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In this issue

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 Nov. 26, 2008 / 28 Mar-Cheshvan 5769

Shades of life

By Andrea Simantov

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Email this article | The bulk of my 'growing up' was done in the 1960's, a decade that rang heavily with the music of Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and the Beatles, and determined what hung in my closet according to the mood-swings of Carnaby Street and the Monterey Pop Festival. When I was growing up, I compiled an unwritten list of things I would never do, be, or eat after becoming a Grown-Up.

Some of things I would 'never do' included a) telling a daughter to stand straight so she won't appear stoop-shouldered, b) say to a seventh grader "I don't care WHAT the other students got on their tests, c) turn to the obituary pages before reading the morning headlines, and d) accept a date because the man was good looking. (I could finish off the alphabet on this one but you get the gist.)

The things I would never 'be' were a) overbearing, b) a gossip, c) indecisive, and d) lazy. Let's not even go there.

And the list of things I would never eat boasted a) beef liver, b) Bamba peanut flavored snacks, c) shwarma, and d) halvah. (Admittedly, in 1994 I thin-sliced a block of halvah that I'd purchased for a cancelled-at-the-last-minute dessert party and - after allowing the thin slivers to melt on my tongue over a period of one hour - I became an addict. But the remainder of the aforementioned list remains solidly intact.)

Point being, we are not creations of marble and steel but, rather, flesh and blood animals who have the ability to choose freely and make decisions. Better decisions. Richer selections and more meaningful choices according to the paths we follow. Of course, I suppose it works both ways and we can make dumber choices and lower some personal standards but I'd rather think that my fellow earth-mates (at least my local Jerusalemites) are all striving toward greater good. Yep, we can switch decor and lifestyles even at the price of occasional ridicule. To stay 'stuck' and claim, "This is who I am. Take it or leave it" is not, IMHO, ingredients for exciting interaction and growth.

Unlike their stubborn elders, children seem to 'get it' and are less likely to remain stuck. The 'stuck' part seems to happen as they get older and follow in the footsteps of their more rigid role-model seniors. Kids will lie on the floor of the bank when tired of standing on line with mommy or stare at someone unusual until their curiosity is satisfied. I can't begin to express how many times I've wanted to lie down on the cool floor of the bank until my turn or quickly turned my head from someone different way before I had my fill of inquisitiveness. It never feels fair to me but these are the rules for grown-ups and I'm a card-carrying member.

Walking to synagogue last week, I found myself trailing a young father and his two little sons. Although it was still early in the morning, the boys already started unraveling on the unseasonably warm morning: shirts halfway out of their pants, yarmulkes covering one ear, ritual fringes stubbornly refusing to stay straight. The morning air was quite still and I could not help but overhear their pre-prayer conversation.

"This week Mummy and I are going to look at new cars. Thank G-d, the family is growing and we need more space for all those car seats! What color car should we get?"

Three-year old: "Red! I want a red car!"

"Oh, please, Abba [daddy]," chimed in the five-year old. "Can we get a red car this time?"

From the set of his jaw, I could see that the father was trying to contain a smile. He answered slowly and deliberately, in British-accented English.

"If we get a red car, we will have to change the way we live. Red is a very strong color. Are we 'red kind' of people? I've always thought that we are more blue or grey."

I couldn't hear the children's responses but from the way they began kicking pine-cones and sliding down the iron-banisters which divided the path to the synagogue, I had a pretty strong sense that even though their father lingered quietly outside the color spectrum, these kids were home-grown 'crimson stuff.' I began to fantasize that if their dad would only spring for the red car, the Missus could stop buying low fat milk and flood insurance and take up hang-gliding and try on a pair of Kelly Osborne hip-huggers.

Before cyber-searching the significance of colors, I asked my 17 year old son which colors represented different members of our family. He's a sort of contemplative kid and I knew he wouldn't guffaw at the assignment but would, instead, chalk it up to some sort of new experimental therapy I was embracing. I wasn't disappointed.

"Netanel (his best and only brother) is totally red." I nodded in agreement because my research indicates that this color is associated with fire, blood, energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination, and the ability to burn the candle at both ends while causing a mother periodic heart stoppages.

He continued.

"Tehilah's color is orange/gold, I think." Hmm. (Enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation.) Clearly Ariel was getting good at this because in considering the shades for his 14 year old sister, he chose corresponding hues that characterize prestige (social climbing?), illumination (my burgeoning electric bills), wisdom (abundant for her age), and high quality and wealth (healthy sense of entitlement).

For me he selected purple and although studies indicate that light purple signifies feelings of romance and nostalgia, I imagine that he was instead envisioning dark purple which, unmistakably, is the color of varicose veins.

But what if we can change our colors? Or, like chameleons, adjust our shades as determined by changing environments? Would that mean that a man who is so exasperatingly beige might be able to keep his wonderful traits such as dependability intact while readily imbibing a good dose of 'magenta' for the sake of his peppy wife? Could a chartreuse cashier live happily-ever-after with an olive green accountant if both agree to share an occasional cup of Swiss-blue tea?

Although the trees have turned bare after littering the ground with their amber and copper leaves, the sky appears more and more like a clean palette upon which I can paint tomorrow's dreams and relationships in the colors I choose. Merely by lifting my eyes — figuratively and literally — I can easily recall when my heart was the heart of a child and remember — even if only for a moment at a time — what it felt like to catch snowflakes on my tongue, lay on the floor of the bank, and be carried to bed after falling asleep before the cartoon ended.

More than anything, I'm sure hoping that the young father I trailed one Sabbath morning has, after kicking the tires on a few new models, finally put his deposit on the red car.

Enjoyed this article? Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here. contributor Andrea Simantov is a Jerusalem-based columnist and single mother of six. Comments by clicking here.

Life's footprints A pear for my father
To raise a man
Ruth's gift
Baywatch Babe Baskets and Eminem's evil Israeli twin
Springing into Tu B'Shevat
Chanukah: The quintessential female holiday?

© 2007, Andrea Simantov. This column first appeared in Orange County Jewish Life