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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 July 17, 2012/ 27 Tamuz, 5772

The dying art of cursive

By Tom Purcell




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I'm torn about it if you want to know the truth.

I speak of the death of cursive handwriting, which I read about recently in the Atlantic Wire.

As it goes, many American schools are phasing out lessons in cursive. There is a waning need for it in the modern era, some argue, and the classes take too much time.

The origin of cursive dates back centuries. It's the result of technology innovations using inkwells and quill pens made from goose feathers.

Since the ink dripped when you lifted the quill from the paper, it made sense to connect letters and words together in one flowing line — and the art of cursive writing began.

My mother and father, now in their 70s, were taught to master cursive in the 1940s.

Their handwriting is beautiful still. It is a joy to watch them artfully write out a check.

I grew up in the 1970s, the era of Bic ballpoint pens. Such pens didn't leak and, technically, didn't require cursive writing. But the good nuns of St. Germaine Catholic School still made us master it.

They'd be horrified to see the chicken scratch I write now, though I have an excuse.

I am a product of the electronic era. I do most of my writing on a computer. I've become very fast at keying in my thoughts. When I write by hand, though, I am so agitated by the slowness, I rush it along. My signature looks like surrealist painter Salvador Dali threw up.

Now the debate on whether to continue teaching cursive is growing.

"With technology pervasive in society and fewer documents that need a cursive signature, some educators say there is no need to bother kids with the tedious, time-consuming lessons on cursive," says The Sun of Baltimore.

Curses to that, say others.

Katie Zezima argues in The New York Times that if people are not taught cursive, they'll be more at risk of forgery; printing in block letters is much easier to replicate.

And the development of fine motor skills will be thwarted, she adds.

Besides, she asks, how will people unfamiliar with cursive read historical documents, such as the U.S. Constitution?

That's probably not the best argument in favor of cursive. Fewer people read and abide by the Constitution much anymore.

I'm certainly a proponent of moving forward with innovation and the arguments against teaching cursive have their points.

Heck, I am sitting in a coffee shop writing this column on a laptop computer. Thanks to the Internet and wireless technologies, I am able to run a communications business from anywhere on Earth. I have virtually no need for cursive handwriting.

Then again, I worry that in our eagerness to advance, we will toss out the baby with the bath water.

One of my most prized possessions is a letter written by my father's father in 1924 consoling a woman whose mother had just died. He wrote the letter when he was 21 (he died at 34 when my father was only 3).

I was given the letter in 1997 by the son of the woman my grandfather wrote the letter to. I was struck by how similar my grandfather's style is to my father's — how similar his tone and style are to mine — and moved by the beauty and artfulness of his signature.

I can't imagine a world in which people no longer have a cursive signature — and handwritten letters are no longer left behind for future generations to cherish.

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