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December 2, 2014

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

The Mystery of Teddy Roosevelt's Menorahs

By Mordechai Schiller



Courtesy: Sagamore Hill National Historic Site



How I discovered that President Theodore Roosevelt spoke softly and carried . . . golden candlesticks. And how a presidential pair of menorahs taught me a lesson about miracles and gratitude


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | On a tour of Sagamore Hill, our park ranger guide punctuated every paragraph of his lecture by smiling broadly, blinking both eyes and then nodding twice. He was part beaming Boy Scout and part bobblehead chipmunk.

Just before he led us into the main house, "Chip" furtively called us aside. He glanced around and smiled even more broadly. Then he pointed to his nameplate and said, "Did you notice my name?"

We did. It was distinctively Jewish. Like co-conspirators, we smiled and nodded (but we didn't double-wink). Then we followed his lead into the house.

Sagamore Hill, near Oyster Bay, on the North Shore of Long Island, was the home of Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States. He lived there from 1885 until he died in 1919. Roosevelt loved Sagamore Hill, and spent much of his time there, often meeting there with heads of state. It was known as the "Summer White House." As Roosevelt described it,

"The house stands right on top of the hill, separated by fields and belts of woodland from all other houses, and looks out over the bay and the Sound. We see the sun go down beyond long reaches of land and water...."

Theodore Roosevelt was born in Manhattan — the only New York City native ever to become president. When he was a child, his family spent summers at Oyster Bay and he loved its country atmosphere. Years later, he built his 23-room, two-floor, Victorian home there, on 95 acres.

As soon as I stepped into the house, I was stunned by the hunting trophies. The floors are covered with zebra-skin, bear-skin, and lion-skin rugs. All around were elephant tusks, antlers, mounted heads of elk, caribou and buck (the buck stopped there).

The second thing that struck me was rows of books, books and more books. Over 6,000 books lined the walls. Roosevelt was a voracious reader. And, I discovered that, in years when he wasn't running the country, leading troops into battle, or heading the New York City Police Department... he made his living as a writer.

There are no mounted heads of state on the wall. But perhaps the animal heads helped convince the envoys of Russia and Japan — who met with Roosevelt at Sagamore Hill in August 1905 — that this president meant business. That meeting led to the Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the Russo-Japanese War and earned Theodore Roosevelt the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize.

"Pssst."

OK, Chip didn't really say that. But it felt like he did, as he gestured for us to come closer... in the North Room. The Roosevelts added the huge North Room in 1905 to host social functions. To enter this 30-foot by 40-foot room, you (gingerly!) step through an archway of two African elephant tusks — a gift from the Emperor of Abyssinia (Ethiopia).

Chip pointed to the mantelpiece — bookended by two massive bison heads — and said to look at two items in the corner. From across the room, it was hard to make out what they were. Then I realized that they were two golden menorahs!

I wanted to get closer, but the area was roped off. Now, I'm a law-abiding citizen, but I come from a line of people who look at barriers as hurdles to be gone around, under, over, or through. (My brother was on an El Al plane landing in Israel this time of year. A few minutes after the routine "Stay in your seats" announcement, the captain came on the PA and announced, "To those of you still sitting in your seats, I'd like to wish you a Merry Christmas. To those of you standing in the aisles, Happy Chanukah!") Still, not wanting to embarrass my tribe — especially Chip — I stayed behind the ropes. But that meant I couldn't get any pictures of the menorahs.

I asked Chip how and why did Roosevelt get those menorahs? And why did he prominently display them? Chip knew his Roosevelt history, but he had no information on the history of the menorahs.

THE SEARCH BEGINS... AND WHAT I FOUND

When I got home, I searched and researched, but I couldn't find anything about Roosevelt's menorahs. What I did find, though, was that Theodore Roosevelt had a unique relationship with Jews and the Jewish community.

The next Police Commissioner of New York City would do well to take a lesson from Theodore Roosevelt. In 1895, Roosevelt dispatched an anti-Semite using a very Jewish weapon: humor. In his autobiography, Roosevelt wrote:


"While I was Police Commissioner an anti-Semitic preacher from Berlin, Rector Ahlwardt, came over to New York to preach a crusade against the Jews. Many of the New York Jews were much excited and asked me to prevent him from speaking and not to give him police protection. This, I told them, was impossible; and if possible would have been undesirable because it would have made him a martyr. The proper thing to do was to make him ridiculous. Accordingly I detailed for his protection a Jew sergeant and a score or two of Jew policemen. He made his harangue against the Jews under the active protection of some forty policemen, every one of them a Jew! It was the most effective possible answer...."

Then Roosevelt added,


"... and incidentally it was an object-lesson to our people, whose greatest need it is to learn that there must be no division by class hatred, whether this hatred be that of creed against creed, nationality against nationality, section against section, or men of one social or industrial condition against men of another social and industrial condition. We must ever judge each individual on his own conduct and merits, and not on his membership in any class, whether that class be based on theological, social, or industrial considerations."

In 1898, with the outbreak of the Spanish American War, Theodore Roosevelt resigned as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and volunteered for active duty to help end Spanish rule in the "New World." He led the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry — known as the "Rough Riders" to battle in Cuba. The Rough Riders were "a mix of troops ranging from Ivy League athletes to glee-club singers to Texas Rangers and Indians." This raggle-taggle, heroic band also included a number of Jews. The first Rough Rider killed in action was Jacob Wilbusky, a Jewish cowboy from Texas.

Roosevelt later wrote about "the bravery of the Jews who have served under me in my regiment and on the Police force of New York City, who have done their duty splendidly."



