Home
In this issue
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 Nov. 1, 2013/ 27 Mar-Cheshvan, 5774

Classics for Tots on the Way Up

By Suzanne Fields




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Three decades ago, Woody Allen made a movie called "Zelig," and Zelig is still among us — popping up in Hollywood, politics, academia and anywhere where ambition is on the make. Zelig is a human chameleon, a liar and an imposter eager to fit in anywhere opportunity knocks. Under hypnosis, he tells his psychiatrist that he started lying when he was a boy. A clique of bright schoolmates asked him whether he had read "Moby Dick," and he said he had when he hadn't. In those distant days, the literary canon, with its great books, was important enough that few dared admit they hadn't read such an important literary work.

Even fewer suffer that problem today. English majors have fallen on hard times. The study of the humanities is in sharp decline, and "Moby Dick" has gone the way of Captain Ahab, into the drink. But literary appreciation is staging a comeback, starting with the ridiculous, leading to the serious and sometimes close to the sublime.

"The lives of successful people almost never involve continuing to do what they were prepared for," says Richard Brodhead, president of Duke University, of liberal arts education. "As their lives unfold, they find that by drawing on their preparation in unexpected ways, they're able to do things they hadn't intended or imagined." Even in the digital age, the spoken and written word remains the basic tool of communication, and the successful have to know how to make a cogent argument in more than 140 characters. A library of "cozy classics" has now been published for a teething set. Babies and toddlers, the New York Times tells us, are offered board books of "Moby Dick," "War and Peace," and "Wuthering Heights." Food for thinking. These infants get to chew on the written word.

"People are realizing that it's never too (soon) to start putting things in front of them that are a little more meaningful, that have more levels," says Suzanne Gibbs Taylor, a publisher whose BabyLit series has sold more than 300,000 books. She has re-created Jane Austen for the youngest among us.



These books are no doubt published more for the satisfaction of parents than for drooling infants, but the publishers heed the latest advice from the child-development specialists, who stress the importance of reading to infants early and often. They testify to a craving for a common core of literature that was foolishly dropped from high schools and universities. Feminists railed against Prince Charming mounting a white horse to ride to the rescue of Cinderella, but Elizabeth Bennet's Mr. Darcy in "Pride and Prejudice" remains a hero in both book and film. Other literary classics have followed as the focus for adults in book clubs, as new parents and older grandparents discover what they didn't read when they were younger and now wish they had.

"Has there ever been a moment in American life when the humanities were cherished less, and has there ever been a moment in American life when the humanities were needed more?" Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of the New Republic, asked the graduating class at Brandeis University. He, like a growing number of others, is concerned about the obsession with speed, utility and convenience that results in the neglect of substance and content.

When academics at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences released a report called "The Heart of the Matter," seeking more emphasis on the humanities and social sciences, the politicians greeted it with the usual breast beating, lamenting the lack of literacy in the schools, but with little result. That's because educational change must come from those closer to the problem: the parents and teachers who can demonstrate the importance of the humanities to an integrated life, and corporate and business leaders who can insist that college graduates know of the humanities and something besides spreadsheets.

Steve Jobs knew the importance of fusing metaphor with machine and sought innovators with a background in the liberal arts to work with engineers to create Apple designs. Norman Augustine, former head of Lockheed Martin, has long argued the importance of both the arts and science in education. Employers, he says, want the skills the humanities teach — critical thinking, weighing interpretations, and analytical clarity. Humanities majors scored 9 percent higher than business majors on the Graduate Management Admission Test when applying to business school.

Trends in childhood development come and go, and just as Baby Einstein toys that played Mozart and Beethoven did not composers make, teething on "Moby Dick" won't create another Herman Melville. But this trend encourages great books that teach great lessons. It's not even too late for Woody Allen to read "Moby Dick."

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.


Comment on JWR contributor Suzanne Fields' column by clicking here.

Up

Suzanne Fields Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast