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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 25, 2011 / 19 Adar II, 5771

April Fool's Day

By Greg Crosby



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | My brother was born on April 1st and Mom always referred to him as her April Fool's baby. My sister and I pretty much know the origins of our brother but nobody knows the origins of April Fools' Day, and that's no joke.

One theory has it that Europe's switch from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian in the 1500s, which changed New Year's Day from late March to Jan. 1, created an easy opportunity to play a prank on the forgetful. But that doesn't explain why April Fools' Day is mentioned even earlier in writing, in Chaucer's 14th-century "Canterbury Tales." There are many other theories, so what is the real and true history of April Fools' Day? No one can say.

One year, a reporter from the Associated Press tried so hard for an answer that he fell victim to one of the bigger April Fools' Day pranks in American history. Back in 1983, Boston University Prof. Joseph Boskin got a call from the press relations office asking what he knew about April Fools' Day. "I'd been researching it for years," He said sarcastically.

A few days later, the professor was flying to Los Angeles to interview Norman Lear, producer of "All in the Family," to write a history of the television show. When his flight landed, he was paged by the airport, telling him to go to the nearest white phone. It was Boston University's press relations office again, saying it had set up an interview between him and the Associated Press to talk about the history of April Fools' Day.

"I said, 'You know, I was just jiving,' " Boskin recalls. "I protested and said I couldn't do it. She said, 'Oh no, you must call him.' " Later that day, Boskin got on the phone with an AP reporter in New York City. "I said, 'I know nothing about April Fools' Day.' And the reporter said something like, 'You're being modest…. What are the origins?' "

Boskin finally gave up and spun a yarn that the holiday originated in Istanbul in the court of Constantine when "the jesters decided to unionize." The king was so amused that he agreed to give up the throne to a jester for the day. The first-ever April fool was Kugel (Boskin thought of the name because his friend especially enjoyed the Jewish pudding), who declared it a day of absurdities.

"All I could hear in the background was click, click, click," Boskin said, mimicking the sound of the reporter's clacking typewriter. After the AP printed the story, Boskin got calls from the "Today" show and newspapers around the US and Canada. Only weeks later, in one of his history classes, did he reveal the hoax to his students. Unbeknown to Boskin, the school newspaper's editor in chief was in the class, and the professor's confession appeared on the front page the next day.

Boston U's press office and the AP were livid. Boskin has able to keep his job only because he had tenure. The wire service's New England bureau chief accused him of ruining the life of a young reporter, and the reporter himself called Boskin in tears. "The New England chief accused me of lying," he said. "I accused the AP of being sanctimonious. Rather than blame themselves [for failing to fact-check], they took it out on me. They sent out a story: 'Professor lies about April Fools Day.' " That's the media for you. No sense of humor.

Today April Fool's Day has become international, proving that everyone likes a good joke. In Portugal, April Fool's Day falls on the Sunday and Monday before lent. In this celebration, many people throw flour at their friends. In Scotland April Fool's Day is actually celebrated for two days. The second day is devoted to pranks involving the posterior region of the body. It is called Taily Day. The origin of the "kick me" sign can be traced to this observance.

The genesis of April Fool's Day might have something to do with spring fever. Many cultures have had days of foolishness around the start of April, give or take a couple of weeks. The Romans had a festival named Hilaria on March 25, rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis. The Hindu calendar has Holi, and the Jewish calendar has Purim. Maybe there's something about this time of the year, with its turn from winter to spring, that lends itself to lighthearted celebrations.

My Brother is no fool, but he can be a lighthearted fellow from time to time, so there just might be something to it.

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.


JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2008, Greg Crosby

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