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7 on Seven: Ruby Bottles of Mitzvos

Shoshana R. Meiri

The Shivas Haminim, the seven species with which the land of Eretz Yisrael is blessed, have always had significance for Jews. Recently, research has proven the startling health benefits of pomegranates. One Manchester-based housewife has created an empire of chesed from the glistening seeds of the rimon.

Monday, October 06, 2014

With its mottled pink and brown exterior, you’d never guess that the inside of a pomegranate is touted as a wonder-food. As coordinator of a pomegranate juice gemach in her home in Manchester, England, since 2009, Ita Rivka Heimann, aka Mrs. Pommy, can tell you all about the glory of the pomegranate. When her close relative, Moshe Steinberg,* was diagnosed with cancer five years ago, Ita Rivka was dismayed by the debilitating effects of chemotherapy on his body. Treatment left him weakened, with a fragile immune system and skin stained a pallid yellow. When she heard about the benefits of pomegranates, especially for cancer patients, Ita Rivka requested juice from a London pomegranate juice gemach. Moshe drank two bottles. Within two days, he said he “felt amazing.” The jubilation Ita Rivka experienced still rings in her voice today. “I phoned the administrator and said, ‘I know it’s only psychological, but the patient says he feels so much better.’ She said, ‘No, it doesn’t surprise me at all. It isn’t psychological. The hospital consultants cannot get over how wonderful this pomegranate juice is.’ ” Sharing the Health The list of positive elements attributed to the pomegranate reads like a chemistry textbook. Chock-full of antioxidants and a rich source of vitamin K, it contains more flavonoids and polyphenols than grapes, supplies calcium, iron, and phosphorus, and confers a host of benefits to the consumer. According to some scientific research, pomegranate juice raises hemoglobin levels, boosts iron, improves heart health, aids the digestive system, and may fight cancer. Mrs. Heimann remarks that while wider society has only recently come to realize the pomegranate’s benefits, for Jews, the pomegranate has always been revered. “It’s one of the Shivas Haminim. We’ve known about it for a long time.”

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