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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 Oct. 15, 2003 /19 Tishrei, 5764

Passing on fasting

By Jane Eisner


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According to The New York Times, fasting is becoming chic. So will America and the Western world be embracing the message of Yom Kippur?


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | (KRT) Here's what I did when I fasted for about 25.5 hours last week:

I let myself settle into a rhythm that moved from prayer to rest to prayer again.

I fasted for myself, and I fasted as part of a community. The fasting focused my mind on what I am, on what we are together. The fast was a constant reminder of individual and communal identity.

And I also fasted for other people; those throughout the world for whom hunger and thirst are features of everyday life.

True, there was a moment or two during services on the morning of Yom Kippur when I wished for a large skim latte, hot, frothy, slightly sweetened. Even a cup of joe from the convenience store would have been welcome.

But enveloped by the prayerfulness and contemplation that defines this holiday, I rarely thought about food and drink. After pushing through the breakfast-time rumbling of my stomach, I found that the preoccupation with physical nourishment does move offstage as the search for spiritual nourishment takes hold.

Once a year, it's actually a pleasure to forgo the individual worry about the next meal and join in a communal act of contrition. Everything about Yom Kippur is in the plural, and that turns fasting into a joint exercise of discipline and bonding.

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We don't do this to lose weight, or "detox" the body of all sort of imagined, invisible intrusions. We don't pay thousands of dollars to expensive spas to eat virtually nothing at all, or to nutritional consultants who promise to coach their clients in the "art" of prolonged self-denial. We're not living on nut butter and apple-chard juice and pretending to be healthy.

Some folks do fast that way. Fasting is the newest, hippest diet trend. As the New York Times reported recently, "while millions of high-fat, low-carb devotees are gorging themselves on steak and butter, a small group of the body-conscious have opted to eat nothing at all."

I won't tar all such fasters with the same brush. Fasting can be done in moderation and for fairly good reasons outside of religion.

But the recent fasting craze is more than a little vain and vacuous.

While the rest of America wrestles with an obesity epidemic, a growing number of fashionable fasters are convinced they can become thinner and healthier by indulging in the kind of self-involved act that only a culture of privilege could support.

Two-thirds of the country is in denial about "how much they consume; a growing minority is in denial about what they "need to consume."

Fasting has been around since we foraged through forests, and not the grocery store, for sustenance. But the voluntary fast has usually been in service of something larger - as a regular religious ritual, or as specific penance for sin and wrongdoing. These fasts are meant to lift up the body, not to harm or change it, which is why they don't last forever and often end in communal celebration.

There's little communal about the latest fasting fad; it is, as the Times noted, an example of individualism gone haywire.

"Feeling out of shape, self-conscious, low on energy, or downright unhealthy? Do you want to improve your physical health, while heightening your clarity of consciousness and your spirituality, as well?" asks Fasting Center International (www.fasting.com), one of a zillion Web sites devoted to the cause. "Know that scientific juice-fasting enables you to accomplish all of these goals, and very quickly, without any interruption of your work, life, exercise or study routines."

And there are no dishes to wash!

This narcissistic trend assumes that our bodies are dirty, in need of detoxification and flushing, like a filthy toilet desperate for a good scrub. Biology is, in fact, much kinder, granting us bodies that generally work intelligently and efficiently, if we treat them with respect. Drinking only vegetable juice and sesame seed oil while continuing to smoke five cigarettes a day — as one New York model did for her "fast" — is not respectful. It's dangerous. Or stupid.

Our bodies aren't dirty organisms needing purification, although we'd all be better off if we drank water instead of Mountain Dew and ate portions smaller than the state of Montana.

When did moderation become so elusive?

About the time starvation became chic.

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Jane Eisner, a Philadelphia Inquirer columnist, is also a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. To comment, please click here.

© 2003, The Philadelphia Inquirer. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services