In this issue
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 Sept. 3, 2010 / 24 Elul, 5770

Don't Try This At Home, Kids

By Greg Crosby

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Did you hear the one about the middle-aged woman doctor who slid down a chimney, got stuck and died? No? Well, since we're only a few months away from Santa Claus, grab your mug of hot cocoa, pull up a chair and I'll tell you a grisly little true-life story as reported by AP this past week. WARNING: Kids, don't try this at home!

This little incident happened in Bakersfield, California, which is not to cast aspersions on Bakersfield. This could have happened anywhere - even in your own home town, so don't get cocky. It seems that this doctor was involved in an "on-again, off-again" relationship with her boyfriend. Call it a "love/hate" thing. This wasn't exactly youthful ignorance; since Dr. Jacquelyn Kotarac was 49 years old. According to police, she was trying to force her way into her boyfriend's home.

At first she tried to get into the house with a shovel, the cops said, which I don't get at all. I mean if you wanted to break into someone's house would your tool of choice be a shovel? What was she trying to do, dig out the wall? Anyway, I guess that didn't work out for her, so next she climbed a ladder to the roof, removed the chimney cap and slid feet first down the flue. Ho, ho, ho. Her decomposing body was found in there three days later.

While she was trying to break in, the guy she was after escaped unnoticed from another exit "to avoid a confrontation," authorities said. Yeah, I guess so. Your girlfriend is slamming your house with a shovel, climbing up on the roof and ripping the chimney apart. Yeah, I think I'd get the hell out too.

The boyfriend said, "She made an unbelievable error in judgment and nobody understands why, and unfortunately she's passed away. She had her issues but I never lost my respect for her." I'm so glad he didn't lose his respect for her. To say this woman had "issues" and made "an error in judgment" would be like saying Custer had a minor disagreement with some Indians once.

The boyfriend would not comment on the circumstances that led to her death, saying it was more important to focus on the good she did in life. He said she was a superb internist who often provided service and medication free of charge to her patients. Okay, let's just focus on the fact that she was a good doctor that just went a little nuts over her lover, grabbed a shovel to try and get into his house (probably with the intent of bashing his brains in) and thought she could just slide down the chimney like Santa Claus and surprise him.

She apparently died in the chimney, but her body was not discovered until a house-sitter noticed a stench and fluids coming from the fireplace, according to the cops. The house-sitter and her son investigated with a flashlight and saw Kotarac dead, wedged about two feet above the top of the interior fireplace opening. See kids, this is not only a Santa Claus Christmas story; it's a Halloween story, too. Firefighters spent five hours late Saturday dismantling the chimney and flue from outside the home to extract Kotarac's body. I'll never complain about cleaning out the fireplace again.

The best part of this story is that investigators have been looking into the incident as suspicious. Suspicious? That's right. Yeah, maybe she was stuffed down the chimney by Colombian drug dealers. Or maybe she was taken up into an alien spaceship for interrogation and then dropped back down to earth and fell into that chimney. Investigators have also said that a cause of death has not yet been determined. What? Hmmm, maybe she was killed by a speeding car and her body flew up into the chimney and got wedged down there. Or maybe it was suicide by breathing in second-hand soot.

But don't worry, an autopsy has been scheduled. That's right; the authorities will get to bottom of this thing one way or another, folks. Hey, guess what? I've got this mystery solved already and I don't even need to do an autopsy. Ready? Here it is: A crazy woman doctor lost her mind completely and killed herself. That's it. That's all there is to it. Just another bizarre horror story in sunny California.

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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