May 24, 2013
May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
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Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
The Grass is Always Greener After the Apocalypse
Rabbi Yonason Goldson
Confronting the moral quandary of man against nature
Well, there goes the neighborhood.
That's what I thought when I came home to find my next-door neighbor cutting his grass - for the first time since autumn. This was bad news. With the front yard of my other neighbor already short-cropped and neatly clipped, my own bedraggled lawn now stood out in sharp, unpretty relief.
For some mysterious reason, the zoysia grass that dominates my front lawn is the last in the neighborhood to awaken each year from dormancy. Even worse, a variety of other grasses shoot up energetically with the outbreak of spring, speckling my lawn in malignant clumps that make the zoysia appear all the more anemic. In contrast to the golf course-like greens on either side of me, my patch of stringy yellow turf seemed to beckon for a rough-cut, whitewashed sign proclaiming CONDEMNED!
My yard guys had yet to appear after the winter hiatus and hadn't returned my phone calls. Were they out of town? Had they given up yard work for house painting or auto repair? It didn't matter. Only one course of action remained: I would have to cut the grass myself.
My sensibilities cried out against the wrongness of it all. The Creator did not plant grass upon His earth that it should be cut. He intended that it should grow, that it should go to seed, that it should produce new grass, and that the cycle should continue, uninterrupted by the meddling hands of Man. Cutting the lawn was a symbol of the same intrusive practices responsible for the destruction of the ozone layer and global warming, for deforestation and the extinction of new species every day, for Japanese kudzu smothering the southwest and Venezuelan hyacinths choking the Everglades. It all starts here, hacking down new growth sown by the Divine Hand to conform to some arbitrary aesthetic mean, branding every bayou a quagmire to justify turning it into a landfill or a parking lot. Was I now to become a part of this?
"How about doing mine when you finish yours?" I called to my neighbor. Let him be the one to destroy the planet.
"You're welcome to borrow my mower when I finish," he said.
Terrific. Out of the frying pan, into the quagmire.
Should I leave my lawn uncut to protest the destruction of the world's ecosystem? No, my neighbors wouldn't understand that I was making a political statement. Even worse, I would likely be cited by the city for crimes against civilization.
And, worst of all, a small inner voice insisted that as an upstanding community member, as a father and a teacher, I had an obligation to uphold standards and preserve the status quo for the general welfare of the collective.
My neighbor finished. "You want to use it now?" he asked.
Of course not, you infidel. But I didn't say that: he would only have thought me rude. Instead I just smiled and nodded.
He showed me how to operate the mower then went inside, mercifully, so not to behold me in my degradation.
You know what? It wasn't so bad. I even felt a kind of thrill as I assumed mastery over nature, subduing the power of the untamed wilderness, imposing order upon chaos. In fifteen minutes, the lawn looked great. I felt great. Maybe I should buy shares in John Deere. My only worry was that my wife might now expect me to mow the grass every two weeks. Well, maybe she wouldn't notice.
Half an hour later, as I was throwing the baseball with my son on our newly manicured front yard, my wife pulled into the driveway.
"Honey," she cried. "The lawn looks great. You cut it yourself?"
Rats. She noticed.
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JWR contributor Rabbi Yonason Goldson teaches at Block Yeshiva High School in St. Louis, MO, where he also writes and lectures. Visit him at http://torahideals.wordpress.com .
© 2009, Rabbi Yonason Goldson