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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 May 1, 2014 / 1 Iyar, 5774

Holocaust Day again

By Paul Greenberg




JewishWorldReview.com | Another year, another Holocaust Day -- just as there's another Earth Day, Groundhog Day, Tax Day, Valentine's Day ... you name it. It had to happen to the Holocaust, too. It's become a Day.

It's a familiar transformation -- from the unique to the annual, from enormity into class assignment. It's the standard modern metamorphosis: Awe gives way to routine, shock to ceremony, the monstrous to the mundane, the horror to lectures about it.

Is there any better way to reduce the unique to the ordinary than to make it a Day? It's the essence of modernization: trivialization. When was Holocaust Day -- Sunday, Monday? I forget.

The process is familiar by now, and it happened some time ago to the Holocaust. Something singular, ineffable, beyond words ... is turned into nothing but words, something no longer unique in history but today's lesson plan. The inexpressible sorrow and pity of it, the shame and anguish of it, is turned into ... what, exactly, if anything? A notation on the calendar? A college major? A website? A springboard for the current political cause of some president or prime minister somewhere?

So does the Holocaust become a genocide like any other genocide, entitled to the same neglect from the world. When the Holocaust becomes Holocaust Studies, what happened is turned into academic studies of what happened.

It's the inescapable, modern way: demystification. The greatest mystery cannot survive being talked to death. Now we have Holocaust Day the way we have Black History Month. It is observed mainly for ceremonial purposes, or political ones, or just out of a sense of duty that became rote long ago.

Yes, the abyss that was and is the Holocaust must be explored, none of it forgotten, so it will never happen again. Yes, we know it all needs to be written down, recorded, studied. But our attention wanders. How many times can we be told the same thing without its paling? Yet it is no longer possible simply to contemplate it in silence. Silence may be the one thing our ever-tolerant society cannot tolerate.

Silence in the waning presence of the Holocaust may still be possible, but only in theory, not in practice. Silence is the one service all our modern, sophisticated, wondrous, interconnected technology does not provide. Our consumer culture can produce a new gizmo a minute -- the Next Big Thing that we all must have. But not silence. And not the whole constellation of things that go with silence: reflection, reverence, privacy, solitude, contemplation, awe.

But all that is so ... yesterday. To be moved by the Holocaust is passť -- if it is possible at all by now. It embarrasses some of us, and bores more of us. It has become just another ceremony, just another Day, if we notice it at all. Making something dutiful can make it forgettable.

Now we can get the Holocaust on Facebook -- for perfectly practical, proper, useful, understandable, educational reasons. The Holocaust had its own page on YouTube the other year. We know it is important that we talk about it -- far more important than anything we might have to say about it.

There's no explicit law against silence, but there might as well be. Presidents want to have a Conversation About Race, but what they have to say about it is ... we forget. But we do know something can't be capital-I Important unless we talk about it, preferably in a group, soulfully, like guests on "Oprah" or "Charlie Rose."

How long have I been reading/talking/arguing about the Holocaust? I grew up with it. There were countless Zionist rallies, letter-writing campaigns, angry editorials in the Jewish press, Israel bond sales, fiery speeches by mesmerizing orators, scholarly articles and books and books and more books ... till the horror of it was reduced to an industry.

The unspeakable reality became the stuff of blockbuster productions and Academy Awards, the awe-ful singularity of it was reduced to a Steven Spielberg special. That's how history is transformed into a wax museum, or maybe a Quentin Tarantino number. Sentimentality isn't really that far from exhibitionism. Each coarsens, if in a different but related way.



Studies of the Holocaust now abound, some of them solid ones. There is Gerald Reitlinger's pioneering "The Final Solution," followed by Lucy Dawidowicz's "The War Against the Jews, 1933-1945." Though that particular war scarcely ended in 1945. Just look at the Mideast today. Or some of the rhetoric at the United Nations. Doing scholarly research on the Holocaust isn't that much of a challenge; the Germans kept excellent records, as usual, down to the last umlaut and gold filling.

The best of the scholarly studies may be the slimmest: Richard Rubenstein's "The Cunning of History." More a meditation than a history, it doesn't deal with how the Holocaust was perpetrated so much as why it was a natural consequence and consummation of modernity. The author could have taken as his motif Max Weber's definition of modernity: rationalization, bureaucratization and the disenchantment of the world. Now everything could be, would be, must be explained, planned, done. Now matter how awful. There were no longer any limits.

Max Weber, that prescient sociologist, could not have foreseen the Holocaust in his early 20th century time, but he described with uncanny precision the confluence of ideas necessary for it to occur when it did. He would have seen that the Holocaust was not a discontinuity in the history of Western civilization but a natural progression.

Secularization, social Darwinism, the idea of surplus populations, totalitarian ideology, the modern all-powerful State, technocratic organization, all of that came together at one terrible point: 1933-45. And evil became mundane, ordinary, routine, a step up the career ladder for all the little Adolf Eichmanns of the world. Call it the banality of evil, as Hannah Arendt did in a flash of insight. Now we get the Holocaust on Facebook. And we can all tweet about the unspeakable.

Through the years I would read the books, attend the seminars, listen to the professors and politicians argue about the Nuremberg Trials and the supposed German character, and whether the Jews were victims or accessories to their own murder, change my mind and then back again a dozen times, get sick of the whole subject, then return to it. Till silence opened like a refuge and insight. And sanctuary. By now there may be only one appropriate response to the Holocaust -- a scream that seems to go on forever. And then -- silence.

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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