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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 July 4, 2012/ 14 Tamuz, 5772

The American idea

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The role of great men in history is often noted, but they may exercise little influence compared to great ideas. John Maynard Keynes, who was not an historian or a statesman but an economist, noted that ideas, "both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else."

Today we celebrate the birth of The American Idea, which took form and flight in Jefferson's immortal Declaration 236 years ago today.

It was gruff old John Adams, who could never be accused of being a poet, who insisted that Jefferson and no other write the draft of the Declaration of Independence. Denied the gift of poetry himself, Mr. Adams could recognize it well enough in this Virginian. He may have been a Massachusetts man, with a Puritan's preference for the practical, but he knew the power of great ideas greatly expressed.

John Adams could foresee, as he told his Abigail, that the anniversary of American independence would become an annual festival of freedom to be celebrated with every manner of fireworks, concerts, picnics and general enthusiasm from one end of this land to the other.

He got just one detail wrong. Lawyer that he was, he assumed that the United States of America would celebrate its independence on July 2nd, the date in 1776 when the Continental Congress formally resolved that these colonies are and ought to be free and independent states. Rather than July the Fourth, when the Proclamation was approved and the American Idea was proclaimed to the world.

It was not the formal, legal resolution of independence that would be celebrated in the years ahead, but the words, the vehicle of ideas.

The American Idea, crystallized in Thomas Jefferson's words after centuries of gestation on this continent, is simple and sweeping -- and a terribly complicated business to fulfill: that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Those words cannot be said aloud even to this day without their resounding like a poem. It was Walt Whitman, that most American poet, who once said that the greatest poem of all is these united states.

Ideas have consequences. Fateful consequences. A time would come when this still forming nation would experience a new birth of freedom amid the most terrible of our wars. The president who would see the Union through that long, dark night to another dawn's early light would trace his principles back to that selfsame declaration of July 4, 1776.

Pausing at Philadelphia to speak at Independence Hall on his way to assume a burden perhaps even greater than the first president's, Abraham Lincoln confided: "I have never had a feeling, politically, that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence."

The sentiments that brought forth the American Revolution remain revolutionary, which is why we remain a revolutionary people despite ourselves. Our ideas shape us. We would not be ourselves if we did not remain a standing provocation to the tyrants of the world.

There is much talk this election year, as there is every election year, of the American Dream, but it is a woefully weak, pathetically reduced version of that dream to imagine it encompasses only material promise. That may be a vital part of the dream, but it is the least of it. For the American Dream encompasses a wealth off hopes and aspirations.

Most of us understand that America is more than a geographical designation, more than a political system, more than borders and laws and storied institutions. It is an idea. And without that American Idea, all our laws and constitutions, history and traditions, would be but an empty tomb where our greatness does not live but is buried.

Adlai Stevenson, another American with a gift for eloquence, understood as much. He knew America was more than a place, that it is an idea. Always has been. And he put the kernel of that idea, as Mr. Jefferson had done before him, in a few simple words:

"When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea. He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw the breath of self-respect."

It has never been put better.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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