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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 May 14, 2010 1 Sivan 5770

Researching Good and Evil

By Suzanne Fields




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The idea of good and evil, out of fashion for a while, is back. In the pop-culture game of what's "in" and what's "out," you could say that morality is "in," moral relativism is "out."

Even babies seem to know that. "Some sense of good and evil seems to be bred in the bone," says Paul Bloom, a Yale psychologist who discerns moral judgments in infants as young as 5 months. "With the help of well-designed experiments," he writes in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, "you can see glimmers of moral thought, moral judgment and moral feeling even in the first year of life."

Such fine distinctions are harder to find in certain adults. Terry Eagleton, a British Marxist intellectual who defends the existence of G0d, goes so far as to question whether evil can exist in the absence of G0d. In his book "On Evil," he writes that Satan had to understand G0d's transcendence "in order to turn it down." Without G0d as an antagonist, how can evil be measured? Satan shrinks when secularized.

If these arguments stretch moral insights, the Topography of Terror in Berlin, which this week opened its new museum on the site of the Nazi Gestapo, brings us back to a picture of hell on earth. Visitors can see where layers of evil emanated from the heart of the German capital. Here, 7,000 little Eichmanns and Himmlers, many of them ambitious university graduates eager to climb the career ladder, scurried about doing their evil business. There was nothing banal about it.

The opening of the Topography of Terror coincides with the publication in English of Peter Longerich's book, "Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews." He draws on primary sources and archives in Eastern Europe dating from the 1930s, sources inaccessible to historians before the Soviet Union collapsed. These documents show how anti-Jewish attitudes were a central tenet of Nazi rule, shaping policy in all directions — official and informal, political and cultural, ideological and pragmatic, personally and collectively. The Nazis, he reasons, carved out political territory for persecuting the Jews "comparable with that of foreign policy, economic policy and social policy."

While the subject of good and evil is always with us, seen in both purity and complexity, the way in which Jews remain protagonists in this philosophical/philological drama is relevant to contemporary discussions of morality. While we can be sure that babies, with or without a moral compass, are not born anti-Semites, it's obvious that anti-Semitism continues to stalk the public conscience. The most provocative of the new wave of moral discussions over good and evil starts with the Jews drawing links from medieval anti-Semitism to contemporary anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism.

"In the modern world, the Jew has perpetually been on trial; still today the Jew is on trial in the person of the Israeli," writes Anthony Julius in "Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England." He shows how academics in England who organize boycotts of Israeli goods are the latest in a long line of English intellectuals who relish sneering at Jews. What's different today is that left-wing intellectuals have formed an alliance with militant Islamists in repeating historical anti-Semitic slurs, this time as anti-Israeli insults.

The connection of intellectuals to anti-Semitism has been revived as well in a new book about Martin Heidegger, the philosopher who flourished between the world wars. Although Hannah Arendt forgave her onetime lover's Nazism, qualifying it as an "escapade" — a brief error of judgment for a rarefied thinker who should have known better than to get mixed up in politics — Emmanuel Faye, in "Heidegger," characterizes him as a Nazi philosopher who thought deeply and looked favorably on the fused forces of the will of the people and the will of the Fuhrer. That's surely what Leni Reifenstahl meant when she called her 1934 Nazi propaganda movie "Triumph of the Will."

In the exploration of morality in babies, psychologists say babies cry when they hear other babies cry. They argue that a baby is empathetic to another baby's pain, that there's an evolutionary purpose to feeling empathy for another. Given our social history, that's a hard sell. But it does seem promising that in our latest debates over good and evil we accept the reality of measuring ourselves against absolutes of right and wrong. This demonstrates the potential to make things better. "Certain compassionate feelings and impulses," they argue, "emerge early and apparently universally in human development."

The trick is how to keep them as we grow older. That's some trick.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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