportunities for growth and meaning all around me. Logotherapy is the teachings of Dr Victor Frankl which encourages one to find meaning within any type of suffering and overcome. Dr Victor Frankl says, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” In 1996 my father was diagnosed with colon cancer. This was devastating news in my happy life. I became obsessed with the role of the patient and wanted to learn everything I could about empowering the patient to be an active participant in his own healing journey. At the time I was running a successful Interior Design company and eventually could not deny my new passion for healing. I closed one door and opened a new one entering into the world of Reflexology. Reflexology took me so far enabling physical improvements within the patient, but I wanted more. I wanted to help my patients find a deeper meaning not just a healing of the body. I wanted to help them bridge the gap between body and spirit. In the movie Manhattan, Woody Allen is told by his girlfriend Dianne Keaton that she is having an affair and that she is leaving. She gets very angry and asks him why he doesn’t get angry and show some emotion, to which he replies, “I don’t get angry, I grow a tumour instead!” While this appears to be very humorous, this is...

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How to cope after the loss of a still birth.

Posted by on Sep 4, 2017 in Bereavement, Infertitlity and Pregnancy, Logotherapy, Reflexology | Comments Off on How to cope after the loss of a still birth.

How to cope after the loss of a still birth.

What can you do to ease your pain and loss after a still birth? For many couples having a baby is not a simple exercise, and there are countless obstacles and stages to pass before that baby is brought home. From my work as a Therapeutic Reflexologist, Bereavement Counselor, Logotherapy practitioner, Mental imagery for healing practitioner, and incorporating emotional first aid for trauma, I have come to believe that the support women need on their journeys from conception to birth is a whole-istic (holistic) approach where the MIND, BODY and SOUL are treated as one. When there is devastating news from the doctor that there is no heart beat anymore, at any stage of the pregnancy, this brings about tremendous loss. When this happens in the third trimester or at the time of birth, women (and their partners) report feeling so shattered or empty by this incredible and unfathomable deep loss. The extent of this loss is often not comprehended to the depth of pain they feel. The support system around you might not have the words of comfort that you need, and the truth is there might not even be words to comfort. The pain is so great. This loss is all about the potential that will not materialize, and will never be. Doctors give reassurances or say, “Wait a while and you can try again.” This approach does not help one bit, because the pain is so real and has not been acknowledged or processed. You know that they still want a baby, but you don’t know what to do with the pain! What can you do with the hurt, the pain, and the loss? Couples don’t know what to do with this new reality. There are two aspects to deal with; the physical loss as well as the emotional loss. There could also be a traumatic aspect as well which could be connected to the way in which the pregnancy ended. From an emotional perspective I always encourage my patients to speak about their feelings and emotions. Logotherapy Counseling helps people turn their ‘why me?’ questions into ‘what now?’ responses. It helps someone find their way through the struggle of what just happened and builds them up to be able to continue. That pain that you are experiencing needs to be heard. You deserve this. It is also helpful to have bereavement counseling for this loss. If there was trauma involved then Somatic experience – emotional first aid for trauma is highly recommended in helping your nervous system calm down from your ordeal. My recommendations to couples are that both aspects need to be addressed. From the physical perspective, we can use Imagery and Reflexology to help towards building a strong internal reproductive system, balance the hormones, and bring in healthy eating and lifestyle choices. We can take the vitamins and omegas, but we need to deal with the emotional loss as well. In the course of life when there is a death, this is marked with some type of ceremony or funeral, and a mourning period. This is a very important step towards healing. However in the case of a stillborn child, there is no ceremony, no funeral, and couples could be left feeling like they are just dangling, not knowing how to move forward, and...

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