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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 January 22, 2009 / 26 Teves 5769

Inaugural mosaic

By Paul Greenberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Some things on television, like baseball games, may be better watched without the sound. (For that matter, CNN and NPR might be much improved without sound, too. There is much to be said for silence, at least if the alternative is still more blather in a society awash in it.) So I muted the run-up to Tuesday's big event in Washington just as the leading actors took their places in the wings and prepared to walk onto the Capitol steps.


If appearances can be deceptive, they can revealing, too. Body language says a lot. Barack Obama, walking toward his rendezvous with destiny, suddenly looked older — much older. A little tired, even. Let's hope it was just the effect of all those pre-inaugural festivities, but surely it was more. His solemn mien was an assuring sign of his sanity. If someone taking on his job and yoke looked jolly, there'd be reason to worry about him. And about the country.


Where had I seen that look of resignation mixed with determination before? Oh, yes, on the face of the condemned walking to their execution.


As for the outgoing president (in both senses of the word outgoing), George W. Bush looked younger than he had in years, specifically the last eight of them. The weight of the world was about to be lifted from his shoulders.


Thank you, Mr. President, for suffering not just the slings and a arrows of outrageous fortune but all the opprobrium we the all-knowing punditry could throw at you. Thank you for despising the great god Popularity when it came time, as it surely does to every president of the United States, to stand alone.


Let us hope, even trust, that your successor will show the same strength in those solitary hours — and they will come — when others all around are urging him to follow the polls, not his convictions. May he summon the same strength to surge forward.


The understanding between these two such different men, the incoming and outgoing chief magistrates of the Republic, was almost palpable. As the new president indicated at the very outset of his address when he paid tribute not only to his predecessor's service but to the Bush administration's comprehensive efforts to assure a smooth transition in the Oval Office. There were no Os missing from White House keyboards. All had been readied for No. 44. The foundation has been laid for a new era of good feelings, but it may not take hold despite the best-laid plans. (Want to know how to make God laugh? Make plans.)


The change that astounded the world in 1800 — the transfer of power to the opposition via the ballot box rather than the guillotine — is scarcely worth commenting on now in 2009, when not even a cross word passed between incoming and outgoing presidents.


What an assuring change yesterday's scene was from Inauguration Day in 1933, when a glum Herbert Hoover escorted the Happy Warrior himself, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to the steps of the Capitol under leaden skies. Or the unmistakable frostiness that a still smarting Harry Truman displayed toward Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. Which was quite a feat, considering that it was almost impossible to dislike Ike. Somehow ol' Harry managed it. But his bad mood was understandable. For on leaving the White House, he was even less popular than George W. Bush today.


The new vice president came on stage as chipper as ever, that is, clueless. Thanks to Mrs. Biden, we're told he was given his choice of being the next secretary of state or vice president of the United States. He wound up choosing the role that the country's first vice president, dour old John Adams, described with characteristic candor in one of his many letters to Abigail: "My country in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.''


Thank goodness Joe Biden picked the vice-presidency over secretary of state, where he could do real harm. But he is next in the line of succession. I've prayed for the health of the president of the United States before, but seldom so fervently.


The various speeches yesterday, including the new president's, tended to be cliches run amok, but perhaps the passage of time will reveal some rough diamonds here and there that now seem only rhinestones. Maybe I should have left the sound off for the speeches, too.


It's hard, looking over Mr. Obama's inaugural address, to avoid intimations of mediocrity. Its airy expanse isn't just meringue-topped but meringue-bottomed and centered, too. Was there a single speechwriter who didn't get his favorite phrase into the final, inflated text? A single cook who didn't spoil the broth? And is this only the first in a long series of touch-every-base, all-things-to-all-people presidential speeches to come in the rhetorically murky years ahead?


If the speeches were a bore, the music was anything but. It was both cultural indicator and esthetic delight. Thank you, all who brought it to us. Aretha Franklin was still Aretha, Queen of Soul. She hasn't displayed her remarkable versatility with such gusto since she stood in for Luciano Pavarotti to sing "Nessun Dorma" (honest!) and did Puccini not just fine but her own way.


Then there was that magnificent quartet doing John Williams' contribution to the occasion. How often does chamber music transform a whole, pan-continental country into its chamber? After the energy of Yo Yo Ma, master of the masterful cello, the clarinetist — Anthony McGill of the New York Metropolitan Orchestra — entered softly with the melody of the old Shaker hymn, Simple Gifts. 'Tis the gift to be simple/ 'Tis the gift to be free/ 'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be.... And the tears welled up despite my best efforts.


John Williams has given us another of those simple gifts that are not so simple. Thank you, sir. Thank you, Shakers, for you are still with us, inseparable from the American soul, which somehow remains both simple and splendiferous, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Anthony McGill and Aretha Franklin all in one whole.


Then it was time for the 44th president of the United States to take the oath of office prescribed by the Constitution itself: "I," he began, "Barack Hussein Obama...."


Only in America.


Tell us again what a hateful and intolerant country we are.


We grow, we grow, and the gates open ever wider.


The new president and commander-in-chief extended the olive branch to all the world, without neglecting the arrows the American eagle also holds in his talons:


"We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."


Soon enough those words will be tested — as John F. Kennedy's fine words about the torch of freedom being passed to a new generation of Americans were soon tested. May this president, too, be strong and of good courage. America shall have need of both qualities.


A certified poet was also present. It's becoming mandatory at presidential inaugurations, like a priest at the launching of a new ship. Elizabeth Alexander is no Robert Frost — who could be? — or even a Miller Williams, which is no small thing, either.


But if she is not a poet for the ages, she is a poet for this mediocre one, Lord help us. Just as Barack Obama translated the language of Lincoln into our lesser, wordier contemporary tongue, Professor Edwards gave us a nice, domesticated version of Walt Whitman suitable for the poetically correct times. The fault lies not in her but in ourselves that we think it poetry.


But this much the professor did. From the outset, she recognized the essential nature of man not as homo sapiens (man the rational, of all unbelievable things) or homo faber (man the maker, often enough of his own destruction), but homo loquens, man the always talking, always babbling, symbol-mongering species. (See Walker Percy's diagnosis some years back of our loquacious condition.)


Certainly there was more than enough talk on this august occasion, especially by those commenting on it, like me.

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