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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

The Twilight Zone's Jewish soul

By Alan H. Luxenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I used to teach a course on The Twilight Zone in a religious school program at the local synagogue. A science fiction television series that premiered a half-century ago this month, it ran from 1959 to 1964. Even today the anthology series is shown worldwide, sometimes in day-long marathons.


It is a show I watched as a child but it is only now that I have begun to realize how meaningful a program it really was. The show was preoccupied with man's place in the universe, with threats to freedom and individuality, and with man's inhumanity to man. With such preoccupations, I figured there must be a lot of grist there for the religious school mill.


When I started re-viewing early episodes with an eye to determining what can be used in the classroom, I noticed things that must have escaped my attention as a child.


One episode was called "The Obsolete Man". It tells the story of a librarian condemned to death for being obsolete in some future world where books have ceased to exist. (Apparently,they tended to stimulate too much independent thought). The librarian (or former librarian) responds to the prosecutor's case by insisting that "I am not obsolete. I am a human being. I have dignity."


In his final moments of life, the librarian reads from the Bible (a book long banned by the State, for the State had proved that G-d does not exist). The book lover takes comfort specifically in King David's 23rd Psalm ("The Lord is my Shepherd . . ."), a prayer that Jews and Christians recite to help them find solace at times of tragedy.


While watching this episode I was reminded that if the Bible stands for anything, it underscores the view that no human being is ever obsolete -- no matter how diminished physically, mentally, or financially. This means the aged, the terminally ill, or anyone who cannot fend for him or herself (including in my mind, but more controversially, the fetus in the womb).


Speaking of obsolescence, an episode called "The Trade-Ins" depicts an elderly couple who visit the New Life Corporation and find that they can have their old and infirm bodies replaced with new vigorous (and good-looking) versions while retaining their memories and identities. The one catch is that each body costs $5,000 and must be paid with cash in advance. The couple only has $5,000 and can, therefore, afford only one new body rather than two. The man has been in excruciating pain for some years, so the couple agree that he will replace his body while the woman retains hers. After the operation, they quickly realize that with only one of them so artificially revitalized, they would no longer be able to share the opportunity to finish out their lives together, and so the man has the operation reversed. They walk out of the New Life Corporation reciting Robert Browning's famous lines "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made."


These famous lines begin beautiful poem entitled, astonishingly, "Rabbi Ben Ezra." But who is Rabbi Ben Ezra? He was an 11th century Spanish rabbi, poet, and mathematician who even has a lunar crater named in his memory. And why is a 19th century English poet, who vacillated between Christianity and atheism, writing these lines in the voice of an ancient rabbi? It turns out that the rabbi's wife died at a young age, as did two of their children. He must have been so deeply embittered by life's tragedies. Not so, according to Browning:


"Our times are in His hand
Who saith A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust G-d: see all, nor be afraid! . . . .


Then, welcome each rebuff
That turns earth's smoothness rough,
Each sting that bids nor sit nor stand but go!
Be our joys three-parts pain!
Strive, and hold cheap the strain;
Learn, nor account the pang; dare, never grudge the throe!"


As for Rabbi Ben Ezra, he helped bring the news of Indian numerals (numbers 1 through 10) to Spain and then to the rest of Europe, which is why he is one of 300 mathematicians for whom a lunar crater is named! We call Indian numerals Arabic numerals because Spain, Europe, and the world got hold of them by way of the Arab world!


All this information I relayed to my students because of one verse in a poem by Robert Browning recited in an episode of The Twilight Zone!


The Twilight Zone had a very dark side. In "The Obsolete Man," the State prosecutor cites ominously — but with admiration — the efforts of previous leaders to rid the world of obsolescent human beings; he refers by name to Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin. My eighth grade students knew the name of Hitler but they seemed unfamiliar with Stalin. I decided to do something about this later on.


The Twilight Zone series began only 14 years after the Holocaust ended, and so it is not surprising that the subject surfaces more than once. In an episode entitled "Deaths-Head Revisited," a former SS colonel returns 17 years later to the concentration camp at Dachau. He appears to take joy in his memories of the camp until he becomes haunted by the specter of the prisoners once living there who, in his mind, place him on trial for crimes against humanity.


Now, here we are more than 60 years after the liberation from the Holocaust's death camps. Yet judging by the news, we are still embroiled in that heinous event — even in debates over whether this most documented event in history actually took place.


And, in irony of ironies, the very leader who denies the extermination of nearly 6 million Jewish people now threatens to erase from the map the state of nearly 6 million Jews. That the leader of such a country should be allowed to address the United Nations is itself a crime against humanity.


I thought I was revisiting the Twilight Zone but I find that the Twilight Zone is revisiting me.

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Alan Luxenberg teaches at two religious schools in suburban Philadelphia and directs the Foreign Policy Research Institute's Wachman Center.



© 2009, Alan H. Luxenberg