First Person

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

This Mother's Day, Think Long Term

By Judy Gruen

The World In Eye

It shouldn't be all about us, observes a mom of many | When my daughter was eight years old, she marched over and asked, "Why did you ever want to become a mother? It's such hard work!"

I told her the truth: job security.

While all kinds of jobs from technical support to web design are being outsourced to Mumbai or the Philippines, motherhood is one job that requires that you Be Here Now. It also demands emotional and physical stamina, a bit of wisdom, and a sense of humor. A degree in supply chain management is a bonus, especially if you have more than two children.

Of course, before I mentioned the job security I offered what I hoped was a more age-appropriate answer. I told her that motherhood is the most important and wonderful job in the world, even though it is hard at times.

After our daughter arrived following three sons, we had four children all under six years old. Our blessed bounty was my answer to the well meaning relative who brought me flowers just hours after I had given birth to our first child and who warned, "I hope you won't be back here next year."

This stung, especially given my post-partum hormonal disarray, but I understood her fear. She worried that I, as an observant Jew, would end up driving one of those fifteen-seater vans before long, wild-eyed from lack of sleep and driven to distraction by a passel of young 'uns.

Living in a close-knit Jewish community, each new baby was a cause for joy, even if some relatives rolled their eyes at the announcement of another birth. Moms like me benefitted enormously from the support — logistical and emotional — of a community that celebrated new life while acknowledging the financial, psychological and physical challenges of raising larger families. Today, while most people would readily agree that motherhood is a vitally important job, outside of religious communities fewer women are availing themselves of the opportunity, or limiting themselves to one or two children at most.


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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the fertility rate among women in the U.S. fell for the second year in a row in 2012, to a record low of 1,880.5 births per 1,000 women. Also for the second year in a row, 40.7 percent of the babies born in the United States were born to unmarried mothers.

Kids are hard work. Babies are endlessly demanding; toddlers require a twenty-four hour security detail to protect them from their relentless curiosity. Parents of grade school children are corralled into helping with homework and with science projects with names such as "Attack of the Killer Cabbage Clones." Adolescents' extra-curricular activities require complicated shuttle services, and teenagers can be intimidating, surly beasts, challenging parents to love them most when they are most unlovable.

Too many parents emphasize the wrong things, such as the prestige of their kid's college, rather than working to instill spiritual or moral development. Obsessed with their kids' self-esteem, many parents and educators diminish that very self-esteem by giving meaningless awards, perks and bonuses.

Maybe this is one reason why more women are opting for dogs over babies.

"I'd rather have a dog over a kid," Sara Foster, 30, told the New York Post for a story that appeared April 10. Foster noted that her French bulldog, Maddie, brings her more joy than a child. "It's just less work and, honestly, I have more time to go out. You . . . don't have to get a baby sitter."

No, you don't need a babysitter, and you also don't get to enjoy watching such miraculous things as language development, the slow (sometimes agonizingly slow) process of watching a child mature and discover his or her talents, strengths and purpose. Whatever happened to that old adage, "According to the effort is the reward?"

At times when chaos seemed to reign in our own home with our own growing brood, my husband was fond of saying, "Think long term." We repeated it like a mantra as a reminder that children will outgrow almost every difficult phase, even those nail-biting teenaged years, which in this generation seem to linger into the early twenties. Happily, I have yet to meet a kid who didn't eventually learn to like using cutlery, take showers, and accept most other habits of civilized life.

It's no surprise that our nation's sinking birth rate coincides with a decline in religious affiliation and number of marriages.

Having children is a statement of hope for the future. Many studies have noted that secularists often view the world as a bleak place, seeing injustices at every turn, and are reluctant to introduce children into what they see as a hopelessly toxic environment. Religious believers, on the other hand, are more likely to also see hope amid the problems, and the promise of ultimate peace and justice from a benevolent Creator.

With our children now ages twenty to twenty-five, and with a seventeen-month-old granddaughter, we now look back and see that the two greatest gifts we were able to give our children were a sense of self and purpose through the framework of religious values, and our solid, happy marriage. These things give children a sense of security, and the message that they are not the apex of creation. There is something above and beyond them as individuals.

Raising kids is messy, expensive, and will rob you of sleep on and off for years. But when a mother and father are patient with the process, think long term, offer the stability of timeless values, and model what a loving and supportive marriage looks like, the returns on this greatest of all investments can be astounding.

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JWR contributor Judy Gruen is the author, most recently, of "Till We Eat Again: A Second Helping" (CreateSpace, 2012) and an adviser with, an M.B.A. admissions consultancy. Read more of her work on

© 2014, Judy Gruen