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December 2, 2014

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 August 23, 2013/ 17 Elul, 5773

Wired Connections and Cultural Disconnects

By Suzanne Fields




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | August, despite its heat and humidity, isn't cruel like April, but it taps deeper into melancholy. The days grow shorter, sunlight becomes less intense, and shadows lengthen, shading the edges of experience. Summer begins to feel like Sunday night.

I'm sitting on a park bench in Woods Hole, Mass., watching strollers, runners and bicyclists on a narrow public path bordered with leafy green and wildflowers. The sky is blue, and the clouds tease the imagination with fanciful white puffs. But many of the passersby, young and old, see neither the lavender nor the green and blue. They never hear the song of a bluebird or the croak of a bullfrog. How can they? Their ears are plugged with the paraphernalia of cellphones, shutting out the sounds of late summer in exchange for music, media, and bits and pieces of information from the wired world.



The digital distractions alter the way we see and hear the world around us, and this is especially true in the great outdoors. For those of a certain age, a well of memory sustains, and we're like Marcel Proust at the seaside, flooded with childhood memories of laughter and conversation over dripping ice cream cones. Our children and grandchildren are growing up in a different sphere, not necessarily narrower, but certainly altered, where the high-tech machines create what will be remembered. This gives new meaning to Marshall McLuhan's idea that "the media is the message." The wired connections disconnect us from our immediate surroundings.

"The most important thing in our culture-sphere isn't change but the fact that reality itself is dwindling," observes Henry Allen in The Wall Street Journal. "Is some sort of cultural entropy homogenizing us?" Allen, a Pulitzer medalist, knows the zeitgeist and wrote a book about the flavor of each decade of the 20th century. Some decades were tastier than others.

It's not that the good old days were better, but they were alive in different ways, separating everybody into their private worlds, but always bringing them together again with the pleasurable reminiscences of what had passed. We played board games face to face, not on a screen, arguing between moves, relishing the human contact. The arguments over the rules, who was right and who was wrong, were part of the game. Now the arguments are quickly settled when someone looks at a tiny instrument in the palm of his hand and announces the cold fact.

Every generation has its unique vocabularies, its slang and jargon (and its vulgarisms) to keep out the adults. But now hip idioms expand so quickly across generations that they become instant anachronisms. "Gay Paree" has no meaning now unless you're homosexual. Has any word changed meaning so conclusively in such a short time? The language of love once required felicitous feelings. Consider the soft murmur of a "liaison" with the harsh consonants of a "hookup."

For Americans, 9/11 was a turning point in many ways. Before that date that shares infamy with Dec. 7, we felt secure in the old ways of thinking that sustained us in Western traditions, even if sometimes honored in their breach. Once terrorism struck home with terror and violence, robbing us of our snug (and smug) confidence of invincibility, we lost a sense of collective affection, despite our protestations to the contrary.

From the books and movies about London in the Blitz, the moral certainties of World War II, we feel an envy of those who lived life intensified; there was no argument over whether the Nazis were evil. The Islamists are an enemy that does not unite us in the same way. We watch a revolution splinter into factions in Egypt, with the dead and wounded displayed on the television screen, and we aren't even sure which side we're rooting for (if we root at all). The president insists that "we don't take sides," an ominous and ironic footnote to his Cairo speech of only four years ago, which he called "A New Beginning."

Western idealism is no longer a lens for interpreting the world, and it's a questionable lens for looking at ourselves. We can reach anyone and everyone in an instant with the new media of the Internet, but we don't have a message that unites us. We feel individual control over little beyond the machinery of the media.

"We are all outsiders," says Henry Allen, "with no inside to be outside of." One cellphone rings in a crowd, and we all think it's for us.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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