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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 25, 2014 / 27 Tammuz, 5774

Going home

By Paul Greenberg




JewishWorldReview.com | SHREVEPORT, La. -- "Goin' Home." It keeps going around and around in my head as we drive around my old home town -- the slow, sweet musical theme Dvorak used for the largo in his New World symphony. By writing lyrics for it, a gifted pupil of his turned it into a kind of modern Negro spiritual, putting into words the plaintive, elegiac spirit of the music -- and the longing felt by anyone homesick for an irretrievable past:

Goin' home, goin' home, I'm a-goin' home;

Quiet-like, some still day, I'm jes' goin' home.

It's not far, jes' close by,

Through an open door;

Work all done, care laid by,

Goin' to fear no more.

Mother's there 'spectin' me,

Father's waitin', too.

Lots of folks gather'd there.

All the friends I knew.

Home, I'm goin' home!

We go to Sabbath services Friday night at my old synagogue, Agudath Achim, but it has downsized and moved into a new building plunked down in a new part of town, a carbon copy of little Agudath Achim synagogue in Little Rock. Everything's franchised these days.

I keep looking for my old rabbi, who taught me how to sound out the jots and tittles of the alef-bes, the Hebrew alphabet, and the meaning of the ancient words that contained worlds. It wouldn't be till much later that I realized Rabbi had a full name -- Rabbi Leo Brener -- for he was just Rabbi to us little kids. But he's long gone and nowhere to be seen tonight, though his presence is felt. In every word and sigh.

Not till we read the Kaddish, the prayer recited on the anniversary of a death, and hear the list of names do I fully realize how many figures of my childhood are no more. Their faces flash before me one by one, even more vivid than they were in life. Even stranger are the faces of the old- timers who are still here tonight, present and accounted for, their walkers at the ready. Which reminds me: I left my cane in the car. I would have fit right in.


STIMULATION AND INSPIRATION

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We're staying in one of those indistinguishable motels on an indistinguishable freeway lined with indistinguishable franchise operations. It's kind of restful, being in a place that's no place. A man could live quietly, anonymously, comfortably there, with every need in walking distance if anybody ever walked any more: franchise food, multiplex theaters, antiseptic quarters with no distinguishing marks. Even the people seem franchised. It's the perfect no-place to disappear into. I daydream about being in a witness protection program in this neighborhood, work all done, care laid by, covered by layers of protective non-coloration, just blending into the gray.

Oh, to be lost in this sea of bland modernity that now covers the home town I knew. At last I could shed the ever more burdensome identity I've acquired over the years with every wrinkle, vanity, sin and regret. Why, it'd be the equivalent of a moral facelift. I'd be free of the past at last, that is, I'd be free of me. Just another driver in a traffic diagram.

I'm amazed at how little of the home town I remember is left. I keep getting lost. They seem to have paved it over and built some kind of bland, fake Shreveport on top. We could be in Sioux City or, Heaven forbid, a slice of Dallas or Atlanta or any Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area ... and they didn't even ask for my permission before they changed everything in town. That's what happens when you turn your back on a place for a few years and, when you come back, it's no longer a place. Not one with any distinguishing marks, anyway, as they say on the Wanted posters.


We take refuge from the enveloping nothingness of the modern city at the condo my big sister and her husband have taken for their visits back home. It, too, is indistinguishable from the row of structures alongside it. They, too, are all the same--till you go inside. Once through the door, this is the childhood home I remember, for it's full of furniture from our old house on Forrest Avenue. "Take whatever you want," my sister tells me again, but I wouldn't disturb a single piece. It's like a period room in a museum (Middle Class Household, circa 1950).

But there is one little picture I want, a photograph in an Art Deco frame of 1920s provenance that shows an older sister of my mother's, my Aunt Temya, the one who looked after my mother when they were being raised on what was essentially a battlefield somewhere on the Eastern front of the First World War.

After the war, Temya settled in Paris, the City of Light, where she and so many other Polish Jews would take refuge -- till that day a couple of decades later when they would be rounded up by the French, turned over to the German occupiers and shipped off in boxcars for Resettlement in the East, as it was called, never to be seen again. Her younger sister, my mother, had made her way alone, at 19, to this ever beckoning Land of the Free, where she would be taken in by a branch of our big, warm, sprawling and still hyperverbal family, God bless America.

We wrap Temya's old photograph carefully in tissue paper, cushion it with wrapping paper, and hide it deep in a pocket of my briefcase for the trip home to Little Rock. I feel I am carrying the most precious thing in the world. And maybe the next: memory.

Now I have a niece named for Temya, and she's the sweetest of the whole bunch. She's called Tammy in this ever New World. It's a very American transformation -- from the dark rotogravure tint of Temya's old picture into the Technicolor version of a smiling Tammy Greenberg that I put right beside it on my kitchen cabinet. So I can remember both every time I sit down for my morning coffee and renew my gratitude and rage, and mainly my wonder.

None of the visit home over the weekend seems to fit together -- the old and new Shreveports, the sharp memories and dull uniformity, the jagged edges and assuring continuities, the love and the fury, the good and bad and indifferent. ... It is all fragmentary in my mind. Like today's column.

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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