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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 18, 2008 / 13 Nissan 5768

Multimedia tool of antiquity

By Rabbi Harvey Belovski

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In an astonishingly contemporary means of communication, the Seder uses all the weapons in the multimedia arsenal to project its message beautifully and clearly. If we tap into that wisdom, use our Passover prudently to progress and to reject culturalism, then we are assured of greater success in creating the Jewish future.


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Passover is an amazing experience for every Jewish family. The preparations are the most demanding of the year — the house sparkles, the table set and the horseradish grated. We have put days or even weeks of planning into readying our homes for the holy week and making the Seder into a night to remember. These are amongst the most precious moments of Jewish family life — ones that we treasure and hope our children will want to recreate for their own families.

The Torah's wisdom in communicating its message never fails to amaze me. We don't, of course, always see the Passover Seder in this light. But there is no doubt — it is the moment at which we are supposed to transmit the background, purpose and focus of Judaism to the next generation.

We are Jewish and are proud to be so because this feeling and message was communicated to us, and Judaism will only survive if we succeed in passing this enthusiasm onwards and downwards. Each one of us is a link in a very long chain, starting at Mount Sinai and ending with us. A chain is, of course, only as strong as its weakest link, and if any of the links are severed, the whole chain will fail. Why is it that so many of us feel so Jewish, but are not succeeding in transmitting and maintaining our Jewish life?

I would like to suggest something that is controversial, but I feel is true nonetheless. That is that tying Judaism, deliberately, or mistakenly, to any one set of cultural or social circumstances is a recipe for disaster. This merely produces a transient feeling of ethnicity, something that is sure to dissipate when these circumstances change.

Many of our grandparents grew up in very 'Jewish' social circumstances in immigrant neighborhoods. Some of them were observant, others were not, but a range of cultural experiences tied them together. They lived in close proximity to each other, did the same type of jobs, shared the same poverty, and experienced the sights, sounds and smells of a Jewish cultural life. Their picture of 'Judaism' was very much painted by these experiences.

But times change, and people move on and hardly anyone still shares this particular range of cultural circumstances. People are more spread out, more affluent, more widely and openly educated. They have many positive experiences of the gentile world. In these new situations, they cannot transmit their perception of Judaism to their children, for it is predicated upon a world which has gone; a set of social conditions which do not exist now and will not exist again. Nostalgia does not move our children. Indeed, even nostalgia isn't even what it used to be! A culturally based phenomenon must die together with the social conditions that spawned it.


Jews throughout the ages have made the mistake of tying their Judaism to experiences that were transient. Those who have seen, appreciated and observed Judaism as a system of rules and concepts which transcend any specific location, time or environment have survived. Alas, those who have not have faded out of business.

Passover, and particularly the Seder, is a time when one can gain inspiration as to how to avoid this trap. The Seder is the original all-singing, all-dancing multimedia experience geared to handing real, undiluted Judaism in its pristine form to the next generation. And this is something we all want so dearly.

If we expect a child to understand Judaism, we must present its origins — we need to know from where we have come before we can appreciate where we are going. We must put ourselves in context, as a link in the above-mentioned chain, as both a receptacle and a transmitter of our tradition. If we expect our children to maintain separate identities as Jews, then we must tell them how we became separate, the goal of that distinction and why it is worth anything in this cosmopolitan world. The narrative of the Haggadah, its themes and symbols seek to achieve just this appreciation.

But of course, the intellectual realization of the value of Judaism is insufficient. We are not purely intellectual, but need emotional and physical experiences as well. Thus, the multimedia part of the Seder's genius. Compare reading a story to a child without pictures and reading the same story with pictures. The version with pictures penetrates far more deeply into the child's consciousness than the one without. Hence, the Seder plate, replete with symbolism, to illustrate the story. We smell the foods, savour or wince at their familiar tastes, sample their textures, hear the songs, see the symbols. We are completely engaged — mind, body and soul — in reliving and deepening our appreciation of this age-old tale.

In so doing, we transcend our time, culture and society and pass on (or should I write Passover) those values, concepts and messages which are the only way to maintain Judaism.

History, past and recent must compel us to the conclusion that any other attempt or methodology has failed and will fail. As I mentioned, I marvel at the insight and wisdom that the Torah and its sages devised to maintain itself.

In an astonishingly contemporary means of communication, the Seder uses all the weapons in the multimedia arsenal to project its message beautifully and clearly. If we tap into that wisdom, use our Passover prudently to progress and to reject culturalism, then we are assured of greater success in creating the Jewish future. It is my fervent hope that each one of you this Passover will be inspired to fill your Jewish lives with the eternal and immutable values of the Torah

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JWR contributor Rabbi Harvey Belovski is spiritual leader of Golders Green Synagogue in London. Comment by clicking here.

© 2004, Rabbi Harvey Belovski