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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 April 12, 2006 / 14 Nissan, 5766

Let's Have More Babies!

By Paul Johnson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | One of the nightmare visions that has faded away in recent years is the "population explosion." Even in the Third World rates of increase are rapidly slowing down. The danger now lies in the opposite direction. Europe in particular is producing fewer and fewer children, with a high percentage of those who are born coming from immigrant families.


Italy is a sad case. As recently as the 1930s it had one of the world's highest birthrates. This was reflected in Mussolini's plans to colonize Africa and encourage migration to Argentina. Today Italy has one of the lowest birthrates. You can go into villages in northern Italy, whose inhabitants enjoy living standards their grandparents wouldn't have believed possible, and look in vain for children. The Italians are rich in all material things — save life.


Germany is just as sterile. In France things are marginally better, but that's almost entirely owing to the country's huge Muslim minority, now making up about 10% of the population.


Last month I spoke with a woman who, a generation ago, conducted a detailed survey of British families. She recently returned to those same families and was dismayed by her findings. Whereas 30 years ago it was common for the families to have two to four children, the same families now had only one or two grandchildren or sometimes none at all. (I have four children and, so far, eight grandchildren. But some of my contemporaries have no grandchildren and little prospect of any.)

DECLINE IN MARRIAGE
Particular groups in society once noted for their philoprogenitive urges seem largely to have stifled them. During my childhood Catholics in Britain often had six to ten children. Now two is more likely.


Around 1900 Jews who had immigrated to Britain and the U.S. from eastern Europe often had huge families, with up to 16 children. Indeed, during this period Ashkenazi Jews probably had the highest birthrate in recorded history. Hollywood, for instance, was largely created by the offspring of such vast immigrant families. Now Jewish communities in America and Britain have birthrates well below the replacement rate, which constitutes a threat to their future.


Why is it that so many intelligent, well-educated, well-to-do people in the West are ceasing to reproduce?


One factor, clearly, is the decline of marriage as an institution. Young people marry later, or not at all. They often cohabit, with the vague intention of marrying "eventually," but don't have children. Then they quarrel and split up. Many a woman thus finds herself childless at 40 and must — with the clock ticking — start the relationship process over again or give up on the idea of having children.


Nearly everyone knows some horror story of a friend's failed marriage, involving acrimonious custody battles over the children. Why have them? Children are expensive. Whereas, in general, it used to take one income to raise a family, it now takes two. Then there is the claim of career. Whatever the law may provide, and however accommodating companies may be, having children is bound to hamper a woman's climb up the ladder of success.


Governments in Europe occasionally express dismay at low birthrates. But they do little or nothing about it. Indeed, what can they do? As far back as the mid-19th century the French began to worry about their low birthrate. In the 1930s the government introduced family allowances to try, through financial inducements, to persuade married couples to have more children. This device was copied elsewhere in Europe and became part of the welfare state. It doesn't seem to have had much effect anywhere and certainly not in France. Charles de Gaulle, when he was in power, used to boast that he would lay the foundation for "a nation of 100 million French people." That goal remains a fantasy. And if ever the French population hits the 100 million mark, half of it will consist of Muslims of North African origin.


The decline in religious practice may also be a factor. In western Europe many medieval churches and cathedrals are little more than museums. The new pope, Benedict XVI, is said to have chosen for his primary task the re-evangelization of Europe and its eventual repopulation. How he will bring this about I don't know. All the forces of modern society are against him, not least the European Union. In its proposed constitution the role of Christianity in the creation of European civilization was not merely omitted, it was deliberately excluded.


Yet while it is right to be concerned about this subject and discuss it frankly, we must not become despondent over it. We know from experience that demographic projections are notoriously subject to error. Birthrates can go up as well as down. Social fashions change. If there is a perceived "shortage of babies" or of young people entering the market, "an invisible hand," to use Adam Smith's phrase, may come into play. Supply rises to meet demand even in the most intimate aspects of life.


Then again the experience of having children — however irksome, expensive, wearying and career-hampering it may be — is also thrilling and delightful and full of continually changing fascinations. A child lifts the heart and gives meaning to life. Not to have a family is to deprive yourself of half the joys and interest of existence. These undoubted facts, true throughout the ages, will eventually reassert themselves, and the thrust of nature will return.

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Eminent British historian and author Paul Johnson's latest book is "American Presidents Eminent Lives Boxed Set: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ulysses S. Grant". Comment by clicking here.



Previously:

04/05/06: For the love of trains
03/29/06: Lincoln and the Compensation Culture
03/22/06: Bottle-beauties and the globalised blond beast
03/15/06: Europe's utopian hangover
03/08/06: Kindly write on only one side of the paper
02/28/06: Creators versus critics
02/21/06: The Rhino Principle

© 2006, Paul Johnson

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