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

In post-Obama America, small inroads with blacks would be big for GOP

By James Rosen and Kevin Thibodeaux

JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Down in Monroe, La., hard by Black Bayou Lake, U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander wonders why Republican leaders in Washington haven't sought his advice on their initiative to improve the party's anemic standing among African-American voters.

Compared with his Republican peers in the House of Representatives, Alexander is unusually adept at drawing black votes.

"It's something they should have been doing to begin with," Alexander said of his party's new outreach to black voters.

Alexander's congressional district is one-third black, the largest share among the 234 House districts held by Republicans — none of whom is African-American.

Nationwide, nine in 10 black voters chose Democrats over Republicans in congressional races in November, and 93 percent of African-Americans supported President Barack Obama over GOP nominee Mitt Romney, exit polls showed.

Alexander drew 43 percent of his African-American constituents' votes, four times more than the typical Republican lawmaker gets, on his way to winning easy re-election in November, according to a McClatchy analysis of the outcome in 93 virtually all-black precincts in his district.

"You would think (the GOP) leadership would recognize that someone who gets 78 percent of the vote in a 33 percent black district might ask me how I do that, but you're the first person who's asked," Alexander told McClatchy.

Eleven of the 234 Republican House seats are in districts where at least one-quarter of eligible voters are African-Americans, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. Those districts are all in the South, spread among Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Virginia.

McClatchy was able to obtain November 2012 precinct-level election results, broken down by race, for six of the 11 districts. McClatchy analyzed 193 precincts with an average of 94 percent African-American voters in those six districts.

Support for the white Republican lawmakers among black voters in the 11 districts varies widely, from Alexander's 43 percent and the 30 percent standing enjoyed by fellow Louisianan Rep. John Fleming, to virtually no support — in the 1 percent range — for Reps. Tom Rice of South Carolina and Martha Roby of Alabama, according to the McClatchy analysis of 187 African-American precincts in their districts.

Alexander and the other lawmakers who represent those districts have some ideas for their GOP colleagues about how to court black voters: Go into their communities, avoid inflammatory language, don't come across like a big shot and answer all questions forthrightly no matter how tough.

"I don't think you'll find anybody at my town hall meetings who thought that I used harsh rhetoric," said Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina.

While Republicans' outreach to Hispanics has received broad attention of late, the Republican National Committee, led by chairman Reince Priebus, has launched a less-heralded bid to break Democrats' electoral stranglehold on African-American votes.

Under Priebus' new motto "Open for Repairs," the initiatives are part of Republicans' broader rebranding effort following Obama's decisive defeat of Romney with strong support from women, youth, blacks, Hispanics and Asians.

"Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the party represents, and many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country," a task force of GOP leaders concluded in a March report.

As they begin to look toward the post-Obama era, even modest improvements among African-American voters could bring Republicans big electoral gains.

President George W. Bush got 16 percent of the Ohio black vote in 2004, helping him carry the decisive state in his narrow re-election win. Only 3 percent of African-Americans in Ohio voted for Romney in November, by contrast, and the former Massachusetts governor had drop-offs among blacks in Florida, Virginia and other swing states that he lost.

Republicans, though, face formidable challenges in their quest to increase support among African-Americans:

—Their intense criticism of Obama is viewed by many blacks as personal and hostile, likely offsetting any steps they take to build goodwill with African-Americans.

"Today it's racial because you have a black man in the White House and they are determined to make him a failure," said James Bradford, a black constituent of Alexander in Jonesboro, La. "They are attacking every program that affects black folks. That may not be their intention, but that's what they're doing."

—The GOP-controlled House of Representatives has voted 37 times to repeal what Republicans deride as Obamacare, even though the Senate Democratic majority makes those votes purely symbolic. Voting dozens of times to repudiate Obama's signature legislative achievement strikes blacks as political overkill.

—Most congressional Republicans' desire to slash government spending has led them to target safety net programs that disproportionately impact African-Americans because a larger proportion of blacks than whites are poor.

David Bositis, who has tracked black voting for two decades while doing extensive polling and focus groups among African-Americans, said Republican officeholders in the South are setting their party back among blacks for years by blocking the enactment of the 2010 landmark health insurance law.

"Black support for Medicaid expansion is 90 percent, and yet these state legislatures and governors are not going to expand Medicaid," said Bositis, an analyst with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington. "There will be dead black people because of them."

The Republican National Committee task force recommended developing "best practices of Republicans who were successfully elected in districts with a high population of African-American voters."

That description fits Alexander, a sixth-term congressman who suggests one good practice: Stop using rhetoric that offends many blacks.

As Exhibit A, Alexander offered Romney's "47 percent" campaign claim that most Obama supporters view themselves as victims who are on the government dole because they don't take responsibility for their lives.

"I supported Romney, but I was very disappointed he said that," Alexander said. "It hurt all of us (Republicans). That's one reason the Republican Party gets in trouble sometimes — assuming that if you are in need of help, you are asking for something you don't deserve."

Republicans don't expect a mass political conversion of African-Americans anytime soon. But especially once Obama leaves office, they see an opening for the party of Lincoln. It must start, party leaders say, with baby steps: Republican candidates going into black communities, explaining their positions and asking for African-Americans' votes.

