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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 July 2, 2010 20 Tamuz 5770

Something to Light a Firecracker About

By Suzanne Fields




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Not so long ago, most Americans regarded the Fourth of July as "Independence Day," and called it that -- celebrating liberty and freedom, prizing independence above all. For the graduates of high school and college, Independence Day marks the breaking away from parents, of moving toward responsibility.

For many of us, it's a celebration mixed with more than a little concern. Where will this new independence take the young? What kind of adults will they become? Have we "done good" by them?

Have they been politically corrected and merely educated in soundbites and cliches by the megabyte so that they, as Sam Cooke famously sang, "don't know much about history." But not to worry. We've always known they're intelligent, and they may be smarter than we think. At least some of them.

The federal government wants more and more to tell us, by law and by bureaucratic regulation, what's good for us -- what to eat, what to spend our own money on, to whether and where to smoke a cigarette or eat a burger. When a senator asked Elena Kagan, the president's nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, whether she believed Congress had the power "to tell people what to eat every day," she was stumped for an answer. The personal has become the political. The Founding Fathers are spinning.

But for an encouraging number of the young, maybe not. In a survey of 3,000 high school students by the Bill of Rights Institute, an Arlington, Va., based organization to educate young people in the ideas and ideals of the Founding Fathers, the top five heroes of the young are Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington and Thomas Paine. (Neither Elvis nor Michael Jackson made the cut.) The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were the documents that inspired them most, and "perseverance" and "courage" were cited as the two civic values most essential to American citizenship.

These students understand what's expected of them and hold the important stuff as really important, even if they (like the rest of us) sometimes honor it in the breach. This essay exercise is one of the largest in the country, with more than 50,000 participants, 70 percent from public schools. Teacher and student winners earn awards up to $5,000 and trips to the nation's capital. Best of all the kids, many of whom had never had a class in "civics," demonstrate an unusual appreciation not only of the meaning of citizenship, but an understanding of the burdens of citizenship.

A 12th-grade prize essayist writes of the importance of personal accountability in preserving liberty. "Although the Founding Fathers created constitutional checks and balances to prevent loss of liberty through abuse of power," writes T.J. Cahill of Lansing, Mich., "they foresaw that precautions are useless if each American is not individually responsible. To preserve liberty, we must each embrace our founders' legacy of responsibility."

The politicians could learn from a 10th-grader who identifies courage, strength and wisdom as the three qualities essential to great leadership. "Courage, because many times you will stand alone. Strength, because while you move against the crowd people will try to knock you down. Wisdom, which varies for every situation, to know when to pick a fight and when to hold your tongue."

The students were required to show a specific American value reflected in a founding document, embodied in a figure of American history and finally in the essayist's life. This requirement reverses the glib cliche that "the personal is the political," the basis for the destructive notion that everyone is entitled to preferences based on sex or group identity, and instead emphasizes how the political requires personal duty, the revolutionary idea that animated the Founding Fathers.

"If citizens desire to maintain small government," writes Haley Shopp of Mansfield, Texas, "they must take responsibility to improve their own lives and the lives of those around them in a way that is completely independent from government. Recognizing a widespread need among my classmates, I have established and run a math-tutoring center at my school. In this way, I hope to take part in a system that is uniquely American: to take personal responsibility to fix a problem, instead of relying on government for the answers."

Writes David Rinder of Morganville, N.J.: "Independence and the ability to control one's own destiny are ideals held dear by Americans."

Now that's something to light a firecracker about on this Fourth of July. We're entitled to have a good one.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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