In this issue

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 March 17, 2009/ 21 Adar 5769

Religion's Virtue

By Tom Purcell

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ben Franklin wouldn't care for the results of the study. Neither would G.K. Chesterton.

According to the American Religious Identification Survey, more Americans have no religion these days -- fewer folks embrace and practice the structure and order that traditional religion can bring.

That's not helpful to a republic.

A republic is a fragile thing. Ours was designed with checks and balances to keep charlatans and rogues who slip into one branch of our government from dominating the others.

But here is where our republic is even more fragile: It will survive only if voters are clear-thinking, virtuous and more concerned for their country than their individual wants and needs.

"True religion and good morals are the only solid foundations of public liberty and happiness," said Ben Franklin. "Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."

They have more need for the government to help them pay their mortgages, for instance?

That idea is repulsive to me -- repulsive to my value system, which was shaped by my Catholic upbringing. I was taught kindness and private charity, but I was also taught that it is wrong to take from your neighbor.

My religion articulates well what we all know, deep in our hearts, to be true: that there is good in this world and there is evil, and with every decision we make, we move toward one and away from the other.

My religion says we have free will -- that we are free to choose good or evil -- and that the virtuous path, harder though it generally is, is the right path.

Greek philosophers had names for what is good and virtuous. They believed that prudence, temperance, courage and justice were virtues we all long for and should master.

While we strive to master good, we must root out the bad: excessive pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth. These are known as the seven deadly sins (and activities I usually save for the weekend!).

The truth is that most all religions on the planet are in agreement 99 percent of the time. Each celebrates courage, love, kindness and sacrifice. Each detests cowardice, selfishness, sloth and greed.

This is because these concepts weren't invented by religion. They were alive and well long before organized religion came into being. The same concepts are found in Greek mythology.

But that is the point of religion. Its intent is to provide a road map to help us navigate the world -- navigate good and evil and choose the more virtuous path. It is as though we are adjusting a radio dial and trying to tune into the perfect signal -- tune in to beauty and truth. Religion at its best helps us tune in better.

Many religions have their imperfections, but organized religion has done far more good than ill in America. The simple fact is the more folks who freely practice the traditional organized faiths, the better off a republic will be.

Aren't kids who have simple values hammered into them by the nuns at their school more likely to become better citizens? Aren't they more likely to work at being humble and charitable -- more likely to expect nothing from their government but the opportunity to pursue their own happiness?

Traditional religion at its best brings out the best in people -- honesty, dignity, compassion and so on. The more people who work at practicing such qualities, the better off a republic is going to be.

In any event, if traditional religion goes to the wayside, "religion" won't go away. It will simply be practiced in new forms. That brings us to G.K. Chesterton.

"When people stop believing in G-d, it's not that they believe in nothing," said Chesterton, "it's that they believe in ANYTHING."

At the same time they believe the biblical concepts of eternal damnation are silly and outmoded, they demand that their government stop man from causing the oceans to rise before an enraged Mother Earth wipes the lot of us off the planet!

Then they vote for the candidate who promises them salvation.

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© 2009, Tom Purcell