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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

Hospice patient's rite of passage inspires others

By Manya A. Brachear


Fern Kravets




At the edge of death, a reminder to the living


JewishWorldReview.com |

JHICAGO — (MCT) Inside her hospice room, Fern Kravets has spent her final days preparing others for her passage from life to death.

Diagnosed with ovarian cancer more than a year ago, she struggled with the reality that her life was slipping away. But she forged ahead with treatment, all the while continuing to check chores off her list.

Earlier this fall, in the chapel of Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter, Kravets checked one last overdue chore off her list. Surrounded by family, friends and rabbis, she celebrated her bat mitzvah, the Jewish rite of passage that traditionally marks the transition from youth to adulthood.

"This is so much more than I dreamed it could be," said Kravets, 67, after the brief ceremony in September. "… The feeling I have in my soul, the warmth, security, love, spirit that G0d is with all of us and will always be with all of us and keep us always together."

"Always together," she repeated under her breath.

Kravets, the first woman to celebrate a bat mitzvah at the Midwest CareCenter, has taught patients, staff, friends and family that life's every moment is precious and there can be joy, even in pain, especially when family is near.

On Tuesday, more than two months after the ceremony, her family gathered around her bedside, listening carefully to each fading breath, fearing it would be her last.

Rites of passage have always been Kravets' specialty. As a middle school guidance counselor, she equipped teenagers for the transition to high school. As a mother, she taught her four children values of hard work, compassion and generosity that would lead to success.

As a grandmother, she helped her grandchildren prepare for their own ceremonies, learning Hebrew and studying portions of the Torah that corresponded with their 13th birthdays.

Watching her grandson tackle a second language while grappling with autism inspired her to prepare for her own bat mitzvah — a ritual most Jewish girls of her generation didn't celebrate.

Raised as a Reform Jew, her parents attended North Shore Congregation Israel. Her father, Herbert K. Nelson, a savvy businessman and powerful lawyer, battled heart problems and stomach ailments most of his life and died at age 51. His success amid suffering taught her the importance of overcoming adversity.

"She hated the word can't," said her son Howard Kravets, 39.

But since beginning her bat mitzvah preparation in the fall of 2008, there have been plenty of opportunities to find an excuse.

In June 2009, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In November of that year, her mother died. In the spring, during a Passover seder at her daughter's home in Las Vegas, her husband, Robert, suffered a heart attack. By the time they returned home a month later, her disease had advanced.


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In early September, doctors advised her to seek hospice care. She pleaded for surgery, despite cautions that it would not cure her, much less alleviate her pain.

"She loves life and doesn't want to be away from it for one day, for one minute," said her daughter Lisa Columbus, 43.

Jewish tradition teaches people never to give up on life. "If you're killing your soul and maintaining your body, you're not upholding life," Geffen said.

Kravets transferred to hospice two weeks after the surgery with doctors predicting she only had a few days to live.

Just when all hopes of celebrating her bat mitzvah were dashed, Kravets decided to nurture her soul and celebrate there. Though Geffen wanted to do it immediately, Kravets risked waiting a few more days for everyone in the family to get there.

She based her message on the unlikely inspiration Moses received from his father-in-law Jethro in the Hebrew Bible.

"Even grandchildren can be sources of inspiration," Kravets wrote. … And now I can truly say, 'L'dor va dor,' from generation to generation."

The moment overwhelmed many in the room. "To watch her accomplish this as her last piece of unfinished business was an inspiration for everybody," her son Michael Kravets, 37, said.

Brenda Clarke, 44, said she was happy to see her mother doing something for herself after doing so much for others, but also giving the family one more gift.

"(Judaism) has always been a part of her and she'd passed it on to us," Clarke said. "She was saying it's there for you if you need it."

Fern Kravets died Saturday.

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