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 Nov. 15, 2010 / 8 Kislev, 5771

The Turkey Shrinks as the Absences Grow

By Mitch Albom

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The regrets trickle in. Can't make it this year. Too much going on. Airfare too high. Work is crazy.

Once, missing Thanksgiving was unthinkable. But "once" was a long time ago.

Now there are reasons. Good reasons. At least on paper. This one has a high school reunion. This one just changed jobs. This one is moving houses. This one can't find a dog sitter.

They are all being honest. Their lives are busy. Then here comes Thanksgiving and they're asked to screech and halt?

And Thanksgiving in our family is a commitment, I admit. We've been hosting it for years, for upwards of 50 relatives and lifelong friends. It goes like this: the arrival meal (Wednesday), the holiday meal (Thursday), the leftover meal (Friday), the restaurant meal (Saturday) and the farewell meal (Sunday morning). In between comes talking, slouching, sleeping, eating, talking, eating, shopping, eating.

At least it used to be that way.

In recent years, the holiday has been shaved, like one of those giant wedding cakes that slowly gets sliced away. "It's cheaper to fly on Thursday," they say, so they come Thanksgiving morning. "It's cheaper to go home Saturday," they say, so they leave a day earlier. Someone needs to work on Friday -- "They're making everyone come in," they say -- and so another chair goes empty.

They are all being honest.

The turkey sighs.


Once, Thanksgiving couldn't come fast enough. We all lived close. We couldn't wait for a break from the routine. Businesses shut at noon Wednesday. Nobody worked Friday through Sunday (unless it was in a mall). Missing a few days didn't set anyone back. We were thrilled to see each other, to eat like gluttons, to make the joyous noise of a crowded table and a growing family.

Moving houses? Who moved houses? High school reunions? Who did that on Thanksgiving weekend? Work? What employer would insist you work? On Thanksgiving?

Besides, this was family. And family meant obligation. Obligation to eat, even if you weren't crazy about the stuffed mushrooms or the sweet potato casserole. Obligation to listen, even if you had heard the World War II stories a thousand times. Obligation to do dishes. To carry out trash. To lift your grandparents' ridiculously heavy luggage.

To stay.

Today, we shy away from obligation. No one wants to "pressure" anyone else. Everyone wants to say, "That's OK, you do what you have to do." We act this way to be "understanding." I wonder if it's not so that we can expect it will be done for us. Accept excuses, and we can later make our own. It keeps our options open. It lets us wiggle out.

Everyone is being honest.

But why do we want to wiggle out of each other?


Maybe it's part of the New Busy, where we can entertain ourselves fully without leaving the house. In the old days, if you weren't at Thanksgiving, the silence would haunt you. You'd wonder what the family was saying, what they were eating.

Today, you can be online, on Facebook, checking e-mail, downloading movies. Or at work, at the mall, at the bar, at the reunion. Family? Who has time to miss family?

Except you are missing family. You are missing a huge part of life, maybe the best part, when the whole ensemble is together, when one funny story tumbles into another, when your history is being told and made.

Christmas is too much about presents. Fourth of July is vacation. Thanksgiving weekend, with its Thursday start and Sunday finish, is a perfect chunk out of the American schedule. Long enough for siblings, uncles, aunts and cousins to reconnect, to hug extra long, to be reminded why family are not the office gang, not the reading group, not the guys at the gym or the women at the salon -- but family.

And you feed a family with turkey and memories, with laughs, with stories, with being side by side.

The older relatives, who always knew this, have sadly passed away. Each Thanksgiving the table gets smaller, fewer chairs are set, fewer pies are eaten.

The regrets trickle in. So sorry. Got tickets to something. Just gonna relax at home this year.

They are all being honest.

That's what hurts the most.

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 Mitch's column by clicking here.

Mitch's Archives