In this issue
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. 1, 2006 / 9 Tishrei, 5767

Tony Bennett's ready to serenade, but where's mom?

By Mitch Albom

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There is a reason why I don't plan surprise parties. I am not very good at them. They're hard to keep secret.

And, with me, they usually backfire.

My most recent attempt came last week. It wasn't really the typical party — you know, where everyone jumps out and screams, "Surprise!" and you pray the person doesn't have a coronary — but it was close enough.

The occasion was my mother's birthday. Her age, let's just say, is in her 70s. She was in Detroit for a big charity benefit that we did to help the city's homeless. The event, at the Fox Theatre, featured, among other guests, Tony Bennett, one of my mother's favorite singers.

Since the night was tied to a new book ("For One More Day") I wrote about mothers and sons, I was flushed with the family spirit. So I broke my rule. I got this "great" idea for a surprise. (I put the word in quotes because "great" ideas always seem better in your head.) My "great" idea was that at some point during the night, I could somehow get my mother on stage and have Tony Bennett and the whole audience sing her "Happy Birthday."

Yeah, it's corny. But I love my mom.

Why not give her a thrill?


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So I went through all the planning. I coordinated a secret strategy. I chose the moment, the setting, the key personnel.

Here was how it was supposed to happen. At a "designated" point in the benefit, Tony Bennett would get ready to sing and I would introduce that. At the same time, a "designated" person would take my mother from the audience and lead her backstage. Then I would tell a "designated" funny story from my childhood, finish the story and, by that point, another "designated" person would send my mother out, and I would ask the audience to sing along with Tony in a rousing rendition of the birthday song!

We had it so well-planned.

So we reached the magic moment, near the end of the benefit. And I began to introduce Tony. And the "designated" someone got my mother from her seat and led her backstage.


Except that designated someone happened to be my wife. And she happened to ask my mother as they were walking backstage, "Do you need to use the bathroom?"

Now, there are certain questions I have discovered you should never ask a woman. One of them is "Do you need to use the bathroom?" They could have just COME OUT of the bathroom, and if you say, "Do you need to use the bathroom," they will answer, "Well, you know, maybe I should, just in case."

So by now, you probably can figure what happened. I tell the designated story. The audience is primed. Tony Bennett is ready. And I say something like, "Well, today is my mother's birthday and it would be great if we could bring her out here and sing happy birthday to her . . . " and the crowd rose to its feet and I announced, proudly and loudly, "So here she is, my mother . . . "

And nothing.

And the applause continued.

And nothing.

And the applause trickled down.

And nothing.

And then someone yelled — and this may have been a relative — "She's in the bathroom!"

And we all stood there, open-mouthed. I don't know how much time passed, but it felt long enough for Tony Bennett to retrieve his heart from San Francisco.

And then, just when I was about to start tap dancing, out steps my mother, in no particular hurry, walking across the stage as if she were wandering through a sale section at Bloomingdale's.

And we all sang "Happy Birthday."

And she was very happy.

The moral of the story is, if you are not good at surprises, don't plan them. And if you need to fetch a woman from the audience, don't send another woman. Send Tony Bennett.

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