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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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

Removing the perfectionist's mask

By Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald



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What you need to know about those who are never satisfied with themselves


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: Our son is a very bright boy who seems to be constantly down on himself for not being at the top of his class. We don't want to wait till this develops into a serious problem, what can we do?


Your child is suffering from low self-esteem that has its source in what I call the "perfection syndrome." The perfection syndrome works as follows: Everybody needs to be and wants to be successful in life. Everybody in life wants to "make it."

When people today are asked to name a successful businessman, eighty percent will answer "Bill Gates," because he "made it" and he is the biggest. Our concept of success is the biggest and the best. Let's explore the danger and unhealthiness of this train of thought. Although we Jews who follow Torah should not see this as it is perceived by the rest of the world, unfortunately this outlook permeates every part of society and affects us as well.

Forbes publishes a list of the hundred richest men in the world; whoever is number 101 is passť - he didn't make it. Western civilization has created a world of depressed losers, because western civilization only accepts the pinnacle, the top-of-the-top, as being successful. Everybody else is less.

In society at large, achievement means that a person is going to be judged by the results of his efforts. There are degrees in status represented by income, money, wealth. Thus a person's status is labeled by what he does. You have to do something in order to achieve status. In that society, an accomplishment has no value for its own sake. There is no understanding that we do something just because it is the right thing to do, just because it is good to do. Our efforts have to be measured and quantified and labeled in a way that affirms that I am better and more successful than the next guy.

Or consider the Olympics. A man can spend ten to fifteen years of his life training for this event. He becomes one of the ten fastest runners in his country. He goes to the Olympics and he competes to make it into the preliminaries. He is now one of the fifteen fastest runners in the world. Then the fifteen best in the world compete against each other and the "winner" is the one who becomes Number 1. He wins the gold medal; the second runner-up gets compensation, the silver medal; the third, not so bad, at least he's in the winners' circle. The man who comes in fourth is a loser. Contemplate this thought. He is the fourth fastest athlete in the world, yet he is a loser.

Eating disorders, which have become so common, are fed by the "look" promoted in the media. Young people feel they need to look like the people they see in the media. The civilization we live in has created an extremely unhealthy, distorted, demented, depressed world. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans 18 years and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year(1). Western civilization has created a sad society, a society of losers.

When we accept that our child has to be the "best," we are creating a sad society, because that is not the Torah's view. The Torah's view is that you have to be the best that you can be. It is not a competition. You are who you are, and you deal with what you have, and you become what you can become, and you don't have to compete with anyone. Sure, there are people to learn from, but there is no one to compete with. That is the absolute basis of an authentic Jewish education and it is the absolute foundation of avodas Hashem (service of the Divine).

Because our society has become so achievement-oriented, the secret of our being able to teach our children properly and raise them to be well-balanced adults in today's world is first learning to accept ourselves for who we are and stop the competition. Stop trying to become something we are not and be happy with who we are! Being happy with who we are does not mean that we do not need to continue growing and developing. It means self-acceptance. Accepting ourselves and understanding that there is a long way to go for everybody. Every one of us has a long way to go.

Self-acceptance means accepting where we are and knowing that we have to move on as individuals, and not in relation to a comparison with others. We don't need to look around constantly and say, "The world does not accept me. Society does not accept me. This neighbor looks at me one way, that one looks at me in another way." All that doesn't make a difference. Once you accept yourself, you have a place in society. When you do not accept yourself, you do not have a place in society and your children do not have a place in society. Wanting to grow and move forward is very important.

Take it step by step. Start moving in the direction you know you need to go and don't let yourself feel frustrated. The Divine knows and understands your battles and challenges and He will help you get to where you need to go as long as you are trying.

Anyone who wants to grow must understand that we cannot feel down when we perceive that there are still battles before us. We cannot look at others and think, "Where are they and where am I?" Even thirty years later we will still need to remember this and continue to battle and continue to move forward. Sometimes we'll have greater success and sometimes less, but we must remember that the light at the end of the tunnel is not a place we need to reach but a continuous direction we need to move in. The only thing we will be judged for is for what we did not try to do, not for our success or lack thereof. Success IS the process!

It is time we teach our children the secret of self-acceptance. It is time we make sure that they know and understand that the only person whose progress we care about is theirs. From the youngest age we need to inculcate our belief in them as individuals and our pride in their success at each step forward, irrelevant of anyone else.

Does this sound too idealistic? Does this sound as if I am not living in this world and I do not know about reality? If you think so, then you have to work on your own self-acceptance and you will find it difficult to accept your children for who they are and who they are not.

I am aware that this is a tall order and intend to clarify this even further in future column.


(1) Kessler RC, Chiu WT, Demler O, Walters EE. Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry, 2005 June 62(6):617-27

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Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald is founding principal of Me'ohr Bais Yaakov Teacher's Seminary in Jerusalem, and is a popular lecturer and consultant on education and parenting. He is the author, most recently, of "Preparing Your Child for Success".

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© 2008, Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald

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