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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 March 14, 2007 / 24 Adar, 5766

Classified information

By Rabbi Avi Shafran


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You can tell an awful lot about a community from its newspaper ads


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Part of my job as Agudath Israel of America's media liaison is to help ensure that traditional Orthodox Jewish beliefs and life are accurately represented in the press, and that the larger Jewish and non-Jewish worlds are informed about important happenings in the Orthodox community.


There are ample opportunities for both. Misconceptions about Orthodox Jews, especially Charedim, are commonplace, not only in the general press but even in the Jewish. And there is no dearth of newsworthy occurrences in the Charedi world. Orthodox educational institutions, moreover, do an impressive job of ensuring Jewish commitment and continuity; and the community yields singular events — like the "Siyum HaShas" Talmud-completion gathering last celebrated in 2005, which brought together more that 100,000 celebrants in major convention centers across the continent and around the world.


And yet I think that what are most revealing about Orthodox life are little things.


A revered yeshiva dean was once asked by the parents of a marriage-eligible young woman about the personal qualities of a young man studying at the institution. The rabbi's response was that the fellow struck him as a paragon of good traits. "But if you want to find out what he is really like," he added, "you'll have to ask the cook."


What he intended to convey was that while our public personae and actions may mean much, whatever meaning they hold pales beside the evidence to be culled from the mundane activities of our daily lives, from the testimony of our husbands, wives, children, friends — or, if we live in a dormitory, the cook.


The Charedi world doesn't have a cook (well, actually, it has a good many excellent ones, but you get the point). What it has, though, are newspapers.


There are several, most notably Yated Neeman and Hamodia — the latter not only publishes, like the former, a large, multi-sectioned weekend paper but a smaller daily edition as well. The news coverage itself says much about the community. Since mimicking the larger world's media would violate a number of Jewish religious ideals, one won't find any reference at all in the Charedi press to the celebrity obsessions that grace even the front pages of the general press, or any parallel to the sort of sleazy crime coverage favored by tabloids, or even any of the standard-issue scandal-mongering that saturates so much of the media. Basic international, national and local news are reported straightforwardly, with the intention of providing important or practical information.


But to me, the most intriguing — and telling — window onto the Orthodox world provided by its newspapers lies in the small print of its classified ads.


Those in a randomly selected edition of Hamodia include the expected job offerings, services and properties for sale or rent, of course. But then there is, in addition to a "lost" column, a sizable one labeled "found."


Therein, one ad-placer seeks the owner of a gold bracelet; another, the person who had lost a digital camera; yet another, the feet missing a pair of children's sneakers; another still, the holder of the partner of a single leather glove. Another bracelet and a blanket are offered by yet other ads, both found "a few years ago."


And then there are the "gemachs," more than five full-page columns of them. "Gemach" is the transliteration of a Hebrew acronym for the phrase "bestowal of kindness," and the word refers to a charitable effort that grants or lends goods, or provides services, to anyone in need of them, free of charge.


Many gemachs — understandably, considering the Orthodox commitment to large families — revolve around the needs of new parents. There are gemachs offering "multiples" baby equipment for new mothers of twins or triplets, others that prepare free meals for new mothers, yet others providing women to spend nights at new parents' homes, to help care for the young siblings of newborns. There are also offers of catering services for new parents celebrating their son's bris, portable playpens, and infant car seats.


And then, among the dozens of other gemachs listed are some offering professional makeup-application (for weddings and such), others still lending hospital gowns that provide more coverage than the standard fare, audiotapes of lectures on an assortment of topics, checklists for planning a wedding, custom hair pieces for men and children with chemotherapy hair-loss (most of Hamodia's women readers own wigs), rides to the park or the shore for Alzheimers sufferers, air-beds for sudden influx of overnight visitors, "shtick" — costumes, novelties and the like — to enliven weddings. There is even a gemach offering listings of gemachs.


This, from a community that, with the constant and formidable responsibilities of observant life, has precious little free time. But what time and effort it has, it seems, a good deal of it is channeled toward helping others.


That subtle message residing in newspapers like Yated and Hamodia rarely appears in the general or other Jewish media. There the spotlight is most commonly focused on the Orthodox community for one or another of its unusual religious or cultural practices, or when one of its members does something wrong. But Orthodox peculiarities or wrongdoers, though they certainly exist as they do in every society, do not reflect the essence of their community.


The classifieds do.


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


JWR contributor Rabbi Avi Shafran is director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America. Comment by clicking here.

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