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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 April 2, 2014 / 2 Nissan, 5774

Death and joy in the spring

By Paul Greenberg




JewishWorldReview.com | My mother's yahrtzeit came twice this year. Yahr-tzeit: Literally, time of year. It's shorthand for the anniversary of a death in the family. According to Jewish custom, it's observed for a husband, wife, mother, father, brother, sister or, G0D forbid, a child.

You light a candle and say a prayer. I did it twice this year because my mother died in the Jewish month of Adar. It's the month that's repeated every Jewish leap year to make the calendar come out right, so Passover will stay in the spring and Chanukah in the winter and the harvest festivals at harvest time. (Yes, it takes a whole month to even things out in a lunar calendar. The Muslims don't, and their feasts are moveable indeed.)

So every few years, when Adar comes twice, Sarah Ackerman Greenberg gets an extra yahrzeit, which is just like her frugal self, always getting a little more out of everything. You'd be frugal, too, if you'd grown up on a battlefield in Poland during the First War, not knowing whether the village would be German or Russian territory when you woke the next morning. If you did.

She never quite believed in what she'd found in America: work, family, home. At least not till her last years, after she'd married off her first grandchild, when she relaxed slightly. Till then, she went to sleep as she had in that Polish village in no-man's land, as if she didn't know whether it would all still be there in the morning. I do believe she was surprised when it was.

All the while, she worked and worried and saved and sewed. I grew up in a house in which even the washcloths had been mended. So it's no surprise she'd squeeze another yahrzeit out of a year, too. Growing up in her house, I mistakenly thought the Hebrew word for sin, aveirah, meant waste. ("You finish those potatoes! It would be an aveirah to throw them away.")

I cherish an old photograph of the passengers lined up on the deck of the S.S. Manchuria when it arrived at the Port of Boston on February 10, 1921. If you look carefully through the faces, you can find a 19-year-old girl -- pudding face, pug nose, broad Slavic features, dark hair drawn severely back, unsmiling in the dignified photographic style of the day. A face indistinguishable from those of millions of other Eastern Europeans who flocked to the Golden Land at the turn of that century.


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They, too, were coming here to take jobs from deserving Americans, or maybe swell the relief rolls, or somehow do both, and they'd never learn English or adjust to our ways and they'd overwhelm us. ... The faces and accents of American immigrants change, but not the fears they inspire, or the gratitude they feel. Nobody ever said a bad word about America in my mother's house. Not without her giving them what we kids learned to call The Look. My mother's Yiddish was piquant, her Polish rusty but serviceable, and her English was, well, deliberate, but her silence most eloquent of all.

My mother's yahrzeit falls on the 12th of Adar, two days before Purim -- the jolliest of holidays. It's a kind of Jewish mardi gras, complete with costumes, carnivals and noisemakers. Read all about it in the Book of Esther. Costumes from the East, a plot out of Scheherazade, fun and excitement galore! Love, beauty, intrigue, royalty, villainy, courage, knavery, wisdom, folly, terror, jokes and general merriment ... this script's got everything. Call it religion by Cecil B. DeMille.

This year at the local temple's Purim dinner, I heard the story from the Book of Esther more than slightly revised and sung to old Billy Joel tunes. It's that kind of holiday. One rabbinic sage said it was incumbent on celebrants of Purim to drink so much we could no longer tell the hero, Mordechai, from the villain, Haman. Some of us tried.

After all, it's a commandment. Scripture commands that in "the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions to one another, and gifts to the poor. ... And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed." Amen, To Your Health, and l'Chaim! To life!

So, every year, almost as soon as the votive candle on the kitchen cabinet flickers out, I go from my mother's yahrzeit to the Arabian Nights. That's life. And death. And spring in these Southern latitudes: changeable.

One spring weekend, we drove up to the Arkansas Ozarks and watched the hills rioting in Technicolor. We drove through a dark, heavy rainstorm, then emerged into the sunlight to take a long walk through the cleansed air. It was like going from a yahrzeit to Purim -- as if the Bible went straight from the Book of Lamentations to the Book of Esther with nothing in between. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning. The prayer of praise and petition you say on a yahrzeit is called the Kaddish. It doesn't mention death.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer prize-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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