In South Carolina, Mulvaney didn't fare nearly as well as Alexander among the blacks who make up one-quarter of his constituents, the ninth-biggest share among all Republican House members. Mulvaney drew just 4 percent of their votes in November, according to a McClatchy analysis of 19 heavily African-American precincts in his district.

Yet Mulvaney has attended town hall meetings hosted by the local branch of the NAACP, most recently in February, when he spent two hours answering questions from a mostly black audience of about 60 people. "I'm not doing this to try and get votes," Mulvaney told McClatchy afterward. "I'm doing this because these are people I represent."

Melvin Poole, a tax-preparation firm owner and head of the Rock Hill, S.C., branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Mulvaney gained some respect and may have picked up a few votes.


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People were impressed that the second-term lawmaker walked into Freedom Temple Ministries church in Rock Hill without aides or notes, carrying only a bottle of water, and then spent so much time there.

"He got some real tough questions — about the Affordable Care Act, about the budget cuts, about jobs," Poole recalled. "He didn't cut us off and run out of the building. He stayed until every question that anybody had was asked and answered. He was really down to earth. It was like standing next to a guy in the park and just talking."

Mulvaney was surprised in January when he attended Obama's second inauguration at the U.S. Capitol and a reporter asked him why he was there, given that most of his fellow Republican lawmakers were absent.

"That's absurd," Mulvaney responded. "Forty-five percent of the people I represent voted for this gentleman, so I'm going to come and represent them at this very important proceeding."

In Mississippi, Rep. Gregg Harper was the only one of three white Republican House members who attended an emotional memorial service last month at Arlington National Cemetery for Medgar Evers on the 50th anniversary of the civil rights leader's murder.

"What happened in that murder was a great tragedy," Harper told McClatchy. "It's part of our history — not one that we're proud of, but to see where we've come is pretty remarkable. And I just wanted to be there to pay my respects."

Echoing Mulvaney, Harper added: "I didn't do that hoping I might pick up minority voters. I did it because I thought it was the right thing to do."

Some Southern states' responses to the Supreme Court's June 25 decision weakening the 1965 Voting Rights Act also might hinder Republicans' progress with African-Americans.

Republican leaders in several Southern states covered by the high court ruling, including Texas and North Carolina, have indicated they will move forward with voter ID laws that the Justice Department or federal courts had blocked or restricted. Leading civil rights groups argue that such laws depress the black vote by requiring driver's licenses or other forms of identification that relatively fewer African-Americans possess.

"It is hardly reaching out to blacks to push these harmful laws forward, particularly since there is no voter fraud that needs to be addressed with drastic legislation that disenfranchises African-Americans," said Garrard Beeney, a New York lawyer who represented the NAACP and other groups in the South Carolina voter ID case.

In Washington, the GOP rebranding task force recommended that the Republican National Committee hire black communications and political operatives to head the African-American outreach, which it has done. The GOP leaders made a slew of other proposals:

  • Establish ties with the NAACP and other civil rights groups.

  • Recruit party members at historically black colleges.

  • Develop a training program for African-American Republican candidates.

  • Create a database of black leaders.

  • Promote black staffers "who should be visible and involved in senior political and budget decisions."

  • Assemble a "surrogate list" of African-Americans to appear in black news media.

For Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican and possible 2016 presidential candidate, these steps are all well and good, but he's focused on more concrete measures.

Paul and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., are pushing a bill to authorize judges to disregard mandatory minimum sentences for an array of federal crimes, many of them drug-related. Such sentences, which give judges no leeway in setting punishment even for relatively minor crimes, have helped swell the country's inmate population, with a disproportionate impact on young black men.

Paul is developing separate legislation to prevent federal grants to police and sheriff departments from being tied to arrest rates, which he says leads officers to detain a disproportionate number of African-Americans.

"We think it's at the very least implicitly racist, and we're going to put a stop to it," Paul told McClatchy. Mulvaney, the South Carolina Republican, has learned to vet his language closely when speaking with African-American and Hispanic constituents — and to free it from Republican ideological baggage.

"In those ethnic groups, the word 'community' has a very powerful cultural meaning," he said. "To many white Republicans, we respond to that word as a synonym for the government. We sit here, and we extol the role of the individual over the role of the community, because many of us equate community with government. And I think by doing that, we alienate some folks to our message."

Mulvaney, though, thinks it will take a "transformational figure" to draw significant numbers of blacks to the Republican Party.

Mulvaney believes that such a figure will have to be an African-American. He names Sen. Tim Scott, a fellow South Carolinian who is the only black Republican in Congress, and J.C. Watts, the former college football star and lawmaker from Oklahoma.

Scott dislikes focusing on the color of his skin, much like Obama. He does, though, believe that his personal story of having risen from an impoverished childhood to a prominent place in American politics could gain him an audience that other Republicans don't have.

"It's really taking the time to share my personal journey, which has a lot of roadblocks, a lot of hurdles and a lot of failure, and connecting that to the American dream and how it is available to all of us," Scott said in an interview.

"And perhaps if pain and failure lead forward, I have an opportunity to share that with others," Scott said. "I hope to be part of bringing that message to (South Carolina) and maybe one day to the nation."

While Watts remains a loyal Republican, he's skeptical that his party's new push for African-American loyalists will have much staying power.

"The key is to put teeth into it and to be real about it," Watts said last month while attending the North Carolina Republican Convention in Charlotte. "I'll believe it when I see it."

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