New Israeli bill seeks to widen ad ban to all underweight models


A bill seeking to ban the use of underweight models in Israeli advertising also aims to prevent Israel’s media from using ads produced overseas with too-thin models.

The bill is an effort to discourage an idealization of overly thin bodies, out of concern that such advertising encourages eating disorders and distorts perceptions – particularly among young people – of what a health body should look like.

The expansion of the bill to include foreign models is expected to be introduced on Monday at a session of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee. The bill will then advance, apparently next week, to the final two phases in the approval process, when it will be put to a vote on second and third reading by the full Knesset. Although the bill, which is sponsored by Rachel Adatto (Kadima ) and Danny Danon (Likud ), will apply to Israeli media that use images of foreign models, it will not apply to the foreign magazines distributed in Israel, a source involved in the drafting of the bill said.

Read more at Haaretz.com.

Powerlifting: She started late, but it was worth the wait


Ellen Stein is 58 years old but says she doesn’t feel like it. Indeed, Stein is a woman who seems to defy age — a competitive powerlifter who still wins meets against women born in decades when she was already well into adulthood. She is, to put it simply, a competitor, and neither age nor the improbable path that led her down the road to her sport have stopped her from proving that it’s never too late to start lifting heavy.

“I’ve always been an athlete,” said Stein, on the phone from her New York apartment. “I had a very successful running career prior to ever picking up a weight.” She competed in every event from the mile to the marathon, running the famed New York City Marathon an impressive four times. “When I applied to do my fifth New York City Marathon, I got rejected and I went into this lottery pool. That’s how they worked the marathon back then,” she said. Stein wasn’t happy that she was rejected, but she took things in stride. “I was a little bit annoyed and I didn’t want to put in the training for 16 weeks and find out that I wasn’t going to get selected. So I said, well maybe it’s a sign from God I shouldn’t run the marathon this year.”

Stein came across an advertisement offering a discount gym membership for people looking to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions and get fit. “So that’s what I did. On Jan. 1, 1993, I joined my local Gold’s Gym.” Stein, already 41, had never lifted weights before. Mostly clueless, she followed the advice of a gym-rat friend and started working out.

After a few weeks at the gym, she noticed a group of big guys in the back who were doing powerlifting. Powerlifting arose as a sport in the 1950s and ‘60s, when the popularity of Olympic weighlifting began to wane. It consists of three lifts — the squat, the bench press and the deadlift. Competitors have three chances to put up the most weight they can handle in each lift, and then their best squat, bench and deadlift are added together for a total weight lifted. The competitor who lifts the highest total in his weight class wins.

Stein knew little about the sport on the day one of the powerlifters approached her and told her she ought to learn how to deadlift. “I said, ‘Oh, I can’t, I have a bad back.’ “ He laughed and told her it would either kill her or cure her. She took up the challenge and, within a month, Stein, at all of 5 feet, was deadlifting 225 pounds. Sensing that Stein was something of a prodigy, the guys suggested she enter a competition, and they put her in touch with another female powerlifter from Brooklyn (and a fellow Jew), Beth Grater, who gave Stein advice about how and where to compete. She gathered her courage and signed up for a meet. “There were two girls in the whole meet, me and this other girl.” Stein lost, but she was encouraged, after all; she was over 40 and had just done her first powerlifting competition.

Stein started training harder, and soon she was racking up wins and records for her age class. “There weren’t too many 41-year-old, 122-pound women who were lifting what I was lifting,” Stein said. Her success led her to the World Championships in England, and a victory. “I was hooked from then on, because I said this is great … I can be somebody.”

Stein’s been competing at a high level ever since.

“Over the last 17 years, I’ve won seven world titles,” she said, noting that she’s gone up a weight class in the process. “The more you lift, the heavier you get.”

She just competed in September at the Olympia Powerlifting Invitational in Las Vegas, where she won her weight class, beating out a competitor who was less than half her age.

According to Stein, there are more records still to come. “I have no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. I can’t wait to hit 60, because then it’s all new age group records.”

Currently, Stein boasts a 385-pound squat, a 187.5-pound bench press, and a 418-pound deadlift among her personal records — high totals for any woman, let alone one in her late 50s, when most people see their strength declining.

“I’m a big advocate of lifting heavy weights,” Stein said. “I go crazy when I see girls in the gym with their little 5- or 10-pound dumbbells.” Weight lifting is more than just a sport to Stein; it’s a lifestyle. “I think it keeps you youthful. It keeps you engaged.” But she admits powerlifting is a “tough sell” to many women, who fear getting too big or injuring themselves.

