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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

Good Luck, Albert Pujols

By Rabbi Yonason Goldson






http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Nothing is more fascinating than what we don't understand.

Maybe that's why I was mesmerized one day last July by the flat screen TV at the gym. I watched in bewilderment as Cleveland Cavalier fans alternately wept and ranted over LeBron James leaving town to play for the Miami Heat. I waited for the lone voice of reason that never came, the echo of the archetypical mother chiding her child not to cry over a broken toy because there is a famine in Somalia.

With daily headlines tolling the catastrophes of our times, from tsunamis to earthquakes, from Iran to Athens, from global warming to Obamacare, how was it possible for so many to rage so much over so little? In the grand scheme of things, does it make sense for any person's happiness to hinge on the color jersey worn by a millionaire throwing a ball through a hoop?

I know this will be sacrilege to many. I also know that I may be taking my life in my hands by going even further, with tragedy having struck so recently in my own backyard.

Certainly everyone has by now heard the news: Albert Pujols is leaving the St. Louis Cardinals.

(If you don't know what I'm talking about, good for you! Please click on another article and read about something important.)

Here in St. Louis it's been hard to find any other topic of conversation. If I casually mention the word baseball in front of my students it can take me five minutes to regain control of the class. If only the subject of Moses generated this kind of passion, the Messiah would have arrived a long time ago.


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In practical terms, it's easy to understand why the 11-year career Cardinal and three-time MVP chose to leave the city that has come to adore him. After all, the Los Angeles Angels offered Mr. Pujols 25.4 million dollars a year for ten years. The Cardinals simply couldn't compete: they offered only 21.7 mil, and that for only nine years. You can buy a lot of Lamborghinis with difference.

I suppose I'm old fashioned and possibly na´ve; but I would like to think that if I were in the same situation team loyalty and community spirit would count for something. And yes, I know it would mean giving up an extra $60 million dollars; but we're talking about numbers so huge that it all sounds like Monopoly money anyway.

To his credit, Albert Pujols does a tremendous amount of charity work. He seems gracious toward his teammates and points heavenward to credit the Almighty with his accomplishments after every successful play. He is certainly entitled to take whatever the market is willing to offer.

But it is the market itself that should be the subject of discussion. And indeed, more than a few people, even some of Mr. Pujols's greatest admirers, are muttering that there is something obscene about one man signing a contract roughly equal to the gross domestic product of Micronesia for hitting a ball with a stick. If aliens came down to earth and read the headlines, they would surely conclude that there is no intelligent life on this planet.

IT'S NOT ALL BAD
I know all the counterarguments, all the rationalizations for the value of professional sports: there is team spirit, civic pride, human accomplishment, work ethic, rise from poverty, the American dream — all worthwhile sentiments and noble ideals. People want something to cheer for, and they need downtime, inspiration, rest and relaxation, especially amidst a culture that has become obsessed with vapid celebrity and deluged with stories of suffering and injustice. Life is hard, and sometimes we need to escape from reality.

As for inspiration, the Cardinals' World Series victory was truly the stuff of which Disney movies are made: ten and a half games out from even a wild card slot with barely a month to go, Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa injected his players with an attitude of "play every game like it's for the pennant." And it worked, as the Cardinals clawed their way back into the playoffs.

Dismissed as hopeless underdogs, the Redbirds found themselves in the World Series. Down to their last strike twice in game six, "the team that wouldn't go away" stunned spectators and the opposing Texas Rangers by coming back again and again. Even those of us utterly disinterested in sports couldn't help but be impressed.

BUT ON THE OTHER HANDů
Let's be truthful with ourselves. Is there any intrinsic value to baseball, aside from salaries and ticket sales and advertising revenues and concessions? Have we not become caught up in the same culture of bread-and-circuses that ultimately caused the Roman Empire to crumble? Should it not trouble us that we need the modern equivalent of gladiatorial combat to inspire us with a sense of identity and purpose?

Once upon a time, society taught respect for honest labor and disdain for undeserved adulation. Once upon a time, humble men considered themselves rich if they enjoyed the enduring pleasures of family and community. Now we look to validate our own worth through the ephemeral athletic prowess of others.

And so King Solomon foresaw the confusion of our times when he said: Folly is placed on lofty heights, while wealthy men sit in low places. I have seen slaves on horses and nobles walking on foot like slaves.

A decade ago, when I coached fourth-grade little league, I watched my son field a ball in shallow left and make a play at the plate as the runner tried to score from third. No walk-off grand slam in the majors will ever be as exciting. And at least once a week I get to see a student's face light up with excitement when I reveal the eternal wisdom of his or her ancestors. No one could pay me enough to walk away from that.

So good luck, Mr. Pujols. Use your money wisely, for each and every one of us will have to give an accounting in the end.


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JWR contributor Rabbi Yonason Goldson teaches at Block Yeshiva High School in St. Louis, MO, where he also writes and lectures. He is author of Dawn to Destiny: Exploring Jewish History and its Hidden Wisdom, an overview of Jewish philosophy and history from Creation through the compilation of the Talmud, now available from Judaica Press. Visit him at http://torahideals.com .






© 2011, Rabbi Yonason Goldson