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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 Dec. 29, 2005 / 28 Kislev, 5766

The magnetic power of the herd

By Garrison Keillor


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A winter afternoon of soft gray light and then the snow comes, snowflakes descending through the cone of light from the streetlamp, a majestic stillness falling on the city, a lovely moment in life. Lighted windows of the big frame houses along the street and the shush of tires in the snow, and I put on my long black coat and a stocking cap and walk up the street to the neighborhood coffee shop.


The moment for personal reform has come, the dawn of a new year, and my resolutions are as follows:


(1) If you see something, say something. (Sign on the New York City subway.)


(2) Don't project. (Advice given by a friend when I was stewing about ominous things lurking in the future.)


(3) Be appropriate. (Sign in a grade-school classroom in Seward, Nebraska.)


One could add to this list: Walk two miles every day. Become smaller. Read more fiction. Drink less coffee. Stop making lists. But these seem sufficient for now. I have a busy schedule this winter and don't have time for major reforms until mid-July or August.


Like most men, I am tempted to turn my back on city life and become a woodsman and find a shack miles from the nearest road and keep a small garden, collect wood, live in harmony with nature. No PIN numbers, no e-mail, no security checkpoints, no crazed businessmen walking through airport terminals talking loudly to themselves. Just me and the trees and the snow and a shelf of books.


This is a regular temptation and I resist it, because I would miss the herd. The crowd piling into a theater before a show we've all heard is good, the genial humor often found at the end of a long queue, the mutual affection of the congregation emerging from Sunday-morning service. Scripture tells us that we are like sheep, and as usual G-d is right on the mark. We grazing animals bumble around as coyotes or cougars never would do.


We sheep have a tendency toward tolerance and mediocrity. The solo cook is tempted to great feats of cuisine, marinating, trussing, tying up fresh marjoram in cheesecloth, peeling and deseeding the tomatoes, blanching the almonds, to create a masterpiece, but a potluck supper is a feast of the ordinary. Open a can of navy beans and chop up some sausage and put in ketchup with Worcestershire and onion-soup mix for flavor, and you've got it. It's good enough.


Alone, on a dark night, on a beach somewhere, looking up at the Milky Way, it's possible for a person to imagine that he has unlimited creative potential that he is about to unlock and enter into his greatness, just as, in a thick fog, you can imagine that you're on the Atlantic Ocean and not in a canoe on Lake Calhoun, but eventually the fog lifts. Sitting here in the neighborhood coffeehouse, among the strivers at their laptops, the old guys playing chess, the UPS men on break, the lady getting her French lesson, the lady doing the crossword, one does not think about greatness. One enjoys the simple creaturely pleasure of being among one's own kind.


I overheard a conversation in here three weeks ago, two men sitting at a table behind me.

  • So how'd you come out at the doctor's then?

  • Oh, not so good.

  • What'd they say?

  • Cancer. But I knew that going in.

  • Prostate?

  • Nope. Pancreas.

  • So what you gonna do then? Chemo?

  • Naw, I don't want nothin' to do with that stuff.

  • How long they give you?

  • A year, maybe a little more. That's what he said.

  • Well, they don't know everything. Lot of guys still walking around who were supposed to croak years ago. Don't give up.

  • I'm not giving up. I'm just not as interested in my pension as I used to be.


And they both laughed. I had an urge to turn around and pat him on the back, but it wouldn't have been appropriate. He wasn't projecting. He simply had seen something and said so. He belongs to the same herd I belong to. He could have been any one of us.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Garrison Keillorís "A Prairie Home Companion" can be heard Saturday nights on public radio stations across the country. Comment by clicking here.

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© 2005 by Garrison Keillor. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, INC.

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