She even faced skepticism from her own mother. “ When I would bring her pictures from my various meets and show them to her, she’d say ‘Oh I saw that one already.’ And I’d say, ‘Ma, I just did that this weekend.’ And she’d say, ‘But I have that one already,’ because to her, how many different pictures of a squat are there?” Although Stein admitted, “She used to be proud of me. She’d show my pictures to anyone who’d listen to her.”

Her friends and personal training clients have a much different opinion of Stein. “They all think I’m the bomb,” she said with a laugh. “If anybody ever told me I was going to weigh 130 pounds one day and be solid and not be fat, I would have thought they were crazy. For the 15 years that I ran, I was really tiny, I was probably never more than 110 pounds. Prior to that, I did ballet, so I was always exceptionally thin.”

Stein loves the opportunities that sport has given to her. “I’ve been to South Africa, Argentina, the Czech Republic, England, Canada.” She recalls fondly her trip to Iceland, where she swam in the Blue Lagoon. She knows that without powerlifting, she may never have ventured to such exotic locales.

“I’ve always been a little bit of a loner; that’s why I liked running, because I could just run out of my house and take off. I didn’t have to depend on anybody to show up to play.”

In powerlifting, Stein has found another sport that allows her to challenge herself daily, and keep focused and youthful. “I’m very hard on myself, I’m my worst critic, and if I don’t lift something, I’m always comparing myself to other lifters in my weight class, and then I say, ‘Oh, but they’re 30 years younger than me.’ “

The age gap doesn’t mean much to Stein, though, in practice, or in principle.

“In my mind, I’m still young,” she said. Her deadlift would agree.

For more about Ellen Stein, visit kettlebellen.com.

Keep Your Eyes Open


Kein v’ Lo: Snack Attack

YeLAdim talked to the LAPD and got these tips on what kids can do to stay safe — and maybe to help catch a bad guy:

  • Be aware of your surroundings on the way to and from school, at your synagogue and while hanging out with your friends.
  • If you find a note about someone wanting to hurt someone — or use a gun or knife — tell an adult immediately. If any of your friends wants to write notes like that, let them know that they could get in big-time trouble because threatening notes are no joke to the police.
  • If you see packages, boxes or bags with bottles sitting near the street or in a hallway don’t touch them.
  • If you see anything or anyone in a public place that looks like they don’t belong or is acting strangely, tell a parent, a teacher or another adult you trust.
  • When it comes to safety, there’s no such thing as a tattletale.

This section of the page is a way for you as kids to sound off about an issue.

This month’s Kein v’ Lo (yes and no) is about snacks at school. Many schools have removed candy, chips and sodas from campus vending machines and replaced them with what they consider healthier snacks and drinks. Also, many schools are telling parents that when they bring a treat for a child’s birthday, it should include a healthy snack, as well.

Should schools be able to say what kids can and cannot eat?

The Kein Side:

  • Many kids are gaining weight much faster than ever before, because of how easy it has been to get sugary-, fat- and salt-filled snacks during and after school. Eliminating those kinds of foods could cut down on kids’ health problems.
  • Most kids left to their own choices probably won’t pick veggies over cookies or bottled water over soda. Cutting out unhealthy snacks at school makes sure that at least during school hours, kids will be exposed to more nutritious foods.

The Zimms Can’t Wait To Go Back To School!

The Lo Side:

  • Removing sugary snacks won’t really improve health if, at the same time, schools are cutting back on time to get exercise during recess or cutting back on physical education. Offering nutrition classes would be a better idea, allowing kids to feel they have a little say in what happens to their snacks.
  • A birthday is a celebration — if a child wants to have cupcakes, they should be able to — parents shouldn’t have to spend additional money on granola bars or fruit.

Discuss your opinions in your classroom or around your dining table with your family. We aren’t saying which is right and which is wrong. We want to know what you think. Send your thoughts to kids@jewishjournal.com with Kein v’Lo in the subject line.

Back to School Shout-Outs

Get a head start on making new friends this year by sending a shout-out to your classmates, and we will print it here! Example: Sending a “Have a great year” to Mrs. Friedman’s sixth-grade class at Siman Tov Academy

— Josh A. & Laurie H. (names are optional).

E-mail us at ” TARGET=”_blank”>www.zimmermuseum.org.

Got Baby Weight? Try Pilates


 

Too many “When are you due?” comments that came weeks after I gave birth to my second child were all the motivation I needed to reclaim my body. I had gained 60 pounds with my first child, but I bounced back into shape with little effort. Now I was five years older, recovering from a difficult pregnancy and a cesarean delivery. I knew I was going to need determination, patience and willpower if I wanted to put on my favorite pair of jeans again.

My main goal in the first few months was to keep moving. At first I began brisk daily walks with my daughter, Stella, in her stroller. I walked up to 45 minutes at a time (if she would allow it), and fast enough to lose my breath. Then I began integrating exercises I could do while she was with me outdoors: modified push-ups (on my knees), dips (with my hands on a park bench), lunges (holding the stroller in front of me) and some standing stretches (sidebends and hamstring stretches). Doing all of this while caring for my newborn baby meant that on some days I had to be content with just 20 minutes of exercise. Having a good video at home to squeeze in a workout while the baby was napping was also key to my exercise program.

All of the exercise was great, but if I wanted to return to my former size I couldn’t continue to eat as if I was still pregnant. Focusing on a strict diet had never worked for me in the past, so I chose instead to watch what I ate and how much I needed to eat so that I wasn’t hungry. This meant cutting my portions down considerably and restricting dessert to something low-cal once a week. I also kept water bottles with me at all times to make sure I was drinking enough.

After I began to shed pounds, I knew I needed to tackle two other problems: my doughy stomach and my achy back. Who would have thought that caring for a 9-pound infant could wreak such havoc on the body?

This is where my Pilates background really helped. Since Pilates focuses so much on alignment while strengthening and stretching, it took care of both problems. It’s the muscles in our midsection that enable us to stand up tall and take the weight and strain off our backs. All Pilates exercises focus on these core muscles.

Although I’ve owned my Pilates studio for more than 10 years and have been training for over 20, I still had to begin slowly with the simplest of abdominal exercises. Just curling my head and shoulders off the ground was too much at first. Fundamental exercises like knee folds, where the head and shoulders stay down and the abdominals stabilize the lumbar spine, was a better way to start. I had to focus on scooping my abdominals to protect my back.

It was humbling to watch my body quiver as I performed these basic exercises. It’s tempting to just do crunches all day when your stomach is this out of shape. However, listen to your body. Overworking the abdominals at this stage can put you at risk for a hernia. Using Pilates equipment like the reformer, the trap table and even a basic workout ball made these movements a lot easier for me to perform properly. When I couldn’t make it into my studio, I would do matwork at home using a Thera-Band to add resistance.

Although 30 pounds fell off of me almost immediately, the last 15 were reluctant to budge. It was a bit discouraging when my body didn’t meet the deadline I had set for it. It took 14 weeks of hard work before I could perform a roll-up without assistance.

I practiced moderation with my eating over the holidays and resumed my regime with the beginning of the New Year. My workout schedule now consists of a Pilates session two to three times a week and a variety of aerobic exercises one to four times a week.

Stella is 4 months old, and intent on learning to roll over. Her mom is beginning to see those muscles again, but still struggling to lose her last 6 pounds. We are both determined and progressing nicely.

Maria Leone is the owner of Bodyline Fitness Studio in Beverly Hills. For more information, visit

Redefining Beauty


Four years ago, Camryn Manheim walked into David Kelley’s office, feeling glum. She knew the executive producer didn’t want her for his new ABC drama, “The Practice.” After all, Hollywood typically ridiculed women who were 5-foot-10 and a size 22. Kelley practically yawned throughout her interview. “It was disastrous,” she told The Journal.

But slinking out of his office that day in 1996, the Jewish actress spotted a cribbage board — and felt a spark of chutzpah. “Why don’t we f— this audition and I’ll play you right now for the part?” she said. “If I lose, you’ll never see me again. But if I win, I walk out of here with the script.”

Kelley suddenly lost his bored look. “You don’t understand,” he warned. “I play the computer.”

“No, you don’t understand,” she retorted. “I play for money.”

Kelley didn’t play Manheim that day, but he was impressed enough to create a “Practice” role just for her: the gutsy, no-nonsense lawyer Ellenor Frutt. “When I got the phone call from my agent, saying that I had gotten the part, I sat down in the middle of my kitchen floor … and wept,” Manheim wrote in her 1999 memoir, “Wake Up, I’m Fat!” (Broadway.) Her sense of victory was sweet. It came after a bitter, 20-year battle for acceptance in a business that worships svelte actresses — a battle that nearly cost Manheim her life.

When her NYU drama professors strongly suggested she lose weight or leave the program in the late 1980s, she began taking speed and accidentally overdosed. “For the longest time, I hated myself because I was fat,” she says. “I let just one thing define me. Then I decided I wasn’t going to conform to a standard that wasn’t developed with me in mind.”

Manheim’s campaign against the beauty myth culminated with her accepting an Emmy for best supporting actor in 1998. Wearing a low-cut black Emanuel gown, Payless shoes and Target earrings (12 in one ear), the “Practice” star thrust the award high over her head and declared, “This is for all the fat girls!”

The self-professed “poster child for fat acceptance,” says she used the f-word deliberately in her Emmy acceptance speech. “If you say a word enough, it robs it of its power,” she explains. And the show offered the perfect opportunity to advance her cause. “It’s abhorrent to me that women hate themselves so much for being overweight. I want to do everything in my power to fight that.”

Fighting injustice appears to be genetic for her. Born Deborah Frances Manheim, she grew up in a culturally Jewish home in Long Beach. Her Polish-immigrant grandfather was an early organizer of the millinery workers union. Her mother, Sylvia, attended the Yiddishist-socialist IWO schools and worked as a switchboard operator for the Communist Party. Manheim’s Uncle Bill organized the New York taxicab drivers and eventually became secretary-treasurer of local 840 of the Teamsters Union. Her father, Jerry, a math professor, picketed segregated restaurants in the 1950s, and was denounced as a communist by Sen. Joseph McCarthy. “He was blacklisted,” Sylvia told The Journal. “He lost his job, and I went to work selling freezers door-to-door. It was a difficult time for our family.”

Nevertheless, the Manheims continued to equate their Judaism with social action, toting young Camryn to rallies to protest racism and the Vietnam War. When Camryn was arrested at a pro-choice rally in the early ’80s, she called her parents from jail. “Mazal tov!” Sylvia shouted into the phone.

Manheim quips: “For my family, protesting injustice is like ‘mitzvah therapy.'”

During her childhood, Manheim, now 40, felt that her parents supported every kind of underdog save one: the fat person. When Manheim began gaining weight at age 11, her parents shlepped her to a series of psychiatrists and hypnotists. They even tried bribery. When Camryn was a preteen, she signed her first contract: “If you lose 15 pounds by March, we’ll buy you a brand new bike.”

“We thought Camryn would have more boyfriends if she were thinner,” Sylvia says sheepishly.

Manheim’s self-esteem plummeted. She tried to hide her body with baggy Levis, which she even wore into the shower. At the age of 13, she says she missed all her friends’ “baruch atah adonais” because mom wouldn’t let her wear pants to bar mitzvahs.

A few years later, she found respite working summers at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, where big, busty wenches were de rigueur. More acceptance followed at UC Santa Cruz, where the actress wore Birkenstocks and protested against the Miss California pageant. During a post-graduation trip to Israel, an empowered Manheim decided to change her ho-hum name to something more stylish. “Some people get to the Wailing Wall and have a vision; I heard a voice,” she writes in her book. “Camryn … Camryn … Camryn.”

But when Manheim enrolled in NYU’s esteemed graduate drama program in the 1980s, she ran smack into size discrimination. Professors hounded her to reduce. “They said ‘You are never going to work if you are a big girl,'” the actress says. “The subtext was, ‘We don’t want that black mark against our school.'”

At NYU, Manheim was always cast as a middle-aged frump. “I was also Rebecca Nurse in ‘The Crucible’ — she’s at least 80,” the actress recalls. “And Queen Margaret in ‘Richard III’ — she’s not just old, she’s dead.”

A desperate Manheim began taking speed daily to lose weight. When she dropped 80 pounds, her professors were jubilant. “But I was a wreck,” she says.

After her near-fatal overdose on speed, she quit drugs and nicotine — and promptly gained back all her weight. When she flew home to visit her parents, who now kvell over her, they couldn’t hide their disappointment. After some unpleasant words with her father, Manheim packed her bags and didn’t speak to him for almost a year, she writes in her book.

Back in New York, she immersed herself in liberal causes, took a job as a sign-language interpreter and worked on regaining her self-esteem. When leading roles didn’t come her way, she wrote a hilarious, poignant one-woman show, “Wake Up, I’m Fat!” about being fat in a society obsessed with being thin. The monologue, filled with “fat survival” tips such as “stay horizontal on the beach,” played to packed houses off-Broadway in 1995. When a casting director sent Kelley some videotaped scenes of the show, Manheim earned an audience with the TV drama king.

In 1996 she snagged the role of Frutt, who, like Manheim, is culturally Jewish and determined to fight for the underdog.

But her very first day on “The Practice,” the actress discovered she was going to have to play an additional role: that of “Fat Police.” When the director described her character’s first shot of Frutt eating a doughnut, Manheim convinced him to lose the food, not wanting to reinforce stereotypes.

When the prop guy put a huge bowl of candy on Frutt’s desk, Manheim again confronted the director. “Let me tell you a little secret. Fat girls don’t keep candy on the desk. They keep it in the drawer,” she said.

The bowl was moved.

When Manheim later learned that a love interest was in the works for Frutt, she lobbied Kelley to cast a hunk in the role. Not only did she get her wish (actor J.C. McKenzie), she also convinced Kelley to write her some juicy love scenes.

Off the set, Manheim continues to lobby against the beauty myth and to show that “big women can be sexy.” The cover of “Wake Up, I’m Fat!” depicts the actress wearing a swimsuit and a beauty pageant-style banner reading, “Miss Understood.” “I wanted it to be in-your-face,” she says. “I also felt I needed to do something that was scary for me — which was to be half-naked in public — to show I was facing my fears.”

In April, Manheim starred in and executive-produced the ABC movie, “Kiss My Act,” one of the rare television programs in which the fat girl gets the cute guy. She says she’s motivated by the self-hating letters she receives from overweight women. “They’re heartbreaking,” she says.

Since winning her Emmy, Manheim has been featured on the cover of magazines such as People, TV Guide, Mode (the publication for full-figured women) and this month’s More.

When asked if her success has changed things for big women in Hollywood, Manheim sighs loudly. She points out that Julia Roberts is rumored to have been signed to play the overweight heroine in a movie version of the book, “She’s Come Undone,” Wally Lamb’s novel about a girl’s journey from fat teenager to trim adult. “I am going to lead the crusade against that,” Manheim says, grimly. “I am desperate to see a big girl in that role, myself or someone else.”

Meanwhile, the actress is continuing to enjoy her latest role: that of single mother. In March, the unmarried actress gave birth to a boy, Milo (named for the hero in her favorite children’s book, “The Phantom Tollbooth”). And while she won’t reveal the identity of his father, she will say she plans to raise Milo culturally Jewish, emphasizing social action.

Though Manheim doesn’t belong to a synagogue, she supports Hadasssah and the annual Justice Ball, which benefits Bet Tzedek Legal Services. She believes Frutt would approve of the nonsectarian legal program. “Jewish charities offer opportunities for everyone, which is what I love about the Jews,” the actress says. “You do not have to be a certified Jew to reap the benefits.”

“The Practice” airs Sundays, 10 p.m. on ABC.


Favorite exclamation: Man-oh-Manischewitz!

On her old amphetamine habit:

“The scary thing about speed is that it works.”

“Sure, it may kill you, but you’ll look great in that coffin.”

Worst confrontation with an NYU drama professor:

“You, Camryn Manheim, have a very bad attitude.”

Camryn: “I have a fat attitude?”

How to stand up on the beach without looking fat:

“You have to maintain the camouflage of the towel while trying to slide the shorts on up over the buttocks region, and then you have to say something in a dramatic fashion to cause a diversion, like ‘Hey, look, it’s Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr making out in the surf!'”

Why she wrote her show, “Wake Up, I’m Fat!”:

“I wanted to create the only role for which I would not be rejected.”

On parents:

“[They] know how to push your buttons, because, hey, they sewed them on.”

First question on Camryn’s “boyfriend application”:

Do you have an on-again, off-again girlfriend?

(If so, do not complete this form).

Excerpted from Manheim’s 1999 memoir, “Wake Up, I’m Fat!”

Fat and Fit


Looking at television and magazine ads these days, you’d think the surest route to health is a diet that goes something like this: an apple slice and a thimbleful of skim milk for breakfast, a carrot with a gallon of water for lunch, four grains of rice, one strawberry and a shot of wheat-grass juice for dinner. Most of us resign ourselves to the fact that we’ll never be cover-girl skinny, but that doesn’t stop 40 percent of women and 25 percent of men from trying to lose weight at any given time in the United States. These days, however, the old weight blueprint of five pounds for every inch over 5 feet tall is slowly losing ground, as more and more researchers discover that thinness doesn’t equal health, fitness does. And fitness comes in all shapes and sizes.