THE POGROM...THE PRESIDENT AND THE PETITION

On April 6-7, 1903, the first blood libel of the 20th century led to a pogrom. Russian mobs killed 49 and injured 500 Jews in what become known as the Kishinev Pogrom. American Jewish leaders came to Roosevelt with a petition protesting the slaughter and pressed him to send it to the Czar. Roosevelt knew the Czar wouldn't listen. So he took a short cut. He sent the petition to the American ambassador at Petrograd, and he added his own letter denouncing the atrocities. The ambassador gave the letter to the Russian Secretary of State and respectfully asked for the Czar to receive the petitions. The Czar refused, but the letter was published around the world.

In a memorandum on the Kishinev Pogrom dated June 15, 1903, Roosevelt wrote:


"I need not dwell upon a fact so patent as the widespread indignation with which the American people heard of the dreadful outrages upon the Jews in Kishineff (sic). I have never in my experience in this country known of a more immediate or a deeper expression of sympathy for the victims and of horror over the appalling calamity that had occurred. It is natural that while the whole civilized world should express such a feeling it should yet be most intense and most widespread in the United States; for of all the great powers I think I may say that the United States is that country in which from the beginning of its national career, most has been done in the way of acknowledging the debt due to the Jewish race and of endeavoring to do justice to those American citizens who are of Jewish ancestry and faith."

(Tragically, 40 years later, Franklin D. Roosevelt didn't share his cousin's sympathies....)

In 1906, Oscar S. Straus was the first Jew to be appointed to a U. S. Cabinet position when President Roosevelt made him Secretary of Commerce and Labor.

And, in a list of goals for the end of WWI, Theodore Roosevelt included "Palestine made a Jewish State."

TEDDY BERELE WINS

As long as we're getting ethnic, I should include the origin of the "Teddy Bear." Roosevelt hated being called Teddy. But the name — and the bear —helped him win reelection to the White House in 1904.

The story started in 1902, when the governors of Mississippi and Louisiana asked Roosevelt to settle a dispute over their boundary. Roosevelt saw this as an opportunity to combine his arbitration with a bear hunt.

But, despite all his hunting prowess, he didn't get one bear. Roosevelt's inability to bag a new trophy was a huge embarrassment to the big game hunter president.

To help the president save face, Holt Collier, a former slave who became a noted bear hunter, cornered and tied a bear to a tree and urged the president to shoot it. But Roosevelt refused to shoot the tied-up bear. He insisted it was unsportsmanlike and beneath him.


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His refusal to shoot a defenseless bear became the major news of the day. It reached New York, where Morris Michtom — a Jewish refugee from Russian pogroms — and his wife Rose ran a candy store. Mrs. Michtom was so moved by Roosevelt's refusal to kill the bear that she sewed a stuffed toy bear and told Morris to put it in

the window of the candy store. He put a sign by the toy bear: "Teddy's Bear." Soon, people were coming into the store asking to buy a Teddy bear! Mr. Michtom, afraid of offending the president, mailed the original doll to the Roosevelts as a gift to the first family's children. He also asked for permission to use the name on a new toy bear.

President Roosevelt didn't think his name would be of much help, but he gave them permission.

The rest is history. The Michtoms closed their candy store and launched the Ideal Novelty & Toy Company. (The company was later renamed Ideal Toys, which, in 1953, made the first toy Smokey Bear. Could it be that's where Chip got his hat?) "Teddy" Roosevelt and the Republican Party used the Teddy Bear as their symbol for the 1904 election and the the Michtom's gift bear later went on display at every White House function. Today, the original "Teddy's Bear" is in retirement at the Smithsonian Institution.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MENORAHS?

My research turned up what Theodore Roosevelt might have called a "bully good" history of him and the Jews. But what about the menorahs? I came to tell you about the menorahs.

Well, I finally did get to shed some light on them.... I wrote to the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site of the National Park Service. Curator Amy Verone, wrote back:

"We do not know much about the two menorahs in the North Room, just that they were given to Theodore Roosevelt by a Mrs. Leavitt, who is described in park records as 'a family friend.' There are historic photographs showing the menorahs on top of the bookcase in the front of the room in 1909; and on top of the bookcase in the back of the room in 1948. We don't have any additional information on who Mrs. Leavitt was, her relationship with the Roosevelts or her reasons for giving the menorahs to the Roosevelts." Now here is where it really gets interesting. Ms. Verone added some comments of her own:


"Both Theodore and Edith Roosevelt had a habit of giving belongings away to friends, family and admirers (a terrible habit from a curator's point of view!). To me, the fact that the Roosevelts kept the candlesticks on view for forty years and moved them around the room shows that they valued them and their friendship with Mrs. Leavitt."


Fascinated, I asked if I could get photos of the menorahs. Finally, in the midst of a major upheaval of renovations at Sagamore Hill, Ms. Verone found time to write again — this time with pictures of the menorah. And she added apologetically:

"I was not able to get photographs of the menorahs in place in the North Room of the Roosevelt Home. The home is currently closed for renovations; and all of the furnishings were moved out of the building before that work started. I don't expect to have everything back in place or the house reopened to visitors until early 2015."

So, the full story of the menorahs is still shrouded in mystery. But what emerges is another kind of Chanukah story. Every Chanukah we celebrate lehodos u'lehallel — to give thanks and praise for the miracles of Chanukah. Now, I learned, or should I say re-learned, the lesson that we should thank Hashem for yet another miracle: the United States of America — a safe haven for Jews like no other country in history — with leaders like Theodore Roosevelt. No wonder so many of our Sages historically referred to America as the "Malchus shel chessed — the Kindgom of kindness."

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Mordechai Schiller is a copyeditor at Hamodia, the Daily Newspaper of Torah Jewry, where this first appeared in a different version.




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