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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 11, 2008 /5 Adar I 5768

In Serbian city, tolerance rules

By Tom Hundley


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A visit to an island where Muslims manage to get along with Jews --- as well as Croats and Hungarians

JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT)

WUBOTICA, Serbia — Serbia is not a place that has been known for its ethnic tolerance.

Tomislav Nikolic, the candidate of the Serbian Radical Party, which espouses the kind of ultra-nationalism that devoured the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, won the first round of last month's presidential elections, and many in Europe are concerned about the country's direction.

But Subotica, a city of frayed elegance and fading charm on the country's northern border, is one place that has always been immune to Belgrade's nationalistic fevers. Voters here rejected Nikolic by a 2-1 margin in favor of his more moderate rival, incumbent President Boris Tadic.

Sitting on the faultline of several civilizations, Subotica is a place where Serbs seem quite content to live as an ethnic and linguistic minority, where they don't feel threatened by sharing space with Hungarians, Croats, Montenegrins, Bunjevcis, Ruthenians and more than a dozen other obscure nationalities that last flourished during the golden age of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Subotica also is the rare place in Europe where the indigenous Muslim community is building a new mosque complete with minaret and dome — and nobody seems to mind.

And where a minuscule Jewish community — about 260 strong — is restoring the city's monumental synagogue. The synagogue, a truly extraordinary example of sacred architecture in the art nouveau style, was built in 1902, but fell into disrepair after the once-thriving community was all but wiped out in the Holocaust.

"Subotica is a special place," said Fetis Kurdali, leader of the city's Muslim community. "I tell people about the good relationship we have with the Jewish community, and they look at me like this cannot be true. But it is true."

Hungarians, who make up 38 percent of the municipality's population of 150,000, are the largest ethnic group, followed by Serbs (24 percent) and Croats (11 percent).

Mayor Geza Kucsera, an ethnic Hungarian whose surname hints at Slovak origins, suggested that one of the keys to Subotica's ethnic harmony is that all city business is simultaneously translated into the three predominant languages: Serbian, Croatian and Hungarian.

"We are forced to listen to each other," he said. "But I think people understand that the only way we can survive is if we listen to each other."

Another theory that is popular here links Subotica's get-along-go-along tolerance with the flatness of its geography. Subotica (pronounced su-boh-TEE-tsa) sits on the vast Pannonian plain that stretches across Europe from Austria to Ukraine. The city's tourism department is promoting a new slogan: "Feel the Harmony, Flatlands with No Border."

"We are a flatland people; we tend not to be as aggressive as mountain people," explained Slavica Dakic, news editor of the local radio station, which broadcasts in the three main languages and German.

Thomas Sujic, an activist in the Croat community, agreed:

"If you look at the faces, I think you will see that the people around here have softer, rounder facial features than people from the mountain regions. The people from the mountains have strong features and strong personalities. They seem less relaxed," he said.

Others suggest that perhaps history, not genes or geography, offers the best explanation. Over the centuries, the inhabitants of Subotica have been ruled by an ever-changing cast of potentates from Constantinople, Budapest, Vienna and now Belgrade. The experience seems to have left them with a strong sense of local autonomy and a healthy disdain for central authority.

"They come and go," Mayor Kucsera said of Europe's ruling powers. "We stay. We have to get along."

Despite their knack for co-existence, identity is profoundly important to people here.

"During communism, we were more Yugoslavs than Jews. Then when communism collapsed, it seemed that everyone returned to his tribe," said Judita Skanderovic, a retired teacher who said that until recently her only bond to the religion was the stories her parents told of surviving Auschwitz.

Before World War II, Subotica had a Jewish community of about 6,000. During three months in the spring of 1944, most of community was deported to Auschwitz. After the war, about 800 survivors returned to the city, but within a few years three-quarters of them emigrated to Israel.

The violent breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s put new stresses on Subotica's fragile social fabric. Thousands of refugees, mainly Serbs fleeing from Croatia and Bosnia, poured into Subotica. At the same time, many Croats left the city.

"It changed the balance of the ethnic communities. These people were angry and bitter and they brought that with them," said Sujic, who as a Croat felt the pressure acutely, but decided to stay.

"I wouldn't say it is back to normal, but it's still much better than any other place in Serbia," he said.

For Tatiana Bjelosevic, a Serb, and her partner Admir Delic, a Muslim, Subotica has been a safe haven. Both are refugees from Bosnia.

"This is the only place we could survive," said Bjelosevic.

Although slightly better off economically than most of the rest of Serbia, Subotica is burdened by a 19 percent unemployment rate and the steady flight of the city's best and brightest. Mayor Kucsera fears this will upset the demographic balance of the city as much as the wars of the 1990s.

"We are losing quality. Look at who's leaving — the smartest ones, the ones who speak European languages, the ones who know how to use the Internet," he said.

The unwillingness of Belgrade politicians to bend on the question of Kosovo has left Serbia on Europe's doorstep and deeply frustrated most people in Subotica, including many Serbs who say they would trade Kosovo — reluctantly — for a seat at the European Union table.

Kucsera undoubtedly speaks for the majority of his constituents when he says "The EU is our only alternative. The EU is our dream."


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