JWR Schticks and groans

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 May 19, 2004 / 28 Iyar, 5764

To die for

By Bob Alper

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It's ain't easy being a Reform rabbi and a comic. Meet the world's only practicing clergyman doing stand-up comedy... intentionally.

http://www.jewishworldreview.com | The funeral director asked me to officiate, and since I didn't know the deceased, I compiled information for the eulogy through long distance calls. I added the final details just before the service, during a brief meeting with people who'd only minutes earlier emerged from planes and long automobile rides.

The survivors had assembled from far away locations, and although the family room where we sat was filled with sadness, it was impossible to miss the undercurrent of joy and love. They had come together to celebrate a long life and a gentle death. "Be honest in the eulogy," one daughter instructed me. "Nothing maudlin. You can see what kind of people we are."

And so, looking at the hundreds who had gathered for the funeral, I described Rose as she had been portrayed by the people who cherished her: "Rose was a loving wife. A devoted mother. An adoring grandmother. She was not a very good cook."

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The congregation responded with a collective laugh. And why not? They knew Rose well. And as I spoke, they remembered the comical pride she always took in what she swore was her congenital inability to cook. That was the Rose they treasured.

Other times the humor in a funeral home has been more internal and private, when I've heard words that had me guffawing under an appropriately serious outer- expression. Like the time a close friend of the deceased was asked to speak in tribute. I introduced him, then sat just off to the side of the pulpit. The man walked slowly up the three stairs, opened a sheaf of notes and placed them on the lectern, and solemnly began, "We have gathered together to utilize Phil…"

Rabbis are not immune from fumbling a word or two. Especially when reciting verses that have become, perhaps, too familiar. On this occasion I was sitting in the pew while a colleague officiated. I quietly decided that the fellow had spent just a little too much time in Philadelphia when I heard him recite these words while reading the Twenty-third Psalm: "Yo though I walk…er…yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…"

But my self-control meet its most formidable challenge not in a funeral home but of all places, in a supermarket. This was a trying moment. I was in the midst of pondering that critical choice, smooth or crunchy peanut butter, when an earnest looking gentleman passed by, then deftly turned his shopping cart 180 degrees and rolled up to mine, head to head.

"You're Rabbi Alper, aren't you?" he said, and continued, "I'm not a member of a synagogue, but I wonder if you could help me with a small problem." I nodded in the affirmative. And here was where my ability to keep a straight face should have won me an Oscar. "You see, Rabbi, my brother died last week, and I want to say Kaddish for him. So, Rabbi, could you do me a favor, and write it out for me fanatically?"

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Bob Alper, the world's only practicing clergyman doing stand-up comedy . . . intentionally, is the author of Life Doesn't Get Any Better Than This: The Holiness of Little Daily Dramas and A rabbi confesses. To go to his web site, click here. Comment by clicking here.


© 2004, Bob Alper