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 June 12, 2014 / 14 Sivan, 5774

What Lurks in a Child's Online World?

By Froma Harrop

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What is the most shocking takeaway from the story of the two 12-year-olds who repeatedly stabbed their friend — nearly to death — on the imagined orders of a fantasy character?

Is it the preteens' apparent disconnect from the truth of what they were doing? One of the assailants childishly described her actions to police in their comfy Milwaukee suburb as "stabby, stab, stab."

Is it the girls' seeming belief in the reality of a cartoonish character known as Slenderman, a faceless being in a tie, jacket and hat? The girls reportedly found him on a harmless-fun-sounding website called Creepypasta Wiki.

Slenderman resembles the Invisible Man, played with evil lunacy by Claude Rains in a 1933 movie. "Slendy," as his "followers" call him, exists in an online subculture in which fans elaborate on a legend. (His creator, Eric Knudsen, says he's "deeply saddened" that his character inspired this terrible crime.)

Or is the most alarming part of the story that parents in Waukesha had never even heard of Slenderman, much less that this fictional presence had become an obsession of their sixth-graders?

The most jarring item in this list has to be this last one.

Heartless crimes fueled by delusion are not new. In the '70s, the infamous "Son of Sam" shot and killed six people in New York, he said, on the orders of a neighbor's dog.

From what we know so far in the Wisconsin case, the girls, charged as adults with attempted murder after stabbing their friend 19 times, haven't shown they understand the seriousness of their actions.

One told police in a fairy tale cadence: "The bad part of me wanted her to die. The good part of me wanted her to live."

And as already noted, there isn't anything especially realistic about Slenderman. He's not so terrifying as the vampire Dracula, who sent the "three sisters" to prey on his victims. And he's less plausible than Bigfoot, the hairy humanoid said to lurk in the woods surrounding every Scout campfire.

What makes this case very modern is that the parents seemed unable to act as intermediaries between their children and their children's darkest fantasies. And how could they when the imaginings were hidden in their kids' online lives?

The fairy tale goblins of yore were passed on through books the parents read — or at least put on their shelves. When the Creature From the Black Lagoon appeared on the television screen the family shared, the parents could say, "He's not real."

In a paper-based past, evidence of an unhealthy fixation, written or drawn, would be found strewn around a child's bedroom. There would be comic books. Young people might reveal their preoccupation in semi-public phone calls, not messages quickly tapped out and silently sent by electronic means.

I offer no answers here. It's hard to expect parents — busy in their working lives and their own online adventures — to monitor the every interaction of children approaching adolescence. And how many could find these deep cyber-recesses if they wanted to?

Furthermore, how many would have seen danger in a fascination with such a silly character as Slenderman? (Some might have seen value in the creative activities he seemed to spawn.)

As I said, no easy answers here. These days, we are communicating in less physically public ways. Banning teens from participating in the online culture would seem impractical, unfair and a handicap to their development.

Perhaps this is just a repeat of those rare but awful crimes involving children in the past, with a 21st-century update. Perhaps. But these girls should be studied carefully.

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