“The medical community says we’re eating ourselves to an early grave,” said Glenn Gaesser, professor of exercise physiology at the University of Virginia and author of “Big Fat Lies” (Fawcett 1996), “and it’s a big overstatement.”

Gaesser claims that while there are limits to a person’s weight — a 1,000-pound man, for example, is simply unhealthy — folks 50 or 75 pounds beyond the weight-chart suggestions may be as healthy as someone who nails the chart dead-on. “A 5-foot-4 woman should weigh no more than 145 pounds, according to the chart, [and have] a body mass index of 25,” Gaesser said. “But that woman could probably go up to 200 and not have much to worry about as long as she exercised regularly.

“Studies are quite clear in showing that if you take a fat person of any size and get them eating better and exercising more, their health problems greatly clear up, even if they don’t lose much weight,” he added.

One of the main ways of determining if you’re overweight is by calculating body mass index (BMI) — essentially a ratio of weight to height. The government has determined that a BMI over 25 is considered overweight, which categorically puts those people at higher risk for blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks, high cholesterol and other problems. But, according to Gaesser, there are 97 million Americans with BMIs over 25, and “probably 90 million are unnecessarily stigmatized and [said to be] destined for an early grave.”

The key to health, many researchers agree, is not weight, but exercise. A good litmus test, Gaesser maintains, is that a man or woman who walks at a brisk pace — say, 3.5 miles an hour, three to five times per week for 30 minutes — would be considered fit enough to achieve health benefits. The 30 minutes can even be incremental, 15 minutes in the morning and 15 in the evening.

Dr. Henry Kahn of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at Emory University says fat, in and of itself, may not be cause for concern so much as where that fat is distributed throughout the body. Researchers like Kahn have found that abdominal fat poses the greatest health risks but that thigh fat may actually be favorable. “What you read on the scale in your bathroom may not be the best way to measure weight in terms of health risks,” he says. In recent years, a waist-to-hip ratio, measuring circumference, helped determine which people were most at risk, but recent studies have shown, Kahn said, that a waist-to-thigh ratio is “substantially stronger for sorting out the people who are at risk versus those who are not.”

Several years ago, Kahn compared first-time heart-attack victims with a control group who’d come from the same neighborhoods and who were comparable in socioeconomic status, sex, weight and age. What he found was that while the BMIs of the victims were no different from those of the control group, they tended to have higher proportions of abdominal fat and smaller thighs, whereas the control group tended toward larger thighs and less abdominal fat.

The good news, says Gaesser, is that abdominal fat is the easiest to burn and generally comprises only 10 percent to 15 percent of fat on the body. Besides regular exercise, people who want to lower health risks associated with weight gain should maintain a diet with reduced fat and loaded with fiber, he says.

“We think we’re fattening up as a country … [but] actually, only 10 percent of the population weighs over 200…. We’re heavier than we were a generation ago, but only by 8 or 10 pounds,” said Gaesser, whose new book about healthy fitness and healthy fat, “The Spark,” is due out this year. “That’s cause for concern, but we’re not bursting at the seams.”

Centenarian Inspiration


Sam Dabby was 100 years old on Nov. 5, but he waited to celebrate with members of his family and friends at a Nov. 18 party given at Kahal Joseph Congregation Temple. Among the celebrants was his workout trainer, Jeremy Forte, who has been helping Dabby lift weights and exercise for the past year. “Sam has a variety of medical challenges, but it’s never too late to start working out,” Forte says. “Like Sam says, ‘You don’t have to wait a 100 years to do it.'”

Dabby, who had broken his hip, began working out after his son, Frank, suggested he talk to Forte. The first session went rather well, and Dabby decided to go for it. Since starting to lift weights and exercise, Dabby has regained some of his old joie de vivre and has begun to walk without a cane. He’s presently pumping four-pound weights, five times a week.

Born in Baghdad and one of eight children, Dabby served in the British Air Force for 12 years and eventually made his way to New York during World War II. Later, Dabby moved his wife, Norma, and five children west and settled in Los Angeles. After a successful stint in business, Dabby devoted his life to philanthropic work.

“Sam is an inspiration to other people,” Forte says, “Everybody loves him. Working with him [proves] that there is always more people can do in their life – even start having fun.”