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More Israelis are seeking psychological help as the holidays approach, according to the Clalit Health Maintenance Organization. Clalit says that one of the reasons people become anxious as the holidays approach are family dinners, where they undergo "interrogations" about their achievements or perceived lack thereof.

Dr. Moshe Stoler, director of Clalit's psychiatric services, says that tensions come to the fore during family holiday meals because of an Israeli tendency to delve into other people's business. He adds that vacations are also a time when failings of and conflicts between spouses and children seem to become more noticeable.

Economic exigencies also take their toll at holiday time, with money needed for large meals, the need to buy gifts for many people and to "keep up with the Joneses."

Stoler says another aspect of the holiday season that can cause stress is its length - almost a whole month.

The Rosh Hashanah-Yom Kippur observance also involves taking stock of the year that has gone by and thinking about the one that lies ahead, often with a sense of failure over goals not achieved or fears over the ability to meet the challenges of the coming year.