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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 Nov. 5, 2003 /20 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764

Pro-choice Judaism

By Rabbi Avi Shafran


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http://www.jewishworldreview.com | One would expect, considering their compassionate social agendas and track records championing the rights of the powerless, that the Anti-Defamation League and Hadassah would be the very last groups to promote the unfettered right to snuff out fetal life. Instead, the bigotry watchdog group and the Jewish women's organization both resolutely support not only such a right but even, apparently, the right to kill a child who is already born.


For that is precisely what the "partial-birth abortion " legislation currently on President Bush's desk is about. Despite the intense and concerted efforts of some to misrepresent the bill, its language is stark and clear. The bill prohibits any overt act "that the person knows will kill" a fetus whose "entire... head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother."


Yet, Abraham Foxman, the ADL's national director, contends that the legislation "wrongly intrudes on an individual's most personal decisions" and that "the government should not interfere in matters of individual conscience." This, despite the fact that the ADL is hardly shy about exposing and combating personal decisions born of individual conscience that cause harm to others.

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For her part, and continuing her group's ill-considered foray into Jewish legal decisorship, Hadassah president June Walker pronounced that the bill "undermines Jewish values" since "the preservation of a woman's health is the standard in determining when an abortion is permissible."


She grievously misleads. To be sure, the Talmudic sources are clear that the life of a pregnancy-endangered Jewish mother takes precedence over that of her unborn child when there is no way to preserve both lives. And, while the matter is not free from controversy, there are rabbinic opinions that allow abortion when the pregnancy seriously jeopardizes the mother's health. But those narrow exceptions do not translate into some unlimited mother's "right to make her own reproductive choices," the upshot of Roe v. Wade, which Hadassah enthusiastically endorses.


And Hadassah's bemoaning of the lack of a "health of the mother" exception to the partial birth abortion bill is a red (schmaltz) herring. Congress' findings include the conclusion of medical experts that the procedure banned by the legislation awaiting the President's signature is never necessary to preserve a mother's health. What is more, and more germane, the procedure is not really abortion at all but rather the dispatching of a born baby. The child, according to both Jewish law and any reasonable person's judgment, is already born — its head, or most of its body, has emerged into the world — when its skull is punctured.


Why, then, the clamorous opposition? Because the measure, when signed into law, will represent the first chink in Roe v. Wade's armor, the first time since 1973 that a federal law limiting abortion in any way will be on the books.


The partial birth brouhaha, in other words, is essentially a symbolic battle. Few if any unwanted fetuses will be saved by the ban. What the legislation, however, will do — in fact has already done — is force people to think anew about the fragile beginnings of human life. Which, in turn, may help them realize that the crux of the abortion issue is not "a woman's right to choose" at all, but rather to what extent to value the life of a fetus.


Most reasonable people would agree that a woman has no right to choose to kill her newborn, even if it was born prematurely and even if it is still connected by its umbilical cord to the placenta within her body. Whence, then, her right to choose to kill that same being as it floats in a bag of amniotic fluid a mere moment earlier?


According to Jewish law, there is in fact such a right, at least at times, when the mother's life and the child's life cannot both be preserved. But that is a matter of weighing adult life against fetal life (potential life, almost-life, call it what you will), not a matter of "personal choice." And moving the discussion from the realm of "choice" to that of "lives" — how to value them and what to do when two clash - is precisely what the pro-abortion movement seeks at all costs to avoid.


But it is — or should be — the national discussion, at least for a culture that claims to value life. Contorting the abortion issue into one of a woman's "right to choose," as has been done for fully three decades, predicates it on the contention that a fetus's life has no inherent worth at all.


Where such self-deception can all too easily lead is evident in what goes on in places like China and India. The Chinese government uses a number of means to discourage couples from having more than one child and a cultural preference for boys has resulted in widespread abortion (and, according to UC-Davis China specialist G. William Skinner, "female infanticide on a grand scale'' — close to 800,000 baby girls abandoned or killed in a single region during the years 1971-80 alone).


Indian census commissioner J. K. Banthia recently estimated that several million female fetuses have been aborted in his country over the past two decades because ultrasound scans showed they were female and Indian parents prefer boys. What those parents exercised was choice. Is being unwilling to shoulder the burden of a child — the reason for many if not most abortions in America today — somehow more honorable that preferring a son to a daughter?


As is happens, there is in fact a choice pertinent to the abortion issue, and it happens to come right from the Jewish tradition, from the Jewish Bible's book of Deuteronomy.


"I have placed before you," the Creator informs us through Moses, "life and death, the blessing and the curse."


"Choose life," the verse continues, "so that you and your seed will live."

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JWR contributor Rabbi Avi Shafran is director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America. To comment, please click here.

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