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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 Sept. 19, 2013 / 15 Tishrei, 5774

Hollyweird Goes Normal: Filmmakers suddenly rushing to the side of intact families

By Jennifer Graham




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Opponents of divorce had a surprising new ally this summer: Hollywood.

Normally the champion of the follow-your-bliss world view, filmmakers suddenly rushed to the side of intact families, not unlike a caped superhero venturing forth to save the world.

First on the scene: uber family man Brad Pitt, whose character in World War Z quit a high-pressure job so he could spend more time with his wife and kids. While under pressure to resume his old job, even as the world is being consumed by the zombies, Pitt's character, Gerry Lane, retorts, "I will not leave my family" with a vehemence that even the undead could respect.

Of course it turns out that Lane does have to leave his family — temporarily — as saving the world sometimes demands. But the words, and the ferocity with which they were uttered, stood out among the otherwise bland dialogue of the film. It's a mantra more parents should utter.

Then there was the astonishing festival film The Way, Way Back, which at times seems not so much as coming-of-age movie as a documentary made to discourage parents from contemplating divorce.

The film, which remains in theatres two months after its release, is about a 14-year-old boy enduring a summer vacation with his divorced mom and her new boyfriend. As is often the case in real life, divorce does not have a cameo role, but is a major player in everything that occurs.

One family-oriented review criticized the film's "acceptability of divorce," but in doing so, confused prevalence with acceptability. Divorce is everywhere in this film; it bludgeons not only the central character, but the families of his friends. But while the directors — one, a child of divorce — acknowledge the prevalence of divorce in the culture, they never condone it. Quite the contrary.


"It (the film) forcefully demonstrates the devastating effects of divorce on children as well as the damage caused by the absence of responsible adult care," said Joseph McAleer, reviewing "The Way, Way Back" for the Catholic News Service.

In the movie, the divorces are not recent. The mothers have "moved on," so to speak, and are building new lives. But their children still navigate around the cavernous hole which their fathers' departure left.

In one poignant scene, two teens sit on the beach together, talking about the awkwardness of post-divorce phone calls from their dads, and the ever-present fear they sense in their mothers: the fear that the children might prefer to live with their fathers.

And what the mothers fear is right: The kids do want to live with their dads. They want fantasy lives, bereft of homework and chores, and to escape the ickiness of watching their mothers cavort with men who are not their dads. When these unfamiliar men talk about "becoming a family," it only increases the kids' longing for the families they once had, and for the time when a family vacation meant both Mom and Dad were there, and they didn't have to scuttle back and forth between homes like ghost crabs. If Mom and Dad fight sometimes, it's all right, because Mom and Dad fighting sure beats Mom and Guy-Who's-Sleeping-With-My-Mom fighting, any day.

Hooray for Hollywood, that it gets this. Or at least, that some of Hollywood does.

The film industry has long championed strong single mothers. In animated films like Toy Story and Where the Wild Things Are, the dads are long gone, reduced to irrelevance, like the father of the cheetah cubs in African Cats. In these films, the absence of fathers is seen as an unavoidable pox of life, like middle school and acne, something that just makes you tough.

"Dads leave. No need to be a pussy about it," says Robert Downey Jr.'s character in Ironman 3, which sounds like great advice until you realize that it emits from a narcissistic, juvenile playboy who saves the world, yes, but leaving a great deal of destruction as he goes about it. In fact, collapsing a child's world, and then telling him to be a man about it, is one of the cruelest things divorcing parents can do.

In The Way, Way Back, the teen-aged Duncan stands in a stairwell and watches his mother fight with her boyfriend in the kitchen. Conspicuously placed over the boy's shoulder is a poster with the words of John F. Kennedy Jr. : "One man can make a difference, and every man should try."

Wise words, but not as wise as Yoda's in "The Empire Strikes Back": "Do or do not. There is no try."

To stay together, stop "trying", and repeat after "Z": I will not leave my family.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on Jennifer Graham's column by clicking here.


Previously:


Sept. 12, 2013: Let there be night: Has unnecessary lighting become a new form of home invasion?

August 28, 2013: The NFL has become the champion of women that feminists never could




© 2013, Jennifer Graham

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