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 Dec. 20, 2010 / 13 Teves, 5771

Embrace In-Laws as Your Family

By Mitch Albom

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In the movies, in-laws are bad news.

There's the mother-in-law, a nagging, screeching creature from Hell. There's the father-in-law, a glaring, disapproving statue.

There's the brother-in-law, who is a showoff or a drunk. And the sister-in-law, who thinks you're a bum.

You would never get involved with these people if not for your spouse, who, in the movies, starts looking a little funny, too.

But that's the movies.

I inherited a sister-in-law -- three of them, actually. And they're lovely. Noisy, frenetic, dramatic, beautiful, chatty, opinionated, but lovely.

One, the oldest, really stood out. Debbie. The family story is that we were supposed to be fixed up. But the night we met, Debbie was singing in a local club, and she called me out of the crowd to accompany her on piano. We started OK, but soon she was hissing orders -- "Play faster!" "Modulate!" -- and I panicked. She rolled her eyes at my fumbling.

So much for romance.

It was her younger sister whom I took to and eventually married; Debbie was the maid of honor. She gave a speech as beautiful and lofty as her poofed hair and make-up. And that night we became officially connected through two words and a hyphen.


Over the years, I learned the family stories that her siblings knew by heart. That when Debbie was a kid, a dog bit her -- and she bit it back. That boys were always tripping all over her. That her stunning musical talent earned her a scholarship at Wayne State, but she left before finishing to raise her first child.

She was crazy about shopping, loved clothes, was the star of her own little opera, complete with costume changes. She was into art, history, religion, she could talk about Prada shoes and French Impressionism in the same sentence. For an overnight trip, she'd pack three suitcases. Her beauty made people fawn all over her, and you would see bellhops and kitchen workers lugging bags or musical equipment, while she breezed in behind them, smiling like a movie star.

She was loyal, honest, she made things sparkle. She hand-wrote thank-you notes, remembered everyone's birthday. And she would call our house 10 times a day with personal drama -- her three sons, her work, a 20 percent off sale at Lord & Taylor. She was a hurricane, needy, talkative, judgmental -- all the things that are supposed to bug you about in-laws.

But I loved it. She made life interesting -- loud, messy, time-consuming, but interesting.

And then she got sick.

Cancer changes a person's colors, it fades them out. But not Debbie. Nothing could dim that light. She fought breast cancer -- which spread eventually throughout her body -- but she never settled for conventional treatment. Instead, she read and studied and pursued alternatives. She found medicines in foreign counties. She radically changed her diet. She battled that cursed disease for 15 years and never once spent a night in a hospital.

Several times she came back to full diva form, dressed-to-kill, smiling and energized. Then, like a shark's jaws, the cancer would pull her under again.

In the final year, she shed pounds in exchange for sweetness. The more she shrank to a skeleton, the calmer and more at peace she became. She worried for her sons, for her sisters and brothers and mother, for all of us. We held her hands and rubbed her shoulders as she lay in the bed in which she would die.

A few minutes before passing, she mumbled, "I'm ready." Her final whispered word was "Debbie."

Perhaps the Almighty was taking roll call.

We are all bracing ourselves. There will be tears. A big crater in our holiday. But I'm glad for at least one thing with Debbie: That I never adopted a phony barrier. Don't let movies define your in-laws. Treat the siblings you gain as new brothers and sisters. Hug them. Kiss them. Embrace their insanity.

And be happy to have them however long you have them. Because they are family. And when you lose a piece of your family, the title never matters.

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