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December 2, 2014

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

There's No App for Humanity

By David Suissa








JewishWorldReview.com | Every time I turn around, I hear about a new app that promises to make my life easier, get somewhere faster, find things quicker. This is the golden calf of the digital era: speed. We're desperate for any clever gizmo that will make things go quicker — including our brains.

But where is the app that will help me slow down and go deeper — the app that will help me appreciate complex ideas and encourage critical and creative thinking?

Apparently, that app will have to wait, because we have entered the post-thinking world.

In this blurry new world, the majority of people don't read, so much as scan and skip; they don't write, so much as tweet and text; they look down at their devices more than up at people's faces; and yes, they think, but they think very, very quickly.

"We live in a society inebriated by technology, and happily — even giddily — governed by the values of utility, speed, efficiency and convenience," author and literary editor Leon Wieseltier said in a speech to the graduating class of Brandeis University last month. "The technological mentality that has become the American worldview instructs us to prefer practical questions to questions of meaning — to ask of things not if they are true or false, or good or evil, but how they work."

These "astonishing" new machines, he said, "represent the greatest assault on human attention ever devised: They are engines of mental and spiritual dispersal, which make us wider only by making us less deep."

"In the digital universe," Wieseltier added, "knowledge is reduced to the status of information. Who will any longer remember that knowledge is to information as art is to kitsch —- that information is the most inferior kind of knowledge, because it is the most external?"



Our smartphones may well be dumbing us down. It's little wonder that one of the more popular subjects of conversation these days is technology. We're spending much of the time we save from time-saving apps kvelling over time-saving apps.

In defending that endangered species of academia called the humanities, Wieseltier asked: "Has there ever been a moment in American life when the humanities were cherished less, and has there ever been a moment in American life when the humanities were needed more?" He urged the graduates to "uphold the honor of a civilization that was founded upon the quest for the true and the good and the beautiful."

Wieseltier's address championed the deep intellectual pursuit that makes the humanities so crucial to society, but there is another, quieter pursuit that also suffers from our enslavement to technology.

It is the daily, personal pursuit of humanity in our own lives.


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How often in this techno-crazy world do we truly pay attention when we converse with someone? How often do we listen carefully to their words, feel their body language, respond thoughtfully, all with the expectation that our undivided attention is being reciprocated?

How many of these human moments can we really hope for when we all have grafted onto our hands these little weapons of mass distraction? When we're always on edge knowing that these weapons can detonate, at any moment, something more interesting or "urgent" than our real-life conversation — a news item about a tornado, a Facebook message from a prospective lover, an urgent text about dinner plans, an update on our Apple stock or simply a reminder from your daughter not to forget her ballet slippers.

It's easy, I know, to criticize excess. It's a given that we derive enormous value and pleasure from today's technology, and that pleasure, like any good drug, can easily lead vulnerable people into excess.

The problem arises when that excess, that abuse, becomes the norm. When the excess, and not just the technology, becomes ubiquitous.

Here's a simple test: Next time you're in a restaurant, if you notice that more than half of the customers are looking at their smartphones instead of at the people they're dining with, well, that's as good a sign as any of excess becoming the norm.

The golden calf that sucked in our gullible ancestors 3,300 +years ago at Sinai glittered like a precious metal. All that glitter evidently blinded the Israelites to the Divine and to what really matters.

Our modern-day gizmos and apps glitter, too, and they can blind us and dehumanize us if they become objects of worship. Don't kid yourself. Every generation has its glittering golden calves — it's just that in our generation, the fool's gold seems to invade every inch of our living space.

Maybe what we need, then, is an anti-app that will encourage us to look up at the faces of His children rather than down at our tiny screens; to look for ideas rather than icons; to roam in nature's space rather than cyberspace; to seek knowledge and not just information.

You can call it the humanity app.

It's an app that couldn't care less about speed or convenience. An app we can download from our own brains any time we want to liberate ourselves from machines.

An app that reminds those very machines that being an astonishing tool is not the same things as having a human heart.

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David Suissa is the founder and CEO of Suissa Miller Advertising, a $300 million marketing firm named "Agency of the Year" by USA Today that attracts clients like Heinz, Dole, McDonalds, Princess Cruises, Charles Schwab and Acura. Suissa's writings on advertising have been published in several publications including the Los Angeles Times and Advertising Age. He is also a columnist for the Jewish Journal in Los Angeles.



© 2013, David Suissa

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